No open-toed shoes. No slang in emails. No showing up to work more than 15 minutes late. These are all implicit workplace norms Hetty Chang didn't know at first but quickly picked up on in her career 18 years ago.
As an Associate Managing Director at Moody's, the risk assessment firm, Hetty has been reevaluating who those norms serve, as well as how companies like hers can maintain their culture and traditions while also building towards a more inclusive environment.
"We have to work on making sure there's job satisfaction, that you're creating a psychologically safe space. If we're focused on outcomes, then sometimes it's about being more flexible on cultural norms. When I make decisions and choices, it's more about outcomes versus how I expect we're supposed to get there," she says.
We sat down with Hetty to talk about how she's developed her own views on what works at work (and what doesn't), what role cultural norms can serve at an organization, and what advice she has for navigating them as a leader looking to build an environment where everyone can thrive.
Understanding her own perspective
Hetty would call herself more conservative when it comes to expectations for what work should look like. "That might go back to being a woman or being a minority, where it's easier not to try to push the boundaries because that way I can say, 'Okay, I fit in the box, I'm not making any mistakes,'" she says. "It just feels safer to me."
"I acclimated to the professional world with a level of anxiety that comes from feeling like you have to toe a fine line because of the fear that violating an expectation would limit career growth," says Hetty. "As a woman and Asian American, I was deliberate in choosing when and how I spoke up. I wanted to make sure people didn't assume that my silence reflected a lack of confidence or excessive deference. At the same time, I also didn't want to be pegged as the bossy or overconfident woman. So I found myself constantly being vigilant about reading non-verbal cues to try to assess how others were viewing me and then trying to calibrate how I showed up to avoid falling too far on one end of the spectrum or the other."
To Hetty, professional has always meant maintaining a professional appearance, and doing her work without complaining, waiting patiently to rise through the ranks.
That's not what professional always means to others on her team, though, and Hetty says she's recognizing how important it is to adapt.
"Implicit business norms are where unconscious bias really comes into play," says Hetty. "Everyone comes from a different context and has different motivators. I might not know I'm holding something against someone. So I try to think of ways to be fair by almost taking me as a person out of the equation of making certain decisions."
Hetty has been unpacking some of her assumptions about what professionalism looks like at work thanks to a combination of working with her team and some inclusion training that she's taken as a manager. Here are a few of those examples:
- Asking for promotions versus waiting for them. "For someone of my generation, you get promoted once you prove yourself, and if you push for it too early, that's seen as presumptuous," says Hetty. When newer employees were vocal about wanting raises and promotions, it initially felt off to Hetty. But then in a training, a presenter shared that millennials have much higher student loans than previous generations and that they were raised to ask for what they want. "That was the first time it made me pause, because that was definitely a bias in my own mind. It made me step back," she says.
- Not putting your camera on during meetings. When the pandemic started, senior leaders like Hetty quickly realized that their junior employees weren't always turning on their Zoom cameras for virtual meetings. "It was a big issue. Initially, I thought, 'You should act like you are in a conference room at the office, where we can see each other,'" she says. "Then someone raised the point that some people are living in small apartments, might be sharing space with a roommate, they might not want people to see where or how they live, or they might just not have a very good wifi connection. She's now changed her expectations: "Being strict about turning on your Zoom camera should be the least of our worries."
- Using emojis and acronyms in email. The first time Hetty got an email with a colloquial acronym she didn't understand, she didn't respond well. "At first I wondered, 'Why would you write an email like that to your boss?' Then you have to step back and say, 'This is my lens, but this is what they think is acceptable, and I can't sit here and judge. That's the bias aspect,'" says Hetty.
As she continues to push herself and her team, Hetty has taken on a new approach to figuring out what workplace norms work for everyone: "I'm not going to judge that person just because that's the context within which they've developed their idea of what professionalism means."
The role norms serve
Not all company norms are bad, of course. One of Hetty's favorite Moody's traditions is how they run decision-making.
"When we make rating decisions, it's by committee, and everyone gets a voice, everyone gets to vote," she says. "We always make sure the most junior person votes first, so they don't feel pressure to voice an opinion similar to their superiors."
Other norms can help make people feel comfortable. Sometimes that means wearing closed-toe shoes and tucking in shirts to fit into the standard American business professional cultural expectation, and sometimes that means being flexible to fit into someone else's.
Hetty explains how these flexible norms played out at client meetings. "Generally, we'd be there in suits, that was part of our image. But there were situations where the representatives we were working with said, 'Hey, you know what, I suggest you don't come in in your suits. Button-downs, slacks, they'll be more comfortable if you're more comfortable,'" says Hetty.
"Again, it goes back to the relationship and the image you're trying to portray, and being sensitive to that one way or another, because you will be judged," she adds.
What conscious leaders can do
Managers who want to take away some of the harmful aspects of implicit norms can work to make them more explicit and to help employees navigate them.
Instead of assuming that someone will take a new hire under their wing and tell them what everyone wears to the office, Hetty suggests being upfront with them.
"Be honest and transparent about, 'Hey, this is how this type of professional behavior might be viewed or interpreted, right or wrong; this is the reality of the particular environment you work in,' whether that's how they dress or what time they show up or how they speak up in a meeting," she says.
After those norms are out in the open, they're easier to manage around. Hetty gives an example of a working parent who can't start work until 9:15 a.m. because that's when they get back from dropping their kids off at daycare. "It's up to me as their direct manager to help them, protect them from any judgment about that," she says, adding that she would advise them to block their calendar off until 9:15 a.m. each morning so that their coworkers know they're unavailable then and aren't left looking for them.
Managers can also strip away subjectivity as much as possible. A good example of this, Hetty says, was a recent discussion she and her fellow managers had about moving a special leadership program from a nomination process to an application process. "As managers, we've been trained in diversity," says Hetty. "But how do I know I am being fair? You don't know what you don't know about your own biases." she says.
And most importantly, leaders can listen. "Ask questions without being intrusive, and lay a safe foundation without overstepping those bounds," she says.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of workers have turned to remote work. Before the pandemic in 2019, 22% of employers offered at least some remote work. Now in 2022, that percentage nearly doubled to 40%. The shift to remote work has become beneficial for me and many of my friends who are recent college grads starting their careers. It’s allowed us to dictate our own time and save money from commuting, spend more time with loved ones at home, and have the flexibility to travel and build connections from anywhere. Remote working has also changed how people network for jobs. We have more options now.
Since remote networking is so new, it can be challenging to understand how to do it effectively. Read on to learn my top tips for networking for a remote job.
1. Connect with your high school or college.
The schools you went to want to see you succeed! Connect with old professors, classmates, or alumni on social platforms like PowerToFly or LinkedIn. You can find connections through sports teams, clubs, or topics of interest that will help you build stronger relationships. Don’t be afraid to ask them for advice, mentorship, or even introductions.
2. Join a class!
Have you ever had a hobby that you never had the chance to pursue? Coding? Running? Painting? It’s never too late to learn something new. Plus, spending time doing what you love will introduce you to other people who love the same thing. Not only will this help expand your social circle, it can also help your career! Once you feel comfortable, talk to your classmates about your work, and ask them about theirs. The perk of classes like these is that you will build relationships with people from all different career backgrounds which will help you determine your career path, especially if you are looking for a mid-career pivot.
3. Register for the Early Career Summit.
My friends and I are very excited to join PowerToFly’s Early Career Summit this fall to meet the inspiring founders and CEOs of incredibly impactful companies. This is a great opportunity to get useful tips and learn about different perspectives, professions, and topics that you may be interested in.
4. Attend a virtual job fair and connect with leaders who inspire you.
Job fairs are great for meeting people who can be helpful because everyone attending is there to network! Job fairs at PowerToFly are a great place to meet hiring managers and recruiters from our sponsoring companies. If you come prepared with a resume it is an opportunity to make a great first impression with a company. After the virtual job fair, remember to connect with the people who stuck out to you and introduce yourself on PowerToFly or LinkedIn. Make sure to tell the recruiter who you are, and highlight what stood out to you about their talk.
5. Offer to help.
People really value your help (when it‘s needed). If you know someone in your network looking to hire a web designer and you know a great place to find one, don’t be afraid to make the connection! If you see a job opening that would be great for someone in your network, let them know! Helping people in this way will help build your trust and credibility.
Remote networking has its differences from in-person networking, but it has never been easier to have access to social platforms that can help create connections. It will take some creativity and hard work, but once you have the appropriate mindset the options are endless.
We all have our favorite websites– the ones we frequent, bookmark, and recommend to others. You might even enjoy some website features so much that you’ve found yourself wondering why they aren’t more popular. Or maybe you’ve experienced times where you were frustrated with a website and wished you could add features or even design your own!
If you’ve ever found yourself intrigued at the prospect of designing and developing your own websites, then a career as a web developer might be just for you!
As a web developer you would be responsible for coding, designing, optimizing, and maintaining websites. Today, there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world and, in turn, the demand for web developers is on the rise. In order to figure out what kind of web development work best suits you let’s start with an introduction to the three main roles in web development that you can choose from.
The Three Types of Web Development Jobs
Front-End Web Development: The Creative Side
In addition to programming skills, front-end developers need to be detail oriented, creative, willing to keep up with the latest trends in web development, cyber security conscious, and geared toward user-friendly designs. The median salary for a front-end developer can reach well into the $90,000 to $100,000 range.
Back-End Web Development: The Logical Counterpart
While a house can be beautifully decorated, it’s incomplete without a solid foundation and efficient infrastructure. Similarly, a well-designed website depends on logical and functional code to power the features of that website. Back-end web development is code-heavy and focused on the specifics of how a website works. If you enjoy the analytical challenge of creating the behind-the-scenes code that powers a website, then back-end development is for you.
Full-Stack Web Development: A Little Bit of Everything
A full-stack developer is essentially the Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades in web development. Full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end roles. This does not necessarily imply that you would need to be an expert in both roles, but you should fully understand the different applications and synergies they each imply. In order to work in this position, you will need to know the programming languages used by front-end and back-end developers. In addition to these languages, full-stack developers also specialize in databases, storage, HTTP, REST, and web architecture.
Full-stack developers are often required to act as liaisons between front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack developers need to be both problem solvers and great communicators. The end goal for a full-stack developer is to ensure that the user’s experience is seamless, both on the front-end and on the back-end. In return, you can expect to earn a median salary of $100,000 – $115,000 a year for this role.
Taking the Next Step
Web development is both in-demand and lucrative! All three roles described above contribute to specific aspects of web development and the scope of each one can be customized to the industries and positions you feel best suit you. Regardless of which role you choose, all of them need a foundation in programming.
To gain the programming skills needed in each role, you can enroll in courses or learn independently. Coding bootcamps are a great way to boost your skillset quickly and efficiently.
Click here for some of our highly rated programming bootcamp options! Make sure to check out the discounts available to PowerToFly members.
💎 Are CallRail's engineering teams the right fit for you? Watch the video to the end to find out!
📼 Engineering teams at CallRail encourage collaboration, communication, and empathy. Ayana Reddick, Senior Software Engineer at CallRail, shares what they are looking for in candidates and tells you why you’ll thrive there.
📼Engineering teams want candidates who have a growth mindset, love to learn, and are really good at communication. They also value team members who are excited about solving problems and working collaboratively. If you think you have what it takes, don't hesitate to apply.
📼At CallRail, engineering teams use Ruby on Rails for their backend, Angular on their frontend, and PostgreSQL for persistent data. They also use Jira for creating and tracking tickets, GitHub for their version control, and AWS for many cloud tools. Get familiar with these resources if you want to join them!
Engineering Teams And Diversity - Company’s Culture
CallRail seeks to hire from underrepresented groups. They pride themselves in selecting from a pool of very diverse candidates. They value the work that people do over their resumes. They encourage people to take their authentic selves to work. And they strive to create a supportive and welcoming environment. For this, they have Employee Resource Groups, that give voice to, provide safe spaces for, and educate the company at large. Some of their ERGs include the Rainbow Coalition, Black and Brown, Women Circle, and more.
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining CallRail? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Ayana Reddick
If you are interested in a career at CallRail, you can connect with Ayana on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About CallRail
CallRail is here to bring complete visibility to the marketers who rely on quality inbound leads to measure success. Their customers live in a results-driven world, and giving them a clear view of their digital marketing efforts is the priority for CallRail. They see the opportunities in surfacing and connecting data from calls, forms, and beyond—helping their customers get to better outcomes.
“In my early twenties, I wasn’t the best at saving money. So, when I got the job at Nike and found out a financial coach was offered to me — for free! — I thought, ‘It’s time to be an adult. I should use this service to help me learn how to buy stock, tell me what I’m doing right with my money and where I can improve.’”
That’s Ashlee Bobb, Nike Media and Influencer Relations Manager, on the free, unlimited access to financial coaching offered to every U.S. Nike employee through EY Navigate™. EY coaches are trained on Nike’s benefits and programs, so Ashlee was able to work with her coach on a budget and savings plan utilizing Nike’s 401k match and Employee Stock Purchase Plan – all in one 45-minute session. She left the meeting feeling confident about what her next paycheck would look like and how her money would work for her.
“The EY coaches are really willing to come on the journey with you,” Bobb says, adding that hers was willing to work with the fact that, hey, she’s not going to give up take out, but still wants to save for the future. “The cool thing is I can see how this financial guidance could help me down the road when I decide to get married, buy a house, have a kid. Every Nike employee should take advantage.”Sound like the kind of company you want to be a part of? Check out our open roles on jobs.nike.com