Resilience is Necessary in Transitioning While in the Unknown

As a world we are transitioning in many facets of our lives where the outcomes remain unknown. This is perhaps the first time in historical memory that as global collective we are facing a future that is not clear and where change is certainly being thrust upon us.

To address the current period of uncertainty it is important to have “resilience”. The Oxford dictionary defines resilient as springing back, of being buoyant. This is a quality that I encourage everyone – myself included to embrace at this time.

As some of us work from home, and others go out to provide needed services, and others have received news of lay off or termination from their places of work resilience is necessary. The short- and longer-term future in the current period of changes that are emerging have yet to manifest.

One of the tenants to value is to leave over thinking behind and settle into the unknown. Not an easy thing to do at the best of times. The working landscape will be different when this current situation has run its course. Those who are able to spring back and demonstrate resilience will be in a better position to create and move on to what is next.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transitioning Change –

Leadership Development

As someone in a leadership role or someone who oversees leaders in your organization are you taking the necessary steps to safeguard that those who report to you are leveraging their own capacity for the better good of all? Are you doing that for yourself as well?

Organizations may have people in leadership roles where the following are missing:

  • An articulated purpose that is shared amongst the individuals that are being worked with;
  • Clear understanding of the power and dynamics that each leader has too work with at a formal and informal level;
  • Vested understanding of the roles and systems in place for the direct reports involved.

Spending time and energy on learning the latest leadership development concepts and models is tempting. However, the real work may be engaging in your own leadership development. In other words, use our own tool-kit to identify our own leadership challenges. In doing so you are in a better position to develop the leaders around you.

What actions are you taking around leadership development in your organization?

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Change & Transition –

Assets of Contract Workers during Periods of Volatility

Business leaders are grappling with the volatility that continues to be present for employers and employees alike. With the shifting and evolving models of work – whether they be from home, from the office, or some hybrid model – volatility will continue for the foreseeable future. As the trend grows it brings with it the unknown and uncertainty. Contractors are an asset in that they have a fresh perspective, are not tied to a particular outcome, and have the skills necessary to turn a strained or conflicted situation into an operational success.

Fresh Perspective – A contract person has fewer inhibitions and is more likely to propose a series of solutions that are outside of the past business behavior.

Focusing on an Outcome that Delivers – The contractor is focused on having processes being delivered consistently.

Addressing Strain and Conflict – From an outsider perceptive conflict and strain are easily identifiable.  Once identified working solutions can be implemented in relatively short order. 

Contractors are a beneficial investment of time and resources especially in relation to the challenges of ongoing change. The true value of a business is the people who work in it. Contractors long or short term provide invaluable assistance in addressing business needs current and mitigating future volatility.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Consultant,

Onboarding of Employees – Revamp Required

Having successfully hired a new employee the true test of whether that employee will stay or move on lies within the onboarding process. With employees today working from home or in some form of hybrid model there is an essential component for virtual onboarding. Orientation in the form of learning modules related to company safety policies, procedural scenarios, IT modules, benefits and health features, and other HR related material certainly has a place in virtual training.

The crux of orientation of a new employee is focused on the softer side – the side requiring a high human touch. New employees need to be oriented into company culture and day-to-day working dynamics. Creating relationships with co-workers, managers, and company executives is necessary for a new employees to be successful. Imparting that information is essential for employee success and retention.

Planning the high touch orientation piece is important. Arranging for it to occur in person and virtually is something that may challenge managers and a solution to the issue is essential. It may take several people within the business or organization to orient a new employee. Another planning component that is crucial.

Steps may mean having the new employee meeting with various team leaders in person one-on-one or virtually to begin to learn about and embrace the culture of the business or organization. It may also require an extended period of time with periodic check points to identify how the new employee is doing.

What has your business or company done to improve its orientation process to ensure new employees are retained?

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant,

Integrity in Diversity

Diversity and inclusion programs and policies have proliferated HR literature over the past few years. Most initiatives in the realm of diversity focus on ethnicity, gender, and age. Diversity involving these aspects is visible and therefore tangible. The question remains does it fully embody diversity? Does it have integrity? Or are there large gaps in this methodology?

When addressing diversity, it is important to focus on less tangible areas such as experience and perspectives. There is a tendency to focus on bringing people on board into a business or organization that share similar experiences or perspectives with the other team members or the hiring manager. While this may work because it is familiar and comfortable – it does not promote integrity in diverse hiring processes.

Bringing on people who have different experiences and perspectives allows for growth of the business or organization in ways that are not transparent. The growth could be an increase in clients, or a new product or service or even both.

Policies and practices around hiring and planning for diversity would do well to focus on the less visible aspects of the process. Diversity beyond the appearance of race, gender, and age just may be what is needed for your business or organization to have a tremendously successful improvement within the workplace dynamics.

Improved dynamics lead to happier employees and greater innovation overall.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Operational Transformation,

Part 2 – Revamp of Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Strategies

Part 2 – Revamp of Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Strategies

Businesses that have long drawn-out procedure for candidates to apply for jobs are losing out on the brightest and the best prospects. Those companies have their Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to re-enter data from an uploaded resume have lost candidates that would make a difference to their business. An ATS can be set-up to take all of the relevant information from a resume without the candidate having to fill in screens of data about work experience, educational history, and special projects.

Streamlining an application process to have candidates apply and be complete within 3 – 4 clicks is good. Less than 3 clicks is optimal. Creating a flagging system in the ATS for sought after skill sets and training is another way of ensuring a restructured and impactful talent acquisition process. Data purging of candidates within an ATS is another way of keeping the system refreshed and up to date. The standard of keeping resumes on file for a few years is obsolete. Follow-up emails to candidates of interest for future roles is another way of effectively using the ATS.

Developing incentive programs to have those women and men who do not want to return to an office is mandatory to retain and retrain great people. Talent Acquisition and Recruitment are vital to businesses of all sizes. To remain relevant the boundaries that were set 5 – 10 years ago need to be set aside and new methods embraced.

What new strategies for talent acquisition and recruiting have you tried and found to be successful?

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant,

Revamp of Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Strategies

Hiring today is different than it was a few years ago. Employers need to up their game in relation to being able to attract, hire, and retain top talent. There is a lot of noise out there about using various tools to ensure the best fit in terms of skill and ability makes it way to the employer via the hiring process. The tools in of themselves are not the issue. The best software and strategic use of these tools will not address the root cause many employers face in terms of hiring great people.

To have great people want to work for an employer the talent acquisition or recruitment process needs to be updated. That includes a high touch candidate process.  That looks like keeping all candidates in the loop regarding where the hiring process is. The days of the tired statement – “only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted” are obsolete. Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) is more than capable of having mass emails sent to applicants advising them of their status well before interviews take place. Following up with candidates that have been interviewed requires retooling. Once again, a competent ATS is more than capable of handling this type of activity within a few days of the interview process.

Employers indicate that ghosting by candidates is an issue. The other side of the coin is that ghosting by employers in terms of candidates is no longer an acceptable practice.

While great strides have been made in terms of hiring for Diversity and Inclusion the one area where candidates still face challenges is ageism. A well functioning work environment values wisdom from all age sectors. Employers that do not value people from a recent graduate to a 60 plus person are not availing themselves of the richness of experience in attracting and keeping top talent.

Flexible working arrangements now are the norm as candidates are not prepared to work the 8 – 5 routine any longer. Another refurbish is to include time during what used to be typical working hours for other activities that are important to people. In other words letting go of concern over an employee who leaves early or shops during working hours and still manages to achieve the results required.

As an employer the need to have a faster turn around time from posting the job to hire is essential. Different working arrangements including fully remote from different parts of the country may need to be embraced. The use of software to its fullest capacity is mandatory. Improved communication, incentives, and appropriate compensation round out the updating process.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant,

Current Volatility Signals Significant Paradigm Shift

Current Volatility Signals Significant Paradigm Shift

Operational dynamics for large and small companies and businesses are in the throes of a significant paradigm shift. Hybrid work arrangements are being re-assessed. Work from home strategies continue to evolve. The return of workers to offices continues to be challenged.

The emergence of a new paradigm has at its core the inherent need for women to take a stronger place in the decision-making process of operational businesses whether they be monolithic in size or small to mid sized enterprises. What worked prior to 2020 is now a somewhat distant memory with significant displacement of workers in service, travel, and entertainment areas including sporting events.

Solutions today require the presence of women and the inherent wisdom of the feminine. The model of women needing to emulate men is outdated. Today the emphasis is on developing a different way of doing and operating businesses of all sizes. Once such way is to focus on the wisdom of women and the operation of businesses from a model of cooperation versus competition. A model that focuses on inclusivity and that allows for the flow of creativity in all areas and directions. A model that is not linear.

Current volatility is alive and seems to be thriving. The questions that arise is what are we as a species doing to embrace and allow the wisdom of women to take form and manifest a different operational structure?

The old is crumbling – the time is ripe for the new and for women to become front and center of the emerging paradigm shift.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Operational Transformation,

Leaders & Attrition to Attraction

All leaders within organizations are being challenged to turn attrition within the work force to attraction to the work force. To engage in the transformation process of your business or organization requires a time for reflection or contemplation. Before executing on your next moves as leaders take the time to pause and consider the following:

  • Are the people in our business in the right places? Are managers and leaders in the right spot to improve employee engagement and morale?
  • What training and development opportunities are being provided to employees, leaders, and managers to boost their skills in hybrid environments?
  • What initiatives have been taken by leadership and management to transform the organizational culture to different operating structures that minimize or transform the weaknesses that were present before 2020?
  • What consideration has been given to deploying new benefits for everyone within the organization?
  • Does your organization foster a sense of community, connection and belonging?

Attraction will not take place from the same model that has caused attrition. A new model is required and answering the above questions starts the process off.

What new initiatives has your organization undertaken to keep people within your work force?

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant,

Wisdom & Power Now: For Women – Increasing Creativity & A Sense of Belonging – December 5, 2021

Join us for a session that will explore:

  • Allowing your creativity to surface no matter what is going on
  • Addressing your need for a deeper sense of belonging
  • An added dimension to what inclusivity may look and fell like for you

Sunday, December 5, 2021 – 1:30 – 3 PM for Part 2 of Having Life by Design. The session will take place over Zoom

For you as a woman to embrace your power in this time of constant change and transition self care is essential and crucial. It is also vital to focus on the areas of your life that may have been lost or set aside as you have been dealing with constant level of change in your personal and work lives.

Workshop 2 will focus on methods for developing the above aspects. Participants will receive a recording of the session along with a workbook.

The fee for the session is $20.00 Once you have registered and e-transferred payment you

Will be sent a link to the Zoom meeting.

To reserve your spot – email Marie-Helene at  Your spot is reserved once you receive an email confirmation with a Zoom link for the session.

I look forward to engaging with you in work that is life altering in nature.

All the best,


Liberal Arts & Soft Skills

Working with hiring managers in several different industries including mining, safety, manufacturing, and health care the one common denominator for skills from the Executive Suite to the frontend office has been soft skills.

Yes – soft skills – those skills that require having good to great people proficiencies. Most managers agree that technological skills are taught in higher education or learned on the job. Soft skills on the other hand are a learned behavior that is not typically taught in the workplace.

Soft skills in this case refer to interpersonal communication skills, relating to others, being approachable, having a good attitude, being pleasant to work with, having cognitive or emotional empathy, and having harmonious interactions with others. Mastery of these skills enables a person to engage and influence others. 

The person with great soft skills leads with confidence. They are also able to manage stress. Another attribute is patience.

Having a good work ethic in terms of being present to the situation, with a willingness to learn something new is part of having well developed soft skills.

It turns out that people with an Arts degree may have the right type of soft skills to succeed in areas that are uncertain and murky.  Why – because they are curious and willing to try new things; they great at decoding or analytics, and they communicate with empathy to others at all levels of an organization.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant,