Nigel Paine presented this workshop at Elliot Masie's Learning 2015 Conference.
This was a conversational session during which all of the participants broke themselves up into smaller groups in order to talk about we we do to keep our careers fresh and moving forward. This basically turned into a discussion on how we *should* be using LinkedIn more effectively. I feel like I have a decent LinkedIn profile and I update all of my projects as they come about but the one thing I do not do well on LinkedIn is post original thoughts; and that was my a-ha moment.
|My LinkedIn profile header.|
How many of us give away our talents and skills beyond our employers and customers?
If you’re a web designer, do you volunteer your time at the United Way by helping them with pro bono web design projects? If you’re a marketer, do you volunteer your time at your local humane society by designing advertisements or creating social media posts for them for free? If you’re a really great listener, do you volunteer as a Big Brother, Big Sister and mentor a kid who needs someone to hear her and take an interest in her development as a fellow human being?
I don’t think enough of us share our skills and talents with our communities at large and this is not only a disservice to ourselves but to our companies and to our communities general.
We hurt ourselves because if we want to grow our professional networks so we are able to move into richer, potentially more fulfilling roles and positions, then we need to share our work with those beyond our water coolers. We need to cast a wider net and diversify our social circles. Otherwise, when Jane Doe Executive has a Lead Web Designer position come open, she will think of you first because 1) you both serve on the Marketing and Communications committee of the United Way and 2) she’s experienced first-hand how you work and the quality of your products, and 3) you’ve mentioned in passing wat your career aspirations are. You’re no longer a post-it note swimming in a big pond of resumes.
Companies are doing a disservice to themselves if they are not requiring community volunteering of all their employees because they’re missing an opportunity to develop employees who 1) have a vested interest in the local world around them, 2) are therefore more invested in their roles at the company, and 3) are therefore less likely to look for jobs elsewhere. This seems like common sense to me and yet, why aren’t we making community involvement a part of their training and development plans?
And I’m talking about all employees, not just the C-Suite and middle managers. Every. Single. Employee. If we only require one section of our organization to be embedded in the community, a reward in and of itself, then the rest of the staff will be missing out on a very enriching experience. Everyone in the organization should: 1) feel that they have something to give back, to share (because they do) and, 2) be given the recognition, opportunity, and support to share that something with their local community in a constructive and meaningful way.
This isn’t a new idea; I feel like Seth Godin talked about this in one of his books for which I cannot remember the citation, and Austin Kleon wrote about it, too, in Show Your Work. Beverly Kaye’s book on Help them grow or watch them grow – is perhaps more on point. They didn’t make the connection to job satisfaction and employee retention that I am attempting to here, but they talked about sharing what we know beyond our colleagues.
For another time: why I think public libraries especially should be doing this…