How to deal with passive-aggressive behavior

Passive-aggressive behaviour is quite common and it most likely that you have worked or lived with someone who is a habitual passive aggressor. When you anticipate and prepare for passive-aggressive behaviour, it will not catch you off guard. You will know it is about to happen because you will have played out scenarios in your head to determine what your course of action will be. If you combat passive-aggressive behaviour with more passive aggressive behaviour, you’ll get nowhere.

Addressing the behaviour

Passive-aggressive behaviour needs to be addressed for it to stop. Often, it manifests out of a triggered ego. The key is to find a way to disarm the other person’s ego as well as your own.When dealing with a passive-aggressive individual, remember that whatever they are feeling is true to them. All feelings are okay. However, all behaviours are not.

Knowing your own personality type and those of others will help you to react in a more positive and insightful way when faced with unknown situations

For example, let’s say your boss is constantly critical of your work but never delivers any concrete feedback. They continually tell you what a bad job you’re doing but don’t tell you exactly how or why. This is passive-aggressive behaviour. As your supervisor, they should guide you to and help you to improve. Instead, they are harbouring ill feelings towards you. Maybe you remind them of someone in their past. Maybe there is something you do around the office that really annoys them. You may never know the real reason, but you should confront them about it. Instead of calling your boss out on their behaviour, talk with an even tone and request concrete feedback on your work. When we lower our own ego, we present ourselves as someone who wants to improve and do better. If we do not challenge the passive aggressive individual, but ask for guidance, their ego will begin to disarm. They will (in most cases) come back to their rational self.

The passive-aggressor within you

What if you are the passive-aggressor? What are some ways you can recognise the challenge and disarm your own ego? Passive-aggression bubbles to the surface when we feel we are in competition with someone. Perhaps we feel a colleague gets away with murder and is treated with great favouritism. Maybe it is because we bump heads with someone who has different viewpoints. The fundamental motivation is a sense of competition whether we realise it or not.

Triggers

Apart from competition, passive aggressive behaviours are also triggered by insecurity often brought about by misunderstandings. Maybe a colleague feels you don’t value their work or that you or are being overly critical or punitive. If you have to give feedback or advice, the key is do this gradually, so that the person on the receiving end stays engaged, rational, and attentive. As soon as a person goes into defensive mode, the rational mind will stop working and will not listen creating unnecessary stress and strain. Giving genuine compliments and starting on a positive note helps to dissipate the aggression and fight mode in your counterpart. It also helps them to feel secure and disarms the ego opening the stage for positive, construction conversations.

Passive-aggressive behaviour can also be triggered by fear of the unknown and feeling out of control. When people are faced with the unknown it often shakes their feelings of control. Response to the unknown is influenced by personality types. For example, judging types like to have things planned out. They don’t like to rush or do anything last minute. Meanwhile, perceiving types like to wing things and they trust everything will work out. Knowing your own personality type and those of others will help you to react in a more positive and insightful way when faced with unknown situations.

When there is a misunderstanding between two people, it may also lead to passive-aggressive behaviour. Maybe a colleague feels you don’t value their work or that you are being overly critical or punitive. If you must give feedback or advice, the key is do this gradually, so that the person on the receiving end stays engaged, rational, and attentive. As soon as a person goes into defensive mode, the rational mind will stop working and will not listen creating unnecessary stress and strain. Giving genuine compliments and starting on a positive note helps to dissipate the aggression and fight mode in your counterpart and disarms the ego opening the stage for positive, construction conversations.

Going forward

Now you have a better idea of where passive-aggression manifests from. It stems from insecurity, competition and a lack of control. The key is to recognise these triggers both in yourself and those around you. This takes time and effort and is a lifelong journey, but with practice and patience, you can succeed.

Source:https://www.trainingjournal.com/articles/features/how-deal-passive-aggressive-behaviour

From Workforce Management to Optimization: The Evolving Roles of HR and Operations

“The only constant in life is change” is arguably the understatement of the decade—and will continue to be all too true in the years to come.

The labor market has gone from one extreme to another—to another. In 2019, the U.S. unemployment rate was the lowest since 1969 at 3.5%, but a year later at the onset of the pandemic, the rate jumped to a whopping 14.7%. Now the U.S. and global economy are recovering faster than the rebound after the Great Recession, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
On top of losing jobs, the pandemic forced many workers to leave the workforce. With labor scarce, many businesses large and small have been struggling to recover. They’re coping with the unprecedented challenges by offering hiring incentives: increased base pay for new hires, flexibility for employees to set their own hours, and tuition subsidies. In the meantime, struggling businesses continue to limit their operating hours and stretch the staff they have on hand.
Adapting to change has always been accounted for in workforce management, but what hasn’t been accounted for is adapting to an accelerated pace of change.

And yet, there are companies that have been able to thrive, all the while facing the same challenges of enduring labor shortages and competition for talent. Among the most successful are those that have embraced workforce optimization.

How does that differ from workforce management? Most workforce management systems focus on tracking and counting—they’re basically static systems that struggle to adapt to an accelerated pace of change. Companies that looked to optimize their workforce, rather than just manage it, were able to quickly respond to shifts in the labor market and disruptions to the business. Their operations could rapidly shift their service delivery models, reassign workers to different roles, and manage their operations remotely.
Simply put, workforce optimization is the next evolution of workforce management. Operational leaders who embrace this transformation put their organizations in a position to navigate change and embrace new opportunities.
In this blog, we explore the evolution of workforce management into workforce optimization and its impact on how operational leaders execute their organization’s business strategy.
What Is Workforce Management, and How Is It Different From Workforce Optimization?
At a basic level, workforce management is about processes that maximize workforce performance and productivity. Workforce management tools tend to focus on employee scheduling, time tracking, and attendance management. Workforce management software sometimes includes tools that forecast the amount of staff resources needed to meet new demands on a business, such as a new project or seasonal traffic.
The role of workforce management is evolving alongside the shift in the fundamental nature of work.

Here’s another way to think about it: Workforce management focuses on outcomes that include efficiency and productivity.

But what happens in the event of unprecedented demands on the business?
That’s where workforce optimization enters the picture.
Workforce optimization is a strategy that focuses on agility, insights, and experience. Put another way, it’s the lever in how companies drive continuity and profitability through any type of change.
Executing a workforce optimization strategy combines the efficiency of automated workforce management with the flexibility of an agile, skills-based talent approach. Workforce optimization software is the integration of workforce management applications with HR and operations solutions—such as talent management, recruiting, benefits, compensation, skills management, employee experience, and planning and analytics.
Workforce management fits the needs of the business if the only requirements are to manage people and processes. However, since operational leaders are being tasked to do more, they’ll need a solution that enables them to function as business leaders who can align workforce operations with the company strategy. That’s why standard workforce management tools are no longer a fit in the new world of constant change. Instead, workforce optimization is how operational leaders help their companies to not just respond but actually thrive in rapidly changing environments.
What Is the Role of Workforce Management?
A shift in the fundamental nature of work and the acceleration of new technology continue to change how work gets done. As a result, the shift has transformed the value of workers in an organization. They’re no longer seen as an expense necessary to running the business. Instead, workers are seen as the company’s most valuable resource, the competitive advantage in how the work gets done. They’re contributing their knowledge and skills to the organization. They’re coming up with innovative ideas that impact the bottom line. They’re on the front lines providing positive customer experiences.
The role of workforce management is evolving alongside the shift in the fundamental nature of work, both headed toward taking a holistic approach to operational processes and employee productivity. That means the results or the output of employees, which tends to be an operational focus, is highly dependent on HR strategies for employee engagement, employee retention, and even the talent pipeline.
Obviously, static, siloed HR and workforce management systems can’t keep up with the continuous change. Managing a company’s most valuable resource requires operations and human resources to partner together. Their collective ability to address workforce challenges and opportunities is how the evolving role of workforce management supports the new world of work.
Here are seven areas where HR and operation leaders must collaborate to meet the demands of workforce management in a disruptive labor market:
Make every worker count and every worker feel counted. Employee engagement, which has historically been an HR responsibility, and employee productivity, which historically has been an operations metric, are both critical in demonstrating how employees contribute to the organization’s strategy and the company bottom line. The labor shortage and competition for workers have been fueled by the disconnect of these goals. Workers who aren’t feeling valued are leaving for other companies and even changing industries. Organizations need to optimize the productivity of every single worker and also make every worker feel like they matter. HR and operational leaders must share that two-part priority.

Create a foundation of shared data. Operations and HR need to be able to make decisions in real time and in changing business conditions, but that becomes nearly impossible when data isn’t accessible. All too often, the data needed to make critical operations decisions is spread across disparate systems that operational leaders and managers don’t have access to. Managers especially need to access data aligned to their flow of work because they’re optimizing their workforce as conditions change, even as frequently as day to day.

Emphasize operational agility. The changing business landscape affects not just how work gets done, but also how to respond to change. Both HR and operational leaders need agile technology so they can continuously recalibrate how they drive efficiency and productivity, whether that’s redeploying workers to different locations or roles, quickly adjusting schedules to respond to changing labor demand, or teeing up teams to support new business models.

Develop future-ready skills. Workforce management is more than predicting staffing needs. Operational leaders also need to assess if the skills of their workforce can meet the organization’s strategy, and if not, make plans to mitigate the skills gaps through upskilling in partnership with HR leaders. Skills-based hiring is helping to deepen the talent pool, improve retention, and build a culture of continuous learning. Both HR and operational leaders must work together to understand the skills that need to be redeployed to other parts of the business and the skills needed for the future.

Empower workers with a worker-first culture. The pandemic put the health and safety of employees top of mind. Companies shifted their employees to remote work or created alternate working arrangements to empower them to do their job in the face of change. That flexibility and increased self-sufficiency needs to continue in the new world of work, even in industries heavily dependent on hourly workers (such as hospitality, retail, or manufacturing) to meet business demand. Empowering workers with control over their scheduling—such as selecting their own hours, location, or roles—is critical in meeting the needs of employees and the demands of the business.

Leverage automation and artificial intelligence (AI). What was once thought of as leading-edge has now become mainstream to building operational agility and resiliency. Adoption of automation, machine learning, and AI boomed during the pandemic when companies adhered to social-distancing directives—meaning fewer workers on-site—yet needed to keep up with the surge in business demand. Moving forward, HR and operational leaders will need to continue to leverage these technologies in ways that will empower their workforce in the face of change.

Identify operational-impact metrics. The change in how work gets done is transforming how workforce management gets measured. Consider when the COVID-19 guidelines forced restaurants to close indoor dining and business shifted to curbside or drive-thru service. The new business model required operational leaders to quickly identify new performance indicators that could accurately assess productivity, forecast required staffing, and more. And so, operational managers and leaders need access to real-time productivity-related data, such as sales per hour and schedule optimization scores (measuring the quality of schedule in meeting labor demands and worker needs), and also metrics that measure the well-being of their teams. Combined with traditional HR metrics like employee retention, absenteeism, and even overtime—all potential indicators of employee burnout, and consequently, lost revenue—real-time productivity data can help leaders keep and grow their workforce.

Operations and HR will need to partner more strongly than before to overcome the static workforce management made for a world that no longer exists.
How Do You Optimize a Workforce?
Even though the need to optimize the workforce has largely been spurred by the pandemic, efficiency and agility are necessary no matter what comes next, whether the event is a global disruption or a new market opportunity.
But what was the difference between companies that navigated change and those that struggled? The difference lies in the details, or rather, visibility into the details. And those details are what help companies optimize their workforce:
Accuracy. Workforce optimization focuses on using real-time workforce data to enable operational leaders to make proactive decisions. According to the McKinsey report “Future of Retail Operations: Winning in a Digital Era,” taking a data-driven approach to labor scheduling and budgeting captures between 4% and 12% in cost savings.

Flexibility. Workforce optimization solutions leverage configurable business processes powered by flexible technology to support continuous change and agility. “Organizations that are able to optimize their scheduling processes reduce total payroll spend by more than 5% on average,” according to Nucleus Research.

Transparency. Insight into payroll, talent, finance, and workforce management data accelerates decision making. Consider this: According to McKinsey, “retailers that don’t proactively adapt to changing conditions could see their margins fall 200 to 400 basis points because of increased labor and fulfillment costs.”

Experience. Workforce optimization also takes into account creating engaging employer and manager experiences to improve productivity and retention, especially since retail and restaurant workers are quitting at record-high rates.

Optimizing a workforce is a journey, not a set-it-forget-it item on a to-do list, and looks different at every company.

Regardless of the particular needs of the business, all workforce optimization efforts start with administrative excellence. That means processes need to be automated and draw from a single source of HR data. With a digitized administrative foundation, operational leaders gain transparency into workforce metrics and costs, and can more easily adjust processes and workflows.
Teams deliver outperforming results when they’re optimized for doing exactly that—outperforming through agility and insight.

For example, during the pandemic, workforce management went beyond staff scheduling. At the onset of the pandemic, when its front-line workforce had to pivot in how they served credit union members, Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) created a time-entry code that designated additional hourly pay for employees working on-site at credit union branches. WSECU also created time-off benefits designated for COVID-19 testing or quarantine. All new benefits and procedures were created quickly in Workday and ready in an afternoon.

Once organizations have that administrative foundation in place, optimizing a workforce requires processes that can flex and adjust in the face of change. Operational agility helps organizations gain deeper insights, such as an understanding of the workers’ skills, a deeper grasp of labor costs, and the ability to automate more processes and decision making.
That’s what happened to Land O’Lakes, an agricultural cooperative based in Minnesota. Like many companies at the onset of the pandemic, Land O’Lakes had no idea about the scale of disruption the crisis would cause. But because the cooperative had already begun to rethink its workforce optimization strategy, it was able to respond and adapt to the pandemic with speed and agility. As a result, Land O’Lakes was able to adjust aspects of its business model, gain insight into the workplace preferences of its employees, and manage COVID-19 tracking.
From there, companies are fully equipped to achieve workforce optimization. Powered by administrative excellence and operational agility in their systems, companies forge a new path in driving workforce value:
Attrition, hiring, and onboarding have been treated as a cost of doing a business. But workforce optimization demonstrates how attracting, retaining, and upskilling maximizes investment in employees.

Instead of being a commodity and cost center to the business, workers become engaged, skilled contributors who impact business outcomes like profitability, revenue, and productivity.

Companies gain a clear understanding of a worker’s capacity, contribution, and growth potential beyond a job profile. And those insights help in creating a flexible, fluid workforce that meets the current and future needs of the business.

Companies that were able to adapt and thrive amid the drastic change were already embracing the tools and the journey of workforce optimization. Teams deliver outperforming results when they’re optimized for doing exactly that—outperforming through agility and insight.

Source:https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=20426160&article-title=from-workforce-management-to-optimization–the-evolving-roles-of-hr-and-operations&blog-domain=workday.com&blog-title=workday

How the pandemic has boosted HR’s credentials – and how the profession can capitalist

As a company that helps other organisations with their business continuity plans, International SOS was ahead of the curve when the pandemic began to bite in March 2020. It had an assistance centre set up to support clients with health and security issues in such crises, and was well drilled in crisis management. “There was pressure on us to handle this well in the eyes of our clients, at the same time as there was increased demand on our services,” remembers Peter Jenkins, general manager for Northern Europe. “We’d run crisis scenarios before, even pandemic planning, where we took half the team out of the centre and sent half home. But technical challenges and issues with client security meant this wasn’t viable.”

One of the first actions Jenkins took was to place Ben Dale, the region’s HR director, in charge of the business continuity team. They made the difficult decision to send everyone but the assistance centre staff to work from home in late February, meaning core operations could continue securely. “I asked HR to lead on this because this was very much a people issue. We could have had our medical advisors, a myriad of people in charge, but with something as emotional and individually threatening as a pandemic, our number one priority was to look after our people in the most appropriate way,” he adds. “HR was the appropriate place to sit this, with strong counsel.” Throughout the months that followed, Dale’s team adapted policies, communicated with teams working on site and at home, and began preparing for an eventual return to the office. Jenkins has seen HR in a different light. “They are far more visible and present to me. Maybe two years ago they were a great support on policy and employee issues, more of a tactical advisor,” he says. “But now Ben and his team have a much stronger input.”

Stories showing the value of HR abound since March 2020, when a function that some perceived as the payroll gatekeeper or policy manager was thrust into the limelight almost overnight. An editorial in The Economist at the time declared that “never before have more firms needed a hard-headed HR boss”. The weeks that followed saw HR professionals move entire workforces to home offices in a matter of days, get to grips with an ever-changing furlough system and make sure that employees who needed to work on the front line were physically and mentally safe. Speaking at the annual conference for the Public Services People Managers’ Association (PPMA) in September, Coventry City Council’s chief executive Martin Reeves reflected that “there was no rulebook” for HR teams: “These were unique circumstances; we relied on the guile and brilliance of our people managers to see us through. It was acute and chronic at the same time, dealing with the here and now but with one eye on the medium- to long-term impact of what was happening.”

The profession itself feels it has had a reputation boost. A survey by software company Sage found that almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of leaders felt the value of their role increased, while 54 per cent of employees said they had a better understanding of HR’s role and value to the organisation. Among CEOs, 59 per cent said they understood the value of HR better than before the pandemic. But this challenging period is not over yet, and the next few months could prove decisive as to whether HR can cement those gains. Jessica Fuhl, author of Sage’s research, argues that there is still work to do. “HR was front and centre… employees and the C-suite recognised that – and valued it,” she says. “However, that was during the ‘firefighting’ phase. To maintain its newly valuable position in the eyes of the C-suite, people leaders must use this groundswell of influence and support to build on this and move forward to the strategic horizon scanning phase.” The coming months will offer multiple opportunities to do so, adds Fuhl, whether that’s in embracing automation to free up time and resources, how HR puts wellbeing at the heart of employee experience, progress on diversity and inclusion and making the most of workforce data.

“You could argue that the early days of the crisis were easier to manage because there were fewer options on the table,” says David Collings, professor of human resources management at Dublin City University. “With the return to the office, we’re starting from a new baseline. HR has to manage expectations about what the return to work means, what the purpose of the workplace is and what is better done in the office than remotely. The future is much more complex than the past.” In the early months of the pandemic, Collings’s team collaborated with the University of South Carolina to track 50 chief human resources officers and their responses to the Covid crisis. They were asked a series of questions on their priorities, their learnings and their interaction with their executive teams. “What became clear in many ways was – just like the financial crisis brought chief financial officers to the fore, and Y2K was all about CIOs – this was a people crisis,” he adds. “Decisions were often being made without data or experience early on in the pandemic, and values tended to inform the executive leadership team in their decision making. CHROs were helping CEOs think through what the organisation’s values meant in terms of key decisions.” This was a shift compared with how that relationship might have played out before, says Collings. “In the past, HR might have been reluctant to go to leadership and say ‘we don’t have all the answers’ or ‘we need to revise a decision’. But during the pandemic we’ve seen a willingness and humility from leaders to listen – when they’re forced to make difficult decisions, that’s when you really see what an organisation stands for.”

Paul Boustead, director of people and organisational effectiveness at Lancaster University, felt this keenly. “What I’ve observed over the past year is an exponential shift from using the terminology of ‘HR’ to ‘people’, ‘organisational effectiveness’ and ‘culture’,” he explains. “I have more strategic conversations with my executive team than ever. This was happening before, but has been accelerated by the pandemic.” Like many HR professionals, Boustead faced an onslaught of policies that needed to be revised and questions that required answers. “Universities are communities, so it wasn’t just about employees’ mental health but also keeping students and visitors safe. HR had to play a role in that community and could not think in a siloed way.” An unexpected positive was an improvement in negotiations with the three trade unions on site: Unite, UCU and Unison. “They were conflicted in many ways because they had their safety hats on as we were thinking about returning to campus, but could also see the benefits of delivering learning face to face,” he says. “But because we could meet virtually, rather than trying to get everyone in a room, those negotiations happened quickly and we were able to move forward.” Boustead has also seen HR’s standing elevated outside of his own campus, where his team has been invited to discussions with the Home Office on how academic visas might work and approached to inform guidance from the Department for Education. “Years ago, they would have gone straight to the vice-chancellor,” he adds.

At animation studio Jellyfish Pictures, the past 18 months have shown the sheer breadth of the HR director role. So much so that Sarah Tanner was promoted from her HRD role to operations director, having supported the company to not only relocate a workforce where 40 per cent of employees come from Europe, but also hire around 250 new people over the course of nine months. “We very quickly had to react and make sure people weren’t panicking,” she says. “We employ a lot of Italians and couldn’t continue if people weren’t feeling safe, so we had to think about how we adapted, changed working hours and got people home.”

The company began moving employees to remote working, supporting many to return to their home country, three or four weeks before official lockdown was announced in England to make sure the studio technology would work remotely. Tanner was heavily involved in communications, wellbeing and logistics, as well as ensuring managers were checking in with employees and responding to questions on government guidance. Both her old and new roles have a seat on the board, she adds. “I’ve always wanted to know how the whole company works, what the implications of certain actions are – the move into the operations role is a reflection of what my job is, it’s much bigger than ‘just HR’. That said, it’s a reflection of what the people function can do – you can’t have one without the other, there’s too much of a hard stop.”

Of course, the dramatic shift to working from home or protecting employees on the front line was not only driven by HR. The very nature of the pandemic required a team effort, and HR was often at the forefront of that cross-functional collaboration. “The two main functions driving things for me were my chief people officer and my CIO. The two of them made all of this happen,” says John Petter, CEO of payroll software company Zellis. The technology team ensured everyone was connected to company systems, while HR drove communications with colleagues, such as weekly all-hands calls and inviting employees to share any concerns about juggling home schooling or feeling burnt out from time on Zoom. But one of CPO Caroline Drake’s most pressing jobs during the crisis has been to support Petter in his own decisions. He adds: “She has an important role in coaching me, and she gives me totally honest advice, even if it’s not always what I want to hear. When we were communicating with colleagues, her coaching was key to ensuring what we were saying would resonate with people.” This role will only grow in stature in the future, Petter believes. “So many companies have seen the importance of having a strategic plan for their people through this. This is unlikely to be the last pandemic in my lifetime, so we’re thinking about what our learnings are from this and developing a strategic plan around developing our hybrid workforce, how work is globalised and such – and the HR function is inevitably at the centre of those debates.”

But how can HR harness this boost in its reputation? While restrictions may have been lifted and employees are tentatively returning to offices, the road ahead is likely to be bumpy. Skills shortages in sectors such as logistics and hospitality have the potential to derail workforce planning strategies, nobody truly knows how hybrid working is going to pan out and some labour analysts predict a “great resignation” as some workers face a revelation that they’d rather work elsewhere. Furthermore, a winter illness peak could resurface many of the tricky issues companies faced at the start of the pandemic. “The past 18 months put the profession in the spotlight and onto the front line, and people have begun to understand more about how difficult the role can be,” says David D’Souza, membership director at the CIPD. “We’ve seen organisations try different things, learn at pace, and recognise that change is possible. The profession has been at the forefront of organisations finding ways to flourish. But now we need to understand the enormity of what’s been delivered, and keep those cross-functional relationships we created open and those conversations alive.” Over the coming months and years, the people profession has an opportunity to continue to showcase both its technical expertise and its ability to help organisations change to meet the challenges they face, he adds. “We’ve built up a lot of credit in the bank, and we need to be careful how we spend it.”

Angela O’Connor, founder of consultancy the HR Lounge, advises caution in the short term at least. “There’s real pressure on HR to make these big decisions on working patterns and such and we can’t make these immediately. It’s time for HR leaders to hold their nerve and push back, which takes real courage,” she says. Many teams will be under pressure to develop firm policies on hybrid working when a more bespoke, employee-led approach is likely to work better, she adds. “HR departments that are used to running things as a ‘one size fits all’ operation will find this hard. They won’t be set up to do this and their culture may not be supportive. In many ways, this period is harder than the start, and this is when we’ll see real leadership from the HR profession.”

Collings also predicts that the coming months will see HR inject balance into a complicated debate and become advocates for the workforce. He explains: “HR can give voice to employees’ concerns, addressing the risks if we see cohorts of people at the top of the organisation coming into the office at the disadvantage of those who are mainly at home, for example.”

Another area where HR can make a difference in the longer term is in addressing inequalities. The pandemic shone a light on inequalities at work: women were more likely to shoulder the burden of childcare or be in low-paid, part-time work, while a parliamentary committee last month slammed the Department for Work and Pensions for not fully considering the impact of its pandemic policies on people from ethnic minorities. Gary Rees, head of organisation studies and human resource management at Portsmouth Business School, believes this has made employers and employees alike reassess what is important. “We don’t talk about wellbeing as something tangential now, for example. Line managers are talking more to staff and seeing that how we work and our health are all connected,” he says. “But people have long memories and you need to treat them fairly. Employees will have seen how companies operate in the worst of times as a reflection of what they’re really like. Those with strong employer branding, retention and engagement will ride the storm well.”

Rees believes the pandemic has made employees see their managers in a new light, and one of HR’s roles going forward will be helping them to survive the challenges of new ways of working. “HR’s involvement at grassroots level was completely overturned [during Covid],” he adds. “Tremors that were beginning to emerge before the crisis – the impact of artificial intelligence on jobs, the idea that people can follow multiple careers in a lifetime – these have all been brought forward. HR needs to ensure line managers understand that we need to fit the job to the person and not vice versa. More money will only be a sticking plaster because employees will need a good psychological contract or to perceive that they’re treated well,” Rees says. This will extend to the role of businesses in society more broadly, he adds, as workforces make ever greater demands on their employers to stand by their environmental, social and governance promises.

Sabby Gill, who joined assessment company Thomas International six months into the pandemic as its new CEO, argues that HR will bridge the gap between the ‘normal’ we knew before and how we emerge. “When I joined the company, my HR director was the first person I called in the morning and the last one at night,” he says. “We’re putting people through something they’ve never experienced, and what we can’t do is expect everything to be back to normal.” Gill will continue to rely on his HR team, not just in setting new ground rules and policies, but in ensuring employees’ mental welfare and understanding that everyone’s personal situation is different. “Every decision I make as a CEO has to take into account we’re a people business and we need to harness the lessons we’ve learnt,” he adds. “But as leaders we’ve also got to allow HR to take that credit – we need to give credit where it’s due.”

“In HR you have to put your ego aside”
Marine Fournier, head of HR at Powell Software, joined the company days before the pandemic began, in February 2020. She was already tasked with splitting out the HR function after a funding round when the world was suddenly thrust into lockdown.

“At the time we were around 45 people and now we have more than 90,” she says. “Our first message going into this was one of care, and as a digital company we had an advantage from a practical perspective. But the timings of lockdown announcements varied in different countries so in some ways we were operating blind.”

A new intranet helped HR to communicate as the early days turned into weeks of working from home. When the second wave happened, the foundations were in place.

“This time we’d had the chance to prepare,” she adds. “We’d learned to communicate differently, we’d done a lot of education around synchronous versus asynchronous working. The culture was no longer about going to work, but about delivering work.”

Fournier and her team have since consulted with employees on future working patterns and contracts. HR has garnered recognition from other functions more than before, she believes. “On the business side, the mission is simple – you hit your targets. In HR, you have to put your ego aside for the success of the business or you won’t survive.”

Source:https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/long-reads/articles/how-pandemic-boosted-hr-credentials-how-profession-capitalise

Why You Don’t Need to Be an Expert in Your Field to Start a Billion-Dollar Company

At the Inc. 5000 Vision Conference on Wednesday, Naveen Jain, the serial founder of businesses including internet company InfoSpace and gut health startup Viome, shared his tips for identifying a new startup idea and developing it. In the conversation, moderated by Eric Schurenberg, CEO of Inc.’s parent company Mansueto Ventures, Jain offered some rather counterintuitive insight. He started seven companies in industries ranging from health care to aerospace and attributes his success in part to the fact that he knew nothing about those fields beforehand.

Jain also discussed how to identify a problem and turn it into a business idea, and gave advice for entrepreneurs on how to push through challenges. Here are the biggest takeaways from the event.

To really change an industry, you have to come up with unique solutions. To do that, you have to start asking different questions–and thus identify new problems. Experts can’t do that, Jain says, because they’re already bought into an industry’s foundational assumptions. “Once you become an expert in an industry … you become an incrementalist,” he says. “It takes a disrupter, someone from outside the industry looking in.”

Still, you want to be realistic about the capabilities of the science available to you, he says. Rather than face a Theranos-type situation, companies should focus on transparency. Jain says he tries to achieve that at Viome by being honest with customers and regularly publishing peer-reviewed research.

Check the scale, and then break it down
Once you identify your problem, Jain says, ask yourself if the idea could help a billion people. If so, keep going. “You can create a $500 billion company … if you’re helping a lot of people somehow improve their lives,” he says.

But don’t focus on the “how” at this stage. Jain’s latest problem was figuring out how to cure chronic diseases and illnesses. So he broke that down, from curing disease to digitizing and obtaining data about the human body, to studying genes–and finally learning about research that connects the gut microbiome to conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and depression.

Now, Jain had a manageable sub-problem: creating a company that would research the human body’s gut microbiome and develop solutions based on its findings. The company has done that successfully so far, with $80 million in total funding as of April, according to GeekWire.

Reframe your failures
Despite Jain’s string of notable startups, he was actually fired from his first company, InfoSpace, in 2002. Employees had complained they were fed false promises about stock options, and Jain and InfoSpace ended up in a jumble of lawsuits.

When it comes to career ups and downs, Jain’s solution is to reframe them. You have to decide that everything that has happened is ultimately for your benefit, and that everything you’ve experienced has made you who you are. So if you love who you are, it’s hard to think of things that have happened to you as bad, he says.

Try to approach your startup ideas like this, too. No great company finds success with the exact same idea it started out with. “Entrepreneurs only fail when they give up,” he says. “Everything else is a pivot.”

Source :https://www.inc.com/gabrielle-bienasz/naveen-jain-viome-startup-development.html

Start Stopping Faster

Business executives could learn a lot from cheetahs, Earth’s most agile land animals. Though their ancestors ran only about 20 miles per hour, today’s cats can accelerate from zero to 60 within three seconds—faster than a Corvette Twin Turbo or a Ferrari Enzo. But speed alone is not what makes cheetahs such awesome hunters. Computer models show that the best predictor of a successful hunt is not a cheetah’s top speed; rather, it’s how fast it stops and turns.

There is an important parallel to the executive hunt for innovations. Whether they are developing new products, processes, or overhauling old ways of doing business, it’s not enough that organizations pursue new ideas faster. Unless they develop new muscles for skillfully decelerating and adapting to unexpected twists and turns, they are likely to come up empty-handed. It’s one of the most common laments of executives struggling to increase their organization’s adaptability: “We are terrible at stopping work, even when it’s obvious that the work is a complete waste of time and money.” This is as true for existing business lines and processes that live on budget season after budget season zombie-like as it is for a once-bright new idea that simply isn’t panning out.

The cost of this problem is higher than managers imagine. Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini estimate the cost of bureaucratic waste has hit $10 trillion and is growing. Between 70% and 90% of innovations fail, and healthy operations grow weaker every day that they must subsidize foundering projects kept alive by political inertia rather than potential payoff. When power is determined by the amount of resources controlled, as it so often is in business, admitting failure and surrendering resources is rare.

Since stopping things is so very hard, executives make starting them even harder, dampening innovation. They raise investment hurdle rates, demand more detailed analyses, and add layers of scrutiny. Sadly, these actions don’t improve decisions so much as damage speed to market and competitive positioning. Failures mount. Eventually, the horde of failing projects grows too large to ignore. Managers cull some large percentage of their people, traumatize the organization, and launch the doom loop all over again.

There is another way. Organizations can evolve and by focusing on three specific things, they can improve their own agility and start stopping things faster.

  1. Make more decisions reversible.

While researching our book Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos, we learned from former Amazon executive Jason Goldberger that in order to accelerate innovation, founder Jeff Bezos purposefully encourages executives to make decisions reversible, which ensures that a company won’t have to live with bad consequences for very long. It thwarts risk aversion and accelerates experimentation.

“If you tell people to innovate without making mistakes, you will kill innovation,” Goldberger explains. “But if you tell people to innovate and not worry about mistakes that are quickly reversible, you free them to test and learn in more agile ways.”

Unfortunately, not many companies run this way. Far too many investment proposals plan for premature and irreversible scaling. They call for large upfront investments, and predict delayed, hockey-stick-shaped revenues and profits. When revenue and profit fail to materialize, it seems too late to stop. The payoff must be just around the corner. “Why, we would be crazy to stop now,” executives tell themselves. And so, throwing good money after bad drags on.

One way to break this habit is to run the business the way a savvy venture capitalist invests. Recognize business plans for what they really are: business experiments. Break large, risky gambles into a series of smaller, smarter tests. Clarify the hypotheses, the best ways to test them, and the metrics that will signal whether to persist, pivot, or pause. Avoid premature scaling—hiring too many people, building too much capacity, doing too much marketing—before key assumptions have been validated. Match costs to revenues. Start by confining experiments to affordable, adaptable, and reversible microcosms of the ultimate solution by limiting geographies, customer segments, or product lines. (You can read more on how to experiment effectively, in this HBR article by Stefan Thomke and Jim Manzi.)

Look at DoorDash, the door-to-door delivery company. Recently DoorDash has ridden a Covid-19 surge in demand, but back in 2013, when it began raising what would eventually become a total of $2.5 billion, venture capitalists didn’t just back up a Brink’s truck of money to the startup. The risks were too high, and such a move would have limited investors’ ability to spur strategic change when necessary. Instead, venture capitalists phased in their investment over 11 rounds of funding.

In the 2016 round, when questions about the viability of its strategy reportedly led to its shares selling at a lower price than earlier rounds, the company made important changes. DoorDash added new services for restaurants and adjusted pay for drivers. Market share increased, as have subsequent valuations.

DoorDash is still not profitable, and its ultimate success is far from guaranteed. But its venture backers have clear and frequent opportunities to change how they invest and influence company direction. Investors can decelerate, pivot, and stop.

Some corporations are already applying this model. Executives review new projects and existing business lines quarterly, utilize fast feedback loops, create rough prototypes, and rely on objective metrics to test key hypotheses. All this makes it possible to more dynamically adjust plans and allocate resources.

  1. Make work more visible.

It’s hard to improve or stop unproductive work if you can’t see what work is being done and how well it’s going. Too many companies are flying blind.

Executives can inspect physical facilities and assess whether to refurbish or bulldoze them. They can see inventories piling up and decide whether to finish them or write them off. The intangible work of most technology, marketing, and other departments, however, is often invisible to leadership teams.

Increasing visibility is good for everyone. It helps senior executives uncover valuable initiatives, recognize the people pushing them, and accelerate their progress. It allows employees to see projects related to their own jobs, learn from them, and identify where their expertise could solve perplexing problems or save time and money. It makes it easier for everyone to identify duplicative work and triggers discussions about whether overlapping teams should collaborate or compete. It helps teams working on interdependent steps coordinate and minimize delays.

Imagine a system that enables authorized employees to see all work streams, who is on each team, what else they are working on, and how the work is progressing. Imagine tagging the work of each team with descriptors such as strategic priority, targeted customers, expected economic value, and progress against plans. Perhaps employees could even express how confident they are in each team’s success. These systems actually exist—project and portfolio management software, objectives and key results trackers, talent management systems, and workforce analytics—and they are getting better.

  1. Overpower fear.

They say the first rule of daredevil airplane wing-walking is: “Don’t let go of what you’ve got until you get hold of something better.” Astute leaders realize that fearful workers will cling to the current work no matter how unproductive. They do several things to overcome that fear. One we’ve already discussed: They reduce the cost of stopping projects (e.g., by conducting experiments).

Another way is to reward people who learn valuable lessons by taking prudent risks, even if the immediate outcome was disappointing. In some cases, this may mean keeping the bold objective but adapting the approach as conditions or capabilities change. When Bezos wanted to enable third-party sellers to sell new or used products on Amazon, the company initially failed: The 1999 launches of Amazon Auctions and zShops both fizzled. But Amazon Marketplace, launched soon after, was a success. It now accounts for more than half of all units sold by the company.

Finally, giving people more opportunities if their current project fails reduces the likelihood that they’ll stick with a bad idea longer than they should. Successful companies build a strong and visible backlog of compelling opportunities. They make it clear that until existing projects that aren’t panning out have stopped, new initiatives can’t be launched. And they redeploy people from the former to the latter as a matter of policy and offer training to ease the transition. In time, the fear of missing out on something better starts to overpower the fear of loss.

In a world of increasingly unpredictable change—where opportunities are constantly zigging and zagging like spry gazelles—running at higher speeds is not enough. Businesses must evolve to match their acceleration muscle with faster stopping and turning skills. As they do, their hunt for growth will grow more fruitful, their competitive capabilities will strengthen, and their position in the food chain will climb.

Source:https://www.bain.com/insights/start-stopping-faster-hbr/

Decoding Global Reskilling and Career Paths

More than two-thirds of workers globally are willing to retrain for new jobs, an attitude that may set the stage for vast workplace changes after the pandemic ends. The interest in switching careers is tied to both the disruptions of COVID-19 and the threat of technological change, which many workers believe is accelerating.

While willingness to retrain is not limited to particular industries or job types, it is highest among those who have lost the most income during the pandemic. Thirty-six percent of all workers globally have been laid off or forced to work fewer hours during the COVID-19 crisis, according to a study by BCG and The Network. Those in travel and tourism, in arts and creative roles, and in media have suffered income losses at the highest rates.

The insights into people’s retraining willingness, and the detailed picture of the jobs and industries most affected by the pandemic, are the latest findings to emerge from BCG and The Network’s study of 209,000 people in 190 countries. The two previous reports in the series focused on declining levels of worker mobility and the likelihood that work-from-home models will continue. The survey was designed to identify workplace changes precipitated by, but likely to outlast, the COVID-19 crisis.

The job uncertainty touch

ed off by the pandemic comes at a time when workers in just about every field and every geography already have some level of concern about being replaced by technology. Forty-one percent of workers globally are more concerned about automation now than they were before the pandemic, according to the study. The perception of a technology-based threat is highest in parts of Asia and lowest in Europe. Different worker protections in those geographies partly explain the difference.

When looking at job roles, the study shows that there is considerable realism in people’s attitudes about retraining. In the job roles that face the most risk of technology replacement—and that have endured the most disruption during the pandemic—retraining willingness exceeds 70%. This is the percentage of retraining willingness among service-sector workers, customer service people, and salespeople. Those in job roles seen as less vulnerable—science and research, health and medicine, and social work—generally aren’t as willing to retrain.

Arts and creative work is the one job category where there seems to be a disconnect between perceived risk and a willingness to retrain. Even in these fields, though, retraining willingness exceeds 50%.

As people think about retraining, an important question is which new careers they would embrace. Digital and information technology top the list of potential next careers, probably because of the expanding opportunities in those areas and the generally high remuneration. Office and management jobs (like consulting, marketing, and HR) also get attention, possibly because of the perceived ease of the transition into those jobs for a variety of workers.

Generally, the new fields that people say they would consider have similarities to their current jobs. That partly explains the interest that manufacturing workers have in engineering jobs, for instance, and the interest that media workers have in marketing.

Workers are already taking steps to upgrade their skills. About two-thirds of them spent a few weeks or more on skill building in the last year. Almost half of those learning new skills used an online educational institution (such as a MOOC, or massive open online course); 36% used a mobile app.

Download the full report to see where the income effects have been highest during COVID-19, to get a sense of which workers are most concerned about automation, and to understand more about people’s learning preferences and attitudes about new careers.

Source:https://www.bcg.com/en-in/publications/2021/decoding-global-trends-reskilling-career-paths

Understanding the Process of Change

Change is a process involving five stages: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.
The needs of an individual in one stage of change are different from the needs of an individual in another stage.
Recycling through stages is the rule rather than the exception.
It’s imperative to recognize and celebrate progression through the stages rather than waiting until maintenance is achieved.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if change happened in an instant? Wouldn’t it be great to wake up in the morning and think: “I want to start eating better.” And then we do. Or decide, “I am going to stop smoking” and never pick up another cigarette?

But we all know that’s not how change works. It isn’t a one-time event or singular action—instead, it is a process. And the more we understand about the process of change, the more we can empathize, support, and demonstrate compassion for ourselves and those around us who seek to alter their behavior. What is the process of change?

The Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change

The Transtheoretical Model (TTM), also commonly referred to as the Stages of Change Model, provides us with an understanding of how change occurs (Prochaska et al., 1992). Developed in the early ’80s out of research with former smokers, Prochaska and DiClemente found that individuals who successfully make changes go through a series of stages over time (Prochaska & DiClemente, 2005). In contrast to the assumption that change begins with behavior modification, Prochaska and DiClemente discovered several stages prior to taking action.

The Five Stages of Change

The first stage of the change process is marked by a lack of awareness of a problem. This stage, known as pre-contemplation, is when individuals fail to see their behavior as an issue. Others in their life may be telling them they need change, but they do not agree and have no intention of making a change in the next six months. A person in pre-contemplation may say, “It’s not my drinking that needs to change, it’s my job that is causing all my problems.” Pre-contemplation is a common starting place for many who embark upon the journey of change.

The second stage of change, contemplation, is when an individual becomes aware of the problem, but is ambivalent about making a change. They perceive the pros and cons of changing as approximately equal and thus have not committed to change. They may be considering making a change in the next six months, but currently are not ready to act. A person in contemplation may say, “I know I need to eat better, but it’s so expensive to buy fruit and vegetables. I don’t know how I would make it work.” The contemplation stage is marked by ambivalence and people can get stuck in this stage for months or years.

The third stage of change, preparation, is characterized by making a commitment to change. The individual intends to take action within the next month and may already be making small changes (e.g., reducing their pornography use). A person in preparation may say, “I’m ready to stop smoking. I’ve already purchased a nicotine patch and haven’t bought any more cigarettes.” Individuals in preparation are on the brink of taking action.

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After the preparation stage comes action, in which individuals modify their problem behavior and make the change. In this stage, there is a strong commitment to change, and the change is intentional (i.e., self-directed) rather than imposed by others or the environment. A person in action may say, “I did it. I filled my prescription for Depakote and I have been taking it consistently for the past week.” The action stage lasts for approximately six months as the new behavior modifications are solidified.

Finally, the fifth stage of change is maintenance, in which individuals sustain their behavioral change indefinitely. During this stage, the focus is on avoiding relapse and fully integrating the behavioral change into their lives. A person in maintenance may say, “It’s been almost a year since I last used cocaine. I’ve learned how to control cravings and find support when I need it.” In maintenance, individuals learn to sustain their behavior change through various seasons of life.

The Process of Change as a Spiral

Although the five stages of change sound like a natural forward progression, this often is not the case. Anyone who has made a New Year’s Resolution that lasted until February knows that relapse (or the return to prior behavior patterns) is the rule rather than the exception. The TTM recognizes that recycling through stages is likely before individuals reach sustained maintenance (DiClemente, 2015), thus the change process is better understood as a spiral rather than a straight line.

In addition, individuals can spend varying amounts of time in each stage, thus the process of change looks different for different people (Prochaska & DiClemente, 2005). When conceptualizing change as a process, the goal is for an individual is to move from whatever stage they currently find themselves in (e.g., contemplation) to the next stage (e.g., preparation). In this way, people can acknowledge and affirm the small steps leading up to change (e.g., moving from one stage to the next), rather than waiting for the maintenance stage to celebrate.

Meeting People Where They Are

The genius of the TTM is the acknowledgment that people in one stage of change are addressing different tasks than those in another stage (Prochaska & DiClemente, 2005). For example, a person in pre-contemplation benefits from gaining insight, information, and feedback to raise awareness about their problem behavior, while a person in contemplation benefits from exploring the impact of their behavior on others, examining their emotions, and working through ambivalence. The person in preparation benefits from creating an action plan and troubleshooting, while a person in action benefits from restructuring their environment to avoid triggers and implementing replacement behaviors. Finally, a person in maintenance benefits from relapse prevention strategies and increasing overall wellness (Prochaska & DiClemente, 2005).

As we learn to conceptualize change as a process, we can identify an individual’s current stage of change, meet them where they are, and help them attend to their current needs. Reaching sustained behavioral change is a journey and the more we know about the process, the more we can support one another along the way.

Source:https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/understanding-addiction/202110/understanding-the-process-change

The World’s Most Talent Competitive Countries, 2021

The pandemic revealed strengths and weaknesses in how nations develop and retain talent.

As Covid swept across the world, nations had very different responses to how their economies should continue to function. Some tethered workers to their employers with furlough programmes; others hoped for the best. How governments responded (or didn’t) had an enormous impact on their citizens’ physical and economic health. And, of course, talent competitiveness is one of many areas that felt the immediate and sudden change.

Covid generated a series of shockwaves across the global talent landscape. Naturally, the international mobility of talents has been redefined by the pandemic. New parameters emerged about when and where employees could work. Online tools opened new doors to better work-life balance and to working from anywhere, while new inequalities surfaced between those who were able to work online and essential workers, those who had to be physically present in the workplace. Individuals are now rethinking their careers, their location choices and the ways in which they prefer working.

“Talent Competitiveness in the Time of Covid” is the theme of this year’s Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI). Decision makers need quantitative tools to benchmark talent management and talent competitiveness efforts across different socioeconomic environments. The GTCI addresses this challenge by providing a composite view of talent competitiveness applicable to 134 countries this year.

While it is certainly too early to fully assess the effects of the pandemic on the global talent landscape, evidence from this year’s GTCI shows that such effects have been deep and will reverberate for a decade.

Stability at the top

The top 20 countries in this year’s rankings are high-income economies that perform well across both the input (like education) and output (like employability) pillars of the GTCI model. The adoption of collaborative tools had begun pre-Covid in these leading nations.

This year sees stability at the top of the rankings once again. Switzerland (1) leads the pack for the eighth time, with impressive performance in nearly all aspects of talent competitiveness. It is followed by Singapore (2), excelling once again in many areas bar its ability to retain talent. The United States (3) leads the world in talent growth, especially when measuring lifelong learning.

Denmark (4) is strongest in talent impact, with a high degree of entrepreneurship and innovation. The only country that performs very well in all the GTCI pillars is Sweden (5), with its lowest performance in employability. The open labour landscape and growth opportunity access help the Netherlands (6) to enable and grow talent.

Finland (7) is outstanding in its matching of workers’ education and skills with the needs of the economy. Tiny Luxembourg (8) is the global best in external openness. An impressive social welfare system and a high level of personal rights and safety boost Norway (9). Iceland (10) has the world’s foremost talent pool of global knowledge skills.

Europe continues to dominate the top of the GTCI rankings, with France (19) entering the top 20 for the first time. Australia (11), Canada (13), New Zealand (15) and Japan (20) remain near the top of the list, as in previous years.

Rising nations

Pandemic-caused disruptions in schooling have created a significant and worrying dent in the path of many poorer regions to escape the trap of underdevelopment. There is, however, encouraging news as some middle-income economies show significant progress and dynamism, notably China (37) and Russia (45).

Comparing two time series (2016-18 and 2019-21) unveils the continuous growth of some regions. For the first time, China, Russia, as well as Costa Rica (39) and Malaysia (34), are in the talent champion quadrant. Brazil (75), which was in the talent laggard quadrant in 2020 is now closer to becoming a talent mover.

The labour markets of emerging economies were struck harder than those of advanced economies by global lockdowns; in all countries, younger and less qualified workers were most severely affected.

Lessons from Covid

Indeed, the pandemic has been the strongest shock to the organisation of work and talent management that our generations have ever experienced. In acknowledging this, we have three central observations in this year’s report:

  1. Those nations that had invested in a digitally savvy workforce, by developing entrepreneurial talent, for example, were far better equipped when the Covid lockdowns required everyone to work remotely. More agility and speed in decision making was required. For instance, as new business models emerged and new ways of organising took shape, entrepreneurial talent was in very high demand.
  2. The accelerated adoption of online collaborative tools has redefined the ways in which individuals and teams can bring value to public and private organisations. Some organisations were faster than others in redefining hierarchies, identifying new sources of value and, sometimes, adjusting their strategic objectives.
  3. A crisis is always an opportunity. Some countries, cities and firms experimented with novel ways of attracting talent (e.g. digital nomads) and tested new proofs of concept. The learnings from these experiments will prove invaluable for the development of new talent strategies.

Global Cities Talent Competitiveness Index (GCTCI)

Cities around the world proved agile and imaginative in mobilising available talent to identify and implement solutions to the unprecedented situations triggered by the pandemic. Green and digital strategies guide many post-pandemic plans, and smart cities will constitute a kind of avant-garde for the changes to come.

We strive to constantly improve the GTCI and its underlying methodology. This is also true for the GCTCI, our city ranking. This year, we made an important change by defining a city as its metropolitan area. Although this decision had been made before Covid, it fits neatly with lockdown measures having particularly negative effects on city-centres, as opposed to suburban areas. The rankings of some cities have been affected by this, sometimes in a significant way. New York City (17), for example, tumbles from last year’s top spot.

Cities had to take on new responsibilities, especially in countries where the central government was slow or reluctant to act. This places megalopolises at the centre of the talent scene. While all types of cities demonstrated their ability to combine creativity, agility and responsiveness to meet their citizens’ needs, large cities with higher levels of resources adapted better to the challenge than smaller ones.

In San Francisco (1), for example, the city’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force designed a strategy to guide its economic recovery efforts in three main areas: jobs and business support for SMEs, vulnerable populations and economic development.

Looking forward

The talent landscape has been transformed as completely new ways of organising work emerged. Most employees want the future of work to be hybrid as they value their personal safety and quality of life. Organisations will need to offer flexibility and provide different working models to keep the best talent.

But hybrid work is not possible for everyone. In a post-Covid world, inequalities may grow among workers, depending on their sector of activity and their level of qualification. For those who are likely to remain onsite, we must reimagine onsite work.

Talent mobility within companies will also be different in the future. Multinational organisations are rethinking their relocation and expatriation strategies for high potentials. Overall, we believe those organisations that focus on outcomes and flexibility will attract the best and the brightest.

The GTCI is an annual index created in partnership with Accenture and the Portulans Institute; it aims to give governments and businesses the distilled data from 134 countries needed to inform their decisions about talent policies and strategies. The report itself has details about methodology as well as country profiles.

Source:https://knowledge.insead.edu/career/the-worlds-most-talent-competitive-countries-2021-17526

Is the Professional Management System Broken?

In previous blog posts, we have described the power and durability of the professional management system that has been central to the idea of the firm for roughly 100 years. What led to the dominance of professional management and why is this system under threat today? More pressing: Can professional management coexist with the idea of scale insurgency?

For all the critiques of “bureaucracy,” it is easy to forget why the professional management system took off a century ago. The previous era had been dominated by trusts—big, powerful, founder-led companies that were vertically and horizontally integrated to a degree that would make today’s tech titans blush. These companies thrived until a sweeping wave of antitrust regulation and rapid technological change left them vulnerable to a new breed of highly efficient competitor. One prime example: In the five years after 1923, family-owned Ford Motor Company’s dominant market share crashed at the hands of Alfred Sloan’s GM—an exemplar of the new professional management science—as Ford customers abandoned the Model T for GM’s modern, segmented product line.

The professionalization of management enabled a new generation of companies to scale and sustain themselves beyond the vision of a charismatic founder. Smart managers, trained in the latest techniques, made data-driven choices about strategy (where to play and how to win). They built systems to enable continuous improvement and enable better, fairer, more consistent decision making. They increased transparency and managed risk.

At its best, this system drove astonishing levels of innovation, growth and value creation. Consider three factors: standardization, routines and predictability. Malcolm McLean introduced the standard shipping container in the 1950s, dramatically reducing the cost and complexity of ocean transport and helping fuel a global trade boom. Routines underpinned success stories from McDonald’s to Ikea to Southwest Airlines, and formed the basis of management systems such as Six Sigma, by unleashing the power of learning. General Electric’s market value grew 30 times under Jack Welch as the company became a paragon of predictable earnings growth.

The professional management system has been written off many times, but has endured through the rise of the shareholder-value movement in the 1970s, through deregulation in the 1980s, globalization in the 1990s, multiple technology boom-and-bust cycles, and a global financial crisis. Today, it is challenged by a mix of rapidly advancing technology, a generational shift in the workforce, and a public backlash against globalization and the doctrine of shareholder primacy. Internal complexity has also exploded. Most big companies still put their management hierarchy at the center of the firm, and top business schools are still seen as an attractive pathway for top talent. But is there reason to doubt whether the professional management system is up to the task this time?

We believe the answer is yes. All firms manage three great conflicts: between scale and customer intimacy, between routine and disruption, and between the short term and the long term. Customers benefit on all sides of these conflicts. They see lower prices when companies capture the cost benefits of scale, but they also get products more attuned to their needs when companies offer local options. Not surprisingly, different units within the company fight for one side of the conflict or the other. The professional manager’s role is to force trade-offs.

Increasingly, however, the system has tilted towards one side of these conflicts. It has favored scale, routines and the short term. This is the result of several inherent biases:

Stability over chaos. Large organizations become highly complex, which threatens stability. Steady routines are more predictable, less risky, and deliver regular learning curve benefits. Companies typically favor routine as they grow.
Systems over personalities. Managers build systems to prevent strong personalities from disrupting the firm’s ability to deliver. This may cause the company to lose some of its “heroes,” but managing to the “average” keeps things predictable and fair.
Cost over revenues. Cost benefits are more controllable and predictable than revenue benefits, so managers typically assign them more value in risk-adjusted forecasts.
Commoditization over premiumization. Differentiation can be risky and unpredictable, so it is generally safer to limit difference and compete on costs, than to deal with the risks associated with customization. As one financial services CEO put it, “Our industry is like bottled water—only the deluded think there’s any differentiation there.”
Administration over execution. Professional managers view administrative skills—the ability to deploy systems and procedures to manage complexity and risk—as the most valuable skills in the organization. “Execution,” the collection of skills involved in delivering strategy to customers, is seen as a commodity. Advancing in your career requires climbing the ladder and moving away from the customer. At Haier, the Chinese appliance giant, CEO Zhang Ruimin takes the opposite approach: “It is more important that employees listen to the market and not the boss.”
Eco-man over emo-man. Finally, the bias toward predictability leads managers to view customers and employees more in terms of their classic economic motivations than their emotional needs and desires. The organization focuses more on the functional benefits to customers and employees, and less on the nonmonetary benefits that motivate employees.
In the era now drawing to a close, these trade-offs worked because market power and scale were such unassailable sources of advantage. But that is not true anymore. Even the best leadership teams are encountering forces in the marketplace that expose the weak spots in everything they thought they knew about running a business. Many of the professional management system’s rules of thumb are becoming irrelevant, or even damaging, in an era where the premium is not just on being big, but also on being fast.

Having focused on scale for so long, many professional managers are ill-equipped to operate at speed. First, the way they manage scale is through a system of spans and layers; as revenue grows, so does complexity, which decreases speed. Second, organizations naturally lean toward managing what they can measure. While we have robust tools such as relative market share (RMS) to measure and manage scale, we have yet to develop the “RMS of speed” or measure the cost of lost time. This will be a challenge for scale insurgents to master.

The path to scale insurgency does not start with a rejection of the professional management system. As we noted, the system has created too much value over too many years to assume that it has no value now. Companies will always need to define the core and point the way to full potential, while sustaining the insurgent mission beyond the limits of the founder.

The real questions, then, are:

How can professional managers capture the benefits of scale without relying on a structure of spans and layers that dials up complexity and sacrifices speed?
How can companies measure and incorporate the value of time in everything they do, giving speed as much weight as scale in decision making?
Recognizing the critical importance of purpose, how can leaders create a new deal for talent and build an organization that taps the internal motivation of the workforce to translate strategy into action faster and with better customer outcomes?
We will explore the implications of these questions in future blog posts.

In previous blog posts, we have described the power and durability of the professional management system that has been central to the idea of the firm for roughly 100 years. What led to the dominance of professional management and why is this system under threat today? More pressing: Can professional management coexist with the idea of scale insurgency?

For all the critiques of “bureaucracy,” it is easy to forget why the professional management system took off a century ago. The previous era had been dominated by trusts—big, powerful, founder-led companies that were vertically and horizontally integrated to a degree that would make today’s tech titans blush. These companies thrived until a sweeping wave of antitrust regulation and rapid technological change left them vulnerable to a new breed of highly efficient competitor. One prime example: In the five years after 1923, family-owned Ford Motor Company’s dominant market share crashed at the hands of Alfred Sloan’s GM—an exemplar of the new professional management science—as Ford customers abandoned the Model T for GM’s modern, segmented product line.

The professionalization of management enabled a new generation of companies to scale and sustain themselves beyond the vision of a charismatic founder. Smart managers, trained in the latest techniques, made data-driven choices about strategy (where to play and how to win). They built systems to enable continuous improvement and enable better, fairer, more consistent decision making. They increased transparency and managed risk.

At its best, this system drove astonishing levels of innovation, growth and value creation. Consider three factors: standardization, routines and predictability. Malcolm McLean introduced the standard shipping container in the 1950s, dramatically reducing the cost and complexity of ocean transport and helping fuel a global trade boom. Routines underpinned success stories from McDonald’s to Ikea to Southwest Airlines, and formed the basis of management systems such as Six Sigma, by unleashing the power of learning. General Electric’s market value grew 30 times under Jack Welch as the company became a paragon of predictable earnings growth.

The professional management system has been written off many times, but has endured through the rise of the shareholder-value movement in the 1970s, through deregulation in the 1980s, globalization in the 1990s, multiple technology boom-and-bust cycles, and a global financial crisis. Today, it is challenged by a mix of rapidly advancing technology, a generational shift in the workforce, and a public backlash against globalization and the doctrine of shareholder primacy. Internal complexity has also exploded. Most big companies still put their management hierarchy at the center of the firm, and top business schools are still seen as an attractive pathway for top talent. But is there reason to doubt whether the professional management system is up to the task this time?

We believe the answer is yes. All firms manage three great conflicts: between scale and customer intimacy, between routine and disruption, and between the short term and the long term. Customers benefit on all sides of these conflicts. They see lower prices when companies capture the cost benefits of scale, but they also get products more attuned to their needs when companies offer local options. Not surprisingly, different units within the company fight for one side of the conflict or the other. The professional manager’s role is to force trade-offs.

Increasingly, however, the system has tilted towards one side of these conflicts. It has favored scale, routines and the short term. This is the result of several inherent biases:

Stability over chaos. Large organizations become highly complex, which threatens stability. Steady routines are more predictable, less risky, and deliver regular learning curve benefits. Companies typically favor routine as they grow.
Systems over personalities. Managers build systems to prevent strong personalities from disrupting the firm’s ability to deliver. This may cause the company to lose some of its “heroes,” but managing to the “average” keeps things predictable and fair.
Cost over revenues. Cost benefits are more controllable and predictable than revenue benefits, so managers typically assign them more value in risk-adjusted forecasts.
Commoditization over premiumization. Differentiation can be risky and unpredictable, so it is generally safer to limit difference and compete on costs, than to deal with the risks associated with customization. As one financial services CEO put it, “Our industry is like bottled water—only the deluded think there’s any differentiation there.”
Administration over execution. Professional managers view administrative skills—the ability to deploy systems and procedures to manage complexity and risk—as the most valuable skills in the organization. “Execution,” the collection of skills involved in delivering strategy to customers, is seen as a commodity. Advancing in your career requires climbing the ladder and moving away from the customer. At Haier, the Chinese appliance giant, CEO Zhang Ruimin takes the opposite approach: “It is more important that employees listen to the market and not the boss.”
Eco-man over emo-man. Finally, the bias toward predictability leads managers to view customers and employees more in terms of their classic economic motivations than their emotional needs and desires. The organization focuses more on the functional benefits to customers and employees, and less on the nonmonetary benefits that motivate employees.
In the era now drawing to a close, these trade-offs worked because market power and scale were such unassailable sources of advantage. But that is not true anymore. Even the best leadership teams are encountering forces in the marketplace that expose the weak spots in everything they thought they knew about running a business. Many of the professional management system’s rules of thumb are becoming irrelevant, or even damaging, in an era where the premium is not just on being big, but also on being fast.

Having focused on scale for so long, many professional managers are ill-equipped to operate at speed. First, the way they manage scale is through a system of spans and layers; as revenue grows, so does complexity, which decreases speed. Second, organizations naturally lean toward managing what they can measure. While we have robust tools such as relative market share (RMS) to measure and manage scale, we have yet to develop the “RMS of speed” or measure the cost of lost time. This will be a challenge for scale insurgents to master.

The path to scale insurgency does not start with a rejection of the professional management system. As we noted, the system has created too much value over too many years to assume that it has no value now. Companies will always need to define the core and point the way to full potential, while sustaining the insurgent mission beyond the limits of the founder.

The real questions, then, are:

How can professional managers capture the benefits of scale without relying on a structure of spans and layers that dials up complexity and sacrifices speed?
How can companies measure and incorporate the value of time in everything they do, giving speed as much weight as scale in decision making?
Recognizing the critical importance of purpose, how can leaders create a new deal for talent and build an organization that taps the internal motivation of the workforce to translate strategy into action faster and with better customer outcomes?
We will explore the implications of these questions in future blog posts.

Source:https://www.bain.com/insights/is-the-professional-management-system-broken/

Did I make a mistake by sharing my salary with a coworker?

have always believed that knowledge is power, but when it comes to salaries, is there ever a reason to keep such things quiet?

For my entire career, I have stayed in the dark about what my coworkers were earning and likewise did not share my salary either. This is the unspoken rule of etiquette everywhere I have worked, and my bosses have always been coy about sharing pay ranges/bands, so it’s always been hard to know how I stacked up in terms of compensation.

Last year, many of my colleagues were laid off and, while I survived the cutbacks, the impact on my personal well-being was significant. With our reduced staffing, I took on the workload of an entire team, and the stress and insane hours (which were already high when we were fully staffed) quickly grew unmanageable. A few months ago, I jumped at another opportunity and I am happy with my decision.

Upon leaving my (now former) company, a trusted friend/coworker was offered my job, which should have been a rather large promotion for him. However, recently we were catching up over lunch and he said that his raise had not been very much at all. He did not state his income, and I’ve always suspected that he made much less money than I did, but I was surprised he did not get a hefty raise considering the level of work he assumed by taking on this new position.

So I decided to come right out and tell him what I had been making in that same job. Why not, right? I no longer work there and thought this information might be helpful to him in negotiating additional raises. But, his face when I told him was … ghastly. He expressed that he was making significantly less than that, and the gap seemed so wide that even a huge raise for him would not put him anywhere near my salary.

Did I make a mistake? Is this a case where having this knowledge was (unintentionally) harmful vs. helpful? Obviously what’s done is done, but I worry that his discontent in his job will grow now, because even if he does manage to use the information I gave him to get a (much-needed) bump in pay he’ll still be stuck with all the additional drama and responsibility of this position while knowing he isn’t earning what he could/should be. It made me wonder if I should stay mum about this topic when speaking with other friends in the future. Is salary simply too taboo to discuss in polite company?

Noooo! Don’t conclude that.

You did the right thing by sharing your salary information with your colleague.

It is never to a worker’s advantage to be left in the dark about what a company is willing to pay — and especially what they did pay — for a particular job. It is always better for people to have more information about pay than less.

That doesn’t mean the person you share salary info with will never find it upsetting! It is upsetting to learn that a predecessor was making mountains of money more than you are. Being upset makes sense!

For the sake of thoroughness, I will note that sometimes people have bad reactions to this sort of news that aren’t constructive — like resenting the higher-paid colleague rather than blaming the company. That could happen! It still wouldn’t mean you’d made the wrong choice in sharing the info with them.

Shining light on companies’ pay practices — specific ones, like “in this role I was earning $X,” not just broad salary bands — is how salary inequities get discovered and addressed. They don’t always get fixed — but even when they don’t, people having more info is a good thing because it helps them make better decisions for themselves, whether that decision is “keep pushing” or “sue because this seems linked to race or gender” or “leave for a better job” or “file away this info about the market and the company for a later time.”

Source:https://www.askamanager.org/2021/10/did-i-make-a-mistake-by-sharing-my-salary-with-a-coworker.html