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If your career objective is to climb the corporate ladder, then you need to get recognized as a high-potential employee, or HiPo. HiPos have been tagged as the top performers in an organization and are invited to key meetings, asked for input, offered advanced learning opportunities and given plum assignments. And even when economic circumstances lead to layoffs, they are the ones who seem to emerge unscathed.

So what does it take to be recognized as a HiPo? While some of it may be who you know, or luck, there are ways to influence how you and your talents are perceived.

If you are deliberate and thoughtful about showcasing your strengths and establishing your workplace value, you can, and will, position yourself as a HiPo.

Read the full article for seven things you can do right now to become worthy of HiPo status.

Stop trying to fix women. Start fixing your organization for gender equality

Do women become less “nice” in middle age? It would appear that we think so. And that throws an additional wrench into our efforts to develop more gender-balanced leadership teams.

A gender stereotype we hold is that women are kinder and more warm-hearted, nicer and less aggressive compared with men. But University of California business professor Jennifer Chatman decided to investigate whether that held as we age, after noticing student evaluations of her teaching became harsher when she entered her forties, even as she felt her teaching was improving.

With colleagues, she conducted three different studies of various work situations and found both men and women are perceived as more capable or effective as they get older, but only women are seen as less warm as they age – causing them to be judged more harshly.

This is a critical age, of course, as decisions are often being made for top leadership posts. Perhaps this helps some women – no longer blocked for being too nice – but the fact they are seen as changing negatively is probably a stumbling block for many of them, even if it’s apparently all in our minds.

Read the full article to find out how outdated workplaces, not women, need to change.

Exit interviews are common, but to really help retention, firms should conduct stay interviews

After an employee leaves, their colleagues are usually left to pick up the slack during the hunt for a replacement. They inherit more work and responsibilities – sometimes with more compensation or support from co-workers, but often not.

This is particularly challenging amid the continuing stress of the pandemic. As individuals continue to shoulder a larger workload over time, they may start to experience burnout – if they haven’t already. A study conducted by Mental Health Research Canada in December, 2021, found one-third of the 5,500 Canadians surveyed were feeling burned out at work. Furthermore, only 35 per cent reported that their employer offers initiatives and policies to prevent burnout. In these conditions, employees who stay can quickly become employees who quit.

Many organizations hold exit interviews with departing employees to understand better why they’re leaving and to seek opportunities to improve. This is important, but employers often overlook a vital intelligence-gathering opportunity to inform recruitment and retention by disregarding the need for input from those who stick around.

Read more about how the stay interview can unlock benefits for organizations and employees.

In case you missed it

EAPs offer confidential mental health supports, but stigma and fear prevent many from accessing them

Have you ever accessed an EAP?

A benefit offered through some workplaces, EAPs – or employee assistance programs – offer short-term, confidential counselling services to employees. These programs, which can be administered through video, phone, online chat, e-mail or face-to-face interaction, offer no-cost services related to managing personal difficulties, workplace stress, substance misuse, family conflict and more.

With Canadians experiencing higher rates of mental health challenges through the COVID-19 pandemic amidst ongoing strains in the health care system, EAPs could be a valuable option for individuals in need of help. The only problem? Those who could benefit from EAPs may not be taking advantage of them.

“Traditionally what we see with employee assistance programs is they are not very well taken up,” says Ivona Hideg, an associate professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business specializing in organization studies. “It’s one of those benefits that [companies] do invest in and pay for, but it’s totally unused.”

Read more about how fear of discrimination keeps employees from seeking help.

Online networks help immigrant entrepreneurs find community

Eno Eka never imagined there would be someone to pick her up from the airport when she landed in Toronto in 2018 as a new immigrant from Lagos, Nigeria.

The lead-up to her journey to Canada had been stressful – the stories she heard about the cold in Canada, the tight job market and immigrants stuck in survival jobs had already made her nervous.

But Ms. Eka had been networking with like-minded people in the months before she landed in Canada, a move that she says helped her a great deal.

“The person who volunteered to pick me up on my first day in Canada was someone I met through a WhatsApp group,” says Ms. Eka, who is now the Calgary-based CEO of her own IT business consulting company and founder of a school which helps professionals sharpen up their business analysis skills.

“I was able to connect with a lot of communities online – immigrant professionals from Africa, immigrants from Nigeria, Black immigrants, these were the people who really helped me.”

Read more about how online platforms can be instrumental in forging connections between newcomers and Canadian entrepreneurs.

Ask Women and Work

Question: I’ve been working a corporate job for the past seven years, but recently started a side hustle that I absolutely love. I’m in the early stages of my new business (translation: not making much in the way of revenue), and I’m finding it difficult to juggle my day job with growing my side business. Is there a way to make this work? I need to pay the bills, but I’m not willing to give up my dream gig.

We asked Dr. Nuša Fain, an assistant professor at Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business who specializes in entrepreneurship and innovation management, to field this one:

Congratulations on becoming an entrepreneur! Starting a new venture you are passionate about can be very fulfilling.

While juggling a side hustle may seem detrimental to your full-time job, new research indicates quite the opposite. Engaging with side hustles generates positive energy that helps boost performance and empowerment in your full-time work.

There is, of course, no doubt that balancing the two is challenging, but you can absolutely make it work. To manage it all effectively you will need to do three things: plan your time, pace yourself and get support.

Plan where you want your side hustle to go and identify how fast you want to grow the business. Even if it is week by week, identify your vision and where you want to be in the short term and then plan backwards. Having this roadmap will help you manage your time by understanding the exact steps you need to take in bite-sized pieces.

Remember to pace yourself. It’s important to stick to your plan but give yourself downtime as well. While the non-stop nature of a side hustle can be exciting, it can also lead to burnout. Always remember why you are doing it – a side hustle that empowers you and is purposeful will make it easier to overcome the obstacles.

Get support to help lighten your load so you have more time. You can do this by outsourcing some of the work to other professionals and seeking the support of your loved ones.

For many entrepreneurs, maintaining too much control and trying to do everything yourself can be a big mistake. To free up some of your time, lean on the expertise of others. You can still maintain full control of your side hustle by paying them for their work separately and not giving a stake in your company. From social media to accounting – there are many people with specific skills who can help alleviate some of the pressure.

Having the support of your family and friends is key to balancing your personal life, work and side hustle. Make sure your loved ones are fully aware of your time constraints so they can support you.

It’s a balancing act, but by properly planning, pacing yourself and seeking the support of others you can make this work.

Submit your own questions to Ask Women and Work by e-mailing us at

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