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WOMEN IN THE WORKFORCE

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Al día de hoy, después de años buscando romper paradigmas, haber tropezado en el camino y luchar constantemente por salir adelante, las mujeres hemos engrandecido en la fuerza laboral. Hoy vemos muchas más mujeres exitosas, inspiradoras y que han logrado cumplir sus sueños sin los retos tan grandes que antes existían.
En la vasta lista de mujeres que hoy en día son fuente de inspiración, elegimos a tres que hemos tenido la oportunidad de conocer y que sus historias nos han conmovido tanto que queremos compartirlas. Estas tres mujeres han sido para nosotros la inspiración de muchas nuevas ideas, tanto en el ambiente laboral como en el desarrollo de nuestra innovación para seguir manteniéndonos en la mejora continua. Es un honor para nosotros haber tenido la oportunidad de conocerlas y aprender de su experiencia. A continuación, les compartimos las respuestas a nuestras preguntas para que puedan conocer su historia. Esperamos que en ellas puedan encontrar motivación, inspiración y empuje para alcanzar sus más grandes sueños.

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Who is Debby Carreau?

Debby Carreau is the Founder & CEO of Inspired HR which was recognized this year as Canada’s Top HR Consultancy. In 2016 she also launched her first book The Mentor Myth: How to Take Control of your own Success. She was recently recognized for a fourth time as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women™, She is the youngest ever to be inducted into the Hall of Fame for the work she does making a distinct and describable difference to the advancement of women in the workplace.
She is a proven leader helping businesses deliver superior business results by making better decisions about human capital. As CEO & Founder of Inspired HR She helps businesses implement strategies to get the most out of their business’ most valuable resource: people. Inspired HR provides Human Resources support for over 300,000 employees in many industries including hospitality, finance, tech, oil & gas, health and wellness, construction and many others.
Debby currently serves on numerous boards including the Women’s Executive Network Advisory Board and YPO - Young Presidents Organization where she Chairs Young Presidents Organization Women. She is also a founding partner, master moderator and platform partner for Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In Foundation and Chair of 1000 Women Rising.
Debby was born in South Africa and now lives in Calgary Albert.

How did you start your career and how did you become one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women? What does earning this title represent?

I started my career in the restaurant business and immediately learned how important the people part of managing a business is. I believe the key to my success was three things:
- Passion for people. I really enjoy spending time with people and helping them achieve their career objectives. I am really curious and believe everyone has a lot I can learn from them. One of my mentors gave me a great piece of advice early in my career: “Great leaders recognize they can learn from anyone at anytime—from the janitor to the Chairman of the Board.”
- Focus on goals. I have always been really focused on my goals and objectives both for my business and myself. This relentless focus on what needs to be done helps we move forward. Strategy and vision are nothing without execution.
- Risk tolerance. I am a big believer big risks lead to big rewards.  The bolder the move, the bigger the win and the further it sets you apart from you competitors.

What motived you to start a career as a leader in mentoring organizations and helping them create great workplaces?

During one of my MBA classes. Everyone was discussing next career moves and interestingly, most were moving into finance in one form or another. A lightbulb went off for me because I knew from years of working with CEOs that is often the people issues that keep them up at night and no one was focused on this area from a business perspective. I knew right there and then it was my time to lean in.
Within a week, I had cashed in all of my savings and started a company focused on businesses and how they optimize their human capital. In a world where most people now spend more than 50% of their waking hours working, thinking about work, commuting or checking their iPhones, I knew creating great work environments would help more than just the bottom line; it would help families. Not only does working with people make my job worthwhile—we are really able to help women develop and thrive in their careers.

In 2007 you founded Inspired HR. How did you identify the need for improvement in workplaces and how did you create the strategies that make great workplaces?

I felt most HR departments were so focused on risk mitigation and paperwork they were hampering the business operations, not supporting them. I envisioned a different way to approach human capital management where employers leverage their talent and human resources is there to support them not get in the way.

What was the biggest challenge?

Staying focused on what we do best, it is tempting to chase new trends and technology but not everything makes sense, nor can any business do everything well. We focus on what we are good at and focus on execution and innovation from there.

What has been the most satisfying experience in the journey of opening your own business?

Hearing the stories of how we change people’s lives through helping them achieve their goals or find a job that will support their family or even give them the flexibility to see their children’s big events and still grow a career.

In your years of mentorship and experience, what advice can you give companies to satirfy the needs of their employees?

Mentorship is great but also focus on sponsorship. Both are equally important. Also, I encourage organizations to explore peer-mentoring programs and reverse mentoring. There are a lot of things people can learn from their peers and younger workers who are more comfortable with technology.

What will be the tendencies of great workplaces in the next years? What changes must companies be prepared for? 

More than the latest technology products or apps, workplace trends that truly matter alter our relationships and the way we work. Expect those changes to move in a more human direction in the next year.
Consider adopting these 5 practices into your workplace:
01. The “user experience” philosophy migrates to recruiting
Normally, you’d only hear the phrase “User Experience” (UX for short) when discussing a website, a mobile app, or enterprise software. Technical products and services need someone who actively shapes them according to the anticipated needs of the user—it’s proactively empathetic design, in a nutshell.
What does that have to do with recruiting? The world has run on keyword-based Application Tracking Systems (ATS) for decades, and employers are starting to see that it doesn’t work. Too many great candidates are excluded from the search process because they didn’t use the exact keywords the employer was screening for.
With the highest population level and the highest percentage of educated workers in human history, companies still discuss “talent shortages.” The reality is talented people are out there—we just need to tailor our hiring and recruiting practices to find and engage those people. This starts with a strong employment value proposition and UX that aligns with what they are looking for in a work environment. Expect to see a shift toward a high touch and personal recruiting experience across the board. This trend will be realized through using new machine learning technology for some employers and in many cases going back to the old fashion personal touch.
02. Re-evaluate how we evaluate
Metrics, KPIs, and ROI have become some of the most common words in our professional vocabularies for good reason, but that doesn’t mean we have been measuring the right things—or even using the right criteria, for that matter. Boiling employee performance down to a number is exactly like telling a child that his or her self-worth derives from this week’s chemistry test. It misses the point of improving performance, which is what everyone truly wants.
2017 will see a significant decline in formal performance reviews among medium size businesses (already dwindling in start-ups and small businesses), and may even reach a few daring multinational corporations. We will begin scheduling frequent regular touchpoint meetings that feel more like project updates and due diligence instead of a “pass or fail exam.” Facilitating a collaborative relationship will prove far more productive than entrenching ourselves on either side of the employee-employer line.
Expect performance analysis shift from individuals to the team unit, emphasizing group deliverables, effectiveness of collaborative projects, and long-term goals over short-term behavioural tweaks.
03. Shifting from presence to accessibility
Although research has shown that individual workplaces with some in-person connection does improve employee happiness and productivity by a significant margin, many companies recognize a blend of remote, flexible or blended work environments are optimal. UBS just recently redesigned one of its office spaces to let any employee log into their work stations from any terminal in the building, and this has huge implications for the workplace of 2017.
For starters, this flexible trend is snowballing into a larger trend of letting trusted employees work from home more often to cut down overhead costs and retain workers. Companies are learning to adapt accordingly. Small companies already tend to adopt bring-your-own-device policies, multi-person video conference capability and cloud software such as Google Apps for Work to keep everything coordinated and accessible without becoming hindered by distance. Pressing this advantage on a bigger scale just makes sense for the attracting the best people and the bottom line.
If companies don’t need to carry the overhead of large office space and equipment to make deadlines and stay in frequent communication, then they won’t. An employee’s ever-present accessibility to ongoing projects means that they can stay productive regardless of physical location. You can see if a project folder has been updated by the end of the day with a few clicks. Accountability won’t disappear, but some overhead costs certainly will.
04. The boomerang effect
We have all become accustomed to the idea that employees may only stay with one company for two to five years before moving on. But the professional world is a small place, and companies want to take advantage of trusted employees who can bring in fresh ideas. So-called “boomerang employees,” who left their respective companies for any number of reasons, more often find themselves being courted back into the fold by managers who want senior team members that they can trust implicitly to understand an organization’s goals. Cashing in on experience gained on another company’s dime doesn’t hurt the bottom line, either, but a string successful cases may be enough to steer some cultures back toward investing in employee professional development.
People leave for any number of positive reasons—and it only makes sense to extract additional value from proven past performers. Upgraded skills, deeper experiences, and larger professional networks are incredible assets to gain from a trusted and known employee. This will also apply to freelance work. Employees who leave a company can become the best freelance labour force out there because they come with pre-existing trust, efficiency, and cultural fit. This trend is particularly relevant for semi-retirees or employees whose family status has changed and they are looking for different work arrangements.
05. Formality takes the passenger seat
With a more human hiring process around the corner, top-down efforts to facilitate closer team-level relationships, and trusting employees of all kinds with constant access to work, the formality of corporate workplace will weaken. This change is slower to occur within conservative industries but it is happening. The emphasis on human interaction and thought leadership over formality to drive success will see more of us walking into work on a flexible schedule, in casual clothes, and discussing our career development with a supervisor who might just become a close friend in person and likely on Facebook as well.
Workplace change is the long game: it’s the sum of many small employee focused steps we take each year that make all of our workforce want to jump out of bed each morning inspired to go to work—efficiency is a positive by-product of focusing on the employee experience.

In ever-changing work environment, what would you advice companies that are having trouble adapting to Millennials?

Listen to them, do focus groups and truly understand what motivates them. They are now the largest cohort of workers so business owners and managers need to understand how to engage them.

What can readers expect from your most recent publication, The Mentor Myth? Who should read this book? – What motivated you to write it?

Mentors are over-utilized, undertrained, and often under deliver. From an employer’s perspective, assigning a mentor is often a band aid to a larger problem. From an employee’s perspective, a lack of formal mentorship is seen as a serious, career-inhibiting problem, the equivalent of sailing a boat without a rudder.
The Mentor Myth represents this dichotomy, explaining that while a mentor’s counsel can be invaluable, it is not the silver bullet human resources professionals often purport it to be. The opinions of a mentor are one data point, one piece in the much more complex game of navigating a career. In fact, the increasing overreliance on mentorship can actually be a hindrance to a successful career.
Instead of continually looking outward for career guidance, aspiring professionals must realize that they possess all the tools necessary to take control of their own careers by using their own strengths, capabilities, and visions of success. Through her years of experience consulting, speaking, and writing about career development, Debby has created a comprehensive, easy-to-implement guide for taking ownership of your professional success.
It begins by helping the listener create a professional roadmap, including how to build a personal brand, project the right amount of confidence, and manage time. It also addresses mentors in the context of networks and sponsors, advising the listener how to incorporate outward influences rather than be defined by them.

You’re also a member of the Board of Directors of YPO - Alberta Chapter. What is your contribution to the Organization? What impact do you want to make? 

I am a big believer in the power of peers and supporting one another in a trusted environment. YPO relies on volunteer member leaders along with the management team to foster an environment of idea exchange and lifelong learning. YPO has been instrumental in helping grow my business and improve my skills as a leader and I want to ensure others have the opportunity to have the same experience.

Is there a relevant challenge that you’ve found in being a woman in the business world? 

I truly believe there has been a positive shift towards gender equality in the workplace. Today most young women I talk to don’t believe there is anything holding them back from achieving whatever they aspire to. This confidence, along with women receiving the majority of college degrees today will serve them well as they grow their careers or businesses.

How do you manage to keep a healthy balance with all personal &  business activities?

I don’t consider myself a role model when it comes to balance. As entrepreneurs I think we thrive when we are really busy, but sometimes my schedule gets out of control. I look at life as a tradeoffs, sometimes I spend more time on my business especially when I am travelling a lot, other times I leave work in the middle of the day to attend an activity as my children’s activities. Fitness is a really important part of my life, I schedule something active everyday and stick to it just like all of my meeting.

As a great leader and an inspiring woman, what would you say to those who have doubts when it comes to starting their own business?

If you are passionate about the idea, good at what you do and are prepared if you don’t succeed the first time you try, then go for it.

What would like your legacy to be? 

My legacy will be helping improve the work lives of millions. We are launching an Inspired Workplaces certification program June 1st that will enable great workplaces to get certified demonstrating their commitment to being a great employer through their employee development efforts, progressive workplace strategies and supporting progressive programs like flexible work and diversity programs. Through this program certifying and promoting Inspired Workplaces it will help more than just the bottom line; it would help families.

w. www.debbycarreau.com

w. inspiredhr.ca

e. info@inspiredhr.ca