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Organisational Change: High-Risk – High-Reward & How to Do It Right

Most organisational change efforts take longer and cost more money than leaders and managers anticipate. In fact, research from McKinsey & Company shows that 70% of all transformations fail. Why does this happen though?

For many reasons: a weak culture that isn’t aligned with the mission, leadership misalignment, lack of participation and buy-in, under-communicating a powerful vision, over-communicating a poor vision, competing priorities, not enough training or resources, and so on. But one very critical roadblock standing in the way of bringing a change vision to fruition is what experts call ‘change battle fatigue’. Change battle fatigue is the result of many elements such as past failures plaguing the minds of employees, the sacrifices made during the arduous change process, and rollout strategies taking longer than anticipated. When a transformation is poorly led, fatigue can set in quickly.

And not only do 70% of organisational change fails, but that failure rate may even be increasing. According to older but still very relevant 2008 research from IBM, the need to lead change is growing, but our ability to fulfill a change vision is shrinking. Hence why people often get discouraged and eventually give up. Even when companies make great strides while building a change culture and preparing for the ‘change battle’, fatigue can derail even the most valiant efforts for change—essentially leading to losing the ‘change battle’.

It’s difficult for managers and staff to get motivated when they believe that the latest ‘new initiative’ being preached from above is going to die just like the last one—no matter what they do. Furthermore, fear makes change intensely personal. People become concerned about their jobs, families, and long-term career path. When people are afraid, most can’t hear or think as well. It’s much harder for them to absorb important information when panic starts to set in. This can be a big distraction that undermines the team’s ability to focus and stay productive. And times of change are when you need them more focused than ever.

Thus, the often-cited failure rate of organisational change continues to hover around 70%. If you’ve got a major change on the horizon, here’s how to avoid the most common ‘saboteurs’ of organisational change.

Underestimating the work

Simply put, most leaders want organisational change to be easier than it is. By its nature, transformational change creates discontinuity because it touches the entire company. In the case of a financial services company, shifting from product to service centricity meant every aspect of the organisation, from sales to operations, is going to be touched by the need for change.

By contrast, incremental change — for example, implementing a new technology platform or launching a new product — touches discrete aspects of the organisation. Most companies makee the same mistake: They assume that a larger volume of incremental changes would add up to a complete transformation. Henceforth, they spray the organisation with numerous, disconnected initiatives whose efforts weren’t coordinated, that were actually under-resourced for what they were expected to deliver, and whose project leaders lacked the authority to make material decisions or impose consequences on those unwilling to cooperate. Instead of accelerated change, the result was obstructed change — a system clogged with an overload of disparate efforts that everyone stopped caring about.

A multifaceted transformational change needs to be appropriately scoped, resourced, and integrated. Every initiative must be linked to every other initiative. In the case of most organisations, efforts to market the benefits of newly positioned services need to be synchronised with the efforts of operations people to actually deliver those services. Messages to customers needed to sync with new skills those delivering the services needed to acquire. Centralised services from corporate needed to work closely with local branch offices’ ability to customise services. And it all needs to be sequenced and paced in a way the organisation could productively absorb. Once these efforts are appropriately integrated, means and ends will begin to match, and real organisational change eventually aligns with the messages.

Creating Cultural Experiences That Support The Vision

Cultural experiences are imperative to instill the proper mindsets and beliefs that drive actions that get results. What are cultural experiences? They can be anything from how people interact, the work environment, how the company approaches its customers, company meetings and events, hiring mechanism, to where people sit.

There are four types of cultural experiences as they relate to organisational change:

(1) positively impact change and needs no interpretation;

(2) positively impact change but needs more interpretation to engage the team;

(3) has no positive or negative impact the change effort;

(4) has a negative impact on the organisation.

Type 1 and type 2 cultural experiences help drive engagement and belief in the mission. They keep the team energised.

Emotional Intelligence & Increasing Situational Awareness

In combat, situational awareness is an obvious necessity. Not always easily achieved but a constant priority requiring good communication and leadership at every level. Situational awareness at the individual level could also be described as self-awareness – a key component of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is widely known to be a key component of effective leadership, especially when navigating change and uncertainty. The ability to be perceptively in tune with yourself and your emotions, as well as having sound situational awareness, can be a powerful tool for leading a team in VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) environments. The act of knowing, understanding, and responding to emotions, overcoming stress in the moment, and being aware of how your words and actions affect others is described as emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence consists of these four attributes: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

For example, a study of over forty Fortune 500 companies showed that salespeople with high emotional intelligence outperformed those with low to medium emotional intelligence by 50%. The same study showed that technical programmers who fell in the top 10% of emotional intelligence competencies were producing new software at a rate three times faster than those who fell in the lower ratings.

Emotional intelligence also improves employee satisfaction, something vitally important during any change effort. A West Coast bank was forced to cut almost one-third of its staff due to the economic downturn back in 2008. Determined to survive the ‘change battle’, the leadership team invested in assessing the remaining staff for their levels of emotional intelligence. The results supported their transformation goals to ensure they not only had the right people on the bus but that those people were in the right seats—doing jobs best suited to their capabilities. The company survived and is now more productive and more profitable with fewer employees.

It’s hard to make organisational change turn out the way you want to. But by doing your due diligence and creating the plan that makes the most sense for your company, you’ll increase the chances your change management efforts are successful. As a result, you’ll have a strong, healthy company that’s well-positioned to keep dominating for some time to come.

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/2021/04/how-leaders-get-in-the-way-of-organizational-change
https://www.pulselearning.com/blog/6-steps-effective-organizational-change-management/
https://www.tinypulse.com/blog/sk-successful-organizational-change-examples

Overwhelmed at Work? Here’s What You Can Do

Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that “what goes up must come down.” However, stress and feeling overwhelmed is not bound by the constraints of physics—it just goes up and up and up. Psychotherapists say that many of us wind up amplifying the mental health harms already placed upon us by our jobs and relationships—even when it’s the last thing we want.

In 2015, the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey revealed more and more adults were feeling “extreme stress,” and that average stress levels were slowly increasing. With that stress came increased stress-related symptoms and overall poor health caused by such a huge mental strain. Many respondents admitted to partaking in unhealthy eating habits, not sleeping well or losing patience with loved ones because of the stress, too.

When you feel overwhelmed, you may react in ways that not only don’t help the situation, but that even make it worse. Maybe you’re oblivious to these patterns, or you know what they are but struggle to do anything about them.

Feeling overwhelmed at work can make you feel stressed, confused, trapped, and at risk of burnout.  When you experience overwhelm at work it can be difficult to manage your time, energy, and focus. Overwhelm can affect your ability to think and act clearly and rationally.  Feeling overwhelmed at work can also prevent you from making effective decisions and taking appropriate action.

To stop feeling overwhelmed at work it’s important to understand the triggers.  When you feel overwhelmed at work, causes include having too much too to do, tight deadlines, work pressure, or stress. Some of the best ways to handle feeling this overwhelmed actually fall into two camps—neither of which have anything to do with working until your brain melts: taking action to get a handle on your work, and taking a break so you can keep working to the best of your abilities.

The following are common self-sabotaging mistakes overwhelmed people tend to make. There are practical solutions for each that will help you feel like you’re on top of things and do a better job of navigating your most important tasks and solving problems.

1. You think you don’t have time for actions that would help you

People often have great ideas about things that would help them feel better and more in control — for example, hiring someone to help around the house, practicing self-care, seeing a therapist, taking a vacation, or organizing a game night with friends. However, they dismiss them because they think they’re too busy or that it’s not the right time, waiting to take those actions until a more ideal moment that typically never arrives.

Instead of thinking about what would be ideal, choose the best option that’s easily available to you now. Perhaps you don’t have time to research the best therapists by interviewing multiple candidates, but you do have time to pick someone who meets a few of your criteria and try a couple of sessions with them.

When you have good ideas but don’t act on them, it can lead to a sense of powerlessness or incompetence. You may also have endless open loops of “shoulds” and waste time and energy thinking the same thoughts over and over again. Plus, when you don’t act, you miss out on the benefits you’d accrue from trying your ideas. By acting to help yourself, you’ll get practice finding doable solutions, feel more self-efficacy, and reap those benefits sooner.

2. You interpret feeling overwhelmed as a weakness

Lots of times, we feel overwhelmed simply because we need to do a task we’re not very familiar with, or because a task is high stakes and we want to do a superb job of it. By itself, this isn’t necessarily a problem. We can often work through the task despite those overwhelmed feelings.

However, sometimes we get self-critical about the very fact that we feel overwhelmed. We think: “I shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by this. It’s not that hard. I should be able to handle it without it stressing out.” When you’re self-critical, you become more likely to procrastinate, because not only does the task trigger feelings of overwhelm, it also triggers shame or anxiety about having those feelings.

Some people react to this shame and anxiety in other ways. They might approach the task with extra perfectionism, or they might become more reluctant to ask for tips and advice from others. It’s important to replace your self-criticism with compassionate self-talk, which I’ve provided specific strategies for previously.

3. You navigate towards your dominant approaches and defence mechanisms

When we get stressed out, we tend to get a bit more rigid. Because we have less cognitive and emotional bandwidth to consider other options, we become less flexible about adapting to the demands of the situation and default to our dominant ways of handling things.

We all have values, but we don’t always use them to our advantage. For example, thoughtfulness can turn into overthinking, self-reliance can morph into micromanaging or doing everything yourself, having high standards can lead to being picky or perfectionistic, and resourcefulness can steer you toward doing things in unnecessarily complicated or unconventional ways.

When you’re overwhelmed, make sure you’re matching your values to the demands of the situation. Does the particular task or problem need…? (Insert your dominant attribute, such as thoughtfulness or self-reliance.) Or would a different approach be better suited to the circumstances?

4. Wasting time and energy on things you have no control over

No one controls everything. It’s impossible. Some things are simply beyond our influence. Don’t waste your time on those things. Instead focus on areas that you can influence or change. For example, you can’t control whether the company you work for will merge or not.

Don’t waste your energy or time worrying about it. Allot yourself 5 minutes of worry time, then shift gears. Move on and get over it. Focus on what you can do to make the situation better. Figure out what skills would make you more valuable to the organization. Explore different options so that you are prepared when the decision is finally made and announced.

5. You’re Multitasking

When you feel like there’s way too much on your plate, your first instinct will probably tell you to knock out more than one task at once. But that, my friends, is an urge to ignore. While we’re multitasking we may feel as though it makes us high-achieving, it actually makes us prone to even more mistakes and increasing our feelings of being overwhelmed. Even though answering emails and writing up a project at work may make you feel productive for, like, 10 minutes, it pays to give each task (and, more importantly, yourself) some room to breathe.

Finally, just remind yourself—it will all get done. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and with the help of these strategies, you’ll be sure to get there with your work done well.

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.huffpost.com/entry/feeling-overwhelmed-4-mis_b_9266878
https://www.baofootspa.com/blog/2020/2/21/the-3-most-common-mistakes-you-make-when-youre-stressedand-what-to-do-instead
https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-unexpected-ways-to-deal-when-youre-overwhelmed-at-work

Decision-Making Myths – Debunked

Decision-making is not fortune-telling, and good decisions do not always result in predictable outcomes.

Can you imagine life without your smartphone? So many of us can’t. We depend upon them for everything from directions to telling us the temperature outside to tracking our daily steps and heart rate. Our “Hey, Siri” culture has conditioned us to equate speed with efficiency and efficacy — and it’s changing how we process information. Our brains have become conditioned to respond with pleasure to the bings, pings, and dings our phones and computers provide.

While Siri and Alexa and Google are great when we’re jonesing for Italian food and want help finding a restaurant, they’re not great, or even desirable, when it comes to complex decision-making. In fact, they help enable a series of counterproductive ideas and reactive behaviors that actually impair your ability to make informed decisions. For example, let’s say you want to buy a car. Maybe you’re weighing a Prius versus a Crosstrek. Siri and Google can give you all sorts of information, such as fuel efficiency or the current interest rate on your loan. But a search engine won’t know why you’re buying the car, how you intend to use it, or what impact the purchase will have on your budget. Ultimately your decision needs to come from a clear understanding of your needs, values, and goals — information that’s outside the reach of their algorithms.

The most important things you need to learn often aren’t formally taught when you’re young. For example, many lament that teenagers aren’t educated on how to manage money. It’s a fair criticism. Evidence suggests a severe lack of knowledge around basic personal finance; a 2018 survey found that less than 50 percent of respondents could correctly define what interest is, the concept of bankruptcy, or how inflation works. In the absence of knowledge, myths creep in. One example that gets attention this time of year is the “benefit” of receiving a tax refund. This is a myth. In almost all cases, receiving a substantial refund isn’t a good thing. After all, you lent the government money—interest-free— throughout the year. 

Another myth: All college degrees are a sound financial decision. Data suggests that some people spend way too much money on a degree that won’t land them a job with a salary sufficient enough to make the investment worthwhile. It’s part of the reason why there’s a student debt crisis. Like personal finance, management isn’t something most people study formally—although HBS Online offers a Management Essentials course. Most people learn management “on the job,” and in fits and starts. As with personal finance, myths often develop for those who’ve never received management training.

On January 15th 2009 the world witnessed an unusual incident. The press called it ‘Miracle on the Hudson’. On that unforgetable day, an Airbus A320 aircraft with 150 passengers and crew members on board, encountered multiple bird strikes. They damaged the turbofan engines to the extent that both the engines of the aircraft became immobile.

In that situation, Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger took a bold decision to land the unpowered aircraft on the Hudson River. Fortunately, it was a safe landing and the lives of all 150 passengers and crew members were saved. This was truly unprecedented. Such events allow us to appreciate the criticality of making the right choices in times of crisis. It proves that a decision can be a life changing one and that too not just for an individual, but for an entire nation. Though decision making is a critical survival skill, research shows that it is prone to biases. Hence, it is worthy of deep study.

Myths About Decision-Making

1. I like to be efficient

So many of us think efficiency means jumping right in and making a decision. But to be truly effective, we need to be clear on what we are solving for. Rushing can lead you to make a decision based on the wrong factors, which ultimately will lead to regret. For example, walking into a car dealership and buying the first car you see may feel efficient, but may mean you end up with the car the salesperson wants to get rid of, not the car that best fits your needs and budget.

2. I just need to solve this problem at this moment

This is the classic example of “losing the forest for the trees.” Our problems sit in a context. A narrow focus may solve the wrong problem, or only partially solve the problem. If your car breaks down unexpectedly and you rush out to buy a new one, are you considering your needs beyond the present?

3. This is my decision alone; I don’t need to involve others 

Our important decisions do involve other stakeholders. Avoiding this bigger picture of who else is affected by a decision can, at best, only partially solve the problem, and may exacerbate it. For example, if your spouse or child can’t drive a stick-shift, do you really want to buy a manual transmission car that no one else in the family can get out of the driveway in an emergency?

4. I know I’m right; I just want data or an opinion to confirm my own thinking

Also known as “confirmation bias,” this decision-making flaw has been behind notorious failures from the Bay of Pigs to the subprime loan market implosion to the NASA Challenger explosion to the Deepwater Horizon environmental catastrophe. In each case, disconfirming data was available and should have raised concerns, but groupthink set in, and no one wanted to raise the red flag. To better understand and define the limitations of what you think you know, look for contrary examples and evaluate rival explanations. These techniques can prevent “frame blindness” to keep you from seeing what you want to see rather than what may be present. For example, maybe you’ve settled on the Crosstrek in your car search, but you decide to look around anyway. Could your preference for the Crosstrek influence how you evaluate the other cars? Could you be looking to confirm your inclination rather than buy the best car for your needs? To pry open cognitive space, first consider your needs and then look for cars that fit those parameters.

5. Decision-making is linear

In fact, good decision-making is circular; it needs a feedback loop as we gather information and analyze it and our thinking. At times we need to go back to find information we’ve glossed over, or to gather new information or conduct a different kind of analysis. When buying a car, for example, you might think that doing your research first and then going to a dealer and negotiating a price is enough. But there are many dealers, and they each have leeway to negotiate a price, so circling around and comparing offers may get you a better price.

6. There’s just one way to do this

Whether it’s how the bed should be made, which diet to follow, or how to divide up your retirement account, there’s always more than one way to get to “yes.” We’ve been conditioned out of listening to other voices, siloed in our information, environment, and social (media) circles. But getting outside your routines and patterns leads you to seeing things differently. You may always have gone into the dealership to buy cars, but more and more, people are negotiating car purchases online and through texting and email.

7. I have all the information I need

 While we may want to forge ahead, we can improve our decisions — and our satisfaction — by investing in a little bit of research and confronting assumptions with evidence. Your best friend might love her car, but that doesn’t mean it’s the car for you, particularly if it won’t fit your daughter’s hockey equipment. Looking to the experts, such as Consumer Reports, which does substantive research, can help you make an educated decision that’s also right for you.

8. I can make a rational decision

Psychologists far and wide, such as Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, have demonstrated that as much as we’d like to believe it, none of us are rational. We all operate through a dirty windshield of bias based on past experiences and feelings. You might think you won’t get taken in by a car dealer, but they are professional salespeople who know how to evoke an emotional response.

For all our talk about the importance of management, it seems to be one of the most mysterious business disciplines. As with any realm shrouded in mystery, myths develop to help individuals understand what they know little about. But beware of believing them. While some myths point to the truth, many don’t. The best anecdote for knowing which myths are helpful shorthand and which are falsehoods? Education.

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.johnolivant.com/2020/07/16/the-myths-surrounding-decision-making/
https://www.greenbook.org/mr/market-research-news/4-common-myths-about-human-decision-making/
https://eugenie.ai/3-myths-about-decision-making-busted/

Working Parents and How They’re Dealing with Time

The stress and uncertainty brought on by a year of the COVID-19 pandemic has left working parents struggling to find a child care solution that not only meets the expectations of their employers, but also the social and educational development of their children.

A new survey of working parents done by Bright Horizons revealed that over three-quarters (78%) of parents whose children are not in a child care centre or school setting are worried that their child is missing out on social and other developmental opportunities. Almost half of parents (46%) with a nanny or in-home care provider agree that a child care centre or school setting would provide more opportunities to socialise with other children, and 4 in 10 believe it would provide educational opportunities (41%) and/or more engaging activities (38%) for their child. On the other hand, two-thirds (67%) of parents with children in a child care centre or school environment feel their arrangement supports the social development of their child.

In light of these results the CEO of Bright Horizons, Stephen Kramer said: ” Working parents have spent the past 10 months being very nimble, pivoting on a daily basis as the world follows the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. But after almost a year of living, working and caregiving from home, parents are in need of a consistent, reliable child care solution that enables them to focus on their work while keeping their children safe and healthy and also supporting the social, emotional and intellectual growth of their children.”

According to the aforementioned survey, the majority of parents (97%) with children in a child care centre or school setting feel their arrangement allows them to focus on their work. The survey also revealed that most parents (89%) whose children do not attend a child care centre would consider this option for their child in the foreseeable future. The inability to juggle parenting and work (34%), along with children becoming increasingly bored at home (29%), are the factors that will weigh most heavily in parents’ decision to enrol in group education settings.

There is often talk about the “balancing act” of managing work and parenting, which assumes that the solution is a combination of compromise, multitasking, and choosing an understanding employer. But there are limits to compromise, and multitasking is exhausting. And we do not all have the good fortune or opportunity to choose a flexible and understanding employer. Even if we do, this choice can be undermined by the inherent demands of the work or the realities of who gets promoted, whose role is made redundant, and who gets pay raises.

Empathising with and supporting your employees with children during these difficult times can help set up your organisation for long-term success. Not only can it help you retain top employees, but it can also help these employees be more productive and can improve your employer brand and broader brand perception. Here are a few specific examples of ways employers are supporting working parents at this time, along with best practices your organisation can consider. Not every organisation will have the financial resources to offer a full range of support, but some of the practices outlined here can be implemented regardless of company size and resources.

Top employers offer working parents added support

Some technology companies and other larger organisations have recognized that overseeing virtual learning is challenging even for the most tech-savvy parents. To support parents during the ongoing pandemic, Accenture partnered with Bright Horizons, the childcare provider, to offer employees access to small-group, part-time school day supervision at a subsidized cost. Other organisations such as Microsoft and Bank of America are also offering this benefit to employees.

Bank of America is also offering employees benefits such as $100 in childcare reimbursement per day and virtual experiences for school-aged children. School-aged children of employees can participate in tutoring, virtual field trips and after-school programs through the non-profit online learning tool, Khan Academy. Working parents also have access to an online hub that features information about childcare, virtual education resources and opportunities to connect with other parents.

Citigroup is adding new employee benefits to help working parents balance their day-to-day work and virtual learning. The organisation is offering employees discounts on test preparation and tutoring services to kick off the new school year. Employees can receive assistance with finding an educational caregiver to supervise their children’s online learning and if they prefer small group learning, they can be matched with other families and educators.

Supporting flexible scheduling

The uprise in remote work since the initial COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020 leaves many individuals wondering whether they’re ‘working from home’ or ‘living at work.’ In the absence of set times in the office, employees across organisations are often taking a different approach to their working hours. Some start the day earlier or work later than they did before the pandemic because they don’t have to spend the extra time commuting. Others need to take a break during the day to help children with virtual learning or to run an errand for an at-risk relative. Due to this shift, employers should consider placing less emphasis on gauging success based on showing up at a certain time and instead embrace flexible, employee-driven scheduling.

Starting with new hire onboarding, encourage employees to block time on their calendars when they might have personal conflicts – such as supervising virtual learning or preparing lunch for their children. Foster a culture in which this type of time blocking is widely accepted and employees do not face negative repercussions for not being available at specific times. Encourage new hires to speak up as soon as possible if they’re struggling to balance their home and work schedules. This can help you identify solutions to set up for immediate success your new employees who are working parents, rather than only having this discussion if the employee’s performance noticeably suffers.

Rethinking performance reviews

Many employees who have faced challenges with juggling work and parenting responsibilities are concerned that this balancing act will lead to poor performance reviews. Google, for example, suspended performance reviews due to the pandemic in March and recently decided to reinstate them. In a recent survey of 870 Google employees who are parents, many indicated they expect the upcoming assessments to show that their job performance suffered in recent months. Others are asking Google for an option to opt out of this review cycle, which determines raises and promotions.

Other organisations are taking different approaches to performance management. Facebook suspended its usual performance ratings in early 2020. Instead, all employees who exceed expectations will receive bonuses. Facebook and other tech companies like Netflix and Google have also implemented performance management initiatives such as providing constant feedback, the ‘Keeper Test’ (in which a manager is asked, ‘Would you fight to keep that employee?’), and separating performance reviews, salary discussions and peer reviews.

A recent survey from Willis Towers Watson found that 66% of employers are not planning to alter performance expectations or career development and promotion processes for workers dealing with childcare issues. Whether employees are working parents or not, they have spent the past six months adapting to this new normal while doing their best to perform well in their roles. The unusual circumstances surrounding the pandemic need to be taken into consideration during performance reviews. This might mean setting up more frequent, informal check-ins instead of formal annual reviews for the time being or having a more open, two-way conversation rather than gauging success based on measurable numbers. By showing understanding, companies demonstrate that they truly care about their employees, not only generating higher productivity in the near term, but also strengthening employee loyalty in the long term.

In conclusion, about 41% of US employees between the ages of 20 and 54 have a child at home, meaning two in five employees are currently managing work and childcare or education in one way or another. By understanding the strain the pandemic has put on all employees – including working parents – your organisation can put a plan in place to better support your team, retain employees and drive results that will support long-term business success.

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.parents.com/parenting/moms/healthy-mom/time-management-tips/
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210119005073/en/Working-Parents-Prioritize-Social-Development-in-Considering-Pandemic-Child-Care-Solution
https://qz.com/work/958747/the-eisenhower-box-helped-me-balance-parenting-and-work/

Developing Better Apprenticeship Programmes

As economies recalibrate from the shocks imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders in the public and private sectors are swiftly trying to reimagine how people should navigate the labour market, whether it is an apprenticeship, mid-level or corporate level management.

Among other things, the economic tumult has exposed a clear disconnect between higher education and workforce development. In this new age of precarity, consumers will need sure-fire means to acquire the skills necessary to become productive employees, while employers will require reliable information to compare and hire the right talent. 

This has motivated providers, non-profits, and policymakers alike to create new models and mechanisms that will increase trust and accountability between education providers and employers and allow consumers, employers, legislators, and investors to navigate the postsecondary marketplace with confidence.

The Education Quality Outcomes Standards Board (EQOS) has created a robust Quality Assurance Framework in order to address these key issues. By pioneering a universal, outcomes-based standards framework for postsecondary education and training programmes, EQOS is strengthening the connection between higher education and workforce development and empowering all stakeholders to make informed choices.

During 2020, EQOS launched a number of partnerships with innovative postsecondary providers to pilot the Quality Assurance Framework by collecting and reporting their student outcomes data. During 2020, EQOS launched a number of partnerships with innovative postsecondary providers to pilot the Quality Assurance Framework by collecting and reporting their student outcomes data. The framework provides a clear, consistent way to compare the results data of all kinds of postsecondary programmes. Having that data allows learners, states, employers, and others to identify and support the most successful programmes.

There is strong evidence that work-based learning helps to equip young people with the skills that can improve their employability and ease the transition from school to work. Onsite work and mentoring are the core of the training model that today’s entry-level workers need in order to build and sustain lifelong careers. Strategically designed apprenticeship programs aggregate, monitor, and streamline the changing inputs and relationships required to promote workers and pave paths of sustainable employment. University graduates have become unemployable in some countries, even while jobs go unfilled.

Businesses worldwide lack skilled workers, even as unemployment—particularly among the young—is high. Too few skilled workers means that projects sit idle and revenue growth falls short of potential. Therefore, an apprenticeship combined with on-the-job training programmes make good sense for companies that need middle-level skilled workers.

An apprenticeship that involves mentoring provides young people with the frame of reference they need to forge a sustainable path, including networks and training resources. Hybrid training, from one-on-one development to being on the job, bridges school and the world of work. Programmes keep individuals motivated and plugged into hiring employers.

Not only does an apprenticeship help equip a workforce with the practical skills and qualifications needed within an organisation, they can also contribute to the productivity, growth and overall success of a business. Here are four ways a business could benefit by getting on-board apprenticeship programmes:

Career-focused development

Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity for employers to develop, nurture and grow a more qualified workforce aligned to their future strategy. Using a combination of best practice, theory and on-site application, leadership and management capabilities within your business can be improved, so that your people will lead in new and improved ways.

Additionally, they also provide an effective way to ensure the future leaders and managers of your organisation develop the right skills to contribute to the growth and improvement of the business. After all, leadership and management are key to helping businesses achieve sustainability.

Greater innovation

Apprenticeships can help all types of business, big or small, across a range of sectors harness fresh new talent. As apprentices come from a range of diverse backgrounds, from aspiring managers to those with more experience under their belt, new innovative ideas and approaches are often brought to the business which help drive it forward.

Additionally, throughout an apprenticeship, individuals are encouraged to develop creative thinking skills and strategies, enabling them to think outside of the box. Leaders are responsible for the environment they create; they are the role models of the behaviours they want in their teams.

Therefore, it goes without saying that leadership and management development is a key driver in embedding a culture of innovation into an organisation.

Increased staff loyalty and retention

Investing in the development of employees can have a real positive impact on the morale of the workplace. Apprentices have an appetite for development, and when given that opportunity, they are likely to be more eager, motivated and loyal to the company.

This motivation and positivity from business leaders will cause a radiating effect amongst other employees, meaning the whole business will benefit as a result.

Additionally, offering existing staff the opportunity to develop through a leadership and management apprenticeship demonstrates that you are willing to invest in their future. This can help employees to see their job as a career and prolong their time at the company, increasing retention.

Improved bottom line

Developing staff through apprenticeship programmes can generate a real return on investment for many businesses. An apprenticeship is a great way to grow your team while keeping staff costs down, proving to be more cost effective than hiring skilled staff due to lower overall training and recruitment costs.

Additionally, as staff become better skilled and gain greater understanding of the wider business throughout the programme, confidence and independent thinking will develop. This can contribute to the generation of new ideas and suggestions such as improvements to business processes or strategies. Which, in turn can have a positive impact on productivity and efficiency in the business, thus reducing costs.

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.forbes.com/sites/gradsoflife/2021/04/06/tracking-outcomes-toward-better-apprenticeships/?sh=649293113252
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/building-back-better-with-apprenticeships
https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/About/Blog/Article/Apprenticeships-a-valuable-approach-to-developing-your-workforce.aspx

The Productivity Paradox and Its Link to Technology Innovation

From PCs to smartphones, office tech has always promised to make us more productive. But time and again, it’s come with unexpected side effects. In 1982, Time magazine skipped its annual tradition of naming a “Man of the Year” to instead crown the personal computer as the “Machine of the Year.” The Apple II had been released only a half-decade earlier, and the subsequent introduction of the VisiCalc spreadsheet software in 1979 seemingly all at once convinced the managerial class about the business potential of computers. Soon, IBM released its own PC, which went on to become both widely copied and wildly popular. The journalist who wrote the Time feature noted in his article that he had typed his contribution on a typewriter. By the next year, their newsroom switched to word processors. The revolution in workplace productivity had begun.

At least, this is the simple version of the tale we tell. A closer look at what happened next and, in the decades following has complicated matters. We’ re used to the idea that new office technologies make us strictly more productive, but the history of workplace tools teaches us that the quest to make common activities more efficient can yield unexpected side effects. This was true of the first PCs, and it likely explains the uneasy relationship we have with a more recent office innovation: email.

Not long after the arrival of the PC, experts began to question the miraculous nature of this suddenly ubiquitous device. In 1991, an article in The New York Times quoted an economist who pointed out that although companies continue to spend heavily on technology, “white-collar productivity has stagnated.” He concluded at the time: “No longer are chief executives confident that throwing computers at their office staffs will result in greater efficiency.”

The data supported these concerns. A study of the years 1987 to 1993, conducted by economists Daniel Sichel and Stephen Oliner, estimated that computer technology contributed at most 0.2 percentage points a year to business output growth, after adjusting for inflation, a period during which overall growth expanded by 1.9 percent a year. A contemporaneous article summarized these findings bluntly: “The impact of computers on recent productivity growth has been vastly overstated.”

Productivity growth in most of the world’s rich countries has been dismal since around 2004. Especially vexing is the sluggish pace of what economists call total factor productivity—the part that accounts for the contributions of innovation and technology. In a time of Facebook, smartphones, self-driving cars, and computers that can beat a person at just about any board game, how can the key economic measure of technological progress be so pathetic? Economists have tagged this the “productivity paradox.”

What are the problems that cause the productivity paradox?

  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

According to an article in ‘The Economist‘ , research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s. This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity. Therefore, we won’t be seeing any spikes in productivity until all the major powers have reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use.

What’s happening now may be a “replay of the late 80s,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, another MIT economist. Breakthroughs in machine learning and image recognition are “eye-popping”; the delay in implementing them only reflects how much change that will entail. “It means swapping in AI and rethinking your business, and it might mean whole new business models,” he also said. In this view, AI is what economic historians consider a “general-purpose technology.” These are inventions like the steam engine, electricity, and the ­internal-combustion engine. Eventually they transformed how we lived and worked. But businesses had to be reinvented, and other complementary technologies had to be created to exploit the breakthroughs. That took decades. The debate over the productivity paradox is understandable, given the expectations of productivity from computerisation that are embedded in our culture. But it is arguable that the changes under way will inevitably take place across a much longer time frame than the measurements can currently cover, and actual payoff cannot be expected until major elements of organisational and social learning are complete. The measurement, management, and learning arguments can be combined to create a broad case for fundamental social transformation. In this transformation older systems of measurement and management fail as the entire regime of production is altered, and learning becomes to a much greater degree experimental and risky. The slow accumulation of knowledge will probably, eventually, produce major productivity benefits.

Illustrating the potential of AI as a general-purpose technology, Scott Stern of MIT’s Sloan School of Management describes it as a “method for a new method of invention.” An AI algorithm can comb through vast amounts of data, finding hidden patterns and predicting possibilities for, say, a better drug or a material for more efficient solar cells. It has, he says, “the potential to transform how we do innovation.”

But he also warns against expecting such a change to show up in macroeconomic measurements anytime soon. “If I tell you we’re having an innovation explosion, check back with me in 2050 and I’ll show you the impacts,” he says. General-purpose technologies, he adds, “take a lifetime to reorganize around.”

Even as these technologies appear, huge gains in productivity aren’t guaranteed, says John Van Reenen, a British economist at Sloan. Europe, he says, missed out on the dramatic 1990s productivity boost from the IT revolution, largely because European companies, unlike US-based ones, lacked the flexibility to adapt.

We must accept that these better methods will not emerge spontaneously. We have to instead seek them out, put them in writing, experiment to get things right, and be willing to put up with some of the inconveniences and loss of flexibility these efforts might create. All of this, of course, is harder than simply waiting for engineers to build even faster email clients. But ultimately, it’s the only way to ensure that continued innovations in workplace communication can improve rather than hold back our ability to make progress on the things that matter.

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/1986/07/the-productivity-paradox
https://www.technologyreview.com/2018/06/18/104277/the-productivity-paradox/
https://www.wired.com/story/email-slack-productivity-paradox/

How to Empower Employees to Speak Up When They See Misconducts

More than 50 years after the term “bystander effect” was coined, many of us still witness workplace wrongdoing yet stay stubbornly silent. In motivating employees to speak up, most organisations still rely on traditional compliance-based tools such as codes of conduct, training, and audits. This approach has simply failed — only an estimated 1.4% of employees blow the whistle. Current strategies remain ineffective and are often counterproductive.

This matters because organisational silence perpetuates white-collar crime: It continues to rise despite companies investing millions in misconduct prevention. Scandals have slashed market valuations and ravaged the reputations of Boeing, BP, Barings, and many others. The leading cause of silence is fear of repercussions. One study showed that 82% of whistleblowers suffered harassment, 60% lost their jobs, 17% lost homes, and 10% attempted suicide. Other causes include our unconscious need for belonging, a preference for the status quo, and wilful blindness.

How can organisations motivate employees to speak up and respond to them effectively? The answer lies, of course, in behavioural science.

What Companies Often Do Wrong

Before delving into the solution, we need to understand three common mistakes or assumptions that companies make in combating misconduct.

The wrong tools. Organisations over rely on a narrow set of compliance and control tools to prevent wrongdoing and encourage its disclosure. How effective were codes of conduct, training, or audits when Volkswagen falsified the emissions of its diesel cars? Or safety training and testing when Ford launched the Pinto with a fuel-tank design flaw, saving $137 million but costing dozens of lives? The answer: Not very. Few spoke out. Why? Because sanctioning systems distort our thought process from doing the right thing. When rewards such as promotions, perks, or pay raises are threatened, self-preservation creeps in, and we use a business lens, not a moral lens, to decide what to do.

The wrong communication triggers. When companies design compliance policies and codes of conduct, they hope they will trigger our sense of duty and moral responsibility to speak up if we see bad behaviour. But they don’t inspire many people to speak up. For example, an independent longitudinal analysis concluded that codes of conduct are “insufficient to guide employee behaviour – tension-provoking when implemented across cultures – inward-looking – and dependent on effective communications.”

In many research papers done on this topic, respondents were exposed to a hypothetical situation where a senior executive bullied a junior employee to accelerate launch of a new drug, despite incomplete testing. The emotion triggered was not a feeling of responsibility to speak up, but anger at the offending manager — by a factor of four. But while 91% of respondents indicated they intended to report the incident, only 9% took action, and most associated speaking up not with responsibility but with the courage to report their superiors. Bystanders justify their inaction in what psychologists call diffusion of responsibility: the assumption others will intervene. The bigger the group, the bigger the assumption, and the bigger the problem.

The wrong assumptions about employee types. Assuming that certain populations or personality types — e.g., extroverts, optimists, or leaders — are predisposed to speak up is incorrect. Behavioural science shows that men are no more likely to blow the whistle than women, and extroverts no more likely than introverts, regardless of industry or occupation. There is no magic gender, disposition, age or personality. Anyone can speak up.

An Integrated Solution

Given that codes of conduct, training, and audits alone don’t suffice in getting people to speak up when they witness improper behaviour, other steps must be taken. Risk and compliance departments should engage with communications departments, and compliance-based tools must be supplemented with emotion-based triggers.

Based on decades of behavioural science research there have been discovered numerous strategies which work hand-in-hand with traditional compliance practices.  Managers can apply all the changes or simply cherry-pick a few. The best mix depends on a company’s culture, size, and systems.

1. Get Rid of Your “Zero Tolerance” Policies

You’re probably thinking, “Did I read that right? I thought zero tolerance is important, especially when you are talking about violence, fraud, safety, or harassment.”

To be sure, it is critical to have strongly worded and vigorously enforced policies, especially when dealing with behaviour that is illegal, that threatens employee or public safety, or that jeopardises company assets. But if your policies say (or imply) that an employee will be fired if they violate that policy, without any possibility of a lesser outcome depending on the severity of the behaviour, you may actually be dissuading employees from reporting possible concerns.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has cautioned that using the phrase “zero tolerance” may lead employees to believe that the company will automatically impose the same discipline–termination–regardless of whether misconduct is minor or devastating. But employees often don’t want their co-worker, or even their boss, to get fired over a minor offense. They frequently just want the troubling behaviour to stop, so they may opt to forego reporting and try to deal with the situation on their own, or ignore it. This can cause the behaviour to continue or to escalate, or lead to other workplace conflicts.

2. Prevent Retaliation

This point may seem incredibly intuitive, but if employees see or hear that someone has experienced retaliation after they reported a concern–or even if they simply fear that they will be retaliated against–they are less likely to come forward.

The number and percentage of retaliation charges filed with the EEOC, for example, indicates that retaliation is a big problem. Since the EEOC’s 2009 fiscal year, retaliation has been the no.1 complaint filed with the EEOC, and by FY 2018, over 50% of all charges alleged retaliation. In fact, the EEOC received 1.5 times more retaliation charges in FY 2018 than the next most frequent type of illegal behaviour, sex discrimination (32% of charges), notwithstanding the significant increase in those claims filed post #MeToo.

The challenge is that retaliation can take many forms, from subtle (a supervisor removing an employee from a lucrative project) to egregious (demotion or firing). Compounding the issue is that it is human nature to feel upset toward or uncomfortable around someone who has complained about you or someone on your team. People may feel betrayed, hurt, or confused–and as a result, may change their behaviour for a time vis-a-vis the person who complained. Some of these behaviours are illegal and some aren’t–but all can damage workplace culture and make employees think twice about coming forward in the future.

For these reasons, it is critical for employers to put safeguards in place to prevent retaliation, such as proactively and periodically checking in with whistleblowers to see how they are doing, or monitoring proposed job changes, performance evaluations, or other data post-complaint to ensure non-retaliatory treatment. Equally important, the employer also should provide coaching on conflict management and how employees can move forward in a collaborative manner post-complaint.

3. Encourage and Reward Speaking Up in the Workplace

In stark contrast to retaliation, organisations who truly want to know about concerns and who understand the value of having an accurate picture of what’s happening on the proverbial factory floor will take steps to encourage and reward speaking up.

This goes beyond simply communicating a “see something, say something” slogan. Company leaders must clearly and repeatedly articulate an authentic desire to know the good, the bad, and the ugly, and reward employees who follow through.

Here we have the example of former CEO of Ford Motor Company, Alan Mulally. He told the story of how when he first became Ford’s CEO, the company had many financial challenges and a rocky road ahead. Yet, at early meetings with his senior executive team, they each presented “all green” status reports indicating that their areas were on target to reach their goals. Mulally knew this couldn’t be right given the company’s struggles, so he encouraged one of his direct reports to ensure that his next report reflected the honest truth about what was going on.

When that subordinate’s next report at the executive team meeting showed several “red status” items, Mulally praised him enthusiastically for his candor and then asked the other executives in the room about what they could all do to help turn the situation around. Then, the following week, other executives’ reports also began to reflect “red” and “yellow” items. And once Mulally had accurate, unfiltered data, it was quickly apparent where the business was struggling–and what they could do to address it.

This two-pronged approach by Mulally–asking to know the truth and then praising the reporter publicly–was a game-changer. It proved to staff they could speak the truth without reprisal and created trust. And as a result, the company’s business was able to improve.

4. Gather Data About Reporting

If you find that workers rarely speak up about conduct violations in your organisation, one of the best steps you can take is to assess why. You may find it is as simple as a lack of awareness of policies or procedures to report incidents, in which case you can develop resources and training to make sure employees know where to go. If you find your workforce is fearful of retaliation or doesn’t feel reports will be addressed, then that information can also help the organisation to correct misperceptions, put anti-retaliation safeguards in place, and find ways to increase transparency about the post-report process.

5. Be Transparent

One of the other oft-reported reasons why employees do not speak up with a concern is because they do not believe that any action will be taken. When employees hear crickets after filing a complaint, a natural assumption is that nothing happened.

Of course, as HR, compliance, safety, and legal professionals are well aware, reported concerns generally set into motion a flurry of activity and often lead to an investigation. The contents and progress of an investigation are usually kept close to the vest to preserve the integrity of the process, and the results are usually confidential for privacy and legal reasons.

However, organizations are increasingly realizing that some degree of transparency about what happened is important to demonstrate accountability, earn trust, preserve culture, and encourage reporting. Thus, organizations should consider having follow-up meetings with the reporter and any witnesses involved in an investigation to thank them for coming forward or participating, noting that an investigation was conducted and concluded, and possibly sharing–often at a very high level and depending on the person who is being spoken to–if some sort of (usually unnamed) action would be taken as a result. Encouraging a speak up culture is a critical component of an organization’s efforts to not only ensure compliance with legal requirements and company policies but also to address inappropriate behaviour before it escalates into a larger issue. It creates a sense of shared responsibility among employees, communicating that we all have a role to play in safeguarding workplace culture. Leaders who encourage employees to speak up in the workplace, and who protect and reward those who do, demonstrate their commitment to an honest, ethical, and respectful workplace. By doing so, all employees–and the company–will thrive.

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://everfi.com/blog/workplace-training/5-ways-to-encourage-a-speak-up-culture-in-the-workplace/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2020/05/22/13-best-ways-to-encourage-your-employees-to-speak-up/?sh=7063b1d41f2b
https://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/empowering-employees-to-speak-up-against-unethical-behavior/

How Is Work Going to Look Like in 2021?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how we work and how we feel about re-entering the workplace, as numbers go down and lockdowns are eased. Remote working may have been an adjustment for most at first, it slowly became a preference to employees worldwide. According to Cisco’s Workforce of the Future survey, conducted with 10,000 respondents across 12 markets in Europe, the Middle East, and Russia, employees want to keep a hold of the many positives that have emerged from this new normal.

Many of the changes that have come from the pandemic will become a permanent part of employee experiences in 2021. This is due to the fact that in 2020, several factors upended the traditional approach to life at the workplace. As the economy prepares to re-open, the new normal of work, business travel, and office space will be refined and rediscovered across almost every industry worldwide.

Youth as the focal point

Although there are currently five generations in the workforce, including traditionalists, baby boomers, and generation X, the youth is taking over. – Millennials and Generation Z are becoming the largest generational cohort in the labour force. As such, they have different needs and values than older workers.

Hiring managers will have to understand these hires and customize the workplace and tasks to keep them engaged and productive. These young employees are digital natives, and they require continuous mental stimulation, flexibility, and work-life balance. To nurture their growth and encourage efficiency, recruiters can allow flexible working schedules, learning platforms, and accommodate collaborative tools.

The demand for flexible working conditions

According to research conducted by Slack, 72% of employees said they wanted a hybrid remote-office model. Instead of fully implementing a work-from-home environment, many companies are utilising a hybrid approach where employees will only come into the office for a couple of days in the week and spend the remaining days working remotely.

Microsoft’s hybrid workplace environment will allow most roles to remain remote less than half of the time with manager approval, while 62% of Google employees want to return to their offices but not every day.

Digital advancement

Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadell, described the impact of Covid-19 on the adoption and advancement of technology at work, saying “we’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months”.

The findings from two separate studies by McKinsey and KPMG indicate that at least 80% of leaders accelerated the implementation of technology in the workplace due to COVID-19. White larger skill gaps, more training is required for employees to support the digital transformation needs that come with rapid change.

Many of these technologies are contact-tracing, collaborative tools, AI-driven software, and more, all of which have been widely adopted to support the mental health of employees, increase productivity and allow for flexibility and safety.

Levi Strauss’ digital transformation was facilitated by the use of AI and data, launching a virtual concierge service, appointment scheduling, and a brand-new loyalty programme.

Automation to support employees and not replace

Forrester claims that the fears over automation eliminating jobs is misplaced and that automation in 2021 will focus more on supporting current employees.

For example, grocery store robots will promote social distancing by doing inventory checks for employees to prevent too many people on the floor, and Forrester expects a tripling of robots of that sort in 2021. “By the end of 2021, one in four information workers will be supported in their daily work by software bots, robotic process automation, or AI, taking rote, repetitive tasks off their plates and yielding higher EX,” the market research company predicts. “Rather than focusing on substitution, focus more of your automation efforts on helping your staff be more effective.”

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.predictivesuccess.com/blog/10-trends-that-will-shape-the-world-of-hr/
https://hbr.org/2021/01/9-trends-that-will-shape-work-in-2021-and-beyond
https://www.swooptalent.com/talent-insights-blog/10-hr-trends-that-will-shape-2021

Collaboration with Competitors: Organisational Destruction or Evolution?

Collaboration between competitors has been in fashion for quite some time. Back at the end of the 1980s, General Motors and Toyota assemble automobiles, Siemens and Philips develop semiconductors, Canon supplies photocopiers to Kodak, France’s Thomson and Japan’s JVC manufacture videocassette recorders. But the spread of what we call “competitive collaboration”—joint ventures, outsourcing agreements, product licensings, cooperative research—has triggered unease about the long-term consequences. A strategic alliance can strengthen both companies against outsiders even as it weakens one partner vis-à-vis the other. In particular, alliances between Asian companies and Western rivals seem to work against the Western partner. Cooperation becomes a low-cost route for new competitors to gain technology and market access. ICL, the British computer company, could not have developed its current generation of mainframes without Fujitsu. Motorola needs Toshiba’s distribution capacity to break into the Japanese semiconductor market. Time is another critical factor. Alliances can provide shortcuts for Western companies racing to improve their production efficiency and quality control. Yet the case for collaboration is stronger than ever. It takes so much money to develop new products and to penetrate new markets that few companies can go it alone in every situation. The risks of collaborating with rivals might seem daunting, but a study
by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute finds the benefits are likely to outweigh any disadvantages. The study found that this kind of collaborative competition, when it lasted from three to five years, had more than a 50% chance of mutually reducing company costs.

“Nowadays, the best partner might be your direct competitor,” says Paavo Ritala, a professor of Strategy and Innovation at LUT University of Technology in Finland. “Competitors tend to face similar markets and use similar resources and technologies. They typically have to deal with similar challenges at large. Thus, with rising costs of R&D and globalizing competition, it often makes sense to collaborate with competitors on product development, innovation and joint manufacturing.”  Another example is, YouTube and Vimeo have a similar relationship. During an innovation panel at the 2019 ForbesWomen Summit, Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud shared that the video platform joined forces with YouTube, one of its main competitors by allowing creators to publish their videos to YouTube, as well as to other video platforms.

The term “coopetition” whilst explaining a relatively contemporary idea, has been coined back in 1996 by Yale School of Management professor Barry Nalebuff and NYU Stern School of Business professor Adam M. Brandenburger when they noticed an increasing number of these kinds of partnerships among rivals, especially in the digital space, and set out to research the theory that turned into their book “Co-Opetition”.

The Role of Sales Enablement Technology

Collaboration serves to leverage the internal pool of talent, knowledge, and experience but also improves internal communication and empowers employees. The result is a boost in productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness, driving results. Technology empowers today’s workforces by connecting more employees than ever before. A sales enablement tool such as Seismic improves marketing and sales collaboration and communication by using real-time data from best practices and peers to determine what content is most effective at progressing deals and generating the highest ROI and then surfacing recommended content based on the Salesforce record and provide recommended sales collateral within their currently workflow.

For example, Seismic can integrate wherever your sellers work such as the CRM email and Slack. This allows sales reps to deliver the right message at the right time and allows them to remain focused on sales objectives, rather than on how to out-perform their peers.

How to Build Secure Defenses

For collaboration to succeed, each partner must contribute something distinctive: basic research, product development skills, manufacturing capacity, access to distribution. The challenge is to share enough skills to create advantage vis-à-vis companies outside the alliance while preventing a wholesale transfer of core skills to the partner. This is a very thin line to walk. Companies must carefully select what skills and technologies they pass to their partners. They must develop safeguards against unintended, informal transfers of information. The goal is to limit the transparency of their operations.

Western companies face an inherent disadvantage because their skills are generally more vulnerable to transfer. The magnet that attracts so many companies to alliances with Asian competitors is their manufacturing excellence—a competence that is less transferable than most. Just-in-time inventory systems and quality circles can be imitated, but this is like pulling a few threads out of an oriental carpet. Manufacturing excellence is a complex web of employee training, integration with suppliers, statistical process controls, employee involvement, value engineering, and design for manufacture. It is difficult to extract such a subtle competence in any sort of way.

So companies must take steps to limit transparency. One approach is to limit the scope of the formal agreement. It might cover a single technology rather than an entire range of technologies; part of a product line rather than the entire line; distribution in a limited number of markets or for a limited period of time. Moreover, agreements should establish specific performance requirements. Motorola, for example, takes an incremental, incentive-based approach to technology transfer in its venture with Toshiba. The agreement calls for Motorola to release its microprocessor technology incrementally as Toshiba delivers on its promise to increase Motorola’s penetration in the Japanese semiconductor market. The greater Motorola’s market share, the greater Toshiba’s access to Motorola’s technology.  

Enhance the Capacity to Learn

Whether collaboration leads to competitive surrender or revitalization depends foremost on what employees believe the purpose of the alliance to be. It is self-evident: to learn, one must want to learn. Western companies won’t realize the full benefits of competitive collaboration until they overcome an arrogance borne of decades of leadership. In short, Western companies must be more receptive. Learning begins at the top. Senior management must be committed to enhancing their companies’ skills as well as to avoiding financial risk. But most learning takes place at the lower levels of an alliance. Operating employees not only represent the front lines in an effective defense but also play a vital role in acquiring knowledge. They must be well briefed on the partner’s strengths and weaknesses and understand how acquiring particular skills will bolster their company’s competitive position.

Competitive benchmarking is a tradition in most of the Japanese companies we studied. It requires many of the same skills associated with competitor analysis: systematically calibrating performance against external targets; learning to use rough estimates to determine where a competitor (or partner) is better, faster, or cheaper; translating those estimates into new internal targets; and recalibrating to establish the rate of improvement in a competitor’s performance. The great advantage of competitive collaboration is that proximity makes benchmarking easier.

Competitive collaboration also provides a way of getting close enough to rivals to predict how they will behave when the alliance unravels or runs its course. How does the partner respond to price changes? How does it measure and reward executives? How does it prepare to launch a new product? By revealing a competitor’s management orthodoxies, collaboration can increase the chances of success in future head-to-head battles.

Knowledge acquired from a competitor-partner is only valuable after it is diffused through the organisation. Several companies we studied had established internal clearinghouses to collect and disseminate information. The collaborations manager at one Japanese company regularly made the rounds of all employees involved in alliances. He identified what information had been collected by whom and then passed it on to appropriate departments. Another company held regular meetings where employees shared new knowledge and determined who was best positioned to acquire additional information.

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/2021/01/when-should-you-collaborate-with-the-competition
https://foundr.com/competitive-collaboration-boost-brand#:~:text=By%20embracing%20competitive%20collaboration%2C%20you,be%20on%20the%20losing%20side.
https://seismic.com/company/blog/competition-vs-collaboration-what-drives-high-performing-sales/

Could Employers Make the Covid-19 Vaccine Mandatory?

Even though a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is available, it’s not too early for employers to start considering whether they will require their employees to get the vaccination when it will be available for everyone. For example, The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has stated that employers can legally impose a flu vaccine requirement on their workforce, but employees have the right to request medical or religious exemptions under federal anti-discrimination laws. Each claim must be evaluated on its own merits, a time-consuming process for employers.

While it may be legal for employers to make it compulsory for their workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, doing so would be a huge, difficult task. A recent Gallup poll found that 42% of Americans say they will not get the COVID-19 vaccine, although it must be said that the poll was conducted before the recent optimistic vaccine results.

From an employer’s standpoint, it is a no-win situation in any way we look at it. Those who decide to mandate the vaccine will need protection against someone having an adverse reaction, even if the employee has signed a waiver upon receiving the shot, he says. Contrarily, companies that decide against a mandate will need protection if someone does contract the virus in the workplace and sues.

Assuming the employer has a legitimate concern for the health and safety of its workers, customers and anyone else in its workplace, it’s easy to imagine how a coronavirus vaccine refusal would result in an undue burden on the employer in most situations.

However, it’s also possible there is an accommodation that imposes only a minimal burden on the employer and provides an equivalent level of protection from coronavirus infection or spread. Depending on the nature of the job, this might allow the employee seeking the vaccination exemption the ability to work from home or with a mask on.

Legal Precedents

One exception falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act also known as ADA. Under the ADA, “an employer must provide reasonable accommodations to workers who have medical conditions that make them unable to take the vaccine, if a reasonable accommodation is possible.”

The technical question here was whether employers could impose COVID-19 vaccination because the Americans with Disabilities Act severely limits the ability of employers to require medical examinations. In its Dec. 16 guidance, the EEOC clearly stated that COVID-19 vaccines do not fall in the “medical examination” category

Another exception is covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII says employees may be able to refuse vaccinations if they have a sincerely held religious belief that precludes vaccination, and not being vaccinated doesn’t impose an undue hardship on the employer. However, it must be stated that ‘a personal or a political opposition to the vaccine is not sufficient.’

Employees and Lifestyle Status

“Employers can and have fired employees based on lifestyle choices related to their health, including if they smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol,” stated Holly Helstrom – adjunct instructor at Columbia University who teaches First Amendment rights for employees.

“Refusal to get a COVID vaccine if your employer is requiring one could get you fired and your employer would be within their legal rights to do so,” she has also gone on record saying.

According to Helstrom, “your employer is within their legal rights to require you to get a COVID vaccine, if you work for a private sector at-will employer.” She has stated that this is a product of how U.S. labour law and the Constitution are written. For unionised workers, rules around vaccination “would likely be a subject for bargaining,” Helstrom has also said.

Coronavirus Employee Vaccination Policy

Even if the law allows an employer the legal right to mandate that employees receive a coronavirus vaccine, it may not be worth the risk to institute such a policy.

One form of risk comes from a scenario where an employee suffers a severe side effect from the vaccine. That may result in a workers’ compensation claim that the employer must deal with.

Another risk could come from public backlash. Given how politicised the coronavirus and its vaccine has become, any vaccine policy around it will most likely upset a lot of people.

According to Gallup, if a free, FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine were available today, 35% of respondents said they would not get vaccinated. This shows that any opposition to the coronavirus vaccine is not just limited to people who have a general opposition to vaccines.

In light of the resistance some people have to mask wearing, because a vaccine is more invasive and potentially dangerous, it’s easy to see why so many people will be resistant to a coronavirus vaccination requirement.

What might be best is for employers to simply recommend their employees get the coronavirus vaccine and hope most of them do so. There’s also the possibility that a state might establish a legal requirement for certain employees to get vaccinated. This would allow some employers to avoid any blame when it requires its employees to get the vaccine to protect them from the coronavirus.

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:

B_txt_14

Sources:

https://theconversation.com/can-employers-require-workers-to-take-the-covid-19-vaccine-6-questions-answered-152434
https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/coronavirus-employers-vaccine-pandemic.aspx
https://www.npr.org/2020/11/25/937240137/as-covid-19-vaccine-nears-employers-consider-making-it-mandatory?t=1608807495700