Remote Career Development: Diana Talesnick Of Curbio On How To Advance and Enhance Your Career When You Are Working Remotely
An Interview With David Liu
Maintaining employee relationships and creating new ones.
Career development is the ongoing process of choosing, improving, developing, and advancing your career. This involves learning, making decisions, collaboration with others and knowing yourself well enough to be able to continually assess your strengths and weaknesses. This can be challenging enough when you work in an office, but what if you work remotely? How does remote work affect your career development? How do you nurture and advance your career when you are working from home and away from other colleagues? How can you help your employees do this? To address these questions, we started an interview series called “How To Advance and Enhance Your Career When You Are Working Remotely”. As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Diana Talesnick.
Diana Talesnick is the Director of Talent Acquisition at Curbio, the nation’s leading home improvement solution for the real estate transaction. Diana has been with Curbio since June of 2019, during which time the company has grown to more than 100 employees and has been named the second-fastest growing company in the Washington, D.C. area by the Washington Business Journal. She has more than a decade of experience working in talent acquisition leadership positions at companies including Robert Half Technology and Credible Behavioral Health Software.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. What is your “backstory”?
The first seven years of my career after graduating from Towson University were spent at a technology staffing agency in Washington, D.C. While there, I learned it all- from recruiting, building and managing teams, to the importance of company culture. I’ve spent the past five years of my career building and managing the recruitment efforts for a healthcare software company, and now for Curbio, a tech-enabled home improvement solution. My other full-time job is managing the tiny careers of my two boys at home- I have a basketball player and superhero, ready for promotions!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Every day is interesting when dealing with people. I used to interview five to seven people every day, in person. I once met someone who, in the middle of our interview, answered the phone and took a five-minute personal call right in front of me. No big deal.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Learning the difference between business casual and business professional attire. On my first day at my first job, I recognized very quickly who the top performers were and who were not (it was me!). That was when I learned “fake it til’ you make it!” Dressing the part helped me feel more confident speaking daily with clients and candidates. Happy to report now, casual dress code for the win!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Nothing worthwhile is easy.” Words from my Grandma! This is a constant reminder that the daily grind will pay off in both career and personal advancement. I started off at a staffing agency right out of college, as a front desk administrator. My hard work and persistence to do more landed me a recruiting role and today, I’m the Director of Talent Acquisition at Curbio, an organization that was just recognized at the second-fastest growing company in my area.
What advice would you give to other business leaders to help their employees thrive and avoid burnout?
Work. Life. Balance. Meet regularly with your team. Identify pain points and areas of success. Use these key things to promote balance and help your team to work smarter, not harder. Encourage your teams to take time off for their mental health, vacation, and whatever else they need. Nothing is more important than giving your team support while they are at work and while they are away.
Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Working remotely can be very different than working with a team that is in front of you. This provides great opportunities but it can also create unique challenges. To begin, can you articulate for our readers a few of the main benefits and opportunities of working remotely?
The feedback that I’ve gotten from Curbio employees is they get a chunk of their life back. We are able to be as productive, if not more, than when we were in the office, but now we can use our downtime during the workday on small tasks around the house. Working remotely allows staff to have windows of opportunity to re-energize and rest, which is a huge win for mental health. Much of what companies try to emulate in the office with perks is achieved more easily in the comfort of your own home.
Can you articulate for our readers what the five main challenges are regarding working remotely?
- Maintaining employee relationships and creating new ones.
- Time management — it can be hard to unplug.
- Issues with technology can take longer to resolve.
- No visibility and/or less recognition.
All of these challenges can be overcome easily with the implementation of improved processes and consistent follow through by leadership.
Based on your experience, what can one do to address or redress each of those challenges? Can you give a story or example for each?
Maintaining employee relationships and creating new ones: this issue can be mitigated by simply scheduling more time for employees to connect. This can be done through virtual happy hours, more frequent all-company meetings or town halls and team gatherings for lunch or happy hour. For new employees, there should also be a virtual onboarding that includes multiple department leaders so that they get an initial introduction to people outside of their own team.
Time management — it can be hard to unplug: this challenge can easily be addressed by time blocking your day, including times to focus and be productive, and times to take a break. Managers can also help with this by working with their team members to identify the hours that they are most productive, and discussing how they can use that to their advantage while meeting expectations in their role.
Issues with Technology can take longer to resolve: to address this issue, organizations should ensure that proper lines of communication are open for employees to contact the tech support team if they need to. There should also be open communication with tech leaders at the company to get ahead of equipment shortages and ensure that inventory is always stocked.
No visibility and/or less recognition: this challenge can easily be addressed by both individual managers and company leadership. Implementing regularly scheduled company and department-wide communications, like an internal blog or monthly newsletter, to shout out new hires, anniversaries and success stories is a great idea. You can also try copying in leadership when highlighting an individual’s successes.
Isolation: to combat isolation, make sure to check in with your team members regularly. A creative solution for combating isolation is to implement a mentorship program that allows access to company employees who are outside of leadership, creating a safe place for employees to open up about workplace frustrations or ideas for advancement.
Let’s talk about Career Development. Can you share a few ideas about how you can nurture and advance your career when you are working from home and away from other colleagues?
There are many ways to nurture and advance your career while working from home. First and foremost, be sure to share your success stories with leadership. I also recommend being proactive by providing solutions to problems and, of course, staying on top of your work and asking how you can help others, if and when you have the capacity.
Can you share a few ideas about how employers or managers can help their team with career development?
Career development begins on day one. Every employee should have set expectations related to how success is defined in their role and how they can accomplish their goals. Discussions should include personal development within the organization, long and short-term goals, and a clear path on how to achieve them. Continuous conversations around these items are not only positive steps for career development, but also for employee retention.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would encourage people to visit local shelters in their communities and volunteer. If you can’t give time, monetary donations are just as impactful. There is a local shelter in Rockville, MD, Stepping Stones Shelter, that provides a stable home environment for women and families. I am on their list-serv and like to send dinner and monetary donations whenever possible. Of course, people need help all over, but knowing and seeing those in your own community hits you differently. Lifting your community and those around you is contagious.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for these great insights! We wish you continued success