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John Legend Wants To Improve Job Opportunities For People With Criminal Backgrounds

In Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Grammy-winning musician John Legend announced the second cohort of participants in Unlocked Futures, a 14-month accelerator program for social entrepreneurs who have been incarcerated and urged business leaders to be more inclusive of job applicants with criminal backgrounds.

Unlocked Futures launched in 2017 as a partnership between the philanthropic venture fund New Profit and Legend’s criminal justice reform initiative FreeAmerica, with financial support from Bank of America.

“We started this as a collaboration, saying, ‘Let’s not just tell folks to hire formerly incarcerated individuals, but to invest in their ideas,’” says Legend. “All of the members have business ideas that will help them feed their families, employ others and strengthen our communities.”

Today In: Leadership

In 2007, Teresa Hodge, a member of the inaugural Unlocked Futures class, began a 70-month prison sentence for a nonviolent white-collar crime at Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia⁠—the same prison where Martha Stewart famously served her time. After her experience with Unlocked Futures in 2017, Hodge, 56, became the cofounder of R3 Score, a background screening company.

The U.S. is home to 5 million formerly incarcerated people who face severe obstacles when trying to find a job after their release. Returning citizens are unemployed at a rate of more than 27%, nearly seven times higher than the unemployment rate for the general U.S. population.

Unable to secure employment, many formerly incarcerated people turn to entrepreneurship. But they often lack the business skills, social networks and capital needed to launch a successful company.

That’s where Unlocked Futures comes in. Participants receive coaching on leadership skills such as board governance, fundraising, communications and talent strategy. They also undergo an assessment that gauges areas for improvement and team up with mentors from a network of organizations, including Bank of America, which provided $500,000 grants for both cohorts, a total $1 million commitment.

“Six hundred thousand inmates are getting out every year, and if we want to lessen the risk of them recidivating, programs like this are important,” says Andrew Plepler, the environmental, social and governance executive for Bank of America.

Many formerly incarcerated people experience a revolving-prison-door scenario after their release: At least 95% of people incarcerated in state prisons are released into  their communities, yet more than half of them are arrested again within three years.

To be admitted into the Unlocked Futures program, applicants must have fully operational businesses. “We come in when you’ve established your proof point, you have your model built and you’re ready to figure out sustainability, growth, and measurement and expansion,” says Tulaine Montgomery, a managing partner at New Profit.

Participants are each awarded a $50,000 unrestricted grant. Hodge, whose first business venture upon release was Mission:Launch, a nonprofit that helps formerly incarcerated people reenter the workforce, says that many returning citizens are unable to gain access to growth capital because of their criminal history.

She put her $50,000 from Unlocked Futures toward performing user surveys and designing the algorithm for her background screening platform. In July, Hodge participated in the Techstars Impact Accelerator, which backs founders who are building technology aimed at solving social and environmental problems.

Through this program, she was able to raise another $500,000 from the Motley Fool, American Family Life Insurance and others. Now in the seed stage, her goal is to raise $2 million by the end of the first quarter of FY 2020.

“It’s certainly a challenge to be a black woman raising money, not to talk of being formerly incarcerated,” Hodge says. “But we know that we have a solid business model because there’s a strong upside for investors.”

Since January, more than 700 individuals and companies have signed the Society for Human Resource Management’s pledge to give qualified applicants with criminal backgrounds the same opportunities as those who haven’t served time. And just this week, JPMorgan Chase announced an expansion of its efforts to hire people who were formerly incarcerated, continuing the trend of  companies removing questions about criminal history on employment applications and offering opportunities to those with records.

“If we want the full human potential that is contained in our communities to be maximized, we need to include formerly incarcerated people in conversations around hiring and how we develop the workforce,” Legend says. “These folks are valuable and they’re worth reintegrating into our society.”

At the kickoff event for the second Unlocked Futures cohort, participants sat down with Legend and discussed their personal stories, business ideas and aspirations for the future. As business leaders begin to shift their attitude toward hiring and investing in returning citizens, that future may start to look a little rosier.

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I’m a reporter covering the various aspects of diversity and inclusion in business and society at large. Previously, I was a reporter at CNBC, where I focused on leadership and strategic management. I’ve also dabbled in video journalism, working as a breaking news digital producer for New York Daily News, followed by a yearlong stint as a producer at Rolling Stone. My work has been featured on New York Daily News, Yahoo Finance and Time Out. I’m a proud alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, receiving honors for my investigative thesis on the alarming number of physicians dying by suicide. Tweet me @ruthumohnews or send tips to rumoh@forbes.com.

Source: John Legend Wants To Improve Job Opportunities For People With Criminal Backgrounds

1.45M subscribers
Applicants with criminal backgrounds, including those with nonviolent criminal convictions or even arrests, are increasingly being driven into poverty. Even if it has been years since they’ve served time for past criminal infractions, those applying for jobs are often unable to find work — especially in a climate of extreme job competition. NewsHour’s Stephen Fee reports.

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Why These 2 Criteria Will Help You Choose Your Next Job More Wisely

So you finally decided to find a new job. After months of contemplating, you’ve come to the realization you’ve hit one of three specific career roadblocks and the only solution is to find a new employer. But, now what? How do you make sure you don’t, as the saying goes, “jump out of the frying pan and ito the fire.” You’re wise to be worried. As a career growth coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of people who left bad jobs only to end up in worse ones. The result is a massive crisis of confidence that’s tough to bounce back from. So, what can you do to minimize the risk of making a bad career move?

The G.L.O.W. Method for career self-improvement

In my first book, I introduced the four-step methodology I use to help people create career satisfaction on their own terms. The G.L.O.W. Method teaches you a simple process you can use throughout your career to drive professional growth.

  1. Gain Perspective = force yourself to look at your situation from a new point of view.
  2. Luminate the Goal = dial-in tightly on a specific result you want to achieve.
  3. Own Your Actions = map out the specific habits you’ll need to succeed.
  4. Work It Daily = set up systems to build those habits consistently.

Let’s look at how that second step can help identify what your next job should be.

Your next job needs to meet 2 criteria…

To Luminate the Goal, you’ve got to shine a bright light on what you want. Getting clear on what a good job means to you is vital. When it comes to building a satisfying career, no two people want the same things. Unfortunately, many job seekers start looking for work based on the wrong criteria. They make a long list things like the ideal salary, benefits, location, etc. While I think those things are important and should eventually be outlined, the real first step in the process is to define your next job based on the following two criteria:

1. Does the job let you work on solving a problem you care about?

Today, we want our jobs to have purpose. When we believe our jobs have meaning, we feel more satisfied and engaged in the work. This leads to greater productivity and success. If you don’t feel the job will let you contribute to something you care about, you’ll struggle to stay motivated and positive on the job.

Now, I’m not saying that the job needs to change the world. On the contrary! What I’m saying is you need to make a connection between your job and the impact is has.

For example…

I worked with a client who came from a family of dentists and lawyers. She felt incredible pressure to have what she referred to as a “serious” job. However, her real passion in life was make-up. She loved doing her friends’ faces. When I asked her why, she explained the intense joy she felt when she saw their expressions of excitement when they looked in the mirror. In her words, “Each time I feel so much power knowing I made my friend feel better about herself.” That’s when I pointed out to her that this work had deep meaning and purpose to her, which meant she’d be more successful and satisfied working in cosmetics. She took my advice and now is an executive at a make-up company and couldn’t be happier.

2. Will you be using your preferred workplace personas to do the job?

We all have lots of skills and abilities. But, that doesn’t mean we want to use all of them on a daily basis. Understanding how you like to execute tasks and create value for employers is a vital part of the job search process. These are referred to as your “workplace personas” and they are the easiest way to narrow down the type of job you want next.

Let me prove it to you…

If you go to a job board right now and search for open positions with the job title, “Account Manager” you’ll come up with dozens of opportunities. However, as you start to read through them, you’ll see no two are alike. Some companies call salespeople Account Managers. Meanwhile, other companies see that as a customer or vendor support role. Each job would require you to use a different set of skills. If you don’t know the workplace personas you want to leverage, how can you narrow in on the jobs that would suit you?

Create an interview bucket list to help make sense of your criteria.

One of the first exercises I have our clients complete when looking for a new job is an interview bucket list. It’s a list of companies whose products and services you admire. It helps them understand how they feel connected to certain employers so they can map out the two criteria above. When you explore why you’re drawn to a company you reveal key information about yourself that makes defining your criteria easier. Better still, it will actually get you excited about the job search process.

 P.S. – If what I’m explaining makes sense so far, check out my next article which explains how you can Own Your Actions once you decide what type of job you want.

By: J.T. O’Donnell

 

 

Source: Why These 2 Criteria Will Help You Choose Your Next Job More Wisely

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The majority of working people, by their own admission, do not feel fully challenged by their current jobs. If you find yourself in that position, you may want to consider a new career path. It can be scary, but hopefully, with some guidance, that decision will become more within your reach. Discover the 5 Reasons Why Most Don’t Become Wealthy: http://bit.ly/2bd24Re “Selecting your major definite purpose in life is the starting point of personal greatness.” @BrianTracy (Tweet this: http://ctt.ec/Q7YW4) ___________________ Learn more: Subscribe to my channel for free offers, tips and more! YouTube: http://ow.ly/ScHSb Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BrianTracyPage Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BrianTracy Google+: +BrianTracyOfficialPage Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/BrianTracy Instagram: @TheBrianTracy Blog: http://bit.ly/1rc4hlg

Why These 2 Criteria Will Help You Choose Your Next Job More Wisely | Inc.com

So you finally decided to find a new job. After months of contemplating, you’ve come to the realization you’ve hit one of three specific career roadblocks and the only solution is to find a new employer. But, now what? How do you make sure you don’t, as the saying goes, “jump out of the frying pan and ito the fire.” You’re wise to be worried. As a career growth coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of people who left bad jobs only to end up in worse ones. The result is a massive crisis of confidence that’s tough to bounce back from. So, what can you do to minimize the risk of making a bad career move?

The G.L.O.W. Method for career self-improvement

In my first book, I introduced the four-step methodology I use to help people create career satisfaction on their own terms. The G.L.O.W. Method teaches you a simple process you can use throughout your career to drive professional growth.

  1. Gain Perspective = force yourself to look at your situation from a new point of view.
  2. Luminate the Goal = dial-in tightly on a specific result you want to achieve.
  3. Own Your Actions = map out the specific habits you’ll need to succeed.
  4. Work It Daily = set up systems to build those habits consistently.

Let’s look at how that second step can help identify what your next job should be.

Your next job needs to meet 2 criteria…

To Luminate the Goal, you’ve got to shine a bright light on what you want. Getting clear on what a good job means to you is vital. When it comes to building a satisfying career, no two people want the same things. Unfortunately, many job seekers start looking for work based on the wrong criteria. They make a long list things like the ideal salary, benefits, location, etc. While I think those things are important and should eventually be outlined, the real first step in the process is to define your next job based on the following two criteria:

1. Does the job let you work on solving a problem you care about?

Today, we want our jobs to have purpose. When we believe our jobs have meaning, we feel more satisfied and engaged in the work. This leads to greater productivity and success. If you don’t feel the job will let you contribute to something you care about, you’ll struggle to stay motivated and positive on the job.

Now, I’m not saying that the job needs to change the world. On the contrary! What I’m saying is you need to make a connection between your job and the impact is has.

For example…

I worked with a client who came from a family of dentists and lawyers. She felt incredible pressure to have what she referred to as a “serious” job. However, her real passion in life was make-up. She loved doing her friends’ faces. When I asked her why, she explained the intense joy she felt when she saw their expressions of excitement when they looked in the mirror. In her words, “Each time I feel so much power knowing I made my friend feel better about herself.” That’s when I pointed out to her that this work had deep meaning and purpose to her, which meant she’d be more successful and satisfied working in cosmetics. She took my advice and now is an executive at a make-up company and couldn’t be happier.

2. Will you be using your preferred workplace personas to do the job?

We all have lots of skills and abilities. But, that doesn’t mean we want to use all of them on a daily basis. Understanding how you like to execute tasks and create value for employers is a vital part of the job search process. These are referred to as your “workplace personas” and they are the easiest way to narrow down the type of job you want next.

Let me prove it to you…

If you go to a job board right now and search for open positions with the job title, “Account Manager” you’ll come up with dozens of opportunities. However, as you start to read through them, you’ll see no two are alike. Some companies call salespeople Account Managers. Meanwhile, other companies see that as a customer or vendor support role. Each job would require you to use a different set of skills. If you don’t know the workplace personas you want to leverage, how can you narrow in on the jobs that would suit you?

Create an interview bucket list to help make sense of your criteria.

One of the first exercises I have our clients complete when looking for a new job is an interview bucket list. It’s a list of companies whose products and services you admire. It helps them understand how they feel connected to certain employers so they can map out the two criteria above. When you explore why you’re drawn to a company you reveal key information about yourself that makes defining your criteria easier. Better still, it will actually get you excited about the job search process.

 P.S. – If what I’m explaining makes sense so far, check out my next article which explains how you can Own Your Actions once you decide what type of job you want.

By: J.T. O’Donnell

Source: Why These 2 Criteria Will Help You Choose Your Next Job More Wisely | Inc.com

Scott Dinsmore’s mission is to change the world by helping people find what excites them and build a career around the work only they are capable of doing. He is a career change strategist whose demoralizing experience at a Fortune 500 job launched his quest to understand why 80% of adults hate the work they do, and more importantly, to identify what the other 20% were doing differently. His research led to experiences with thousands of employees and entrepreneurs from 158 countries. Scott distilled the results down to his Passionate Work Framework – three surprisingly simple practices for finding and doing work you love, that all happen to be completely within our control. He makes his career tools available free to the public through his community at http://LiveYourLegend.net In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations) This talk was shot shot and edited in stereoscopic 3D by Golden Gate 3D and Area 5. http://gg3d.com http://area5.tv To view in 3D, click here: http://youtu.be/5o1nCKGk5Bs

How to Create a Winning Startup Culture

Some time back, in my infographic on 51 Business Mistakes that most Entrepreneurs Make, I had outlined that one of the biggest mistakes is that you do not give any thought as to what you consider would be a great startup culture. And, without good policies or HR to keep things in check, the startup begins to develop a toxic business culture.

You will find this problem in businesses in Japan a lot. The Japanese culture is that people should work harder and if any employee goes home early, or finishes his work faster than the other, they usually get snitched on to their bosses by their co-workers. Since, you are growing a startup, you may want to avoid all these hullabaloo as time is limited and money is precious. Your workforce is your primary foundation and you want to build it strong as everything else you do is going to be supported by your employees.

Therefore, here is what you do to streamline the company’s functions and develop a strong and great company culture:

Step #1. What are the values that you hold dear and want to be reflected by your startup?

Yeah, you are the boss, you are the man of the show. Since you run the startup, you need it to reflect the type of entrepreneur you are and the entrepreneurial qualities you have as best as possible. That way, you can run it better!

So, ask yourself, what quality do you want for your startup to be its brand identity? It can be anything. For example – if you think hustle is the best quality of a startup (although, I disagree), it can be – “being the hardest worker in the room”, or if you want your employees to have a quality personal life, it can be something else.

Now, when you have landed on some values which you hold dear, make sure everybody in your business knows it – the employees, your partners, the directors and even the janitors!

Step #2. Make Sure Employees (Both Present and Future) Reflect those Ideals

If all you look at when hiring employees is whether they have the requisite skills or not, then you could be doing a grave mistake. Studies have proven that employees who are not a cultural fit with your business shall not work their best.

Heck, they can even become toxic in nature and do more harm to your company culture than good. Suppose you have an open-door policy wherein any employee can talk to you directly; however a mid-level executive doesn’t want that and shouts at and harasses his juniors for going to you without passing through him first – what do you think is going to happen?

Your startup culture will be in-operational for just one worker and can hinder performance among all your employees. That’s why mistake #1 in my post on business mistakes showed that you need a good HR even if your business is new. An HR has relevant skills and expertise in hiring the best workers so that can be a breather for you and help your business focus on, where it is truly necessary.

Step #3. Make Sure Everyone’s Voice is Heard

In order to truly know whether every employee is resonating according to your business ideals, you have to make sure that the voice of employees at even the lowest level is heard. That way, you can be sure the startup culture has truly sunk in.

In order to create a culture that actually motivates the employees, you also have to make sure that they understand that their voice matters and that if they have any grievances to tell or advices to offer, it has a good chance to be acted upon.

Also, this step that is to make everybody’s voice heard should not be made only in a vertical direction that is only from down to the top; rather it should be made laterally. Colleagues should know what their teammates think and feel.

That way, it can promote good communication and the workplace is going to remain energized. You need to also support lateral feedback even if means you have to go above and out of what you should be doing.

Step #4. Give Feedback

Now, the above step will be quite redundant without this process in place. Your employees will stop saying what they feel if they believe that what they say will not be acted upon. Therefore, you have to be proactive in giving feedback to employees. Show them that their work counts and learn to motivate them. Hold interactive sessions, talk one-on-one with employees who have addressed their grievances to you and also share your thoughts on any input they have given.

That way, you actually know whether your company culture is striving or whether the employees have just put up a facade to please you. Now, an even more important point – there will always be some employees who go against the company culture or even rebel against them.

There are three ways to handle them which you must note and be careful of:

  1. Firstly, by providing gentle feedback about how you want things to be and remain in your business. This works against employees who unknowingly have strayed from the path and need just a gentle pat to return back on track. For example, if you have a company  culture on wearing formal attire and being extremely disciplined but you see a guy who is trying to break free, because he feels the clothes are very restrictive, you can guide him to a middle path.
  2. Secondly, by actively supporting him in his endeavour. You know, some people are really creative and can’t be bounded. While, it can do a lot of damage to your company culture, if you feel that the guy has got a lot to offer, you can let him be a wild horse. This usually applies to some very creative overachievers. These guys are usually rebels and if they don’t actually harm the way other employees do their work, it is best to keep them and encourage their habits! Seems rather odd, right!?
  3. Lastly, by firing him. Some people just poison the company culture. Toxic employees who are constantly fighting their peers or are late in finishing their work almost always need to be eradicated or else you risk the chance of demotivating your other employees.

While, it looks rather simple, it is the simple things that have the most effectiveness. Executing these principles at your startup can be the separating factor from just a startup and a startup with a workforce who are optimized to win!

By:

Source: How to Create a Winning Startup Culture

 

If You Understand How You Fit, You’re Five Times More Likely To Be Inspired At Work

Few work experiences are as demoralizing as not knowing how your work fits into your company’s larger strategy or goals. It’s hard to thrive when the day-to-day feels meaningless, and I’ve got the data to prove it.

My firm recently conducted a study of 13,771 employees and asked them whether their bosses have explained how their work fits into the department or organization’s strategy or goals. As you can see, a paltry 21% of bosses are “always” connecting their employees’ work to some larger strategy or goal.

But there’s an even bigger twist: We also discovered that people whose bosses “always” tie their work to a larger strategy are nearly five times more likely to be inspired at work than those whose bosses “never” does.

While it might be momentarily satisfying to blame all the bosses for not doing a better job at connecting employees’ work to something bigger, the truth is that individual employees also have some responsibility.

In this same study, we asked people to rate the statement: “When I get an assignment, I find out how it fits into our organization’s strategy and goals.” And here again, we found that a minuscule 18% are “always” taking the extra step to find out for themselves how their work fits into their organizations’ goals.

But as you might expect, the people who do take that extra step are 5.7 times more likely to be inspired at work than those who “never” do.

If we want to enjoy and succeed at our jobs, the implication of this study seems obvious—we’ve got to proactively learn how our work fits into our organizations’ strategies and goals. This is accomplished with a four-part conversation, which, when done right, can also teach your boss how to share this information in the future without being asked.

But a word of caution before I give you the script: This conversation cannot feel like an attack on, or an end-run around, your boss. If your boss suspects that you’re looking for ways to usurp or chastise them for poor leadership, they’re likely to respond defensively (or worse).

There’s also a chance that your boss may not always know how your work ties into a larger strategy (your boss may actually feel in-the-dark about his or her own work). So always approach this conversation with caring, genuine curiosity and the mindset that you may not get every question answered.

Here’s the four-part script for talking to your boss about how your work connects to the organization’s (or department’s) larger strategy or goals.

Step 1: Find an agreeable time to have deep conversation by asking your boss, “Would you be willing to have a conversation with me about this new assignment? I find it really interesting and I’d love to learn more.”

It’s always a good idea to start the conversation by asking permission (i.e. “would you be willing”). Your boss will be instantly disarmed because you’ve made it clear that you’re approaching the conversation as an opportunity to learn, not to accuse. Additionally, the phrase “I find it really interesting” alleviates a common and understandable fear among bosses that employees only want face-time in order to gripe about something.

Step 2: Having opened the conversation, now say, “I appreciate you taking the time to give me your advice and thoughts on this project because I’d love to learn more about it and I really want to knock it out-of-the-park. So the first thing I’m curious about is whether there was some kind of strategic initiative or goal that sparked the need for this project?”

It’s important to reinforce your genuine interest and curiosity in the project before you ask about the impetus for the project. Don’t skip this step unless you have a sufficiently deep relationship with your boss that allows you to approach this conversation more forcefully. In general, it’s better to err on the side of tact and caution in these conversations.

Step 3: Ask, “Is there anything you’d like me to know about how this will get used (or incorporated into a larger project or initiative)?”

You don’t want to come right out and demand to know what the boss really intends to do with your work on this project. While there are certainly bosses who will appropriate employee work as their own, it’s awfully accusatory for a conversation like this. Instead, give them the choice to share or not share. This actually increases the odds that they will share, telling you a great deal about how this project connects to larger strategic initiatives.

Step 4: Finally, ask “Do you envision more projects like this coming in the future?”

If this is the only project of its kind, there’s a good chance there isn’t a grand strategy or goal underneath. But if this is just one of many similar projects, that’s a big clue as to the shape of your organization’s larger strategy and goals.

You probably noticed that this conversation is focused on specific assignments, rather than on your job as a whole. The reason for that is simple: If you directly ask your boss “How does my job fit into the company’s larger strategy?” there’s a very good chance you won’t get a coherent answer. That’s a big, abstract question, and most leaders won’t have a prepared response.

Instead, by gently probing for information about your current or latest project, you’re can tease out and piece together how your work connects to a larger strategy.

You may have to conduct this conversation a few times to fully glean how your work relates to a bigger strategy. But with enough repetition, you’ll typically find that your boss will start to proactively offer these insights.

Ready for the next challenge? Tune in on August 6 for Day 7.

Miss a challenge? Click here for Day 5: Take stock of your days.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I’m the founder of www.LeadershipIQ.com, a New York Times bestselling author and I teach the leadership course What Great Managers Do Differently I am the author of five books, including “Hundred Percenters: Challenge Your People to Give It Their All and They’ll Give You Even More.” Some of my research studies include “Are SMART Goals Dumb?,” “Why CEO’s Get Fired,” “Why New Hires Fail,” “High Performers Can Be Less Engaged,” and “Don’t Expect Layoff Survivors to Be Grateful.” I’ve lectured at The United Nations, Harvard Business School, Microsoft, Merck, MasterCard, Charles Schwab and Aflac, among others.

Source: If You Understand How You Fit, You’re Five Times More Likely To Be Inspired At Work

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