It’s Not Just Burnout: HR Is Experiencing Compassion Fatigue

HR teams have been the “invisible first responders” of the last year and a half, supporting employees through numerous crises. Unfortunately, the effects of the past year have left HR teams feeling stressed and emotionally exhausted. What human resources teams are experiencing is not quite burnout, but something similar: compassion fatigue.

Compassion fatigue is a condition often experienced by people who work in the helping professions such as doctors, nurses, teachers, HR professionals, and social workers. It occurs when an individual reaches a point of diminished capacity to empathize or care about others due to the constant exposure to other’s pain.

Once a term only mainly used in human service industries, HR professionals are now experiencing compassion fatigue at a drastically higher rate. Compassion fatigue is what some describe as the “cost of caring” for others who are in emotional or psychological pain.

The symptoms of compassion fatigue include:

In addition, 60% of the same respondents cited “emotional exhaustion” as their biggest challenge. Another report indicated that 71% of HR team members said 2020 was the most stressful year of their career.

While employees across all industries have reported increased stress recently, HR professionals are experiencing these challenges at significantly higher rates. Additionally, HR is one of the only professions outside of healthcare to list “emotional exhaustion” as their biggest challenge.

This dramatic rise in stress has to do with HR teams’ challenges in the last 16 months. So with that in mind, it’s easy to see why HR is experiencing compassion fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue from Crisis Response
In the last 16 months, HR teams had to take on more responsibility, especially when caring for colleagues. Of course, caring for coworkers isn’t a new task for human resource management. However, the sheer volume of crises and those in need of compassion have made the responsibility more challenging for HR professionals.

This year, changes to HR management included significant differences in our working environments, compensation, benefits, and changes to employment laws. In addition, HR teams have dealt with concerns about recent racial injustices, helping colleagues cope with their mental health, isolation, and grief.

During the onset of COVID-19, many human resources departments were responsible for terminating employees that companies laid off. All of this adds on top of the personal challenges each HR member may be experiencing.

Any of those things alone would have been incredibly challenging for HR, let alone managing all of them at once. So it’s no wonder our human resources departments are struggling with the recent, more complicated aspects of employee relations. It’s been exhausting, and HR teams are feeling something different than regular burnout. Instead, they’re experiencing compassion fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue from Continuous Caregiving
While the term may be new to HR, compassion fatigue has existed for decades in caregiving jobs. However, the events of 2020 changed the nature of HR, requiring them to take on a caregiver role. After a year of increased work demands, it is no wonder HR professionals are experiencing compassion fatigue.

Compassion fatigue isn’t just burnout— it can feel similar but presents differently. Burnout and compassion fatigue, in some cases, can be co-occurring. Symptoms of compassion fatigue come from continuous exposure to others’ distress.

Developing compassion fatigue leads to a sense of numbness or a decreased ability to express compassion over time. Feeling this way is especially painful to HR professionals as they’re typically empathetic by nature.

Compassion fatigue can present in different ways. It stems from feeling responsible for others’ struggles, leading you to feel like you’ve run out of compassion to give. The best way to cope with compassion fatigue isn’t revolutionary but does require intentional behavior to counteract its effects.

Preventing compassion fatigue is sometimes uncomfortable for HR professionals— this is primarily due to their inclination to put others first. Preventing compassion fatigue is similar to the safety protocol of securing your oxygen mask before helping others. This approach makes sense logically, but it’s not the first instinct for those who are empathetic by nature.

Source:https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=18900108&article-title=it-s-not-just-burnout–hr-is-experiencing-compassion-fatigue&blog-domain=pathways.com&blog-title=pathways

How Empathy Helped Generate A $2 Trillion Company

Capitalism has a well-justified reputation for heartlessness, starting with its claim—ever since Adam Smith in 1776—that pursuit of businessmen’s self-interest is the best basis for a thriving economy. This reputation was heightened by the misguided quest by big business over the last half-century to maximize shareholder value.

It is therefore striking to see a major corporation not only base its whole modus operandi on the embrace of empathy but also see that pursuit coincide with a seven-fold increase in the market capitalization of one of the largest firms in the world: the case of Microsoft led by CEO and chairman, Satya Nadella.

Nadella’s Embrace Of Empathy
Yet Nadella’s embrace of empathy was a crucial plank of his business strategy and was was announced on day one of his tenure as CEO in February 2014. Yet empathy wasn’t put forward as an isolated idea. It was an integrative element of his whole strategy of customer centricity and working backwards from the customer’s needs and figuring out how they could be met.

Nadella took a risk in making empathy the centerpiece of his culture initiative. It risked being seen as a fuzzy, feel-good emotion concerned more with personal kindness, tenderness and caring than the conduct of a corporation. Yet Nadella’s personal philosophy was to connect new ideas with empathy for other people. “Ideas excite me,” he wrote in his 2017 book, Hit Refresh. “Empathy grounds and centers me.”

A personal philosophy is one thing. A business strategy is generally seen as something to do with the hard calculation of the business numbers. Yet Nadella made empathy tcentral to Microsoft’s business strategy.

The term “empathy” has since figured prominently and consistently in Nadella’s internal and external presentations. It is mentioned 53 times in his book, Hit Refresh. Nadella argues there that without empathy, Microsoft would never succeed in understanding customer needs—particularly needs customers themselves didn’t know they had—and delivering solutions to meet those needs. The bet paid off, as Microsoft’s staff found ways to upgrade and enhance products that have had users exclaiming, “I didn’t know I could do that!”

Empathy In Business
Discussion of empathy is unusual in business discussions but not unprecedented. In the 2009 book Wired to Care, strategy consultant, Dev Patnaik, argued that the real opportunity for companies doing business in the 21st century is to create a widely held sense of empathy for customers, pointing to Nike, Harley-Davidson, and IBM as possible examples. He argued that empathetic firms would see new opportunities more quickly than competitors, adapt to change more easily, and create workplaces that offer employees a greater sense of mission in their jobs.

In the 2011 book The Empathy Factor, organizational consultant Marie Miyashiro pointed to research showing that “empathy was found to be the strongest predictor of ethical leadership behavior out of 22 competencies in its management model, and empathy was one of the three strongest predictors of senior executive effectiveness.”

A study by the Center for Creative Leadership found empathy to be positively correlated to job performance amongst employees as well.

In his book, Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It. (Penguin) 2014) researcher Roman Krznaric argued empathy is “has the power both to transform our own lives and to bring about fundamental social change” and create “a revolution in human relationships”.

What is unprecedented is to carry out this revolution explicitly in practice and see it crowned with extraordinary business success.

What Is Empathy
What then is empathy? It has been defined as “the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.”

It involves “a person communicating an accurate recognition of the significance of another person’s ongoing intentional actions, associated emotional states, and personal characteristics in a manner that the recognized person can tolerate.”

What Empathy Isn’t
Nadella isn’t referring to empathy as touchy-feely stuff. He is talking about cognitive empathy, thinking through what another person must be feeling and thus understanding their needs might be and how their needs could be met.

That is different from compassion–an emotion people feel when others are in need, which motivates people to help them—and from sympathy—a feeling of care and understanding for someone in need. Even ethical purists recognize that empathy doesn’t need to be pursued for its own sake. Tactical (or “strategic”) empathy includes the deliberate use of perspective-taking to achieve certain desired ends.

Is Microsoft’s Empathy Genuine? Or Is It Just Good PR?
While some cynics must have wondered whether Nadella’s embrace of empathy was no more than a PR masterstroke aimed at concealing and enhancing Microsoft’s real goal of money making, it was hard to argue with Nadella’s personal embrace of empathy. His son Jain, now 25, is severely disabled. He was born weighing just three pounds, having suffered asphyxiation in utero; as a result, he is visually impaired, has limited communication and is quadriplegic. With the help of his wife, Nadella learned to empathize with his son. Rather than hide his son’s condition in the way that JFK’s family concealed the existence and status of his incapacitated sister Rosemary, Nadella made the caring of his son a key part of his public life.

While empathy as a central policy of one of the largest corporations in the world was unprecedented, it made perfect sense. Success in the digital economy is increasingly dependent of working backwards from customer needs, and then figuring out how to meet those needs. This contrasts with the industrial era approach of starting from what the firm produces or might produce and then see how that could be marketed to customers.

Empathy As A Way Of Life In The Digital Economy
Empathy at Microsoft isn’t just talk. It is a way of running—and developing—the business. “When you go in to talk to Satya,” says Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of Enterprise Client and Mobility at Microsoft, “you start with the customer. What’s the customer problem? What are they trying to solve? How are we making their life better? And so this concept of customer obsession and being really close to customers has been incredibly important. He focuses on usage and usage becomes the primary factor that everything we do revolves around. In the past, we used to compensate and reward the engineering teams based upon factors like, Did you ship on the date? Did ship with the features that you said you would ship. But we didn’t know if it was being used or not.”

Given that an obsession with delivering value to customers is the principal foundation of success of any firm in the digital economy, it is not unreasonable to expect that other firms will learn from Microsoft’s example in basing that obsession on genuine empathy.

Source:

How To Instantly Discover If You’re Using The Wrong Leadership Style

If you walk into a random group of leaders and ask, “what’s the best type of leadership style?” you’ll almost certainly hear that leaders should be warm and empathic and caring. And while that’s certainly not a bad combination of attributes, it’s simply not true that every employee ranks empathy or caring among the top characteristics of their ideal leader.

For example, highly ambitious employees would much rather have a leader that challenges and pushes them. People suffering from intense burnout resulting from the chaos of the pandemic often prefer a leader who is disciplined, calm and methodical. The point is simply that there is no one perfect style of leadership. Rather, the best style for you is going to be the one that meets the needs of your followers.

More than one million people have taken the online test, What’s Your Leadership Style?, and we’ve discovered that there are four primary styles of leadership:

Diplomats prize interpersonal harmony. They are the social glue and affiliative force that keep groups together. They’re typically kind, social, and giving, and often have deep personal bonds with their employees.
Stewards value rules, processes, and cooperation. They believe that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and they move only as fast as the whole chain will allow.
Pragmatists have high standards, and they expect themselves and their employees to meet those standards. They’re driven, competitive, and they value hitting their goals above all else. They’re also hard-driving and often enjoy smashing through obstacles.
Idealists want to learn and grow, and they want everyone else to do the same. They’re open-minded and prize creativity from themselves and others.
While the Diplomat style is the one that most people say is the best leadership style, the truth is radically different. For example, while there are certainly employees who enjoy a warm and chatty workplace, there are others who aren’t there to make friends but rather to advance their careers. Highly ambitious go-getters don’t want lots of social bonds; they want big goals and huge achievements.

There’s a lot embedded in that simple script, so let’s dissect it piece by piece.

First, one of the goals of this dialogue is to communicate clearly that, no matter what the employee tells you, you’re going to respond constructively. When you say, “One of my goals is to improve my leadership approach,” you’re essentially telling them that their responses are actually helpful to you (even if those responses are somewhat critical).

Second, you’re asking your employees to give you only “one thing” that you could do differently. Asking a broader question or asking for a list of changes can, ironically, make this question far more difficult for the average employee to answer. That, in turn, will stress your employees and drastically reduce the chances that you get meaningful feedback.

If your employees tell you that they want to be challenged more, they’re likely saying that they want more of a Pragmatist style of leadership. If they’d like you to better understand their personal needs and motivators, they probably want you to be more of a Diplomat. If they’d like more consistency and predictability, they’re asking for a Steward style of leadership. And if they want opportunities to grow and develop, then you should apply a more Idealist approach.

The lesson here is simply that there isn’t one perfect style of leadership. And with one simple question, you can instantly discover the best approach for your unique group of employees.

source:https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2021/07/16/how-to-instantly-discover-if-youre-using-the-wrong-leadership-style/?sh=11f46c6d8de8

This Is How To Transition From Manager To Leader

Just because you have a fancy job title doesn’t automatically mean you’re a great leader. Few career transitions are more challenging than making a move from manager to leader. But successfully making that shift is essential if you are planning to climb the corporate ladder.

So, what’s the real difference between a manager and a leader? Effective managers are project-focused and might be described as organized and detail-oriented. On the other hand, dynamic leaders are visionaries who inspire teams to go above and beyond. A leader adapts their management style to the individual and can get the most out of each team member.

Ultimately, the skills that got you where you are may not be the ones you need to get to the next level. Moving from manager to leader is a process that involves training and focus. Here are five strategies that will help you make a smooth transition.

A real leader inspires
Great leaders don’t just tell people what to do. They are masters at motivating their direct reports. Going from manager to leader means you are tapping into your own sense of purpose and can articulate that to your team. If employees are truly inspired by and proud of the values communicated by their leaders, they will not only perform better in good times but also stick it out when times are tough. In other words, inspirational leaders result in motivated employees, and motivated employees are loyal employees.

A real leader creates a shared vision
In addition to defining the tone for the company culture, effective leaders must learn how to communicate big ideas to everyone in the company, not just management. Transitioning from manager to leader means understanding how to craft transparent and consistent messaging that inspires the best work from your employees. Leaders create and drive the overall company vision so effectively that it becomes a shared vision.

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A real leader is emotionally intelligent
While traditional management skills are essential, a greater degree of emotional intelligence is necessary to nurture and motivate teams. Emotionally intelligent people understand their own emotions and how they affect their decisions and behaviors. They know how to read others and respond in a way that acknowledges their needs and concerns. People with high emotional intelligence, or EQ, are great listeners and go out of their way to consider others’ points of view. In addition, a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology concluded that there is a strong correlation between EQ and job performance. Often, EQ is the difference between those who move up within an organization and those who don’t.

A real leader is transparent
As a leader, it’s important to set the foundation for transparent communication. In a survey from Harvard Business School, 70% of employees said they are most engaged when management communicates openly. Being open and honest is essential to create trust with your employees. This practice will, in turn, make your team comfortable opening up to you.

A real leader delegates
Even if it were possible to stay completely involved in all aspects of the job, it severely limits how your team can grow. It is crucial to develop a group of talented people around you that you can rely on to scale your operations more effectively. Allowing your employees to take on new projects will free up time on your calendar to focus on more critical high-level tasks. It also helps foster opportunities for your direct reports to build new skills. A Gallup study even found that companies with more talented individuals who can delegate have greater growth rates, higher revenue, and create a greater number of jobs.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” Great leaders nurture the strengths and talents of their people and build teams committed to achieving common goals. While moving from manager to leader is an exciting transformation, it is not without its challenges. But when you succeed, the rewards for both you and the company are immeasurable

Source:https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecastrillon/2021/07/18/this-is-how-to-transition-from-manager-to-leader/?sh=7c461301123d

How can HR help build models of success?

The post-pandemic world calls for growth, but also resilience. The world is changing faster than ever, forcing organisations to adapt quickly or fall behind. The pandemic has proven that a global shock of such a scale is very much possible and real. According to the IMF, a $28 trillion cumulative loss in output is expected over 2020-2025 due to the COVID-19.

On top of this, the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence, climate crisis and geopolitical instability are creating a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business environment for organisations to operate.

Business growth and innovation are certainly crucial, now more than ever. History suggests that companies who invest in innovation during downtimes outperform the market, while those who make cuts on innovation may risk falling behind.

What will help businesses bounce back from the pandemic is building internal resilience to unprecedented threats and creating capabilities to adapt to change by innovating at scale. However, 33% of corporations have apparently reduced their innovation budgets.

How do you continue to innovate under such heavier cost scrutiny, while also becoming a more resilient organisation? And what role does HR play in delivering this organisational imperative?

Intrapreneurship is the answer

You’ve heard of entrepreneurs, so what’s an intrapreneur? Intrapreneurs are employees who think and act in an entrepreneurial way within their organisations.

They resemble entrepreneurs as they apply many of the same skills and mindsets, such as problem-solving, creativity, communication as well as critical-thinking skills to deal with ambiguity. However, they are able to navigate the complexities of a large organisation’s environment by applying stellar stakeholder management skills and collaborating closely with their leaders.

Intrapreneurs become agents of change and growth for organisations, helping them innovate and transform. They use their skills to find, validate and establish better ways of operating, identify sources of efficiency, and launch profitable initiatives generating new revenue.

Why is intrapreneurship so powerful for growth and resilience?

Contrary to popular belief, innovation isn’t just about the people who work in the innovation labs or “skunkworks” teams that an increasing number of companies have now launched – and most of the time closed.

In an increasingly uncertain and ambiguous business environment, the organisation at large, not just a selected few, has to be able to adapt, react, and be resilient, at any level. Talent who lead and operate the core business must know how to manage ambiguity, come up with new ideas, validate and implement them, and mindsets too.

A workforce able to work and think in this way will help the organisation become intrapreneurial and so more resilient, adaptable and agile, in the face of shocks and market challenges to come.

Unsurprisingly, Intrapreneurship has been recognised as the most desirable skill of 2020 by the global recruitment firm Michael Page.

HR is key for intrapreneurship to deliver

While an entrepreneurial and agile mindset is crucial for innovation and transformation, becoming more resilient and innovative is essentially a cultural and people-centred change that needs to happen across the organisation.

This means ensuring that entrepreneurial mindsets, tools, and methodologies are understood and applied at multiple levels.

HR leaders have a key role to play in making this happen. As we head into a future world where automation and machine learning will increasingly augment humans and free up more time to focus on other areas of value, it’s becoming ever more crucial to plan for the future of work and prepare the foundation for a growth-focused, adaptable and resilient workforce fit.

Our Intrapreneurship programmes are designed to be cross-functional and focused on generating real business outcomes while building internal lean innovation capabilities that will eventually constitute a long-lasting core strength for the organisation.

We know well that organisations are different. This is why we partner with our clients to design programmes aligned with their specific culture and challenges.

However, a few questions always come to mind when we first talk to them.

Does your people/talent strategy take into account the development, application and measurement of intrapreneurial skillsets and mindsets? Does your reward and performance approach incentivise idea generation and validation? Is your learning & development offering equipped to enable this?

Implementing intrapreneurship successfully requires a holistic approach as well as top-down and bottom-up alignment.

Ensure leaders/managers are aligned on the company’s innovation strategy and their teams are aware of the strategic direction. Define a clear process for generating and validating ideas and set the right metrics to quantify value and progress.

Last but not least, provide Intrapreneurs with the time and space they need for their initiatives by removing barriers and ring-fencing their activities, creating an environment that encourages their creativity and resourcefulness and psychological safety.

Source:https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2021/07/18/how-empathy-helped-generate-a-two-trillion-dollar-company/?sh=27b45a124ebc

Transform for Resilience: An Imperative for Good Times Too

During the COVID-19 crisis, resilience rose to the top of the strategic agenda, and many leaders also indicated a desire to extract lessons to increase preparedness for future crises. Our research indicates that resilience, although less emphasized in stable periods, creates significant value and does so well beyond times of crisis. Nearly two-thirds of long-run outperformers do better than peers in response to shocks.

Crises often precipitate or accentuate the need to transform because of the immediate pressure on performance. Crisis-driven transformations often aim to ameliorate performance pressure by increasing cost and asset efficiency. But what is their impact on resilience and long-term performance? And how can companies transform for not only efficiency but also resilience?

To better understand the impact of large-scale change programs on building resilience, we applied an evidence-based approach to study more than 1,200 corporate transformations over the past 25 years. The evidence indicates that roughly half of corporate transformations fail to improve resilience in response to future crises. The same dataset also offers valuable insights into how some companies successfully transform for resilience.

MEASURING THE IMPACT OF A RESILIENT TRANSFORMATION
To study the success factors of a resilient transformation, we must first quantify the total value created by resilient companies in response to crises. Our past research has identified three stages during which resilience creates value relative to peers:

First, the immediate impact can be lower than that on peers because they better absorb the shock.
Second, they can have higher recovery speeds by rapidly adapting to new circumstances.
Finally, they can have a greater recovery extent (in the 12-month period following a shock) by reimagining their business to flourish in new circumstances.
Cumulatively, the relative performance (TSR benchmarked to industry median) across all three stages is the total value of resilience displayed in response to a crisis. (See Exhibit 1.)

To measure the impact of change programs on resilience, we have studied the difference in total resilience in response to industry shocks during the five-year period following a corporate transformation. While roughly half of transformations fail to improve resilience, a significant spread in outcomes exists. The top quartile of resilient transformations improved performance relative to industry by 25 percentage points (pp) in response to future crises, while the bottom quartile saw a decline of 20 pp.

What can we learn from the outperformers?

Growth acceleration is the main driver of a resilient transformation. Whereas large-scale change programs, especially crisis-induced ones, typically target cost reduction, differential growth contributes most of the incremental value created by resilient transformations. Transformations that accelerate growth improve performance relative to industry during each stage of future crises (+6 pp total impact on average), while transformations that only reduce costs see future resilience decline.
Transformations that reduce debt and increase flexibility improve resilience. Transformations that reduce debt loads improve the ability to cushion the initial impact of a future shock. Furthermore, transformations that reduce fixed asset intensity boost adaptivity and recovery speed by shifting costs toward variable expenses. Growth transformations that do both increase the odds of improving resilience from half to nearly two-thirds and yield an average change in TSR performance relative to industry of +10 pp in response to future crises.
Transformations are empirically less likely to build resilience when a crisis is no longer fresh. If history is any guide, resilience now risks losing its spot on the corporate agenda as the performance of economies and companies recover. Immediately following a crisis, transformations are 19% more likely to be growth-oriented and 20% less likely to increase debt than those at least 12 months removed. However, our research shows that allowing resilience to fall off the change agenda would be a mistake. In today’s dynamic business environment, resilience has benefits across the whole economic cycle.

GROWTH DRIVES RESILIENT TRANSFORMATIONS
Our past research indicates that transformations often aim primarily at reducing costs. While this may improve performance in the short run, on average it does not lead to greater resilience in future crises. In contrast, transformations that accelerate growth, in aggregate, improve total resilience by 6 pp, while those that decelerate growth, on average, fail to improve resilience. (See Exhibit 2.)

While growth transformations succeed in improving performance relative to industry during each of the three stages of future crises, nearly half of the improvement manifests in the extent of future recovery. In this third stage, after the recovery has taken hold, companies begin to reimagine their products and business models to thrive in the altered circumstances resulting from the shock. Growth-oriented transformations create significant advantage in this period by building the capability to spot and capitalize on new growth opportunities. (See Exhibit 3.)

For example, Nvidia’s 2015 corporate transformation restructured operations toward strategic growth areas in deep learning, automated driving, and gaming. Following the transformation, Nvidia doubled its growth rate over the next 12 months to 26%. With the semiconductor industry recovering to prepandemic highs in June, Nvidia once again shifted its strategic focus to identifying new growth drivers. In June 2020, the organization announced a partnership with the Daimler AG unit Mercedes-Benz to build software-defined computing architecture for automated driving and in April 2021 unveiled the company’s first data center GPU. Having previously performed in line with peers during postrecovery periods, Nvidia has thus far outperformed industry peers by 11 pp in the COVID-19 recovery.

DEBT REDUCTION AND OPERATIONAL FLEXIBILITY ALSO HELP
Transformations that reduce debt loads help companies cushion future shocks. Large-scale change efforts often require a significant financial commitment. In response, leaders may find it tempting—particularly in the low interest rate environment of the past decade—to fund change programs by increasing corporate debt. But doing so materially reduces resilience on average.

When a crisis hits, highly leveraged companies are more likely to struggle to sustain operations because servicing debt is a higher fixed cost. It also limits the ability of corporations to tap into corporate debt markets during a future crisis—either to sustain operations or to acquire distressed assets. Furthermore, amid the uncertainty of a crisis, investors often prefer the safety of corporations with lower debt levels, compounding the problem.

Our research finds that growth transformations that reduce debt burdens (lower debt-to-enterprise value) increase performance relative to industry during future market dips by 2.5 pp on average, while those that increase debt burdens see a decline of 0.3 pp during the initial shock.

Consider The New York Times and its corporate transformation effort throughout the 2010s. After its debt burden briefly surpassed 200% of enterprise value during the global financial crisis, the company began rebalancing its portfolio of businesses and restructuring operations. After selling off several noncore business segments and entering a sale-leaseback agreement on its headquarters to free up capital, the organization began dramatically reducing debt and investing heavily in its paid digital subscription model. By the end of 2019, the organization announced it was debt-free and had increased digital revenue to $800 million.

Without the higher burden of servicing debt, the organization was afforded a cushioning advantage as advertising revenue contracted sharply at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Having struggled in past market shocks, The New York Times outperformed industry peers by 26 pp during the first stage of the crisis.

Transformations that increase operational flexibility boost adaptivity. To succeed in crises—particularly during the recovery period, which can be unpredictable in timing and magnitude—companies need to adapt rapidly to the changing environment and scale up new models. Companies with greater operational flexibility (which we capture using the proxy of lower fixed asset intensity) can more easily adapt to outperform during the recovery stage.

Companies with lower levels of asset ownership tend to have a higher proportion of variable costs, affording them the flexibility to tie costs closely to revenue in a downturn. They also tend to be less reliant on legacy assets, which creates an advantage in adapting to technological advances and seizing new market opportunities during the recovery. Our research shows that growth transformations that reduce fixed asset intensity increase performance relative to industry during future market recoveries by 3 pp on average, while those that increase levels of fixed asset ownership see no change in performance during the recovery stage.

From 2004 to 2006, consumer conglomerate Cendant Corporation undertook a strategic realignment to exit noncore business segments with high levels of fixed assets. Over the two-year transformation, the organization initiated public offerings and spun off segments in tax services, real estate services, and fleet leasing—reducing fixed asset intensity from 35% to 9% in the process.

Renaming the firm Avis Budget Group, the organization refocused its efforts on its core vehicle rental operations. With vehicles acquired under repurchase agreements (which allow for return of vehicles to manufacturer at set monthly depreciated value), the company now benefits from a highly variable cost structure. With the ability to de-fleet quickly during a downturn—and scale up during recovery—Avis was well-positioned when the global financial crisis hit. One year past the initial shock from that crisis, Avis was 62 pp above pre-shock levels while industry peers had yet to fully recover.

Companies that transform on all three fronts (accelerating growth, reducing debt loads, and increasing operational flexibility) improve performance relative to industry peers by 10 pp in response to future crises. (See Exhibit 4.)

DON’T OVERLOOK RESILIENCE IN GOOD TIMES
The playbook for resilient transformations differs in a few ways from those that primarily aim to increase efficiency and optimize short-run financial performance. Transforming for resilience requires a new mindset that unfortunately tends to fade as stability and prosperity return.

Our research indicates that, when a crisis is fresh, leaders are more likely to adopt an approach to transformation that is consistent with building resilience. Immediately following a crisis, transformations are 19% more likely to be growth-oriented and 20% less likely to increase debt than those at least 12 months removed from a shock.

Put simply, as the crisis fades from memory leaders tend to neglect the importance of building resilience. Corporate change efforts tend to return to targeting cost reduction, stabilized corporate bond markets make debt financing more palatable, and the superior operational control afforded by asset ownership begins to look more attractive. Critically, however, the value of a resilient transformation remains the same—no matter the timing.

Future-oriented leaders recognize the long-term value of resilience and keep it on the change agenda in fair weather times. On the basis of our natural language processing analysis of SEC filings and annual reports, we find that transformations accompanied by a long-term strategic orientation are 10% more likely to accelerate growth, 30% more likely to reduce debt, and 24% more likely to reduce fixed asset ownership. For future-oriented leaders, keeping resilience on the transformation agenda pays off. Transformations that accelerate growth, reduce debt, and increase operational flexibility in more stable periods improve resilience by 7 pp over those that do not.

THE RESILIENT TRANSFORMATION AGENDA
The COVID-19 crisis has brought the value of corporate resilience into focus, and many leaders now seek to rebuild their organizations to be more resilient. While every transformation is unique, our findings point toward a pattern of moves that can improve the odds for a resilient transformation.

1. Transform with an opportunity mindset. Defensive, cost-cutting measures might produce short-term gains, but they fail to advance resilience in the long run. To build resilience—especially in the recovery stage of a crisis—corporate transformations must increase the organizational capacity for innovation and reinvention.

Upstream of innovation lies imagination. Transformations that prioritize growth are those that increase the organizational ability to think counterfactually, break existing mental models, and conceive of new ideas fit for new environments. Transformations that push organizations to compete on imagination will be best positioned to thrive in altered circumstances after the next crisis.

2. Accelerate digital transformation. Digital transformations, executed correctly, can improve resilience by increasing operational flexibility and positioning the firm to capture new growth opportunities. Operational flexibility and adaptivity are both critical capabilities in improving a company’s future recovery speeds. Some asset-light companies take this approach even further by organizing in massive digital ecosystems, effectively reducing asset intensity, pooling resources, spreading risk, and accelerating the scaling of new models and offerings.

Companies that build a digital technology advantage and strategically deploy it can further benefit by extending the perceptive power of the organization to identify emergent opportunities. Digital transformations can also free up human cognition to focus on higher-level activities, such as imagination, to conceive of new ideas and identify fresh sources of growth. In doing so, they create significant advantage in the final stage of future crises as organizations reinvent themselves to succeed in new post-shock realities.

3. Keep resilience on the transformation agenda in good times as well. To capture the long-term competitive benefit of resilience in a very dynamic business environment, companies must transform with resilience in mind in stable times too.

Future crises are inevitable. Companies that recognize resilience as a long-term strategic imperative and make it a pillar of corporate change will be best positioned to outperform in future crises.

As corporations ready themselves for reopening and growth, resilience is now at risk of losing the limelight. Change programs that prioritize growth over cost-cutting, debt reduction over debt financing, and operational flexibility over direct control will realize the full value of resilience and build advantage for the next crisis.

Source:https://www.bcg.com/en-in/publications/2021/transform-for-resilience-in-good-times

How to Search for Flexible Work: Tips from a Career Coach

In the last few years, gig or project-based jobs, contract work, and other freelance opportunities have gained popularity due to the flexibility they offer and/or the potential to supplement their income with temporary work. Many companies, such as those in the tech sector, often hire on a project basis as the need for additional employees can be temporary or project-based. We spoke with Intro career coach Jyl McLaughlin to learn what someone seeking a freelance opportunity should consider.

What are the benefits of pursuing gig, project-based, contract, freelance or bridgework?
If you’ve always wanted to work for yourself, have an entrepreneurial personality, and have accumulated at least five years of experience in one knowledge area, freelance work could be a good opportunity for you. It can allow for flexibility, and if you have recently gained a new skill set or certification that you’d like to leverage as a stepping stone to a career change or pivot, providing freelance services—even in a pro bono way—can help.

What are some challenges or considerations to be aware of when exploring gig work?
I advise a lot of candidates who prefer project work, especially senior-level/executive-level candidates who want to have the opportunity in their transition to consulting. Sometimes these executives are limited to consulting work in the short term if they have a non-compete. There are also people who want to prepare themselves for a second-stage career as they head into retirement.

But in recent years, the “gig economy” has become very popular. Depending on industry and expertise, the market can be flooded with freelancers. To prepare for that competition, you’ll want to present yourself as a legitimate business.

When a candidate is setting up a business, I always advise them to come up with a creative name, and not use their own, as well as to set up an LLC or sole proprietorship. It’s also a good idea to create a logo so that you can start branding your marketing pieces, whether a business card, email signature or website.

It’s important to acknowledge that if you’ve freelanced for an extended period of time, and later want to jump back into full-time work, it can be challenging, because employers may think you’re not committed to long-term employment. That said, in some cases, if you’ve been contracting with a client for a long time, they may eventually want to hire you full-time.

How does the job search for gig work differ from one for permanent work?
In some ways, they are the same and in others they’re different. A lot of the sameness is around the need to do your initial research of target organizations and companies and build a networking campaign for yourself. You’re going to have a target list of companies, identify contacts and reach out to them and promote yourself. When pursuing a gig or freelance work, you’d also be promoting and presenting materials about your work, which may include a portfolio.

With a search for permanent work, you’d want to reach out to contacts at your desired company to learn about their experiences there. For gig work, you’d reach out to people at target companies where your services could benefit them, and ask for a meeting where you’d share a proposal of services. A job search for permanent work is going to be about you because they need to know you’ll fit in with their team, whereas your search for gig work is going to be about your business and portfolio and how the company can benefit from your services.

How can candidates tailor their job searches for gig work?
Use the keywords “freelance” and “contract” when searching job boards. There are also some good resources out there that often list contract work: flexjobs.com, remote.co, and weworkremotely.com. You can also promote your services to small businesses and nonprofits in your area. They may not have the budget for full-time hires but could need temporary support for large projects. You may even consider doing a couple of pro bono projects to build your portfolio and clientele. Lastly, joining professional associations and participating in events—whether networking events, webinars or training—can also help you identify new opportunities.

What materials should gig seekers use to attract employers?
If you’re looking for contract work, your resume would essentially be the same as if you’re looking for full-time work. But if you are setting up your own business, then you’re likely not going to be using your resume as much as your portfolio of work and services. For the most part, you still want to present your most relevant and recent skills and knowledge to the employer. You may also want to consider creating a one-page bio instead of a resume, which serves to showcase the highlights of your past work. It can also be good to incorporate quotes from past clients that indicate that you’ve done similar work elsewhere.

What else is important for a gig worker to know?
If you’re really interested in starting your own business or doing gig or freelance work long-term, have an attorney and accountant help you review the implications. You’ll want to understand the tax differences, and I’d recommend speaking to professionals on both of those subjects.

In summary
Gig, contract, and other freelance work can provide opportunities to explore new careers, gain additional income, and set flexible hours. Pursuing this type of work in the right way can help you to grow your network, gain clients and experience, and grow your business. Being aware of the financial and legal implications of this type of temporary work will ensure that you have no surprises along the way and will help you to manage your time and income to meet your needs.

Source:https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=19018479&article-title=how-to-search-for-flexible-work–tips-from-a-career-coach&blog-domain=intoo.com&blog-title=intoo-usa

It’s Not Just Burnout: HR Is Experiencing Compassion Fatigue

HR teams have been the “invisible first responders” of the last year and a half, supporting employees through numerous crises. Unfortunately, the effects of the past year have left HR teams feeling stressed and emotionally exhausted. What human resources teams are experiencing is not quite burnout, but something similar: compassion fatigue.

Compassion fatigue is a condition often experienced by people who work in the helping professions such as doctors, nurses, teachers, HR professionals, and social workers. It occurs when an individual reaches a point of diminished capacity to empathize or care about others due to the constant exposure to other’s pain.

Once a term only mainly used in human service industries, HR professionals are now experiencing compassion fatigue at a drastically higher rate. Compassion fatigue is what some describe as the “cost of caring” for others who are in emotional or psychological pain.

The symptoms of compassion fatigue include:

Feelings of detachment, hopelessness, emotional numbing, and general anxiety.
Lacking empathy, which can lead to a lack of motivation and feeling disconnected from others.
Increased alcohol and drug abuse, as well as risk-taking behavior and aggression.
Decreased productivity and the ability to focus
The Current State: HR is Not Okay
Surveys conducted over the last six months have revealed a startling trend in HR. A study by Lattice found that 90% of HR professionals reported that their stress levels increased in the last year.

In addition, 60% of the same respondents cited “emotional exhaustion” as their biggest challenge. Another report indicated that 71% of HR team members said 2020 was the most stressful year of their career.

While employees across all industries have reported increased stress recently, HR professionals are experiencing these challenges at significantly higher rates. Additionally, HR is one of the only professions outside of healthcare to list “emotional exhaustion” as their biggest challenge.

This dramatic rise in stress has to do with HR teams’ challenges in the last 16 months. So with that in mind, it’s easy to see why HR is experiencing compassion fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue from Crisis Response
In the last 16 months, HR teams had to take on more responsibility, especially when caring for colleagues. Of course, caring for coworkers isn’t a new task for human resource management. However, the sheer volume of crises and those in need of compassion have made the responsibility more challenging for HR professionals.

This year, changes to HR management included significant differences in our working environments, compensation, benefits, and changes to employment laws. In addition, HR teams have dealt with concerns about recent racial injustices, helping colleagues cope with their mental health, isolation, and grief.

During the onset of COVID-19, many human resources departments were responsible for terminating employees that companies laid off. All of this adds on top of the personal challenges each HR member may be experiencing.

Any of those things alone would have been incredibly challenging for HR, let alone managing all of them at once. So it’s no wonder our human resources departments are struggling with the recent, more complicated aspects of employee relations. It’s been exhausting, and HR teams are feeling something different than regular burnout. Instead, they’re experiencing compassion fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue from Continuous Caregiving
While the term may be new to HR, compassion fatigue has existed for decades in caregiving jobs. However, the events of 2020 changed the nature of HR, requiring them to take on a caregiver role. After a year of increased work demands, it is no wonder HR professionals are experiencing compassion fatigue.

Compassion fatigue isn’t just burnout— it can feel similar but presents differently. Burnout and compassion fatigue, in some cases, can be co-occurring. Symptoms of compassion fatigue come from continuous exposure to others’ distress.

Developing compassion fatigue leads to a sense of numbness or a decreased ability to express compassion over time. Feeling this way is especially painful to HR professionals as they’re typically empathetic by nature.

Compassion fatigue can present in different ways. It stems from feeling responsible for others’ struggles, leading you to feel like you’ve run out of compassion to give. The best way to cope with compassion fatigue isn’t revolutionary but does require intentional behavior to counteract its effects.

Preventing compassion fatigue is sometimes uncomfortable for HR professionals— this is primarily due to their inclination to put others first. Preventing compassion fatigue is similar to the safety protocol of securing your oxygen mask before helping others. This approach makes sense logically, but it’s not the first instinct for those who are empathetic by nature.

Combating Compassion Fatigue
If your HR team is looking for ways to manage compassion fatigue, register for our HR.com webinar on July 22nd. Our webinar will explore HR-related compassion fatigue, how to identify it, and how to cope effectively as HR specialists. Join us to learn how HR can better care for themselves and their team members from Pathways’ behavioral health experts.

Source:https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=18900108&article-title=it-s-not-just-burnout–hr-is-experiencing-compassion-fatigue&blog-domain=pathways.com&blog-title=pathways

The rise of spatial thinking What role does location play in your business—or your next business?

For many organizations, location is more important than ever for key decision-making. And multiple technology trends are making the insights of geospatial analytics increasingly accessible and valuable.

The rise of spatial thinking
by Matt Gentile Jerry Johnston Jonathan Camhi
Location-aware devices and services have exposed billions around the world to how technology can support “spatial thinking.” Whether searching on Google, navigating to an address on smartphones, ordering a shared ride, or tracking a food delivery, many people use spatial-aware technology routinely. Products such as Tile’s beacon trackers or Apple’s recently released AirTag accessories suggest a future in which people will know the location of anything they want at any time

And organizations are moving to analyze location data for a wide range of critical insights, with major implications. Geospatial analytics can be an important source of innovation, helping solve problems across talent, operations, marketing, risk, and beyond. It may even be instrumental in organizationwide transformation, changing how everyday business and operations are conducted, though minding ethical boundaries will be crucial in taking advantage of this technology’s potential.

Location-sensing technologies are dropping in price. The cost of location-enabled chips for cellular connectivity, for example, is expected to decline by 70% from 2017 to 2023.2
Launches of new vendor hardware and software products that support geospatial analytics increased more than 30% in 2020 compared to 2019.

Machine learning (ML) and deep learning with spatial data are enabling use cases such as managing disease outbreaks or natural disasters.

Once dominated by public-sector applications, a recent analysis identified dozens of geospatial analytics applications in commercial sectors including financial services and insurance; consumer; and energy, resources, and industrials.
Ethical guidelines are emerging for handling privacy concerns with location-tracking technology.
Spatial thinking enters the mainstream
Data analytics aims to provide answers to critical questions about who, what, when, and why: Who are my best customers and who is most likely to churn? What are my best-selling products? When will this machine need service in the future? Why did my revenue change from last quarter?

The power of geospatial analytics lies in answering where questions: Where are our customers interacting with us? Where are our assets and staff deployed? Where do we have exposure to supply chain or regulatory risk? Beyond telling us where things are, analyzing data through the lens of location can help answer where they should be: Where should we build new store or office locations? Where should we direct more marketing spend? Where should we acquire new talent based on local market conditions? Lowe’s, for instance, optimized new store locations by identifying trade areas with a favorable demographic profile.

Three factors appear to be driving this trend: The volume and diversity of location data is exploding, the cost of acquiring and analyzing it is declining, and clever applications that create value for businesses and their customers are emerging. A leading Indian bank, for example, cut the traditional credit decisioning process for farmers to just a few days—compared to the industry average of 15 days or more—by analyzing satellite imagery instead of manually inspecting farmland.8 A more novel example: using real-time tracking of drone flights to measure flight risk and lower premiums for insuring enterprise drone fleets.

Spatial thinking increasingly plays a pivotal role in tackling big, complex challenges such as addressing climate change, managing COVID-19 risks, and supporting a hybrid workforce. It can help answer questions such as: Where should we deploy resources to mitigate climate risk? Where is there greater risk of exposure to COVID-19 for staff or customers? Where should we consolidate our office footprint as we shift to a hybrid workforce model?

The volume and diversity of location data is exploding, the cost of acquiring and analyzing it is declining, and clever applications that create value for businesses and their customers are emerging.

Geospatial analytics: A powerful tool for spatial thinking
Geospatial analytics—the practice of analyzing data with a spatial dimension—typically requires multiple steps: collecting geospatial data from varied sources such as surveys and sensors, turning data into multiple layers of spatial representations, and analyzing it to find useful patterns to inform operational or strategic decisions.10 Performing each step may call for specialized skills and assets such as remote sensing and image processing tools for data collection and classification, specialized geospatial analysis skills (including cartography) to analyze spatial information in context and guide decisions, and specific programming languages to generate insights.11 Leading adopters generally use geographic information systems (GIS)—specialized software systems purpose-made for storing, managing, analyzing, and visualizing geospatial data; see figure 1 for a list of typical GIS components.12 The global GIS market is expected to reach US$13.6 billion in 2027, up from US$6.4 billion last year.

Many organizations haven’t yet experimented with geospatial analytics, but adoption is growing fast. In the past, government organizations were typically the main producers of geospatial data; they were able to afford the high costs of acquiring it—from sources such as aerial and satellite imagery or manually collected survey data—along with the requisite highly specialized talent skilled in drawing insights from it. By next year, though, 36% of large and mid-sized organizations are expected to have deployed location intelligence software, up from 10% in 2019. And private-sector efforts to acquire geospatial data are proliferating.

New sources and tech expand geospatial data supply, solutions, and tools
The geospatial technology industry has experienced rapid growth and change since hyperscalers such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple entered the market. Beginning with the release of consumer and professional offerings in the early 2000s, awareness of the power of geospatial data and analytics has continued to expand around the world.

At the same time, the cost of sensors and devices that collect geospatial data is falling rapidly—Bluetooth tags with integrated power-harvesting are expected to drop in price by two-thirds—with corresponding proliferation and ever more data. By 2025, projections suggest 40% of connected IoT devices will be capable of sharing their location, up from 10% in 2020

Even the sky-high costs of launching a satellite have fallen sharply over the past decade on a per-kilogram basis, meaning more data-collecting satellite launches over the next few years.

The expansion of 5G networks, too, will aid collection of greater volumes of geospatial data, with faster speeds and improved accuracy; a defense organization is now developing a prototype of a 5G-connected warehouse that will make it possible to continuously and precisely track the location of its assets and inventory.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) has supercharged organizations’ ability to analyze vast quantities of geospatial data. AI and many of its subdomains, including ML and computer vision, automate information extraction to more quickly deliver real-time geospatial insights, such as helping to safely deploy firefighters during rescue operations20 or enabling autonomous or remote navigation for drones or vehicles.

Many new tools and solutions that make use of geospatial analytics are coming to market, especially industry-specific solutions that embed geospatial capabilities. And venture capital (VC) is pouring into this space, supporting the growth in new geospatial solutions, tools, and data sources. US-based startups offering geospatial capabilities raised US$2.5 billion in VC funding in 2020, about 25% more than in 2019. That trend continued this year, as VC investment topped US$1.8 billion by early May.

Meanwhile, market-leading GIS and geospatial technology vendors (including Esri, Hexagon, and Descartes Labs) are modernizing their tools by launching their software offerings on the cloud for flexible storage and processing power to handle growing data volumes.

And major enterprise software vendors are adding geospatial functionality to their core products. Cloud hyperscalers have launched geospatial data and analytics offerings, including services for embedding maps, geofencing, and other location-based features into clients’ web and mobile applications.

SAP, Salesforce, Oracle, and others are integrating more geospatial capabilities through new partnerships, investments, and offerings. This will allow many more organizations to begin experimenting with geospatial analytics, including building custom geospatial applications on vendors’ platforms.

Growing demand: Geospatial analytics finds new ground
With the volume and variety of geospatial data growing, and new tools making it easier to work with, new applications have emerged. Location data aided COVID-19 contact-tracing programs all over the world as well as social distancing programs in organizations’ facilities.

A California-based interior-design firm is using location data to support its shift to a hybrid workforce model: A mobile app allows employees to view real-time and projected office occupancy and book open desks, with indoor wayfinding to help them navigate office floors, facilitating better space planning and social distancing adherence

Proliferating IoT devices are boosting opportunities in emerging areas such as indoor mapping and tracking and location-based products. A California hospital shrank operating-room turnaround times, improved patient satisfaction, and saved US$1 million in annual costs with real-time patient tracking with RFID.

Wearable technology can power products that remotely monitor the precise location and vital signs of first responders to increase their safety on the job.

Geospatial analysis of satellite imagery and other data sources can be vital to mitigating climate risk. A joint US-EU program is using satellites to more accurately measure the rate that sea levels are rising around the globe, while also capturing atmospheric data to augment climate change models and weather forecasts.

Such emerging applications are expected to fuel further demand for geospatial analytics. In the United States, the Biden administration has proposed investing US$50 billion in infrastructure resilience to mitigate climate risk.

Geospatial analytics can help direct such investments toward high-risk areas to maximize their impact. Another example: California-based startup Pachama recently raised US$15 million to verify forest restoration projects for climate offsets with satellite imagery. It counts Microsoft, SoftBank, and Shopify among its enterprise customers.

With the technology becoming more accessible, organizations are ramping up use of established geospatial analytics applications. Examples include Novartis analyzing local talent pools for office site selection, parcel delivery provider SEUR optimizing its supply chain network, the Rwandan government working to improve land management practices,and an American power utility reducing costs in managing risk from vegetation along its powerlines.

Implications for strategists
As new geospatial data sources and use cases emerge, organizations should respond by reviewing strategy and operations through the lens of spatial thinking. Using the following approach, leaders should look for opportunities where geospatial insights can provide a competitive edge or produce significant operational advantages:

Identify the “where” questions in your organization that can be answered with geospatial analytics. Spatial thinking can help leaders understand where they can optimize existing operations and business offerings. For some organizations, geospatial may become a catalyst for broad transformations, driving large-scale improvements in mission-critical processes and strategic decisioning. Government agencies at all levels, for instance, are using geospatial analytics to transform how they deliver services, aiming to ensure that programs distribute resources in an equitable manner and reach vulnerable communities. This includes current efforts to assess the equity of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Develop use cases for unlocking value from the applications of spatial thinking. Geospatial data and analytics can also enhance new data-driven offerings, unlocking revenue opportunities. Airbus, for instance, entered the agricultural technology business by analyzing satellite imagery for farmland monitoring and benchmarking.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation piloted a geospatial solution for finance, retail, and logistics clients to monitor risks from macro socioeconomic factors, such as global supply chain movements or commodity trends.
Build your geospatial leadership team. Depending how deeply an organization ends up integrating geospatial analytics into everyday operations, leaders might consider establishing a geospatial center of excellence or a geospatial information officer role to develop standardized processes, evaluate vendors and technologies, and work with businesses in cross-functional teams to identify applications. In some organizations, this capacity would be housed under the CIO as a multidisciplinary team combining traditional IT skills (cybersecurity, data privacy, infrastructure management) with specialized science skills (geography, engineering, cartography, computer science) critical for understanding and unlocking insights from geospatial data. In the public sector, geospatial practitioners are increasingly becoming the foundation for data-driven organizations and reporting to or working closely with chief data officers.
Keep ethics and appropriate use of geospatial data and technology front of mind. While organizations look to generate new value from geospatial data, they must remain mindful of privacy concerns, since rigorously managing data access rights and privacy is crucial to ensuring customer trust with emerging technologies.

That very much includes geospatial data and analytics: Any geospatial data attributable to a specific individual should be handled according to the same standards as other personal data.

Consortiums and research groups are starting to publish geospatial-specific ethical use guidelines on addressing bias in data collection, minimizing collection of unnecessary data, and gaining informed consent when collecting data from individuals.
Where is the future
By now, many leaders recognize the role of analytics and data mastery in unlocking business value and achieving their organizations’ digital ambitions. Increasingly, this means mastering the use of geospatial analytics and spatial thinking. For some organizations, this could be transformative—even becoming a launching pad for entirely new businesses.

The internet has freed people from being tied to a specific location. Education, work, and entertainment are available anywhere there is a network connection. And yet location matters now more than ever. Leaders’ best thinking should include spatial thinking.

Source:https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/focus/signals-for-strategists/geospatial-analytics-use-cases.html

Purpose At Work: How Starbucks Scales Impact By Listening To All The Stakeholders In Our Shared Future

Starbucks Corporation, the American multinational headquartered in Seattle, Washington, is the world’s largest coffeehouse chain. Celebrating its 50th year in business, it boasts 400,000 associates at more than 33,000 stores in 80+ countries. Trinidad and Tobago? Yes. Uruguay? Yep. Andorra? Bahrain? Kazakhstan? You’ll find Starbucks. It famously opened two stores every day on average for 20 years—and even opened 50 stores during the pandemic in 2020.

Averaging more than $30 billion in annual sales—led by coffee, its “black gold” staple—Starbucks is the second most valuable brand of fast service restaurants in the world, after McDonald’s.

Yet in a culture where a common perception is “big is bad” (think Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big Government), Starbucks, albeit a behemoth, has strategically managed to retain a reputation for a human-centric, community-minded, and impact-driven culture—they call it a “people positive” philosophy and MO. Except there’s nothing miraculous about it. It takes a clear purpose, an unwavering commitment, and non-stop listening, according to Virginia Tenpenny, Chief Global Social Impact Officer.

A business as resource rich as Starbucks can take on multiple issues at once—and probably must in order to stay relevant in ever-changing markets. In Starbucks’ case, all the issues coalesce in the overarching mission—To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time—which becomes the unifying and organizing principle around all of its activations.

Leading this vital work is Tenpenny, who told We First she had always assumed she was destined to work at a nonprofit. Instead, she “stumbled upon an opportunity at Nordstrom, where I discovered the role of business in effecting social change.” Then she found her way to Starbucks, “a place that attracts people who are looking to be part of something bigger.”

Bigger, indeed. Starbucks has pioneered and overseen programs that express multiple manifestations of purpose and impact, of the company’s devotion to Lead With We, from helping underserved communities, to ethical sourcing, women’s empowerment, civic engagement, hunger relief, and marriage equality, just to mention a few highlights. Its carefully curated and brand-appropriate mission has allowed Starbucks to address issues as wide-ranging as political donations, post-traumatic stress disorder, refugees, job creation, sustainability, gun violence, and more.

It’s a model for the compounding of purpose, programs, and partnerships.

“At Starbucks,” says Tenpenny, “we do well because we do good, and it permeates every part of the business.”

Listen to partners and lead with “Impact”

Starbucks refers to its employees as “green apron partners.” “Since we opened our first doors in 1971 … it’s always been bigger than coffee. It’s always been about people,” says Tenpenny. From the beginning, “there’s been an ethos about empowering our partners.”

That starts with listening—and that starts internally. “When you are consistently listening to your people and understanding that they need to feel that sense of purpose, to feel that sense of connection to the company,” says Tenpenny, “that really guides us in terms of where we can have the greatest impact.”

That powerful philosophy—avoiding the mistake of thinking your business is all outbound and top-down—is a key driver in Starbucks’s eminent legacy of responsible leadership and social impact. “So much of leadership is about listening,” says Tenpenny. “It’s about being curious. It’s about consistently looking at what are old ways of doing things that maybe no longer serve us … It’s about having the courage to look at things that need to be radically different,” and asking “where do we need to leapfrog into the future?”

Every day at Starbucks brings a new opportunity, Tenpenny argues, for “creating a learning environment, where we’re comfortable to be vulnerable, where we’re comfortable to explore and learn and sometimes not get it right, but be committed to continuing on that evolution.”

“Our 50-year legacy of really listening to people, recognizing where there is an issue, where Starbucks has a unique ability to have a positive impact, and ideally bringing other companies along” is at the core of Starbucks’s culture and business strategy. Tenpenny says, “We want to set up the DNA of the company to ensure that these decisions, these values continue to be embedded into every part of the business. We’ve established a framework through our “people positive” [philosophy], which is how can we have a positive impact on the well-being of all who touch Starbucks, from farmers in origin countries producing great coffee, to our partners making the experience come to life for our customers, to the neighbors and the communities that we serve.”

Listening requires a constant “grappling” with meaningful issues that exert significant impact on real people’s lives, Tenpenny reminds us. Smaller businesses—and whose isn’t?—might take some solace in the fact that even megacorps like Starbucks wrestle with the same conundrums we all do. “Whether it’s gun violence, or right now, our response to the crisis unfolding in India,” it always requires profound listening; deep thought; and careful, decisive action.

The calculus about whether and how to get involved in individual issues, either by taking a stand as a brand, or proving more direct support through the Starbucks Foundation, always comes down to one simple compound question for company leadership, Tenpenny says: To what extent and in what tone should (or shouldn’t) Starbucks insert its voice in a given cultural conversation—and do we know why? Ask: Have we developed and maintained some credibility on this issue, and a response that’s a natural, logical, organic outgrowth of our purpose, and our legacy of leadership?

How does Starbucks answer those questions? It listens. “We listen to our partners,” Tenpenny says. “They guide the way. They tell us when we’re at a tipping point and we need to lean in and make a public statement on something.”

Yes, sometimes that means listening to the national or even global zeitgeist. But more often than not, the execution of impact-oriented initiatives begins locally. “And how do we make it local?” asks Tenpenny? “Who knows our neighborhoods better than our partners?” So, Starbucks launched a Neighborhood Grants project in 2019. Since then, it’s given away $4 million—all directed by its internal partners. “Our partners tell us what’s happening in their communities. And then we nominate local organizations,” Tenpenny says.

“I emphasize that it all comes back to our people,” she says. “When you have the right listening channels to understand what people need to hear from Starbucks … you’ll increasingly see us use our public-facing channels to make sure that we’re standing up for the things that we most care about.”

“Were you listening? It’s all about listening,” Tenpenny reiterates.

For Starbucks, listening begins at the interview phase. Hiring right-skilled, purpose-aligned partners is essential—as the 2018 Philadelphia racial profiling incident reminded Starbucks’s leadership and the world.

“We make sure that we’re taking care of our partners,” says Tenpenny, “so in turn, they can take care of the customers and the communities we serve.” Pretty simple recipe, but not easy to execute.

In hiring, Tenpenny says, “we really assess character. You can teach people just about anything. We have robust training systems to help people understand how to make that perfect cappuccino, but we’re also really looking to understand people’s personality and connection. Do they have that capacity to be able to really connect with someone?” Do they possess “that intention to deliver a meaningful experience?”

It helps that its diverse partners—69% women, 47% BIPOC—represent its customer base and the communities it serves, at least in the U.S.

It also tends, both informally through its culture, and formally through official programs, to hire younger people. “Starbucks is in a position where we can drive scaled impact. When we first launched our commitment to Opportunity for Youth … our goal was to show other businesses the value in hiring what was often an overlooked talent source”—the nearly 5 million 16 to 24-year-olds in the U.S. who are not working or in school. These young people face obstacles and are disconnected from the individuals, institutions, and experiences needed to help them succeed, the company says.

So, according to Tenpenny, “We launched a coalition called the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, which now has more than 50 members [including Alaska Airlines, Cintas, and Potbelly Sandwich Shop], companies who recognize you can reach into this overlooked talent pool that has immense value to offer, bring them in, and get them set up for success.” The coalition surpassed its initial goal of 100,000 youth hired within its first three years.

Just hiring young people is not enough. How are you supporting them? 70 percent of Starbucks partners are students or aspiring students, in part because the company offers through a collaboration with Arizona State University the opportunity for all partners to attend college at little personal cost. In its first five years, ending in 2019, the program had graduated 3,000 Starbucks partners with Bachelor’s degrees.

“Every day,” says Tenpenny, “I am reminded of the conviction, hope, and optimism of the younger generation. Generation Z, who’s emerging, they’re our partners,” Tenpenny says. “They’re our customers.” They share the company’s optimism and conviction. “They will only work for companies whose values align with theirs. They want to be at companies that will give them a platform so that they can show their values on and off the job. The younger generation gives me immense hope.”

Much of that hope lies in diversity. Starbucks hires by “removing barriers to opportunity for people,” says Tenpenny, “from refugees to veterans, military spouses, or people needing a second chance. And then we bring them into the family and we give them a sense of belonging. We give them the training and tools and resources, experiences, connections, and care to really help unlock their potential. And then we set them on their way, whether that’s after getting a four-year college degree debt-free with Arizona State here in the U.S., or in China, that’s providing healthcare benefits to our partners’ families, particularly the elders in their families, where they otherwise may not have had access to healthcare.”

“Mental health has been a huge challenge for anyone living through the past 14 months, and for many who are still struggling in different parts of the world,” Tenpenny says. So, the company launched a new mental health benefit called Lyra, which gives its U.S. partners and their eligible families broader access to customized mental health care—providing access to 20 sessions a year with a mental health therapist or coach, all at no cost to the participant.

“We also launched an expansion of our Care@Work benefits” through Care.com, Tenpenny reports. That program offers employees flexibility and choice—such as backup care for children and adults, senior care solutions—“so parents don’t have to choose.” “When employees have peace of mind that their loved ones are being properly cared for,” Care.com asserts, “productivity goes up. Absenteeism goes down. And top talent wants in.”

A diverse menu

“Recognizing there were so many stress points through the year, whether it’s health or mental health … and then you throw the racial equity crisis on top of that—we knew we had to be very explicit about our role, our commitment to create more racially equitable communities, and all the ways that we invested accordingly,” Tenpenny says.

Tenpenny recalls the highly publicized 2018 incident at one of its Philadelphia locations that led to daylong company-wide closures at 8,000 U.S. locations, for 175,000 team members to discuss racial bias. Such conversations are a necessity for transforming a company’s culture.

“That was an example of a crisis, an internal crisis,” Tenpenny says. “And that crisis gave us clarity about … the internal work that we had to do to ensure that we were truly living up to our commitment to create a welcoming space for all.” The company had to learn to walk its talk.

It conducted a full civil rights assessment. It invited external stakeholders “to really look at all of our practices, all of our policies, all of our results—and share that with the world: ‘Here’s where we are today. Here’s where we’re doing okay. And here’s where we have ongoing work to do.’”

In 2021, the company released its third civil rights assessment, which notes significant progress, and other places still ripe for improvement. Notably, Starbucks has reported 100 percent pay equity throughout its U.S. workforce. And when George Floyd was murdered by police in 2020, reinvigorating the BLM movement, the company’s DI&E efforts were already well underway. The urgency of 2020 “helped us, again, sharpen our tools.” Tenpenny says. Now, I think we’re on course to really be part of the Civil Rights 3.0 movement that I believe businesses, governments, all organizations will have a role in advancing.”

Coming in out of the cold

As the internal partners align with the company spirit, and the company exerts impact in communities, of course the customers, too, must co-create the culture of the brand.

That might be especially true at a company founded in part to provide safe and comfortable spaces that extend both customers’ homes and workplaces. “There’s a loneliness epidemic,” Tenpenny laments. “Over the years, it’s gotten worse. Our partners recognize that for some people coming through our door, that may be the only time they hear their name all day. And so, our partners understand that the attention they give to our customers, the connection that they make, it makes a meaningful difference in their lives. We know that’s part of why people continue to come back. We serve great coffee, great food. But at the end of the day, people come back because of that experience and the connection they have to our partners.”

Tenpenny drives home this point: “People come to Starbucks because they need an escape sometimes,” she says. “They need a sense of hope and a sense of optimism. And so, we really have to balance being true to our brand and delivering on that hope, that respite, that escape, that moment of connection, which maybe takes you out of the loneliness that you feel because of Covid or the trauma that’s happening all around us.”

In fact, Starbucks’s most loyal coffee drinkers (about 20 percent of its sales) visit the chain 16 times a month—or every other day. For millions, it really is a home away from home.

Purpose At Work: How Starbucks Scales Impact by Listening to all the Stakeholders in our Shared Future
Purpose At Work: How Starbucks Scales Impact by Listening to all the Stakeholders in our Shared … [+] PHOTO PROVIDED BY STARBUCKS
Brewing hope on a Venti scale

“We look across all of our resources and ask what we at Starbucks can do to ensure we’re consistently directing any resources we have to focus on problems for communities most in need,” Tenpenny says.

Community needs skyrocketed in 2020. But it was also a terrible year for many businesses—perhaps especially the restaurant business. Starbucks lost nearly a billion dollars because of Covid. Not only were thousands of stores temporarily shuttered during lockdowns, but consumer behavior shifted dramatically in some parts of the world, requiring a completely new business plan, still unfolding, which demands many locations close permanently.

But even throughout that lean time, Starbucks didn’t shirk in its efforts to Lead With We. It offered employees “catastrophe pay” for working during the 2020 lockdowns. The company also used the pandemic as an opportunity to reassess its community service, and, as Tenpenny puts it, “to channel despair into positive impact.”

For example, it learned that during 2020, food banks went from serving 37 million Americans to 54 million, Tenpenny says. “So, we’ve gone on to provide philanthropic support to food pantries across the country.” And because Starbucks also maintains a massive armada of commercial refrigerators, it offered space therein to local food banks to make up for capacity demands that outstripped their own resources—an example of creative collaboration during a crisis.

Through a six-year-old partnership with Feeding America, Starbucks was already feeding tens of millions of food insecure people with unused, nourishing “leftovers.” “At every store at the end of every day,” says Tenpenny, “there’s no food wasted. All of that food is recovered and delivered to food banks to ensure that it’s given to neighbors that need it.”

One ostensibly small community-minded project the company undertook during the pandemic was to honor first responders. “We decided one way we could take a stand and show up in an optimistic way was to offer them free coffee, to say, ‘Come in and let us give you a moment. Let us recognize you and the role that you’re having in the community right now,’ and ideally encourage other people to join,” Tenpenny recalls.

“When you’re faced with so much hardship, one way to escape that is by showing gratitude, is by giving and showing an element of generosity.” You get by giving.

When it comes to impact, “it’s not just what we say,” Tenpenny emphasizes. “We’re not just using our voice. We look at our hiring power, all the other things that we’re doing to show that we’re fully invested in taking a position on issues … We look at our supply chain and we know that through our purchasing power, we can have great positive impact, not just through focused efforts on supplier diversity and ensuring that we are invested in finding organizations who otherwise may have barriers to working with Starbucks.”

Barring no additional business interruptions, Starbucks is projecting a strong rebound in the next few years. Meantime, it stuck to its guns, and never wavered from its mission. “We have a mission statement that we’re all deeply tethered to. You create that psychological safety and an environment where people can explore and learn and evolve, and to me,” says Tenpenny, “that’s what I see as core leadership at Starbucks.”

The top ingredients of purpose

Starbucks has identified three key areas of focus that motivate all its capacity and drive all of its impact, according to Tenpenny. They can be scaled for your company too:

Inclusion and ensuring that we’re providing a strong sense of belonging, both for people who work for us, and those who come through our doors.
Opportunity, and all the ways we make sure that we’re removing barriers to entry and growth in the company. That could mean our farmers, for whom we’re providing agronomy techniques to maximize their yield and make sure they’re growing coffee in the most sustainable way, to our partners, where we try to really understand their educational and career aspirations, then ensuring we’re delivering access to programs so they can grow with us.
Communities, and recognizing there’s a mutual dependency between our success as a business and our communities thriving. It’s about getting in and understanding where we are uniquely positioned to have the most impact in our communities.
If you’d like to dive deeper with more purpose-led companies like Starbucks, check out the Lead with We podcast here, so that you too can build a company that transforms consumer behavior and our future.

Source:https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonmainwaring/2021/07/07/purpose-at-work-how-starbucks-scales-impact-by-listening-to-all-the-stakeholders-in-our-shared-future/?sh=6ada20df5bfc