I recently engaged in my first international assessment convening. Invited to sit amongst an elite group of esteemed colleagues from all over the world to discuss competencies and opportunities for growth for diverse entities, the swell of seemingly sweet, dialectic dialogue was really the manifestation of passionate, energetic, and purpose-driven discourse centered on the core that each of us commonly value, the human resource frame. Facing the arduous task of combing through hundreds of well-intentioned Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and regardless of the potential distraction from current global affairs that could easily threaten the nature of the authentic dialogue, we remained true to our unyielding desire to provide insight, wisdom, and expertise to address the conundrum: “What is best for who we serve.”
Upon reflection, the addition of a rich infusion of global and multi-cultural thoughts has nicely colored and enhanced my perspectives of student engagement on the college to career pathway. There is truly something unique and special about Gen Z. In a nutshell, as supported by research and data, the post-Millennials are “eager beavers” that move to the beat of “we” instead of “me.” Gen Zers are equipped with knowledge capacity along with raw skills, gifts, and talents, that will tilt the global economy on its side in a positive way.
As I represented best practices in the United States, I was compelled to share the NACE Definition of Career Readiness and Competencies. Using this benchmark as well as others that guide and ground the optimization of international best practices, the group strategically focused on predicting the needs of specific populations and mapping hypothetical pathways.
In positioning my commentary, I made it a point to consider career competencies and the importance of developing soft skills in students as well as knowledge capital in order to fulfill and meet the expectations of present employers and future trends. Supporting my position with my research on the generational divide and learning outcomes from programs, initiatives, and events that I thoughtfully design with the needs of students in mind, helped to direct the focus of the dialogue to “the customer.” Thus, discussions around “Who do we serve?” sparked dynamic cycles of critical reflection, inquiry, and feedback.
As I sit in my room and watch the dawn of a new day I appeal to you, as career services professionals, employers, and recruiters to be intentional with developing a genuine understanding of who you serve, why you serve, and how you serve. As you connect to these domains, free yourself to factor in “heart” as part of the KPI formula and equation. Conscientiously develop metrics that embed indicators which reflect the bottom line as well as the human factor. In my intent to be transparent, I admit that it is a challenge for me to do this because there is little to no space to justify outcomes with human capital narrative. However,
the current and future work force trends compel me to check myself and I continue to do so. Charged, constructivist conversations around purpose, intent, crafting, and positioning KPIs that truly represent best business practices continue to blanket my days. Connected by common goals, our accepted norm to “agree to disagree” when necessary to negotiate and establish consensus reassures me that there is still room for human understanding and empathy.