Recently, Carolyn Levy, President of Randstad Technologies, and her mentee, Paige Willis, a Regional Manager for Randstad’s staffing division, sat down to record a podcast with #movethedial that discusses how employers can create spaces for women to be their authentic selves at work. Carolyn and Paige share their vision for authenticity in the workplace and discuss how mentorship has impacted their careers. Listen to the podcast to hear their full conversation, or check out some of our key takeaways below.
on authenticity and failure
Carolyn: Being authentic means I feel that I have psychological security where I am. If you’re able to be authentic, you have the freedom to experiment, freedom to fail and learn from it, and I think that's a big message to organizations. Do you truly have an environment that allows people to fail? And allows people to embrace their curiosity to try something different? When I can feel I'm able to do that, it really strengthens my ability to be authentic. It's using that human-centric approach to think ‘'let's focus on the positives of what we can do within our business'’ and focusing on that, instead of what the failures are.
Paige: Authenticity really means being transparent to me. Being transparent even when it’s not the popular choice. You have to have the courage to say something that you don’t think is going to be well-received.
on how to maintain a culture of authenticity
Carolyn: We've put a lot of platforms in place. We start with something as simple as what our dress code is. We've set up ‘dress for your day’, so employees can have their own self-expression at work. We have a diversity and inclusion committee with stakeholders from all areas of the business, so we're really working towards being an inclusive environment. We've also disrupted what we do from an annual review standpoint. We've moved to what we call 'Great Conversations' - and they happen much more frequently, they're completely dedicated to career pathing, whether you want to move from a hierarchical perspective or if you want to put breath into your position.
on the real self versus the best self
Carolyn: To be your real self, in my opinion, means you can show up, you can be authentic without fear of judgment, and know that you can share your unique perspective without any risk of reprisal. Then to be your best self, that’s the employee’s choice to empower that in themselves. To show up as your best self, you have to want to be because of the environment and the organization you’re in. That’s a massive message to employers that you need to create that environment. Thinking of things as simple as what your internal communication platform looks like. At Randstad, we have something we call the hub. You can share stories, you can give positive feedback, you can give shout outs. It’s just a way for people to connect.
on the impact of mentorship has on authenticity
Paige: Our relationship started formally since I reported directly to Carolyn. The way it turned into a mentorship was actually informally, it was informal mentorship. Based on the relationship we had, I was able to be very authentic with her, she helped me to tailor what I was trying to do in the organization. Long after I was no longer reporting to her, I felt comfortable to go to her for both personal and professional perspectives. Something that is very valued in our organization, is to have these conversations, whether formal or informal. Relationships and mentorship have developed through those conversations. In my relationship with Carolyn, she really taught me how to bring your authentic self and how to match that to your organization, and how to tailor, deliver and communicate it properly.
Carolyn: Mentorship definitely plays a key factor in people's ability to be authentic. Organizations that create those formal opportunities allow for more people to have meaningful connections.
This podcast is part of the partnership Randstad Technology has established with #movethedial, a global movement dedicated to advancing the participation and leadership of women in tech. This partnership looks at how we can support women in leadership and help them be their best selves. It includes initiatives such as an event in Calgary to showcase stories, challenges and triumphs of women in tech, content cross-sharing, and numerous networking opportunities. Stay tuned to see more content derived from this partnership!