Posts

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:

B_txt_14

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:

B_txt_14

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?

Request a free demo:

B_txt_14

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/

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:

B_txt_14

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:

B_txt_14

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:

B_txt_14

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:

B_txt_14

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:

B_txt_14

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:

B_txt_14

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:

B_txt_14

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/