Organizations that want to attract, engage and retain diverse employee talent often include mentoring as a key piece of their talent development strategy—and for good reasons.
Mentoring can help employees feel valued by their employers, build supportive relationships with coworkers and develop critical skills that can help them advance their careers.
All of these can lead to employees receiving job growth opportunities, feeling more engaged at work and staying with their organizations longer.
A survey of mentees and mentors by MentorcliQ found that:
90 percent of participants said mentoring helped them develop a positive relationship with another individual in their company.
89 percent said mentoring allowed them to contribute to the success of their company.
89 percent said that they felt like their company valued their development because they offered a mentoring program.
Those types of outcomes help companies build a positive—and profitable—workplace.
Innovative companies that want to retain and engage diverse talent have begun using reverse mentoring as a way to promote diverse employees and help them gain visibility with senior leadership. This creates a critical component within the push for equity in the workplace.
Reverse Diverse Mentoring at Labcorp
Addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion through a mentoring program has become a must-have need for companies today. Labcorp implemented an innovative and thoughtful reverse-diverse mentoring program that has received rave reviews from people at all levels of the company. This program pairs executive mentees with emerging leader mentors who are from a diverse background.
Labcorp’s CFO brought this idea with her to the company based on previous experience she had had with a similar program. “Our CFO had learned so much from her experience as a mentee based on her previous experience, and she wanted to see this valuable experience extended to other leaders in our organization to help them develop from both a cultural and strategic standpoint,” said Mary Schlegel, mentor program manager and senior instructional designer at Labcorp.
“Black employees in the U.S. are significantly less likely than White employees to report seeing leaders of their own race in their organization, and that appears to matter in creating a healthy corporate culture.” — Camille Lloyd of Gallup
They leaned on two Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to help identify and invite diverse young talent into the program as mentors: (1) the Ascend ERG, which focuses on young professional leaders, and (2) the Pulse ERG, which focuses on Black professionals. By engaging leaders from these ERGs, Labcorp was able to connect up-and-coming diverse talent with executive leaders whom they might otherwise never have met. “People really valued the opportunity to be heard, as well as helping to pave the way for other people to have a voice,” said Schlegel.
The reverse diverse program also provided an opportunity for Labcorp to engage more Black employees and other underrepresented employees in more mentoring relationships, which the team had identified as an area of growth for their overall mentoring strategy. “The unexpected benefit and learning that I’ve had with this reverse diverse mentoring program is to hope. This program allowed me to support change and amplify diverse voices within Labcorp. And the organizational commitment to this program has spread hope to my fellow colleagues,” said Schlegel.
Tips for Your Own Reverse Diverse Mentoring Program
To implement a powerful and effective reverse diverse mentoring program that will help retain and engage diverse talent, consider these three tips.
Listen – Listen to your diverse employee populations, ask them what they need and work to uncover what will help them advance and grow with your organization.
Include – Include your diverse employees in the program planning process, get their input on key factors of your mentoring program design and ask them to be ambassadors for the program to help spread the word.
Act – Act on the feedback you hear from the employees, create a program that reflects their needs and look for opportunities for growth within your mentoring program to help you create and sustain a mentoring culture.
Laura Francis is the Chief Knowledge Officer for MentorcliQ. The proud mom of a child with disabilities, she enjoys writing about the connections she sees in her personal life and professional life. Her articles can be found on Training Journal, ATD, Chief Learning Officer, Training Industry and other learning and development websites.
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We do not tolerate unlawful discrimination in any employment decisions, including recruiting, hiring, compensation, promotion, benefits, discipline, termination, job assignments or training.
The past few years have brought about a lot of changes to the workforce. We have improved on our “work from home” systems and specific industries have grown in unexpected ways. If you’re looking for a career change this year, here are 2022’s fastest growing jobs that you may want to consider.
It’s no surprise that the healthcare industry has risen so quickly with recent events. Now the industry is in need of professionals in every field of medicine, and these jobs are some of the least likely to ever see a decline.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth of healthcare careers is expected to grow by 2.6 million jobs in the next decade.
Jobs to Consider:
Description: Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty healthcare.
Median Pay: $117,670 per year ($56.57 per hour)
Education Level: Master’s Degree
Occupational Therapy Assistants:
Description: Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, improve as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.
Median Pay: $60,950 per year ($29.30 per hour)
Education Level: Associate’s Degree from an accredited program
Physical Therapy Assistants:
Description: Physical therapy assistants and aides are supervised by physical therapists to help patients regain movement and manage pain after injuries and illnesses.
Median Pay: $49,970 per year ($24.02 per hour)
Education Level: Associate’s Degree from an accredited program
Not only is the world of tech and online presence growing, but it’s becoming more and more necessary every year. Whether you are working in the world of cybersecurity, code or maintenance, this field isn’t slowing down any time soon, with an estimated 668,00 jobs to be created in the next 10 years.
Jobs to Consider:
Information Security Analysts:
Description: Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.
Median Pay: $103,590 per year ($49.80 per hour)
Education Level: Bachelor’s Degree
Description: Web developers create and maintain websites. Digital designers develop, create and test website or interface layout, functions and navigation for usability.
Median Pay: $77,200 ($37.12 per hour)
Education Level: Bachelor’s Degree
Description: Software developers design computer applications or programs. Software quality assurance analysts and testers identify problems with applications or programs and report defects.
Median Pay: $110,140 per year ($52.95 per hour)
Education Level: Bachelor’s Degree
As more and more of an effort is being made to invest in clean energy, prevent climate change and work to care for our planet, specialty jobs centered around these projects have begun to increase.
Jobs to Consider:
Wind Turbine Service Technicians:
Description: Wind turbine service technicians install, maintain and repair wind turbines.
Median Pay: $56,230 per year ($27.03 per hour)
Education Level: Postsecondary nondegree award
Solar Photovoltaic Installers:
Description: Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers assemble, set up and maintain rooftop or other systems that convert sunlight into energy.
Median Pay: $46,470 per year ($22.34 per hour)
Education Level: High school diploma or equivalent
Forest and Conservation Technicians:
Description: These technicians provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, forests or related natural resources.
Median Pay: $38,940 ($20.57 per hour)
Education Level: Associate’s Degree
No matter what the career, everyone could use some extra help when it comes to dealing with their finances. If you have a strong suit for math and an expertise in matters of money, careers in finance are a sturdy, high-paying route that might work for you.
Description: Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records.
Median Pay: $73,560 per year ($35.37 per hour)
Education Level: Bachelor’s Degree
Description: Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply computational techniques to solve problems, usually working in areas of the federal government, scientific research and development companies.
Median Pay: $93,290 per year ($44.85 per hour)
Education Level: Master’s Degree
Description: Financial analysts guide businesses and individuals in decisions about expending money to attain profit.
Median Pay: $83,660 per year ($40.22 per hour)
Education Level: Bachelor’s Degree
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Best Colleges
As the Great Resignation continues, many employers are starting to wonder what they can do to keep more people from leaving. Enter the “stay interview.”
Don’t worry — this isn’t an interview where employees have to make a case for why they should stay in their jobs. Rather, it’s about employers learning what experiences, benefits, and compensation will help them retain the people that they hope to keep on their teams.
To learn more about stay interviews and how you can use them as a time to negotiate for what you want, I reached out to Lily Valentin, Head of Operations for North America at the job posting search engine Adzuna.
Here’s what she had to say:
1.First of all, stay interviews are generally more informal than, say, a job interview.
Don’t worry — this isn’t an interview where employees have to make a case for why they should stay in their jobs. Rather, it’s about employers learning what experiences, benefits, and compensation will help them retain the people that they hope to keep on their teams.
Valentin says that these types of interviews tend to be a bit more casual, so you don’t need to freak out or get extra dressed up if your boss schedules a stay interview with you. “The conversation focuses on what is motivating an employee to stay, what they enjoy about their current position, what would improve their work experience, and their career development goals within the organization.”
“Though this can seem nerve-racking at first, the stay interview is an opportunity for every employee to share how they have been feeling, what they are enjoying about the company, and what can be done to keep them from looking elsewhere if they’re on the fence about their future.”
2.In fact, getting invited to a stay interview can actually be a really great sign that your boss wants to keep you around.
Being invited to a stay interview is pretty positive — it means that your boss recognizes your contributions and likely doesn’t want to lose you. “At a time when employees aren’t short of choice, knowing their current employer cares about their experience, work situation, professional ambitions, and is eager to address any challenges, makes all the difference,” Valentin says.
3.So what kinds of questions can you expect to be asked in a stay interview?
A stay interview can cover a lot of ground. Valentin provided a list of some sample questions that you might get from your employer:
• How are you feeling in your role?
• What motivates you to “come in’ to work/log on every day?
• What are some of the challenges you’re facing that prevent you from delivering your best outputs, and what do you think the team and company can do to alleviate these challenges?
• Are you able to find a positive work-life balance, and if not, what can we do to help?
• Is there anything you really don’t enjoy working on, and is there anything you are looking to work on more?
• What are your longer-term career aspirations?
4.And unlike a job interview, you can actually ask to see stay interview questions in advance and prepare your answers.
When it comes to stay interviews, Valentin says that it can be really helpful to ask for the questions in advance and prepare your answers. “A great way to ensure there is no miscommunication on the objectives is to ask what questions will be asked in advance and have bullet points for each one. This is especially important if your chat is with a member of the executive team or even the CEO.
Read the complete article originally posted on Yahoo! Life
One of the most common interview questions is some version of “why do you want this job?” or “why do you want to work here?” How you answer that question can be a significant factor in whether you get the job because the employer wants to know if you will add value and be a good fit for their organization. They want to know why you like the position and why you like their company. So how should you prepare to answer that question?
Sometimes it helps to think of the flip side of this question. Ask yourself, “Why would this company want to hire me?” In other words, think more about what you have to offer, and how you could make an impact rather than why getting the job would benefit you. There are 3 factors that most employers are looking for in your answers. They want to know: (1) that your experience and skills qualify you to do the job; (2) that you have researched their organization and are enthusiastic about its product, service or goals; and (3) that you align with the company’s values.
Match Your Skills with the Position
If you have previous work or volunteer experience that is a good fit for the company or position, be ready to discuss that as well as why you enjoy the type of work the company does. If your skills match up well, you can shine when you are asked why you want this job.
If your work skills don’t necessarily match perfectly, maybe your soft skills do. Does the person in this position communicate with the public? If that is something you enjoy, you can focus on that aspect of the position and share your experience. Do you enjoy problem solving at work? Again, if it fits, describe how you’ve solved problems on the job or with a group before.
Express Your Interest and Enthusiasm for the Company
Before you landed the interview, you did your homework and checked out the company culture, right? Learning about the organization you’re interviewing with is key, but this includes more than just knowing what the organization does. You’ll also want to know about its leadership, culture, employees, stakeholders and competitors. By being well informed, you’ll make a good impression on an interviewer. You will also learn whether the organization is a good match for you.
When you make it to the interview, share what caught your eye about either the company or the position. Maybe the position is a good fit or the company’s mission is something you can support.
Think About Your Career Goals
Are you applying for an entry-level position in a field you’re really interested in? Are you making a career change, or do you want to apply the skills you’ve gained to a new type of position? While you don’t want to sound like you’ll only stay in this position for a short time, you can discuss where you see yourself in the future and how the knowledge you can gain from this position can help you get there. This is also a great time to discuss why you picked this company. Asking about growth opportunities and career development show you’re interested in investing in the employer for a longer time.
A fresh start is one of the gifts of a brand-new year, especially coming out of unprecedented times. If you’re looking to change up your career, here are some tips to help you revise your current resume and make the kind of impact you really hope for.
Polish visual elements
A resume that’s too visually distracting or disorganized can make an employer dispose of it without actually delving in. Use plenty of white space, and sharp, consistent formatting for each job. Use a limited number of fonts, preferably just one or two. Avoid using too many attention-getting methods such as all caps, bold and increased font sizes, or the reader struggles to know where to look. Make it neat and scannable by using clear headings.
Focus on Technical Skills
This is one of your strongest opportunities to introduce yourself; every organization, and even different jobs within one organization, may require you to make subtle tweaks to your resume to make it count. For STEM-related fields, it’s always best to showcase your skills for a specific position and the specific certifications that meet their needed criteria. Avoid listing expected skills required in any job and focus on special abilities that make you the best candidate for the job. It may also be helpful to list your expertise level (expert, proficient, etc.) to drive home your skillset.
Show Your Experience Across Disciplines
Though you want to be specific to the job, you will also want to showcase how your disciplines have crossed paths, especially in a time where scientific innovations and technological advances are increasing in overlap. Tell your reader about the experience you’ve had in your lines of work and school from outward appearance and design to the more behind-the-scenes work of sample collecting and data recording.
Add Results to Build Context
Do your jobs appear lacking in results? Maybe you didn’t track your statistics to — down the road — accurately report them on your resume. But numbers and impact are helpful to get a picture of what you’ve done. For example, a Conservation Corps worker described his experience as, “Coordinated group of 25 volunteers. As leader of 25-person team, removed invasive species growth over 50-acre wilderness, restored and maintained over 10 miles of trails. Developed new team protocols that led to improved communication and more efficient trail practices.” These numbers add more weight.
Revise Repeatedly, Even When You Can’t Stand It
The last thing you want is for your resume to be rejected over simple errors that could have easily been fixed. Go over your resume, use spellcheck, have a friend or trusted individual read through it, and ask for feedback from qualified individuals willing to help.
With these tips in mind, your resume will not only be ready to take on job opportunities, but your confidence will only increase. 2022 is a fresh start from the past two years; go make it count!
Many people still think that being a gamer and a Black woman is a juxtaposition. It’s not. We’re not unicorns. Just like in any other industry, there are content creators, industry professionals, and consumers, and Black women can be found in all of these categories — but they’re often overlooked, underestimated, or outright ignored. So Black women are taking their spot in gaming for themselves.
If you’re not familiar with gaming, let me briefly explain how we got here. Gaming started with simplistic classics like Pong, and in their infancy, games were aimed at a broad audience who just wanted to play and have fun. But after the video game crash in the 1980s, the industry essentially said, “Fuck it, let’s just focus on white men and boys.” And after decades of game creation and marketing geared toward men, here we are in 2021, with the majority of the highest paid gamers being white men. Not to mention that the workforce in the industry is also dominated by white men. According to jobs site Zippia, 72% of video game developers in the US are men, and 72% of developers are also white. And unfortunately, with this came the foundation of a toxic misogynistic culture, which companies overlooked and sometimes encouraged with their early marketing — just look at one ‘90s Playstation advertisement.
As the social climate changed to become more critical and vocal about racism, sexism, homophobia, and discrimination, some companies have vowed to change, but only after hitting rock bottom. In July, a lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard by the California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleged the company long facilitated an environment of harassment, discrimination, and a toxic “‘frat boy’ workplace culture.” The suit led to an outpour of horror stories on social media that exposed what often happens behind game creation. Some triple-A companies have started to hire experienced chief diversity officers, who slowly but surely hope to tackle the ingrained bias internally and in their games.
But many gaming companies are still struggling to hire, and retain, Black employees which means, beyond the marketing, the culture isn’t progressing. Just 6% of video game developers in the US are Black, according to Zippia, so it doesn’t take long to look under the surface and see the dust is still under the rug. Brands are still enabling toxic content creators or work environments where marginalized people can feel as though they are collateral damage as we’ve seen with recent revelations about Activision. There’s still so much to do, and it seems the industry only reacts to current events, such as the murder of George Floyd, rather than plan for a better future. Despite changing demographics and efforts from within to create more inclusive spaces, Black women still aren’t visible and have long been ostracized, ignored, and underpaid.
The space is democratizing. But rather than the companies that make millions, it’s creators-turned-entrepreneurs who are doing the necessary work to address the lack of transparency and seemingly unclosable gaps in gaming.
Click here to read the full article on Refinery29.
Want to improve the impression you make in your job search or advance in your current job? Earning one or more professional certifications demonstrates your subject matter knowledge and skill, as well as your motivation to add a credential to your qualifications.
What are certifications?
A certification is a nationally recognized award that shows you have specific skills or knowledge in an occupation, industry or technology. To earn a certification, you usually have to pass a test or demonstrate a skill.
Certifications are sponsored by professional associations, product manufacturers, corporations, unions and others. Training to pass a certification test is often available at community or technical colleges, or from the organization that offers the particular certification exam.
Many certifications must be renewed on a time-specified basis by earning continuing education credits or keeping up to date on advancements in the subject area. Some product-related certifications, which are common in technology fields, may lose value when the related product is no longer widely used –– so it’s always a good idea to keep your certifications updated.
Certifications are more commonly earned or required in certain occupations and industries, particularly in information technology, accommodation and food service, finance, construction, health care and social assistance.
What are the benefits of certifications?
There are several key benefits to earning a certification:
It’s portable.Having a certification is widely accepted as proof that the individual holding it has particular skills and knowledge, so it’s considered “portable”— when you earn one, you take it with you to other jobs — and it can translate across occupations, industries and geographical locations.
It may be required for the job.Employers in some fields require candidates to have certifications before they even apply for a job, or that they are willing to obtain them immediately upon being hired.
It gives you an edge.A certification can also be seen as a marketing tool that gives you an extra edge over other job seekers who may meet the requisite qualifications for a job but haven’t gone above and beyond the essentials.
It can provide a professional development goal.To pass a certification test requires that you develop the specified knowledge and/or the technical or professional skill. Earning one certification, or a series of them, can serve as a goal to work toward in your professional development.
How to get started?
As a first step, you can look up certifications that fit your career goals using CareerOneStop’s Certification Finder. You can start your search based on the name of an occupation, industry or a specific skill or technology. If you know the occupation’s O*NET code, or the industry’s NAICs code number, you also use those as search terms, or you can just browse a list of occupations or industries to start your search.
Once you click “Search,” you’ll see a list of certifications that match your search term. There are filters to narrow your results for related industries, types of certifications, and organization names.
What are some certifications that are popular with employers?
Project Management Professional
Certified Fundraising Executive
Group Exercise Instructor
Certified Information Systems Security Professional
Certified Business Analysis Professional
Certified Respiratory Therapist
Patient Care Technician
Certified Quality Auditor
From your results, you will be able to visit an association’s website by just clicking the link in the URL column. Certifications marked with a chili pepper indicate those that are frequently mentioned in online job postings. For more information on professional certifications, visit CareerOneStop.org.
The first day of October is the first day of a month-long push to help make corporate leadership more diverse. It’s the brain-child of two black executives who say it’s time to have more diversity at the top, so they are trying something new.
Denise Kaigler is one of the co-founders. She told WBZ-TV it’s time to work together. Watch video here.
“There is a such a great opportunity for us to come together, black professionals to come together, to work together, to increase our presence, black professionals’ presence in leadership roles around the world,” Kaigler said.
October 1st starts a month-long series of virtual events and speakers, all with the goal of inspiring and coaching black talent.
“We are also going to be bringing speakers together to host sessions that cover a wide range of topics that impact the ability of black professionals to climb up that corporate ladder, personal branding, career advancement sessions,” Kaigler told WBZ.
Right now, she says, the numbers are bad. Black professionals hold only 3.2 percent of all executive or senior leadership roles in America, a change she knows can’t happen by the end 31 days, but one they plan to push for years to come.
Making a great first impression is supposed to be fairly simple. Smile. Make eye contact. Listen more than you speak. Ask questions about the other person.
And, oddly enough, simply believe you will make a good first impression. A 2009 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin shows people who expect to be “accepted” act more warmly and therefore are seen as more likable. (Of course, you genuinely have to believe you will be accepted — or at least “George Costanza believe” you will be accepted — which is obviously the hard part.)
So, yeah: You know what to do. But knowing what to do is never a guarantee of success.
How can you tell if you actually made a good first impression? Science to the rescue.
According to a 2018 meta-analysis of more than 50 different studies published in Psychological Bulletin, the key is to look for specific nonverbal and verbal signs to determine if you’ve established some degree of rapport.
Smiling and laughing. No surprise there. But most people reflexively smile back, especially at first. And then there’s the Jimmy Fallon-esque “Oh, my gosh, I’ve never heard anyone say anything so funny” kind of laughter that doesn’t indicate anything genuine.
Holding eye contact.Also, unsurprising; the eyes are usually the first indication the other person is thinking about somewhere they would rather be.
Maintaining physical proximity.We all define “personal space” differently; the fact you back up half a step might just only mean I’ve slightly encroached on yours. Yet, according to the researchers, physical proximity is a key indicator of likability.
Starting new topics of conversation.Another less obvious, yet important, indicator. If there’s no spark, polite people will see the current topic through and try to move on. But if they bring up something else without prompting…
Unconsciously mimicking nonverbal expressions.A 2019 study published in Cognition and Emotion shows that when other people mimic your nonverbal expressions, that indicates they understand the emotions you’re experiencing — and may even result in “emotional contagion.” (Which means, if you want to use your first impression skills manipulatively, copying the other person’s expressions and gestures can make you seem more likable.)
So: Imagine you meet someone new. You know what to do. Smile. Make and hold eye contact. Laugh when appropriate. Don’t back away. Shift the conversational focus to the person you just met; one way is to use the 3 Questions Rule.
All the while, pay attention to how the other person responds. Whether they smile, laugh, and hold eye contact.
And more important, whether they maintain physical proximity, initiate new topics of conversation on their own and mimic some of your nonverbal expressions.
And then use what you learn to make a better first impression with the next person you meet.
Because the next person you meet could turn out to be one of your most important connections. Or one of your biggest customers.
Or, best of all, one of your closest friends.
Jeff Haden is a keynote speaker, ghostwriter, LinkedIn Influencer, contributing editor to Inc. and the author of The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win.
(SP) – Tell people a little about Christian Wise Smith…who you are, how it all began, and what you’ve accomplished so far in life?
(CWS) – I was born and raised in the justice system. I saw my mother get arrested several times before she lost custody of me. My Uncle Steve was sentenced to life in prison for murder. I witnessed my grandmother stripped down to her underwear and handcuffed. Ultimately, my family and I experienced several traumatic encounters with law enforcement and the justice system during my childhood. Determined to break the negative cycles of my upbringing, I was able to turn my pain and tragedy into triumph, becoming the first in my family to graduate from college, ultimately earning my Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Juris Doctor degrees. The horrors experienced during my childhood ultimately led me to devote my career to working with our youth.
(SP) – Realizing that poverty, idle time, a lack of opportunities, and peer-related pressure often entices and influences disadvantaged people of all ages (especially teenagers and young adults) to get caught up in turning to ‘street life’ for survival, how were you able to avoid such desperate measures and traps during your youth, which could have negatively affected you later in life?
(CWS) – Before finishing high school, I saw several family members and friends destroyed by murder, violence, drugs, and other crimes. At 17, I was kicked out of school. Headed down a path leading straight to a jail cell, Officer William Dean Sr., a Black police officer, took an interest in helping me to break free of the low expectations inherent in my situation. Due to his mentoring and support, I learned that I was capable of changing my path.
(SP) – Researchers have proven there is a direct link between socioeconomic disadvantaged individuals and crime. Additionally, there are those who believe that “over 90% of crime in America and around the world takes place due to economic disadvantages and the remaining percentage involves mental illness, social disagreements, and/or other miscellaneous reasons.” If those precipitating factors are true, why have more prosecutors and court systems not taken these seriously and opted to explore better strategies and proven solutions which reinforce teaching positive behavioral change and empowering people – economically, mentally, socially, and otherwise?
(CWS)– I visited the King County Prosecutor’s Office in Seattle, Washington in 2018 to study a program they created called ‘LEAD’ (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion). Instead of booking people into jail for criminal activity that stems from poverty or behavioral health needs, officers instead take people to case managers who provide crisis response, immediate psychosocial assessment, and long-term wrap-around services that include substance, disorder treatment and housing. By the time I visited the program, they’d already had hundreds of success stories where people completely turned their lives around. Instead of being trapped in the system of recidivism, they now had jobs, housing, and lived productive lives. The program has also significantly improved their community overall. Once people are off of the streets and working, employment rates and property values increase. They’ve proven that this kind of justice system can work.
Unfortunately, most prosecutors and court systems have not opted to explore better options to help people break free from the system because of money. In 1865, we saw southern states enact Black Codes to ensure that newly freed Black Americans could be sentenced to labor for crimes such as vagrancy or “poor living conditions” after slavery was abolished. Today, many states use prisoners to manufacture license plates and other products. The prison industry is a multi-billion-dollar system. Think about bail bonding companies, probation services, and corrections officers just to name a few. Most elected prosecutors are financially supported by people who benefit from the prison industry. We need to see more prosecutors elected like Larry Krasner, Rachael Rollins, Aramis Ayala, and Deborah Gonzalez, and consider the advice of experts like Dr. Brandon Mathews and Adam Foss to see significant changes in our system that will ultimately help people break free from the system and live better lives.
(SP) – Police departments across the country have long been the primary instigator of public backlash for abusive tactics by law enforcement officers, especially acts committed against minority individuals. However, most often, prosecutors and court systems throughout America have played an equal or far more destructive role by primarily pushing for greater numbers of convictions or guilty pleas, versus considering life-improving alternatives and opportunities to dismiss cases that reveal little or no evidence to warrant prosecution. How do we get more prosecutors and judges to understand the role(s) they play in shaping or destroying communities, and make better decisions in pursuing restorative justice?
(CWS)– Our justice system has been driven by a “conviction by any means necessary” approach for several decades. This approach is cruel, costly, and counter-productive. It has created a hamster wheel cycle of incarceration that has especially destroyed the Black community, communities of color, and low-income people. This approach has destroyed lives, over-crowded jails and prisons, and has done nothing to keep us safer. The way we get more prosecutors and judges to understand the roles they play in the system is by no longer voting for prosecutors and judges who aren’t willing to change things. Voters have to be more vocal about the kind of people they want leading our local justice systems.
(SP) – A growing number of professionals in the areas of law and government are beginning to embrace the ideas of “criminal justice & prosecutorial reform visionaries” such as: Larry Krasner of Philadelphia; Rachael Rollins of Suffolk County, Massachusetts; Diana Becton of Contra Costa County, California; Jonathan Rapping of Atlanta, Georgia; Professor Jody D. Armour from the USC School of Law, and Judge Bruce Morrow of Michigan. Could you share your thoughts on some of the unique concepts any of them have implemented and how you might contribute to such growing trends?
(CWS) – I respect and appreciate those folks and everyone else who is willing to acknowledge the significant issues within our justice system and do something about it. Larry Krasner made headlines when he fired 31 staff members (which included trial attorneys, supervisor-level staff, and assistant prosecutors) on his fourth day in office to honor his promise to change the culture of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. He promised to never seek the death penalty, end cash bail, and end the mass incarceration model that has plagued the justice system for entirely too long. He was recently re-elected for a second term, which makes me hopeful that more and more voters across the country will become more aware of what he and other progressives are doing and start to vote more likeminded candidates into other local offices.
(SP)– Throughout the United States, there are legal professionals and legislators who would argue that “debtor’s prisons, exploitive labor arrangements, and/or Peonage laws” no longer exist. However, if that were true, overzealous tactics such as charging parents (typically fathers or men identified as one) with a criminal offense instead of a civil one for nonpayment of child support; suspending the driver’s licenses of a parent who is unable or unwilling to pay support; branding them with unnecessary employment-dismissive criminal records; placing them on probation, and even incarcerating such people (most often only fathers) who are unable to pay a biased, expected amount to the child(ren)’s other parent (typically a mother) has been nothing short of a fruitless abuse of law practice and a gross waste of time and public resources. Fathers who find themselves in these circumstances refuse to speak out on this touchy subject for fear of being scrutinized further or mislabeled as a Deadbeat Dad as opposed to properly being recognized as a Dead Broke Dad. A 2019-2020 study in Baltimore which is often ignored, revealed an eye-opening perspective about how this “system” has continued to do more harm than good in many instances. What are your thoughts on better ways to move away from the criminalization of child support delinquency, which adversely impacts a family’s dynamics through increased poverty and the destabilizing of (father) parent-child relationships?
(CWS) – I haven’t encountered any child support cases during my legal career thus far, but I do believe that things can improve significantly to ensure that policies aren’t counterproductive. For example, suspending someone’s driver’s license and incarcerating them because of nonpayment makes it harder for that person to maintain employment. I guarantee you that nobody is using the same cell phone they used 10 years ago, but our court systems are operating the same way they did several decades ago. Technology always evolves and we adapt to it. Unfortunately, big systems that play vital roles in our everyday lives like the justice system, the education system, and the child support system don’t evolve and improve. If we valued improving these systems as much as we value advancing technology, our country would be in much better shape. The Baltimore Sun article you’re referring to (At what cost? For Baltimore’s poorest families, the child support system exacts a heavy price — and it’s hurting whole communities – Baltimore Sun) was published in March of 2020. It reveals how counterproductive the current child support system is in Maryland, and I think that article paints a pretty good picture of how bad things truly are across the country.
(SP) – In your opinion, what would/should the ideal “prosecutor’s office-court system” look like in terms of methodologies, operations, and intended outcomes?
(CWS) – Just as our culture changes and moves forward, our justice system must use innovative and commonsense solutions that respond to the issues we face today. We must rewrite history and create a paradigm shift in the justice system to value people over conviction rates. We can accomplish this if prosecutors prioritize resources on serious and violent crimes and end the revolving door model of mass incarceration by no longer using jails as ineffective and inhumane mental health treatment facilities, homeless shelters, and drug rehab centers. Diversion programs should be implemented for low-level non-violent crimes with paths to employment and educational opportunities. Prosecutors should right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs that disproportionately ruined Black and minority communities by no longer prosecuting possession of marijuana. Prior marijuana possession convictions not attached to violent crime or drug sales should be pardoned to help several people across the country obtain employment and housing opportunities.
Prosecutors should hold police officers accountable for any misconduct or abuse. Prosecutors should never take campaign money from police unions to maintain total independence and eliminate any conflicts of interest when it comes to prosecuting police. Cash bail should be eliminated because it keeps poor people detained simply because they can’t afford bail, putting them at risk of losing employment and/or housing, which eventually leads to re-offending. Every local justice system should have a Military Veteran’s court unit to get our brave men and women who suffer from psychological or substance abuse issues the proper tools they need to be productive citizens after encountering the system. Prosecutors should be transparent and accountable. Prosecutors should also partner with public school systems to do more to divert the school to prison pipeline. These things would get us on track to seeing an ideal justice system where everyone is treated equally.
(SP)– You have accomplished quite a bit in your 38-years. It’s refreshing to note that after deciding at the last minute to run for the highly coveted District Attorney position for Fulton County-Atlanta (the largest county in the state of Georgia), you went on to maximize your skill set by launching the National Social Justice Alliance. What led you to embark upon this endeavor and what do you hope it will achieve?
(CWS) – The NATIONAL SOCIAL JUSTICE ALLIANCE – HOME (nsja.org) was created to bring prosecutors from across the nation together for a common effort to fix the broken American criminal justice system. NSJA believes prosecutors are the answer. Prosecutors are the gatekeepers of our local justice systems, and are responsible for holding everyone, including police officers and other prosecutors, responsible for the acts they commit. The 2020 police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the aftermath of protests for equality, justice and calls for police reform highlight the need for prosecutors to step up. Together, the gatekeepers of the system can finally end police brutality and ensure that equality and justice are the standard for everyone.
(SP) – People have been expressing their appreciation for your new children’s book, WISEUP Adventure Series: Chris & Key Go Vote! Tell those who are unfamiliar with it what was your motivation for writing it and what is the intended outcome?
(CWS) – When I ran for District Attorney in 2020, I met so many people who believed their vote didn’t matter. Recognizing this as a byproduct of voter suppression, I wanted to do something to eliminate the negative thinking that people have about whether their vote can make a difference. The answer: our kids, the next generation. By teaching our kids now about the superpower of voting, they’ll grow up knowing their votes will matter one day soon. I also wanted to do more than just tell them about voting, so the book is interactive. Young readers and their parents learn the voting process in a simple way by completing a voter registration card and casting a ballot for their favorite color. Teaching kids and their parents how to vote with an interactive children’s book is a new and direct way to increase future voter participation, fight against voter suppression efforts, and encourage the normalization of a culture of consistent voting in local and national elections.
We also just launched a community outreach program through NSJA called VOTING IS A SUPERPOWER to teach children in public school systems about the voting process. Students will receive a backpack complete with supplies and most importantly a copy of the book. We also provide a pizza party for each school we visit and appreciation gift cards for the teachers and staff. If anyone would like to donate towards helping us reach our mission of teaching millions of kids across the country how to vote, please visit njsa.org and click on any of the donate buttons to make a 100% tax deductible donation.
(SP) – You’re clearly a sound decision-maker. What do you want or plan to be doing when you’re in your 50’s or 60’s?
(CWS)– I pray to be alive, healthy, and still using everything God has blessed me with to help all of us live better lives together.
Santura Pegram (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance writer and socially conscious business consultant who has helped to advise small businesses; nonprofit organizations; city, county, and state governmental committees; elected officials; professional athletes; and school systems.
While it might occasionally be true that a great leader can lead anywhere, hard skills definitely matter.
A 2015 study published in Industrial and Labor Relations Review found that having a highly competent boss — one who excels at “ability to get the job done” and “employee development” — has by far the largest positive influence on employee job satisfaction.
As the researchers write, “If your boss could do your job, you’re more likely to be happy at work.”
You’re also more likely to be happy if your boss was promoted from within, rather than hired from the outside. A recent Joblist study showed that nearly 70 percent of respondents prefer to be managed by an internal hire, a seasoned company vet who “climbed the ranks,” than an external hire.
Even if that person brings “proven talent” to the role.
Not only did respondents think hiring from within was the better path to growth, they also took outside hires personally: Thirty-five percent had quit, or at least considered quitting, when passed over for someone outside the organization.
But wait, there’s more: Internal promotions led employees to report higher productivity, greater loyalty to the organization, and that they had a better relationship with their (internally hired) manager.
Internally hired leaders agree: They reported feeling more supported and respected by their teams, and more likely to describe their teams as high-performing. (Granted, which may have more to do with their tendency to embrace “this is how we do it around here” expectations than with objective, measurable outcomes.)
Keep in mind there were situations where respondents felt external hires made better sense. Like when an essential employee with specific, not internally replaceable, skills leaves the company.
Promotions Build Cultures
Or, although this wasn’t included in the study, if you as the employer are unhappy with your company’s culture.
Culture isn’t what you say it is; culture is what you and your employees do. Bringing in people who embody the culture you hope to build may be the best way to effect long-term change.
But otherwise, you’re likely to be more successful when you promote from within — because if you get those promotions right, the effect on productivity, job satisfaction and employee retention can be dramatic.
A 2018 survey of over 400,000 people across the U.S. found that when employees believe promotions are managed effectively, they are more than 2X as likely to give extra effort at work and to plan for having a long-term future with their company.
Plus, when employees believe promotions are managed effectively, they are more than 5X as likely to believe their leaders act with integrity.
At those companies, employee turnover rates are half that of other companies in the same industry. Productivity, innovation and growth metrics outperform the competition. (For public companies, stock returns are almost 3X times the market average.)
So, before you reflexively look outside your business to “bring in new talent,” take a step back and look at the criteria you will use to make the promotion or hiring decision.
Instead of focusing on “qualifications,” determine what the perfect person in the job will actually do.
If teamwork matters most, promote the best team player. If productivity matters most, promote your most effective employee. Getting the right things done — whatever those outcomes may be for the open position — matters most.
If you truly can’t find that person within your organization, then feel free to look outside.
In that case, your employees will understand — and will realize that your goal is always to find the best possible person for the job.
And because that person knows their stuff, and uses that knowledge to get things done, they will fit in just fine.
On the rare occasions that hiring from the outside, instead of promoting from within, actually makes sense.
Jeff Haden is a keynote speaker, ghostwriter, LinkedIn Influencer, contributing editor to Inc., and the author of The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win.
Leaving an institute of higher education and moving on into the workforce isn’t always easy, especially on the cusps of the end of a worldwide pandemic.
But it’s never impossible to make yourself stand out and to find the right opportunity for your desired career path. Here are six ways that job expert Michael Altshuler suggests for new graduates looking to get into the field:
Create your own experience – If you have no work experience, trying alternative routes to creating some. A great place to start is volunteering. This looks great on a resume, and it is also a great place to start networking. Include any skills that you learned in school or elsewhere. Create independent projects. Whether it is a school project, such as a report that somehow relates to the industry, or something you make yourself such as a video or power-point presentation, having tangible evidence of skills can help. Take your time on it and make it look professional before you show it to a potential employer.
Focus on your people skills – New grads with little real-world experience can make a huge impression with their great people skills. Not only does this show how you will interact with customers, it also says a lot about your personality, how you handle stress and how you might react when the going gets tough. A few great people skills to work on are kindness, humor, caring, humbleness, honesty and being inquisitive.
Mirror the job description (in your resume and application) – For many jobs, the recruitment process begins with an algorithm that selects applications based on keywords. Try to include as many of the keywords from the job description in your resume as you possibly can without outright copying and pasting (remember, a human will probably look at this at some point, so don’t be too clever about this). For instance, if a job posting says something about independent workers who can manage their time well, include something about that in your application and resume as personal strengths.
Research, research, research – Don’t think that just because you have graduated you don’t need to study anymore. One of the best ways for inexperienced applicants to standout is to do research on the company to which they are applying. Demonstrating that you already have a familiarity with both the operations and the values of the company when you walk into an interview shows that you have the interest, initiative and innovative spirit that will make you a valuable addition to the team.
Be Networking (all the time) – Let’s face it, job seeking, like life, isn’t always fair. Even with the best written cover letter, a resume without a lot of experience on it may find its way to the bottom of the pile of candidates quickly. Submitting resumes is not always enough; sometimes you need a personal connection to get your foot in the door. Begin by slipping your job-seeking quest into every conversation. Promote yourself without bragging. You might be surprised how fast someone will turn up who is either looking to fill a position themselves or knows someone else who is.
Be honest but optimistic – As a new grad, the interviewer doesn’t expect you to know everything. Sometimes an honest “I don’t know” is better than trying to fake your way through and make things up. A lot of employers will ask unexpected questions to gauge how a person reacts to unfamiliar situations. Whatever is asked, stay calm. Answer as best you can and remember that this is to see how you react. Remain optimistic and answer in the way that shows that you can keep cool under pressure.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Michael Altshuler
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