In normal circumstances, after a milestone, challenge, or success, we often find ourselves thinking back and wondering what we could have done better, what went well, and what different decisions could have been made. In the wake of COVID-19, or any large-scale event of this nature where people have had time to reflect, it is then no surprise to see data pointing to “mass resignations”. For example, a survey by Lighthouse Labs found that 57% of Canadians would change careers if given the opportunity, which for many is the pandemic.
Employees’ expectations have shifted as a result of the pandemic. IBM’s global survey shows that employees prioritize work-life balance (51%), career advancement opportunities (43%), compensation and benefits (41%), employer ethics and values (41%) and continuous learning opportunities (36%). Similarly, the pandemic has impacted student and prospective employee expectations, increasing demand for career-oriented programs, internship and post-graduate work opportunities, career counseling resources, and upskilling courses. A survey of 6,500 students and graduates found that the pandemic has caused about 30% to change their career plans, while just under 40% stated that they are still uncertain.
These changing expectations and increasing self-reflection are not a bad omen however. Reflection helps us gain insight from past experiences and better understand our own strengths, skills gaps, passions, and aspirations. Reflecting as a group or organization also enhances the lessons learned by exploring additional perspectives which can often reveal new insights and innovative solutions.
We encourage you to check out the organizations listed above and watch the recording of the session to form your own opinion on what stands out for you.
Here is our summary of key takeaways from the session:
1. What comes to mind when you think about ‘building future ready communities’?
2. What is the most memorable “success story” or “lesson learned” you’ve experienced when you think about how your organization/group has contributed to ‘building future ready communities’?
3. In your view, what do you see as the primary role that each of us has to play in building future ready communities?
4. What are your thoughts and perspectives on helping organizations reflect and move forward post-pandemic in service of the organization’s objectives and employees? How do we prevent falling back into pre-pandemic attitudes? (Audience Question)
5. What are some resources, books, Ted Talks, or podcasts, that have been instrumental in shaping your view on the future of work?
One of the main take-aways from the panel discussion is the importance of individuals being able to see themselves within an organization and within communities. The pandemic has created an opportunity to grow and create a more inclusive workforce. Communities need to be built in a collaborative effort rather than a competitive one. Supporting employees and job seekers in their career development and progression not only helps the individual but also the community as a whole. We need to grow together by adopting a “giving mindset” and sharing our personal and professional learnings and experiences with others in the community.
Guiding discussion questions:
About the panelists:
Graham Donald, Founder & President, Brainstorm Strategy Group Inc.
Graham Donald is one of North America’s leading experts on attracting, recruiting, and engaging students and graduates. He founded Brainstorm Strategy Group in 2003 where he supports major employers and post-secondary institutions’ success through research, training, and strategic consulting. His clients include KPMG, PwC, University of Toronto, Deloitte, GE, McGill University, HSBC, UBC, George Brown College, and many others.
He was Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) and the founder of Canada’s first job board for students, Campus WorkLink. He has also held leadership roles at Workopolis, Simply Hired, and Day Communications. He received both his BA and MBA from the University of Toronto.
Brainstorm Strategy Group Inc.
Brainstorm envisions a time when all students will confidently pursue their best-fit educational opportunities, access the career exploration and development support they need, and easily transition into the right opportunity to launch their careers. Brainstorms mission, therefore, is to eliminate friction, inefficiencies, and misinformation from the student recruitment, career development, and hiring processes. They do this by providing strategic consulting, actionable research and information, and effective training to the employers that hire students and the institutions that educate them and support their development.
Founded in 2003 by Graham Donald, Brainstorm has advised many of the country’s largest employers, universities, and colleges. These include KPMG, TD Bank, McGill University, Wilfrid Laurier University, Bell, PwC, University of British Columbia, Wilfrid Laurier University, Bank of Canada, Kraft, University of Toronto, Rutgers University, RBC, IBM, George Brown College, Carleton University, RCMP, CIBC, and many others. Brainstorm has organized and led well over sixty conferences and training programs, and conducted quantitative and qualitative research with more than 100,000 post-secondary students and recent grads.
Riz Ibrahim, Executive Director, CERIC
Riz Ibrahim is the Executive Director of CERIC. Riz works with CERIC’s cross-sectoral Board and Advisory Committees to develop strategic and functional partnerships that enhance the body of knowledge for Canada’s career professional communities. Additionally, Riz oversees all areas within CERIC’s mandate including the Cannexus National Career Development Conference, the CareerWise and OrientAction content websites, the peer-reviewed Canadian Journal of Career Development (CJCD), and a host of internal and external projects including national surveys of Canadians’ perceptions about career planning and about career development and the workplace.
CERIC is a charitable organization that advances education and research in career counselling and career development, in order to increase the economic and social well-being of Canadians. It funds projects to develop innovative resources that build the knowledge and skills of diverse career and employment professionals. CERIC also annually hosts Cannexus, Canada’s largest bilingual career development conference, publishes the country’s only peer-reviewed journal, Canadian Journal of Career Development, and runs the CareerWise / OrientAction websites, providing the top career development news and views.
CERIC’s activities are funded in large part by The Counselling Foundation of Canada, a family foundation that has actively supported career projects for 60 years. The origin of the CERIC name is as an acronym for Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling. However, recognizing that the scope of career development encompasses counselling and more, the organization has adopted CERIC as its name and added the descriptor “Advancing Career Development in Canada” to communicate its purpose and impact.
Jill Haigh, Human Resources Partner, Manulife Financial
As the HR Partner for Manulife Financial, Jill Haigh supports the Canada Segment and Halifax Region. Jill has worked in Manulife for nineteen years, where she shifted roles approximately every three years. She initially started her career in Manulife as an Analyst, and then moved on to hold varying leadership roles across the different departments of the business.
Jill has worked in Human Resource for three years and focuses on supporting the business with Talent Management, Performance Management, Operational Effectiveness, Engagement and creating High Performing Teams as a whole.
Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services provider that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. With their global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, they provide financial advice and insurance, operating as Manulife across Canada, Asia, and Europe, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. Through Manulife Investment Management, the global brand for their global wealth and asset management segment, they serve individuals, institutions and retirement plan members worldwide. At the end of 2020, Manulife had more than 37,000 employees, over 118,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving over 30 million customers.
Manulife believes that their greatest contribution to society is the products they provide, which help people make their decisions easier and lives better. They also strive to make meaningful impacts in other ways: by adhering to the strongest standards of conduct, through environmental responsibility, philanthropy, employee volunteerism, promoting health and wellness, and much more.