How To Take Charge Of Your Career Path At Your Current Employer

Just a generation ago, working for the same employer for decades made sense. The timeline went something like this: Employer hired employee, employee got raises, employee maybe got promoted a time or two, employee enjoyed stability.

These days, work life has a different rhythm.

Not only are businesses dealing with unforeseen disruptions, but traditional corporate ladders have disintegrated. Consequently, workers often find themselves without a clear way to rise through the ranks because the ranks aren’t well-defined or aren’t inherently part of the culture. Is it any wonder, then, that half of employees feel like they can’t advance within their current companies?

Of course, many analysts suggest advancement does not rest solely in the hands of the employer. Today, workers have a responsibility to take charge of their career route by being proactive, smart, and creative.

Installing the Rungs of Your Career Ladder

Although many organizational leaders have a plan for role succession, many of them never share that plan with their team members. At the same time, employees don’t always tell their managers what they want in terms of advancement. Imagine how much better it would be if both parties — the employer and the worker — made their wishes known. Two-way communication would create clearer routes to new positions.

That’s why the onus is on you, as an employee, to get the ball rolling. At the end of the day, employers will focus on business objectives and filling seats. While that could get you the raise you desire, you may end up filling a position that is completely misaligned with your career goals and interests.

“Bottom-up career pathing, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on the employees’ career goals,” says Linda Ginac, CEO of TalentGuard, a talent management software-as-a-service provider. “Paired with succession planning, this method lets managers and HR professionals tailor their employees’ objectives to those of the company, not the other way around.” This approach works because it gives everyone a holistic view of how to retain good workers while meeting corporate objectives.

Career pathing, in which employees chart out possible vertical and lateral moves at their company, allows individuals to take charge and construct their own ladders rather than waiting for an employer to notice their desires to achieve more. Getting started is fairly straightforward, as long as you’re willing to take some calculated leaps of faith.

1. Adopt a “possibility” mindset.

The employment landscape is rapidly changing, thanks to everything from outsourcing to emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and chatbots. Find out all you can about your industry and investigate departments in your company that are new to you — maybe operations, IT, marketing, sales, or customer service. Then, project a few steps ahead: How can you be an asset to the business? What are the possibilities for you based on gaps you see?

Take time to think about your findings. Hash out some ideas with friendly contacts in your network. When you’re ready, you can bring them to your supervisor or HR manager to discuss your future. The meeting shouldn’t be about a hostile “This is what I need or I’m leaving” ultimatum. Instead, you should aim for a conversation about opportunities that would let you stay with an employer you like.

2. Target your bliss.

What do you absolutely love about your job? Write down all the tasks you perform that keep you motivated, even when you have to work overtime or you’re having a rocky day. Use this document as a springboard to consider what else you would like to do to turn your position into a true dream job.

You might discover that you can’t fully explore some of your wish list skills — like leading a team, creating killer content, or analyzing legacy data to jumpstart sales revenue — in your current position. Take these thoughts to your boss to figure out how you might try on some new skates. Consider accepting additional projects related to your ideal role. At the same time, be sure to pay attention to your regular responsibilities; your work ethic shouldn’t lapse for a moment.

3. Define the relationship.

You may remember when you and your significant other had the “Where is this relationship going?” talk. You might need to have the same kind of serious discussion with your supervisor. Explain where you see yourself in a year, two years, five years. Talk about your desires to move ahead in your career path, and be forthright about any concerns you have regarding whether your employer offers upward mobility.

Of course, your mindset shouldn’t be “My way or the highway.” Start the conversation with a matter-of-fact description of your expectations. You’re doing your boss a favor by being honest, because he or she now knows that you’d like to stay, but you need some give-and-take.

4. Seek out a career advocate.

We can all use someone in our corner, and that’s where a career advocate comes into play. Career advocates are folks in your business who push for you to advance, even if you aren’t technically ready for a job opening or don’t have all the prerequisites.

Obviously, the more influential your career advocate, the better. Still, don’t overlook same-level colleagues in other departments who have your back. Not only can they put in a solid word for you, but they can tell you when openings are about to happen so you can prepare ahead of time. And if you do end up moving to another company? You can be allies for each other. Your ally might even end up joining you at your new employer.

If you love your organization but aren’t getting raises, more responsibility, or greater influence, you don’t necessarily have to leave the company. Explore your home-base options first. You may have far more choices than you thought.

William Arruda is the cofounder of CareerBlast and creator of the complete LinkedIn quiz that helps you evaluate your LinkedIn profile and networking strategy.

“Bottom-up career pathing, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on the employees’ career goals,” says Linda Ginac, CEO of TalentGuard, a talent management software-as-a-service provider. “Paired with succession planning, this method lets managers and HR professionals tailor their employees’ objectives to those of the company, not the other way around.” This approach works because it gives everyone a holistic view of how to retain good workers while meeting corporate objectives.

Career pathing, in which employees chart out possible vertical and lateral moves at their company, allows individuals to take charge and construct their own ladders rather than waiting for an employer to notice their desires to achieve more. Getting started is fairly straightforward, as long as you’re willing to take some calculated leaps of faith.

1. Adopt a “possibility” mindset.

The employment landscape is rapidly changing, thanks to everything from outsourcing to emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and chatbots. Find out all you can about your industry and investigate departments in your company that are new to you — maybe operations, IT, marketing, sales, or customer service. Then, project a few steps ahead: How can you be an asset to the business? What are the possibilities for you based on gaps you see?

Take time to think about your findings. Hash out some ideas with friendly contacts in your network. When you’re ready, you can bring them to your supervisor or HR manager to discuss your future. The meeting shouldn’t be about a hostile “This is what I need or I’m leaving” ultimatum. Instead, you should aim for a conversation about opportunities that would let you stay with an employer you like.

2. Target your bliss.

What do you absolutely love about your job? Write down all the tasks you perform that keep you motivated, even when you have to work overtime or you’re having a rocky day. Use this document as a springboard to consider what else you would like to do to turn your position into a true dream job.

You might discover that you can’t fully explore some of your wish list skills — like leading a team, creating killer content, or analyzing legacy data to jumpstart sales revenue — in your current position. Take these thoughts to your boss to figure out how you might try on some new skates. Consider accepting additional projects related to your ideal role. At the same time, be sure to pay attention to your regular responsibilities; your work ethic shouldn’t lapse for a moment.

3. Define the relationship.

You may remember when you and your significant other had the “Where is this relationship going?” talk. You might need to have the same kind of serious discussion with your supervisor. Explain where you see yourself in a year, two years, five years. Talk about your desires to move ahead in your career path, and be forthright about any concerns you have regarding whether your employer offers upward mobility.

Of course, your mindset shouldn’t be “My way or the highway.” Start the conversation with a matter-of-fact description of your expectations. You’re doing your boss a favor by being honest, because he or she now knows that you’d like to stay, but you need some give-and-take.

4. Seek out a career advocate.

We can all use someone in our corner, and that’s where a career advocate comes into play. Career advocates are folks in your business who push for you to advance, even if you aren’t technically ready for a job opening or don’t have all the prerequisites.

Obviously, the more influential your career advocate, the better. Still, don’t overlook same-level colleagues in other departments who have your back. Not only can they put in a solid word for you, but they can tell you when openings are about to happen so you can prepare ahead of time. And if you do end up moving to another company? You can be allies for each other. Your ally might even end up joining you at your new employer.

If you love your organization but aren’t getting raises, more responsibility, or greater influence, you don’t necessarily have to leave the company. Explore your home-base options first. You may have far more choices than you thought.

William Arruda is the cofounder of CareerBlast and creator of the complete LinkedIn quiz that helps you evaluate your LinkedIn profile and networking strategy.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2018/10/28/how-to-take-charge-of-your-career-path-at-your-current-employer/#4473770bd887

How Flexible Are Your Flexible Work Policies?

Modern information technology is opening up new ways of working, particularly challenging established notions of the importance of people working together in the same place and time. Since the 1990s, with waves of offshoring of business services, organizations have managed to get their heads slowly around the idea that people don’t necessarily need to be in the same room to be able to work with one another.

However, workplace flexibility agendas in many European businesses are driven either by a need to meet with statutory employment regulations or through a drive for cost efficiency. Often greater flexibility in the workforce is viewed as a lever to a reduction in office rental costs.

Accordingly, employers consider or implement working practices that free individuals from some of the routines of 9-to-5 or being present in a particular location, but the fundamentals of the work done, or the roles filled, remain steadfastly unchanged.

The demographics of our societies are undergoing dramatic shifts, and the patterns of how we work will by necessity need to shift in a much more profound fashion. In their book The 100-Year Life, Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott describe how traditionally we have regarded our lives in three distinct stages: education from birth until the point at which we enter the workforce; work which lasted for around 40 years, often following an established “career path”; and retirement which for previous generations would mostly be regarded as a reasonably short phase (if it existed at all).

From the Baby Boomer generation onwards, however, the length of our adult lives has stretched profoundly. Today’s children in developed economies, according to Gratton and Scott’s analysis, have a better than 50% chance of living to 100 years old. In that context, the economics of 40 years of working paying for 40 years of retirement merely fail to add up. We need to move away from the notion of education and then “a career”, and instead start to think about how work and education are threaded throughout our adult lives.

A business that is expanding through its acknowledgment of new emerging needs for the people it employs is the social enterprise Genius Within. The company works with organizations to help people with neuro-diverse conditions such as dyslexia fulfill their potential. It practices a “remote first” policy meaning that people are brought into the organization from across the whole of the United Kingdom, not being dependent on regular visits to a central office location.

For CEO Nancy Doyle, this isn’t an approach driven solely by the balance sheet. She told me “It’s not just remote for ease of cash flow, it’s about blending fulfilling, professional work with intense parenting years so that career progression doesn’t derail. Taking the commute out of the equation is simply the most cost-effective way to prioritize and manage time.”

However, having a broader scope towards flexibility means that Doyle can attract people from a much broader pool. “The other group I benefit from is ‘pyramid career’ people – highly trained and super experienced top people, who no longer want the hustle and bustle of full time and commuting.  They take a pay cut and a ‘backward’ step in exchange for satisfying work that gives them a chance to contribute without feeling micromanaged like they would if they stepped back into a permanent full-time role.”

A London, UK-based startup DuoMe is looking to tap further into that seam of people at transition points in their career when they want to look for different levels of commitment to work. The founders Eric Evans and Graham Joyce have built a platform that enables people to pair up for job shares. Their service allows people to find a job share partner and then approach their employer with a proposal, and also a SaaS platform that allows employers to manage job-sharing processes.

According to Evans, when employees go through some lifestyle event in the middle of a career which involves them being away from work for an extended period (most commonly the birth of a child), the chances of those staff leaving within a year of that event are unusually high. He also sees challenges towards the end of a person’s career when they want to start scaling back their work activity but organizations want to hold onto that person’s knowledge and experience for as long as possible (the phenomenon which Genius Within are already taking advantage).

Flexibility of this kind is a growing trend but involves a great deal of behavioral change within organizations to work effectively. Questions like “How do I do performance management?” or “How do I interview for people in a partnership?” put significant pressures onto line managers working in environments assume that one person does one job role.

That becomes particularly acute when many HR departments today have put less importance into building skills of job and organization design to focus instead on general operational effectiveness or current fashions like talent management or employer brand development. “There’s a real lack of standards around approaches to organization and job design. All of the big consulting firms have their own model,” said Evans.

Designing for job shares then becomes more difficult, as it’s rarely as simple as splitting a job in two with both people doing the same things. Evans sees that helping job-share partners to understand their strengths is vital. “You do have to think about who is going to do what in these partnerships. There’s a set of stuff that is generally shared – about 80% – but then there is about 10% that sits either side that is (an individual’s)  proficiency-based.”

However, some industries are far better at acknowledging working collaboratively at the most senior levels. Evans cites the creative industries where “it’s almost universal where you work as a pair because of the breadth of perspective that gives you.”

As organizations attempt to make themselves more attractive as employers, the complexities of understanding flexible working patterns that go far beyond working at home on a Friday will start to become clearer. There are obvious benefits to both employer and employee from this exploration, and broader demographic changes will force the hand for many businesses, but today those businesses that are pushing harder at the idea of 9 to 5 are still in the minority.

 

I am a writer and researcher who has held senior technology management roles in global media and digital businesses. I now provide insight and expertise to technology leaders across Europe.

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattballantine/2018/10/26/how-flexible-are-your-flexible-work-policies/#7af36ab43c6c

“AI increases workplace diversity” | Q&A with Vinod Kumar, CEO of Tata Communications

Telecoms and networking giant Tata Communications recently published a report, Cognitive Diversity: AI & the Future of Work, which explores these issues. Internet of Business spoke to co-author Vinod Kumar, the company’s CEO and managing director, to learn more.

Internet of Business: One of the key pillars of your report is the difference between AI as ‘singularity’ and ‘multiplicity’. Can you explain what you mean by this?

Vinod Kumar: “The singularity is a hypothetical point in time when AI and robots surpass humans in terms of intelligence and replace their jobs. Fears of an impending singularity have positioned AI as a job killer. However, most computer scientists agree that, despite advances in narrow domains, AI is extremely far from achieving human-level general intelligence.

“Professor Ken Goldberg, leading AI researcher and co-author of our report proposed an alternative: multiplicity. The theory of multiplicity imagines a world where groups of machines and humans collaborate to solve problems and innovate.

“While some jobs may be replaced, history shows that most economic revolutions are net positive in terms of both job creation and up-skilling humans to do different types of work.

“One unique outcome from the study is a vision of a future system that could provide an ongoing AI-based ‘devil’s advocate’. That’s consistent with the theme of multiplicity, where AI supports humans by providing a novel cognitive perspective. What is transformational about multiplicity is that it can enhance cognitive diversity, combining categories of intelligence in new ways to benefit all workers and businesses.”

Can you explain what ‘cognitive diversity’ is and how it can work in practice?

“Cognitive diversity can be defined as the differences in how humans perceive, interpret, reason, and solve problems – in human groups. The more diverse the participants are, the more opportunities there will be to discover insights and novel approaches. By applying cognitive diversity to humans and machines, enterprises can make their collective thinking more diverse, ultimately leading to improved performance.

“Eighty-one percent of business leaders agree that demographic diversity in the workplace is important, and 90 percent believe that cognitive diversity is important for management. Leaders who value cognitive diversity in management are more positive about the impact of AI, the report finds.

“By viewing AI as another form of intelligence, similar to emotional, logical, or social intelligence – rather than as a monolithic alternative to general human cognition – businesses can increase the range of cognitive diversity within their departments and teams.

The report says AI can help democratise the creative process and cut across organisational hierarchy. Can you describe what you mean in more detail?

“In the future, AI could assess the innovation priorities of a given team and suggest activities and events that spark creative thinking up and down a company’s organisational hierarchy, democratising the creative process and increasing engagement.

“Introducing AI to work environments will change the skills that businesses require in their workforce, because the way that people think will be just as important as the skills they have.

“This people-centric view will champion curiosity and experimentation as both personal and organisational traits. As AI frees up more of employees’ time, stronger teams will be formed as individuals within them devote more time to identifying new ways to add value, spend more time with colleagues, and build deeper relationships.

“While traditional business structures tend to bring together like-minded people to work on projects, companies are now placing more value on intellectual diversity and AI holds the potential to enhance that.

“Humans from demographically diverse backgrounds, combined with machines, will spark better, faster, and higher-impact decisions, while AI systems can also focus on bringing novel solutions to the group.

“For example, an AI-based ‘devil’s advocate’ could help to combat bias and ‘groupthink’ by challenging potentially false assumptions and emphasising different perspectives.”

In the report, you say that 75 percent of executives say AI will create new roles in the business. Can you explain where these roles might be, and how organisations might change as a result?

“Today, it is up to individuals to consider their opportunities in the face of automation. As the market changes and certain roles become less valued, an individual can begin to acquire new skills through internal or external online training.

“For instance, HR managers will rethink the duration of roles and how they are structured within the organisation. Imagine a role being scoped for a specific duration of time, with the individual having the opportunity to shape how long they’d like to be in it, and where they could move within the organisation next.

“The types of roles within organisations will shift. They will move from being task-based to strategic, enabling teams to support maximum curiosity and innovative thinking.

“For example, candidates today are hired for a specific role based on overall fit. In the future, candidates could be hired for multiple roles at the same time, using technology to map the talent opportunities within a company, given a candidate’s talent and interests. Individuals could see where their skills are most needed and make a decision on whether or not to take on the challenge.

“Given the increasingly global nature of business, an international conference call requires advance knowledge of the customs of a culture, or perhaps many cultures. In future, AI could detect cultural sensitivities through tone of voice and previous inputs to suggest alternative ways of approaching a team session, dialogue with a customer, or a tough conversation with a colleague.

“Far from being the ‘villain’ portrayed in popular culture, AI has the potential to benefit modern organisations in valuable ways. As well as enhancing customer experience and engagement, AI can help humans by automating tedious or repetitive tasks and also provide new justification for the need to expand diversity in teams.

“When the vast potential of AI is fully understood and integrated into business strategies, it will spark positive change for people, businesses, and societies.”

Internet of Business says

This focus on diversity and multiplicity rather than AI as a monolithic replacement for human intelligence is a good one, and a novel addition to the debate about the technology.

However, the concept of computer systems advising humans about others’ emotional states – a recent trend in AI development – seems likely to create friction rather than calm, at least in the technology’s enterprise infancy.

But the big challenge to the oft-repeated idea of AI freeing up humans from the drudgery of repetitive tasks so they can be more creative, strategic additions to the team is simple. While it’s certainly an attractive concept, there is scant evidence at present that most organisations have any intention of deploying the technology in that way.

Several credible reports (see below) have pointed to the same underlying trend: business and tech leaders are tending to deploy AI tactically to cut costs and beat their competitors, and not strategically to make their businesses smarter. And little importance is generally being attached to retraining or up-skilling staff.

The gulf between customers’ application of the technology and vendors’ vision of AI as a complement to human skills is, for whatever reason, getting wider, and may suggest that some sales teams are pushing a different message to their CEOs.

That or many customers simply misunderstand AI at base level, and see it as just another tool to slash costs. An unfortunate state of affairs, given the loss of AI’s real business advantage – not to mention of skilled, experienced people who could be an asset to the organisation.

Source: https://internetofbusiness.com/ai-new-perspectives-qa-vinod-kumar-ceo-tata-communications/

Rethinking career planning and development

Longer working lives have created opportunities for new career and life stages to emerge. Experts from Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) reveal some ways to rethink career planning and development.
As the life expectancy of Singaporeans increases, we are likely to spend more years in the workforce. Longer working lives have created opportunities for new career and life stages to emerge, and employers are becoming more conscious about the need to restructure careers when jobs and businesses are constantly being disrupted.

HR needs to re-examine career planning and development policies to incorporate greater flexibility and choice for individuals to customise their own career routes. Here are some ways to do so.

Move away from “age markers”
With new career and life stages emerging, the demand for flexibility from individuals to create his or her unique sequence of stages based on personal needs, aspirations and choices will also increase.

An individual approaching their 60s may not necessarily be looking to retire soon. In fact, with high standards of healthcare and longer life expectancy, employees are able to continue contributing in meaningful jobs well past the official retirement age of 62. Hence, taking time to develop your employees throughout their entire career is important.

Be sure to also avoid making assumptions about your employees’ career preferences, career guidance needs, aspirations, and goals based on age as this will put your organisation at risk of losing talent. The key is to develop a plan to manage transitions and embrace it by adopting an agile mindset – one that is forward-looking with a thirst for continuous learning.

Widen your perspective
A career track with a steady upward trajectory may not be the only way to grow our employees today. Consider various career paths for your employees, such as lateral or even diagonal moves to a new field or department. All these career growth opportunities should be clearly communicated to employees.

Employers can also go one step further by encouraging employees to build their own career lattice, in which career development and recognition are allowed to flow freely, along horizontal, vertical and diagonal paths. Not only does this encourage your employees to gain additional experience and skills, it also enables you to retain talented employees who are looking for a change.

Rethink recruitment
As employees move through different stages in their life and career, organisations need to recognise their needs and career aspirations. In addition, organisations should look beyond their existing talent pool and broaden it with mid-career hires. Those who do so will benefit from the skills and experience of a diverse talent pool.

For instance, those in their 30s and 40s may have experience in managing small businesses or start-ups while those in their 60s and 70s can take on a mentorship role.

Many roads can lead to a fulfilling career and these paths vary with each individual. In many instances, career planning and development will remain a relevant and crucial part of their working lives.

Rethink the traditional concepts of careers if you do not want to lose out in the war for talent.

Source: https://www.humanresourcesonline.net/rethinking-career-planning-and-development/

What Happens When the Salary-Secrecy Taboo Is Broken?

Bottom Line: Employees who know what their bosses earn work harder, but the opposite is true if their colleague’s paycheck is bigger.

Although it’s long been seen as forbidden to discuss paychecks around the water cooler, an increasing number of startups and tech firms are embracing salary transparency, hoping to establish a sense of fairness and competition. This also fits in with generational trends: A 2017 survey found that 30 percent of U.S. workers between 18 and 36 discussed their salary with coworkers, which is a proportion four times as great as among people 53 to 71.

A new study looks at employees who discover that their salaries lag behind those of others at their firm and finds that the information has a significant effect on employees’ motivation, performance, and retention. The effect was positive when they found out about a better-paid supervisor’s compensation (vertically in the company structure), but was negative when they learned their coworkers’ wages (horizontally).

The authors studied a sample of 2,060 employees at a large commercial bank. Working with the firm, the authors accessed records on hours worked, emails sent and received, and sales made — all indicators of an employee’s performance level. They also tracked career outcomes such as transfers within the firm, departures, promotions, and raises.

In addition, the researchers surveyed employees on a range of topics related to their compensation, attitude toward the job, and workplace performance. Many were also shown compensation data for the average employee at their level, as well as for supervisors on several different levels above them. Their performance-related data was tracked for three months before and six months after this disclosure.

Employees often feel like an afterthought when employers adopt new tech

Dive Brief:
A new PwC survey found that while 90% of company leaders said they’re focused on technology with their employees in mind, only 53% of workers agreed. The company polled 12,000 people from around the world, including C-suite members and those from various generations and industries, on how they view the technology tools they use.
Most respondents said they prefer face-to-face communication in most interactions, except completing training. Respondents also preferred digital tools for HR tasks, such as updating personal or HR information, reviewing benefits, enrolling in benefits or scheduling vacation time. But generally, when asked what drives their interest in advancing their digital skills, 37% of respondents said status, such as promotions and recognition, 34% said curiosity or efficiency, and 29% said individual achievement.
To get employees’ buy-in for technology initiatives, PwC recommends that employers: 1) don’t separate technology from employees’ experience and what motivates them; 2) understand what performing employees’ jobs involves; 3) include people from various levels and departments in making decisions; and 4) change the organization’s mindset when non-traditional training is required.

Dive Insight:
HR has had to grapple with a business world that demands improved user experience and more self-service — all while help employees with technology that’s changing how they do their jobs.

Before investing in new technology, experts say employers should think about what kind of skills development might be required. Luckily for employers, employee development is shaping up to be an in-demand benefit offering, as the PwC study makes clear.

As employment experts have predicted, the future of work will require new sets of skills. The skills gap shows no signs of narrowing, which means the search for workers with the most in-demand skills could get even more arduous. Low unemployment, combined with strict immigration policies, means that training current employees to fill those jobs might be the only choice organizations have. Those looking to not only survive, but thrive, also might need to start training workers for jobs that don’t yet exist.

Source: https://www.hrdive.com/news/employees-often-feel-like-an-afterthought-when-employers-adopt-new-tech/540326/

Succession Planning Can’t Be a Surprise

The war for talent is real, and ensuring succession in key leadership positions occupies the minds of leaders regardless of industry. Shareholders, boards of directors, analysts, regulators, and other third parties want to know your organization has a robust and effective succession planning process. But what does that mean? What makes a succession planning or management process robust and effective in today’s environment? In the midst of this “war for talent” and the changing expectations of our workforce, succession planning must go deeper and be more transparent than ever before. Using a three-step process to identify, tell, and engage potential successors in the process is critical in preparing your organization for long-term success.

Identify
Organizations today have an enormous amount of data at their fingertips. In many organizations, leaders can access and review both quantitative and qualitative data on potential future leaders. Performance reviews, assessments, training transcripts, development plans, and 360-feedback, are all sources of data that can be organized and easily accessed for an individual manager or leadership team when assessing who might be the next individual to serve in a specific position. The amount of information that can assist leaders, particularly in larger organizations, in identifying successors has never been better. Fortunately, more and more leaders are recognizing the value added from dedicating human resources and investing in succession management systems to elevate this identification step in the process.
Unfortunately, this is where most organizations stop when it comes to succession planning, shouldering unnecessary risk in the process.

Tell
The next step in the succession planning process is telling the individuals they’ve been identified as future leaders. For some, this is common practice, but for many, the idea of communicating to a high-potential or future leader they’ve been identified—and perhaps timelines for succession—creates feelings of unrest. In fact, leaders often fear this step and might even pose the question, “If I tell an employee they’ve been identified as my successor, am I promising something I might not be able to deliver?” The answer is “no.” You’re simply having a conversation about potential, not promises. The onus still remains on the employee to perform at high levels and develop to a degree necessary to take on the expanded role (see step 3, engage).
But what happens if we don’t tell these future leaders they have the potential to elevate into the management or executive ranks? You’ll lose them. Not all of them, but more than you’d like. The reality is the employee-employer contract has changed. Individuals are no longer selecting career-long companies to work for, networking for new opportunities is easier than ever before, and countless surveys identify “opportunities for advancement” as a key attribute individuals consider when assessing potential employers. In short, ambitious employees and high-potentials are looking for career progression. If we fail to let them know what the organization’s plans are for them, we significantly elevate our attrition risk.

Engage
The final step in this three-part succession planning process is to engage the future leader in their development. Employee and manager should work with their talent management professional to scope out strengths, opportunities for development, timelines, and markers of success. If a manager is planning to exit the organization in three years, and a successor has been identified and contacted, then a three-year plan should be in place to close the gaps and ensure the future leader and the organization are ready for the transition. Engaging the employee in this process is critical, not only for ownership in the development plan itself, but also for creating deeper levels of clarity around expectations.
This step in the process never truly ends—incumbent and successor continue to work the plan, having candid conversations around expectations and performance against those expectations. What develops is a mutually beneficial commitment from both parties built on transparency and merit. Without this commitment, it is simply too easy for your people to leave the organization for a promotion or prospects of greater opportunity; and when that happens, the investment you’ve made to date in mentoring, coaching, training, and so on walks out the door with them.
Remember, the war for talent is real, and one of the greatest weapons in any organization’s arsenal is developing a succession planning system that not only identifies top talent, but also communicates and engages those individuals early in the process.

Source: https://www.td.org/insights/succession-planning-cant-be-a-surprise

The Importance Of Having Diversity In The Workplace

Even though considering differing opinions and opposing points of view during a brainstorming session can be frustrating, the process almost always seems to lead to an elegant and feasible solution. According to research, the same principle can be applied at work—studies show a diverse workforce can boost employee performance as well as that of the company as a whole.

Better Performance

The more diverse the board of a company is the better, suggests a study conducted by McKinsey. Examining the performance of 180 publicly traded companies in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States over the period from 2008 to 2010, their researchers found that companies with more women and foreign nationals as part of senior teams performed much better than less diverse boards.

For companies that ranked in the top quartile of executive-board diversity, the returns on equity were 53 per cent higher on average than those in the bottom quartile. Similarly, earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins were 14 per cent higher at the diverse companies as well.

A similar study carried out by Credit Suisse Research Institute backed up their findings. Published in 2012, the Credit Suisse report revealed that companies with at least one woman on the board have outperformed their this with no women on the board by 26 per cent over the last six years. This was seen uniformly across all fronts, including returns on equity, debt to equity ratios, price/book value as well as average net income growth.

In a release related to the study, Stefano Natella, Co-Head of Securities Research & Analytics said, “This in-depth study provides investors with striking evidence that greater gender diversity is a valuable additional metric to consider when evaluating investments. The results of our analysis are irrefutable and for the first time offer a global view of this topic and a compelling explanation of why gender diversity adds value.”

Better Problem Solving

Having a diverse group of people attacking a problem could lead to a multi-pronged attack that results in better problem solving, suggests a 2006 study conducted at Tufts University. Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in April 2006, the study involved 200 participants on 29 mock juries.

The researchers found that panels of white and black participants performed better than all-white groups by a number of measures. “Such diverse juries deliberated longer, raised more facts about the case, and conducted broader and more wide-ranging deliberations,” said lead author Samuel R. Sommers. “They also made fewer factual errors in discussing evidence and when errors did occur, those errors were more likely to be corrected during the discussion.”

While his study was set in a courtroom, Sommers also talked about the implication of the study’s findings in other situations.”Because the study examines group decision-making in a realistic setting, the findings have potential implications for a variety of contexts–from the classroom to the boardroom, or wherever a premium is placed on fact-finding and reaching a good decision,” he said. “Diverse groups show a number of advantages and benefits when it comes to this type of decision making.”

Better Business Decisions

Researchers from Columbia, MIT, University of Texas-Dallas, Northwestern, and a few other prestigious universities looked at stock-picking in ethnically homogenous and diverse groups. In their study entitled ‘Ethnic diversity deflates price bubbles’ published in PNAS in December 2014, they focused on experimental markets in Southeast Asia and North America.

The findings of the study revealed that the financial decisions of the more diverse groups were 58 per cent better than those of the homogenous groups, which led to fewer bubbles on the market. “In homogenous markets, overpricing is higher and traders’ errors are more correlated than in diverse markets. The findings suggest that price bubbles arise not only from individual errors or financial conditions but also from the social context of decision making. Informing public discussion, our findings suggest that diversity facilitates friction that enhances deliberation and upends conformity,” wrote the researchers.

Better Exposure

In a study published in Scientific American in 2014 looked at 1.5 million academic papers and found that papers written by diverse groups are more likely to receive citations and had higher impact factors than those whose authors belonged to the same ethnic group. They also found that people of similar ethnicities are more likely to collaborate on papers more often, but the final product was much more impactful in the diverse groups. “Diversity jolts us into cognitive action in ways that homogeneity simply does not,” says the Scientific American report on the study.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/322307

How Leaders Can Leverage The Employee Life Cycle For Individual And Organizational Success

As with any company or business, employees also experience a life cycle with distinct and actionable phases. Knowing each stage and how it can be leveraged helps leaders and practitioners deliver the best results when implementing business or talent management strategies in any environment.

The employee experience is inextricably linked to engagement, so managing the employee life cycle can be essential for an organization’s performance and growth. I have always found segmenting employee engagement activities by stage during workforce planning produces much better results. You may be asking yourself what the stages are and why they matter, so here is a simple model for a complex topic: hire, inspire, admire and retire.

Hire

As the first step of the employee life cycle, it is quite possibly the most important. The law of unintended consequences thrives in this phase. With each new hire, the organization experiences positive or negative impacts to company culture, workforce productivity, client satisfaction and even organizational innovation.

Leverage this stage in the process by communicating frequently with candidates and hiring for attitude or behavior — you can always train for skill, if gaps exist. Hiring a technically skilled employee with a poor personality is clearly not a winning strategy, so look for someone who can elevate the team while playing well with others at the same time. Make sure to turn your onboarding process into an integration process that goes beyond just system access and administrative tasks.

Inspire

Retention starts with recruitment, so the second phase may be the most difficult. Now that the company has the right people in the right places, it’s time to inspire your workforce to perform to their fullest potential. High performers can produce more than 400% more (registration required) than average employees, so inspire them by removing barriers, granting autonomy and providing them with mentorship.

Leverage this stage by making employees feel like part of the team: Challenge them with realistic goals, and provide opportunities for them to develop and grow. Make sure they feel trusted. Give them purpose, and invest in their individual development.

Admire

If other phases of the life cycle seem like a sprint, this one should be viewed as a marathon. Admiring your workforce never ends because it has a direct impact on employee engagement, motivation and satisfaction. It is well known that most employees quit managers, not companies. As Steve Jobs famously said, it doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. Give them parameters? Yes. Set goals? Of course. Micromanage? Absolutely not. You hire the most talented people to let them do what they do best, so give them the tools to succeed, and get out of their way.

Leverage this stage by giving employees room to work, constant constructive feedback and rewards or recognition for their achievements. Make sure your employees feel heard, have buy-in whenever possible and have a sense of empowerment.

Retire

This phase represents the end game for the employee life cycle. Having employees retire within your company may represent the ultimate organizational success. Variations in workforce generational characteristics may reveal what success looks like, but there is no question of the impact on the company’s brand and bottom line from the long-term retention of employees.

Leverage this stage by soliciting key retirees as mentors and coaches. Retirees with decades of experience can facilitate knowledge transfer, skill development, client relationship-building and employee networking. Lastly, make sure your exit interviews capture the feedback of any departing employees. This insight is invaluable for improving your business and improving future employee retention.

Employees are the lifeblood of any organization. Applying employee life cycle thinking to your talent management process will deliver better performance outcomes, improve the company’s bottom line and grow the organization’s brand as an employer of choice.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2018/10/25/how-leaders-can-leverage-the-employee-life-cycle-for-individual-and-organizational-success/#5221e6616880

Rethinking career planning and development

Longer working lives have created opportunities for new career and life stages to emerge. Experts from Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) reveal some ways to rethink career planning and development.
As the life expectancy of Singaporeans increases, we are likely to spend more years in the workforce. Longer working lives have created opportunities for new career and life stages to emerge, and employers are becoming more conscious about the need to restructure careers when jobs and businesses are constantly being disrupted.

HR needs to re-examine career planning and development policies to incorporate greater flexibility and choice for individuals to customise their own career routes. Here are some ways to do so.

Move away from “age markers”
With new career and life stages emerging, the demand for flexibility from individuals to create his or her unique sequence of stages based on personal needs, aspirations and choices will also increase.

An individual approaching their 60s may not necessarily be looking to retire soon. In fact, with high standards of healthcare and longer life expectancy, employees are able to continue contributing in meaningful jobs well past the official retirement age of 62. Hence, taking time to develop your employees throughout their entire career is important.

Be sure to also avoid making assumptions about your employees’ career preferences, career guidance needs, aspirations, and goals based on age as this will put your organisation at risk of losing talent. The key is to develop a plan to manage transitions and embrace it by adopting an agile mindset – one that is forward-looking with a thirst for continuous learning.

Widen your perspective
A career track with a steady upward trajectory may not be the only way to grow our employees today. Consider various career paths for your employees, such as lateral or even diagonal moves to a new field or department. All these career growth opportunities should be clearly communicated to employees.

Employers can also go one step further by encouraging employees to build their own career lattice, in which career development and recognition are allowed to flow freely, along horizontal, vertical and diagonal paths. Not only does this encourage your employees to gain additional experience and skills, it also enables you to retain talented employees who are looking for a change.

Rethink recruitment
As employees move through different stages in their life and career, organisations need to recognise their needs and career aspirations. In addition, organisations should look beyond their existing talent pool and broaden it with mid-career hires. Those who do so will benefit from the skills and experience of a diverse talent pool.

For instance, those in their 30s and 40s may have experience in managing small businesses or start-ups while those in their 60s and 70s can take on a mentorship role.

Many roads can lead to a fulfilling career and these paths vary with each individual. In many instances, career planning and development will remain a relevant and crucial part of their working lives.

Rethink the traditional concepts of careers if you do not want to lose out in the war for talent.

Source: https://www.humanresourcesonline.net/rethinking-career-planning-and-development/