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The Leaders · Season 1

Preparing for the future of work

Jul 23, 2020

Catherine Chandler-Crichlow is on the leading edge of the latest trends and skills necessary to equip yourself for the jobs of the future.


Dr. Catherine Chandler-Crichlow

In the wake of a global pandemic, what the future of work could look like is increasingly coming into focus. Charged with heading Ivey’s Career Management team, Catherine Chandler-Crichlow is on the leading edge of the latest trends and skills necessary to equip yourself for the jobs of the future.


Insights and wisdom lie within every business decision. Welcome to the Leaders by Ivey podcast, where we discover hidden narratives and unlock key learnings for our own leadership and career journeys. Hello. Welcome to the latest episode of the Leaders by Ivey podcast, I’m Matt Quinn. Today's guest is Catherine Chandler-Crichlow executive director of Career Management, Corporate Recruiting at Ivey. Catherine has a tremendous amount of experience speaking about the workforce, and in this conversation she looks ahead at what the future of work might look like. Her positive outlook is infectious. It speaks to a future of tremendous opportunity. She notes that we're living in the bubble of the future of work. I hope you like this conversation as much as I did. Enjoy! Hey Catherine, thanks very much for joining us. Let's dive right in with so much change happening for our business for our school for our country. What do you think are some of the things that a student should be looking at and considering when planning out their career? That's an important question because I think there may be a perception that what has happened in the workforce landscape now is going to continue to remain exactly as it is, and I think that is a that is one point that students need to understand that we are our at a point in time where this pandemic has forced our organizations to basically rethink how they do things in the short-term. But the good part of all of this is that this market will rebound. We will get opportunities coming forward for students and for us we have been very fortunate in that employers continue to signature to us that they will continue to hire at our school. They continued to be interested in our students, and so what we are working on is to help students recognize that you need to be ready. You need to get yourself market ready with all the things that you would normally do to go after building a career and that you do those in such a manner that when you are in the face of recruiting, you are coming over as authentic and relaxed and as normal as possibly could be done in this environment, as you might do in a face-to-face environment. And so its helping students to develop a more precise definitions of what are their strengths. What are their skills? What have their competencies? What is the experience that they have had in the past? That could be useful for a range of different sectors, and so the readiness that has to take place now for students is not just in the areas that we would have done previously, but it's being able to present themselves and a face to face format or in this virtual format, just as effectively as you will do otherwise, and that is sometimes a challenge, and you know, but our students are savvy, and we have no doubts that they would do well when it comes to the actual recruiting process. Oh that's great, and I know that you and I have talked offline about you know some of the resources that are available for Ivey students. So, let's talk for a minute about what Ivey students should be doing and taking advantage of as a student. Ivey’s world renowned for the services that it provides the students in terms of careers while they are at Ivey. But our greatest support is what provide for students after they graduate and all of our graduates, have the option to come back and continue with coaching sessions three to six months after they graduate, they have the option to be able to understand where employers are continuing to pivot and look at new opportunities going forward so to learn where they can positions themselves. We also continue to provide information sessions, whether those are through webinars or any other form of communication, to help them identify how they can look at other sectors rather than the specific ones that may have come into the program with. So we hope that our students will continue to stay engage. We hope that they would be in touch with us and look for coaching sessions if they need to practice their interviewing skills and so on. They have an option to do that. So my biggest call out to our recent graduates stay involved, stay engaged. Let's help you understand where the markets are going, so that you could be ready for recruitment when the employers begin to recruit again. Not only are students scanning and thinking ahead, but also employers, businesses industries are scanning ahead for things that might actually persist after the pandemic as ramped down and we're on to different phases. What are your thoughts on some of the things that might persist and how employers and employees might need to adjust to this norm that we might not even know what it looks like right now? I think some of the things that will exist are the functional areas that employers would look for, and what do I mean by that? Employers will continue to look for individuals who understand strategy, operations, marketing and other specializations. I think those things will not change. How many and in how they spread across sectors and organizations might really, but I think the functional areas would remain the same. What change, I think, is the interpersonal competencies that employers will be looking for and specifically what we are hearing from employers, it's that they are going to be continuing to recruit online and quite likely they were all so onboard online. They may have some of their new recruits assuming positions in this virtual mode initially, and so students then, would need to have an understanding of the new competencies that one needs to develop for a virtual environment. So how do you participate in a team? How do you get a new form of communication and engagement in a virtual environment? And how do you begin to understand what your role is in an organization and where you add value. I think a lot of that is going to change and it would happen very quickly because organizations already beginning to post for jobs for our 2021 classes. So this is something that students would need to build and not rely simply on their functional knowledge and have that that really good mix or functional and interpersonal capabilities. I’m envisioning, some of our listeners might be- might be listening to this thinking. I am currently looking for a job I just graduated or I’m in a transition period, but the coronavirus is happening. Catherine, could you give us some advice for those listeners on? What you would suggest is a key for success during this time? What I think people who are either transitioning or who have just graduated and coming into what seems to be a difficult employment season may initially feel overwhelmed, or they may originally feel that there's very little likelihood that they could land the ideal positions if they may be interested in. This is a point where they need to get engaged as quickly as possible. Either with employment agencies, some of those are provided by provinces and municipalities. They can get involved in their schools, career management programs. There are number of opportunities for engagement, and I would suggest that is item number one that they need to look at, because through engagement they will be able to also identify how markets are shifting, how organizations and companies are changing their recruitment strategy, so they can begin to align to where the market is going. Rather than not being aware as to a new opportunities that might be emerging. Can you talk briefly about where some of these resources might be, where an interested person could go to learn more well, I think it's important to consider that there are a number of resources that are either local or federal or provincial, that that people can read to tap into, for example, if you are in a region a community whether it's in Ottawa or London or Toronto, all of these municipalities have an economic development counsel and those councils provide updated information in terms of sectoral development for that region. So, if you're interested in one of those regions as an example, that is a possible source that you can go to understand, what's happening there. Similarly, if you wanted to look at what may be happening in different business areas, there are also organizations like the conference board of Canada, the business council of Canada that provides information on what's happening in broader sectors, whether that is financial services, whether that is in you know, CPG and others, but I think, there's another source that we often don't tap into as much as we could, and that is the not for profit associations that provide opportunities for those who are interested in emerging areas, for example, sustainable investing and others. So you can look at organizations that are providing current information on what's in merging and what's happening not only in the for profit but in the not for profit sector, because students, I think and individuals, can miss a number of opportunities that are available in the not the profits because they're just not even looked at so there's a there's, a real plethora of organizations and types and sectors, and it's important to tap into all of them to get a real sense of where you fit. That's great and again for those listening, google check it out. If you want to follow up, make sure to check the Ivey website for other resources as well. With so much information hitting us all the time and change happening more rapidly than maybe we're used to overwhelm can be an issue whether you're a student, whether you're a leader, whether you're an organization. Catherine, can you talk a little bit about what we can consider or do to help prevent that overwhelm? I think that's a very important question because it affects everyone, not necessarily in the same manner, but it comes to all of us and I think, when we are experiencing change that seems to be accelerated in some way. You know, we've had to leave situations very quickly. We have had to have students or children who have been taken out of care or other situations all very quickly? It is quite easy to feel overwhelmed, and I think this is where it is important to look at some of our leadership competencies and how competences such as sense making could be used to help develop q mindset help develop an approach to deal with all of the myriad of things that have taken face around you and not be over when so, I would recommend that people use a competency like sense making, which is you know very important for ambiguous and changing situations. Could you for a moment just give us one or two things or things we could do or employ to start that sense making? I know you mentioned taking a pause and reflection. Talk about that a little bit more. Well I think that there are a number of things steps that could be taken and I usually say to people when I, when I speak about sense making, is to try and create those little buckets if I could call it that or boxes and put the situations in the appropriate box, you know you could look at what needs to be done with child care. You can look at what needs to be done with your curriculum. How do you manage to work? I mean that you can create all of these boxes, where you can cluster the specific issues and when those are clustered you can begin to assess what is the problem in this particular area? What is the challenge in another also be able to compare and contrast where it are the pressure points in different areas? It's so also possible to take an approach of developing a plan to deal with child care or your study program or just how you manage your time, how you do build work life balance in this virtual environment and all of this cause for one of the most important abilities, and that is first and foremost pause and do some self reflection do some retrospection in terms of what has what has changed and what can I do going forward and what it does is that it provides an opportunity to have little plans that you can work on things that you can manage, and so, as opposed to be feeling overwhelmed, you actually end up with distinct little plans for dealing with the family dealing with work dealing with communication and others. So I think this is a competency that is much under used, but is very much needed in this ambiguous and changing period. Now, Catherine, I want to take a bit of another path here for this you're, an author and presenter on the future of work, and so much is up in the air right now. You've talked a little bit about some things that you see moving forward and of what the future might look like. Could you talk a little bit more about what you think of the nature of work that we're currently experiencing, and maybe what you might hypothesize is going to happen in the future? Well, that's a fascinating question for me and the future of work has always been one of the emerging trends and topics that has been a passion for me and because of my background in human capital development. I have always looked at these conversations and the discussions about the future of work and have been a bit bewildered by the fact that heavy emphasis is placed on what work looks like, but there's very little emphasis placed on the worker, the dividual who have to experience or work in these changing environments, and I would argue that the work that we have seen from a host of organizations- and I can tell you if you want to learn more about- what's happening in this space. They are organizations like the world economic forum which all countries contribute to the world bank conference board of Canada and others all talking about how the future of work is going to be impacted by technology. And here we are, we are talking about the changing nature of work and that has been impacted by a pandemic and we are, I would argue, living in that bubble, that people have been describing as the future of work. This is it and in fact, technologies are now seen as enables they are seen as the glue that's holding organizations together in this. In this context, so I think what we now need to step back and think about is not so much the changing nature of work. But how do we continue to build robust organizations in which people are the centre of our development, in which people and their skills and capabilities and the values that we have in organizations continue to be the strength of our organization? Because I would argue, and you know we suggested, I could look forward and sort of predict. What I see, I would argue that the organizations that are going to strive and do really well going forward are the ones who have been able to sustain and build strong teams. Individuals who can work together in group decision making the individuals who can contribute to their departments outside of their original functions, all towards having very strong institutions, and so I think, rather than technology being a risk. It has turned all organizations into one where they've got a place, increase the value on their greatest assets and that's the people, and I think we will see more and more about happening. So, the last question that I’ve got today is around, what would you like the listener to think about or consider, or is there a cause that you're passionate about that you'd like listener, to sit back and think about and maybe get involved with anything you like to leave our listeners with my greatest cause is providing opportunities for all individuals as best as we can to reach their greatest potential. You know at Ivey. We do that continuously. We try to ensure that our extracurriculars, we try to ensure that our career management programs, we try to ensure that the world that we do with alumni all are in the benefit of our students but thinking outside of the Ivey walls. We have communities that require people who can contribute and help to develop those areas. There were organizations, and individuals, don't have access to the sort of resources that we may have, for example, at Ivey, and I think it's important that as we go forward that we think of how we strengthen the communities in which we live. We ensure that those who disadvantaged, who may not be able to have access, for example, to the same technologies that we are using to be able to have and provide a effective education for their children that we give back, and I feel very strongly that for those of us who have been able to excel at whatever we do for those of us who have been able to grow in whatever sectors or careers that we have developed, that we look forward and think of how we bring others along whether it is define institutions, whether it's within our communities or in communities that we are not actively in, but where we can provide some guidance. So I believe very strongly in given back. I believe, very strongly that human capital development is a responsibility of every individual. You don't have to have specialized in it, but as long as you have a skill and a capability and people who can learn from that, i think it's a real opportunity and we are seeing it now where we can get back in changeable of ways and in real situations. So I hope that we can do that. Well, that's great Catherine, thank you for joining us today and when thinking about the future of work, it's clear to me that it is about the people and it is about people helping others in the community, helping their community grow and the organizations that you feel are going to really set the stage for the future are the ones that do that helping inside and outside the organization. Thank you to Ivey, so on Catherine Chandler-Crichlow for joining us on the Leaders by Ivey podcast. I hope you enjoyed this conversation and that her positive outlook rubbed off on you be sure to subscribe, enjoy at us next time, as we continue to dive deep into leadership and how it impacts, individuals, organizations and team to like. Thanks again!