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Flexible Work Arrangements For Your Workforce

As social distancing orders are lifted, and businesses reopen, employee requests for flexible hours and remote-work arrangements will be part of the new normal. Now that many employers have experienced how successful telecommuting can be for their organisation or how work hours that differ from the normal 9-to-5 can be adopted without causing dents into productivity, offering flexible work arrangements have become more commonplace.

Even in the absence of a pandemic, flexible work arrangements can improve recruitment and retention efforts, increase organisational diversity efforts, encourage ethical behaviour and help the organisation’s efforts to be socially responsible. Employers can experience cost savings, improved attendance and productivity, and an increase in employee engagement which almost always translates into more productivity.

Many U.S. workers now consider work/life balance and flexibility to be the most important factors in considering job offers. In fact, 81% of employees said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options, according to a 2020 survey by FlexJobs. However, offering flexible work arrangements can involve a paradigm shift for organisations, especially smaller ones that may not have the critical mass of technology, budget, management and competitive flexibility necessary to make extensive use of flexible work arrangements.

It’s tough to satisfy everyone. The following practical, real-world approaches will help you treat your people as the individuals they are without creating a chaotic mess of confusing, arbitrary exceptions.

Start one-on-one to understand real employee needs

We might assume, a full 18 months into the pandemic experience, that we’re familiar with what our team members want and how they function best. But people change their minds, or want different things as their circumstances change. So before structuring schedules or work formats, take steps to learn about employees’ current situations in terms of physical work locations and scheduling and gauge their satisfaction with work assignments and career trajectory. Questions to ask include:

  • How well has your team been working together?
  • Do you have access to the decision-makers you need?
  • How well have you been able to arrange cross-functional collaborations?
  • Are there tools, information, or other kinds of support that would help you perform better?
  • How comfortable do you feel about your current work situation?

You won’t be able to satisfy every preference, but when employees trust that you have their best interests in mind, the likelihood of improved retention, productivity, and innovation increases.

Ensure alignment with your own employer branding

If you have a history and culture that treats employees as crucial stakeholders, they’ll expect you to give significant consideration to their preferences and needs. If you’ve always talked about “being like a family,” now’s the time to make that promise real and take care of all your “family members” by accommodating individual needs for schedule adjustments and even modifications to responsibilities when people are under particular duress. If you’ve emphasised that your employees are your most important asset, be sure that you’ve provided resources and communicated about how people can use them to ensure theirs and their families’ wellbeing. This might include providing access to or references or financial support for childcare, eldercare, or mental health services during what continues to be a difficult period.

Don’t mistake physical presence for loyalty

Many leaders once believed that employees speaking openly about wanting to protect or support themselves or their families was a sign that they might not be fully committed to their leaders, teams, organisations, or missions. Employees’ extraordinary dedication during the pandemic should have put that belief to rest. Today, leaders who are unwilling to accept employees’ commitments to the rest of their lives will have a significantly harder time holding on to staff. Whether they work on-premises or remotely, employees who feel supported in doing what’s right for their own lives are likely to feel even more strongly about their commitment to their organisation, rather than suffering from ongoing ambivalence, fear, or resentment — all of which are likely to have a negative impact on their work relationships and output.

This tailored approach will be challenging and time-consuming in the beginning, but it’s significantly less costly than watching your investment in critical staff walk out the door, or not being able to attract the specific talent you need. In the long-term, most employees will observe how well the organisation adapts to theirs and their colleagues’ needs and will end up gravitating to the most popular and effective programmes and solutions.

Advantages of Flexible Work Programmes

Defenders of flexible work initiatives point to the competitive advantages that such programs bring to companies that offer these sorts of programmes. Perhaps the single most cited reason for introducing a flexible work environment is employee retention. Indeed, many businesses stated that the recent trend toward flexible time and other programmes has made it necessary for them to introduce their own programmes or risk losing valued employees. “Another business argument for flexible work arrangements is that they allow companies to match the peaks and valleys of activity,” wrote Elizabeth Sheley in HRMagazine. “More organisations have shifted their focus to how potential changes in schedule will affect the product. Reduced absenteeism, though often overlooked, is also a legitimate business rationale; flexible options not only strengthen commitment, but also give employees more time to handle the very situations that sometimes lead to absenteeism.”

Flexible work programmes provide a way for businesses to increase employee loyalty without resorting to making fundamental changes in their operations. Indeed, Sheley observed that “the most popular flexible work options are those that involve the least change. Flexible time and compressed work weeks, for example, call for the same number of hours, at the same workplace, as in traditional work arrangements.”

Disadvantages of Flexible Work Programmes

Flexible work programs have many apparent advantages, but critics point out that ill-conceived programs can have a negative impact on businesses, and they add that even good programmes often present challenges that a business has to address. First of all, business owners and managers need to recognize that flexible work arrangements are not always appropriate for all people, jobs, or industries. Telecommuting and other “flexplace” arrangements, for example, can be disastrous (or at the very least a productivity drain) if used by employees who are unwilling or unable to put in a full day of work amid the non-work temptations (television, pleasure reading, housecleaning, etc.) of a home setting.

Critics also contend that flex programs often leave managers in exceedingly difficult situations. “Far too often, flex is embraced for its ‘family-friendly’ aspects long before the corporate support needed to manage it takes root,” wrote Martha H. Peak in Management Review. “In these companies, flexible policies are outlined in the employee manual but implementation is left up to individual managers. Then, when managers try to implement these programmes, they discover that to be fair, flex requires them to treat different employees differently.”

In today’s business world, flexible employment staples such as flextime and telecommuting continue to grow, in large measure because businesses that introduce them continue to prosper while simultaneously improving the quality of life of their employees. Looking ahead, it seems clear that flexible work programmes will continue to be used more and more frequently. With the rise of the Internet and rapid spread of high-speed connections to the Internet in homes and offices alike, the tools necessary to make flexible work programmes successful are multiplying. Creating a flexible work programme suitable for a particular business and company will continue to be an individual endeavour but one that is made ever easier with new technologies and communication tools.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2021/10/creating-flex-work-policies-when-everyone-has-different-needs
https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/managingflexibleworkarrangements.aspx
https://www.inc.com/encyclopedia/flexible-work-arrangements.html

Questions To Ask Your New Boss

No matter how many years you’ve worked, starting a new job is often nerve-racking. There are so many unknowns to figure out, and one of the biggest questions are about your new boss. How can you set your relationship up for success?

Understanding Your New Boss’ Expectations

When you get a new boss, things are bound to change. Your new boss will most likely have different expectations for you and your team, a different view of your department’s direction, different ways of communicating, and different priorities than your previous boss. Part of managing your career is taking a proactive part in understanding what is expected of you by your new boss.

Beginning a new job is always a little overwhelming. Not only are you adjusting to a whole new project, office, and set of coworkers, you’re also trying to figure out what your boss wants and how to deliver it. The answer is the same as with getting to know anyone new in your life, whether socially or professionally—you start a conversation, you ask questions.

Of course, it’s not always easy to be the one starting a conversation, but establishing good rapport with your new boss will go a long way toward creating and maintaining a positive work environment. Talking with your boss is the best way to get valuable feedback on your performance, even when it is not annual review time. And, more times than not your relationship with your boss is one of the key factors in advancing your career.

While there’s no universal or simple formula for improving your ability to get along (and work effectively) with your new boss, the good news is that you will make a great deal of progress if you can ask the right questions. Here are a few questions you may want to take into consideration.

1. Who should I meet with outside of our team?

This is why office politics are so important; your ability to figure out how to influence others will improve if you can get to a quick understanding of the unspoken or informal networks that govern the social dynamics of your new team or organization. Your boss is ideally placed to provide you with this intel. 

2. What’s the best way to ask for your input and feedback?

Establishing a cadence where you can get regular feedback on how you are doing, even via 15-minutes weekly chats or regular email check-ins, will help you regulate and calibrate your efforts to improve your performance. 

3. What would you do if you were in my shoes?

This question will not just invite your manager to empathize with you — allowing them to see things from your perspective — it will also show them that you respect them and appreciate their expertise. No matter how logical or insightful their advice may be, it can create a good connection between the two of you and further deepen your understanding of how your manager thinks, feels, and acts.

4. How can I further develop my potential?

Great leaders excel at coaching and mentoring their people. You can nudge your boss to play this role by asking them to assess and develop your potential. This means going beyond your performance to focus also on what you could do. In a world that is increasingly pushing us to reskill and upskill, it is hard to underestimate the importance of expanding our horizons and being open to reimagining or reinventing our talents to future-proof our career. Incidentally, this question will also clarify the existing criteria for promotion and advancement, which will help you be objective and pragmatic about your plans (and will keep your boss honest).

5. What could I be doing better?

After a few weeks on the job, asking this question may encourage your boss to provide you with much-needed guidance for closing the gap between how you are performing and what your boss expects from you. In their attempt to avoid conflict and maintain positive morale, many managers find it hard to provide employees with negative evaluations, so wording your feedback request in this way can help them focus on your improvement areas. It also signals that you are eager to understand how you can get better, even if you are doing well. 

A final point to consider: every person is unique, including you and your new boss. Invariably, this means that some of these questions might not be be applicable given the situation and your growing relationship. But the general rule still stands: you will accelerate your career success if you can manage your boss better. This requires you to understand them better, and a deliberate strategy that starts with smart questions can help. 

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2021/10/7-questions-to-ask-your-new-boss
https://leadhonestly.com/blog/9-questions-to-get-to-know-your-boss
https://www.donnaschilder.com/blog/leadership-blog/questions-to-ask-your-new-boss-to-quickly-create-a-productive-relationship/

Is It the Right Time for a Career Change?

Whether you call it “The Great WorkQuake,” “The Great Resignation,” or “The Great Reset”, up to 41% of employees are thinking about changing their career right now. There are a lot of reasons for them to consider leaving. A strong labour market is pushing up wages and benefits, and companies are offering additional perks to attract new talent. Some workers may be fed up with their existing company’s toxic or unappreciative culture, inflexible work arrangements, or pay inequity. Some may be suffering from burnout or general work/life dissatisfaction. Some are leaving their jobs simply because they can afford to — U.S. personal savings hit a record high of 33% this year. Add in the opportunities to “work from anywhere,” and you can understand why we’re seeing employees quitting in record numbers in 2021.

But before drafting your resignation letter, take a hard look at whether quitting is the best way to achieve your long-term career goals. So how do you know whether staying at your current company might be the better decision for you? Here are a few key factors to consider:

1. You have no idea what you want next – only that you don’t want what you have now

Too many aspiring career changers get so worked up resenting a job that isn’t ideal, yet they don’t have a viable alternative. By alternative, I don’t mean a new job in hand, but just a prototype for a job – roles that match what you want and companies that interest you. It’s critical that you are moving towards something you want and not just away from something you don’t.

I call this the pull-over-push reason for wanting a career change. You want to be pulled by the a glorious future – excitement for the role or industry, enthusiasm for what you can accomplish, eagerness to make a contribution in the new field. The pull is attractive to employers, and it’s a powerful guide to help you navigate the inevitable ups and downs of a career change. If you are just pushed out of your current situation – literally pushed out because your apathy caused your performance to drop or you quit out of feeling bored and undervalued – then quitting isn’t going to give you any more clarity. It’s just going to make you more anxious as your savings run down.

2. Your company may have unforeseen opportunities.

As key employees are departing companies, they’re triggering an organisational shuffle. Their departures could mean opportunities for you to take on new responsibilities, build new relationships, and be seen with fresh eyes by management.

If you’ve been building the right relationships, you can take advantage of this moment to both develop your skill set and add value to the organisation. You could end up with a new role — either a great lateral move or a promotion — or an opportunity to lead or participate in a strategic initiative that offers you increased visibility. The pandemic has led many companies to revisit their strategic goals and initiatives. As in poker, sometimes it’s best to just hold ‘em until you see everyone’s cards and can make an educated decision around your future.

3. You can’t name at least three professional connections who you could call right now to jumpstart your job search

Your network is so important to your job search and not just because it helps to have referrals. Even if you don’t get an introduction to a job, your network can provide information. For example, information about the people you’ll be interviewing with – what their personalities are like, what their work priorities are. Industry experts can give you nuance about the trends and challenges facing your dream employers so you can impress them with how much you already know. It’s so much more effective to tend to your network when you don’t need anything. Otherwise, getting back in touch feels contrived or even manipulative. Don’t be the person who only gets in touch when they need something. Before you quit your job, invest several weeks, if not months, on rekindling your professional connections. You want to flex your dormant networking muscles when you can take your time. Otherwise you risk rushing the process and overstepping your ask, a networking mistake even the smartest professionals make.

4. The best time to stretch your capabilities is in a job you hate

You can practice negotiating hard because if they fire you, that just means you get severance instead of quitting with nothing. You can practice pushing back on unreasonable requests or pitching ideas without fear of rejection because you have nothing to lose. You can finally set boundaries with your needy colleagues because you won’t see them soon enough. The best time to expand the negotiation, communication and relationship skills that you know you’re going to need in every job is in the job you have right now. At the very least, you were leaving anyway so if things get awkward, you’re out of there. But at its best, you might find that you greatly improve your environment, your relationships, even your stature. You might feel better enough about your job that you no longer want to quit.

5. It’s a great time to negotiate

Not completely happy with your current situation? Employees have unprecedented leverage at this time to reasonably discuss pay, working conditions, growth opportunities, workplace flexibility, and career-development benefits such as executive education and coaching support. Use this moment to approach your manager and have an open and professional dialogue around what’s possible and what will help you do your job even better. Keep it friendly and conversational — and come armed with data about your performance to make it easy for them to go to bat for you. Savvy companies are focused on retention and acutely aware of the risk and cost of losing great employees like you.

If you’re evaluating your work situation and not quite sure whether to stay or go, reflect on these questions:

  • How satisfied am I in my job now? Consider everything from equitable pay, meaningful work, acceptable working conditions, benefits, job stability, healthy workplace culture, and opportunities for continued growth.
  • What is likely to change (both positive and negative) at my company over the next six to 12 months? How could those changes benefit my career journey? Remember that a bad situation can still be an opportunity to grow given the right conditions.
  • What actions can I take to increase the likelihood of moving into a more fulfilling within my company? Don’t hesitate to ask this question of your manager or other trusted advisors.

If you believe you have the ingredients you need to make the most of staying put, speak with your boss, sponsor, HR, and other people who support you. Demonstrate a powerful case for what you bring to the company, and express your commitment to being flexible and achieving company objectives. Stay connected with others, creating informal information networks, and don’t stop building your industry connections. Know your organisation and manager’s goals and volunteer strategically to contribute where you can make a positive impact. Staying put and doubling down is often the most effective strategy to get you the role and work life you’ve been dreaming about.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/work/5-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-always-just-quit-job-you-hate.html
https://hbr.org/2021/10/5-reasons-not-to-quit-your-job-yet
https://m.economictimes.com/wealth/earn/7-right-reasons-to-leave-your-job-and-when-not-to-quit/articleshow/64803340.cms

How to Handle Major Change In Your Life

Many of us believe that unexpected events or shocks create fertile conditions for major life and career changes by sparking us to reflect about our desires and priorities. That holds true for the coronavirus pandemic. A bit over a year ago, in an online poll numerous people were asked how the pandemic had affected their plans for career change, 49% chose this response: “It has given me downtime to rest and/or think.” That’s a good start. But if you’re thinking about a (successful) career change, it’s that thinking on its own is far from enough. Yes, events that disrupt our habitual routines have the potential to catalyse real change. They give us a chance to experiment with new activities and to create and renew connections. Even in the seemingly “unproductive” time we spend away from our everyday work lives, we conduct important inner business — asking the big existential questions, remembering what makes us happy, shoring up the strength to make difficult choices, consolidating our sense of self, and more.

Yes, events that disrupt our habitual routines have the potential to catalyse real change. They give us a chance to experiment with new activities and to create and renew connections. Even in the seemingly “unproductive” time we spend away from our everyday work lives, we conduct important inner business — asking the big existential questions, remembering what makes us happy, shoring up the strength to make difficult choices, consolidating our sense of self, and more.

Enough has happened during this past year to make many of us keenly aware of what we no longer want. But the problem is this: More appealing, feasible alternatives have yet to materialise. Basically, we’re stuck in limbo between old and new. And now, with most Covid restrictions at last falling away and a return to the office imminent (in some capacity anyway), we confront a real danger: getting sucked back into our former jobs and ways of working.

How can those of us who want to make a career transition avoid that? How can we make progress toward our goals by building on what we’ve learned this past year? Research on the transformative potential of a catalysing event like the coronavirus pandemic suggests that we are more likely to make lasting change when we actively engage in a three-part cycle of transition — one that gets us to focus on separation, liminality, and reintegration. Let’s consider each of those parts of the cycle in detail.

Separation Benefits

Research on how moving can facilitate behaviour change suggests that people who found a new and different place to live during the pandemic may now have better chances of making life changes that stick. Why? Because of what’s known as “habit discontinuity.” We are all more malleable when separated from the people and places that trigger old habits and old selves.

Change always starts with separation. Even in some of the ultimate forms of identity change — brainwashing, de-indoctrinating terrorists, or rehabilitating substance abusers — the standard operating practice is to separate subjects from everybody who knew them previously, and to deprive them of a grounding in their old identities. This separation dynamic explains why young adults change when they go away to college.

Recent research has shown how much our work networks are prone to the “narcissistic and lazy” bias. The idea is this: We are drawn spontaneously to, and maintain contact with, people who are similar to us (we’re narcissistic), and we get to know and like people whose proximity makes it easy for use to get to know and like them (we’re lazy). The pandemic disrupted at least physical proximity for most of us. But that might not be enough — particularly as we rush back into our offices, travel schedules and social lives — to mitigate the powerful similarities that the narcissistic and lazy bias create for us at work. That’s why maintaining some degree of separation from the network of relationships that defined our former professional lives can be vital to our reinvention.

Liminal Interludes & What You Can Learn

Taking advantage of liminal interludes allows us to experiment — to do new and different things with new and different people. In turn, that affords us rare opportunities to learn about ourselves and to cultivate new knowledge, skills, resources and relationships. But these interludes don’t last forever. At some point, we have to cull learning from our experiments and use it to take some informed next steps in our plans for career change. What is worth pursuing further? What new interest has cropped up that’s worth a look? What will you drop having learned that it’s not so appealing after all? What do you keep, but only as a hobby?

Reintegration: New Beginnings On The Horizon

Most executives and professionals who have shared their pandemic experiences have said that they do not want to return to hectic travel schedules or long hours that sacrifice time with their families — but are nonetheless worried that they will.

They are right to be worried, because external shocks rarely produce lasting change. The more typical pattern after we receive some kind of wake-up call is simply to revert back to form once things return to “normal.” That’s what the Wharton professor Alexandra Michel found in 2016, when she investigated the physical consequences of overwork for four cohorts of investment bankers over a 12-year period.For these people, avoiding unsustainable work habits required more than changing jobs or even occupations. Many of them had physical breakdowns even after moving into organisations that were supposedly less work-intensive. Why? Because they had actually moved into similarly demanding positions, but without taking sufficient time in between roles to convalesce and gain psychological distance from their hard-driving selves.

Our ability to take advantage of habit discontinuity depends on what we do in the narrow window of opportunity that opens up after routine-busting changes. One study has found, for example, that the window of opportunity for engaging in more environmentally sustainable behaviours lasts up to three months after people move house. Similarly, research on the “fresh start” effect shows that while people experience heightened goal-oriented motivation upon after returning to work from a holiday, this motivation peaks on the first day back and declines rapidly thereafter.

The hybrid working environments with which many organizations are currently experimenting represent a possible new window of opportunity for many people hoping to make a career change, one in which the absence of old cues and the need to make conscious choices provides an opportunity to implement new goals and intentions. If you’re one of these people, it’s now up to you to decide whether you will use this period to effect real career change — or whether, instead, you’ll drift back into your old job and patterns as if nothing ever happened.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/cheryl-muir/3-ways-to-prepare-yoursel_b_7295334.html
https://possibilitychange.com/major-life-decision/
https://www.flashpack.com/wellness/life-change-how-to-happiness/

Price Increases & Why You Should Tell Your Customers

Covid restrictions are lifting in some parts of the world and the economy is booming in some sectors. Some labour and material costs are rising due to shortages, as is customer demand. Many brands have a high pricing power at the moment, making price hikes almost inevitable. Brand managers may be clued in on the size of their price increase, but it’s no easy matter to communicate this unwelcome news to customers.

Many companies, and even entire industries, routinely raise prices without ever telling customers. In the consumer-packaged goods space, for instance, it is common practice to reduce quantity (the grammage of a package, item count, etc.) and maintain the price. This increases the per-unit amount paid by shoppers but keeps the more visible package price unchanged. Alternatively, brands may cut down on trade promotions and other forms of discounting, raising prices indirectly. For instance, when faced with a shortage and soaring prices for chicken, KFC recently removed in-store promotions for its crowd-pleasing $30 fill-up bucket.

Whatever the reason for your price increase, how you communicate the news is just as important as planning the increase itself. Your communications need to provide clients with detailed information, address questions and concerns, and reinforce your value as their chosen service provider. 

However, these below-the-radar options are unavailable for products sold with subscriptions, leases, or contracts. In these cases, the manager must communicate to customers that prices have increased before the next billing cycle. This task is mined with pitfalls. When performed poorly, the news can lead to undesirable outcomes like customer complaints, social media outrage, and even worse, having to walk back the price increase, or losing customers altogether.

To avoid such fiascos and to blunt customer resentment, here are three actions that managers should take when communicating a price increase. They are backed by evidence found in academic research and shared experiences from working with companies.

Call the action what it is: a price increase

In emails and letters to customers, well-loved brands such as Netflix, Microsoft, Sling, and YouTube TV have all referred to a price increase as “updating price” or “adjusting price” in the past. This is common practice because managers are naturally reluctant to tell customers they are raising prices. While this may seem like a small thing, euphemistic messaging can cause serious harm, fraying the relationship with loyal customers. Decades worth of consumer psychology research has consistently found that attempts to obfuscate bad news rarely pay off for brands. Customers know that brands are trying to influence their opinions and behaviour and appreciate it when they use helpful, transparent, and informative influence methods.

Authenticity and honesty matter to customers, especially for bad news. When a brand uses a euphemism to convey a price increase, it does not distract customers or dilute the negative impact of the news, as managers may believe. Instead, it arouses suspicion, making recipients more vigilant and critical of the information contained in the announcement. Some customers may interpret the euphemistic phrasing as talking down to them. It may stoke indignation in others, leading to venting on social media and the potential to snowball into widespread anger. Even customers who are on the brand’s side may feel that they are being deceived. Where communicating price increases, it is best to call it what it is: a price increase.

Avoid apologising & over-explaining

Increasing prices is a standard part of running a growing business, and enables a company to continually provide better services over the long term. Rate fluctuations naturally follow a company’s growth plan. Nobody can grow by staying static. While it can be tempting to provide long-winded explanations and apologies for increasing your rates, giving too much information can take away from the key message you’re trying to communicate and ultimately confuse your clients. In addition, apologising could send a signal that the price increase will negatively impact your clients and/or that you’re not confident in the increased value you’re providing. 

When communicating a price increase to customers, ensure that your messaging only contains essential information and avoid adding unnecessary details. Don’t be afraid to own your decision! 

Offer plenty of advance notice

Although price increases are an expected part of doing business, it is important to give your clients sufficient time to process the information and potentially look at other service providers offering lower or competitive rates. (Depending on the significance of the increase, your clients may be required to secure additional approval or funding to continue to do business with you – especially if the business is facing challenges.)

To help your clients feel valued and give them time to make any necessary changes on their end, provide as much notice as possible before the price increase will come into effect. If you’re able to provide a few months’ notice, consider following up with a reminder closer to the effective date (either via email or over the phone) so the price change – and any consequential business changes – doesn’t turn into a last-minute disaster. 

Prove that the Price Increase Is for the Customers

The most effective price increase communications are customer-centric. They provide a value narrative — a vivid and compelling story for why the price is being increased that focuses on customer value. As an example, when United Airlines raised prices of its United Club membership, the company provided this explanation:

“To provide a more productive and relaxing experience, we’re investing more than $100 million in renovating existing locations and building new spaces with expanded seating areas, more power outlets and upgraded Wi-Fi. We’re also investing in a brand new complimentary food menu that you can now find at most of our hub locations across the U.S. and will be available soon at the rest of our locations.”

This explanation tells United Club members that prices are increasing to give them more benefits they’ve been asking for. A compelling value narrative establishes the sequence of actions for the price increase. It starts with customer feedback, then leads to identifying unmet needs, is followed by a significant investment by the brand, which results in new features, and finally culminates in the delivery of benefits that customers value.

As the United Airlines communication illustrates, the value narrative is concise — only a few sentences long. But it provides a credible explanation for the price increase that resonates with core customers. Most importantly, it places the customer at the centre of the price increase story, linking the price increase to substantial added customer value. A well-crafted value narrative conveys to customers that the brand has undertaken the effort to understand how its customers derive value and factored this knowledge into the pricing process.

At its essence that managers should approach the unpleasant task of communicating a price increase to customers with the same degree of sincerity, attention to detail, and customer focus that they bring to other brand-building projects like introducing new features or extending product lines. Such effort will be rewarded with a price increase that sticks and customers that feel like valued partners of an authentic brand with their interests in mind.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-to-sell-a-price-increase-to-your-customers-2948463
https://www.workflowmax.com/blog/youve-decided-to-raise-your-rates-now-how-do-you-tell-your-clients
https://hbr.org/2021/06/if-youre-going-to-raise-prices-tell-customers-why

Re-Onboarding Your Return-to-Office Employees

At the beginning of the pandemic, employers quickly shifted almost every aspect of their business, including the onboarding of new employees, to take place remotely. Research from Glassdoor shows that organisations with strong onboarding practices improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%. Yet, according to Gallup, only 12% of employees feel that their organisation does a great job re-onboarding employees — and this is under “normal” circumstances.

Now, as organisations look at returning to the office in some capacity during the months ahead, there is an opportunity for re-onboarding employees who started remotely. Doing so will help create a continued positive employee experience and help further socialise them into the organisation’s culture, given that this group of employees will likely not have met their fellow team members in person, nor likely have ever been to the organisation’s physical offices.

In looking at the group of re-onboarding employees, you may also include employees who started a month or so before the sudden shift to work from home, as their full onboarding experience may have been cut short, as well as include internal hires into new roles or transfers to new offices. For brevity, I’ll call this combined group “remote hires.”

In addition to other onboarding best practices, here are six strategies for re-onboarding employees who started remotely:

Allow remote hires to bond as a cohort

This group shares a common, distinctive experience — starting a new job during what is, hopefully, a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic. Laurie Tennant, VP of People at Norwest Venture Partners, shared that her firm has had about 20 people who started remotely, ranging in position from Executive Assistant to Partner, across all teams in the organisation. She said, “You have an emotional resonance with your start-group that just kind of lasts” and shared that she is planning to do something special for remote hires where they all meet live to help form an affinity group of people who started during this time. Judy Parkman, Director of Human Resources as The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation also plans to organise an additional in-person lunch for remote hires with the foundation president, which was previously held virtually.

During these events, consider creating structured opportunities for remote hires to interact and get to know each other, such as ice breakers or “speed networking” activities, especially when there are multiple levels of the organisation represented or power differentials than can create feelings of awkwardness for individuals, regardless of their position.

Be mindful

Make an extra effort to help these employees feel particularly welcome, as if it’s their first day at the office — because it is! Consider leaving something special at their desk, be it a personal note, company swag, or other small gift. This is a nice touch that will go a long way in making members of this group feel valued, cared for, and recognised for having started a new job during a uniquely challenging time. Also, be thoughtful in making sure remote hires’ desks are located in an area where they will be able to naturally interact with other colleagues.

facility tours

Being new to an office can feel awkward and intimidating when you don’t know your way around — sort of like joining a new gym and not knowing where specific equipment is located or how a new machine works (in this case, it might be trying to figure out where the espresso machine is and how it works or how to get a FedEx package sent). In orienting remote hires to the physical space, conduct these tours in small groups to provide additional opportunities for remote hires to meet and get to know others. Show them not only where the office pantry, break room, restrooms and fire exits are, but other things like security protocols, conference room sign up procedures, helpful short-cuts and specific potential hazards or things to avoid, such as getting locked in the stairwell.

Communication and regular check ins

Managers of remote hires may take for granted that since these employees have already been on the job for some period of time that they’re already part of the team and don’t need assistance. Remind these managers that it’s their job to help the re-onboarding process for remote hires to make sure they are adjusting well to the new environment and have everything they need. Encourage them to take their remote hires to lunch and conduct a one-on-one with them their first week in the office, as would have been the case if they had initially started their job at the office.

Make sure managers and someone from HR is constantly checking in with remote hires in the weeks that follow. In many organisations today there are employee experience managers also plans to check in regularly with remote hires, which account for about 10% of their total employees. In addition, they should also assess what re-onboarding experiences may need to be conducted once back in the office based on what they hear from this group during these check ins.

Create a solid buddy system

Creating a buddy system can increase employee productivity and satisfaction. Remote hires are not only working at a new company, but also will be working in a new situation once people go back to the office, which can make them feel insecure. Aim to pair remote hires with more tenured employees who are familiar not only with the physical office, but also the office culture, as this can be a key source of support for remote hires helping them to navigate new dynamics once they are back at the office, even if they only return onsite a few days a week.

Consider assigning them two buddies — one who is on their team who has a good understanding of the remote hire’s role and manager, and one who is not on their team to help broaden their internal network and provide useful context outside their department. Ensure that these buddies understand how important their role is in the remote hire’s experience coming into the office and in helping them to understand how “in office” culture might be different than virtual culture.

Create informal team-building opportunities

Creating opportunities for people to get to know each other better will help all employees to reconnect after being remote for over a year but will also help remote hires, in particular, to socialise and get to know both new and seasoned employees in a more relaxed and less intimidating environment. For example, Norwest Venture Partners are planning to do a summer picnic and a voluntary opening over the summer for anyone who would like to come back to the office before their official open date in September. This gives remote hires the option to get to know the office and other colleagues in a less hectic or intimidating environment. The firm also plans to hold open houses at their offices once they officially open to create more opportunities for employees to mingle and get to know each other. Of course, other activities can also be planned with your more immediate teams, such as team dinners or informal outdoor barbeque.

While going back to the office will be an adjustment for everyone, it will be an entirely new experience for remote hires. Don’t squander the opportunity to create a great employee experience and use the strategies for re-onboarding your remotely hired employees.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.hrdownloads.com/blog/article/back-to-the-future-at-work-re-onboarding-employees-december-2019
https://www.growthengineering.co.uk/8-top-tips-for-re-onboarding-returning-employees-using-your-lms/
https://hbr.org/2021/06/how-to-re-onboard-employees-who-started-remotely

Employees & What Drives Them Most Going Forward

The past year has accelerated digital transformation across sectors. Along with a universal recognition that resilient employees are the true lifeblood of a company came an understanding that a company’s workforce is quintessential to business recovery. This has prompted organisations to completely rethink how they attract, retain, and manage their talent.

Citrix wanted to understand what the current attitudes of both HR managers and knowledge workers are with regard to their future workforce. They conducted a study, which they called it the Talent Accelerator, as part of Citrix’s Work 2035 project, a year-long examination of global work patterns and plans designed to understand how work will change, and the role that technology will play in enabling people to perform at their best. The Talent Accelerator study combined research from more than 2,000 knowledge workers and 500 HR directors in large, established corporations and mid-market businesses with at least 500 employees all of them based in the United States. When the study was commissioned, both groups of professionals were working under permanent contracts and were currently or had recently been working from home as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

Employees (Now More than ever) expect flexible options

According to the study, 88% of knowledge workers say that when searching for a new position, they will look for one that offers complete flexibility in their hours and location. Also 83% predict that in response to the global skilled talent shortage, companies will leverage flexible work models in order to reach out to suitable candidates no matter where they live — yet, only 66% of HR directors feel the same. What is even more interesting:

  • 76% of the workers interviewed believe that employees will be more likely to prioritise family and personal interests over proximity to work, and will pursue jobs in locations where they can focus on both — even if it means taking a pay cut.
  • 83% of employees think that workers will be more likely to move out of cities and other urban locations if they can work remotely for a majority of the time, creating new work hubs in rural areas.

In order to position themselves to win in the future, companies will need to meet employees where they are.

Employees want to re-imagine how productivity is measured

In the future, companies will need to rethink how they measure productivity because traditional metrics — and views that real work can’t get done outside the office — will no longer cut it. According to the study, today’s employees want to be measured on the value they deliver, not the volume. And they expect to be given the space and trust they need to do their very best work, wherever they happen to be.

  • 86% of employees said they would prefer to work for a company that prioritises outcomes over output. What does this mean? New employees want to work for a company that cares less about the qualified work output they are able to produce, and more about the impact they can deliver to the business in a holistic sense.
  • But there is a gap here, with just 69% of HR directors saying that their company currently operates in this way, and only half of HR directors saying that their organisation would be more productive as a whole if employees felt that their employer/senior management team trusted them to get the job done without monitoring their progress.

Forward-thinking companies will focus on closing this gap, and will design people-centric experiences that give employees the space they need to unlock their full potential and deliver transformative results.

Employees want to work with a diverse team

One thing on which both employees and managers seem to agree? Employees want to work for a company that prioritizes diversity.

  • 86% of employees and 66% of HR directors assert that a diverse workforce will become even more important as roles, skills, and company requirements change over time.
  • Honest, accessible metrics around your diversity progress and remaining gaps are critical to ensuring that efforts to build a diverse team are measurable, targeted, and impactful.

Without the restriction of location, business leaders must look at their recruiting from a broader lens and expand the potential to attract employees who can boost an organisation’s creativity and productivity.

They might, for instance, dip into untapped pools of talent such as the “home force” and bring back parents who’ve put their careers on hold to care for children, or people who left jobs to tend to aging relatives. It could also mean looking to Baby Boomers who’ve retired, but who still want to work a few hours per week. And it could mean enlisting more part-time, contract, and gig workers — who make up a larger percentage of the workforce than ever — to take on more hours. And, of course, it means looking for global talent that may reside anywhere.

learning and development: Top priority

New business models sparked by the pandemic and changes in customer preferences and needs have given rise to new roles and opportunities for companies — and their employees — to grow. Upskilling and reskilling will be critical factor in capitalising on them. As the study found:

  • 82% of employees and 62% of HR directors believe that workers will need to hone their current skills or acquire new ones at least once a year in order to maintain competitive advantage in a global job market.
  • HR directors believe that ensuring that an organisation has the latest collaborative technology in place to enable agile learning is the most important factor in recruiting and retaining the best talent, and 88% of employees confirm this notion, saying that they look for this when searching for a new position.

It bears repeating: Organisations will need to prioritise reskilling and upskilling to attract and retain the talent they need to make their businesses grow. Those that do will not only boost the motivation of their existing workers, but will gain the attention of the brightest new recruits and position themselves to emerge from the pandemic not just where they were, but in a stronger, better position to move forward.

The last year has forever changed the way employees view and approach work, but one thing holds true: Businesses that want to attract and retain the talent they need to move forward must understand the top priorities of their future workforce. They must embrace new, flexible work models and cultivate a workforce that can design their own careers. In doing so, they will not only boost the motivation and engagement of their existing workers, but will gain the attention of the brightest new recruits and take their business to new heights.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/what-employees-are-saying-about-the-future-of-remote-work
https://talentnote.teamtailor.com/the-5-things-employees-want-from-future-employers/
https://www.fastcompany.com/90538157/this-is-the-thing-employees-want-most-from-their-employers

Remote Work Is Here to Stay. But How?

Remote work forever? Implementing a hybrid system? Going back to the office full-time? Companies and their management teams have a lot to think about. have a lot of One of the success stories of the pandemic has been the adoption of remote work. A January 2021 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that 83% of employers say remote work has been successful for their company. That’s a 10% increase from a June 2020 survey. It’s a case of good news/bad news. While some companies survived because of the strength of their remote-work initiatives, getting employees to head back to the office has its own challenges. In fact, another January survey, by LiveCareer, found that one-third of workers would quit before going back to the office full-time. “We now know that remote work is good for many things, but not everything,” says global HR analyst Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte. At the same time, companies are going to need to balance the needs of employees with the company’s plans to get people back to the office and happy about being there, he says.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was rampant speculation that one of the long-term implications would be the end of the office. While the workplace will undoubtedly become a hybrid environment with more employees working remotely at least part of the time, the reality is that companies will still have offices. In fact, according to a poll of more than 200 respondents conducted during a recent Gartner webinar, only 1% of midsize companies are planning on becoming fully remote organisations. On the other end of the spectrum, only 5% of midsize companies are planning on having all employees come back to the physical workplace. The remaining 94% will have some mix of in-office, remote, and hybrid employees.

As more individuals are getting vaccinated, business leaders need to shift their thinking from the abstract question of where employees will work to the reality that there is a specific day on the calendar that some kind of return to the office will actually occur. That day appears to be approaching quickly, as the same Gartner poll found that 69% of midsize companies are planning on reopening their workplaces in the second half of 2021. The question of how to return to the office will be more challenging than the abrupt shift to remote work was in March of 2020, given the variability of rules, regulations, and people’s vaccination status.

Fostering a Safe Environment

The number one issue that has to be managed before employees come back to the office is safety, says Tami Simon, corporate consulting leader and senior vice president at Segal, a human resources and employee benefits consulting company. “Above all else, employees need to feel safe: physically, mentally, and financially. Employers should transparently describe how they plan to make their workplace a safe place,” she says. In addition to the physical measures companies need to take, employees need to feel like they won’t face consequences for expressing their needs or feeling reluctant to head back to the office, she says.

Many employees harbor concerns about how safe the workplace will be. Communicate your company’s reopening plan to employees well in advance of the actual date. Communications should indicate the actual safety measures you’ll have in place, as well as enhance perceptions of safety. For example, if employees commute primarily via mass transit, they’ll also be seeking guidance or reassurance about the safety of their journeys to work.

Define and communicate your hybrid work strategy. Gartner’s 2021 Hybrid Work Employee Survey of more than 2,400 knowledge workers found that 54% of employees agreed that their employer’s approach to flexibility will impact whether they’ll stay at their organization. A hybrid approach will allow employers to meet employees’ new flexibility preferences.

Rethink the Office Space

Create a space that people want to come back to. That may include changes to the physical space and accommodating needs like standing desks to help employees avoid being sedentary all day. If you are going to rotate employees who are in and out of the office, you may wish to consider abandoning fixed desks and create workstations that can be shared. This is an opportunity to reconsider how the work is done and where it’s done. Giving employees what they need, possibly including having their main workstation at home, will help them better adapt to the time spent in the office.

Management teams face a challenge in determining exactly who those mission-critical employees are. Some roles, such as sales or relationship management, that have historically been viewed as requiring face-to-face interaction, may need to evolve given changing health guidelines and customer preferences, as well as the advisability of travel for non-essential purposes. Other roles undeniably depend on onsite tools or technology and can’t be done effectively without them.

Likewise, it’s essential to recognize that workforces will need time to adapt to new ways of working post-pandemic. Employees coming back after an extended furlough or period of remote work may find the physical layout of their workplace changed and their shift schedule altered. For office workers, returning to a workplace may require a mindset shift for those who’ve adjusted to working remotely. In order to navigate these changes, management should make sure employees understand what’s being asked of them and what steps the company is taking to protect their health.

Re-acclimating an onsite workforce will present an enormous change management challenge for executives, who will need a communication strategy that can help employees who are returning to the workplace, as well as those who continue to work remotely, embrace a shared vision of what comes next. And they should work with human resources teams to prepare for a potential uptick in ethics and compliance complaints from employees whose concerns persist.

Providing employees with the chance to make their challenges and concerns known may help management teams identify potential problems with their return-to-the-workplace plans. By enabling real, two-way communication, leaders may turn the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity to strengthen corporate culture, increase employee engagement and boost productivity and loyalty over the long run.

While the desire is to return to “normal” as quickly as possible, the reality is that the workplaces employees return to in 2021 will not look like the ones they left in 2020. Encouraging employees to get vaccinated is good, but it’s not enough. The companies that are thoughtful about safety, flexibility, and clear communication will have the most success as we enter another period of profound change.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.mmc.com/insights/publications/2020/july/bringing-employees-back-to-the-office-safely.html
https://hrexecutive.com/requiring-employees-to-return-to-the-office-get-ready-for-them-to-quit/
https://www.benefitspro.com/2021/04/21/getting-employees-back-to-the-office-safely-so-far-a-patchwork-quilt/?slreturn=20210428035444

Diversity and Inclusion Strategies & Implementation

Diversity and inclusion programmes help companies drive innovative results. Yet many industries still struggle with diversity and inclusion, often failing to attract diverse talent due to inclusivity issues in the workplace. For organisations looking to shape up their diversity and inclusion (D&I) programmes and policies, the change can be challenging, but also rewarding. Most companies enact change to deliver business value, and many who launch diversity and inclusion initiatives cite research showing that companies with more diverse teams outperform those with a more homogeneous workforce.

As 2018 research from McKinsey shows, greater diversity in the workforce results in greater profitability and value creation. The same holds true at the executive level, as McKinsey found a statistically significant correlation between diverse leadership and better financial performance. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity at the executive level are 33% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile. When it comes to gender diversity, companies in the top quartile are 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile, according to McKinsey’s research.

While financial performance is a major driver of diversion and inclusion strategies, some organisations launching diversity initiatives in the face of government compliance regulations or to address shareholder pressure. In the United Kingdom, for example, companies are required to publish their diversity statistics. Organisations are also realising that make diversity and inclusion a business imperative will help them avoid tarnishing their reputation.

During 2020 and so far in 2021, many companies, including McDonald’s, Microsoft, Boeing, and Best Buy, made pledges to improve diversity hiring practices and introduce diversity and inclusion (D&I) training. The hiring of D&I professionals in general increased, too; more than 60 U.S.companies appointed their first-ever chief diversity officer (CDO). However, much of this work has not yet taken root. In one recent survey, 93% of leaders agreed that the D&I agenda is a top priority, but only 34% believed that it’s a strength in their workplace. In another survey, 80% of HR professionals viewed companies as  “going through the motions.” In other words, they didn’t notice any significant positive impact from the organisations’ actions. Another survey revealed that while 78% of black professionals believe senior leaders’ D&I efforts are well-intentioned, 40% hear more talk than action and have not noticed material changes to policies or culture. Meanwhile, many CDOs leave their roles because of a lack of strategic, financial, and political support.

One-off D&I “initiatives” do not effectively address these long-standing disparities. Instead, leaders should infuse D&I throughout their organisations. Based on our experience and research, we have developed five strategies that can turn diversity and inclusion into an improved employee experience and a strategic advantage for the enterprise.

Change starts from the CEO positions

The CEO needs to take a public stance, embed D&I in the organization’s purpose, exemplify the culture, and take responsibility for progress toward goals. They need to be out front, even if a CDO is part of the team.

PwC’s U.S. chairman, Tim Ryan, has been an exemplar for at least five years. He co-founded CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion after police shootings in the summer of 2016 to spur business executives to collective action on D&I. The publication of PwC’s workforce diversity data in 2020 revealed that women and people of color are underrepresented, especially at senior levels, showing that even the most dedicated companies still have a lot of diversity and inclusion work to do.

Nielsen’s CEO, David Kenny, added the CDO title to his leadership portfolio in 2018 so he could “set hard targets for ourselves and make those transparent to our board and measure them like we measure other outcomes like financial results.” He relinquished that title to a new CDO in March 2020, noting the D&I progress his team had already made.

Diversity and Inclusion Should Be Key Part OF Business Strategy

D&I is far more than an “HR issue.” It should be a core ingredient in the design and execution of business strategy and embedded in the activities of the organisation day in, day out. Increasing the number of non-white individuals involved in the strategy process will help develop a core purpose that better reflects a broader group of customers and employees. It also gives the organisation more opportunities and places to succeed.

Alex Gorsky, chair and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, who has put diversity and inclusion at the center of his pursuit of sustainable competitive advantage, said, “The best innovations can only come if our people reflect the world’s full diversity of individuals, opinions, and approaches.” A diverse design group is more likely to create products and services that work for a diverse clientele, avoiding biased assumptions, generalizations, or shortcuts. When organizations test products and services on a diverse group of potential clients and employees, it’s easier to identify the variations necessary to enhance the adoption of the final offering. And, when a company has an enterprise-wide D&I strategy, leaders can use it to guide the selection of operating ecosystem partners that are aligned with its D&I intentions.

Every Voice Should be Welcomed, Heard and Respected

Most often employees quit jobs when they feel that their authentic self and uniqueness is not appreciated or valued. As such, it is vital to create an environment where they feel a sense of connectedness to the company and its people. Employees need to feel free to express themselves based on their unique perspectives. 

When it comes to supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, don’t play favorites, practice basic courtesy, and pay special attention to how you can embrace non-discriminatory practices and policies. Employees feel included when they feel “safe” to voice their concerns and opinions without fear of victimization. The freedom of expression without fear also empowers companies to not just listen to but also actively embrace diverse viewpoints.

One great way to do this is to invest in a workforce communications platform. By integrating all your communications channel into one platform, you will reach each worker on their preferred channel. You will truly help your workforce feel connected and included in larger company initiatives and goals. Also, you will gain insights from unified analytics to understand how best to meet their needs and help them thrive. And you’ll provide a personalized employee experience that is inclusive and allows all voices to be heard.

Multigenerational Workforce

Today, millennials make up the vast majority of the workforce. Having a workforce that recognizes and accommodates multiple generations is essential in building a diverse and inclusive workforce. And while millennials are generally known for being tech savvy, bear in mind this generation encompasses ages 22 to 38. The older millennials might not have the same proficiency with tech tools as their younger counterparts. You can really see this at work in communications practices. Sometimes certain employees are more comfortable using social channels, for example, or group chat functions. On the other hand, employees of older generations might not embrace such communications channels so readily.

Again, communications professionals can invest in a workforce communications platform to easily and efficiently create and send messages via channels that employees prefer; this will help communicators craft messages that will appeal to all generations, and encourage engagement. There’s widespread agreement on the need to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. But it’s not easy to deliver on the promises made. It’s time to adopt a more systematic, coherent approach. By following these strategies, leaders can make more progress and create a more representative, fair, and high-performing workforce.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.cio.com/article/3262704/diversity-and-inclusion-8-best-practices-for-changing-your-culture.html
https://socialchorus.com/blog/15-ways-to-improve-diversity-and-inclusion-in-the-workplace/
https://www.greatplacetowork.com/resources/blog/why-is-diversity-inclusion-in-the-workplace-important

Pandemic-Induced Changes in Work Practices

As vaccines are being administered, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people’s lives and the business environment will gradually lessen over time. This is a welcomed change, but organisations must resist the urge of a complete reversion to their pre-pandemic practices.

Given the fact that the crisis imposed severe restrictions, it also provided us with a unique opportunity to try thousands of alternatives and innovate with new practices, some of which are beneficial in any period. In addition, the crisis lowered the resistance to change and thus helped healthy organisations get rid of deeply entrenched, dysfunctional practices that would be difficult to shed in normal times.

Many organisations were forced to do things that would have been considered inconceivable not so long ago. In addition to many companies’ successful digital transformations and widespread remote work, courts started delivering justice online, healthcare providers shifted to telemedicine for many minor illnesses, banks paid out loans without meeting clients in person, and auditors conducted virtual company audits without visiting company premises.

But what will happen to these practices once the pandemic is over?

1. New practices should be sustained

In the early days of the pandemic, circumstances forced companies to react and experiment in swift and pragmatic ways. Most companies followed one unequivocal dictum: Keep pace and survive. Now it’s time to make space to reflect.

As a first step, companies should identify which new practices were successful, why they were successful, and under which circumstances they’re expected to continue to succeed. New practices are more likely to be retained and sustained if managers and employees consciously identify and recognize them, then establish them. Survey employees to understand what they did differently during the crisis and then conduct follow-up discussions about what succeeded for them and what didn’t. Distill the efforts that were successful into common organizational procedures, translating them into documentation and communicating new expected practices to employees.

2. Reduce any connection to old practices

We’re notorious creatures of habit. Given two choices, we’ll almost certainly opt for the more familiar one. Old habits and their signals are not only ingrained in our brains, but they’re also embedded in our surrounding environment. Language, spatial arrangements, rules, and work systems are preservers of knowledge in organizations that can trigger relapse. Manipulating or removing those symbols facilitates sustained change.

Organisations should be encouraged to unlearn dysfunctional practices by reducing influences of old knowledge structures that can hinder the adoption of new ones. This requires three easy steps:

  1. Question and reconsider the explicit and implicit criteria by which employees are evaluated — for example, whether they come to the office regularly and on time.
  2. Scrutinise and eliminate activities that were considered a norm previously but are no longer required — for example, daily in-person morning meetings held in a conference room at the office.
  3. Identify and change triggers that make people retrieve old norms — for example, if you had a tradition of having a group pizza lunch on Friday, host it in a video conference­-enabled room so that people working from home can join.

3. Openly discuss and explain the new procedures

Even after changes have been implemented, employees continue to carry deeply embedded assumptions about routines and practices before Covid-19. As long as these old assumptions are ingrained in individuals’ memory and there are disagreements about them going forward, the risk of failure remains high.

For example, one company initiated a dialogue among employees about the work-from-home mandate that was implemented during the pandemic. Now that conditions are becoming conducive to a return to offices, the company is discussing a permanent remote work policy.

In our analysis, we identified three distinct groups of employees based on their perceptions of the original change. One group was enthusiastic about it and demanded that it be sustained. Another group was comfortable with the change given the extraordinary circumstances but believed that it should be reversed once the pandemic is over. The third group never wanted the change and couldn’t wait for a reversion to the old practice. Although the shift to remote work was initially implemented on an organisation-wide basis, management didn’t know about the differences in people’s hidden perceptions about them. Unearthing these ideas and their different assumptions helped the organisation reflect on, transparently discuss, and set uniform expectations for each other, which allowed them to create more nuanced work-from-home policies that balanced the needs of all three groups.

Letting different viewpoints clash after change has been implemented does more harm than good. In order to make change sustainable, everyone must have a similar, if not the same, understanding of the reason, merits, and punishment and rewards associated with new procedures. For example, if physical, in-office meetings shouldn’t be held on days employees are allowed to work from home, make that clear. If an in-person meeting on one of those days is unavoidable, make sure employees understand that they won’t be penalised for participating virtually. Bringing varying opinions and perceptions to the surface, openly discussing divergent assumptions, and settling them will help align those expectations.

4. New practices should become habits

New practices can be sustained only if they’re turned into habits. In the final step of our framework, organisations must make sure that good practices are cemented into the organisational setting. The tendency to fall back into established routines is always one step away. It’s important, therefore, to go beyond initial rollouts and information sessions to regularly reinforce the new practices. This involves reminding people what the new procedures are until they don’t feel new anymore. It’s almost like reminding drivers about new speed bumps and lane changes for a period of time until they get used the new quirks. Instead of hoping that employees will automatically internalise changes as new routines, organisations must repeatedly communicate their benefits while providing incentives for their adoption and potential disincentives for their non-adoption. After several trials, new routines will become the familiar ones, and change will be sustained.

In places where pandemic restrictions are easing, companies must embrace this unique opportunity to retain the beneficial practices they adopted during the crisis. To do so effectively, leaders must be thoughtful about identifying which have been successful and deliberate in ensuring that the changes stick.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

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Sources:

https://www.businessreport.com/business/resist-old-routines-when-returning-to-the-office
https://v-teamwork.com/change-in-the-workplace/
https://www.liquidplanner.com/blog/why-is-organizational-change-so-hard/