What’s a Long-Term Remote Work Plan, and Do You Need One?

The coronavirus pandemic ushered in a new era of remote work: Companies sent their workers out of the office and into their homes to do a variety of jobs, and a recent survey shows that an overwhelming number of employees would like the option to continue remote work indefinitely.

While many companies shifted to remote work out of pure necessity, “one thing the pandemic has proved is that remote working works,” says Sean Hoff, corporate culture expert and founder and managing partner of Moniker. He points out that remote workforces are often more productive and happier, which can help companies recruit and keep top talent. Plus, being able to recruit workers from across the country — and not just your company’s immediate geographic vicinity — can widen the pool of applicants. “No longer having an in-person or local requirement means that recruitment teams can take their pick-up of the pack, cherry-picking the crème de la crème of talent from all hemispheres to bolster their business,” Hoff explains.

A remote workforce can also be a financial boon for companies: Office space is expensive — and “saying goodbye to the physical workspace means commercial mortgages and monthly rent and overhead costs will vanish,” Hoff says, “freeing up resources to reinvest in the business.”

And companies with remote workers have found they’re getting more work from their workers. “Instead of long commutes, employees are jumping on the computer earlier and able to stay on later,” says Amy Sanchez, executive career and leadership coach. “There have been unprecedented increases in productivity in the corporate space” over the last several months.

With all of these clear benefits — and employees’ clear desire to continue working remotely — it’s no wonder that many companies are considering making their remote work options more permanent. But to make that shift, they’ll need what’s called a long-term remote work plan.

A long-term remote work plan is a detailed plan that outlines how a company will manage its remote workforce over the long term — not just a few weeks or months. “A good plan would clearly address what the expectation is for remote versus not remote, and what systems should be in-place if employees do remain remote to optimize communication,” Sanchez explains.

It would also “balance productivity, health and wellness, and address a path to career growth and promotion,” she says, to keep employees happy, productive, and engaged with the company.

Any company that wants to make remote work permanent needs a long-term remote work plan, these experts say. Here’s what a good long-term remote work plan includes and how to create it.

Ask employees for feedback.

The first step in creating a long-term remote work plan will be identifying what’s working for your remote workforce now — and what isn’t. “Identify the main pain points your business has experienced since pivoting to remote by actively asking your employees to participate in feedback and double-down on research to find the perfect tools, clouds, and software to streamline new processes and iron out any crinkles” advises Hoff. And Sanchez agrees: She suggests using an anonymous survey to collect thoughts from the entire workforce. Ask your employees about “what they want from their remote workplace, the types of rewards and incentive schemes they’d like to see in place, how often they’d like to have career progression catch-ups, and [ideas] for business development or improvement they might have,” she says.

Once your plan is in place, though, your company should continue to solicit employee feedback.

“Implement regular check-ins with your workforce to find out how they are adapting and to take note of any recommendations, they might have for improving the remote work structure,” Hoff says. “Ultimately, they are the ones living and breathing this shift, so they will be best placed to make recommendations that feed into a bright vision for long-term remote working.”

Set clear rules and expectations for work hours.

An excellent long-term remote work plan establishes rules and expectations around work hours so that at-home employees can avoid burnout. Sanchez advises that you set a schedule that “will support healthy and motivated employees while also maximizing productivity. For example, your plan could include the hours employees are expected to respond to emails, not to feel like they have to be “on-call” at all times of the day or night. Or, it could set a policy barring back-to-back Zoom meetings so that employees don’t become overwhelmed with screen time. “The companies who get this right will be the ones who attract the top talent,” she says.

If you recruit top talent from across the country, you may have employees that live in different time zones, and it will be important for your long-term remote work plan to establish when they are expected to work. Their hours should have at least some overlap with the rest of your team.

Include team-building opportunities.

One thing that remote workforces can lack is connectivity to team members. So, a good long-term remote work plan will ensure employees build positive relationships with one another.

To do this, “consider what is already important to your employees,” says Hoff. For example, if your workers value speaking face-to-face, make sure your plan includes a schedule of “regular, weekly virtual calls to catch up about work and non-work-related items,” Hoff suggests. And as pandemic restrictions abate, you may consider outlining opportunities for in-person gathering, such as monthly meetups for team-building activities such as bowling or trivia nights, he says.

Support employees with comfortable workspaces.

Not all of your remote employees will have a dedicated office. Amid the pandemic, “all too often the kitchen table or small coffee table became the defacto office desk,” says Hoff. “For parents of younger children, this transition was challenging as they were forced to play both ‘teacher’ and ‘babysitter’ while also trying to juggle the day-to-day responsibilities of their jobs.”

And while working from the kitchen table might work in the short term for some employees, it shouldn’t be a part of your long-term remote work plan. Instead, the best long-term remote work plans will make accommodations for employees’ home workspaces to be productive.

Hoff suggests having candid conversations with your employees to learn about their at-home workspaces, asking how you can make their work-from-home situation better. Your plan might include supplying items such as sound-canceling earphones, ergonomic chairs, or even subsidizing a co-working space membership where employees can find some quiet time, he says.

Create a new, redesigned onboarding process.

With a remote workforce, it’s time to change up your onboarding process and make it a part of your long-term remote work plan. With in-person workforces, “most companies had a checklist of ‘new employee onboarding tasks’ they walked through one by one when introducing a new hire into the company,” describes Hoff. But “in most cases, this process won’t translate that well to a virtual onboarding, he adds, in part because, with a remote workforce, there needs to be a greater emphasis on introducing people to their coworkers. “What used to be taken for granted — sitting down with a new group over lunch, or spending time sitting with someone in their office as you were trained on company protocols — should now be a priority,” says Hoff.  

Your long-term remote work plan, then, should “focus efforts on integrating them culturally into the organization and its people,” he says, with a new and remote-friendly onboarding process. 

Whereas before, your company likely spent more time on-the-job training, “it’s now equally about integration,” Hoff says. “Ensuring new team members feel welcomed and familiar with people beyond their immediate team or the department should become a priority in the onboarding process to ensure company culture becomes engrained and proliferated” with your remote workers.

But you can’t forget about job training entirely, of course, and your long-term remote work plan should include an onboarding process that has training elements. Sanchez suggests that larger companies set up automated teaching modules as well as assigning new employees a mentor who can answer one-off questions; smaller companies, she says, could use mentors for everything.  

Get your employees behind your plan.

With a long-term remote work plan in place, it’s time to rally your employees behind it.

“Although the majority of the workforce has adapted well to the remote work structure, some still do miss and prefer having that face-to-face interaction” says Hoff. “It will take a little more convincing to get this portion of the population behind long-term remote working, but there are some strategies that can be implemented to get workers excited about what this era has to offer.”

For example, your company might choose to offer incentives for working from home, such as a stipend for cell phone costs or childcare, for example. Or your company might consider scheduling annual offsite trips — retreats that allow employees to gather together for a combination of work and relaxing — for high-performing or newly remote workers. “Recognizing your employees’ hard work and whisking them off to somewhere exotic certainly won’t go amiss,” Hoff says. “The remainder of this trip throughout the work year will help those unsure of the remote structure get behind the plan knowing this reward will come.”

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Returning To The Office: A Survival Guide

It’s hard to imagine. After nearly 16 months of remote work, and all the logistical and emotional baggage that came with propelling yourself and your family through the global pandemic, it’s time to return to an office that you haven’t seen since March 2020.  

But everything feels different now. You feel different now. It’s uncomfortable to think about being surrounded by people all day-even people you know, like, and trust. The thought of sharing spaces with others is hard to stomach after more than a year of hand-washing, mask-wearing and worrying.  

How do you get comfortable with this? How do you get your mind around your upcoming return to the office?  See our tips below.

Consider what you need.

Many of us are more vigilant about germs now; for over a year, we’ve had to be. For much of that time, we didn’t fully know which risks were most pressing. We nervously washed our produce and sanitized surfaces as experts learned more about the virus and how COVID-19 spreads. It was a scary, stressful time. 

So now, we’re going back to closed quarters with our co-workers. If the thought of shared restrooms, communal refrigerators, and coffee pots stir your anxiety, you are certainly not alone.

Your company, likely, has regulations around some of these anxiety producers. Learn everything you can about that protocol before you return. Pose all your questions to your management team and your HR partners. Make sure you understand the expectations. Secure your supplies.  

Think about what you need to feel comfortable in a shared workspace. Maybe bringing disinfectant spray or wipes, for example, will make you feel comfortable using communal spaces like restrooms. Ask your HR partners if this is acceptable. Maybe you need to wipe down your desk and keyboard each night to feel safe and secure. Consider what feels right to you and secure the information and supplies you need as you think through your return logistics.  

Dr. Mark Allen, author and lecturer in talent management, corporate universities, and human resources at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School points out: “Things will be different. The environment will be different (possible plexiglass, temperature checks, etc.). The work will be different (some people are still working from home, with hybrid meetings, etc.). The social aspects of work will be different (fewer people in the office each day, no birthday parties, etc.). Change is difficult under the best of circumstances, and these aren’t the best of circumstances. Our responses to change are always emotional, and we (and our bosses) need to remember that.”

Know your boundaries.  

As you talk with your human resources partners, see what support and resources are being made available to staff, and honestly explore what you need. Trust your gut. If you are not comfortable, if this genuinely does not feel right or doable to you, listen to that. You have to be comfortable at work to be able to concentrate and to find your fit there.

A recent Glassdoor survey conducted online by The Harris Poll reveals that 7 in 10 (70%) U.S. employees who are currently working from home due to COVID-19 believe that workers should be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine to return to the office. And even after offices reopen, nearly 9 in 10 (86%) say they would prefer to continue working from home at least part of the time. 

You matter more than your job. If this experience has led you to conclude that you need to be a remote worker for a while, pursue that, either via your HR team or by finding an arrangement that serves you better.

“COVID-19 has triggered a new wave of employee expectations, from incentives to get a vaccine to more flexible work options, even after it’s safe to return to the office,” says Carina Cortez, Glassdoor’s Chief People Officer. “Employers must take employee feedback into account to determine what is best for their workforce, including how to best support employees who plan to get the vaccine, and employees who do not.”

This means recognizing that the return to the workplace may not be a fit for you. If that’s the case, do what is available to you to change your situation so that you can find one that better suits you.

If your workplace requires staff to be onsite but doesn’t require vaccinations, and if that feels unsafe to you, then your professional culture is no longer a fit for you. Likewise, if your employer requires staff to get vaccinated and you’re uncomfortable with that, you’ve lost fit in your professional culture. The pandemic has cued plenty of cultural changes. Recognizing and owning which ones are suitable for you is an important part of getting acclimated to the post-covid workplace. 

Support safety protocol.

If you decide to work in your office full or part-time, it’s your professional responsibility to support your employer’s safety protocol. “Be prepared for new requirements. Possible temperature checks, mandatory masks, social distancing. Don’t be resistant to these requirements even if you disagree with them. They are in place for your safety and the safety of your co-workers.” Dr. Allen shares. Workplace culture matters, especially now. Pull together with your team to make this work.

Dr. Allen offers this reminder: “I recently saw someone arguing with a security guard who was politely asking him to put his mask back on. This was in Los Angeles County, where masks are still mandatory indoors. There’s no point in arguing with the guard–he didn’t make the rules. Let’s all be prepared to accept whatever restrictions are in place–we’ve lasted this long under Covid rules–let’s accept that it might be just a little bit longer.”

If you want to offer feedback about the protocol, find the right way to do so. Learn who on the HR team is the right person to share that with; show your concern by offering help, suggestions, support. If you feel like you need to vent, do that work with your mental health professional, who can help you neutralize your feelings and manage them productively.  

Recognize that this is a challenging time organization-wide. Sharing suggestions are likely to be appreciated, as is patience, kindness, and empathy. We’re not yet done with the pandemic. It remains a hard time.

Get support.

Think about what you need. We’ve just weathered a global pandemic. None of us have ever been through anything like this. Find the help and support you need as you sort it out. Whether you’re feeling excited or hesitant about your return to the office, it may be helpful to find a coach, therapist, or counselor to help you get your mind around this transition. It’s a big change.

Our feelings about the pandemic tend to run deep. Many of us had to shoulder trauma that we haven’t fully processed as we saw family members suffering from COVID-19, and as we tried to cobble together emergency plans to protect the children and the seniors we care for in case we got sick. It can be surprising how the trauma resurfaces unexpectedly.

Take this opportunity to get the care that you need so that you can feel well-supported as you return to the office. You deserve mental health care that sustains you from within. Make that a priority as you contemplate this transition. You deserve it.  

Keep in mind that the leaders and managers guiding us through the transition back into the workplace have also never been through this kind of change. Examining your feelings, being able to understand and articulate them is especially helpful during transitional times.

Have realistic expectations

Whether you are excited or apprehensive about your return to work, recognize that things stand to be different. Prepare for that. Dr. Allen points out: “Things won’t be like the Beforetimes. We are not going back to what life was like in February of 2020. We need to adjust to the fact that things will be different. And let’s not talk about The New Normal. That’s a myth. When we first go back, there will still be some Covid restrictions. Those will ease, and things will change again. There won’t be a Normal.”

We’ve been through a global pandemic. Many of us didn’t fully realize that something like this could happen. Take it slow as you get your mind around how to move forward. While it feels good to see our lives starting to look more normal, we’re different people now. We have to be kinder to ourselves and our coworkers.

“The best thing we can offer our employees is flexibility. Let those who want to work from home for a few days do it if possible. If people need flexible schedules, let them have it. We’ve all been through a lot–let’s do what we can to ease people back into the workplace.”  Dr. Allen advises.

Best wishes with your transition. We’re all rooting for you.

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Should You Talk About Vaccination Status with Your Coworkers?

For some, receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is a badge of honor — something they will literally wear on their sleeves. For others, however, a Covid-19 vaccine is something they won’t get unless they have to — for example, if vaccination is required by their employers, or to travel.

A recent survey by Glassdoor found that 70 percent of U.S. employees currently working from home because of the pandemic think that workers should be required to get the Covid-19 vaccine to return to the office. And while some workplaces are moving toward making them a requirement, it’s too soon to tell how many ultimately will. In the meantime, workers will have to navigate the murky waters of whether or not to offer up their vaccination status to colleagues.

Covid-19 vaccination can be a tricky subject to navigate and one packed with potential pitfalls. Sharing any health information at the office “can polarize relationships and the career-savvy professional will understand that others may not value his or her perspective,” says Maureen Farmer, CEO, and founder of Westgate Executive Branding & Career Consulting. Plus,

“It can become political, and navigating politics is a skill not everyone has,” Farmer explains. 

While you might be tempted to share that you got a shot — or why you’re avoiding a jab — with your coworkers, experts urge caution before divulging your vaccination status with colleagues. Before you offer up your vaccination status at work, there are several things you should consider, experts say. Here’s what to weigh before bringing up your COVID-19 vaccine status with your coworkers. 

Consider your company’s culture and your coworkers’ expectations.

Every company has its own unique company culture surrounding self-disclosure — including how common it is for employees to discuss personal information. “Some workgroups seem to share lots of personal details, while others do not,” says Carolyn Goerner, clinical professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

Before you share, think: Is your workplace one in which colleagues often divulge these details? Does your company actively promote such discussions, or does it discourage such discourse?

“It isn’t realistic to expect culturally-bound behaviors to change overnight — and it is often the case that people react negatively to swift and unexpected violations of their expectations of how their co-workers will behave,” says Goerner. Evaluate your company’s culture before sharing, and consider what, if any, consequences there may be for sharing within its unique environment.

Consider why you want to share your vaccination status.

Getting vaccinated can be a personal decision, says career coach Hallie Crawford. Some people couldn’t wait to receive their Covid-19 vaccines, while others have fears and concerns that have kept them from getting inoculated so far. Crawford encourages you to think critically about why you want to share your vaccination status with coworkers — and what could happen if you do.

And Farmer agrees: “I would question an employee’s motivation to share their vaccination status at work. Most professionals do not share personal health-related information randomly at work unless it’s with a trusted colleague or friend. What are the benefits of sharing? What are the risks of sharing this very personal information with others who may not have a vested interest in us?”

Before you divulge your vaccination status, “Ask yourself if you want to share information or if you want to push your personal views on your coworkers,” Crawford advises. She points out that the latter reason can turn a casual conversation into a heated argument that can feel like a personal attack: “Keep in mind that some people are unable to be vaccinated due to underlying health issues or allergies that you may be unaware of,” Crawford says, “while others may have lost a loved one to Covid-19,” and because of that, could “feel strongly about being vaccinated.” 

Of course, sharing your vaccination status can also be a way of easing coworkers’ minds about returning to the office. “Many professionals are feeling uneasy about going back to the office so that you may consider sharing your vaccination status with your immediate team and coworkers you will be in close contact with to discuss how you might interact with each other when you are back in the office,” she says, adding you should try to “be respectful of everyone’s decisions.”

Realize that you may be asked — and be prepared with a response.

Even if you haven’t given much thought to sharing your vaccination status with coworkers, they may have — and may ask you whether you’ve been vaccinated. “This can quickly turn into a heated topic, so if you decide to share your vaccination status, do so with caution, Crawford says.

But having an answer prepared can help minimize any potential conflicts. For example, Goerner says that “simply matter-of-factly sharing the

information,” the “same way you’d tell someone you got a flu shot,” can be one way to keep the conversation from getting contentious.

“Ideally, avoid the appearance of ‘I think I’m better than you because I’m vaccinated,’ which can cause excessive conflict,” she says. Treat it as a factual question rather than a value-laden one.”

Farmer says you may also want to acknowledge in your response that it can be a sensitive topic — whether or not you choose to divulge your vaccination status. If you opt to share, she suggests saying, “I realize this can be a sensitive topic. I want you to know I’ve received the COVID19 vaccination because I want my colleagues to feel safe working with me.” And if you prefer to keep your vaccination status to yourself, you might say, “I appreciate you asking me about my vaccination status. Unfortunately, I’m not comfortable discussing it. I hope you understand.”

It may be a requirement to share your vaccination status at your office.

You may think that your manager or organization can’t ask about your vaccination status. But the fact is, they can: HIPPA laws apply only to medical professionals, which means that your higher-ups can request — or even require — that you provide your vaccination status to them.

“As restrictions continue to ease and as more people are fully vaccinated, employers will start to ask more about vaccination statuses and may require that you submit your vaccine status to the human resources department” says Crawford. It may be a choice on your company’s part, or it maybe under an obligation to ask your vaccination status based on state directives says, Farmer.

If your employer asks you, you will have to provide your vaccination status — or face potential consequences, from disciplinary action, such as suspension, to potential termination.

A recent survey of 957 U.S. businesses found that 65 percent plan to offer employees incentives to get vaccinated, and 63 percent will require proof of vaccination. For those employees who declined to get a shot or share their vaccination status, 42 percent of businesses said those workers would not be allowed to return to the physical work environment, such as the office — and 35% percent said some disciplinary actions are on the table, including possible termination.

“Employees have a fiduciary duty to their employers,” Farmer says, “and following appropriate policies is expected.” What’s more, “contravention of employer policies may be grounds for dismissal, so it’s important that employees are well informed of their obligations,” she adds.

To help ease the process, managers should share their reasons for requesting vaccination status from their employees, says Goerner. “People are generally more responsive to requests if they understand the bona fide business reason behind the question,” she explains. “If that information is necessary to establish company safety procedures, work schedules, and so on, then say so.”

She adds that “If it appears that managers are asking out of curiosity — or to extend personal judgment — the request will be met with more suspicion and hesitation” and less cooperation.

Of course, your employer may also eventually require vaccination as a condition of working there. The same recent survey found that nearly half — about 44 percent — of the employer’s polled plan required that all employees get vaccinated before returning to the office. Another 31 percent will encourage vaccinations, and 14 percent will require some, though not all, employees to get vaccinated.

If you have a health condition that prevents you from getting vaccinated or are otherwise exempt from vaccination, these conditions may not apply to you. “Employers will surely be thinking about special considerations for those who for health or religious reasons do not get vaccinated,” Crawford says. But even so, you should be prepared to discuss your vaccination status with your employer and understand that you may have to provide proof of why you should be exempted. 

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How To Get What You Need From Your Remote Internship

Kudos, you’ve scored a summer internship! Fully embrace this opportunity; it’s an ideal way to cue your orientation into the professional world. 

Robin White, Founder and Managing Partner of Guided Leadership Solutions, explains: “Internships allow you to learn what you can’t in school. School teaches fundamentals – they are important, but internships teach real-life scenarios that don’t come up in the classroom setting. Every company is different; every job is different. By working internships, emerging professionals have an opportunity to see different perspectives and learn new things. In an internship, you have a golden opportunity to get a feel for what you like and what you don’t like so you can evaluate if you are on the right path.” 

Your internship stands to offer a whole new level of education. It grows you up professionally and gives you direction on how your next chapter might read. But after a year of remote education, you may find yourself a bit disheartened to find that your internship will also be conducted remotely. While this may not seem as socially dynamic or as fun as dressing up every day and commuting into an actual workplace, a remote internship is still an outstanding opportunity. 

Plus, working remotely this summer gives you unique and relevant experience during a transitional time. You are solidifying your place in history as a contributing member of the pandemic workforce. This has been a hard time for the global workforce, and they have come through using their grit, resilience, agility, creativity, and optimism. These are the same soft skills that have been powering your academic work during this global health crisis, and they are in demand in the workplace.   

Although your internship might look a little different than you may have anticipated, you are well-positioned to rock this opportunity. Here’s what to consider as you get started with your remote internship so that you can get what you need from the opportunity. 

Observe how your internship can serve you.  

Internships are an important way to bridge academic understanding with professional experience. Internships are valuable because they give you a hands-on sense of what you want to do professionally and relevant work samples to use when it’s time to job search. These opportunities also expand your network and give you a taste of professional life and workplace culture. 

Internships help when it comes time to interview for your first job, both by giving you a feel for what it’s like to work in a professional environment and providing you with the fundamental opportunities and materials you need to demonstrate that you have that experience.  

White points out: “I’ve recruited for hundreds of positions in my career. In my years of recruiting, many of those positions were entry-level. The candidates who had Internships were hands down better prepared for the job (even if the internship wasn’t relevant to the job I was hiring for). They had the experience of interacting with a professional team. They had exposure to relevant work environments.” 

Remember that the professional landscape in flux.  

It can seem challenging, though, to feel like you’re getting the full experience when your internship is remote. Although, at the same time, you may not get the chance to work face-to-face with your colleagues and managers, your remote internship positions you to experience what so much of the workforce has gone through during the pandemic. Professional cultures have changed, and your remote internship positions you to get versed in that new paradigm.  

Glassdoor’s chief economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain points out: “An important lesson from history is that every crisis presents risks and opportunities. In 2020, COVID-19 devastated large parts of the economy, put millions out of work, and created the direst health crisis of the 21st Century. But it also overturned outdated beliefs about remote work, sparked companies to build programs that foster emotional and cultural bonds between teams, and has put even the most vigorous company cultures through the crucible during historically trying times.” 

Life and work look different as we begin to contemplate the post-covid workplace. As a remote intern, you have your fingers directly on that pulse, which positions you well for your future.  Use the experience to learn everything you can. You may have to off-road it a bit as you find your footing in the new frontier, the post-covid workplace, but as Dr. Chamberlain points out, there is an opportunity here. Targeting that and learning to discuss it can be a tremendous asset when it’s time to hit the interview circuit.    

White points out: “In a remote internship, it is harder to build relationships and get a feel for office culture. But, with the right mindset, you’ll still get something out of it if you put in the effort. Go in with some goals that you hope to accomplish during the internship and make sure you have regular communication with your manager to evaluate your progress and opportunities to meet those goals.”  

Be open to an experimental workplace. 

Many companies are still planning what their post-pandemic reality will look like-will all staff be back in the office full-time, part-time?  Will vaccines be required? How will this be monitored, and by whom? There is much to iron out.   

Dr. Chamberlain predicts that cultural experimentation will continue at many companies until they find a suitable formula for their teams.  Dr. Chamberlain advises: “Prepare for an unprecedented wave of experimentation and innovation around hybrid remote-in-office roles — part remote and part in-office — in 2021 and beyond.”

In the past, companies may have been better positioned to develop a rich program routinely deployed to govern the intern experience. Now, however, internship programs may be part of an employee experience program that is still emerging. 

While your remote internship may not be exactly what you pictured, it’s still a great opportunity that puts you in the heart of observing the workplace of the future as it’s taking shape. So embrace this opportunity for all that it makes possible. Use it to build your resume and network and to understand what you need and want professionally.  

White points out: “Any internship opportunity is positive. Work experience, especially relevant work experience, is a huge factor in finding future opportunities. Getting exposure in different roles, different sized companies, and different experiences helps broaden your horizons and learning opportunities . . . regardless of location (virtual or in-person). It’s definitely more challenging in a remote internship, but if you make an effort, you’ll have just as much impact.” 

Try to make the most of your opportunity. 

You may have to adjust your strategies a bit to get the most out of your experience.  White recommends a proactive approach: “I’ve been mentoring college Juniors and Seniors for 6+ years. The advice I always give to those who have found internships is to reach out and build your network throughout the company, not just in the department/team your internship is in. Send an email or message to other people throughout the organization. Let them know you are an intern and are looking at learning about the whole organization, and would they be willing to take some time to meet with you to tell you more about their role and how it fits into the greater picture.” 

While there are some ways that a remote arrangement makes it harder to interact with others, in some ways, it simplifies things. Taking risks and reaching out electronically can feel a bit less intimidating than stopping by someone’s office. Take advantage of that. White explains: “People love to share their experiences…take advantage of that!! The most successful professionals are those who understand the
organization outside of their silo, so here is a chance to build your knowledge.” 

Target opportunity. 

Internships are important, and they stand to serve you well. Continue to pursue these opportunities; this goes for students and those who are not enrolled in classes. Internships enrich opportunities for all budding professionals. 

White advises: “Reach out to your school’s career services (or equivalent) and also ask your academic advisor if there is course credit available for internship opportunities. If you aren’t in school but have an interest in learning and gaining experience in a new field, those services are usually available to non-students. If not, the job boards probably are. You can also reach out to target companies and offer to be an intern. Just because they didn’t think to hire one doesn’t mean they aren’t open to the idea.”

The pandemic restricted our access to so much over the past 16 months, but it also gave us the chance to hone new capabilities, including our soft skills. Use these tips to further your work as a student and professional. While it may feel disappointing that many opportunities have been altered and restricted, this experience has also taught us a lot. Lean into that during your remote internship and in your post-pandemic work.  

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Top CEOs 2021: Celebrating Diverse Leaders

The world has changed in many ways over the past year. Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been heightened awareness, outrage, and reckoning around racial/ethnic equity in the United States and many meaningful conversations about what comes next. People have asked one another around boardrooms, dinner tables and everywhere in between have focused on how to best reduce systemic inequities, tackle bias and ensure America is a place where everyone can thrive both personally and professionally.

Glassdoor is committed to bringing more equity to workplaces everywhere by prioritizing transparency. By doing so, we hope to help create a more equitable society as well.

As Glassdoor recognizes the Top CEOs in 2021, it’s clear there is more progress to be made in terms of diversity in the C-suite. The lack of CEOs on our list from underrepresented groups demonstrates a wider problem across corporate America: leadership demographics in the C-suite still do not come close to reflecting the population at large.

For perspective, data from the University of California at Santa Cruz found that while Black Americans account for over 13% of the U.S. population (according to the latest U.S. Census figures), only 4 CEOs in the Fortune 500 — less than 1% — are Black. It’s a similar trend for other groups as well. While 6% of the U.S. population is Asian, only 2.4% of CEOs are East or South Asian. Similarly, 3.4% of Fortune 500 leaders are Latinx despite making up 18.5% of the overall population. 

Exceptional leadership does not, and should not, look a certain way. Glassdoor is therefore highlighting the unique stories of several CEOs on the U.S. large list from diverse backgrounds who are already blazing trails and inspiring the next generation of great leaders.

Read on to learn more about a selection of dynamic leaders from underrepresented groups who are among our Top 100 CEOs for 2021, and join us in celebrating them!

Editorial Note: In selecting Top CEOs to highlight from underrepresented groups for this spotlight piece, Glassdoor conducted external research, relying on multiple sources to help understand each leader’s race/ethnicity and/or origin and background. We also proactively reached out to CEOs and/or their teams to ensure we included as many relevant honorees as possible. If you believe a winner among the Top 100 CEOs in 2021 should be reflected here, please contact awards@glassdoor.com.

Shantanu Narayen, Adobe

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #2

CEO Approval Rating: 99%

Shantanu Narayen has been at the helm of Adobe as its CEO since 2007. The nautical analogy is particularly relevant here–Mr. Narayen once represented India in a sailing regatta. He serves as an independent director on Pfizer’s board of directors and is also a board member for KKR and a member of the advisory board at the UC Berkeley, Haas Business School. Mr. Narayen was born and raised in India before immigrating to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree. 

Satya Nadella, Microsoft 

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #6

CEO Approval Rating: 97%

As one of the most well-known CEOs on this year’s list, Satya Nadella is no stranger to the spotlight. Mr. Nadella grew up in India and immigrated to the United States to continue his education at the University of Wisconsin and University of Chicago before starting his career at Sun Microsystems and later working his way up through the ranks at Microsoft. In addition to his wide reaching responsibilities at Microsoft, Mr. Nadella is a part owner of Seattle’s Major League Soccer team, Seattle Sounders FC.

Horacio Rozanski, Booz Allen Hamilton 

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #10

CEO Approval Rating: 97%

Born and raised in Argentina, Horacio Rozanski began his career at Booz Allen as an intern in Buenos Aires 30 years ago. Since becoming CEO, he has committed to advancing diversity and inclusion at the firm. Under his leadership, Booz Allen went from zero to five women on its 12-person board, and today, eight of the company’s nine top leaders are women or people of color, including Mr. Rozanski himself. Mr. Rozanski is chairman of the board of directors for Children’s National Medical Center and a member of the board of directors at Marriott International and CARE. He received the Horatio Alger Award in 2020.

Aneel Bhusri, Workday

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #21

CEO Approval Rating: 96%

Indian American Aneel Bhusri is co-founder, co-CEO and chairman of the board of directors at Workday. Mr. Bhusri is an advisory partner at Greylock, a member of the board of trustees at Stanford University and a former board member for Intel. He also serves on the board of directors of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Mr. Bhusri has been on the Forbes Midas List six times since 2008. In 2018, he joined the Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest people to dedicate most of their wealth to philanthropy. He recently donated $1 million to a San Francisco coronavirus relief fund.

Vas Narasimhan, Novartis

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #23

CEO Approval Rating: 96%

Indian businessman Vas Narasimhan has spent his life dedicated to public health, having pursued degrees in medicine, worked to combat disease in India and Africa and through his work at the World Health Organization. After a stint at McKinsey, Mr. Narasimhan joined Novartis in 2005 where he has held various roles: head of U.S. vaccines, head of the company’s Sandoz biopharmaceuticals development unit, head of global drug development and chief medical officer. He became CEO in 2018. Mr. Narasimhan is dedicated to self-improvement, regularly working with an executive coach, using meditation apps, exercising daily and following a strict vegetarian diet. 

Manny Maceda, Bain & Company

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #27

CEO Approval Rating: 96%

Filipino American businessman Manny Maceda is widely recognized as one of the most influential Asian business leaders in the U.S., honored with a 2021 Gold House award. Under Mr. Maceda’s leadership, Bain is a founding partner of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), a recently-launched organization aimed at fostering racial inclusion, combatting discrimination, funding anti-hate projects, investing in data and research and celebrating AAPI contributions. Mr. Maceda, worldwide managing partner of Bain, is the first Asian leader in Bain’s history. He was born in the U.S. and raised in the Philippines. 

Jensen Huang, NVIDIA

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #31

CEO Approval Rating: 95%

Jensen Huang was born in Taiwan and lived in Thailand as a child, but his family sent him to the U.S as civil unrest grew. He co-founded NVIDIA, and serves as its president, CEO and board member. NVIDIA helped build the gaming market into the largest entertainment sector in the world today. Under Mr. Huang’s leadership, NVIDIA became a pioneer in computer gaming chips before expanding to design chips for data centers and autonomous cars. Mr. Huang is a recipient of the IEEE Founder’s Medal, the Dr. Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award and honorary doctorate degrees from Taiwan’s National Chiao Tung University and Oregon State University. In 2019, Harvard Business Review ranked him No. 1 on its list of the world’s 100 best-performing CEOs. In 2017, he was named Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year. 

Kenneth C. Frazier, Merck

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #42

CEO Approval Rating: 94%

Kenneth C. Frazier is one of the few Black corporate CEOs in America, serving as CEO and chairman of the board of Merck since 2011. ​He joined the company in 1992 and was previously general counsel and president. Mr. Frazier sits on the boards of PhRMA, Weill Cornell Medicine and Exxon Mobil Corporation. He is co-founder and co-chair of OneTen, a coalition of leading organizations committed to upskilling, hiring and promoting one million Black Americans into family-sustaining jobs. As a champion of social justice and economic inclusion, Mr. Frazier is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. In 2018, he was named one the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine. In 2019, he became the first recipient of the Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award for Healthcare. Mr. Fraizer has called for business leaders to be a “unifying force” to help solve racial inequalities by creating new opportunities and jobs. 

Ali Ghodsi, Databricks

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #50

CEO Approval Rating: 94%

Ali Ghodsi was born in the middle of Iran’s revolution. At age 5, his family was given 24 hours to flee the country and they left for Sweden. The Swedish Iranian computer scientist and entrepreneur is co-founder and CEO of data software startup Databricks. Valued at $28 billion in early 2021, Databricks is backed by industry powerhouses including Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce. Mr. Ghodsi describes Databricks as a “data lake house” that helps companies like Comcast, Credit Suisse and T-Mobile securely store and utilize their data. Mr. Ghodsi serves as an adjunct professor at UC Berkeley and is on the board at UC Berkeley’s RiseLab. 

Kevin Lobo, Stryker

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #54

CEO Approval Rating: 94%

Kevin A. Lobo is the CEO and chairman of the board of Stryker. Under Mr. Lobo’s leadership, Stryker supplies more than 100 countries with medical devices. Previously the president of Johnson & Johnson Medical Products, Mr. Lobo now serves on the board of directors for the Parker Hannifin Corporation and the U.S.-India Business Council in addition to his roles at Stryker. He is a physician and speaks fluent French as a result of his upbringing in Montreal. In addition to English, Mr. Lobo also speaks a bit of Konkani and Hindi. 

Sean Yalamanchi, Infovision Inc.

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #55

CEO Approval Rating: 93%

Sean Yalamanchi is the co-founder, president and a board member of Infovision. Mr. Yalamanchi is passionate about entrepreneurship and philanthropy. As the head of Infovision, Mr. Yalamanchi is active in the local Dallas tech community and encourages his team to actively recruit graduates from the University of Texas at Dallas, where he regularly leads research with their academic teams.

Eric S. Yuan, Zoom Video Communications

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #63

CEO Approval Rating: 93%

Born in China, billionaire Eric Yuan is the founder of Zoom, a video communications tool that went public in 2019 and soared in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Mr. Yuan’s direction, Zoom was one of the highest-performing tech IPOs of 2019. He has been named one of the Most Powerful People in Enterprise Tech by Business Insider. In 2019, he was added to the Bloomberg 50 as a leader who changed global business. Mr. Yuan is named as an inventor on 11 issued and 20 pending patents.

Jay Chaudhry, Zscaler

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #71

CEO Approval Rating: 92%

Indian American entrepreneur and businessman Jay Chaudhry was born in the Indian Himalayas where his remote village did not have electricity or running water. Today, he’s CEO of Zscaler, a cybersecurity firm that he founded in 2008 to protect customers from cyberattacks and data loss in remote environments like the cloud. Before Zscaler, Mr. Chaudhry founded four other tech companies that were all acquired: SecureIT, CoreHarbor, CipherTrust and AirDefense. Mr. Chaudhry has been honored as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Southeast USA), an Information Week Innovator & Influencer, an SC Magazine Market Entrepreneur and has been named to the Goldman Sachs 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs.

Sundar Pichai, Google

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #90

CEO Approval Rating: 90%Sundar Pichai was born into humble beginnings in Chennai, India, where he didn’t have a computer, telephone or family car and slept on the living room floor. He’s now the CEO of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google, which he joined in 2004. Under his leadership, Google has focused on developing products and services powered by the latest advances in AI, invested in new opportunities such as Google Cloud and has innovated around advanced technologies, including machine learning and quantum computing. Mr. Pichai is helping India battle the coronavirus crisis by pledging $18 million in aid from Google and its employees to provide critical supplies like oxygen and testing equipment, as well as technical expertise and other resources.

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Top Women CEOs for 2021

Even in 2021, women only make up 6.0% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies and 8.1% of all Fortune 500 CEOs, demonstrating there’s still a sizable amount of work to be done to create more equitable workplaces and to achieve gender diversity within the C-Suite. Among our Top CEOs in 2021, 5 women CEOs are among the top 100 U.S. large list, and most have graced our Top CEOs award before! Aside from leading their organizations with innovative and meaningful strategies, these trailblazers are breaking down barriers for women everywhere. Read on to learn more about the 5 powerhouse women who won our Top CEOs award!

Lynsi Snyder, In-N-Out Burger

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #21

CEO Approval Rating: 99%

Open Jobs: 201

Lynsi Snyder is no stranger to our Top CEOs award! Year after year, she’s consistently earned her place among the Top CEOs list due to her vast managerial experience and sharp strategy —this is her 5th win! At 17 years old, she started her In-N-Out journey as a line cook and at 35, Snyder took full control of the company, becoming the youngest female billionaire in the world in the process. Although COVID-19 has affected employee morale at various organizations, In-N-Out employees boast about their strong company culture, solid compensation and commitment to growth opportunities. 

Employees say senior management really cares for them and they feel supported, while also maintaining top professionalism not always seen in other fast food workplaces.

Work with Lynsi Snyder

Abby Johnson, Fidelity Investments 

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #44

CEO Approval Rating: 94%

Open Jobs: 4.9K 

As a first-time winner on the Top CEOs 2021 list, Abby Johnson is at the helm of investment firm Fidelity Investments and chairman of its international sister company Fidelity International (FIL). Fidelity was founded by her grandfather Edward C. Johnson II. Abby got her start in the family business in 1988, working summers at Fidelity through college and joined full-time as an analyst after receiving a Harvard M.B.A. Since taking over the company from her father in 2016, Johnson has pushed the company forward by embracing cryptocurrencies and, in 2018, Fidelity launched a platform that allows institutional investors to trade bitcoin and ether.

Work with Abby Johnson 

Tricia Griffith, Progressive Insurance

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #61

CEO Approval Rating: 93%

Open Jobs: 743

In 1988, Tricia Griffith joined Progressive as a Claims Representative and has held several key leadership roles. Prior to being named CEO, Griffith served as Personal Lines Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the company’s Personal Lines, Claims and Customer Relationship Management groups.

In 2016, Tricia was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer and elected to the Board of Directors. This year marks her second time gracing our Top CEOs list! She believes with the right people, culture and values, you can accomplish great things. 

Work with Tricia Griffith 

Jane Fraser, Citi

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #91

CEO Approval Rating: 90%

Open Jobs: 11K 

This year marks Jane Fraser’s first time ranking among the Top CEOs. She’s the Chief Executive Officer of Citi, the world’s most global bank, serving millions of consumers, businesses and institutions across 160 countries and jurisdictions. She is the first female CEO in the firm’s history.

With her deep experience across Citi’s consumer and institutional businesses and, in many ways, she helped shape Citi into the company it is today. Before becoming CEO in February 2021, she was President of Citi and CEO of the Global Consumer Bank, responsible for all of Citi’s Consumer businesses, including Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Credit Cards, Mortgage and Operations and Technology in 19 markets. Citi employees rave about having work life balance and thriving professionally within a collaborative work environment. 

Work with Jane Fraser 

Martine Ferland, Mercer

Top CEOs 2021 Ranking: #100

CEO Approval Rating: 90%

Open Jobs: 588

Meet Martine Ferland, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mercer. She leads Mercer’s 25,000 colleagues in providing trusted advice and solutions to build healthier and more sustainable futures for their clients, colleagues and communities. She’s passionate about working with clients to solve their toughest challenges of today and tomorrow, and in leading purposefully through sustainable growth to create a better society and provide better outcomes for people.

Before being named Mercer’s President and CEO in 2019, Martine served as Mercer’s Group President and was responsible for leading Regions and Global Business Solutions. Before that, she served as President of Mercer’s Europe and Pacific Region, delivering consistent profitable growth and leadership in the institutional investment space, with assets under delegated management passing $100 billion, and a strengthened market position through strategic acquisitions.

Employees say Mercer has great people to work with, and senior management cares about them as people, not just employees.

Work with Martine Ferland

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Glassdoor’s Top CEOs for 2021 Announced; Boston Consulting Group CEO Rich Lesser Earns #…

Intentional, consistent and empathetic leadership during a global pandemic. An unwavering dedication to employees’ well-being while upholding the company’s mission and culture. Accessible, transparent and reliable. These are all qualities and themes that describe a top CEO and inspire employees to rate their CEOs highly over this past year.

There is no executive playbook for a pandemic. Yet, the winners of Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards honoring the Top CEOs in 2021 threw out the “business as usual” mindset and embraced the changes required to lead their employees through uncertainty. The exceptional leaders featured on this list are not only driving their companies forward with innovative strategy and execution, they are engaging and uplifting their employees during challenging times, clearly demonstrated by the reviews employees have left on Glassdoor.

This year, the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards for the Top CEOs feature six distinct company categories across the U.S., Canada, UK, France and Germany. In the U.S, Glassdoor has revealed the Top 100 CEOs (honoring CEOs at employers with 1,000 or more employees) and the Top 50 CEOs at small & medium companies (honoring CEOs at employers with fewer than 1,000 employees). Glassdoor’s Top 100 CEOs in 2021 award features winning chief executives across diverse industries spanning technology, health care, finance, manufacturing, retail and more. 

“Over the past year, company leaders around the world faced unprecedented challenges to support employees during the COVID-19 crisis. Now, the employees have spoken and it’s clear that these CEOs excelled and found new ways to support their people when the world of work flipped upside down,” said Christian Sutherland-Wong, Glassdoor chief executive officer. “Through a challenging year, it’s inspiring to see Top CEOs who, according to their employees, adapted to change, redefined visions and led with transparency while putting the health and safety of employees first. I extend my sincerest congratulations to this year’s Employees’ Choice Award winners.”

This year, Boston Consulting Group’s innovative CEO Rich Lesser claims the top spot as a first time winner with a 99% approval rating. Lesser is no stranger to leading amid crisis, having led BCG through the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Great Recession. During COVID-19, according to employees on Glassdoor, BCG employees felt supported,  trusted BCG’s leadership team to carry them through the pandemic and saw how Lesser and his team led the company as a “masterclass in best practices.” Lesser and his BCG leadership team also embody the company’s core values, which include integrity, diversity, social impact and more.

More than half (56 CEOs) of this year’s Top 100 CEOs, including Rich Lesser, are on the list for the first time. Other newcomers include lululemon’s Calvin McDonald (No. 19, 96 percent approval), SurveyMonkey’s Zander Lurie (No. 40, 94 percent approval) and Slack’s Stewart Butterfield (No. 82, 92 percent approval). Five women are honored among the top 100 this year, including In-N-Out Burger’s Lynsi Snyder (No. 20, 96 percent approval), Fidelity Investments’ Abby Johnson (No. 44, 94 percent approval) and Progressive Insurance’s Tricia Griffith (No. 65, 93 percent approval). Apple’s Tim Cook (No. 32, 95 percent approval) is the only CEO to be honored all eight years.

The ten Top CEOs in 2021 in the U.S. are:

1. Boston Consulting Group’s Rich Lesser (99 percent approval)

2. Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen (99 percent approval)

3. MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Peter Pisters (99 percent approval)

4. Southwest Airlines’ Gary C. Kelly (98 percent approval)

5. Visa Inc.’s Alfred F. Kelly, Jr. (97 percent approval)

6. Microsoft’s Satya Nadella (97 percent approval)

7. H E B’s Charles C. Butt (97 percent approval)

8. Delta Air Lines’ Ed Bastian (97 percent approval)

9. Red Hat’s Paul Cormier (97 percent approval)

10. Booz Allen Hamilton’s Horacio D. Rozanski (97 percent approval)

See All U.S. Large Winners

The five Top CEOs at Small & Medium Companies in 2021 in the U.S. are:

1. 6sense’s Jason Zintak (99 percent approval)

2. Logical Position’s Michael Weinhouse and John Ganey (99 percent approval)

3. Apeel Sciences’ James Rogers (99 percent approval)

4. Lower’s Dan Snyder (99 percent approval)

5. South Carolina Federal Credit Union’s Scott Woods (99 percent approval)

See All U.S. SMB Winners

Congratulations to all of the CEOs honored, and thank you to the employees who shared their feedback on Glassdoor — it is due to both of you that organizations worldwide are becoming better, more transparent places to work.

Think your CEO deserves to make next year’s list? Share a review, and it will be considered for Glassdoor’s 2022 Employees’ Choice Awards.

Employers — wondering why your CEO didn’t make the list, and how you can become eligible for next year’s awards? Read here.

*Each list was compiled using Glassdoor’s proprietary algorithm, and each CEO approval rating determined based on the quantity, quality and consistency of reviews during the period of eligibility. For the full methodology, visit here

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9 Ways To Be An Ally And Advocate For Your LGBTQ+ Colleagues

The LGBTQ+ community faces discrimination in their personal lives and the workplace — from microaggressions, such as being misgendered or incorrectly identifying a romantic partner, to outright harassment and discrimination, such as being left out of insurance plans or even fired. 

And that makes having allies and advocates in the office very important to the LGBTQ+ community. Both allies and advocates are important to LGBTQ+ employees “who may feel their voices are not being heard,” or who face more overt forms of discrimination in the office, says Heidi Duss, a gender equity and LGBTQ+ inclusion consultant and founder of Culturescape Consulting.

You don’t have to be LGBTQ+ yourself to be an ally: In fact, “an LGBTQ+ advocate who does not identify as LGBTQ+ often has more power than someone who identifies as LGBTQ+ to bring about change in an organization, because managers and co-workers may assume that their advocacy isn’t ‘personal,’” explains Heath Fogg Davis, the director of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at Temple University and author of Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter?

Heather Hansen, a self-advocacy expert and the author of Advocate to Win agrees, and offers  this comparison: “Just like men are often the best advocates for women,” she says, “straight people are often the best advocates for LGBTQ+ community members” and coworkers.

Allies and advocates are friends, listeners, and supporters, Duss says. Specifically, “advocates can speak up when they witness hurtful language” in the office, says Emily Frank, owner of Career Catalyst, “and can draw other colleagues’ attention to their unconscious biases.”

Here are nine ways to be an ally and advocate for your LGBTQ+ colleagues at work.

Educate yourself on the meaning of LGBTQ+.

“To be able to advocate for a marginalized group, you first have to educate yourself on the terminology used to describe the group,” says Davis. For example, you can research “what do the letters mean? Which letters have been added and dropped over time, and why? How has the definition of ‘gay’ and ‘queer’ changed and evolved, and why? And what are some of the tensions between the groups flagged here?” he says. That educational foundation is important: “To advocate on behalf of LGBTQ+ coworkers can mean a lot of things, but in general, I think it means being aware of how bias against LGBTQ+ people manifests and speaking up in ways that can bring about positive change for us and the organization,” he says.

Make your own pronouns apparent.

Pronouns — she, he, they, etc. — help us identify ourselves. And by publicly using your own pronouns, you can normalize their use and help create a culture of acceptance and inclusion.

One easy way to display your pronouns is in your email signature, which “can help establish an organizational norm that it isn’t only trans and non-binary people who share their pronouns,” explains Davis. While this practice sends a positive message to trans and non-binary coworkers, it is also beneficial in email exchanges with people who have androgynous names, such as Taylor and Bailey. It lets people know which pronouns to use in their emails.”

You can also add pronouns next to your name in a Zoom the meeting, suggests Bridget Sampson, CEO of Sampson Coaching and Consulting. “This lets people gender diverse know you are aware of and respect the need to clarify pronouns, including for cisgender people,” she explains.

Be a good listener.

“So many of my clients think advocating is speaking and presenting,” says Hansen. And while that is part of being a good ally, “listening and receiving comes first.” Hansen encourages you to ask LGBTQ+ what they need: “What do they want you to advocate for? How can you be a better advocate for them? What is a win for them?” she asks. “Then listen to the answers, with your mind and heart open.” Whatever you do, please don’t assume you know their needs. “When we assume we know what people want, we are often wrong, and we can make things worse,” Hansen says.

And be open to feedback from your LGBTQ+ coworkers: “You’re likely not an expert,” Frank says, “so when you get new information or suggestions, adopt them, and keep learning.” Frank points to her own experience as an example: A transgender client recently advised her that she didn’t have a spot on her intake form for a person’s legal versus preferred name, “so I changed the document accordingly, with thanks to my client for pointing out something that, in hindsight, seemed obvious,” Frank explains.

Use inclusive language and imagery in your communications. 

When sending communications to coworkers, use language that includes all people rather than language that can create division. For example, don’t send emails that mention gender — like an email inviting “the guys” for a happy hour. And, “if you write a newsletter, make sure the pictures you share on it include examples of same-sex couples and people in a variety of dress,” says Frank. “Visibility is important, and visual images are an easy way to show your support.”

Ask questions when you’re unsure.

When something isn’t clear to you, it’s OK to ask questions. For example, “if a coworker’s gender appearance changes and you are unsure of which pronouns to use, you can simply ask the person, ‘What pronouns do you use?’” says Davis. But don’t be invasive: “Your role is that of a coworker, not a close friend with whom it might be appropriate to ask more questions,” he adds.

Questions that veer into the too-personal territory — without a clear invitation from your LGBTQ+ coworker to do so — can require “a lot of emotional labor” for them to address, says Sampson. “It may be difficult and unpleasant to discuss traumatic experiences such as being rejected by one’s family or going through medical transition,” she says. “Please respect people’s privacy.”

If you see something, say something. 

If you witness microaggressions at work, speak up. For example, “if your coworker continues to use an incorrect pronoun for someone else, keep correcting that person,” says Frank, who suggests you say something such as, “remember, [the coworkers] uses ‘they/them pronouns.”

It’s important to speak up: “Keeping your coworkers aware of these points behind the scenes will remind them to use supportive language to and with your LGBTQ+ colleagues,” she says. “You are also signaling you’re not letting them get away with microaggressions behind closed doors.”

However, Frank shares a caveat: Don’t speak for your LGBTQ+ coworker. “It’s more beneficial to support your coworkers than to speak for them when they’re right there since speaking on their behalf implies that they aren’t capable,” she explains.

When you hear derogatory comments — even subtle ones — about LGBTQ+ people at work say something, encourages Sampson. “Make it clear that you don’t agree, don’t approve, and that comments of that nature at work could be hurtful to members of the community,” she says.

And when an LGBTQ+ coworker says that they have been discriminated against, “believe them,” says Sampson. And more than that, lend your support and “investigate in any way you can,” she says, which can include helping them to bring “their complaints to the powers that be.”

Be visible at advocacy events.

Frank suggests that you attend events that support and uplift LGBTQ+ people outside of the office, such as Pride parades. Here’s why: “If you are straight and cis[gender], being visible at these events chips away at the old stigmas attached to LGBTQ+ status and demonstrates to your colleagues that you aren’t afraid to be associated with those people,” Frank explains.

Change the language you use.

When you engage in a casual or personal conversation with coworkers, take care to use inclusive language. For example, “when you ask about others’ lives, say ‘spouse’ or ‘partner’ so that you show you are not assuming that partners are the opposite sex,” Sampson says. “In other words, I wouldn’t ask, ‘What does your husband like to do for fun?’ if I’m speaking to a woman who I know is married because she may be married to a woman or nonbinary person.”

“If someone shares information about their sexuality or gender identity with you, don’t assume they are fine with you telling others,” Davis says. “Your intentions may be good. You want to let others know that [your coworker] has a husband or that [another coworker] is bisexual, thinking that this will make it easier for [them] to fit in. But it is always important to ask whether the person is comfortable with you doing so,” because if not, you could do more harm than good.

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How To Talk About COVID-19 In Job Interviews

It’s exciting to feel like we’re turning a corner with the pandemic! Summer looks like it’s back on track: restaurants packed with happy diners, gyms buzzing with athletes, and farmers’ markets alive with shoppers.

Job seekers are gearing up for a frenzy as well. The Society of Human Resource Manager’s (SHRM) Roy Mauer, refers to a “Turnover Tsunami,” explaining: “More than half of employees surveyed in North America planned to look for a new job in 2021.”  Likewise, Microsoft’s Work Trend Index notes that 40 percent of the global workforce is contemplating a job search this year.

If you plan to join the hunt shortly, it’s important to consider how supporting your employer through the pandemic has impacted your professional experience and how it has grown your skills. What did you learn while you powered through the pandemic? How did it make you a stronger, more resilient employee? How has the experience enhanced your professional skills?

It was a challenge to meet the demands that the pandemic heaped on workers from multiple directions. It takes debriefing, reflection, and soul searching to figure out what we learned and how we changed because of what we weathered. Here’s what to consider as you prepare for your post-pandemic interviews.

Check in with yourself.

Before you update your resume, revise your Glassdoor profile, and start searching for your ideal role; take some time to check in with yourself.  Before you gear up your reinvention, take a long pause.

Think about what you’ve been through during the last 15 months. What did your best day of the pandemic look like, and what made it so great? What did your hardest day of the pandemic look like-what made it so difficult?

Recognize, before you set your sights on the project of a job search, that we’ve been through a national trauma. We’ve all had to stretch our skills, patience, creativity, optimism, and resources to make this work. This is a hard experience to go through, but it grows us in important ways. Think about those. Give language to those.

Reclaim your center of gravity. Be honest with yourself about what you’ve learned, where you were challenged, and how you rose to the occasion. Get the help you need as you make sense of your experiences. Meet with a life coach, career coach, or therapist. Find clarity before starting your search, and use that to fuel your next chapter.   

Emphasize “soft skills” you honed.

These deserve a better moniker because “soft” doesn’t describe these capabilities. The only thing soft about these skills is that they stand in opposition to their counterparts; marketing, presentation, design, and project management are considered “hard skills.”  

Soft skills can be innate capabilities. They can also be learned and enhanced. They have been much discussed in recent years because these skills give human job candidates an edge over their AI competition.  Some soft skills include

  • Communication
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Agility
  • Teamwork
  • Innovation
  • Work ethic
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving

Many employees likely found that the pandemic was a crash course in soft skills development and enhancement. Some employees, for example, who were not in leadership roles before working remotely, may have found themselves stepping up and helping their teammates rise to the occasion.

Maybe you were among them. If you found yourself helping colleagues find their remote-work sea legs, or you helped fill communication gaps, these leadership skills are definitely worth mentioning in your next job interview.  Perhaps you recognized your own skills gaps and upskilled to meet the moment. The efforts you made to rise to the pandemic’s challenges are likewise important to discuss during your post-pandemic interviews.

Agility, flexibility, and resilience are also key soft skills. Many employees leaned on these heavily as they adjusted to the demands of the pandemic workload. “The global pandemic was the world’s biggest experiment in remote work, and it definitely has changed the way both employers and employees view work and the workplace. And, these views will likely continue to change as we all adjust to the post-pandemic workplace, which will likely be different than what existed before.” Explains Lori B. Rassas, HR Consultant, executive coach, and author of It’s About You Too: How To Manage Employee Resistance to Your Diversity Initiatives and Improve Workplace Culture and Profitability.  

Showing your potential employers that you are flexible and you know how to manage a crisis is impressive deftly. “[I]ndividuals seeking new roles should be certain to let prospective employers know that they are adaptable and understand the need to remain flexible as new policies and procedures are established. The reality is that most employers do not yet know what their future workforce will look like.” Rassas explains.

Make the case You can help prospective employers shape a future that is still emerging for them, just as you did during the pandemic. Look at the results you were able to achieve thanks to your soft skills. Then come to your post-pandemic interviews ready to discuss those skills and that data.

Discuss new hard skills you learned.

Maybe you had to greet customers, clients, or students. Perhaps your role was taking temperatures and ensuring that all guests, students, and participants followed protocol. Maybe you had to learn a new app or program to cover for a colleague who was taxed with another dimension of service. Perhaps Zoom was new to you, and now you’re using it to teach daily classes or facilitate meetings or workshops.

Whatever new skills you had to adapt to make operations run smoothly, those are important to mention during future interviews. You rose to the occasion. You made it work. You did all of this on the fly, and you learned about yourself, your skills, and your talents along the way.

Kyle Elliott, founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com points out: “Employers are looking for candidates who can join their company and hit the ground running. Be ready to share a recent example of when you displayed your adaptability. If your current employer quickly shifted from in-person work to telecommuting, for example, you may consider sharing how you supported your team and customers in swiftly shifting gears.”

As you share these examples, make sure to mention any new hard skills that you learned or refined, which positioned you to take on new work.

Stay positive.

It’s revealing to navigate a crisis with an employer.  What do you learn about your employer and your colleagues by experiencing the pandemic together? Was the experience positive, negative, or a mix of both?

Why have you decided to search for a new role now? Mauer’s piece points to factors like disengagement, burnout, and the need for greater advancement opportunities, enhanced compensation, and increased benefits. Some common reasons that employees are looking for new opportunities. His article also points out that the pandemic delayed searches that employees likely would have launched if the pandemic had not disrupted their plans.

Whatever reasons you have for the timing of your search, it’s important to think about why you’re targeting a new role before you hit the interview circuit. This is always a delicate narrative to shape. You want to highlight any skills or leadership growth that you experienced while navigating the challenges that came with the pandemic.

While It may be true that your employer did not handle the pandemic well. Perhaps you and your colleagues were not managed or supported well enough, or isolation set in while your team worked remotely. Maybe your work on a team that was designated “essential,” and you had to remain on-site, where you did not feel that the team was well-enough protected from Covid. While these may have been negatives, they may have led to growth opportunities for you. The trick is to find a way to talk about the growth without speaking negatively of your former employer, which doesn’t reflect well on you during an interview. 

It’s healthy to do that emotional work and to decompress from your experience. You have room to reflect on where you think that your employer might have made different choices. But do that work outside of the interview situation.

Elliott offers this advice: “avoid the mistake of focusing on the negative aspects of the pandemic. Employers are seeking employees who are willing to roll up their sleeves during these unprecedented times. Demonstrate a willingness to remain flexible, open to change, and positive”.  Get whatever support you need as you let go of the trauma and put that into perspective. Then find a tidy and genuine answer about why you’re job searching.

You’ve got this!

Surviving and succeeding through a global pandemic is no small feat. While it felt exhausting and unrelenting, it can also build strength, skills, and focus. Make sure to acknowledge the rewards you’ve earned for weathering these challenges and emphasize them as you advance in your career. You’ve earned them.

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5 Ways To Show Your Pride This June

“So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” –Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

Happy Pride month! Each June presents us with an opportunity to grow as individuals, professionals, and allies. Pride month gives us the chance to learn more about ourselves, our families, and our colleagues.  

Diversity is important at work, and it requires our ongoing support and attention. Diverse professional cultures have an edge, a multi-dimensional reach. Companies that cultivate diversity have a gravitational pull that moves internal and external stakeholders alike.  Diversity is no token gesture; companies that prioritize diversity incubate a wide breadth of understanding that attracts vast audiences who each see themselves in that workforce, message, mission, and company.   

Fully engaging in the invitation that each June extends means becoming more informed and, ultimately, more authentic. This fuels engagement which benefits staff as well as the recipients of an organization’s mission.

“Money and career growth are obvious factors in employee engagement, but there is so much more to it. If you want engagement at the highest level, you need to align employee interests with management and ownership. One way you can create this alignment is through genuinely sharing core values, interests and priorities. Celebrating pride at work is one way to show that management cares and supports LGBTQ+ employees and the community.” Explains Michael Alexis, CEO of TeamBuilding

Celebrating Pride enhances our personal education, our relationships, and our professional culture. This year, the occasion might look a bit different, as we may be showing our pride while working remotely.

It’s still important to embrace the opportunity. Alexis points out: “For remote staff, Pride celebrations (and connection in general), are even more important. Your people don’t see each other face to face on a daily basis, and so you need to invest time and resources in making sure they can build relationships, trust, communication and more. Pride celebrations are an excellent way to achieve this.”

Whether you’re working remotely, in the office, or you have a hybrid arrangement, consider these five ways to show your Pride in 2021. 

Learn something new.

This year marks the fifty-first anniversary of June’s annual LGBTQ Pride celebrations. We honor pride in June to commemorate the Stonewall uprisings. The Library of Congress explains:

June 28, 1969, marks the beginning of the Stonewall Uprising, a series of events between police and LGBTQ+ protesters that stretched over six days. It was not the first time police raided a gay bar, and it was not the first time LGBTQ+ people fought back, but the events that would unfold over the next six days would fundamentally change the nature of LGBTQ+ activism in the United States.”

The first Pride March took place on June 28, 1970, marking the anniversary of the start of the uprising. The story of LBGTQ individuals in the US is an important history to learn. Their fight and the ongoing struggle for civil rights are seldom taught in schools. Make this your year to get more deeply versed. Make a commitment to advancing your understanding of what that struggle was like. It’s a vital part of our American story.

Educating ourselves is a great way to show our pride as individuals and as a community. Plus, when you make your own commitment, you can show your pride from anywhere. That’s especially helpful if you’re working remotely this June.

Do something fun.

Get involved in a company activity honoring pride. It’s a way to learn more, invite your team’s participation, and enhance your corporate culture. Your efforts can be especially meaningful if you can tie your work into the larger community by supporting a local non-profit that assists the LQBTQ community. Alexis shares this example: “Our staff members created a Pride themed trivia session that we are doing as an internal team building event. The trivia is a way to bring people together for fun and education, and we further the impact with charitable giving. The winning team selects relevant charities, and our company will donate $50 on behalf of each of our 100+ employees. This combination of internet recognition and external community support is an excellent pairing.”

Pull together some trivia questions, play some Pride bingo, or watch a move together that enhances your LGBTQ knowledge and understanding. This also stands to serve as a bonding experience for your team.  

“Celebrating Pride at work shows employees, LGBTQ+ and otherwise, that they are an important part of your organization. The result is happier team members, higher productivity, increased retention and more — it’s win-win for everyone.” Alexis shares.

Let your ERG lead the charge.   

Glassdoor’s  Employee Resource Groups have contributed much to our culture. If your company has a similar program, consider pursuing membership. If your company does not, see what it takes to establish a similar program at your workplace.

Historically, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have served and supported corporate America’s culture since the 1970s. Typically organized around a shared, immutable identity, such as race, gender, age, or mental health, they serve as a haven of belonging, offering a space for underrepresented employees and their allies to find one another.

Employees who decide to be part of an ERG usually join to experience a reprieve from the daily micro-aggressions they endure inside the workplace and out. ERGs are internal advocacy organizations to help employers become more equitable and inclusive. People who decide to join ERGs are aiming to make an impactful change within their companies.

ERGs can also be instrumental internal leaders and partners when it comes to planning awareness events including Pride celebrations. ERG members are the employees who are best positioned to understand how to honor an awareness event associated with their identity; because they are members of a voluntary resource group, it insulates employees from being tokenized during a certain time of the year when an awareness event is celebrated.  

This positions employee resource group members to lead the celebrations in ways that are safe and meaningful for them and for their colleagues.  ERG members can take the lead in writing trivia questions, identifying meaningful speakers, or selecting meaningful movies to view as a team. ERGs empower colleagues with a shared identity to bring celebrations around their shared identity to the workplace without tokenizing them.  

Wear your pride on your sleeve.  

Hang your Prides flags in your office. Add a Pride logo on your company profile picture. Share your favorite Pride or civil rights quotations on agendas you distribute during June. Wear your “Love is Love” t-shirt to the office in June.  

Radiating your support in a host of ways sends a powerful message: this is a safe space. This is a welcoming space. Everyone is invited here. Allies are standing by.

Alexis points out: “For allies, navigating ideas like gender and sexuality can be awkward, especially at work. While you may be very supportive, you may also not know how to show that support — it may be weird to randomly tell your LGBTQ+ colleagues ‘I support you’ — you may not even know how they identify. However, when the entire office or remote team is celebrating Pride, you cut through those barriers and allow everyone to be supportive in an open and understood environment.”

Arrange or participate in a program.

If you’re in a position to arrange a speaker for your team or workplace, a great speaker can have a tremendous impact on a culture. While many offices are still virtual, this is a great way to create a virtual or an in-person program. Inviting that perspective is a helpful way to deepen your understanding and that of your team. A speaker can offer insight and perspective that can enhance culture for LGBTQ employees and their colleagues. 

When it comes to planning or participating in programs that are truly impactful, it’s helpful to balance fun activities with those that build knowledge and awareness. “Your celebrations can educational in both direct and indirect ways. For example. hiring a speaker to lead an LGBTQ+ themed lunch and learn for your team would be more direct. Watching a themed movie together would still be educational and could lean more toward entertainment. I recommend finding a balance of both.” Alexis shares.

Whether you are planning or participating in June’s events, aim to find a balance that builds your knowledge base and gives you the chance to have fun with your colleagues.

Embrace June 

The pandemic has been a long difficult experience. Finally, we can return to our social lives and, increasingly our workspaces. It’s an ideal time to renew our commitment to diversity and to each other. Actor George Takei remarks: “We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity.”

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