Analyzing the Impact of Technology in the Workplace: Q&A with Jill Goldstein of Accenture

The most competitive marketplace today is not technology, but talent. For HR practitioners, the challenge of attracting and maintaining the right talent is especially acute. In this highly informative HR Talk Interview, Jill Goldstein, Global Practice Lead of Talent and HR Operations at Accenture, explains why reskilling and upgrading are two essentials in the future of talent development.

With over six years of experience leading HR and learning business process services across the globe at Accenture, Jill’s mission is to innovate and develop talent with the help of automation and AI. In this candid conversation with HR Technologist, she talks about the impact of technology in the workplace and how training is more relevant than ever, along with discussing pertinent best practices.

She also answers questions on:

How HR teams can address challenges in the talent management ecosystem.
Will AI and automation be a boon or bane for employees?
Which upskilling initiatives are worth investing in for the right talent?

Key takeaways from this interview on the impact of technology in the workplace:

Find out which L&D practices have had the maximum impact on business goals
Learn what Accenture’s current HR Tech stack looks like
Trends to follow in the talent management space for 2020

Here’s what Jill shares on the future of L&D and how technology in the workplace impacts talent management:

Jill, to set the context, tell us about your career trajectory so far and about your current role in Accenture.

My name is Jill Goldstein and I lead global Talent and HR Business Process Services (BPS) for Accenture Operations.

I started my career as an accountant before quickly moving into HR, tackling the more ‘financially-oriented’ areas like compensation, benefits and payroll. Steadily broadening my experience as a HR practitioner, I eventually stepped up to lead HR for a large, multinational corporation and then joined Accenture in 2006.

Since taking on my current leadership role, in 2011, I’ve been responsible for developing and guiding the enhancement of Accenture’s talent, HR and learning business process services and delivery across the globe. I work with our clients across industries and geographies to advance their HR Operations; in many cases, leveraging Accenture’s BPS capabilities.

In addition to Accenture, I’ve worked in corporate HR and finance roles at Sara Lee, Verizon, Ford and Spherion.

I was educated at Indiana University, Bloomington, and earned an MBA from Loyola University in Chicago.

What’s your perspective on the key concerns of HR leaders in the talent management space? How are they addressing these challenges?

HR Leaders are focused on delivering talent with the skills, capabilities, and experiences required to drive their business’ strategy. Reskilling the workforce to leverage new technologies and overcome marketplace conditions, as well as attracting top talent in increasingly competitive industries are just two examples.

Several of these challenges are detailed in a report by Accenture Operations. For example, the top challenges named by the HR leaders we surveyed are increasing profitability (cited by 59%), keeping up with competitors (49%), and identifying/generating new business (49%). HR leaders looking to improve their strategic relevance are taking a new leadership stance.

Addressing many HR issues should happen on a case by case basis, of course, but we see five focus areas:

Own your role as a business executive, not just an HR executive. HR has the inside scoop into business performance and should leverage it strategically.
Blaze the customer-centric trail. As HR executives, we understand people, so it’s essential to advise our employees on blind spots.
Break things down into agile silos. Having HR experts understand all areas of business will help increase efficiency and expertise.
Advocate for reskilling and constantly work ahead of emerging technologies, while also maintaining your talent pool.
Use technology to your advantage. Data and metrics can help argue for your people and new initiatives across the business.

Learn More: 4 Ways Analytics can Improve Workforce Planning in 2019

Organizations are rapidly moving towards AI, machine learning and automation. What does it mean for the workforce? How can they adapt to these changes?

Consider, for example, how the role of the traditional bank branch teller has changed. When ATMs arrived on the scene, most thought bank branches and the need for tellers would disappear. Instead, the opposite happened. Today, there are more branches and bank tellers than there were 20 years ago. But rather than being a local, transaction-oriented service role, the teller has evolved into more of a universal bank advisor, redirecting time to handling more complex service needs and selling products and services with the help of technology. Armed with data and analytics, they are now the difference of a customer walking in and out of a branch or a customer having their needs met with a new product or service from the bank. This requires a different type of knowledge, skill, and ability to do it well.

The important point is that automation substitutes for tasks, not jobs. Organizations have two essential types of tasks: Transactional tasks and those requiring judgment and thought. Workers will see different types of automation to complement both types of work, whether that’s robotic process automation (RPA) to take some of the transactional, cut-and-dry activities or a combination of analytics and AI to support judgment and decision-making. This is where organizations need those creative, innovative thinkers who understand how to work with and apply advanced technologies to solve business problems, an evolution like the banking example mentioned previously.

With increased emphasis on innovation in the workplace, there’s constant pressure on talent to perform. Which upskilling initiatives should HR leaders invest in to help people excel?

The business world continues to change very quickly, particularly in terms of workforces, technology, customer expectations, and competition. Organizations need people who are curious, have interests and skills beyond their main area of expertise and can easily adapt and find ways to capitalize on changes for their organization.

Innovation takes different forms within and across a workplace based on an organization’s priorities and the targeted pace of change. Leading organizations must take a multi-faceted approach to secure and keep talent to keep pace with the dynamic nature of ‘needs’ and the changing talent available inside and outside of the workplace.

Organizations often find they don’t have enough creative and innovative talent on staff, so in addition to retraining employees, they’ll also have to acquire this talent from the outside, which many organizations aren’t currently equipped to do. In fact, our survey found more than half of executives believe HR talent acquisition and development is not keeping pace with the needs of the business.

What’s the answer? One route is to “borrow” the required talent from ecosystem partners who already have those skills as well as other important capabilities that an organization can use to augment its own staff. For many organizations, this is an attractive alternative to “buying” talent. But for those that do want to hire their own, the challenge becomes two-fold: 1) how to attract and hire for innovation and creativity, and 2) how to unleash the creative potential of that talent to the benefit of the enterprise. While traditional approaches to recruiting, deploying, developing, and motivating people are still relevant to traditional skills, they aren’t always compatible with the new breed of talent companies need for intelligent operations to take root.

In other words, as they seek new innovative talent, organizations should embrace total workforce management: acknowledging that workforces need to comprise a blend of many different types of workers from many different sources for organizations to achieve their business goals.

“In general, this blend must strike the right balance between agile and employed talent. While the agile workforce may provide critical skills that are in high demand, and that may be difficult to recruit and hire talent in the agile workforce are less likely to be fully invested in the organization and have the same level of commitment to it as full-time employees. As a critical part of the organization and its culture, full-time employees are better positioned to be custodians of the organization’s tribal knowledge and represent the organization’s brand in the marketplace. Importantly, this blend will necessarily be different from organization to organization, and possibly even from the workforce to the workforce. For instance, it may be more critical for core, strategic functions to be mostly or fully staffed with full-time employees, while less-core functions could benefit from a higher proportion of agile workforce talent.”


Artificial Intelligence Versus Emotional Intelligence: Preparing for Industry 4.0

The digital age has ushered in major transformations for every industry but none more so than manufacturing. Between a major demographic shift as Millennials replace retiring Baby Boomers in the managerial ranks and how technology has created a new business paradigm, the need for updated skill sets, attitudes, and practices is hard to ignore.

As the originators of the top-down approach in the 20th century, it’s been hard for manufacturing experts to shake the standardized and hierarchal ways of the past. Last year, 86 percent of industry leaders thought their organizations were doing enough to prepare their people for Industry 4.0; this year, a 2019 survey echoed only 47 percent of this sentiment.

Why the drop in confidence? The manufacturing industry, for one, seems to be transforming faster than innovation occurs. New advancements in science and technology have led to the automation of many processes that once required human touch. From an outsiders’ perspective, that feels scary, but the fact is that technology creates more jobs than it destroys. The human touch is not being replaced; if anything, it is needed more than ever.

While new machinery and processes are being introduced on the line, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence are still needed to work in concert with new technology. These “navigational skills”—adaptability and forward-thinking ability in the face of constant change—are becoming non-negotiable requirements for existing and new industry employees.

You can foster your team’s soft skills development in a few ways:
Start with existing leaders. Your current leaders (even Millennials) need to shift their thinking about leadership to reflect fresh and transformative behaviors rather than force outdated ideologies to work on updated systems. Teach them to effectively listen and give feedback and encourage them to build trust-based environments. They should serve as the soft skills standard for their respective teams.

Make leadership development available to all. Organizations often focus their time, money, and resources on a smaller subset of leadership. In today’s landscape, it’s more important to develop soft-skill leadership behaviors from moment one. Many Millennials report feelings of under-preparedness for Industry 4.0. Demonstrating a commitment to ongoing professional development will lead to increasing retention rates in your organization.

Engage everyone in problem solving. The traditional model of knowledge transfer may serve its purpose for repetitive hard skills, but soft skills require a multimodal approach. We learn the nuances of humility and pragmatic planning from experience. Inviting team members to the table will allow them to understand expectations and how they can adapt if and when things change.

As machines replace humans in doing routine work, jobs are evolving to require a new combination of human skills and capabilities. The constant pace of innovation and technological advancement tends to overshadow the importance of soft skills and emotional intelligence, but they are needed now more than ever.

Stay tuned as I continue to explore this concept and share examples of how other industries have unlocked leadership knowledge and content to build leadership at every level of the organization.


How training bolsters relationships and builds EQ

Employers have long seen the need for training employees in hard skills. In recent years, soft skills like leadership and communication have crept into learning and development initiatives, too. Some employers have looked to L&D to increase employees’ emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) ⁠— a trend that can give staff members a better sense of how they can work effectively with others while meeting their own needs.

“Many of us have been led to believe that soft skills and emotional intelligence (EQ) are strengths you have to be born with, but it’s simply not true,” Cara Brennan Allamano, SVP, human resources at Udemy told HR Dive via email. “Abilities like building solid relationships, being a good communicator and conflict management all require EQ skills that can not only be learned, but also strengthened over time.”

Still, with all the training thrown at employees ⁠— from safety training to upskilling ⁠— how can organizations stress the importance of EQ training when many don’t even know what it is?

How important is EQ training?
“Employees who’ve had training around emotional intelligence go on to be the teammates who communicate more effectively,” Allamano said, “share and respond to feedback with greater empathy, and who find more purpose in their work.”

As we move toward a knowledge-based economy, being able to effectively communicate with colleagues and employees will become one of the most valuable skill sets someone can possess, said Cortney Harding, founder of Friends With Holograms. “As the workplace becomes more diverse, employees need to be able to interact well with all sorts of people.”

Unless employees work in a vacuum and don’t interact with co-workers or clients, improving their emotional intelligence can transform their work experience, according to Oji Life Lab CEO Matt Kursh. He told HR Dive in an email that there are a variety of tools and techniques that can help workers acquire these skills.

“Recognizing your emotional state in a variety of settings — meetings, one-on-ones, the occasional corporate cage match — takes practice,” he said. “Work’s intense! And it’s even harder to learn how to regulate those emotions to allow you to better meet your goals. The good news is that each incremental improvement in your [EQ] will translate to benefits at work and at home.”

Building buy-in for EQ
Prioritizing EQ development can help workers at every level perform better and find more reward in their work. According to Kristen Fyfe-Mills, associate director of communications at the Association for Talent Development, it can start with managers emphasizing the importance of EQ and letting workers know it can be learned.

“One way to emphasize the importance is by modeling those skills in the interactions managers and leaders have with their teams,” Fyfe-Mills told HR Dive in an email. “Fostering an environment where emotional intelligence is valued and practiced helps ensure that when the skills are learned they can also be implemented.” Training, when made available, is effective, she added.

Allamano knows focusing on developing employees’ EQ may be perceived as taking away from the “real work” they need to be accomplishing each day. “It’s important that L&D and others make a business case for continuous learning and gain executive buy-in,” she said. “Learning cultures can only thrive when senior leaders don’t just sign off on L&D programs but actively participate and openly talk about their own experiences with taking risks and failing.” Fortunately, she added, there’s ample data to show the ROI of training on emotional intelligence.

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How can workers learn EQ?
Alexandra Connell, co-founder of Pluma, sees building emotional intelligence as the process of working through old habits and developing new behaviors without sacrificing one’s sense of self. One-on-one coaching is one effective method for strengthening EQ, Connell told HR Dive via email.

“Elements that are important to EQ like self-awareness, self-management, relationship management and social awareness are exactly the topics that a coach can work on with an employee in a safe and confidential context,” she said. Becoming more comfortable with conflict, for example, is a slow process, but by moving through conflict scenarios with a coach, workers can brainstorm best practices and be held accountable to try them out in their day-to-day, Connell said.

As an alternative to personal coaching, Harding suggested VR as a viable solution: “It allows employees to practice having difficult conversations and reading body language in a safe space where they can go through training multiple times if needed, all on their own time,” she said. It can be more cost-effective for employers, too, she noted.

Overall, it’s important to take steps to break down the organizational barriers that keep employees from connecting with one another, such as the need to compete for recognition, said Carley Childress, CEO of Macorva. “If you make time and space for meaningful connections with employees, you will encourage teamwork and collaboration,” she told HR Dive via email.

Challenges and success
Organizations interested in L&D for EQ should provide regular opportunities for teams to build relationships and test new behaviors, Allamano said. Udemy’s monthly “Lunch Roulette” program connects four colleagues who don’t typically interact and sends them out to lunch together — giving each person a chance to listen, learn and communicate. Activities like workplace book clubs can also build relationships and EQ, she said.

A well-designed EQ program must also introduce key concepts and then support each learner’s personal exploration of those ideas, according to Kursh. “Most importantly, learners need lots of opportunities to practice their new skills so that they develop lasting habits,” he added.

Though it may take more patience to build a holistic EQ learning curriculum, it’s worth it, Kursh continued. “Yes, it will take time and money to get there, but there are few skillsets that are as universally helpful as emotional


What Is Advanced Analytics? Four Common Types

here are many types of analytics today, each showing a different picture to help drive change and address business problems.

Some analytics are retrospective, like descriptive and diagnostic analytics. These analyses pinpoint “what” happened and “why” it may have happened, and are great for general reporting.

More traditional analytics, like business analytics, is important for establishing KPIs and other metrics for business intelligence.

Then there’s more advanced analytics:

Data mining
Predictive analytics
Prescriptive analytics
Big data analytics
What is advanced analytics?
Advanced analytics is an umbrella term encompassing predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics, data mining, and other analytics using high-level data science methods.

Why is advanced analytics important?
Advanced analytics provide deeper, more advanced insight into patterns, trends, and themes that may be hidden within data. This allows businesses to understand their customers on a deeper level, predict future outcomes, reduce risk, and more.

In this guide, we’ll briefly cover the methods that make up advanced analytics, and why each is important for deconstructing big data.

Topic 1: Data mining
Data mining is defined as “knowledge discovery within databases,” and it can be considered a true backbone of advanced analytics today.

The purpose of data mining is to sift through large datasets to uncover patterns, trends, and other hidden insights that may not be clearly visible. This is done using machine learning and statistics. Think of data mining as a deep-dive into data analysis.

There are a variety of data mining methods. Some of the most common include:

Clustering analysis – Grouping large datasets based on similarities within the data. Some insurance companies use clustering for identifying groups of policyholders with high average claims.
Anomaly detection – Also known as outlier detection, this method looks for data points that are rare and outside an established group or average. Anomaly detection is often used to identify fraudulent behaviors in the finance industry.
Association rule mining – Looking at how one variable relates to another. For example, if event A occurs, then event B is likely to follow. Some e-commerce sites may apply this to predict your next purchase.
Regression analysis – Looking at the effect one variable has on many others. In the healthcare industry, regression may be used to examine how body mass index (BMI) affects other aspects of health.
Text mining
Another type of data mining, called text mining, is an advanced method of extracting high-quality information from text data on apps and the Web. It is sometimes referred to as text analysis.

With so much text everywhere, it’s impossible to analyze without the help of intelligent automated systems. Text analysis software first retrieves information, then applies natural language processing (NLP) to break down sentence structures, recognize named entities and common phrases, examines conferencing, and much more.

Here’s an example of a paragraph broken down based by named features like people, businesses, geographical locations, landmarks, well-known abbreviations, and more.


Topic 2: Predictive analytics
One of the most prominent types of advanced analytics today is predictive analytics.

This type of analytics takes “what happened” and “why it happened” a step further by analyzing historical data to predict future outcomes. This is done through a variety of statistical techniques like data mining, machine learning, and predictive modeling.

Predictive analytics mines data from systems like CRM, ERP, marketing automation stacks, and other databases. The results are then visualized in a way so key business users can interpret them. Below is a basic example of what these visualizations may look like:

forecasting website traffic with predictive analyticsPredictive analytics software is important for gaining a competitive advantage, understanding a variety of customer interests, finding new business opportunities, reducing costs and risks, and most importantly, addressing problems before they occur.

See the Highest-Rated Predictive Analytics Software →
There are many industry examples of predictive analytics today. Healthcare is able to more accurately predict negative health events using analytics. Human Resources (HR) uses analytics to identify pain points and productivity spikes for predicting the future performance of employees.

Even when you turn on the television and watch your local weatherperson’s seven-day forecast, those models were built with the help of predictive analytics looking into historical weather patterns. Pretty neat, huh?

Topic 3: Prescriptive analytics
Predictive analytics allows us to understand what is likely to happen next, while prescriptive analytics provides calculated next steps to take. Out of all the types of data analytics, it is perhaps the most actionable.

the four types of data analytics

Prescriptive analyses are complex in the world of data science, often using both structured and unstructured data to form its insights. Applied statistics, deep learning, computer vision, and other advanced methods are used in prescriptive analytics.

Because of the high barrier to entry, prescriptive analytics is not commonly used by many businesses today. These type of analytics can be quite expensive to generate and require the assistance of data science teams – a field that’s drastically under-employed at the moment. Until prescriptive analytics become more accessible, predictive analytics will continue to be the standard.

Topic 4: Big data analytics
There is so much data generated today, it’s outpacing our ability to capture and analyze it, that’s why big data analytics has become so prominent over recent years.

Most of big data is actually unstructured, meaning it cannot be processed and analyzed using conventional methods. This data is things like images, videos, audio files, social media posts, and other multimedia.

Big data analytics software and a variety of big data technologies are available to deconstruct and make sense of big data.

The finance industry currently works with quantitative models – using big data – to predict enter/exit trade decisions and minimize risk. Large retailers use big data to forecast demand for certain products. Tech-focused education analyzes big data to explore new, more tailored learning options for students.

Advanced analytics, advanced outcomes

Advanced analytics are important because they’ll help more businesses draw advanced insights from their data – insights they may have not even been aware of.

Through the use of data mining, machine learning, statistical modeling, and other methods, advanced analytics is making industries everywhere more competitive.

Interested in learning more about data analytics without all the technical jargon? Our beginner’s guide should give you a baseline knowledge.


Three Steps For Building Creative-Evolutionary Cultures

Considering the technology and change revolution, research is finding that companies need to empower their employees with not only a team dynamic but with a culture that will ignite their creativity.

After over a decade working with organizations and entrepreneurs as a coach who specializes in culture development and teams, it became apparent that many of them did not have the strategies to create a culture that could inspire the best out of its people — one that would continually evolve to master ideas, challenges, customer excellence and communication. The concept of “building trust” was a common topic, yet not many companies knew how to do it beyond surface activities.

In essence, they needed to build what I call a creative-evolutionary culture (CEC).

I find this framework of a creative-evolutionary culture transforms the potential of the organization, benefitting both the team within and the customers they serve. I’ve defined a CEC as a culture that radiates transparency, trust for risk-taking and ideas and a continual-growth mindset pattern. CE cultures set the stage for staying relevant, bringing out the best in your team and building stronger customer relationships. A CEC also allows teams to build trust and growth patterns, gain inspiration from each other, expand their creativity, take risks and learn how to transform expectations around what is possible.

What Does A Creative-Evolutionary Culture Look Like?

When you walk into a room with a team that has a CEC, you will notice a difference. Four key elements that differentiate this culture from a dysfunctional group or team are curiosity-based communication, agreement-setting between members, a driven desire to continually think and act outside the box and a sense of deep respect and trust for each person on the team. It’s an optimal culture based in co-learning, not internal competition. This allows all energy to go toward creative brilliance and solution-finding instead of gossip, “in” and “out” groups and internal mistrust. It is powerful and empowering to each team member.

How Can Your Company Develop A CEC?

First, explore the concept of a growth mindset to find the underpinnings that can be integrated into your culture. In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol S. Dweck demonstrates the power of the growth mindset in success, innovation and achievement. According to Dweck, growth mindset cultures have exceptional impacts.


Data and insight set to make employee benefits and rewards the next big battleground in the war for talent

Data and insight will transform employee benefits to become a strategic lever, to attract, engage and retain high quality skills in the war for talent. However, only 11% of HR and benefits leaders within UK organisations are fully satisfied with their current use of data and insight in supporting benefits provision and only 30% of businesses use data to measure return on investment in their benefits provision.

Data and insight will transform employee benefits to become a strategic lever, to attract, engage and retain high quality skills in the war for talent. However, only 11% of HR and benefits leaders within UK organisations are fully satisfied with their current use of data and insight in supporting benefits provision and only 30% of businesses use data to measure return on investment in their benefits provision.

young multi ethnic business people group walking standing and top view
New research published today by Capita Employee Solutions – based on interviews with 200 benefits and HR professionals, 500 business leaders and more than 2,000 employees – highlights the heightened importance of data and insight as organisations focus on benefits and rewards to attract and retain high quality skills. 91% of benefits professionals believe that data is important in improving benefits provision within their organisations, and 84% believe that greater insight will give their organisation a competitive edge in benefits and rewards.

The role and scale of data and insight in benefits provision is set to accelerate rapidly over the next five years as wide-scale implementation of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things will improve the quality and quantity of employee data that organisations can access. 95% of benefits professionals believe that having insight into employee motivations and aspirations would be useful in improving benefits provision, and 87% feel that having insight into external data such as banking and shopping behaviours, and data from wearable technology, would improve benefits provision.

95% of benefits leaders report that having insight into employee absence data and health insurance claims would help employers to offer more targeted and tailored wellness initiatives, as would having data and insight on employee working patterns and behaviours.

However, whilst benefits and HR leaders are optimistic about the potential impact of data and insight in the future, most are currently struggling to make the progress they would like. Two thirds now worry that their organisation is lagging behind its competitors in how it uses data in benefits provision. And alarmingly, business leaders cite benefits and rewards provision as the single area where their organisation is least effective in using data and insight to drive business outcomes.
Almost all of benefits leaders believe that enhanced use of data and insight can deliver better outcomes for organisations. The research found that a data-driven approach to benefits provision can improve workforce engagement and retention (48%); enhance employer brand (42%); increase the ability to attract high quality talent into the business (41%); and reduce administrative burden (35%).

Whilst nearly all UK organisations are already using data in some capacity to inform and optimise their benefits strategy, most are encountering significant barriers in optimising their use of data and insight. Three quarters of benefits and HR leaders report that they face challenges in turning data into actionable insight, and almost half (47%) point to budgetary constraints which limit their effective use of data and ability to derive real insights into employee patterns and behaviours around benefits. A third (31%) of benefits leaders say that they struggle to prove the ROI on benefits provision.

Beyond this, a third of businesses suffer from having fragmented and disparate data; and 31% are deploying outdated analytics technology. Other challenges include a lack of analytical skills within benefits teams (27%), difficulties in finding appropriate partners and technology vendors (31%), and ongoing concerns around data protection and security (30%).

Indeed, the research highlights a high level of awareness of the importance of effective data protection amongst benefits leaders – 88% report that they need to carefully consider the legal and ethical restrictions around greater use of data in rewards and benefits. This is particularly relevant to the use of new forms of data, such as GPS data, biometrics and social media profiles.

However, workers are overwhelmingly enthusiastic about employers using their personal data providing that it means they receive a more personalised employee experience. This includes everything from demographic data and Learning and Development information, through to performance appraisal information and details on aspirations and ambitions. Overall, almost two thirds of employees say that they recognise the value of their personal data as currency in exchange for a more personalised employee experience.

Gareth Pickles, Managing Director, Capita Pensions and Benefits, said:

“Benefits remain a largely untapped opportunity for employers to differentiate and drive competitive advantage in a fiercely contested employment market. New technologies such as AI and IoT are enabling employers to collect, monitor and, most importantly, analyse huge amounts of data about their workforce in a secure and ethical way, and provide the insight required to create compelling and personalised benefits packages for each employee. This will not only engage current workers but also attract the very best talent into the business.

Pickles concludes: “Benefits should be delivering more, not only to employees, but also to employers, deployed in a strategic way to drive better business outcomes, whether that is increased engagement, retention or talent acquisition. Employers already have most of the data sets that they need to engage with employees, based around their individual preferences, performance and personal aspirations, whilst employees are crying out for a more personalised experience at work. The use of data and insight is therefore set to become critical in determining and differentiating the future employers of choice and employers need to act quickly to ensure they have the tools, processes and skills in place to drive competitive advantage in this area.”


How Valuing Employee Satisfaction Results in Business Success

How Valuing Employee Satisfaction Results in Business Success
From productivity, to culture, to retention, to customer satisfaction, employees who are happy overall perform better – Here are a few tips to increase employee satisfaction.
By Mike Whaley, VP of Sales and Marketing at Eureka Ergonomic

It’s safe to assume that most companies want happy employees. Unfortunately, for many businesses, profits often take priority at the helm of the ship and employee satisfaction takes the stern. Moreover, even fewer companies know what it takes to actually make their employees happy. What if happy employees directly translated to larger profits and business success? That would be a real “rising tide lifts all boats” situation. There is good news: they do.

Here are a few simple and profitable ways happy employees can take businesses full steam ahead.

Happiness Fuels Productivity
According to a recent study from economists at the University of Warwick, “human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.” The study also found that happiness led to a 12% spike in employee productivity, while unhappy workers were 10% less productive.

On the note of productivity, the average human sits for 12 hours per day. Something as simple as a program that encourages employees to get up and walk around every hour, or an investment in ergonomic office furniture can make an astronomic difference to ensure employees are happy, healthy, and engaged.

In fact, research shows when employees are given ergonomic office options, like standing desks, their productivity can increase by up to 23%. So, if you’re trying to convince your boss to invest in standing desks for the office, you might want to share this small study by BMJ. In the study, researchers measured mental health and job performance of desk-sitters vs. desk-standers. By the end of the trial, they found that people using sit/stand desks were more engaged at work and better at their jobs than their chair-bound counterparts. The sit/stand desk users also reported less job-related fatigue, less lower back issues, higher quality of life, and less anxiety.

Happy Employees Make Happy Customers
Have you ever walked into a retail situation and the demeanor of a cranky employee impacted the way you felt about your entire day and the company itself? A happy and positive employee makes a big difference for customer loyalty, sales, and retention.

According to “The State of the American Workplace” report by Gallup, employees who are engaged are more likely to improve customer relationships, with a resulting 20% increase in sales.

What Employees Want
Ok, ok, so hopefully I’ve convinced you … it is important to invest some time and money into ensuring employees are happy—but, how do we get there? It’s actually quite simple. A few factors that make up employee satisfaction include:

Trust in leadership: Employees crave a good relationship with their leadership team and want to work for a company they trust and believe in. By getting employees involved in company decisions from the foundation and giving them ownership in milestones, leaders can motivate and inspire employee passions to steer toward a common goal.
Health: Physical and mental health are integral for cultivating happy employees. By offering health benefits, gym packages, healthy snacks, standing desks, and programs that encourage activity, you can increase employee satisfaction and retention.
Recognition/Growth: It feels nice to be acknowledged for a job well done both verbally, financially, and at a promotion level. Employees want to have a clear vision of their growth trajectory and what it takes to get there. It’s a good idea to encourage company kudos and establish clear growth paths within the organization.
Culture: The fact of the matter is, we often spend more time at work than we do at home. That said, employees want to enjoy the atmosphere of the workplace. Successful businesses encourage employees to connect with one another and cultivate programs that inspire good company culture.


It’s Time We Finally Do Away With Performance Improvement Plans

Today’s workplace is ideally positioned for leaders who are self-aware, relentlessly driven to maximize human potential and create platforms for authentic expressions while exceeding business goals and objectives. These authentic leaders are not only humane, empathic, courageous and vulnerable but honest.

With that stated, one of the popular performance management tools, the performance improvement plan (PIP), is still the defacto standard for improving performance.

The objectives of a PIP are:

• Clarify: Clearly communicate the gaps in an employee’s performance or behavior.

• Capture: Articulate why the employee’s performance isn’t up to par.

• Define: Clearly state what is acceptable behavior and performance.

• Deter: Capture the adverse consequences if the desired performance goals and objectives are not met.

However, despite the best intentions of a PIP, it often fails as a means of enabling or helping employees, but rather, a paper trail to justify punitive measures.

In one article, Michelle Costello asserted accurately that the three scariest words during a performance review season are “performance improvement plan.” Forbes contributor Liz Ryan made a similar statement when she advocated for something better to replace the PIP, which, in her words, is part of the “crusty, outdated management system” that sadly rules in many organizations.

Today’s workplace is ideally positioned for leaders who are self-aware, relentlessly driven to maximize human potential and create platforms for authentic expressions while exceeding business goals and objectives. These authentic leaders are not only humane, empathic, courageous and vulnerable but honest.

With that stated, one of the popular performance management tools, the performance improvement plan (PIP), is still the defacto standard for improving performance.

The objectives of a PIP are:

• Clarify: Clearly communicate the gaps in an employee’s performance or behavior.

• Capture: Articulate why the employee’s performance isn’t up to par.

• Define: Clearly state what is acceptable behavior and performance.

• Deter: Capture the adverse consequences if the desired performance goals and objectives are not met.

However, despite the best intentions of a PIP, it often fails as a means of enabling or helping employees, but rather, a paper trail to justify punitive measures.

In one article, Michelle Costello asserted accurately that the three scariest words during a performance review season are “performance improvement plan.” Forbes contributor Liz Ryan made a similar statement when she advocated for something better to replace the PIP, which, in her words, is part of the “crusty, outdated management system” that sadly rules in many organizations.


If You Answer Yes to Any of These eleven Questions, Your Emotional Intelligence Is Better Than You …

To prepare for the workplace of the future, workers should start thinking about building up their emotional intelligence now.

According to the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report 2018, emotional intelligence (EQ) is currently a top 10, in-demand work skill desired by most employers globally (coming in at No. 7).

By 2022, EQ will see a particular increase in demand relative to their current prominence today. However, not everyone is prepared. Research by Development Dimensions International (DDI) found that more than 50 percent of “frontline leaders” fell short in their communication abilities.

While a leader’s cognitive ability (IQ) is required for the intellectual traits of the job, EQ paves the way for the communication skills necessary to successfully drive execution and inspire people to better outcomes. And many leaders are not ready.

The future of work is human and relational. And the bigger opportunity for leadership development lies in teaching future leaders that soft-skills are now the real hard-skills required to move forward in the age of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

11 questions to gauge your emotional intelligence.
Whether you’re a front-line worker in a customer-facing role or in any managerial capacity, you may want to know where you stand against the high bar of emotional intelligence.

Answer the questions below to evaluate yourself in relation to eleven chosen behaviors of high emotional intelligence.

1. Empathy. Do you have the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within his or her frame of reference?

2. Self-awareness. Do you seek honest feedback from others in a caring, trusting environment?

3. Curiosity. Are you driven to want to be your best by learning new things, growing, and improving?

4. Focus. When things around going wrong, are you able to differentiate between real problems and distractions in order to stay focused on what really matters?

5. Belief. Do you believe that the people and things in your life are there for a reason–that everything will ultimately work out for good?

6. Optimism. Do you choose to live each day by having a positive outlook and seeing the glass half-full?

7. Adaptability. Are you able to recognize when to stay the course, and when it’s time for a change? In other words, when one strategy is not working, do you evaluate and determine if something else will work?

8. Servant-leadership. Besides focusing on your own success, do you also maintain a strong desire for wanting to see the people around you succeed?

9. Confidence. Are you comfortable with who you are, regardless of whether anyone is stroking your ego?

10. Forgiveness. When others have wronged you, are you able to forgive and forget, and move on?

11. Commitment. Do you keep agreements make a habit of keeping your word–in things big and small?


How to negotiate your salary like a pro

Does the thought of negotiating for your salary bring you out in a cold sweat? You’re not alone. Many people are scared about negotiating their salaries according to A recent survey revealed that only 37% of people said that they always negotiate for their salaries. 18% said that they never do it and 44% said they’ve never brought it up! And, according to Linda Babcock’s book – “Girls Don’t Ask”, only 7% of women attempt to negotiate their first salary.

This is definitely something you should learn to do though, however much it scares you. When you negotiate, you show your employer not only that you can advocate for yourself but also that you have done your homework about how much you’re worth in the labor market. You could also increase your salary by 7% which adds up to a lot over the course of your career!

Step 1: Find out how much you’re worth
Do your research and find out your market value. Rather than discussing any raise in relation to what you currently earn, flip the conversation around to talking about how much you’re worth on the labor market and focus the discussion on hard numbers.

Step 2: Formulate your arguments
Write down all of your arguments about why you think you should get the salary or raise you’re asking for. Make sure to focus on your market value and the value that you bring to your role.

Step 3: Be proactive about asking for a raise
Most people will wait until it’s performance review time to ask for a raise, but in many cases, this is too late. Your manager will likely have already worked out who to offer raises to by then. Make sure to get your request in there early. If you’ve been in your job for more than one year, taken on new responsibilities and exceeded expectations whilst doing so, then you can feel secure in asking for more money.

Step 4: Shoot for the stars
Ask for more than you want. If you start too low then you won’t give enough room for negotiation and will likely walk out with an offer that is less than you want. It’ll be tempting to ask for a price in the middle of the range, but if you start at the upper limit of what professionals in your role are paid, then you’re more likely to come out with something much better than you currently have.

Step 5: Hold your head up
Walk in to the room with confidence. Hold your head up high and smile. Use your body language to show that you mean business. It might help to put on a different persona or pretend to be someone else. Be positive and assertive. Tell the HR manager or your boss how much you want the opportunity and how excited you are to bring your expertise to the role, but also emphasize the salary that you think is right.

Step 6: Name your price
Whatever you do, try to put your number on the table first. Doing so will mean that any discussions have to start from there. And, make sure to ask for an exact number. So, ask for $67,540 instead of $68,000 as this will make your interview partner feel like you’ve really done extensive research about how much you’re worth. Also, whilst you might want to give your interview partner a range, but this will make it seem like you’re willing to concede, so stick to one very specific and sufficiently high number and make no indication that you’re willing to go down at all.

Step 7: Walk away if you need to
Decide on a salary that is too low. You can work this out according to your own long or short term goals and also your knowledge of how much you should be able to earn in this role. Be willing to walk away if the salary offered is below this. It will be undoubtedly difficult, but you will be thankful that you didn’t settle for a salary that is less than you deserve.

Step 8: Make a counter offer
Don’t be scared of getting a no. Most negotiations don’t even start until an offer has been turned down. In this case, you can make a counteroffer that reflects the raise you were hoping to get. Or, if there are other things such as paid leave, flex time, conferences, courses etc., then ask about these too as a way to improve your offer. The most important thing is that you come out of the discussions feeling like you won something. If the offer is still too low or not satisfactory, revert to step 7 and walk away