The Forces That Are Changing The Way We Work

The traditional boundaries of work that have confined many of us — cubicles, set schedules, and geographic limitations, to name a few — have essentially been shattered by the pandemic, by forces of globalisation, and by the rising gig economy, all while work is being augmented by Web3 and generative AI (GenAI) technologies. These seismic shifts are fuelling a new work model — a 24/7, boundaryless ecosystem of collaboration that spans continents, time zones, and cultures.

Whether it’s a software developer in Sao Paulo working with a designer in Singapore, or a data analyst in London working with an illustrator in Nairobi, they can now all come together in real-time to create and innovate. This shift toward decentralised, project-based roles is poised to turbocharge the gig economy and democratize economic opportunities globally. Blockchain-based technologies can offer a backbone to support these new models, offering tamper-proof work histories, which will serve as the new resumes showcasing a worker’s skills, achievements, and work history, enhancing trust and employability. What’s more, novel payment methods like digital tokens will push us toward an even more decentralised workforce.

This work era’s momentous transformation rests on four pillars: 1. the acceleration of productivity through artificial intelligence; 2. the introduction of Web3 business models; 3. an upcoming generation of workers who blur the lines between real and digital worlds; and 4. a societal shift in how we all perceive work.

GenAI: The Domain of Cognitive Work

The impact of GenAI on the future of work, the future of the labour market, and the future of office professionals is going to be immense. While AI will certainly replace some repetitive tasks and jobs for humans, the real promise lies in how AI and humans will work together. A recent study conducted by the International Labour Organisation, a part of the United Nations, has indicated that AI is more likely to enhance job roles than eliminate them. IBM CEO, Arvind Krishna, said during an interview with CNBC that AI is “absolutely not displacing – it’s augmenting” white-collar jobs.

Yet, there are those who think otherwise. Edo Segal, the founder of Touchcast, a startup that reimagines the future of the Generative Web, told us: “We have never had a scenario where AI replaces the domain of a cognitive practice at this scale. Automation was originally intended to replace manual labour, but now it’s possible to scale the automation of cognitive roles. We had narrow AI for narrow use cases, but not broad solutions like the ones emerging now that can replace entire professions like programmers, certain types of lawyers, and management consultants.”

Recent research by Goldman Sachs supports Segal’s claims and reveals that AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs in the next 15 years, impacting office jobs that were once considered untouchable. As with any technological evolution, there are winners and losers. AI also has the ability to create 69 million new jobs in the next five years. Over the longer-term, AI could eventually raise global GDP by 7%, if Goldman Sachs Research’s AI growth projections are fully realised. With AI investment forecasted to approach $200 billion globally by 2025, the technology could support humans in ways never before imagined.

For now, most experts believe that AI will have a positive impact on the future of work, making companies more profitable and productive. But this shift is also coming at a time when the traditional business model will be spun on its head by Web3 applications.

New Business Models

The emerging decentralised work model hinges on the distribution of authority and tasks, which promises to make work more responsive to individual needs and collective goals. These technologies, often referred to as Web3, aren’t just marginal upgrades; they’re the very bedrock of a groundbreaking shift in our relationship with work. Our forthcoming book, titled Employment Is Dead (Harvard Business Review Press), illustrates that the old work models are rapidly unravelling, while the advent of Web3 technologies offers us a toolkit to redefine what a workplace can be, where workers — not employees — will move beyond the centralized frameworks that are now the limitation of modern corporations.

Web3 is introducing a range of novel business models, thanks to technologies such as blockchain, decentralised protocols (digital systems that operate without a central authority), and user ownership of data. The gig economy is evolving into a global talent marketplace, where individual, independent workers — not employees — will have more power and control over their earnings and livelihoods. And, with proper adoption, Web3 technologies will have the ability to solve a range of businesses problems and worker frustrations, such as the removal of intermediaries/managers, thus allowing people to work more directly with the client/customer; allowing for fairer compensation (smart contracts on blockchain can automate and ensure fair compensation for work and can reduce disputes, ensuring timely payments); and allowing for ownership of one’s work (workers could have true ownership of their digital creations, such as art, music, and content, through blockchain and NFTs, providing more control and fair compensation).

Web3 companies, for example, are forming into decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs), where decision-making is distributed among contributors, or token holders. DAOs enable community-driven projects, allowing stakeholders to vote on proposals, investments, and governance matters. DAOs are like a digital democracy where you’re not just a customer, but a co-creator in the project.

Along with the rise of DAOs comes the transition of employees from mere cogs in the corporate machine to empowered contributors who have a tangible stake in their work. Through the use of governance tokens, members of a DAO can have a direct say in decision-making processes, from resource allocation to strategic direction. This not only democratizes the workplace but also allows employees to retain much more of the value they generate. In this system, every task completed, every idea contributed, and every project led can be directly attributed to an individual, who can then be fairly compensated and recognised. Unlike traditional setups where the fruits of your labour are largely harvested by the organisation, DAOs ensure that value flows back to the people who create it. In essence, DAOs foster a culture centred around verifiable, transparent, and equitable ownership, fundamentally reshaping what it means to truly engage with one’s work.  It is plausible, however, that even within a DAO framework, concerns related to individual recognition and fair compensation may emerge, such as laying claim to credit and compensation for work. Like any emerging technology or novel organisational structure, the practical implementation of DAO principles may encounter intricacies that require thoughtful navigation to ensure their full realisation.

With nearly 2 billion people around the world who are not part of the traditional banking system, DeFi (decentralised finance) offers a financial revolution without intermediaries — no banks, no brokers – just smart contracts facilitating transactions between buyers and sellers. You can lend your cryptocurrency to earn interest, trade assets 24/7, and operate in one global currency. This will democratize access to financial products and enable anyone with a smartphone to participate in global finance, bypassing traditional gatekeepers.

And who is best poised to evangelize and utilize these Web3 applications? Gen-Z — a new generation of workers who are already indoctrinated into digital technologies, decentralised systems, and a mindset of innovation and social consciousness.

Youthquake: A New Generation of Workers

The term “youthquake,” originally coined by Vogue magazine in the 1960s to describe the era’s fashion and cultural shifts, has made a comeback to embody Gen-Z’s impact in the workplace for two key reasons: 1) their size and 2) their innate digital fluency. Given that approximately 52% of the global population is under age 30, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, this digitally native generation has had a digital device in their hands since they were toddlers, which has profoundly shaped their values, interests, and worldview. Gen-Z often blends reality with the digital realm, sometimes even preferring to live, create, and work in the latter.

Consider Roblox, the gaming platform that allows users to play dozens of user-created games, which has amassed a staggering 66.1 million daily users who actively engage in buying, selling, designing, and innovating within its virtual universe. Many of these users, who have been actively playing open-source games for almost two decades now, already believe they have a viable job because of the value they produce to earn the virtual currency awarded in these games, which they can even exchange for “real” money on the Roblox Developer Exchange Program (DevEx). In that vein, if you were to offer the youth today the option of flipping burgers, or becoming a social influencer, the majority would take the latter option.

According to a recent Earth Web poll, 75% of kids ages 6 to 17 now aspire to be YouTubers, rather than traditional professionals, such as doctors or firefighters. This trend highlights the rising impact of the $250 billion influencer economy, where creative freedom often outweighs the appeal of traditional corporate jobs. As we look ahead, it’s crucial to consider what work will look like for a generation that has come of age with artificial intelligence, blockchain, and decentralization. The youthquake brings a fresh, unapologetically critical perspective to how work should be organized, compensated, and valued.

A Societal Shift in the Way We View Work

The Covid-19 pandemic has forever altered our relationship with work. We proved that work is doable beyond the traditional office setting, with home productivity up by 47% in 2020 according to a study by Prodoscore. Another report by Prithwiraj Choudhury, an associate professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at Harvard Business School, and fellow researchers suggested that remote workers were, on average, 4.4% more productive than their in-office counterparts due to quieter work environments, fewer interruptions from colleagues, and the ability to structure the workday to suit individuals when they are most productive.

What’s more, the gig economy — freelancing, temporary contracts, and project-based work — is becoming more prevalent, offering individuals greater flexibility in choosing their engagements, and in choosing when, where, and how they want to make a sustainable living.

And perhaps most importantly, we’ve also seen a major mindset shift in terms of what we’re willing to tolerate in our work lives going forward, as we place more emphasis on our well-being and purpose, in addition to environmental and social considerations for the world we inhabit.

The next iteration of workplaces will have an increased emphasis on employee well-being, mental health, and sense of purpose. Given that the summer of 2023 recorded the hottest temperatures on record, we can’t divorce workplaces from the responsibilities of environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Businesses now understand that having motivated and content employees significantly boosts productivity and sparks innovation. Today, there are established work practices that were once unconventional but are widely accepted. For instance, the use of Zoom meetings for remote collaboration, the flexibility to work from home during one’s most productive hours, and even relaxed dress codes — all of which were met with resistance before the Covid-19 pandemic and growing climate concerns, but which are now acceptable, normal practices.

By embracing the technologies and innovations of today and tomorrow, we feel confident that we will have a better future of work — from virtual reality meetings that dissolve distance, to better work/life balance, to artificial intelligence algorithms that amplify human ingenuity. However, it’s essential to use these tools intelligently and responsibly, as their misuse could potentially worsen the work experience for everyone.

Buckle up, because the world of work is on the verge of a seismic transformation. The 20th century norms that still govern our professional lives are about to be shaken to their core. Those who harness these forces will unlock new realms of productivity and creativity, while those who resist will risk becoming relics of a bygone era.


Take the first step towards transforming your remote work culture by requesting a free demo assessment from Great People Inside.        

Our team of experts will guide you through the assessment process, showcasing the effectiveness and value of our tailored solutions for your organization.        

During the demo, you will have the opportunity to explore the comprehensive features and functionalities of our psychometric assessments, experiencing firsthand how they can empower your HR strategies and drive positive outcomes. From personality assessments to cognitive abilities and team dynamics evaluations, our assessments provide valuable insights to enhance talent management and foster inclusive remote work environments.        

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to test the power of unbiased HR solutions. Request your free demo assessment from Great People Inside today and embark on a journey of fair and effective talent management in the remote work era.        

Together, we can unlock the true potential of your remote teams and achieve remarkable success. Request a Free Demo Assessment.        

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6 Tips for Creating a Balanced and Engaging Work Culture in 2023

In the past, people believed that the only prerequisite to succeed in business was a great idea. While this is a prerequisite, people noticed that some businesses with great ideas last longer than others. It didn’t take them long to figure out the deciding factor was the work culture

With that in mind, here are the top six tips for creating a balanced and engaging work culture that will last in 2023. 

1. Become better at solving scheduling problems

The majority of workplace issues arise from scheduling problems. This is what makes people stressed out and causes conflicts in the workplace. So, by creating a balanced and engaging work culture, you have a better chance at creating a balanced and engaging work culture.

First, the easy way out. You can handle most scheduling problems and solutions via employee management software. So, getting one should be a top priority. This level of automation and coordination is hard to achieve manually. 

Still, even outside of this, there are many different areas that you should improve in so that you can create more efficient schedules. 

First, you need to understand the problem, and these problems can come in many shapes and forms:

  • Optimizing employee shifts
  • Meeting room allocation
  • Project timelines

These are just some of the issues that you’ll be facing.

Then, you need to understand that there are many constraints and that the schedule is not completely arbitrary. There are legal regulations. This may not be legal even if an employee agrees to do a 20-hour shift. 

Then, there are employee preferences and even resource availability. For instance, if you have operating space for just ten employees, having all the employees from both shifts appear simultaneously will not increase productivity. It may even decrease it.

Most important of all is the data. By getting enough information on the efficiency of your scheduling (overlapping, missed deadlines, etc.) and employee feedback, you’ll understand the problem much better.

2. Develop a better understanding of staff management

Staff management is an organizational skill that requires a lot of intelligence, multi-tasking, and empathy. Now, even though this description, it’s implied that this field requires a lot of talent, at the same time, it’s a skill, which means that you have a lot to improve.

Once again, ideally, you wouldn’t do this manually but, instead, use appropriate software for staff management. This will make your actions more accurate and proficient at core management tasks.

Other than this, you need to be better at communication. In The Art of War, Sun Tzu states that if the order is unclear, it’s the commander’s fault when they’re not executed. So, you must become better at setting clear expectations

Another thing you need to do is learn how to listen actively. Regarding feedback, people want to know that you’ve heard the point they were trying to make, not just nod silently while they’re speaking. You need to provide feedback while getting feedback, which is not nearly as intuitive for many people. 

Conflict resolution is one of the most important tasks of any manager. You’ll often be summoned as an arbitrator in a conflict you know little about. At this point, you must offer a compromise and remember that you can’t take sides even if one party is 100% at fault. You need to be fair and just but also conciliatory. Preserving the unity of the team is your high priority.

Your work culture is a great idea that needs to be enforced. You can achieve this through good management. 

3. Allow flexible work arrangements

You must allow people to work independently and under their conditions. This is incredibly important for many reasons. First, it can help people achieve a much better work-life balance. Second, it may drive productivity up. Finally, it will make you more appealing as an employer and drastically boost your talent attraction rates.

Just remember that setting this up isn’t a small thing. First, you need to make a choice:

  • You can set up a deadlines-based system where you put people on performance pay.
  • You can monitor their work via employee monitoring software like HubStaff. 

Each of these two has its advantages and disadvantages.

Second, with a flexible working model, you’ll likely allow people to use their devices from home. This means you must introduce a BYOD policy to ensure a higher level of cybersecurity for your entire enterprise. 

You also need to ensure that you have a positive hybrid work culture. Believe it or not, even a hybrid workplace can become toxic if you’re not careful enough. While remoteness changes workplace dynamics, this change won’t always be for the better. It also won’t eliminate some of the worst aspects of the workplace. 

By giving people a choice to work in a remote or hybrid setting, you’re not forcing them into this business model. You’re just giving them more options. This is always positive and may even help increase their sense of ownership over the workplace. 

4. Put more emphasis on recognition and rewards

One of the first things you need to do to create a better work culture is to base your organization on the appreciation and recognition of your staff. Your organization is made of people putting their work and effort into reaching your goals and objectives. Your organization is not your vision, mission, or brand – it’s the people.

Your employees must know their work is appreciated to give it their best. So, you need to learn how to do this the right way. Generic praises are not efficient enough since people can easily read the intention (or the lack thereof). So, you might even want to consider getting an employee engagement platform. This way, you’ll always have all the insight you need to guide these conversations to their successful outcome.

Next, we need to discuss the rewards. Sure, your employees will love it if everything they do right could result in a pay raise. They would also prefer to get promoted at least twice per month. The problem is that this would be utterly unsustainable from the perspective of your finances and your organization’s structure.

Instead, you must learn how to give proper micro-rewards and create this promotion/pay-raise scheme so your staff never feels underappreciated.

You also want to think about the concepts of autonomy and trust. If you micro-manage everything and insist that your employees seek your confirmation for every decision, you’re not just slowing down your process but also ruining your relationship. Give them more autonomy!

5. Provide a platform for growth and development

Many managers see talent turnover as a negative thing and refuse to acknowledge it for what it really is – an inescapable rule of the business world. Your employees, even the best ones (especially the best ones), will probably, eventually leave. Even those you promote and reward. Even those you consider friends.

You can, however, affect:

  • How long they stay
  • How hard they try while they’re in your employ
  • How well they talk about you to their future coworkers

These three things are monumental, so you must ensure they’re happy in your employ.

Now, it’s only normal that people only look for themselves and your employees work for you for one of few things. They want a decent salary and great work experience to further their career.

You’ll be seen as an ideal employer if you allow them to grow. You need enough room for them to advance and a prospect for their advancement. 

You must also provide opportunities for lateral movement within your organization, a mentorship program, and many training opportunities. Generally speaking, even some of the best books about success and affluence, like Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki, speak about experience and skills as more valuable than pay. Some of your most ambitious employees will feel the same. 

6. Introduce wellness programs and social activities

To show your employees that you care, you must go beyond activities that generate profit. Buying your employee a new laptop is a nice gesture, but it’s an activity that indirectly boosts their productivity, which you directly benefit from.

At the same time, by starting a wellness program or creating social activity opportunities, you’ll show that you care about more than just productivity. 

You can introduce daily exercise (or deskercise), introduce healthier options in your work cafeteria, or introduce a mandatory ten-minute meditation break.

This will result in stress relief, morale boost, increased creativity, and more.

You can also combine social activities with employee appreciation (which we’ve discussed earlier) by celebrating milestones

The only way for your staff to stay competitive in 2023 is in a balanced ad engaging work culture 

Your employees are the only ones who can decide how hard they’ll try and how long they’ll stay. With an engaging work culture, they’ll feel the intrinsic motivation to do more. A balanced workplace will protect them from burnout and make them feel more pleasant overall. In the end, everyone wins.  

By Srdjan Gombar

Veteran content writer, published author, and amateur boxer. Srdjan is a Bachelor of Arts in English Language & Literature and is passionate about technology, pop culture, and self-improvement. His free time he spends reading, watching movies, and playing Super Mario Bros. with his son.

Are Work Friends Invaluable?

Millions of people suffer from loneliness. More than 300 million people globally don’t have a single friend, according to Gallup data. And more than 20% of people don’t have friends or family they can count on whenever they need them, let alone any work friends.

The average person spends 81,396 hours — the equivalent of more than nine years — at work. “Americans are now more likely to make friends at work than any other way — including at school, in their neighbourhood, at their place of worship, or even through existing friends,” according to the Survey Centre on American Life.

So, people spend a lot of their lives at work, and that’s where they’re most likely to develop friendships. Yet of everything companies do to improve employees’ lives and promote their happiness, social well-being is the aspect they invest in least, according to a Gallup survey of CHROs of the world’s largest companies. Indeed, Gallup finds that globally, only three in 10 employees strongly agree they have a best friend at work.

Why Should Companies Care?

Despite claiming “people are our greatest asset,” many executives I’ve met expect employees to leave their personal lives at the door when they come to work. Yet Gallup’s data shows that having a best friend at work is strongly linked to business outcomes, including improvements in profitability, safety, inventory control, and employee retention.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Minnesota not only confirmed that close friendships increase workplace productivity, they also found out why — friends are more committed, communicate better, and encourage each other. And according to a global study by the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), “Interpersonal work relationships have a sizeable and significant positive effect on the job satisfaction of the average employee. Relationships rank first out of 12 domains of workplace quality in terms of power to explain variation in job satisfaction.”

If increased productivity, profitability, job satisfaction, and retention aren’t enough, Gallup’s latest findings show that since the start of the pandemic, having a best friend at work has an even greater impact on important outcomes — like workers’ likelihood to recommend their workplace, intent to leave, and overall satisfaction. With the unavoidable increase in remote and hybrid work, best friends at work have become lifelines who provide crucial social connection, collaboration, and support for each other during times of change.

Unfortunately, the pandemic not only exacerbated global loneliness, it also took a toll on workplace friendships. Among people working in hybrid environments, Gallup has seen a five-point decline in those who say they have a best friend at work since 2019.

Whether a workplace is fully in person, fully remote, or hybrid, a culture that prioritizes and encourages work friendships is good for employees and good for the bottom line. So how can managers create and maintain a friendship-friendly workplace that delivers measurable results while also helping to combat the global epidemic of loneliness? Here are some actions to take right now:

Establish a buddy system

Everyone needs a buddy, especially when they’re new to a company. Teaming up new hires with veteran employees can expedite onboarding and productivity. Workplace buddies not only give new hires tips like where stuff is and what the unwritten rules are, but they help them make connections with other people in the company. And some of these initial connections will almost certainly lead to long-term relationships.

The key to an effective buddy system is the frequency of the interactions. Microsoft found that when its new hires met with their buddy more than eight times in their first 90 days on the job, 97% said that their buddy helped them become productive quickly. But when new hires met with their buddy only once during the first 90 days, that number was only 56%.

Increase face time

Before the pandemic, work was a place where colleagues could get coffee, have lunch, and run into each other in the hallway for impromptu conversations. For people who started working remotely full time in 2020, one of the biggest changes was the sharp decrease in hours they spent engaging socially with work friends.

Building friendships requires talking to, seeing, and being with people. The best way to connect is to see each other — even if it’s on Zoom or FaceTime. But at a minimum, co-workers need to talk more and email less. Email will never live up to face-to-face dialogue. Plus, it’s much easier to misinterpret what someone means over email.

Business leaders need to set an example: Communicate in person more and email less. Further, leaders can encourage in-person interactions by revising expectations, establishing new cultural norms, and even updating workplace configurations. For example, encourage cross-training or have workers rotate job duties so they can collaborate with people in other areas of the company. Exposure to new people creates opportunities to meet new friends. Plan on-site social events, meetings, or lunches. Move people’s workspaces closer together. Where else do you spend so much time with people from different walks of life organized around a common mission? And where else are you so dependent on the efforts of others?

Jam constantly

When people share a common goal and achieve great things together, they form a connection. The joy is in working together to produce magic. Using the Beatles as an example of a high-performing team, The Economist states: “The Beatles love what they do for a living. When they are not playing music, they are talking about it or thinking about it. They do take after take of their own songs, and jam constantly.”

If you’ve ever been part of a collaborative “jam session,” you know the feeling. Your employees want to feel that too — the satisfaction and pride of creating something great while having fun. Best friends trust, accept, and forgive each other. And when they work together, Gallup research has shown that they are significantly more likely to engage customers and internal partners, get more done in less time, support a safer workplace, innovate and share ideas, and have fun on the job.

Don’t force it.

Thanks to the pandemic, the days of all-but-mandatory happy hours and “kindergarten offices” full of games and colourful toys designed to encourage workers to stay late for fun team-building activities might be behind us. According to Paul Lopushinsky, founder of Vancouver-based consultancy Playficient, “That culture isn’t really about fun; it’s about getting people to stay longer.”

You can mandate policies, training or timesheets, but you can’t make people be friends. You don’t want your employees to start hating the very thought of company parties. If your company still discourages workplace friendships despite the proven benefits to business outcomes, remember this simple premise: To ignore friendships is to ignore human nature. In the battle between company policy and human nature, human nature always wins. The evidence suggests that people will fulfil their social needs, regardless of what is mandated. Companies do far better to harness the power of this kind of social capital than to fight against it.

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

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Be Mindful When Returning to In-Person Work

After months of anticipation, returning to in-person work has been a disappointment for many employees. Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath is one of the biggest business challenges of our time. To keep operations going, most companies adopted new ways of working that left their offices, factories, and stores empty.

More than a year later, the world looks much different. As business comes surging back, management teams are responsible for leading their companies through these fast-moving changes. Boards of directors also play a role. They need to help management think critically about the development and execution of their return-to-work plans. This starts with understanding the in-person work challenges executives face in a post-pandemic world so they can ask the right questions and act as a sounding board.

In a recent Gartner survey revealed that 82% of company leaders will allow employees to work remotely some of the time, which means work life is going to look and feel very different than it did before. The pandemic has also increased fears of automation in many industries, leaving almost 40% of workers believing their jobs will be obsolete within five years. These changes, along with the challenges we continue to face at home, can be major sources of stress and anxiety.

Some employers, however, have realised that several of the pandemic’s workarounds are cost-efficient, and are considering making them permanent. There are many corporate leaders who still recognise that, in Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s words, “digital technology should not be a substitute for human connection.” But in what we might call a “Zoom forever” move, many other companies are contemplating radically downsizing traditional office spaces and making remote work permanent for large groups of employees.

The problem is, if millions of people never return to in-person work in a way that resembles the pre-pandemic world, it could have drastic consequences for our well-being. There’s nothing wrong with a partially remote situation—say, work-from-home Fridays or more flexible schedules. But going fully remote forever could exacerbate one of the worst happiness disasters of the pandemic.

Aggravation from commuting is no match for the misery of loneliness, which can lead to depression, substance abuse, sedentary behaviour, and relationship damage, among other ills. And it is simply undeniable that remote work usually leads to loneliness. In research conducted more than a decade before the pandemic about remote work among journalists, the organisational psychologist Lynn Holdsworth found that full-time telework increased loneliness over office work by 67%. Based on data from 2019, the 2020 State of Remote Work report issued by the social-media management firm Buffer showed that loneliness is the biggest struggle remote workers say they face, tied with problems of collaboration and communication.

Practicing mindfulness can help us navigate change and uncertainty with a bit more ease. It allows us to detach from what was, and instead accept what is. The mind prefers familiarity, certainty, and routine, so meditation makes us better equipped to adjust to whatever is shifting within and around us.

As we train our minds to be more comfortable with change, we can make the transition to post-pandemic life with less stress, fewer anxious thoughts, and more focus. Instead of needing to know how things will be, we become okay with not knowing. That’s how mindfulness helps us to become more resilient, so we can better handle whatever may come our way.

What makes change so scary?

We often tend to jump straight to discussing the topics of stress and day-to-day anxiety as reactions to change, rather than talking about change itself. What exactly makes change so difficult?

On a fundamental level, as humans, we are built to choose. We have a need to control. By making choices and exercising that control, we build routines and structure to create a sense of safety and stability in our lives. When things change, our sense of security can break down and we can experience a range of emotions, whether it’s an undercurrent of discomfort or actually feeling threatened, especially when change involves a radical shift, or introduces something we haven’t faced before.

Of course, what we don’t realise is that change is an inevitable part of life. If we pay attention, everything is changing all of the time, whether it’s external — businesses opening and closing, people coming and going, places evolving — or internal — our thoughts, emotions, physical sensations. But understanding that concept and embracing its reality are two different things.

It’s possibly why we often make change harder for ourselves by resisting it and staying focused on what we don’t want to happen, rather than understanding what is happening. We become too involved with the emotions around change, and that preoccupation is one way stress and anxiety can arise.

Why we might experience in-person work anxiety

Everyone experiences stress and general anxiety, albeit in different ways and with different levels of intensity. In a nutshell, stress is primarily a physiological response to an external threat, or a perceived threat. Anxiety arises in the mind as a reaction to the stress; usually triggered by a certain fear or the way we interpret stress, and it’s often oriented in the future. So when we encounter uncertainty — such as making the transition to in-person work after a pandemic — it’s normal to feel anxious as we try to make sense of a shifting landscape. Anxiety performs like a self-reinforcing cycle that kicks in due to a specific situation or event that leads to a worried or anxious thought — bringing feelings of fear, tension, or dread. Before we know it, we have bought into the entire storyline of anxiety that the mind has spun.

Typically, we then try to get rid of those feelings. Sometimes, we might even avoid the trigger point by trying to ignore it or distract ourselves. Other times, we might go the other way: seeking reassurance to try to control the situation. And while those control strategies sometimes work in the short term, we typically find that they don’t actually work to manage anxiety in the long run. The key here is that anxiety influences our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours in ways that will actually make it grow over time. And left unchecked, it can cause severe distress and impair our ability to function in daily life. One solution is to practice mindfulness to not only break the cycle of anxiety, but to transform our relationship with it.

Interrupting the cycle: how mindfulness can help

Mindfulness meditation can be a powerful tool for combating stress and helping people maintain focus once in the office, particularly as they navigate the transition back to the office from home. What makes it so effective is the element of attention training — bringing our attention to the present moment, and training the mind to be calm and engaged with each task at hand, without being easily distracted. Meditation activates an area in our brain called the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for higher-level skills like critical thinking, decision making, planning and focus.

While meditation can enhance areas of the brain responsible for thoughtfully responding to events, it can also deactivate regions and processes responsible for impulsively reacting to events. For example, it has been shown to reduce the size of the amygdala, an area involved with the fight-or-flight center, which is also responsible for fear and stress. Through a regular and consistent mindfulness practice, we develop the ability to turn reactivity into a considered, intentional response — and this establishes the basis of resilience. The more aware we are of how the mind behaves, the less influenced we are by its storylines and patterns. This leads to an incredibly valuable shift in mindset when it comes to navigating the kind of uncertainties the past year has presented, and the kind of changes we face in returning to the office. There are a few practical suggestions that are recommended for anyone who’s experiencing elevated day-to-day anxiety and stress right now. They’re all about limiting the impact of anxiety triggers and catching anxious thoughts. The more we understand and recognise the qualities of the anxious mind, the better equipped we are to interrupt the anxiety cycle.

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

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How Is Work Going to Look Like in 2021?

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

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

Youth as the focal point

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

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

The demand for flexible working conditions

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

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

Digital advancement

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

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

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

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

Automation to support employees and not replace

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

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

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

Request a free demo:



Leaveism or Why Do People Work while on Holidays?

The term has been coined by Dr Ian Hesketh in 2013 to describe the annual leave habits of employees. ‘Leaveism’ refers to workers taking annual leave to catch up on their workload or working outside of their office hours.

In a research done by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), it has been discovered that 63% of UK leaders reported that ‘leaveism’ had occurred in their business. As businesses become increasingly lean, the now here to stay ‘always-on’ culture ‘allows’ itself to late night emails and employees never really have the chance of switching off from work.

While offices can be a breeding ground for distraction and interruptions, ‘leaveism’ can be conducive to employees feeling increasingly pressured or obligated to work out of hours.

In a recent article published by the BBC’s Worklife discusses the hidden tactic of ‘leaveism’ and how being “away from the distractions of the inbox, watercooler chat with colleagues and the stresses of office life” is fuelling its fat increasing rise.

‘Leaveism’ is an increasing problem for all types of organisations, and it’s an issue that employers should take seriously. If left unmanaged, leaveism could bring down workplace morale and increase stress levels among your staff, which in-turn affects productivity.

Clearly for organisations, the cost of employees being anything other than fully productive can have an enormous impact on operational effectiveness. In the UK, average day’s sickness in the private sector are around 5.8 days per year compared with 7.9 days per year in the public sector. The overall cost of working age ill health in the UK exceeds £100 billion every year, employers pay an estimated £9 billion in sick pay and associated costs, and the state pays £13 billion in health-related benefits (incapacity benefits). There is a similar picture in the USA, with health-related productivity losses estimated to reach some $260 billion annually. These financial outcomes, in terms of absence costs and lost productivity, are often what eventually attracts the attention of senior managers, providing a persuasive argument for them to focus on improving aspects of working life that are proven to be detrimental to an employee’s well-being.

Absenteeism, presenteeism and a concept labelled here as ‘leaveism’ are used to provide a lens through which to view employee responses to feeling unwell or being overloaded. So what exactly is ‘leaveism’?

  • Employees utilising allocated time off such as annual leave entitlements, flexible hours banked, unused rest days in order to take time off when they are in fact unwell;
  • Employees taking work home that cannot be completed in normal working hours;
  • Employees working while on leave or holiday to catch up.

All of these behaviours sit outside current descriptions associated with ‘absenteeism’ and ‘presenteeism’.

Although absenteeism and presenteeism cover some of the human responses to workload and illness, ‘leaveism’ provides the missing link. It defines the previously uncharted phenomenon that describes a situation where an employee uses their own time, in whatever guise, to avoid the workplace when they are in fact unwell, or take work home in order to complete outside contacted hours due to the sheer volume asked of them. These unintended consequences may be brought about by organisations adopting counterproductive policies that were introduced with the [best] intention of reducing absence. Attendance at work policies, actionable attendance policies and the wider use of punitive and incentive-based HRM policies are all examples of schemes intended to reduce absence.

Together with increasing workloads, fewer staff and higher expectations, ‘leaveism’ presents an additional consideration for traditional employee monitors that cannot be overlooked. ‘Leaveism’ also adds a further dynamic to human behaviours associated with responses to workplace well-being, and ought to be included in future discussions associated with workforce satisfaction and productivity measures.

It may be a counter-intuitive proposition, but organizations may wish to consider the economic loss should this practice cease as a means of measurement. Whatever the consequences and subsequent approach, ‘leaveism’ presents a real issue when it comes to establishing the true picture of employee well-being and should not be ignored.

Never not Ready for Action

We are in an era where people are much more afraid of losing their jobs than in the past: companies have been operating in a low-growth environment for the past decade, which has meant more focus on profitability – including labour costs. Alongside this is the prospect of more and more jobs being automated in the coming years.

This has meant more employees having to live with excessive workloads, and bosses afraid for their own livelihoods who are micromanaging people and not giving them enough autonomy and control at work. A study of Austrian workers in 2015 concluded that employees were more likely to use annual leave to go off sick if they fear losing their jobs or having them downgraded, or if they were experiencing low job satisfaction.

Compounding this sense of unhappiness at work is likely to be the way that technology is changing how we do our jobs. In a survey of 1,000 HR professionals representing 4.6 million UK employees, 87% said that technology was affecting people’s ability to switch off out of working hours. Common examples were employees taking work-related phone calls or responding to work emails.

At first glance, these behaviours may look fairly innocuous and just part of modern-day working life. However, we are in danger of endorsing a tech-enabled 24-7 working culture from which it is increasingly difficult to switch off. Work-life balance is becoming a thing of the past. For many of us this is being overruled by work-life integration.

Whatever the positives of not being tied to the office desk, it is not helping us to relax. Stress and mental ill health now account for 57% of all long-term absences from work, having replaced physical complaints, such as backache, as the main reason employees are off sick.

According to the UK mental health charity Mind’s most recent Workplace Wellbeing Index, employees with poor mental health may resort to taking leave rather than disclosing mental health problems in as many as one in 12 cases. In an echo of the Deloitte findings, Mind found younger employees far less likely to disclose they are struggling with mental health.

So, what can be done to stop this worrying trend?

Reorganising the Workload 

Whether you are HR or Management, if you notice staff frequently using annual leave to keep on top of their workloads, think about the amount of work on their plate. Sit down with them and go through their weekly task list and help them to prioritise.

Having some insight into the volume of tasks they have to complete can help you to understand where they need some support; be it redistributing their workload or scouting a new hire to share the work.

This transparency will help to foster a positive atmosphere that your staff can thrive in without fear of what might happen if they don’t complete their work.

Flexible Hours and Remote Working 

Offices are inherently sociable places, and rightly so. However, distractions are often plentiful and concentrating on a task can be very difficult, leaving work to quickly mount up. Research has shown that the average worker is disrupted around 56 times a day and the cost of a distracted employee vastly outweighs that of a loss of productivity, according to a study done in 2018.

Remote or flexible working offers an ideal balance for many, removing distractions without punishing workers. Giving employees the flexibility to work from anywhere at any time instead of having to be in a distracting office environment during strict hours can often be the push they need to power through their workload.

Crushing the ‘always-on’ culture

If your employees are frequently working after hours and responding to emails, this is a sure-fire sign of leaveism. Our smartphones have made it easier than ever to catch up on work, check emails or access documents during our downtime. Coupled with the rise of Cloud software; the line between our professional and personal lives has become increasingly blurred.

A 2016 report by the Chartered Management Institute found the majority of UK managers spent an extra 29 days annually working outside office hours; something that is sure to have only increased in the last few years.

While French and German businesses have made strides in quashing the ‘always at work’ culture, the British have yet to make a stand against the digital ties that chain them to their work, to the obvious detriment of employee mental health and wellbeing.

In 2014, Daimler in Germany arranged for emails to be automatically deleted when employees were on holiday. The sender would then receive a message inviting them to find an alternative recipient of the email, leaving the employee to return from holiday to an empty inbox. 2017 saw France introduce a right to disconnect, with companies instructed to set out the hours when staff shouldn’t send or respond to emails.

While these two cases are relatively extreme, as an employer you should be ensuring that your employees don’t feel pressured into working outside of their contracted hours. Set expectations and understand your employees’ needs. Your employees also need to take some responsibility as it is up to them if they switch their phones off or not. Finally, we have to give a nod to all those emails outside working hours. Managers need to stop sending them. You know who you are.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:



Are Universities Worth It All?

It is often discussed among employers and business leaders alike about the existing gap between what students learn at universities and what they are actually expected to know and handle in order to be ready to perform at a good level. This issue has become especially alarming given the fact that the numbers of people graduating — and it is still growing — from university: over 40% in countries that are part of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and close to 50% in the United States.

It has become clear that even though there higher education has become a more premium feature in today’s society a recent study done The Economist has unravelled that the return on investment (ROI) of a university degree has never been higher for graduates, thus it can be concluded that the value added from a university degree diminishes as the number of graduates continuously rises.

For example, in the area of sub-saharan Africa, where degrees are comparatively rare, a university degree will boost salaries by over 20%, which, by contrast, in the Nordic Countries earnings are boosted by only 9%, where 40% of adults have degrees. Furthermore, as more and more people obtain university qualifications they have become the norm and recruiters and employers will demand them more and more, disregarding the simple fact that they are required for a specific job. It can be concluded that even though degrees can lead to higher earnings, the same employers are damaging the graduates’ mindset and themselves by limiting the candidate strictly to university degree holders. In this modern age of technological advancements and such a constant flow of information, it is difficult to demonstrate that the acquisition of knowledge historically associated to a degree is still relevant in this day and age.

In the meantime, companies are becoming more observant to what they are required to offer in order to attract and retain their best employees, those employees who have a high potential in order to keep their companies competitive and with an extremely agile workforce.

There is a debate amongst people that universities prepare young people from a social point of view. Whilst university, people have the chance to learn how to deal with different types of people and personalities helping them develop in a more complex manner. This can happen due to a couple of reasons:

  • No more direct involvement from parents
  • Young people learn to adapt, they mature mentally, slowly becoming more independent and learn to take care of themselves.

However, the aforementioned arguments do not stand as firmly as one might think. Normally, people attend university from 18 to 22 or 23 years old. In those years, students start to mature naturally due to the simple fact that they are aging. Furthermore, people tend to learn a lot at work by engaging in various work-related activities. Nobody is denying the fact that young adults mature during their university years, but they could do so by being out into the real world, independent from university. Perhaps, the process of maturing would have been greatly accelerated.

It must be taken into account as well; the ever-rising costs of university fees and not everybody could have had access to a higher education, prior to just a few years ago. Nowadays, there are a lot of free online courses which are available to the general public which can level the playing field when it comes to getting a higher paying job. However, it must be taken into consideration that recruiters and employers alike have not started warming up to the idea of online-educated people being ready to enter the workforce.

Whichever way you wish to look at things, the university learning system is simply not scalable, it is not possible. Some universities have more financial resources to help educate their students; some universities have better professors who offer a very unique style of information and the absorption of it; plus there is the other end of the spectre where you have poorly financed universities and professors who have lost their motivation to teach, to educate the young and fairly impressionable minds they have in their class. This leads to digital learning, which, for better or worse, can be scaled to some extent. It is available to everyone; there are no hidden side notes or comments that can sway the mind to go in one direction or the other, so we have to ask ourselves, how we measure the purposefulness and route through which we obtain knowledge.

This is not to say that institutionalised education is fruitless. It does offer people the chance to expand their intellectual selves, develop new skills, and discover things, people or places otherwise hardly talked about.

Whether people like it or not, profits are the main concern of almost every business in the world. Capitalism, for all its benefits, has its flaws and this is one of them. Universities themselves have begun their hunt for profits and the interest of the student has become secondary. These institutions also view their graduates’ futures quite differently from what is happening today in the world. Universities are preparing students not so much for their jobs in their respective industries but more in the area of future drastic changes, changes that may happen decades from now. Due to this type of preparation it has caused a lot of disruption in today’s workforce, given the fact that graduates not only opt to change employers but also careers entirely.

Graduates nowadays have a tendency to seek options left and right, leading to a lot of movement in the job market either being from a larger to a smaller company or vice versa, non-profit and profit, completely different industries altogether. This current generation of young adults don’t even like the word ‘career’ because it simply implies commitment to just one path for the rest of their lives. There are a lot of things universities can be better at and, to be fair, introspection does not sound that dreadful.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:



The Effectiveness of High-Potential Employee Programs

High-potential (HIPO) employees find themselves in the top 5% within an organisation, based on their individual performances. They are considered the company’s most prized assets and are being tipped-off to go into leadership positions. But this is easier said than done. In most cases, organisations develop HIPO programs in order to train their best employees in becoming future leaders.

Although high-potential employee programs might seem like the perfect solution, over 40% of the people participating do not belong there, according to the data analysed by the Harvard Business Review (HBR). The information gathered by HBR consists of 1,964 high potential employees, from 3 distinct companies, who have measured their leadership abilities through 360° assessments. Feedback is immediate, with analysis reports being developed almost instantly. This type of assessment is done when organisations wish to measure capabilities such as low turnover, employee engagement and high productivity. Obviously, the better the score, the better the outcome.

When looking at the data gathered from the participants in the HIPO programs, the results were outlandish. 12% of them found themselves in the lowest quadrant in leadership effectiveness; resulting in an overall 42% below average. They’re not in the top 5% anymore, not by a mile.

What about the quality of the HIPO programs that are running in your company? There are a couple of mistakes that may come along the way in regards to these programs:

  1. Performance doesn’t equal potential: HIPO programs tend to focus too much on performance and that generally leads to problems in today’s ever changing business climate. First of all, most companies do not know how to measure performance given the fact that if subjective ratings are eliminated, there are very few metrics left to count on. Secondly, even if the right parameters are chosen to measure performance, most top performers cannot handle or are simply not prepared for the next level. The transition from being a simple employee to a manager, or from a manager to a leader, requires abilities most people haven’t been trained for before. Plus, there is always the possibility that HIPO employees focus on solving problems or an all-round team player. Unfortunately, this leads to people placed in jobs they are not able or do not want to perform. It is absolutely vital to understand that performance represents what you do and potential is simply what you COULD do. If you are really good at doing X this doesn’t mean you will be great at doing Y – X and Y here being two distinct activities.
  2. HIPO’s have their weaknesses: Here, the Pareto principle fits the bill quite perfectly. If you don’t know what the Pareto principle is, here is the explanation: 20% of employees make up for 80% of the company’s revenues and profits. Based on this idea, it is clear that 20% of employees cause 80% of the problems within an organisation. Coincidentally or not, they are most often than not, the same employees. HIPO personnel, who generally know their worth, are frequently more difficult to manage. Nevertheless, no matter how astute these people are, they tend to have a dark side as well. In this scenario, the HR department has to intervene. Unfortunately, when it does intervene, the focus is on improving their existing qualities which leaves out their other personality problems to roam free. Overworked strengths have a tendency to become weaknesses and that is not good news for any organisation.

It is a well-known fact that a top performer may start having difficulties at his job when he is placed in a leadership role. It is clear he may perform well in one company but he cannot have the same impact and results in another organisation. It all depends on his vision and leadership, and these qualities are not easy to find.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

We help you find the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. The GR8 360° tool is excellent at developing managerial competencies, skills and behaviours. When using this assessment, you will find over 50 dimensions that come along with suggestions for future improvement and development. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.




Skill Gap: Why is it still a Major Concern (Part 2)

This article is part of a series. For part 1 click here.

There is a steady decline in the U.S. system’s possibility of nurturing these midlevel skills, due to the fact that automation is cutting down the need for low-skilled workers. Luckily, there are local initiatives which are trying to address the respective skill gap in their areas.

A good example on how to narrow the skill gap is represented by internships specifically tailored to college graduates in order to meet the more evolving needs of today’s employers. Some university programs include the so-called “cooperative degree programs” also known as co-ops. This type of approach will allow both employers and future graduates to assess the market and their specific place in the world of work. Employers have the chance to evaluate skills such as: employee attitude and work ethic, but also offering their training to their temporary recruits, specifically tailored to the organisation’s needs. These co-ops and internships help students earn their necessary credit in order to graduate, earn proper work experience, and best of all getting them to apply classroom studies in the real business world.

For over 20 years, there has been a shortage of “transferable” workplace skills, and although there have been many initiatives in terms of laws, guidelines and goals, not many problems have been resolved.

These “transferable” workplace skills have represented a real problem for the private sector for the past 20 years. HR managers have stopped putting too much emphasis on skills such as reading literacy and computational aptitude. In today’s workplace, soft skills are dominating the office needs, and they are as follows: interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge, time management, ethics, teamwork, personal organisation, interpersonal communication, problem solving, anger management and reasoning.

At a global scale, Millennials display unique attributes that conflict with society and the idea of work as it currently stands. This group of people have spent their entire or nearly entire life connected to technology, rapid accessibility of information and a permanent connection with family and friends. Straight from birth, Millennials have been told they are special and they were rewarded nearly instantaneously for even the smallest of accomplishments.

Millennials are much better equipped to handle active learning that can teach them metacognitive skills. Such operating systems are being beta-tested as we speak, in order to assure the teaching of a higher-order and analytical skills. In the United States, the successful applications of e-learning for workplace training are expected to be introduced into the K-12 curricula where they are foreseen to shrink the metacognitive skill gap in public schools. Games and simulations offer a great basis for education and training, with at least 45% of Millennials being active learners.

In approximately 10 years, companies everywhere will move all types of employee training programs towards the online. Nowadays, distance education done through e-learning is just a stepping stone towards a new structure of education.

The level of information a worker can acquire at the workplace takes half the time compared to the classical classroom delivery, thus retention can be increased by 30% and the cost of training can be reduced by 40%. There will be a quick and positive ROI because employee efficiency is substantially increased.



How to attract and retain great salespeople

In the age of the customer, the consumers have gained significantly more knowledge and control over the sales process than any time in history – they have a huge variety of options available, they are digitally active and they are less dependent upon the sales representatives, and their expectations match up their investment. While the customers’ habits and behaviours have changed, the universal sales strategies have remained basically the same.

In a recent research study done by Cranfield Management School, it has been revealed that 90% of the people working in sales are facing major difficulties in making an effective pitch. That is why good sales reps represent a competitive advantage for every business, if they have them.

Also in regard to people in sales, David Thorp, the director of research and professional development at the Chartered Institute of Marketing had this to say: “First-rate salespeople are focused and can target potential customers effectively. They understand which customers have the money, authority and need to buy from them.” He continued stating that “They also build strong relationship with customers, which is key to customer retention. It is worth investing the time and the money in getting good staff, as they will be able to add much more to an organisation’s bottom line than poor sales staff, which can be a liability.”

The selection you make regarding sales people will determine the success of your organisation. If you are willing to invest time in the selection process, this will solve half of the sales job. Competent sales reps know how to highlight the numerous benefits of your product or service. These people are skilled in detecting possible prospects and quick in surmounting any objections that may come along the way. Sales professionals are able to sell effectively in the most adverse situations and even in the world of cut-throat competition. What makes them so efficient is the fact that they possess an internal drive towards achievement, a fantastic sense of seriousness to sort everything out and accomplish their goals, even when the external factors are detrimental to their cause.

As mentioned above, the selection process is very tedious, but extremely important. This means that even if you find a good sales rep that doesn’t mean you found the most suitable candidate for your organisation. When selecting, there are two key aspectsthat you must take into account, besides the person’s capability to sell:

  1. Is that person compatible with the company’s culture? – If the candidate and the rest of your team do not get along, then it’s crystal clear you do not wish to hire that person. As soon as your sales numbers grow, this will involve support from the other departments in your company. If the departments despise sales, it is absolutely certain you won’t get the profit you expect due to the fact that the sales department won’t receive the help it needs.
  2. Does the candidate understand what exactly are you selling? – If a sales rep doesn’t understand what your organisation is selling, how can you expect them to sell anything? Although they may get lucky a few times, you must be certain that they acknowledge what the company is selling.

In order to get an idea of what a good salesperson is, I recommend you start evaluating every encounter you have as a customer. What are those people doing that makes you feel comfortable about doing business with them? Learning to detect good sales reps represents the first step and it is of upmost importance.

Thoroughly Evaluate your Sales Team

Although sales are an area where results speak for themselves, you must also evaluate the process through which your team does make the sale – it is obviousthat if they don’t have good results, something in their sales process is not working accordingly.

In order to solve this problem, evaluate how your team implements every sales process from start to finish. Afterwards, you can properly assess where they are struggling, why, and help them through coaching. It will greatly benefit them by developing their skills to overcome each step necessary them develop their skills for each step necessary.

Use a Sales assessment for your team

For a proper assessment of your sales force, you need to weigh in your current staff, but also candidates you wish to hire. If you do this in an effective manner, you will know for certain that every sales rep you bring in will possess all the necessary personality attributes to perform at a top level and have high sales results.

One of best ways, if not the best way, to evaluate your staff and candidates is to use assessments such as: GR8 Sales, GR8 Teams and GR8 Engagement. The questions and issues raised by these evaluations will help you determine if the candidates have at least one of these traits:

  • Building Client Relationships
  • Sales Process Management
  • Understanding clients’ needs
  • Enthusiasm
  • Loyalty
  • Respect
  • Perseverance

If the candidates you evaluate score high in at least one of these traits, that means he is a driven individual and there is a great amount of opportunity for success as a “hunter” representative of your sales department. Afterwards, you can have another interview with him in order to be sure that person fits to your organisational culture, thus making an informed decision about a future employee.

How to Improve your Sales Team Results

Offer them as much constructive feedback as possible. You cannot expect your team to improve if they are unaware of the mistakes they are making. This is the reason why it is imperative to have regular meetings with them to offer them support and advice on how they are performing.

When you offer your thoughts on their progress make sure you include both the positive and the negative feedback. In order for your team to improve, they must realise that besides their strengths they also have weaknesses. Nonetheless, keep in mind that negative feedback is for one-on-one meetings only. If you criticise a salesperson in front of his colleagues, he may start resenting you, start working poorly and have a low level of engagement. If this takes place one too many times, high employee turnover is right around the corner, and it can cost your organisation a large sum of money.

Present your team with the best tools and resources for them to thrive

After you evaluate and assess your sales team, by now, you should have a clear idea regarding the areas they are struggling at that moment. Given the fact you have this information, search for the right tools and resources your team requires in order to help them surmount the deficiencies they are encountering.

Let’s say one of your employees is experiencing problems with productivity because he cannot allocate the necessary time for sales calls. For him to overcome this problem, you can research for the right type of scheduling programme to best fit your team’s needs. However, there are situations where your whole team can struggle with productivity. In this scenario, you may have to analyse their working process and establish which tasks can be automated. Implement the automation, leaving your team with more time to sell and less time on unrelated tasks.

The examples I have presented you are just a few ideas of how you can improve your team’s performance, but be aware of the fact that each sales team and person is unique and have their own particular needs. So as to pinpoint the exact problems faced by your team, remember to communicate with them constantly and assist them in finding the best solutions for the best sales results.

Assessing the salespeople, developing them and aligning the sales strategies should become a top priority for the organisations willing to thrive in the customer’s age. Great People Inside helps you find the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

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