10 Emerging Traits Of A Good Virtual Manager

What traits are emerging amid these crises that make for a good manager? Clearly, some managers have thrived during these stressful, anxiety-ridden months. Some managers are just naturals. They have something special that just comes naturally. Managing effectively when times are tough takes a special skill, just like any other, that will improve with a focused, determined effort.

But where did they find this unexpected focus?

It’s not obvious — and this is where many ambitious individuals have failed to live up to their potential as good managers. Ambition is key to great management, but all the personal ambition in the world won’t make you a truly great manager. It takes a great deal of emotional intelligence and strength to truly inspire others.

Let’s take a look at some of the emerging traits of a good manager in an environment where they must lead in a virtual environment (hint: some of these are characteristics to cultivate for any scenario):
1. Humility
Many people in leadership positions suffer from a lack of humility. Leading others does require a healthy reservoir of self-confidence, but humility and self-confidence aren’t mutually exclusive.

Think back to your favorite books and films. Which characters are the ones you’d be inspired to follow into an uncertain situation: the braggadocious narcissist, or the strong, humble leader? Truly strong individuals don’t need to display their strengths and accomplishments because there’s nothing they need to prove.

Managers should ensure they are always giving credit where credit is due. There’s nothing worse than working hard on the front lines, only to have the recognition for that work absorbed by someone else, especially their manager. Instead, great leaders default to a practice of recognizing the contributions and achievements of their team members. After all, it would likely be impossible for a manager to accomplish their goals alone, and if they’re recognizing the team, the manager will likely be recognized by the team members.

Never forget that as employees work for a team, managers should be working for them in equal measure. This point carries a lot of weight in a virtual environment where people are stretched thin.
2. Empowerment
Handholding — or much worse, micromanagement — is one of the most common mistakes managers make. This isn’t to say that a “throw them to the wolves” approach is preferable, or even appropriate. Your onboarding program should provide employees with all the resources they need to bring their best work to the table.

It’s important to give a team the freedom they need to shine. Whether intentional or not, excessive handholding and micromanagement send a signal to their team a lack of trust and that the manager doesn’t believe they’re capable of success without the manager’s help. It’s also exhausting for the micromanager.

In a virtual environment, people are not connecting as frequently in face-to-face conversations to create alignment and not collaborating as often. Managers who are succeeding amid this shift to virtual work are those that set people up for success without stifling their abilities.
3. Facilitation
The best managers are often the best facilitators. They focus on making sure their team has every advantage, and the best possible tools at their disposal. These can be physical tools, software, or processes, but managers won’t know unless they are asking what their people need to be successful.

Often the cost (financial, time, or otherwise) of a new tool or policy can blind managers to its potential impact on a team’s productivity or experience. Many of the ways to facilitate great work can be be less costly than one might think. It could be something as simple as an introduction to a past colleague, a more ergonomic desk setup, a certification course, or some quick feedback on a project.

Managers whose teams are thriving in a virtual environment are asking their team members regularly if there’s anything they can do or provide that will help them.
4. Trust
Trust is a two-way street, and once it’s built it will continue to grow if it’s cultivated genuinely. Great managers have a mutual bond of trust and faith between them and their team. That’s a hard, if not impossible, thing to fake.

If a manager can’t trust their team, or they can’t trust the manager, an organization is woefully missing a crucial element of good management and successful business.

Managers often struggle with trust because they’ve been burned in the past. The uncertainty of a virtual environment adds to that uncertainty. But successful managers in a virtual environment support and project a sense of trust in their people — and, in turn, their people are reciprocating.
5. Empathy
It’s not common for someone to start out in a leadership position without having worked beneath a leader at least once in their life, but it is unfortunately common for people to forget where they came from. That becomes a major problem when managers subject their colleagues to the same things that they themselves used to hate.

Although managers’ personal job responsibilities, especially in a virtual work environment, are undergoing dramatic change. But there is change facing everyone. That means a manager’s team members are feeling pain points and demonstrating a sense of empathy for employees’ issues will earn their trust and help managers lead. effectively.

It’s infinitely easier to stay on the same wavelength when managers are always listening.
6. Patience
Things aren’t always going to go right. People will make mistakes, and they’ll disappoint you. That’s just a natural part of working with others. The key is to approach these situations with patience.

Approaching employee issues with a hot head, or a zero-tolerance approach is nearly guaranteed to incite resentment, negatively impact engagement, and in the worst cases, mutiny. This isn’t to say that managers should let mistakes fly through without doing anything about it, especially if the behavior is chronic.

Great managers who are leading in a virtual workplace are those who approach manage performance with patience and by consistently giving employees the support they need to do better next time.
7. Diplomacy, a.k.a. Tact
Most leaders have at least some level of skill in this area to have made it into a management position. But, believe it or not, managers need it even more now as organizations are navigating tough issues such as being supportive and still needing employees to be productive amid the pandemic.

This isn’t about manipulation — far from it. It’s about knowing the likely outcome of interactions, and always aiming for the best.

When managers do need to deal with a tough situation regarding a coworker or direct report, it’s absolutely paramount that the actions of leaders don’t make that tough situation worse. People are already exhausted, stressed, and anxious.
8. Grace Under Pressure
Not many people enjoy working under a manager who panics feverishly, or even worse, flies off the handle and turns on their team at the slightest provocation or piece of bad news. One of the most important characteristics of a good manager is strength. A strong leader will provide an anchor in stormy seas, and a solid foundation during trying times.

The manager’s challenge is exuding strength without imposing it.

Transparency is vital to building trust, but that doesn’t managers let their people see panic or wavering in the face of challenges. Successful managers in virtual environments are rocks — they keep your chin up during challenges, and give the team the solidity they need to persevere.
9. Love for Learning
Learning shouldn’t stop when managers get to the top. If anything, it should accelerate.

It’s crucial to maintain a thorough understanding of the tasks at hand, but perhaps more so to maintain a sense of curiosity, and a drive to expand that understanding. Even better when this love of learning is shared with the team. Provide them with every opportunity you can to expand their own understanding and mastery of their responsibilities.

There are many ways to do this. Encourage employees to take online courses in (and even outside) their field. Provide the means that are necessary for them to do that, whether it’s a long lunch, or even supporting their tuition.

Great managers not only encourage and support the learning and development of their team — which can lead to organizations gaining new skills — but they look inward to improve their own leadership abilities. Some of the best managers leading virtual teams are those that are finding new ways and tips to lead dispersed teams and to prevent their people from being isolated.
10. Generosity
Great managers are generous with their team. It’s really that simple.

They are generous with praise, generous with compensation (this can be, but doesn’t have to be in monetary terms), and generous with their time.

Virtual environments are leaving employees feeling like they are on an island. Managers who are rising to the occasion right now are those who give more to their team.

In summary
Leading a team when employees are remote or teams are dispersed is a challenge. But cultivating the characteristics of a good manager will make it dramatically easier, and almost certainly more rewarding. These 10 traits are a great starting point, but managers who start here will be rewarding to their career and those who they lead.

Source: https://www.hr.com/en/magazines/talent_management_excellence_essentials/september_2020_talent_management/10-emerging-traits-of-a-good-virtual-manager_kf5bs6h9.html

The New Rules for Landing a Job in the Covid Era

It takes luck, creativity and a fresh look at your network of contacts to find a job in the worst labor market in more than a decade.

Since the pandemic hit the U.S. hard in March, the economy has lost 13 million jobs, job seekers have seen offers yanked away, and many recent college graduates remain sidelined.

But there is reason to be optimistic, albeit cautiously: Many employers are still hiring. More than half of small and midsize companies plan to hire full-time employees this year, according to an August survey of 600 human-resources and finance chiefs by Paycor, an HR software company. And while the percentage of LinkedIn members hired into new jobs fell 7.4% in July compared with the year before, it jumped 57.5% from June, according to LinkedIn’s August Workforce Report.

But today’s jobs landscape is wildly different from the red-hot labor market of early 2020. An open position can yield hundreds of applications. Many job interviews are still happening over laptop screens, and companies’ hiring needs are changing as fast as the economic outlook.

Greg Karol offers tips on leveraging your network and shares how employers feel about virtual learning at the 2020 WSJ Jobs Summit. Photo credit: Stephen Griffin/Lockheed Martin
“When every day is different and you don’t know what to expect, people need to think on their feet and get creative and take risks,” said Clara Shih, founder and chief executive of digital-engagement company Hearsay Systems Inc., at The Wall Street Journal Jobs Summit on Tuesday. “No one is going to tell you exactly what to do, there’s no playbook to follow because we’ve never seen times like these before.”

To explore the new rules of landing a job, The Wall Street Journal spoke with executives, career coaches and the newly re-employed for their best advice. Here is what they say.

Anyone can network (and everyone needs to)

“Networking” often conjures up images of awkward coffees and unanswered cold emails. But with so many jobs found through referrals—LinkedIn says applicants on the platform are nearly three times as likely to get a job at a company where they have a connection—it is a step no job seeker can afford to skip.

If you’ve recently landed a new job, what is the best advice you have for job seekers? Join the conversation below.

When Jesse Barnes posted on LinkedIn that he had lost his sales job at a Minneapolis startup, the 26-year-old was surprised to receive messages from former classmates, people he knew from volunteering and strangers who followed his posts. They gave condolences but also offered introductions and suggested prospective companies.

“I didn’t do a lot of cold outreach,” Mr. Barnes said. Ultimately, he says, he had between 10 and 15 conversations with companies and received multiple offers—all prompted by connections—before landing a business-development role at a software company in May. He never heard back about any of the applications he submitted through job boards.

Now could be a great time to catch up with former co-workers, said Addie Swartz, CEO of reacHire, which develops return-to-work programs for women re-entering to the workforce after a break. “People are more willing to be helpful, and you have to be willing to rely on others.”

ZipRecruiter CEO’s No. 1 Advice for Job Applicants


ZipRecruiter CEO’s No. 1 Advice for Job Applicants
ZipRecruiter CEO’s No. 1 Advice for Job Applicants
Ian Siegel, ZipRecruiter co-founder and CEO, offers tips for job seekers at the 2020 WSJ Jobs Summit. Photo: Cole Burston/Bloomberg News
Ms. Swartz also recommends exploring virtual events through industry networking groups, many of which are offering free webinars. “You don’t necessarily have to be a member to attend—what a great way to learn about an industry.”

And while job seekers may feel impatient to land their next role, it pays to keep a calm and professional tone in reconnecting with contacts. Laura Mazzullo, a New York-based recruiter, says those on the job hunt often don’t realize how frantic and negative they may sound. “They are frustrated, tired, cranky and impatient—they want a new job now.”

Consider your goals—and be specific

When you are unemployed, it may be difficult to identify professional priorities beyond getting a paycheck. Still, Ms. Mazzullo says job seekers she coaches often don’t have clear goals. That can slow down their hunt. “They haven’t defined what they’re looking for next, and therefore can’t articulate it to recruiters or people in their network who might be able to help them,” she said.

Developing clarity around what you are looking for, she said, isn’t the same as being picky. It helps you focus your search on areas where you are more likely to be successful.

Complicated office reopenings and social-distancing measures have led many companies to reconsider the importance of an employee’s proximity to the office. The number of remote jobs posted on job-search site Glassdoor has increased 53% compared with a year ago.

That shift is freeing some to pursue far-flung roles. But job seekers should be prepared to be upfront about their plans, such as a relocation for a partner or a move to be closer to family. Unless an employer has confirmed that a role is fully remote, and will remain that way, candidates should be prepared to return to the office at least occasionally.

“There’s a huge difference between a job that’s 100% remote and 90% remote,” said Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor senior economist. “If you still have to go into the office even just once a month, does it make sense to live up in the mountains in a cabin?”

Zero in on who is still hiring

Health care, retail and food service had the most U.S. job openings as of Aug. 10, with e-commerce and delivery jobs seeing particular growth, according to data from Glassdoor. Finance and insurance, construction and real estate, and business services had the least.

As the labor landscape changes, Ian Siegel, ZipRecruiter co-founder and CEO, discusses where new opportunities have arisen and how to benefit from them at the 2020 WSJ Jobs Summit. Photo: Cole Burston/Bloomberg News
Beth Hendler-Grunt, president of Next Great Step, a Livingston, N.J., firm that coaches college students and graduates on careers, says being flexible about industry might be helpful to recent grads and those hunting for entry-level jobs. “They can pivot more easily,” she said. “They haven’t been overcommitted to a job, a career, an industry. If you’re great at writing or research, maybe you can do it for other industries.”

Mr. Zhao cautions that company performance within industries can vary significantly, and job seekers may find more success developing a hit list of thriving companies to target. “If you’re tech that’s primarily serving restaurants, you’re probably not doing well,” he said. “But if you’re tech within delivery, there’s probably more and a wider variety of job openings.”

Be prepared for a 100% virtual interview process

Just a few months ago, candidates who were interviewed and brought into new jobs virtually were considered pioneers. Now, it is normal to start a new job without meeting anyone from your new employer in person. Job seekers need to be prepared to stand out, even when they’re sitting alone at home.

“Bias and immediate assumptions about a person are really powerful,” said Ian Siegel, co-founder and CEO of ZipRecruiter, at the WSJ Jobs Summit. “You get one second, the moment you first come into frame, where they’re going to develop a whole idea of who you are, and it’s incredibly difficult to get them off that. You have full control over that one second.”

Ms. Hendler-Grunt recommends candidates perform a test video call with a friend to make sure their technology is working and their background looks professional. “You have to bring a higher level of energy than you would have previously if you met somebody in person,” she said. “It’s fine if you’re the most dressed-up person on the video call.”

Mr. Barnes, who found the job at a software company, says being prepared with anecdotes helped him in a videoconference. “I treated the résumé as more of a really boring summary of my life and those different jobs, and looked for ways to create a more exciting story to take into an interview and talk about skills,” he said.

Kyle Ewing, Google’s director of talent and outreach programs, suggests being aware of what is happening in the location where the interviewer works and what they might be experiencing, then kicking off the interview with some simple, friendly questions.

“It’s really important to be more deliberate in the connection that you’re making,” she said. “There’s an opportunity to bring more of a human connection, even in a virtual environment.”

Unemployment in the pandemic has fallen disproportionately on Latina women, with many in the service industry. Here’s how gender, race, and occupation help determine who is most vulnerable in the worst economic slump since the Great Depression.


How enterprises need to rethink business continuity planning

An organization that proactively engages in strengthening its organizational resilience builds flexibility that allows it to handle changing situations. It’s time to reassess your resiliency strategy.
This article was first published in The new IT playbook, a report that explores what it means to be resilient and adaptable in the face of disruption.

Traditionally, business continuity has focused on the idea that a few things might fail. A network operating center loses power. An earthquake, flood, or other natural disaster shutters offices in a specific region. A criminal or terrorist act shuts down a neighborhood or city. In most instances, solutions focus on systems redundancy, failover, and workplace recovery. Never did anyone fully anticipate a major health crisis closing nearly every business facility on the planet and forcing all active employees to work remotely for months at a time.

That was simply beyond the realm of imagination, so when COVID-19 erupted, it forced most businesses into serious crisis management mode.

“Most organizations right now are still trying to figure out how to keep operations running and revenues flowing,” says Phil Goodwin, an enterprise infrastructure analyst at IDC. “This is an event unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times, and it has long-term implications for how enterprise organizations will think about business continuity planning. When they get beyond this situation, many will have to stop, reassess, and think long and hard about how they do it better next time.”

The new IT playbook: From recovery to resurgence. Expert advice for your digital transformation.

Numerous lessons will be a part of this reevaluation process, most notably the need to build more resilience and agility into continuity planning, analysts say. Traditionally, most preparation has centered on operational recovery with less focus on minimizing workforce disruptions. But analysts insist stronger, more thorough, and more elastic approaches will be needed to prepare for future events.

“Our research shows only 38 percent of business operation functions are covered by current disaster recovery plans,” Goodwin says. “We also find that, of those organizations that do have plans, only about 9 percent rate themselves as fully mature in business continuance. So there are definitely big gaps in the industry with regard to continuity planning.”

To close those gaps, analysts recommend ensuring resiliency across each of four key dimensions of business resiliency: technology, people processes, operations, and corporate culture.

Ensuring technology resiliency
From a technology standpoint, most companies have typically focused on ensuring that networks continue running and that people can access them in the event of an emergency. While many companies in recent years were on a path to enabling more workers to perform their jobs remotely, few had invested in the tools required to make that happen on a widespread basis.

Since many enterprise organizations have now invested considerable time and money in remote work capabilities because of COVID-19, analysts predict that they will be more amenable to allow it after the crisis ends. As such, companies will need plans for not only keeping more remote employees connected on an ongoing basis but also keeping all of those people online should another severe disruption occur.

Those plans would have to consider areas most likely to be affected by such events. For example, they would need to ensure that network stability and capacity does not falter if significantly higher numbers of people start logging on remotely. They would also want to consider how to provide employees with the most effective communication and collaboration tools available as well as the underlying virtual desktop infrastructure needed to support everything. And they would absolutely have to employ the highest possible levels of cybersecurity across every access point on the network.

Another important consideration would be the remote worker learning curve. Even before COVID-19, firms like McKinsey warned 87 percent of executives were either experiencing a skills gap in their workforce or expecting one within a few years. Worse, less than half had a clear sense of how to address the problem. To meet the challenge in the context of business continuity, analysts recommend crafting talent strategies that include ongoing training, tips, and guidance. That way, if another major disruption occurs, employees will not lose too much time due to a lack of understanding of the technology they’re using.

Pushing people and process resiliency
Vigorous process resiliency should be another key consideration of any continuity plan.

This involves practices such as virtual onboarding of new hires, support for bring-your-own-device programs, and providing all of the cybersecurity and human resource policies and procedures employees are expected to follow while working outside of the office.

Process resiliency should also entail making sure virtual employees have access to many of the same comforts and support systems they enjoyed in physical settings. That includes power backup for uninterrupted connectivity; ergonomic chairs, desks, and computer gear; wellness programs to address employees’ physical and mental needs; and virtual social events to sustain team morale and togetherness.

“We find it’s simple to focus on technology aspects of business continuity but also easy to lose sight of the people part of that equation,” says Chand Basha, worldwide business continuity planning manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “People are the biggest asset in any organization. So, if you do not put processes in place to keep them online, provide knowledge and support on how to connect to critical resources, and at the same time, ensure they’re healthy and happy, your continuity plan is not likely to be effective in any major disruption.”

Owning operations
Organizations know all too well that they have to ensure operational resiliency to stay in business, which is why many are so focused on critical systems right now with the COVID-19 pandemic.

But analysts say as companies move beyond the current crisis and look to the future, they will need to think through ways to function that go beyond urgent needs and address alternate methods to conduct work without entering physical offices or holding face-to-face meetings.

“The biggest element for operational resiliency is the ability to keep the business running almost unattended,” says Clifford Grossner, who heads cloud and data research for Omdia, an independent analyst and consultancy firm. “Before the current crisis, most continuity plans assumed organizations would have at least some people on site keeping everything running and answering customer calls. We now know you can’t assume that, and organizations should be looking at more options, like digital signing of documents, that don’t require you to be in an office or in front of someone to get a job done.”

Changing corporate culture
Corporate culture is another important but often overlooked element of business resiliency.

Before COVID-19, remote work was already rising in popularity as more digitally savvy millennials and Gen-Zers entered the workforce. But there was still a deeply ingrained preference among corporate leaders to have most workers physically present in corporate facilities. Some believe employees lose creativity and productivity when working from home, analysts say. Others think it’s just human nature to slack a bit when not under the watchful eye of management. Neither sentiment is necessarily validated by statistics (the opposite may actually be true). And if enterprises are to going to evolve and enable more remote workers, their cultures will also need to adjust to make way for that, analysts say.

“We’ve always had a lot of societal and cultural resistance to remote work where management just felt that if it didn’t see you, it couldn’t be confident you were doing your job,” says Grossner. “But when COVID-19 hit, guess what? All of a sudden, everyone is working from home, and we find out the model actually can work. A big cultural barrier now seems to be permanently lifting. I don’t know if we’ll ever go back to that old way of thinking, and future continuity planning should not allow it.

Keep it going
Analysts say post-COVID-19, business continuity planning will need to be a more active and recurrent process within organizations. They note that has not often been the case, however. In fact, all too often, it’s just a one-time project that’s forgotten almost as soon as it’s completed.

“Very few enterprises test their disaster recovery plans to make sure they work,” Grossner says. “When this crisis started, I literally pictured someone taking an old book from the shelf, blowing the dust off of it, and that was their disaster recovery plan. Many organizations think they have a solid plan, but when they actually try it out and it hasn’t been IT tested or updated in quite a while, it doesn’t work so well.”

Daniel Kennedy, research director at 451 Research, adds that organizations that have made strides toward improving business continuity processes during the current crisis shouldn’t take their foot off the gas when it’s over. Unfortunately, he says many do just that.

“The further away an enterprise gets from a continuity event, the less attention they pay to business continuity or disaster recovery plans,” Kennedy says. “Some of that relates to resources. Enterprise leaders tend to concentrate on problems at hand. But championing business continuity requires a good deal of discipline, and organizations should strive to keep their efforts going after all of this is over.”

Some analysts say the best way to do that might be to hire outside consultants to help.

“It’s valuable and helpful for organizations to engage third parties who have a particular knowledge and depth in their industry,” says IDC’s Goodwin. “Consultants often have a breadth of knowledge they can bring to the table, offering information and insights a client company may not have considered. It’s the old adage about not knowing what you don’t know. Frequently, consultants can help you understand what you don’t know and address a variety of contingencies that might not otherwise come to the forefront.”

Nine steps to continuity maturity
Basha notes that HPE Pointnext Services has defined a transition framework involving nine discreet steps―observe, triage, align, adjust, design, stabilize, transform, sustain, and optimize―to help organizations transition from immediate crisis management to full-blown business continuity maturity.

In the end, the idea is to go from a point where companies are simply observing various problems and reacting to one where technology, people processes, operations, and corporate culture are all aligned and enhanced to quickly adjust to any emerging crisis.

“Major disruptions never come with an appointment,” Basha says. “Building resiliency must involve ongoing processes that prepare you for the unknown and allow you to adapt to change in a more agile and structured way. Organizations should seek to prepare and prevent the next disruption rather than going down the same old path where they aren’t ready and have to repair and repent for any mistakes.”


The boss factor: Making the world a better place through workplace relationships

For purpose-led corporations, this is a defining moment. How can they remain committed to additional stakeholder values when the imperative is to conserve cash and, in many cases, aggressively restructure? And what about businesses that have only started defining their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ambitions? When push comes to shove, do their leaders (and shareholders) really believe in the ESG premium? And, if so, where can they best focus their attention?

To move forward, rather than stand paralyzed, crystal-clear prioritization will be key. In this article, we argue that there is one essential area where companies can create enormous social value: job satisfaction. Because of the connection between happiness at work and overall life satisfaction, improving employee happiness could make a material difference to the world’s 2.1 billion workers.1 It could also boost profitability and enhance organizational health.

When it comes to employee happiness, bosses and supervisors play a bigger role than one might guess. Relationships with management are the top factor in employees’ job satisfaction, which in turn is the second most important determinant of employees’ overall well-being. According to our analysis, only mental health is more important for overall life satisfaction (Exhibit 1). Unfortunately, research also shows that most people find their managers to be far from ideal; for example, in a recent survey, 75 percent of survey participants said that the most stressful aspect of their job was their immediate boss.2 And those describing very bad and quite bad relationships with management reported substantially lower job satisfaction than those with very good and quite good relationships (Exhibit 2).

Exhibit 1

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Shifting the behavior of an entire cadre of managers might seem a daunting proposition. But McKinsey research on changing organizational culture indicates the key elements required. Senior leaders can create a step change in both shareholder and social value by clearly articulating the sizable upsides to high job satisfaction, including educating managers on their pivotal roles and embedding quality of workplace relationships into manager development and performance appraisals. They can also act as critical change agents by embracing servant leadership and approaching everyone in their organization with compassion and genuine curiosity.

Exhibit 2

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Good bosses, good performance
It stands to reason that managers would play a crucial role in their employees’ workplace happiness. The wealth of literature on what makes for a good workplace highlights two aspects that line managers directly control: good work organization—that is, providing workers with the context, guidance, tools, and autonomy to minimize frustration and make their jobs meaningful—and psychological safety, which is the absence of interpersonal fear as a driver of employee behavior. With burnout on the rise, and stress and anxiety a leading cause of ill health and absenteeism, the emotional health of workers becomes particularly important.

There are complex interactions between these factors, giving rise to potential virtuous and vicious cycles. For example, a good manager instills a sense of trust and confidence, with a clear set of attainable goals rooted in customer-centric thinking. In such an environment, frontline workers feel empowered and often receive positive feedback from customers and colleagues. They are also more likely to raise issues when things do not go well. A safe and collaborative environment for joint problem solving generates innovation, a sense of achievement, and even higher levels of customer satisfaction. With more loyal customers, lower absenteeism, and low staff turnover resulting in higher profitability, a manager may now be in a position to allocate more resources to their workers.

Such a scenario is not just a theoretical construct. Countless studies show the empirical link between employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and profitability. For example, in an ingenious piece of research, academics exploited a so-called natural experiment—different weather patterns in different locations at different times—to show that call-center workers’ weekly sales increased by 25 percent when their happiness increased by one point on a scale of one to five.3 Similarly, a large-scale meta-analysis found that business units with top-quartile employee engagement achieved operating-profit margins that were one to four percentage points higher than those in the bottom quartile.4 Employee satisfaction has also been shown to contribute directly to shareholder value (Exhibit 3).

Exhibit 3

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Why are servant leaders so rare?
In many ways, there is only one question any manager need ask: How do I make my team members’ lives easier—physically, cognitively, and emotionally? Research shows that this “servant leader” mentality and disposition enhances both team performance and satisfaction.5 Moreover, studies also suggest that managers themselves are happier and find their roles more meaningful when they feel they are helping other people.

Even though most business schools, executive training courses, and leadership programs espouse servant leadership, few bosses manage to fully commit to it. Perhaps that’s no surprise. In most organizations, the average manager has neither the incentives nor the skills to focus on employee happiness. Consider how most businesses make promotion decisions: people who get ahead tend to be either current high performers or those who appear most leader-like. Sadly, neither of these traits correlates well with servant leadership. For example, research suggests that the most productive individuals typically have high levels of technical skills and personal drive, but only 30 percent of them are likely to become the kind of leaders that prioritize and support employee satisfaction.6 Moreover, Gallup research contends that only one in ten people possesses the necessary traits that great managers exhibit, traits that include building relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and transparency.7
People are also more likely to be promoted when they exhibit self-confidence, build extensive networks, and navigate organizational politics with ease. Creating a sense of personal power and toughness can have positive outcomes for leaders, particularly if they are confronted with an unchanging status quo. But such self-orientation is the polar opposite of what is required for building trust. Organizational psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic suggests that many leaders achieve their positions by being self-centered, overconfident, narcissistic, arrogant, manipulative, and risk-prone.8
So even if a manager believes, in their heart of hearts, that the right thing is to support their team members and enhance their job satisfaction, it might be hard for them to resist the siren call of a more authoritative style that seems to give them a better chance of recognition. Moreover, if they have previously excelled in their individual performance, this same manager and leader may have to improve their emotional intelligence and actively change their attitude to discern the frequent occasions when a softer touch is more effective than a tougher stance. All of which is more difficult because of the scarcity of role models to learn from within most organizations. The self-centered approach gets perpetuated by the hiring practices and performance evaluations of many organizations. In fact, companies fail to choose the right talent for management positions 82 percent of the time.9
Organizations that allow such dynamics to persist miss out on the upside of employee satisfaction. At the extreme, these organizations also risk creating or enabling a toxic culture that can lead to serious performance and health issues—and even death.

In many ways, there is only one question any manager need ask: How do I make my team members’ lives easier—physically, cognitively, and emotionally? Research shows that this “servant leader” mentality and disposition enhances both team performance and satisfaction.

How bosses can change
The sizable role a boss plays in employee satisfaction and organizational performance provides an intriguing contrast to the simplistic measures needed to improve it. The fundamental elements are the same as with any other human relationship: mutual trust, encouragement, empathy, and good communication. These attributes create a supportive environment where employees can feel psychologically safe and satisfied and deliver their best work.

Even though managers’ organizational context can blunt their incentives and restrict their actions, there are, nevertheless, simple changes bosses can make to improve the workplace happiness of the people who report to them—no matter what their organization’s culture is like. In this regard, micro-actions often count more than larger, structural changes. Here, we highlight four practices that have proven effective:

Empathy, compassion, and vulnerability: A manager who genuinely cares about an employee’s well-being tends to be curious about it. Sincerely asking, “How are you doing today?” and showing empathy no matter the answer creates an opportunity for employees to raise issues and to feel safe when they do. If the problems relate to the workplace, solving them together and encouraging initiative taking can give workers a heightened sense of agency, in turn reducing their stress levels.

Moreover, curiosity and compassion typically go hand in hand. A sense of compassion, defined as caring for and being committed to the happiness, well-being, and quality of life of others in addition to our own, is at the heart of all great religious traditions—and of the secular ethics of the “happiness revolution.” The economist Richard Layard proposes that “we should each of us, in all our choices, aim to produce the greatest happiness we can—and especially the least misery.”10 For bosses, this is not merely an ethical choice. Research shows that when employees perceive compassion or kindness from their leaders, they become more loyal to them.11 Loyalty in turn feeds better performance at work.

The best managers also open themselves up to others’ empathy and compassion and share their own emotions in response, which requires the willingness and ability to feel and show vulnerability. Doing so will help maintain a leader’s emotional stability and build a close support network that is essential, especially during turbulent times.

Gratitude: Being thanked makes people feel valued. Celebrating small achievements helps people face larger challenges. As outlined in Teresa Amabile’s book The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work (Harvard Business Review Press, 2011), the experience of celebrating small accomplishments sets up a positive dynamic where everyone wants to do better. Routinely, frequently, and generously thanking team members costs nothing and has enormous benefits.

Yet there is a danger here. All of us have built-in radars for fake expressions of emotion and recognize when bosses and senior leaders are simply following a script without actually meaning what they say. To make their gratitude count, managers need to hone their ability to feel genuine thankfulness and use this emotion to express their appreciation in a heartfelt way.

Positivity: Giving positive feedback builds employee confidence and reinforces beneficial behaviors. Unconditional positive regard—the practice of validating feelings, withholding judgment, and offering support—bolsters motivation and fosters authenticity. One study compared athletes who received unconditional positive comments from their coaches with those who received criticism. The former group experienced an increase in confidence, greater love for the sport, and stronger persistence through challenges. The latter group felt less secure, less motivated, and tended to wear out more quickly.12 The same pattern has been found true for teachers and students, and it applies to bosses and the people they “coach” in the workplace as well.

In addition, positive regard is a key contributing factor to developing an individual’s sense of autonomy and self-competence, which in turn is directly linked to greater happiness and well-being (Exhibit 4).

Awareness and self-care: Being a supportive and compassionate manager is easier for people who are themselves aware of and at peace with their own inner state of being. Leaders must first relate to and help themselves before they can do the same for others. For example, sharing emotions or letting go of judgment is often only possible once leaders feel safe themselves.

Managers who prioritize their own well-being can better help others prioritize theirs. When it comes to self-care, research from the Wellbeing Project—a coalition of leading social institutions catalyzing a culture of well-being in support of social change—shows the benefits of self-care for changemakers in the social sector, a group that faces daunting problems and strenuous circumstances. The recipe for self-care will be different for everyone, but most often includes attention to diet, exercise, rest, and sleep. For many, mindfulness or other meditation practices are also powerful sources of resilience.

Exhibit 4

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If a manager’s organization does not reinforce such behaviors, it is important for that manager to build their own system of cues, routines, and rewards to help consolidate these actions as habits. As long as the intent is authentic, bosses can simply imitate the new behaviors they intend as a path toward consolidating those actions into their daily routines. For example, a manager could set themselves a goal of speaking less and listening more, and then systematically solicit feedback and observe the results. In time, they would likely notice the positive effects this has on team members, which would feed their intrinsic motivation to do even better. They could also benchmark themselves to see if they make it into the top quartile of managers whose team members rank their relationship with their boss as “very good.”

However, in a hectic and demanding environment, it is not always easy to stick to good habits. It is even harder if good management is not valued or the model of leadership in an organization is primarily based on authority and personal achievement. In those circumstances, managers need their leaders to help.

The best managers open themselves up to others’ empathy and compassion and share their own emotions in response. Doing so will help maintain a leader’s emotional stability and build a close support network that is essential, especially during turbulent times.

How organizations can support better bosses
Although this article focuses on the role of individual managers, leaders of organizations have a fundamental duty as well to create an environment that enables good management, and good relationships more generally. Not only do they owe this to their shareholders, but there is also a clear moral imperative. While there are many sources of misery in the world—including poverty, illness, and discrimination—the one aspect of people’s lives that is clearly within an organization’s sphere of influence is the behavior of their bosses and supervisors.

Leaders who take this message seriously can draw on well-established literature for how to change mindsets and behaviors in an organization. Four ingredients are required:

Understanding and conviction conveyed through a compelling change story that solicits better behavior from bosses and supervisors. A compelling story is one that builds in multiple narratives. Leaders might start by educating bosses and supervisors about the enormous positive and negative impact they have on the lives of the people who report to them. (Research shows that leaders consistently fail to recognize how their actions affect and will be interpreted by others.) The story might also connect the dots for everyone in the organization—for example, by relating how the aspiration for employee well-being explicitly matches the organization’s social responsibility agenda. Similarly, the narrative might link the company’s overall purpose statement to the individual purpose people feel in their working lives—the aspects of work they find most meaningful. A compelling change story might also connect ethical behavioral imperatives with the performance improvement of the organization as a whole.
Role modeling that demonstrates a leader’s personal belief and commitment to employee well-being. Many senior leaders consistently overestimate how much they are part of the solution and not the problem in a range of organizational matters. But nothing undermines a cultural-change initiative more thoroughly than lip service to a cause that leaders fail to follow through on themselves. Consider how one survey found that 27 percent of organizations have placed many of their inclusion and diversity initiatives on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic,13 even though doing so negatively affects trust in leadership and leads to lower employee engagement and performance. In their own effort to bolster employee well-being in their organizations, leaders can start with self-reflection to identify biases and actions that either support or undermine change.
Skill- and confidence-building approaches to help managers create better employee experiences. Research shows that as people gain power, they lose the ability to judge a situation accurately, particularly with regard to how others will perceive their actions. They also lose some of their ability to empathize with people in positions of less relative power.14 Organizational leaders can tackle this tendency directly. While training courses for soft skills—such as providing and receiving feedback—need to become a more standard part of the corporate curriculum, organizations should also explore novel ways to address the loss of empathy that accompanies gains in authority.

To accomplish this, organizations can follow the experiments of academics such as Yale School of Management psychologist Michael Kraus. In his experiments, Kraus managed to “re-anchor” powerful people’s sense of their own power by forcing them to rank themselves against people they perceive as even more powerful, such as billionaires and political leaders.

Organizations can also provide access to meditation apps and training courses that encourage mindfulness and self-awareness. Senior leaders can build on design-thinking practices that question established behaviors and reframe solutions to meet the unique needs of different employees. Skills and tools aimed at improving a set of employee experience factors—including trust in leadership and the relationship with a company—can further support employee engagement, well-being, and effectiveness.

Formal mechanisms that reinforce the right behaviors. Unless employee satisfaction, including satisfaction with an immediate boss, becomes a core part of a company’s performance evaluations, behavior is unlikely to change. By praising and promoting the best managers, organizations also help fill their ranks with the right kinds of role models. Companies that combine this approach with new HR screens to identify people with the desirable servant-leader traits can begin to form a supporting ecosystem for better management practices. Companies such as GE have begun substituting their top-down performance appraisals with novel approaches that emphasize continuous learning and coaching rather than criticism.

Source : https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/the-boss-factor-making-the-world-a-better-place-through-workplace-relationships

Millennials And Gen Z’s Are Shaping A Better World For Us All

Global protests in support of social justice during the past few months, like rallies decrying climate change that preceded them, remind us that younger generations consider social purpose to be a personal calling and gladly embrace the role of change agents on a range of issues.

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t altered that. In fact, it’s inspired a stronger sense of individual responsibility and made them more driven than ever to effect positive societal change.

According to the 2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, about three-quarters of Millennial and Gen Z respondents said the pandemic brought new issues to their attention and increased their sympathy for the needs of others in their local communities and across the globe. The same percentage said they plan to take real action to benefit their communities after the pandemic, while about 70% of respondents have already taken steps in this direction.

“Millennials and Gen Z’s have been deeply affected by the toll of the pandemic; yet their resolve and commitment to improve the world remains steady,” says Michele Parmelee, Deloitte global chief people and purpose officer. In the survey, two-thirds of Millennials and about 60% of Gen Z’s said their employment or income status has been affected by the pandemic. “Still, even facing these new challenges, they see an opportunity and have a deep desire to help create a ‘better normal’ in a post-pandemic world.”

Planet Remains A Priority

As survivors of difficult circumstances that shaped their upbringings—most notably, the recession of the late 2000s—younger generations are both resilient and uncompromising in their values, the survey shows. This is especially evident when it comes to climate change and the environment.

Before the pandemic, Millennials said protecting the environment was their top concern, followed by health care and disease prevention, unemployment and income inequality/distribution of wealth. Gen Z’s also rated the environment as their top concern, followed by unemployment and sexual harassment.

However, in the second part of the survey conducted five months later—amid a worldwide health and economic crisis—Millennials and Gen Z’s still prioritized the planet’s health. Not surprisingly, health care and disease prevention jumped as a concern for both groups in the second survey. But climate change and protecting the environment continued to top the Gen Z list and was nearly tied with health care as a concern among Millennials.

Leading By Example

Millennials and Gen Z’s are tackling their concerns by taking socially conscious actions to protect the planet and shine a spotlight on societal issues.

In the survey, younger generations said they are increasing their use of public transportation, recycling more and shopping sustainably. About half of Millennials said they walk or bike more often to reduce their carbon footprints, have stopped or limited their “fast fashion” purchases and educated themselves on the environmental aspects of the brands they consume. And nearly two-thirds of Millennials have taken steps to reduce their use of single-use plastics.

With the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 crisis and other societal challenges resulting from systemic racial injustice, social inequality, climate change and economic pressures, the path to a better normal may feel like a long and arduous journey.

While it’s still too early to know how exactly these disruptions will change society over the long term, Parmelee says: “There is no doubt that we can’t go back to the old ways of operating. We must look to the values and commitments of the younger generations to ensure we are building a more sustainable, equitable future for all.”

COVID-19 forced many companies to unexpectedly make fundamental shifts to their business models over a very short time period. Each of their pivots—from a transition to online transactions to new supply chain models, fulfillment approaches, or finance arrangements—has downstream tax implications. This, in turn, increases the complexity and workload for tax departments.

As the pandemic continues and businesses adjust to the new normal, we are seeing some common themes emerge. First, most business leaders are accelerating existing plans around digital transformation, particularly related to cloud. Second, many are re-evaluating their operating models. Some are choosing to refocus internal efforts on core competencies, cutting resources and budgets for enabling areas to reduce costs. This trend extends to tax departments.

These colliding factors are creating a paradox for tax leaders: At a time of increased complexity and need, they have fewer resources to meet the demands. Yet, this dynamic also presents opportunities to accelerate change and transform in fundamental new ways. Those that are nimble will have a greater ability to thrive.

Accelerating Digital

Unsurprisingly, business leaders increasingly recognize that their existing technologies, processes, and data-management approaches are dated. Newer technologies and capabilities offer better, faster, and cheaper ways of doing things. One area in which we are seeing a significant acceleration is cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.

As businesses move to cloud-based ERPs in virtually every organization, it’s important to consider that tax is the greatest consumer of enterprise data. Almost every business process has a tax implication. If you are a CEO, CFO, or CIO, one of your top priorities should be ensuring that your tax department leaders have a seat at the table when developing your digital transformation road map.

Done right, the shift to cloud-based ERP systems should save money, reduce complexity, and enable better risk management. By providing a common data source, recorded in a standard language and syntax, cloud-based ERPs should eliminate most of the heavy lifting and data mining that most tax functions perform manually today. This increases confidence in the data and frees up people to focus on analytics, scenario-planning, and strategic advice to the business.

Agile Operating Models

Tax leaders today are confronted by the high cost of digital transformation, talent gaps in expertise and capacity (which may have increased due to cost cutting measures), and the ongoing economic uncertainty intensified by COVID-19. While it is becoming evident the old ways of working will no longer suffice, there is also an increasing recognition that in many industries, the capital investment required to transform the tax department won’t be coming any time soon. Out of necessity, many have begun to rethink their operating models. They are increasingly seeing co-sourcing and outsourcing as a way to access innovative technology solutions, expertise, and capacity at a lower cost.

The good news is there is a spectrum of operating models—from maintaining an in-house model for all activities, to a model in which some activities are completed partially or fully by a third party, to a completely outsourced model in which a provider “operates” the entire function.

While co-sourcing and outsourcing may be more familiar, the “operate” model represents a more fundamental shift. Companies no longer pay to maintain their own systems, similar to a subscription model that allows access to the capabilities, skills, and resources of a third party for a set fee. Technology companies shifted to this managed service model years ago when they introduced licensing. Consider the example of Microsoft Office: Organizations buy a license to get access to a suite of Microsoft’s tools, but Microsoft maintains the software on their behalf.

In the tax function, when considering cosourcing or outsourcing, activities are evaluated on two dimensions: value to the company and need for institutional knowledge. Work that is low value and routine, where the output needs to be high quality and efficient, are strong candidates for co-sourcing or outsourcing. This may include compliance activities and data management tasks, or work that is highly specialized but ad hoc and does not require significant institutional knowledge to complete, such as transfer pricing documentation or tax controversy matters.

Accelerating The Future

Resilient tax leaders recognize the complexities emerging from the pandemic amid so many other global forces, from the changing implications of globalization, the rise of Asia, the reduction of the shared economy, and the screeching halt on international travel due to closed borders. With so much in flux, the tax function becomes even more critical in building efficient and sustainable organizations over the long-term. To do so, tax leaders must assess their current models and consider the continuum of options to most effectively run their departments.

This massively disruptive event, which hindered businesses’ ability to serve clients and customers in the same way they did in the past, is also proving to be an important catalyst for change. It has dislodged longstanding inertia behind how, where, and when work gets done. The impossible is now possible. The once unthinkable is now open for consideration. Opportunities abound. How will you use the momentum and mindset shift to accelerate the future of your tax organization?

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/deloitte/2020/09/16/millennials-and-gen-zs-are-shaping-a-better-world-for-us-all/#3c5083de7c65

Virtual Team Leaders Focus More On Connections Than Connectivity

Virtual teams – once an exotic novelty – have recently become the norm. Today a large portion of the population works remotely, with many employees (and employers) hoping to keep the work-from-home lifestyle going long after the current crisis has passed. And it makes good business sense. Removing geographical constraints allows businesses to source the best available talent. That talent is frequently more focused, engaged and productive than their co-located colleagues. And, given the volume of knowledge work to be done, a distributed workforce is often the most agile and cost-effective model available.

Yet, despite the ubiquitous nature of virtual teams, many organizations and leaders continue to struggle with the fundamentals of how to manage this permutation of a workgroup. Too frequently, they focus their efforts exclusively on the technology that enables connectivity and they fail to address the what’s actually most important to attaining the desired results: the human connection.

Anyone who’s led or been part of one of these teams knows that the virtual setting changes the human dynamics. Distance can breed ambivalence, assumptions, and misunderstandings that can be addressed more naturally and quickly by people who share a workspace day-in and day-out. And not working together in the same space can easily compromise the sense of cohesion, identity and community that flows naturally when a team is co-located.

Virtual leaders who have cracked the code and brought their distributed workers together into high-functioning teams know that connection in this environment doesn’t happen by chance. It’s incumbent upon leaders to intentionally nurture relationships, weave connections and transform mere groups into collective communities. Here are five key priorities for making this happen.
Turn Up the Trust
Trust – a cornerstone of positive relationships – is built over time and based upon the experiences that people have with one another. Unfortunately, there are fewer opportunities for this to happen in a virtual setting. For a team to operate optimally, members must trust each other’s motives as well as their fundamental competency. Leaders can help make this happen by finding ways for each person to ‘shine’ and making strategic assignments to ensure that trust builds through the shared experience of work and accomplishment.
Cultivate Effective Communication Practices
With so many available communication channels, it’s important for leaders and members alike to be thoughtful and intentional in the selection of the best method for the message. And, in a virtual setting, everyone must compensate for the loss of cues that are picked up naturally by those who are co-located. In general, effective virtual leaders tend to over-communicate and over-document… to literally keep people on the same page. But this must be balanced with not overwhelming others and thus further contributing to information overload and communication fatigue. And, of course, the importance of active listening cannot be over-stated.
Invest in Shared Vision
Communities and teams are formed as people rally around common interest. A clear, compelling, and engaging vision reminds everyone about what they’re working toward together. A shared vision and values contribute to trust, leaving members feeling like ‘these people are my tribe.’ But, developing that vision is not enough. Leaders can’t cross that off the list and hide it away; they must refer to it frequently and treat it as a living document, updating is as necessary.
Nurture Norms and Agreements
Shared agreements for how people will work together is important for any team. But, it becomes even more important when teams aren’t co-located. When everyone understands the ‘terms of engagement’ or ‘rules of the road’, they can go about their work confident in the behaviors and performance they can expect from others. Allowing teams to play a role in creating norms and agreements goes a long way toward creating trust. As with shared vision, these can’t be tucked away either. They must find their way into meetings, conversations and interactions with others to build a culture and connection.
Mine (and Mind) Your Meetings
Meetings are a primary vehicle for bringing virtual teams together and facilitating connections among members. While important in any setting, meetings take on greater significance for virtual teams. Regularly scheduled meetings create a cadence and predictable opportunities for people to connect. And impromptu meetings address evolving business needs and approximate the more casual way people might come together in co-located settings. Whatever the form, good physical meeting practices must be elevated to the next level when operating virtually with a clear purpose, outcomes, agenda, and roles as well as exemplary facilitation skills.

Effective virtual leaders focus less on the technology and details of connectivity and more on helping their teams create genuine, authentic connections. And when they do, they can bridge time, space, and cultures to unleash unbeatable results.

Source: https://www.hr.com/en/magazines/leadership_excellence_essentials/september_2020_leadership/virtual-team-leaders-focus-more-on-connections-tha_kem9afit.html

Data Tells Us That A Data Culture Matters

Implementing a data culture can help organizations become more agile, responsive to customer needs, and open to innovation. Here’s a look at what it means to build a data culture, and the benefits of organizing for data operations at scale.

AirAsia Google digital transformation building a data culture
The forms that data culture takes will vary depending on the people involved and the organizational mission. AirAsia, for example, has been able to make efficient decisions faster using Google Cloud, such as reducing food waste on flights using ML modeling. GETTY
The digital revolution presents every business with unprecedented opportunity—and risk. Cheap and abundant online resources promise new products, new markets, and new opportunities for richer customer relations. They also introduce competition and perpetual disruption.

When you’re beset by change, it’s good to remember a few unchanging, core business principles: Know your market. Focus on your customer. Perfect your offering, and be ready to adapt it to changing conditions. Seek efficiency. The key differentiators that keep you competitive are still your best asset, and you have new ways to make it work for you.

In other words, get your data together and use it well. Build a workplace culture around data availability and awareness—looking swiftly at things like market changes, reactions to product tweaks, or responses to ads or emails. Awareness, speed, and agility are particularly important now, when because of the pandemic, so many habits and practices have changed. The pandemic will end, but it’s unlikely we’re headed back to the old status quo.

Everyone’s data culture looks different in practice, but alignment is key
The forms that data culture takes will vary depending on the people involved and the organizational mission. If you provide the same set of technologies and data to two different teams with the objective to innovate, or solve a hard problem, you can get two very different outcomes. Different teams will need to align on their goals and their data to start building a successful culture.

Culture is an accelerating agent in and of itself. According to this report from McKinsey and Company on why data culture matters: “Culture can be a compounding problem or a compounding solution. When an organization’s data mission is detached from business strategy and core operations, it should come as no surprise that the results of analytics initiatives may fail to meet expectations. But when excitement about data analytics infuses the entire organization, it becomes a source of energy and momentum. The technology, after all, is amazing. Imagine how far it can go with a culture to match.”

These are revolutionary, data-driven times we live in. We came to them because we used data well.

As you think about organizational change, it may be useful to remember that not all aspects of change are disruptive. When you dig deep, it’s clear that using data is nothing new. Since the dawn of commerce, people have observed facts, figured out what matters, and sought patterns to leverage. Modern statistics dates to 1749, and data-powered management has radically raised global GDP for over a century with ever-increasing sophistication. These are revolutionary, data-driven times we live in. We came to them because we used data well.

How people organize their work changes with the amount and quality of the data they have. Ancient farmers used the informal data of watching weather patterns, while industrialists patented standardized machine tools. At the dawn of the computer era, we had applied mathematics and operations research.

Now we need a stronger method, one that can become widespread throughout the enterprise.

Why data culture has to scale, too
What does that method look like? Something proportionate to the opportunity. In 2002, digital storage capacity overtook total analog capacity. Since then, the compounded annual growth rate of data owned by a typical corporation has been about 60%. Not only has the amount of data increased, it now comes from a more diverse set of sources, including browsers, sensors, smartphones, and mobile devices, not to mention other computers. The compound annual growth rate of change is incalculable.

Google thinks about these opportunities a lot. We were founded, after all, with a mission to organize all the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, and over the years we’ve solved a number of fascinating problems around yielding insights and action from large amounts of different kinds of data—now done at blistering velocity.

We work to provide digital insights and the capability to take action to both consumers and enterprises, both in our advertising work with businesses and now, through the tools and services for data management and insights we offer at Google Cloud. We hear how our products are helping accelerate digital transformation and innovation at companies around the world, including ANZ, Mayo Clinic, and UPS.

Great businesses are effective because they have great processes that make great products, reflecting great understanding and care for their customers.

AirAsia is another example. They are en route to becoming a “digital airline.” Their transformation is already helping them extract new insights, become more flexible, and deliver more personalized experiences so they can stand out in their industry. “We wanted to better ensure we were using data correctly to become more agile, efficient, and customer-oriented,” says Lye Kong Wei, chief of data science, group head at AirAsia.

The company has been able to make efficient decisions faster using Google Cloud, such as reducing food waste on flights using ML modeling.

We’ve also learned a number of lessons on internal organization to optimize on data, as well, both in our own journey and from helping our customers solve hard problems. Some of those lessons inform this whitepaper on why a data culture matters. It comes down to four key pillars:

Operating with trust
Democratizing insights
Increasing business agility
Applying intelligence
There are several striking things about organizing for data operations at scale. Advances in the technologies surrounding data means there’s more access and easier manageability. Managing and working with data at scale is hard, and poses a new challenge when compared to working with data in the past. In many cases, this is balanced by today’s better process automation and tools to make sense of the gathered data. Of course, more access means new challenges in security, quality, and the interpretability of that data.

Great businesses are effective because they have great processes that make great products, reflecting great understanding and care for their customers. In other words, all great businesses have great internal cultures that produce these results. People adapt with curiosity and creativity. When appropriate, they challenge the status quo and innovate based on new insights. They leverage the power of data they are entrusted with, adapting and applying processes to generate new value from data.

That’s never been more true than today, when titanic digital shifts bring into new and sharper focus the need to get culture right around collecting and using data at scale. Getting it right early on is important, because history shows us something else: Those working toward new goals never turn down having more data, as long as it’s useful. Advances in cloud computing, data management, data analytics and artificial intelligence technologies aren’t slowing down. Neither should any business, in its hunger to change the world.

Like any insight, getting started with a data culture starts with a question
Will data culture be a problem or a solution for your organization? And if it’s a solution, what will that look like? How will you know it’s a success? These questions can help you get started or build on what’s already been started. Data culture will look different for different businesses in different industries. You and your stakeholders will know what’s best for your teams and organization, and the data culture you build will be the one that works best for your business.

Keep learning: Does the key to business transformation start with your organization’s data culture? Read this whitepaper to learn how to foster a culture that improves agility, intelligence, insights, and trust.

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/googlecloud/2020/09/16/growing-a-culture-of-innovation-5-lessons-from-google/#33f237d05d74

Keep High-Potentials Engaged: Remote Development for Future Leaders

Learning and development of high-potential leaders within organizations tend to take a backseat in times like these (a global pandemic and recession). However, we believe these uncertain times are the best time to prioritize your future leaders, investing strongly in their potential growth, and securing their retention within the role. It is more crucial than ever to continue employee development efforts to build a capable workforce and plan for the future of your business.

Organizations with weak leadership pipelines only grow revenue and profit half as fast as those with strong pipelines, highlighting the relationship between ongoing development and organizational growth.

Your Leadership Pipeline
High potential employees (HiPo’s) represent a company’s strongest leadership pipeline. In fact, research finds that HiPo’s exert 21% more effort than non-HiPo peers and have a 75% chance of success in roles that are imperative to business performance and the succession pipeline. Studies show stronger financial performance in companies that make greater investments in identifying and developing their HiPo’s (1) As such, consider retaining and developing HiPo’s as an investment in your company’s future.

Who are my High Potentials?
A square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square. What does geometry have to do with your leadership pipeline? It doesn’t – but it reminds us of the common misclassification of high performing employees as high potentials (HiPo).

While HiPo’s are often high performers, not all high performers are HiPo’s.

HiPo’s show a combination of drive and motivation; high learning aptitude and potential; and consistent demonstration of key competencies (i.e., performance). These individuals show the “intellectual aptitude and leadership capacity to progress through multiple roles of increased responsibility, complexity, and scope” (2).

HiPo Image
Developing Future Leaders from a Distance
Retaining your top talent requires you know what really drives them. Research highlights common themes for HiPo retention factors which include development, career advancement, and opportunities for new challenges (3).

While the desire for ongoing development among HiPo’s and future leaders is not new knowledge, it does pose novel challenges as many companies, like Google, have committed to continue remote work until at least summer 2021. As the world shifts to remote work, you too may be considering ways to continue nurturing your leadership pipeline and ensure HiPo’s are not only engaged but building the capabilities they need to succeed in the future.

Pre-COVID, 50% of companies saw digital transformation as a strategic priority, but that number has increased to 80%. In a survey of HR professionals, 50% cited technology will be the top use of additional funds and 79% believe self-serve apps and portals will be important tools for meeting workforce needs.

Pinsight for Virtual Leadership Development
With many employees now working more hours across more meetings, a self-serve app focused on leadership development can provide HR leaders peace of mind knowing their HiPos have the tools they need to engage in daily skill development, which is critical to their ongoing growth and retention.

Pinsight offers virtual leadership development technology for HR leaders interested in identifying employees with leadership potential and provides them with daily development activities. Improvement analytics based on logged practice aids HR leaders in managing succession planning efforts and building leadership pipelines – all done remotely.

From identifying high potential employees, to providing personalized development plans and analytics, and easily tracking improvement, Pinsight’s leadership development platform has the tools you need to ensure the health of your succession pipeline and retain your top talent by engaging and growing your HiPo’s from a distance.

Source : https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=14467742&article-title=keep-high-potentials-engaged–remote-development-for-future-leaders&blog-domain=pinsight.com&blog-title=pinsight

Designing a Learning Experience for the Distributed Workforce

The remote work landscape has changed the employee experience and so the learning experience must change with it. Jennifer Parker, Director of L&D at Lennar takes a look at how to design an experience for the new age of learning.

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COVID-19 upended a lot of well-intentioned plans for the L&D team and forced change at a rapid rate. What were traditionally in-person trainings have had to go online and L&D teams have taken on a heightened importance within the organization.

The amount of uncertainty in the global economy has created a need for more flexible employees who can help the organization in a variety of ways, and the job market has created employees who are ready to learn like never before. Now, with budgets and commitments to L&D increasing, it’s up to learning leaders to help strategize and implement learning cultures and systems meets the needs of the distributed workforce.

Key takeaways include:

Understand learning experience design and the specific needs of remote workers
Create new channels for learning and development to replace in person trainings
Develop an ecosystem of tools that increase access and improve the learning experience

Source: https://www.hrexchangenetwork.com/learning/webinars/designing-a-learning-experience-for-the-distributed-workforce

How the Best Workplaces in Manufacturing have risen to the COVID-19 challenge

Arthrex and Stryker routinely compete in the field of medical devices. But during the global outbreak of COVID-19, these two companies have been on the same side of the fight. Both specialty manufacturers have stood out for safeguarding employees during the pandemic, as well as for making generous donations of medical equipment to those on the front lines.

Given the way the two companies have cared for their people and the wider community, it’s no wonder that both Stryker and Arthrex earned spots on the 2020 list of the Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production. Fortune just published this list, based on employee survey research from Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture.

We asked leaders from the two companies about their high-trust, inclusive workplace cultures and how they’ve responded to the coronavirus crisis. From Arthrex, which is based in Naples, Fla., we interviewed Kathy Sparrow, senior vice president of human resources. From Kalamazoo-based Stryker, we interviewed Katy Fink, vice president and chief human resources officer.

Great Place to Work: Can you share a story that captures your company culture?

Kathy Sparrow of Arthrex: It’s especially rewarding to hear the stories of how our programs, such as the Arthrex Manufacturing Apprentice Program and other professional learning offerings, have positively impacted employees and made dreams a reality. Jackie Callejas Morejon is a CNC Swiss machine operator at Arthrex Manufacturing Inc. East in Ave Maria, Fla. When she was growing up, Jackie had always wanted to attend medical school and become a doctor. Unfortunately, her family couldn’t afford to pay her tuition and expenses.

Jackie started working for Arthrex in 2012 in the packaging department. Immediately noticing her strong work ethic and drive for continuous education, Jackie’s supervisor provided her with a path of learning and development opportunities for CNC machining, and her career continues to blossom. She’s now a full-fledged machinist working full-time in the high-volume Swiss machining department.

Jackie takes the Arthrex mission to heart. She says that her dream of becoming a doctor and helping people wasn’t possible at the time, but now she feels like a doctor and is so proud to be part of helping people.

Katy Fink of Stryker: It’s not uncommon to hear stories showcasing our employees’ commitment to our mission and values, and this did not change during the pandemic. For instance, a team at our Medical division came together to develop a low-cost, readily available bed to ship to hospitals quickly as caregivers faced the unprecedented need for additional equipment as they worked on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

In response to the need, our employees created the Emergency Relief Bed in seven days, and we supported their efforts every step of the way. We value the innovative and caring spirit of our employees and appreciate all they do to meet the needs of our customers.

We donated more than 22,500 Emergency Relief Bed Kits to Project C.U.R.E., a nonprofit organization that collects and distributes medical equipment and supplies to hospitals and clinics throughout the developing world. The kits included the bed frame, mattress, and IV pole. We also donated 6,000 replacement mattresses.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your operations? How have you kept your employees physically safe?

Sparrow: As an essential health care service provider, Arthrex has maintained all business operations throughout the pandemic, so it was crucial to immediately institute several precautionary measures and protocols to ensure the safest working environment possible.

At the onset of the pandemic, we established a COVID task force comprising company leaders representing key areas of the business, including human resources, operations, environmental health and safety, legal, corporate communications, and the Arthrex Medical Center. One of the first courses of action was to make a significant investment in Synexis Microbial Reduction Systems, a high-tech workplace disinfectant technology, which is proven to kill airborne and surface bacteria and viruses in buildings, using a low level of dry gaseous hydrogen peroxide. These state-of-the-art systems were installed in Arthrex facilities around the world.

Additional precautionary measures that have been implemented include mandatory masks inside all Arthrex facilities, wellness checkpoints at all building entrances with daily temperature screenings, free COVID-19 testing and medical guidance from the Arthrex Medical Center, a contact-tracing program, cleaning protocols that meet or exceed CDC guidelines, enforcing physical distancing guidelines in cafeterias and other common areas, and rotational work-from-home schedules for employees whose job functions permit them to work remotely.

Fink: When the pandemic began, we formed a Coronavirus Action Team that led the implementation of new policies and guidance on personal protective equipment, physical distancing, and travel restrictions. We developed a phased approach to returning to work that is driven by data and input from medical experts. And we developed policies to make sure that our staff meets the safety requirements of our customers and hospitals when essential product support is needed.

We also quickly developed new ways to engage and train our customers on the safe and effective use of products through virtual training. While this has been a challenging situation for all of us, this time has also given us the opportunity to reevaluate and develop new ways of working and collaborating with each other and our customers.

Kathy, your team at Arthrex has taken some notable steps amid the COVID-19 epidemic to take care of your people in terms of financial and emotional well-being. Can you tell us about those initiatives, the thinking behind them, and their impact?

Sparrow: During these uncertain times, we have been reminded of what makes the Arthrex culture so unique. While our employees were rising to the challenge, keeping production levels high and demonstrating exceptional dedication and team spirit in fulfilling our mission of “Helping Surgeons Treat Their Patients Better,” we recognized the personal and economic impact the pandemic was having on them, and we were committed to providing the innovative programs and resources they needed to take care of themselves and their families.

Arthrex employees receive an annual discretionary bonus in July at our fiscal-year end. We made the decision to pay 50% of that bonus three months early in April (with the remaining 50% paid on time in July) in order to help offset any unexpected financial issues such as a spouse being laid off or increased childcare expenses. President and founder Reinhold Schmieding announced this decision, providing a motivating and inspirational message of appreciation to employees for their contributions and reiterating his commitment to taking care of the Arthrex family first.

Additionally, Arthrex implemented an emergency 14-day COVID-19 paid leave benefit for employees who were under mandatory quarantine from a health care provider and for employees who were classified as high risk by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Childcare became a significant issue with schools moving to distance learning and day-care centers closing. We worked closely to support employees with childcare issues, offering a variety of leave options and developing an internal referral network of available childcare providers, Childcare Connection, which is published on our employee intranet.

Morgan Goldsmith, a Stryker customer engagement innovations manager and a registered nurse, not only volunteered to care for patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic but also worked to create a Stryker policy allowing employees who retain their clinical licenses to serve in the field with company support.
Great Place to Work
You and your team shared a moving story of your employee Morgan Goldsmith. Morgan, a Stryker customer engagement innovations manager and a registered nurse, not only volunteered to care for patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic but also worked to create a Stryker policy allowing employees who retain their clinical licenses to serve in the field with company support. You now allow U.S. employees who are licensed health care professionals to receive paid leave and maintain their medical benefits if they choose to serve during a crisis. What does Morgan’s efforts say about your culture? And have others taken advantage of the new policy?

Fink: Morgan’s story is a great illustration of how we are united around and driven to fulfill our mission of making health care better. She answered that call to rejoin the front lines to offer her skills even though it required some personal sacrifices. Morgan’s story is also a good example of how, even as a large company, we are a family. Her Stryker family supported her and encouraged her during her time on the front lines.

Kathy, Arthrex manufactured and donated PPE to health care professionals and first responders on the front line in your community. Can you tell us more about these efforts?

Sparrow: We continue to manufacture high-quality, reusable face shields and protection hoods at Arthrex’s manufacturing facility in Ave Maria, Fla. The protection hoods, made of transparent plexiglass, are designed to protect health care professionals during procedures, including intubation. Intubation is the process of inserting a tube through a patient’s mouth into their airway. The tube is an essential step in placing patients on a ventilator, a standard treatment for patients with severe cases of COVID-19. Arthrex’s protection hoods allow clinicians access to intubate the patient while decreasing their exposure to germs and viruses, including COVID-19. Once the patient is intubated, the hood is removed, disinfected and ready for the next patient.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Arthrex has manufactured and donated thousands of face shields and protection hoods to date. Arthrex has donated to health systems, ambulatory surgery centers, physician and dentist offices, assisted living and long-term-care facilities, and first responders. Additionally, as schools prepare for students to return, Arthrex is donating thousands of face shields to school systems across our region to help protect teachers and school staff as they welcome students back to the classroom.

Arthrex will continue manufacturing the face shields and protection hoods for as long as needed during this unprecedented time.

An Arthrex employee manufactures a face shield at a company facility in Ave Maria, Fla. Arthrex has manufactured and donated thousands of face shields and protection hoods during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mike Moreland (courtesy of Great Place to Work)
Katy, what is the connection between Stryker’s high-trust culture and the way you’ve responded to the COVID-19 crisis?

Fink: Challenging times such as the pandemic tests your organization and its values. We’ve been fortunate to know that although we’ve had to change the way we do things, we’ve been able to lean on the strength of our culture. Having one that is approachable and encourages open communication fosters engagement, even in a time when virtual interactions are more the norm.

Our employees continue to produce remarkable results, keeping customers and their patients at the heart of everything we do.

Another manufacturing company making a difference
It’s not just medical device manufacturers that have met the moment of the pandemic in inspiring ways. Consider this story from another Best Workplaces for Manufacturing list winner, Landscape Forms. The Kalamazoo-based company makes furnishings for outdoor spaces, such as outdoor learning areas at schools. But it shifted gears once COVID-19 hit. Here’s what the company told Great Place to Work:

“Landscape Forms is proud of our overall response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, which included paying all our manufacturing team members during a five-week state mandated shutdown. This decision allowed our people to avoid the unemployment line and gave them the opportunity to say yes to a partnership with another local manufacturer to assemble emergency relief beds for hotspots all over the U.S. We are extremely proud of how our team members served the national community and how we lived our core values during unprecedented uncertainty and historic levels of economic and civic turbulence.”

Source : https://fortune.com/2020/09/10/best-workplaces-manufacturing-production-covid-19-arthrex-stryker/