Employees learn importance of job crafting, career owning at Yale CareerConnect 2016

February 23, 2016

Nearly 300 professionals from across Yale University gathered in Zhang Auditorium Feb. 18 for Yale CareerConnect 2016. The afternoon program offered staff an opportunity for staff to learn about career development resources available at Yale and to hone their own resume.

The event included remarks by Mike Peel, vice president of human resources and administration, and Elena DePalma, director of the Office of Organizational Effectiveness and Staff Development (OESD, and a keynote address by Amy Wrzesniewski, professor of organizational behavior, at the School of Management.

In his opening remarks, Peel emphasized the importance of growing our own talent at Yale. Recently Yale was filling 75% of jobs with external hires, he said, noting that now with a current 50% internal hire rate, Yale is well on its way to inverting that statistic. The goal in coming years is to fill 75% of jobs with internal hires. Peel told the assembled, “Since joining Yale in 2008, there have been few things more important to me than development of Yale staff, and that, in a way Yale CareerConnect 2016 is in part the realization of my vision of what a culture of development might look like — one where every individual has the opportunity to realize their full potential and be provided with every opportunity to succeed.”

DePalma talked about the importance of “owning your career,” drawing from her experience of “floating” through the early years of her own career. “Career development isn’t something that happens to us,” she said. “It is a process in which we are the drivers. Like anything that involves growth, a commitment of time and energy is required, but the outcomes for both your work and personal self can be spectacular and far reaching.”

Wrzesniewski, a leading expert on the topic of work identity and how people make meaning of their work, described “job crafting” as what employees can do to redesign their current jobs in ways that foster engagement at work, job satisfaction, resilience, and thriving. She advised audience members to identify tasks that may not be part of thei rcurrent job but are a part of who they are.

 DePalma tied Wrzesniewski’s research to Yale’s focus on career development. “We believe that individuals need not have to find another job or get a promotion to be more satisfied with their work,” DePalma said, “but that there are things that can be changed or modified in their current job, that will better suit their motives, strengths, and passions. Job crafting is in perfect alignment with our philosophy.”

A panel on career growth at Yale featured five staff members with diverse career paths. Panelists discussed the steps they took that led to their current positions and gave advice on taking advantage of opportunities, networking, and mentoring at Yale. John Poitras, production supervisor at Yale Printing & Publishing Services, told the audience: “If you like what you’re doing, it feels less like a job and more like a career.”

Recruiters were on site to give resume reviews and a photographer who took professional head shots for use on LinkedIn. Attendees were also treated to “trailers” of three upcoming courses led by OESD instructors Deb Lindenman and Boni Candelario: “Leveraging the Power of LinkedIn,” “Powerful Storytelling: An Expert Tool for Connecting with Others,” and “Networking at Yale with Informational Interviews.” The afternoon concluded with a networking reception and raffle.

Yale CareerConnect 2016 was sponsored by Yale Human Resources’ office of Organizational Effectiveness and Staff Development. Additional sponsors include Yale Human Resources’ Office of Staffing and Career Development, and the Future Leaders of Yale, Yale Latino Networking Group, and Asian Network at Yale affinity groups. For information on career development at Yale, visit grow.itsyouryale.yale.edu.

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