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Posts from the ‘Way to Work’ Category

ACSESS CHAMPION: ADECCO Canada Adecco Canada opens the doors of power to support future leaders

Article by ACSESS Canada

It took a leap of faith for Gilbert Boileau, President of Adecco Canada, to swing open the doors of his office for a month.

That’s exactly what he did. In June, Gilbert invited Alana Couvrette, (pictured above with Gilbert) a 22-year-old student studying public administration and political science at the University of Ottawa, to job shadow him, as part of his company’s CEO for One Month program. As part of the process, she would also share her journey along the way on social media.

Boileau is big believer in giving everyone at all levels a chance to excel but had some reservations. “I questioned how it would come together, yet was intrigued to see the outcome. I would need to allow someone in ‘my bubble,’” explains Gilbert, “but for the program to work effectively, Alana needed to be able to shadow me as I carried out my day. Her job shadowing covered everything, including confidential meetings with other colleagues, events and client meetings. You name it. In the end it was a huge success and I would sincerely recommend it to any CEO.”

This experience was also enlightening for Gilbert. “It was so interesting to share my experience with a young person and fascinating to see things through Alana’s eyes. It forces you to think about things you haven’t considered in years. She is impressive on so many levels. Her energy and enthusiasm was felt by the many teams. Armed with her political background, she was inquisitive, probing and asked me some tough questions. I had to explain so many things to Alana because she has very little background in our industry. It made me reflect on the way I do things…”

Alana was chosen from more than 2,300 applicants to become Adecco Canada’s first ever CEO for One Month, a global program that is part of the company’s Way To Work initiative. Gilbert’s passion for the program and willingness to participate sparked after hearing the global CEO for One Month speak at an international company conference.

“This program is positioning us as an industry leader in attracting the next generation of leaders with our flexible, open and inclusive work environment,” says Christine Marinho, Adecco Canada’s Director of Marketing for The Adecco Group in Canada. “The Millennials represent 37 per cent of the Canadian workforce with 28 per cent of them in managerial roles. The Baby Boom generation is transitioning out of the workforce and we want to foster a supportive environment where we develop leadership talents, encourage the sharing of ideas and provide mentorship at all levels. Our CEO for One Month program allows us to ‘walk the walk’ and provide access to one exceptional leader who will share their experience in real-time with employees and potential candidates via social media.”

What was it like for Alana to be given this extraordinary opportunity?

“It was overwhelming and inspiring in every possible way. I never realized you could get so much done with so little sleep,” she says jokingly. “Yet, I would wake up every morning, excited to be able to do it all again. I had no idea what a CEO does and I wasn’t very familiar with the staffing and employment industry. I’ve had a total of five jobs in my life and now I was working with the CEO.” Watch one of Alana’s Day in the Life video updates.

She and Gilbert instantly clicked. “He treated me as an equal, as we leapt head first into his jam-packed schedule, where we met with amazing Adecco clients, discussed their needs and worked with employees from every function across the organization. Everyone was so committed and excited.”

Alana found Adecco employees to be very special. “They are ‘people’, people, so warm and welcoming. I really enjoyed travelling to meet with clients at their offices and learning about the services Adecco offers. I saw firsthand how fascinating the staffing industry is and how much Adecco cares for its clients and candidates. There are so many myths about the industry. I was in so many meetings about placing candidates and I saw how hard they work to get candidates the best benefits and compensation.”

Some of Gilbert and Alana’s favourite moments were driving to client meetings together and discussing industry issues. It’s where they discovered how the generational divide sparks great debate and fosters understanding. “Both Gilbert and I like to be challenged, to be proven wrong and be shown the faults in our reasoning,” says Alana. “It made for many lively conversations between the two of us. He has a fascinating background and it’s rare for me to have the full attention of someone with his experience. I think we pushed each other to see the world from each other’s eyes.” Alana shares her thoughts on how Millennials and Baby Boomers can help each other enhance their leadership skills in this blog post

Adds Gilbert: “I enjoyed our debates. I think it’s so important for Alana to not only challenge me, but everyone she is working with. There were some interesting debates and I am glad I created a haven for her to share her insights, which was eye opening for us both. This program is meant to benefit Alana but I learned so much as well. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to have someone sitting beside you and observing how you work. She helped me see myself in a different angle, from the viewpoint of someone looking from the outside in.”

What’s next for Alana now that’s she’s helped lead the Canadian group of a multi-million dollar organization for one month? She is being considered along with 48 finalists from around the world for the honour of acting as Adecco’s Global CEO for One Month, shadowing Alain Dehaze, The Adecco Group’s Global CEO. The Global CEO for One Month selected will also receive a salary of 15,000 Euros. You can help Alana achieve her dream of becoming Adecco’s global CEO FOR ONE MONTH. Anyone can rate the candidates.

“I am so proud of Alana,” says Gilbert. “She was thrown in the water and swam so impressively. She had more of a theoretical view of the business world and she was able to see it in practice. It was amazing how poised she was considering everything she went through, meeting so many different stakeholders and engaging in real world discussions. To be able to work with the CEO at a macro level, at her age, is remarkable.”

 

The original article was written by Acsess Canada and can be seen on their website: Click here

As the national voice of recruiting, employment and staffing services industry, the Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staffing Services (ACSESS) leads Canada to work. ACSESS advances best practices and ethical standards for the staffing industry through advocacy, government relations, professional development, resources and research.

Reaching a Middle Ground: Reconciling the Millennial Generation with the Boomers

By Alana Couvrette, 2017 CEO for Month

By 2025, Millennials will represent 75% of the total global workforce[1]. Considering these numbers, I would argue that one of the greatest challenges our society will face is reconciling the Millennial generation with the more seasoned one, the Boomers.

A lot of generational stereotypes are out there. Pundits will say that Boomers are old, set in their ways and technophobes. Millennials, on the other hand, are viewed as selfish, entitled and hopeless narcissists. However, instead of pointing fingers, we should think more constructively and put our efforts into identifying ways to stop this growing generational chasm.

Although at the individual level, there is cause for a change in mentality, thought leadership should originate chiefly at the macro level: through organizations. Workplaces are where generational reconciliation must occur, which means that organizations must play a leading role in creating the conditions for its success.

Initiatives like Adecco’s CEO for One Month help this reconciliation effort by breaking down institutional and hierarchical silos. On one hand, it allows the millennial generation to interact directly with senior management, giving them a chance to learn from their expertise and vast experience. It’s an opportunity for the Boomer’s institutional memory to be transferred to younger generations.

On the other hand, it also encourages senior management to move out of their comfort zone and incites them to be open to new ideas. Millennials can help Boomers stay relevant, in a world of constant change.

However, we don’t need initiatives as articulate as CEO for One Month to create change. It can be as simple as implementing a mentoring program or organizing weekly “Lunch with Senior Management” sessions, to foster dialogue between employees.

We shouldn’t pursue this objective simply because “it’s the right thing to do”. There is pragmatic impetus to unite generations. In the long run, investing in bridging generational gaps will result in a stronger, more efficient work culture.

Successfully navigating our intergenerational future requires crafting the right organizational strategies -sooner rather than later.

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/workday/2016/05/05/workforce-2020-what-you-need-to-know-now/#3b1973c2d632

Millennials Want More… Corporate Social Responsibility!

By CEO for One Month, Alana Couvrette

Millennials sometimes seem to get a bad rep as a narcissistic, entitled and self-centered generation. But is this fair to say? I don’ t think so…

For example, millennials expect more from their employers than a paycheck. They have a genuine desire to give back to communities, near and far. For them, purposeful work and the ability to create a positive impact take precedence on profit and salary. In fact, in a recent survey, it was revealed that 45% of student about to enter the workforce would even take a pay cut “for a job that makes a social or environmental impact.” They seek to work for organizations who enshrine good values and ethics into their business model.

Organizations, like Adecco, have taken note of this trend. They know that having an organization-wide aspiration to making a positive difference is part of their value-proposition for attracting and retaining the millennial talent pool.
However, trumpeting your values and ethics isn’t enough. You can’t just talk the talk… The young talent pool is eager to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty and participate in the efforts to improve communities near and dear to them. Organizations need to be able to offer opportunities for employees to truly engage in the change that they wish to make. Millennials seek diverse volunteerism opportunities.

At Adecco, our core values-passion, entrepreneurship, team spirit, responsibility and customer focus- permeate the whole business. As Adecco Canada’s CEO for One Month, I noticed this right away and can testify to their relevancy in our work. These values are also conveyed through our global employee engagement program, Win4Youth. This program encourages participants to clock up kilometers (through cycling, swimming or running) which are turned into donations to help disadvantaged youngsters find employment.

On June 22nd, 2017, Adecco Canada hosted their annual Solidarity Day, a day dedicated to Win4Youth. We spent the afternoon as a team running around Toronto completing a scavenger hunt filled with wacky photo ops and funny tasks. Maybe it’s just me but I didn’t even notice that we each accumulated around 9 kilometers. Multiply that by the total number of employees in the office and you’ve got a healthy donation! Curious to know how the day went? Watch this short video I made!

Still think millennials are self-centered? Deloitte’s Millennial Survey found that 7,800 young leaders from 29 different countries believe that the business world is getting it wrong. Close to 75% say that they feel businesses are “focused on their own agendas rather than improving society.”

Who’s looking self-centered now?

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2012/06/07/the-future-of-work-corporate-social-responsiblity-attracts-top-talent/#39aca2c33f95

[1] https://www.fastcompany.com/3046989/what-millennial-employees-really-want

A CEO is Many Things…

By CEO for One Month, Alana Couvrette

Okay I’ll admit it… Before I started my CEO for One Month journey, when I heard the word “CEO” I thought: fancy cars, private jets, exclusive access to exclusive events and, overall, someone who has the world at their fingertips.

But, in reality, a CEO is so much more than what is portrayed in the movies. I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the role of a CEO, based on my experiences as Adecco Canada’s CEO for One Month. A CEO is:

 

… a mediator
Being a CEO isn’t always glamorous. CEOs are often caught in the middle of the toughest situations and must find a way to reconcile opposing views and help parties come to an agreement. CEOs have a knack for creating the right conditions for an agreement.

… the ultimate problem solver
CEOs face the thorniest of problems. By that I mean the unresolved issues that go through multiple levels of governance before landing on their desk. They not only solve problems, but also strategically create them. Challenges help people and companies grow, and a CEO knows exactly when it’s time to push and when it’s time to heed.

… a jack of all trades and a master of them all
CEOs know their business inside out. They’re expert generalists. They navigate vastly different areas of their business with ease and confidence. They have no problem jumping from one subject area to another and they do so at a pace that is dizzying for most!

… a story teller
A CEO’s got a story for everything. Their stories serve to illustrate, engage, inspire and motivate those around them. They’ve got “past lives” that can’t quite stay in the past and they’ve worn many hats throughout their careers. CEOs entice and engage their peers with their stories, telling them how they started their businesses, what they stand for and where they’re headed.

… the boss, but not necessarily the one you’re thinking of
A CEO doesn’t have to be unapproachable or someone who makes you hold your breath when they walk by. Leadership styles can vary and no one style is better than another. Each CEO-man or woman- brings something unique to the table. This is especially important to remember for anyone thinking of taking up a leadership position: You don’t have to “be like the last CEO” to be a successful CEO.

… a mentor and is mentored
CEOs know that mentoring employees is empowering them to succeed which, in turn, makes the organization succeed. However, just because they are at the “top” doesn’t mean that CEOs do not look up to someone or something. They’re all chasing some type of “hero”.

As I pass the half way mark as Adecco Canada’s CEO for One Month, I’ll make it my goal to bear the above characteristics in mind.
The best CEO is one that carves their own path. The best CEO is your own, authentic, self.

 

 

 

My First Week as Adecco Canada’s First CEO1Month

By Alana Couvrette

If you have 30 seconds….

During my first week as Adecco Canada’s CEO for One Month, I:
1. Visited Adecco’s Laval and Montreal branch
2. Networked with clients during the Lead breakfast
3. Asked the President of Adecco Canada probably over 100 questions
4. Filmed a 24 hour in my life video
5. Saw Cirque du Soleil’s Volta
6. And, spent half of my Sunday in an elevator (I am claustrophobic…details to come)

If you have five minutes…

Students, like myself, are well accustomed to seeing the workplace from the “bottoms up” point of view. Interaction with senior management is, to put it frankly, a rarity. During my past co-op terms, I remember vividly asking myself “Who’s up there” and “What do they do exactly”? Ultimately, it was my curiosity that led me to apply for the CEO for One Month contest.

On my first day, I learned that the new Canadian President had set himself an ambitious task: to visit all of Adecco’s branches in Canada during his first few months. So, naturally, I had to follow suit. I visited both the Laval and Montreal branches and met with the staff, who engage with associates on a day to day basis. These meetings proved to be fruitful, as I left with a greater understanding of what Adecco does at the ground level “the foundation of its business”. This was nicely complemented by the Lēad breakfast, where I got to network with some of our clients and got a feel for the HR Industry.

After our branch visits, I had the opportunity to see Cirque du Soleil’s (one of our largest clients) Volta performance. The things that the human body can do baffles me! I can’t even touch my toes and here I was watching people put their feet behind their heads. After this performance, I realized that I must find a way to squeeze in some exercise in my CEO schedule. I did, however, find the time to strap on a GoPro to my head, in the hopes of filming a “24 hours in my day” video. Stay tuned for the result!

Of course, I also spent a lot of time with Gilbert Boileau, Adecco Canada President. From the moment, I stepped into his office, I found myself already working on a project. My intuition told me, right then and there, that a great month was to come. I sat in on phone calls, attended meetings and traveled with Gilbert. However, what I enjoyed the most was the time we had in between meetings and phone calls. Coming from a public administration and political science background, some business terms were unfamiliar and Gilbert kindly took the time to explain them to me. We also took part in engaging discussions (is it fair to say debates) on the talent industry, the job market and even politics.

As you may or may not know, although I have been selected as the 2017 Adecco Canada CEO for One Month, I am also in the running towards becoming the Adecco Groups’ Global Leadership CEO for One Month. The Adecco Group revealed we would participate in challenges for this role. The first challenge to all 48 CEOs for One Month was announced mid-way through my first week, an “elevator pitch” in an elevator. Did I mention that I am both claustrophobic and have a fear of elevators?

Week one went by in a flash but I did make sure to capture some moments through photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have more than five minutes…

Follow me on Twitter @alana_couvrette, Instagram @alana.couvrette, Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/alana.couvrette or follow my hashtag #AlanaC1M for daily content.

Vote for who you think deserves a spot at the Global Leadership Bootcamp bit.ly/2rhvQ0n. But, before you do, be sure to check out my elevator pitch on Youtube. I’ll let you do the judging…

Week Two: bring it on!

One Young World Summit 2016: Young Leaders Committed to Making Change

Last week, our Director of Strategic Partnership Accounts—Rezowana Islam—got the opportunity to attend the world’s premier young leaders forum: the One Young World Summit, held this year in our nation’s capital. As an Adecco Delegate, Rezowana was amongst 1,300 attendees from 190 countries. She got to brush shoulders and hear inspiring speeches from other young leaders, Presidents, Nobel Prize Winners, Global business leaders and extraordinary humanitarians. Among those addressing the themes of Environment, Education, Human Rights, Peace & Security, Global Business and Mental Health were Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, actor and Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Emma Watson, Cher, Sir Bob Geldof (the founder of Live Aid), Former Irish President Mary Robinson and Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus. Below are Rezowana’s reflections on her stirring experience and the role that young people have to play in implementing solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

rezowana-islamTo say that the One Young World 2016 summit in Ottawa was invigorating, inspiring and encouraging would not suffice. I don’t even know where to begin describing the myriad emotions that ebbed and flowed through me in those 3.5 days at the conference. The Summit took place on the cusp of summer transitioning into fall, and I couldn’t help notice the parallel to the transformation taking place within me.

Prisoners of Hope

The idea behind One Young World is to gather together young people aged 18-30 from all around the world to learn, listen and share their experiences with each other. Co-founded by UK-based Kate Robertson and David Jones, the goal is to make the world a little bit better than it was yesterday, or even a few hours ago. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has referred to himself as a “prisoner of hope” and I think the term is fitting for David and Kate as well.  They truly believe in young people and their ability to make positive changes—and felt compelled to do something about it.

Close to Home

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressing the crowd

This year, Ottawa played host city to the annual Summit and I got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend as an Adecco Delegate. I was among thousands of young Delegates, Counselors and speakers from the worlds of business, politics, entertainment and non-profits. We each came from different walks of life and with different creeds, cultures and languages but all shared the same desire: to make this world a better place today—both for us and for our future generations. At a time when the world appears to be on the brink of catastrophe and hope is desolate, the Summit restored my faith in humanity and lit a torch with a flame that will burn eternally. This Summit made me believe that not only can we create the change we want to see in the world but we can be the change we want to see!

Sages on Stages

The 3.5 days were jam packed with information, talks, breakout sessions and networking opportunities; it felt like the days were never-ending. But the paradox is that our time together was still too short. We listened to stories of ordinary individuals making extraordinary changes and fighting for things they believe in—from climate change to gender equality and fighting extremism. The line of Counselors who took the stage (and in some cases—dedicated one-on-one time) to share their wisdom, encouragement and just to listen to us was nothing short of astounding. Some of this year’s Counselors included Kofi Annan, Sir Bob Geldof, Muhammad Yunis, Mary Robinson, Thuli Medonsela and Emma Watson—to name a few.

(L) Public Protector of South Africa,Thuli Madonsela | (M) Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Emma Watson discussing the HeForShe Campaign | (R) Former Bolivian President Carlos Mesa

(L) Former Public Protector of South Africa Thuli Madonsela | (M) Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Emma Watson discussing the HeForShe Campaign | (R) Former Bolivian President Carlos Mesa

The stage was filled with amazing individuals who had the courage to share their stories, trials and tribulations with all of us. I have even started to view the word “courage” differently. To me, courage is no longer about being fearless; it is about feeling scared to death of something but doing it anyway. It’s when you feel that your heart is beating so fast, your throat is closing in and a part of you is saying that you can’t do it—but there is another part with a voice just a little stronger that whispers “you can and you will!”  That is courage!

A Look to the Future

I formed some friendships that will last forever and some connections that will bind us to work together for the causes we hold dear to our hearts. I have reached out to some of the attendees from different countries and time zones to start brainstorming ideas on how we can work to counter extremism—a personal initiative we felt passionate about. I will also be connecting with Adecco’s global HQ in Zurich in the hopes of sharing some ideas that came out of the conference and implementing them into our extensive Corporate Social Responsibilities for all Adecco Colleagues around the world.

Rezowana (middle) with other global Delegates

The ultimate challenge I walked away with is one I want to extend to all Colleagues, Associates, clients and readers: stand for whatever you believe in and work to make the change you want to see. To those who have not found your cause—I urge and encourage you to find what it is and stand for it because “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”.