Is work changing? I look around and see colleagues wearing jeans in the office and hear of emails checked while getting ready in the morning. As we look at how work has evolved over the past decade, there is evidence that employers are becoming more flexible, inclusive, and supportive. It’s a great time to get to work!
Employers are Working to Support the Work/Life Balance
Somedays I feel like a life-juggler; balancing my career, family, friends, housework, exercise, education, and travel – it’s a whirlwind. Employers are beginning to realize that kids get sick, dogs need to be walked, and the refrigerator repairman is coming sometime between 10 and 3. With this realization, more employers are mindful of flexibility. Companies working toward work balance are also supported by technology; employees can skype into meetings and share documents using the cloud, so employees are able to work more on their terms. Jacob Morgan reports in his article The Evolution of Work on forbes.com, “Employees can now connect to people and information anywhere, anytime and on any device.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2013/09/10/the-evolution-of-work/#114fe14e8067) The decision to become more flexible is mutually beneficial to employer and employee. Employees can be happier and more productive while employers gain retention and engagement. If your work place is flexible yet, let’s explore other flexible work options.
Companies are finding substantial value in hiring temporary employers, making these opportunities more abundant. Temporary work provides flexible work hours, opportunities to gain a new set of skills to add to your resume, and new contacts in the industry, all while getting paid. The American Staffing Association found that “nine out of ten staffing employees said staffing work made them more employable.” (2017, https://americanstaffing.net/staffing-research-data/fact-sheets-analysis-staffing-industry-trends/staffing-industry-statistics/) In sum, temporary work gives you flexibility and opens doors to acquire your optimal career path. Here are a couple of the big names in the temp biz:
- Temp: Manpower
- Robert Half
Internships come in all shapes and sizes. Many students and people transferring fields benefit from internship opportunities. Like temporary work, internships offer benefits both personally and professionally. Many companies understand that people participating in internship programs are juggling school and life schedules along with their work assignment, so the schedules are more accommodating than a full-time position. With this, there is the long term goal of an exciting full time position. “NACE’s 2012 Student Survey found that approximately 60% of college graduates in 2012 who completed a paid internship received at least one job offer.” (https://www.thebalance.com/paid-internship-full-time-1987131). Internships provide an opportunity to understand the industry and network within a company. Quick tip: Put your best foot forward to convince a potential employer that you’re a great fit for the company.
You can find exciting internships by researching company’s you’re interested in through their website or reaching out to their human resources department. There are lots of internship opportunities listed on these job search platforms:
Welcoming Diversity into the Workforce
Awareness around work culture is becoming a top priority for employers and executives, and building a more diverse workforce is a contributing pillar in these efforts. JAN is a leading network supporting job seekers with disabilities. They host a robust job board and a plethora of resources to educate employers and employees on successful diverse employment. Companies are also gaining respect through being more inclusive of the LGBTQ community. The Human Rights Campaign shares pride participating companies such as: American Airlines, Accenture, Delta and Bank of America. (https://www.hrc.org/blog/companies-take-pride-in-their-support-for-lgbtq-equality) AT&T has acknowledged the importance of valuing the diverse voices of its workforce and created “Employee Resource Groups and Employee Networks (ERGs) and employee networks (ENs). ERGs are nonprofit groups that provide support, advocacy, education, mentoring, and more to groups such as women, generations, military veterans, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBT community. ENs are more informal, typically focus on business or professional development issues, and are developed with cross-functional diversity as a priority.” These efforts have contributed to the hire and sustaining engagement of employees, plus establishing an environment of cultural education. Partaking in diverse organizations makes for rewarding leadership opportunities, too. If employee networks are not happening in your work place yet, establish your niche and build a group. On a resume you can record this experience as a leadership, collaborative and coordinating position; these are all key terms recruiters want to see. Not to mention, you’ll be contributing to improvement of cultural awareness in your current workplace.
If you are interested in finding career opportunities within a diverse culture, research a company’s mission and cultural values (usually found on company’s website). It’s possible to feel connected to a company-find your fit!
We’re all in this Together: Work Teams and Leadership
The only way I made it through my first day of high school was through the guidance of my sixteen year old neighbor, Shannon. She took me to school, showed me the ropes, told me the best classes to take and where to sit at lunch. Shannon turned an incredibly nerve-racking experience into a conceivable feat. Mentor programs are a way to replicate this ease in the workplace and increase employee retention and productivity. Through mentor programs, employees are also able to develop their talents and skill-sets. If you’re interviewing, find out if the company is on board with your career growth by asking: What professional development opportunities do you offer?
It’s important to work for an organization that is willing to help you grow to meet your professional goals. Searching for companies that are investing in advancing their employees and offering professional development opportunities is time well spent. Companies are learning that developing their workforce is better for business and employee satisfaction. I encourage you to take advantage of all the learning perks your job or future job may offer.
If you’re interested in leadership, there are many organizations that want to foster your growth in that area. Management trainee programs are covering job search platforms because companies want to develop influential, industry specific leaders. These programs are a great place to start; many accept entry level candidates and provide trainings to support leadership skills and organizational awareness for participants. Climbing the corporate ladder is laid out for you through these management trainee programs-check ‘em out!
Now, look at your career. Are you looking for some of these benefits of the work evolution? Maybe more time with your family or a company that is growing their diversity efforts. Take advantage of the work places that are proud to share these forward thinking work ideals. We are embarking on a time where you can get what you want in a job. Go get it!
Emily Stark, Career and Employer Outreach Specialist, Ashford University