To the Hiring Manager: Tips for Acing the Job Interview:

It's not always a candidate's fault when a job interview goes south.

Hiring managers can commit a litany of sins, such as interrupting interviews to answer phone calls, failing to take notes, acting bored or distracted, bad-mouthing their own companies, bullying applicants, or asking "gotcha" questions for no reason at all, say human-resources consultants. The cost of poor interviews ranges from bad hires to alienated job applicants. At worst, untrained hiring managers can open their employers to lawsuits by asking questions deemed illegal by federal nondiscrimination standards.

Don't Ask

Many common interview questions reveal little about a job candidate. Here are some questions managers shouldn't ask and the alternatives:

AVOID: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

    Hiring managers ask this question to probe a candidate's career goals, but nobody really knows where they'll be in five years, said interview coach Pamela Skilling.

ASK INSTEAD: "How would this position fit into your long-term career plan?"

    This is more likely to get the candidate talking about her goals, and why the job would be a great next step.

AVOID: What kind of people do you have trouble working with?

    No one answers this question honestly. It also leads candidates to talk about "kinds of people" instead of their own interpersonal skills.

ASK INSTEAD: "Tell me about a time you had a conflict with someone at work."

    Real examples show more clearly how a candidate works with different personalities.

AVOID: "Tell me more about your current position."

    This is likely to yield a regurgitation of résumé bullet points.

ASK INSTEAD: "Walk me through a typical day in your current role"

    A candidate's day-to-day responsibilities can elicit telling details.

AVOID: "Do you have kids?"

    This is not only a weak question, but an illegal one.

ASK INSTEAD: "Would you be able to work the hours required for this position?"

    Keep questions focused on the candidate's ability to do the job.

Source: Skillful Communications
interviewing is a job skill in its own right.

Most managers "wing it," said Ms. Skillings, and incorrectly assume they can simply follow their instincts to the right hire. That can mean that one candidate gets a thorough interview, while another gets a shorter sit-down if the boss is in a bad mood or busy, she added.

Such inconsistency may lead to unintentionally biased hiring decisions, said Lauren Rivera, an assistant professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Her research has found that interviewers gravitate toward people like themselves, who share their educational backgrounds or interests. "That's a natural human thing, but firms need to counterbalance that" by requiring a set of prepared questions and a consistent means of scoring and evaluating each applicant, she says.

Researchers from Harvard Business School found that the worst interviewers—those who let their own insecurities or unconscious biases drive the process, for instance—can have a worse effect on hiring decisions than if a candidate were simply chosen at random.

After seeing too many candidates decline job offers, iD Tech Camps wanted its regional managers, who each hire more than 80 seasonal camp directors and staff annually, to probe more deeply into applicants' abilities and interest level.

Through role-playing exercises in which the "applicant" had a hidden agenda—viewing the job as backup in case plans to move to Paris fell through, for example—participants worked on "not letting candidates get away with vague, generic responses," said Joy Meserve, vice president of camp operations.

Now managers ask all candidates if they're interviewing at other companies and whether they would accept an offer if one is extended. "We want people to be absolutely committed," says Ms. Meserve.

Since the training, Jen Devine, a regional manager based in Weymouth, Mass., said she no longer assumes a candidate is the right fit just because of the relevant experience on their résumés, and she stops herself before giving candidates too many clues about what she wants to hear. For instance, when asking for an example of how a candidate once taught a skill to another person, she refrains from offering anecdotes from her own life.

Ms. Meserve said camp directors' and instructors' evaluations of their teams for this year were the strongest she has seen since the company's founding 13 years ago.

At Philips, managers can take "Interview Process" classes to practice coaxing useful answers from applicants. In the program starting up next month, the company's human-resources staff will help managers make interviews more pleasant and efficient on both sides of the table.

That means more pre-interview preparation, no trick questions, and reducing the number of times a candidate "goes through the wringer," said Russell Schramm, head of talent acquisition for Philips's North America operations.

"We've heard about candidates interviewing with 20 people over three days. That's absolutely absurd" from the applicant's point of view and unnecessary for making hiring decisions, said Mr. Schramm, who added that Philips found itself losing qualified candidates who got fed up with the company's hiring process.

Troubling patterns of employee turnover and workers' compensation claims led J.S. West human-resources manager Brandi Fuller to spend $12,000 on an interviewing coach.

During a training session for the company's 20 managers last month, the coach warned against questions relating to sensitive areas such as a candidate's age or personal circumstances, which are illegal to ask. Managers seemed surprised, a reaction that had Ms. Fuller "cringing...I thought we'd made all of that clear before."

Most interview coaches also target listening skills.

Bosses must do some talking to give job candidates a sense of the company's culture, says Manny Avramidis, head of global human resources at the American Management Association, a professional-development group. But beware managers who talk too much. The candidate should get 80% of the airtime, says Mr. Avramidis. Otherwise, "it's a commercial, not an interview."

The same qualities that make people good interviewers also help them shine in the other parts of their jobs—evaluating information in a thorough and impartial way, for example, and being a good listener.

But these skills don't always come naturally. "It may sound odd, but active listening takes practice," says Ms. Skillings of Skillful Communications.

Write to Lauren Weber at


Higher Education Required for Future Jobs

Higher Education Required for Future Jobs

 A new joint survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Achieve, a nonprofit dedicated to improving education standards, revealed that technical and educational requirements are increasing across job categories.

The results were based on the responses of 4,695 HR professionals in nine industries. It was released Oct. 3 during SHRM’s annual strategy conference; more than 500 HR executives attended the conference, which took place in Palm Springs, Calif.
Other findings included:
Compared with 10 years ago…
  • 51 percent said more jobs with specific technical requirements exist today; 26 percent said more STEM-related jobs;45 percent said increased employee diversity; and 46 percent said only a higher education level required for most jobs
  • 31 percent predicted fewer entry-level jobs
    Looking ahead three to five years…
  • HR professionals expect even jobs with specific technical requirements—60 percent; STEM-related jobs—31 percent; increased employee diversity —50 percent; and simply a higher education level required for most jobs —49 percent
  • 30 percent predicted even less entry-level jobs
HR professionals said they believed education and training are key in correcting the job skills mismatch. Training includes post-secondary certificate programs, highly job-specific training and employer-sponsored professional development. Education includes training as well as bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees and advanced degrees.
“This survey reinforces the importance of having strong K-12 and postsecondary education systems that provide all students with the knowledge and skills they need to access, and succeed in the careers of their choice,” said Sandy Boyd, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Achieve. “It’s clear that the world has changed and employers are demanding more education and skills from employees than ever before. All students deserve a meaningful and rigorous academic experience that will prepare them for college, careers and life.”
Compared with 10 years ago, respondents said health (54 percent), manufacturing (52 percent), state/local government (48 percent), and the federal government (46 percent) are the industries most likely to report higher education requirements today.



5 Reasons Why Your Team May be Failing

Why do teams win? In sports or business teams win because they have structure, guidance and support. Winning teams have a coach who is there to lead, guide, and instruct them. Did these teams just magically appear? No! Each player is assessed for their talent, skills, abilities, strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, coaches also look at how each player communicates with one another. They look for team work and chemistry.
This directly correlates with business as well. When building a team, it is important to remember all the factors that to go into team building. Not looking at all the components could cause the group to fail!
Getting everyone on the same page is key. There are certain things that every team needs such as time, tools and even a budget. The most important thing is support. Communicating with other managers and department heads from the beginning, allows everyone to know the expectations and the importance of the team’s goals.
So how can you build a team of winners? We have pinpointed 5 key roadblocks to avoid in order to build an effective and winning team.
1 – Failure to Establish Conditions for Team Effectiveness.One word…compatibility. More often than not, people look for one thing: skills. When building a team – skills and experience matter, but so do fit, chemistry and motives. To find compatibility, we highly recommend the use of assessments in order to understand the core behaviors and learning styles of each individual team member.
2 – Failure to Establish Goals.
Without establishing a clear concise goal, the team has nothing to work towards. When you get a group of people together who have different perspectives, they are more inclined to get off track. Setting goals allows individuals to focus on specific tasks which will drive performance. Make sure that the goals of the team are clearly communicated to everyone in the organization so everyone knows what the end result should be.
3 – Failure to Establish a Decision-Making Process. Create a process that will set the standards for making objective decisions. Every team needs a leader and the leader should be viewed as a facilitator. The job of the leader is to focus, motivate and make tough decisions when the team cannot agree on a decision. Remember, a decision is actually someone’s choice. Let the team know if they have the right to make decisions. If the team cannot come to a unanimous decision then the leader should step in. Set a process so the team has ‘x’ amount of time to come to a decision. If no decision is reached, then the leader will decide.
4 – Failure to Establish Expectations.From the beginning, the leader should lay out exactly what is expected of the team as a whole as well as each team member. Letting them know the rules and procedures will set the tone and structure that will allow everyone to contribute. A couple of examples would be to tell the team that you encourage collaboration and educated risk-taking or let everyone know that there may be some uncertainty and that testing different approaches and taking smart risks is necessary for achieving the best result. When the team hears this, they know they are expected to work together, take risks, and test different approaches for a better result.
5 – Failure to Understand Communication.  It is important to create an environment that allows team members to voice their opinions in an open and honest manner. To keep people motivated and on track you need to allow each team member to voice their own opinion. Let them know that they can discuss this in meetings or that there is an open door policy. Understanding how each team member communicates is crucial. That is why it is essential to assess team members. Being able to recognize individual behaviors and traits of each team member beforehand will better prepare the team leader. They will know how each person communicates, learns, solves problems and works with others. Knowing each person’s individual style will allow the leader to direct conversations with minimum conflict.
Building and managing a team is hard work. A key factor for an effective team is to make sure everyone in the organization understands the purpose of the team.  Without support from everyone, including the CEO, the team is bound to fail. To avoid failure remember to assess each individual, set goals, create a process for decision making, establish norms, and have open communication. Avoid these 5 team building blunders and you will have a winning team!


Company Cultural Change with Results
by Jon R. Katzenbach, Ilona Steffen, and Caroline Kronley

Good article in the Harvard Business review  about a very relevant management topic:

In the early 2000s Aetna was struggling mightily on all fronts. While on the surface revenues remained strong, its rapport with customers and physicians was rapidly eroding, and its reputation was being bludgeoned by lawsuits and a national backlash against health maintenance organizations and managed care (which Aetna had championed). To boot, the company was losing roughly $1 million a day, thanks to cumbersome processes and enormous overhead, as well as unwise acquisitions.
Many of the problems Aetna faced were attributed to its culture—especially its reverence for the company’s 150-year history. Once openly known among workers as “Mother Aetna,” the culture encouraged employees to be steadfast to the point that they’d become risk-averse, tolerant of mediocrity, and suspicious of outsiders. The prevailing executive mind-set was “We take care of our people for life, as long as they show up every day and don’t cause trouble.” Employees were naturally wary of any potential threat to that bargain. When Aetna merged with U.S. Healthcare, a lower-cost health care provider, in 1996, a major culture clash ensued. But instead of adapting to U.S. Healthcare’s more-aggressive ways, the conservative Aetna culture only became more intransigent. Aetna’s leaders could make little headway against it, and one CEO was forced out after failing to change it.
What Aetna’s management didn’t recognize was that you can’t trade your company’s culture in as if it were a used car. For all its benefits and blemishes, it’s a legacy that remains uniquely yours. Unfortunately, it can feel like a millstone when a company is trying to push through a significant change—a merger, for instance, or a turnaround. Cultural inclinations are well entrenched, for good or bad. But it’s possible to draw on the positive aspects of culture, turning them to your advantage, and offset some of the negative aspects as you go. This approach makes change far easier to implement.
In late 2000, John W. Rowe, MD, became Aetna’s fourth CEO in five years. Employees skeptically prepared for yet another exhausting effort to transform the company into an efficient growth engine. This time, however, they were in for a surprise. Rowe didn’t walk in with a new strategy and try to force a cultural shift to achieve it. Instead, right from the start, he, along with Ron Williams (who joined Aetna in 2001 and became its president in 2002), took time to visit the troops, understand their perspective, and involve them in the planning. With other members of the senior team, they sought out employees at all levels—those who were well connected, sensitive to the company culture, and widely respected—to get their input on the strategy as well as their views on both the design and execution of intended process changes.
These conversations helped Rowe and his team identify Aetna’s biggest problem: A strategy that focused narrowly on managing medical expenses to reduce the cost of claims while alienating the patients and physicians that were key to Aetna’s long-term success. At the same time, they surfaced Aetna’s significant cultural strengths: a deep-seated concern about patients, providers, and employers; underlying pride in the history and purpose of the company; widespread respect for peers; and a large group of dedicated professionals.
These insights led Rowe to rethink his approach to the company’s turnaround. He declared that instead of just cutting costs, the organization would pursue a strategy he called “the New Aetna.” It would build a winning position in health insurance and a strong brand by attracting and serving both patients and health care providers well. That was an appealing proposition but would require significant restructuring; no one’s job was guaranteed. In other words, it was the kind of change that Mother Aetna traditionally resisted with every passive-aggressive move she could muster.
But this time, without ever describing their efforts as “cultural change,” top management began with a few interventions. These interventions led to small but significant behavioral changes that, in turn, revitalized Aetna’s culture while preserving and championing its strengths. For instance, the New Aetna was specifically designed to reinforce employees’ commitment to customers—reflected in the firm’s history of responding quickly to natural disasters. Rowe also made a point of reinforcing a longtime strength that had eroded—employees’ pride in the company. When, in an off-the-cuff response to a question at a town hall meeting, he highlighted pride as a reason employees should get behind change, he received a spontaneous standing ovation.
So while the plan for change challenged long-held assumptions (among other things, it would require the elimination of 5,000 jobs, with more cuts likely to come), it was embraced by employees. They had been heard and appreciated, and they came to accept the New Aetna.
Jon R. Katzenbach is a senior vice president in the New York office of Booz & Company and the leader of the Katzenbach Center, which focuses on the development and application of innovative ideas for organizational culture and change. He is the coauthor, with Douglas K. Smith, of The Wisdom of Teams (Harvard Business School Press, 1993). Ilona Steffen is a director in the Zurich office of Booz & Company, and Caroline Kronley is a former senior associate in its New York office.


Why Team Building Exercises Don’t Work

Why Team Building Exercises Don’t Work 

“Team building exercises are meant to be constructive activities, which can actually create a sense of belongingness within the team. They are meant to break the ice between employees and get them to know each other for better camaraderie in the office. But these exercises might get terribly wrong too. Employees of a home security company called Alarm One Inc. were pitted against a rival company’s workers, according to some court documents. The winners poked fun and jeered at the losers, forced baby food down their throats and made them wear diapers. What happened next was a nightmare for Alarm One Inc. It had to cough up more than a million dollars when an employee sued them for gross misconduct.

A lot of team building events take up this approach of pitting coworkers against each other for meaningless contests. Companies want employees to work well in teams, share knowledge and to achieve mutual success. If these events would have panned out like the one above, it would be mainly competitive in nature. Here, the focus still ends up on competition, not cooperation or team-building.

HR managers are usually keen to make
team-building exercises
competitive since competition drives instant passion. It gives a primal urge in most people to win which makes them active and focused too. The organizers of team-building activities usually feel that it is a job well done.
Problems with competitive team building events
1: Competition never creates an overall experience of success

Some win and most lose. Most participants will leave the competition with a sense of not being good enough to compete, which is not what you want your employees to feel.

2: Competition drives people to act manically, aggressively and harmfully

You get employees with the perfect CV, the right qualities and professionalism. But it is during these team building events that many become aware of their primal instincts.
sometimes brings out the worst from within some people, making them abusive and manic. There are cheats too, which makes other employees hate them other than liking them after the event, as the primary intention was.

3: People learn less after a competition

There is a significant achievement difference when you think about cooperative and competitive environments. Co-operative approach is the way to go since competition only drives people to do what they know, but co-operation makes them learn about humility, sacrifice and team-building. It is like having four brains!

4: Competition lowers performance:

Competition also makes most employees to perform worse than they can because of insecurity or lack of faith and confidence. This is especially true when employees are assigned complex tasks that require co-operation.

5: Waste of time

The average team building exercises take up too much time in finding and rewarding winners than making people do something useful. Most of them result in waste of time and most employees do not like these activities as it prevents them to do real, actual and useful work.
Ideal team building activities
  • A deeper understanding about other
  • Co-workers should like each other more than they do presently
  • Experience of good performance and a job done well together
  • A feeling of doing good work and that one is capable of doing work better
  • An increased desire of co-operation and helping
  • To learn something which might be useful for work
  • A sense that the event was good utility of time!
Team building exercises should focus on building a team in the truest sense and not break it, intentionally or unintentionally. Only then will these events and exercises carry a meaning. They are meant to be collaborative and not competitive as most companies today envision them to be.”

Article is from Employment Crossing, read more at: sually/?utm_source=WENW&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=t_16312--dt_20120703-cid_34106-Did_6301048-ad_EC~Employer


The Jobless rate of Middle-Aged Workers (45-65) is at its highest in 70 years…..

Much of the attention during the prolonged U.S. employment crisis has been on high rates of joblessness among young people. Less noticed, but no less significant to many economists, has been the plight of the middle-aged. More than 3.5 million Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 were unemployed as of May, 39% of them for a year or more—a rate of long-term unemployment that is unprecedented in modern U.S. history, and far higher than among younger workers. Millions more have quit looking for work. This is an enlightening article in the WSJ
The struggles of the middle-aged unemployed point to a larger economic problem: The labor market can't fully heal until people like Ms. Adams and Messrs. Daniel and Schoolfield can get back to work. The longer it takes, the deeper and more permanent the scars of the recession become—not just for the workers themselves, but for the broader economy.

Middle-aged people struggle to find work for a variety of reasons: They are more reluctant to change industries than their younger counterparts and tend to have greater financial commitments that make it harder to start over with an entry level job. Because they made career choices decades earlier, they are more likely to work in industries in decline.
They are also less able to move to find work, more likely to be tied down by a mortgage or a spouse's job. Experts say employers often give preference to younger workers, who they perceive to be more flexible, technologically savvy and able to "grow with the company."

"They [companies] tend to go for a younger worker, a more recently educated worker, a more recently trained worker," says James Manyika, a director at the McKinsey Global Institute who has researched employment trends. "If you're 50 and you've been out of employment for a while, it's going to be way harder to get back in."
One solution: the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which pays for retraining laid-off workers in manufacturing and other industries affected by globalization, yet even then, one needs a potential employer willing to hiring someone who has been retrained, yet doesn’t have the industry experience required by main companies.

Although the article didn’t focus on any specific solutions, below are a few tools a middle-aged person can do to increase their chances of finding gainful employment;
1.      If able to obtain re-training – take it. But always keep a part-time job, consulting or even volunteer work while unemployed and re-training. Potential employers look at what you do with your time while unemployed.
2.      If you have some funds stashed away, consider a career management consultant who can not only help you focus your resume, but can help you strategize your job search, and even help “market” you.
3.      Network. Join Industry trade organizations and network with industry pros who may become future employers and co-workers.
4.      Avoid networking groups of “job seekers”. Where groups of unemployed people gather is filled with negativity and detrimental to your success.
5.      Make sure your Linked-In profile is current, professional and detailed with successes.
6.      When responding to job posting, only respond to posting you are truly qualified for and follow submitting instructions.  One out of five people that respond to my postings are rejected simply because they can’t follow instructions.
7.      Follow up once you’ve applied for a position. Persistence is important but stalking is discouraged


"The most important factor in determining whether you will succeed isn't your gender, it's you,"

This is a good article that applies to anyone desiring to succeed in business.....Men or Women.... By JOHN BUSSEY Our recent recounting of how Jack Welch clashed with a group of female executives over how best to advance to the top of corporate America touched a raw nerve in the business world. Readers fired off a barrage of comments. "He's right," one wrote about the former CEO of General Electric GE +0.37% . "RESULTS—that's all that counts, period." Not so, wrote another: "Mr. Welch's notion that his career, or anyone's, is a result of a single androgynous metric—'performance'—is false." The workplace is still an "old boys' network." Words From the Top Read comments from women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies about how they got to where they are, and the myths about advancement they saw along the way. . View Slideshow [SB10001424052702303360504577412632271663446] Bloomberg News Angela Braly, CEO, WellPoint 'The most important factor in determining whether you will succeed isn't your gender, it's you. Take risks.' So I went to the 18 women who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies—a record number but still just 3.6% of the total—and asked their opinion. What factors, personal or in the workplace, fueled their careers and what myths about the advancement of women did they encounter along the way? Eleven gave their thoughts.

Recruiters look at a résumé for an average 6.25 seconds

Published in Wed. Wall Street Journal:
Bad news for anyone who has spent considerable time polishing a CV: Recruiters look at a résumé for an average 6.25 seconds before deciding if the candidate is a potential fit, according to job-search site TheLadders.
Recruiters primarily look for six key pieces of information in the following order: name, current title and company, previous title and company, start and end date of previous position, start date of current position and education.
For the study, TheLadders asked 30 recruiters to review the résumés of five people, first a version written by the individual and then a version rewritten by a résumé expert. The recruiters also looked at two different versions of the online professional profiles of three people.
The firm used eye-tracking technology—infrared lights that lock onto the pupil, combined with cameras that measure pupil dilation— to trace exactly where recruiters' eyes landed as they reviewed the résumés.
Because so little time is spent on each résumé, recruiters prefer clean and uncluttered formats, said Alex Douzet, operating chief and co-founder of TheLadders. "The résumé should be a very standard design and easy on the eyes for navigating through the sections. In the end, less is more," he said.
The same held true for online professional profiles such as those on LinkedIn and TheLadders. Recruiters looked at these for approximately six seconds per profile.
Mr. Douzet added that the study pertained only to recruiters' first interaction with a résumé or profile. If a candidate makes it into the "potential fit" pile, the résumés receive more attention.
—Lauren Weber


Learning Leadership

In an article written by Karl Moore, Contributor with Richard Pound explains practical ways for young managers to increase their management and leadership skills in an ever competing world.
"By volunteering for projects in nonprofit organizations, experienced executives can hone their supervisory and leadership skills, and aspiring executives can gain the experience and networking opportunities that could lead to plum positions in the company."

This is written with Richard Pound.

"It’s an irony of modern corporate life, but one of the greatest challenges in motivating employees to sustain strong business performance is to make them feel like there’s a larger purpose to their lives than just meeting financial goals and this need is only getting strong with the younger generation, the Postmoderns. Although business success and the raises, bonuses, and perks that come with it are intrinsic motivators, money and corporate extras aren’t everything for most people.
Having corporate programs that encourage employees to work as volunteers for organizations in their community are one way to offer an extra corporate benefit that makes employees feel pride and satisfaction, and makes them happier and more productive workers. Marc Benioff, CEO of, promotes what he calls “the 1 per- cent solution”: 1 percent of the company’s equity, 1 percent of its profits, and 1 percent of its employees’ paid work hours are devoted to philanthropy. Software maker SAS, which has for years been among the Top 20 in Fortune’s annual list of the 100 best companies to work for, offers a volunteer initiative that lets employees use flexible schedules to take paid time off for projects in the community, or even work in teams with their managers on a volunteer effort during business hours.
To our minds, though, volunteer work isn’t just an outlet for employees in search of more meaning in their work lives; it provides an excellent way to prepare for a senior executive position. By volunteering for projects in nonprofit organizations, experienced executives can hone their supervisory and leadership skills, and aspiring executives can gain the experience and networking opportunities that could lead to plum positions in the company.
Permission Leadership
The management environment in volunteer organizations is often extremely challenging. Without the compensation and organizational authority to keep their teams productive and working toward shared goals, volunteer managers must be adept leaders and persuaders as they tackle all the same management issues they face in their corporations: setting objectives, developing strategies, raising and allocating funds, motivating and guiding people, and complying with regulatory structures. Because corporate managers volunteering in nonprofits don’t have titles to define their positions, they have to practice what some call “per mission leadership.” That is, they have to earn the trust and respect of the people they are supervising. Also, they need to do all this with what are usually much more limited resources than what they are accustomed to in their ‘real jobs’, which often requires significant creative skills.
Executive awareness of social issues, and of the needs and characteristics of different socioeconomic groups, is also sharpened through volunteer experiences. This is important for corporate managers who must increasingly reconcile the various, and often conflicting, demands of a multitude of stakeholders and special interests, many of which they may not completely understand. Volunteering in nonprofits isn’t just a charitable act; it’s a way for executives to hone their management and leadership skills.
For younger managers, nonprofits offer rare chances to learn intangible leadership skills, such as persuasion and mediation. With recreational, religious, political, or social organizations, a manager also has the opportunity to meet and establish friendships with people from a variety of backgrounds and vocations. For younger managers, a stint in a nonprofit organization provides rare chances to socialize with senior executives and work closely with them to learn intangible leadership skills — such as persuad ing others to follow your vision, mediating between conflicting parties, addressing workers’ concerns and insights, and knowing when to spur a team to action and when to let the team relax. Senior, financially secure executives who donate their time and energy with enthusiasm are role models for younger executives.
Incentives and Support
If helping others and the community is undertaken purely for the opportunity to network, the full and lasting meaning of volunteerism is missed. Some people who approach it with this attitude will surely lose interest. Still, many of those who start out as volunteers merely to add a credit to their CV begin, in time, to grasp the bigger picture. Even with all of the advantages of volunteerism — it’s good for society, companies, and employees — many employees still resist getting involved. Their main objection is that they don’t have the time to volunteer and do their “day jobs.” Or they say volunteering is not appreciated at their companies, and it certainly is not viewed as a way to climb the corporate ladder.
In fact, some employees feel that by volunteering, they are potentially derailing their chances for a promotion because of the time they’ll spend out of the office. Because of these attitudes, there is a growing recognition in both the public and the private sectors that corporations need to be more proactive in promoting employee volunteerism. To do this, companies must freely provide time off for participation in volunteer programs; publicly acknowledge, either with promotions or awards, employees who volunteer the most and do it successfully; and set up mentoring programs in which senior executives work with employees in one-on-one sessions to help them navigate obstacles that arise during volunteerism. Karl’s old firm IBM, has set up a program for high potentials where they go and live for several weeks in another part of the world and do volunteer work in dramatically different societies than their home country, a great idea!
Only when these approaches, and others, are used to demonstrate the corporation’s full approval of and engagement in volunteerism will these companies inspire reluctant employees and give them productive volunteer experiences that are good for them, for the company, and for the community.

This blog was written with Richard Pound. Richard Pound( is the Chancellor Emeritus of McGill University and a partner in the law firm Stikeman Elliott. He has volunteered with the Olympic Games for more than 40 years. An earlier version of this was published in 2004 in Strategy & Business, since then the things we talked about have only become more urgent and more relevant to organizations and to their people, particularly their younger employees, the Postmoderns"
Follow Rethinking Leadership on Twitter at @profkjmoore