Archive for September, 2012

September 25, 2012

Gen Y needs no slogan but true, authentic information (about work)!

In this most interesting post, CAL NEWPORT explores why some bright slogans may actually NOT benefit your employer brand reputation with Gen Y…

Generation Y, of which I’m a member, is entering the job market in record numbers, and according to many commentators things are not going well.

One of the best-known books about my cohort, for instance, is titled Generation Me. The New York Post called us “The Worst Generation,” while USA Today noted that we are “pampered” and “high maintenance.” Earlier this year, a New York Times op-ed called us “Generation Why Bother,” noting that we’re “perhaps…too happy at home checking Facebook,” when we could be out aggressively seeking new jobs and helping the economy recover. The fact that up to a third of 25-34 year-olds now live with their parents only supports these gripes.

To many, the core problem of this generation is clear: we’re entitled. I don’t deny these behaviors, but having recently finished researching and writing a book on career advice, I have a different explanation. The problem is not that we’re intrinsically selfish or entitled. It’s that we’ve been misinformed.

Generation Y was raised during the period when “follow your passion” became pervasive career advice. The chart below, generated using Google’s N-Gram Viewer, shows the occurrences of this phrase in printed English over time.

Passion pic newport.jpg

Notice that the phrase begins its rise in the 1990s and skyrockets in the 2000s: the period when Generation Y was in its formative schooling years.

Why is this a problem? This simple phrase, “follow your passion,” turns out to be surprisingly pernicious. It’s hard to argue, of course, against the general idea that you should aim for a fulfilling working life. But this phrase requires something more. The verb “follow” implies that you start by identifying a passion and then match this preexisting calling to a job. Because the passion precedes the job, it stands to reason that you should love your work from the very first day.

It’s this final implication that causes damage. When I studied people who love what they do for a living, I found that in most cases their passion developed slowly, often over unexpected and complicated paths. It’s rare, for example, to find someone who loves their career before they’ve become very good at it — expertise generates many different engaging traits, such as respect, impact, autonomy — and the process of becoming good can be frustrating and take years.

The early stages of a fantastic career might not feel fantastic at all, a reality that clashes with the fantasy world implied by the advice to “follow your passion” — an alternate universe where there’s a perfect job waiting for you, one that you’ll love right away once you discover it. It shouldn’t be surprising that members of Generation Y demand a lot from their working life right away and are frequently disappointed about what they experience instead.

The good news is that this explanation yields a clear solution: we need a more nuanced conversation surrounding the quest for a compelling career. We currently lack, for example, a good phrase for describing those tough first years on a job where you grind away at building up skills while being shoveled less-than-inspiring entry-level work. This tough skill-building phase can provide the foundation for a wonderful career, but in this common scenario the “follow your passion” dogma would tell you that this work is not immediately enjoyable and therefore is not your passion. We need a deeper way to discuss the value of this early period in a long working life.

We also lack a sophisticated way to discuss the role of serendipity in building a passionate pursuit. Steve Jobs, for example, in his oft-cited Stanford Commencement address, told the crowd to not “settle” for anything less than work they loved. Jobs clearly loved building Apple, but as his biographers reveal, he stumbled into this career path at a time when he was more concerned with issues of philosophy and Eastern mysticism. This is a more complicated story than him simply following a clear preexisting passion, but it’s a story we need to tell more.

These are just two examples among many of the type of nuance we could inject into our cultural conversation surrounding satisfying work — a conversation that my generation, and those that follow us, need to hear. We’re ambitious and ready to work hard, but we need the right direction for investing this energy. “Follow your passion” is an inspiring slogan, but its reign as the cornerstone of modern American career advice needs to end.

We don’t need slogans, we need information — concrete, evidence-based observations about how people really end up loving what they do.

More blog posts by Cal Newport
Cal Newport


Cal Newport lives in Washington, D.C., where he is a writer and an assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown University. His new book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, takes a contrarian look at popular career advice.

September 24, 2012

Etude Adecco: les réseaux sociaux permettent-ils de trouver un job?

L’étude du Groupe Adecco France révèle de fortes disparités selon les types de réseaux sociaux et les profils des candidats.

Réalisée en juin 2012 auprès d’un échantillon de 5 317 personnes en poste ou à la recherche d’un emploi, cette étude révèle que malgré l’essor rapide des réseaux sociaux il existe encore une réticence et des disparités fortes face à leur utilisation dans le cadre d’une recherche d’emploi.

Des utilisations différentes en fonction du réseau social et du profil des utilisateurs

Abstraction faite des réseaux sociaux dits « grand public1 » peu utilisés par les répondants dans le cadre d’une recherche d’emploi, une distinction est faite entre les deux principaux réseaux sociaux professionnels, Viadeo et LinkedIn. Viadeo est davantage utilisé dans le cadre d’une démarche active de recherche d’emploi. LinkedIn est en revanche plutôt utilisé comme un outil de gestion de carrière. Une utilisation confortée par le fait que 79 % des personnes contactées par un recruteur par le biais d’un réseau social, l’ont été via Viadeo et 43 % via LinkedIn (3% via Facebook et 1% via Twitter).

Des pratiques différentes selon les profils des utilisateurs :

Parmi les personnes qui ont été contactées via les réseaux sociaux dans le cadre de leur recherche d’emploi, 2 sur 10 se sont vues proposer des offres d’emploi, ce chiffre montant à 3 sur 10 dans le domaine de l’informatique.

En termes de catégorie professionnelle, les cadres, à hauteur de 46 %, sont les principaux utilisateurs des réseaux sociaux professionnels, devant les professions intermédiaires (24%), les employés (17%) et les ouvriers (7%). Concernant les cadres, ce sont ceux évoluant dans les secteurs de la Finance, de l’Informatique, de l’Ingénierie de la Vente et du Marketing qui ont recours à l’utilisation des réseaux sociaux professionnels dans le cadre d’une recherche d’emploi.

Une fois le candidat « approché », les réseaux sociaux se révèlent particulièrement efficaces avec un taux de transformation poste pourvu / offre d’emploi qui s’élève à 58% tous profils confondus. Ce taux monte à près de 90% pour les candidats dans la finance, l’Ingénierie et l’Informatique, entre 75% et 67% pour les profils Administratifs et Commerciaux. En revanche, ce taux n’est que de 25% dans les métiers de la Production et même quasi nul pour les profils du Transport, de la Logistique et du BTP.

[1] Réseaux sociaux « grand public » : Facebook, Twitter, YouTube…
Réseaux sociaux « professionnels » : Viadéo, LinkedIn…

Un écart entre perception et utilisation des données

Selon les résultats de l’étude, 53% des sondés jugent les réseaux sociaux utiles et 23% les utilisent. Elle nous enseigne également que le premier frein à l’utilisation des réseaux sociaux professionnels dans le cadre d’une recherche d’emploi est la confidentialité des données. Parmi les personnes ne les utilisant pas, 45% d’entre elles ne souhaitent pas renseigner leurs informations personnelles sur le web.

La méconnaissance de l’ensemble des fonctionnalités offertes apparaît également comme une limite à leur utilisation. Ainsi, 43% des personnes ne les utilisant pas ne s’y réfèrent pas car elles n’y trouvent pas de « réelle utilité », ce chiffre monte à 63% pour les moins de 25 ans. 20% avouent même ne « pas y avoir pensé » et 7% estiment les réseaux sociaux professionnels « trop compliqués ».

Lorsqu’ils sont utilisés, les réseaux sociaux professionnels le sont de manière « classique ». Les informations attendues sont peu différentes de celles délivrées par les Jobs Board : annonces d’emploi (90%) ; informations sur l’activité des entreprises (85%), le marché de l’emploi (78%), la formation (73%), et des conseils (78%).
En revanche, l’essence même des réseaux sociaux (échange, réseaux) n’est pas mise en avant par les répondants.

En conclusion, l’utilisation des vecteurs « classiques » (candidature spontanée (56%), entourage (54%), presse (41%), jobboards 40%)…) reste la norme et le réflexe premier en matière de recherche d’emploi.
Par ailleurs, il apparaît que les réseaux sociaux « grand public », même s’ils jouissent d’une forte notoriété ne sont aujourd’hui pas perçus comme des canaux « naturels » pour rechercher un emploi.
Les réseaux sociaux professionnels quant à eux apparaissent comme des leviers efficaces pour trouver un emploi, notamment auprès des cadres.

Une utilisation plus interactive des fonctionnalités propres aux réseaux sociaux (i.e. groupes de discussion…) permettra d’aller au-delà de l’utilisation « classique » (similaire à celle des Jobs Board).

Cette étude conforte le groupe Adecco France dans ses processus et formations dédiés pour ses candidats, clients et collaborateurs dans l’accompagnement du recrutement via les outils 2.0, qui reste une priorité pour le Groupe.

Etude online réalisée en juin 2012 auprès d’un échantillon de 5 317 personnes en poste ou à la recherche d’un emploi et représentatif de la population active française selon la méthode des quotas appliquée aux critères suivants : âge, sexe, catégories socioprofessionnelles. L’étude Infographie-etude-reseaux-sociaux-groupe-adecco


September 5, 2012

Innovation Management

Some of the most innovative companies have sabbaticals as part of their employee development program, or empower employees to work on projects of their own, next to their daily tasks. Could it be that this makes happier co-workers, hence a better, more innovative company?

, former Head of Innovation at Sony Ericsson Mobile, explores in her article posted on Innovation Management,  the reasons why these benefit the way our brain works.

Can an organization be too customer oriented? What are the consequences of letting short term requirements of existing customers cannibalize the exploration of your own an agenda? How can a sense of meaning be reinstalled in disillusioned development organizations? Read Susanna’s latest blog post to find out.

Some time ago I had lunch with a friend. She and her husband had just returned from a short sabbatical. His passion is wine and wine making and when an opportunity to go and work at a winery appeared they grabbed it. When talking about the experience my friend admitted that she had done it mostly for his sake even though she had enjoyed some of it too. That led to us exchanging thoughts about our passions, our interests outside “the musts” with work and family and we were both unsure of what we would pursue. In addition, we both admitted some false comfort in using our spouses interests as an excuse to feel overly responsible for food and family instead of taking the time to find and develop a true hobby. We were both jealous of our spouses though, feeling that a part of us was dissatisfied.

Interestingly enough, I have found similar behavior at some of the companies I work with. Development departments claim to be customer driven and market orientated on one hand and on the other hand they’re frustrated about not creating enough innovation, using all available time to try to catch up an ever growing list of demands of product development and sales, aka customers, even testifying a sense of disillusion amongst co-workers. They say that they are stuck in not having enough resources, wanting to but not knowing how to act differently, knowing that the brainpower is there but is not reflected in the results.

Could it be, I wonder, that they, just as my friend and I also feel some comfort in this? After all, being a victim of circumstances is quite nice. Blame circumstances instead of taking accountability for ones behaviors and decisions. Is it not easier to put oneself into the hands of somebody else, a customer or a partner and let them decide what you should do instead of going into an uncertain and sometimes ambiguous process of exploring what it is that they as an organization or I as a person really want?

How do you know it’s the right ladder if you always have somebody else to decide which to climb?

Research shows that the amount of happiness co-workers experience at work is correlated to creativity and the capability to innovate – the happier the more creative and the better innovation. And as it turns out, one of the two factors (the other one being relationships) that heavily influences the happiness level is results: the feeling of making a difference, of creating meaning. Of going home knowing that a good day of work was done. Stephen Covey (author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) compares being successful (or rather having a career) to climbing a ladder, emphasizing the importance to climbing the right one in order to create meaningful results. So I ask: How do you know it’s the right ladder if you always have somebody else to decide which to climb? If all you do is try to satisfy existing customers and never explore your own ideas.

Short term it may be comforting to have someone else making the decisions for you, but experience tells me that you’re only prolonging the issue of figuring how to make meaning, hoping to avoid dealing with it by using the “somebody else” as a shield of false protection. The price is loosing the sense of meaning since the only thing you do is carry out someone else’s ideas, not your own. No meaning, no happiness. No happiness, no creativity nor innovation. As simple as that.

It is a big mistake to let customer requirements take over at the expense of an agenda of ones own.

You may think that I am pushing things a bit here, but I believe that we as human beings create our organizations, not squares in a Powerpoint presentation. If we are dissatisfied or have lost the sense of doing something meaningful then that will be the state of our organizations as well. I do not argue against customer orientation. But what I see is a deeply unbalanced situation. It is a big mistake to let customer requirements take over at the expense of an agenda of ones own. In many companies the development department is the heart of the innovation activities. It consists of highly skilled engineers with advanced thoughts on where to go in the future and great ideas supporting those thoughts. But if they never get to explore their own ideas at the expense of constantly doing incremental innovation for existing customers then they loose the sense of meaning.

So I say to all of you who want to increase the level of innovation: make sure to have an agenda of your own, a few development projects and activities independent of customer demands. It will add to the sense of creating meaning and allow you to feel complete ownership of an idea or a project. And let your employees and co-workers explore their talents in a way that completes managing daily life and short term issues.

As for myself, I decided to consciously set aside time this summer to pursue one of my interests, kicking it of by watching the documentary of el Bulli (“Cooking in action”). I have chopped, fried, cooked and baked, not because I had to, but only but because I wanted to. It felt great.

By Susanna Bill

About the author

Susanna is the former Head of Innovation at Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications. In 2009 she founded Sustenance AB and since then shares her time between advising corporate leaders in how to make innovation happen by strengthening the innovation capabilities of their organizations, and pursuing a PhD at the department of Design Sciences at Lund University, focusing on the social processes that are beneficial for the innovation capabilities of self organizing teams. Susanna is a sought after speaker and panelist and the moderator of Innovation in Mind conference.