A New Year’s Resolution For 2022: Deploying Your Skills To Lead Through Change

Change is no longer a project with a defined start and end. It is continuous, and accelerating … Being able to lead through change is no longer an optional skill.”

I wrote those words in early 2019 in an article called “Change Is Changing.” That article focused on the ways traditional change management approaches need to evolve to match a world of ever-increasing and faster change.

Then came the Covid-19 pandemic and a level of simultaneous change that was previously unimaginable.

Leading through the pandemic has been hard, exhausting, and sometimes terribly sad. But executives are entering 2022 with a fortified tool kit of experiences, starting with the ability to measure—and increase—their organization’s capacity to change.

The power to change
I’ve spent much of the last two years studying companies that are exceptionally good at managing change and what sets them apart. With Kevin Murphy and our colleagues at Bain & Company, I’ve learned that an organization’s “Change Power” is comprised of nine different elements: three leadership elements (purpose, connection, and direction), three organizational elements (development, flexibility, and action), and three teaming elements (choreography, scaling, and capacity).

Our research across multiple industries and geographies suggests that each company seems to have its own distinct balance of the nine factors. When it comes to their overall power to change, however, they typically fit one of four archetypes.

Which of these sounds like your company?

In search of focus (37% of companies). This was by far the most common archetype. With great energy and constant innovation, staff can take on a lot, but, similar to young children playing soccer, everyone seems to be chasing the ball. These companies lack direction, purpose, and connection. Their leaders need to focus on the big picture, connecting company activities to purpose and strategy, and prioritize, saying no to some good initiatives in order to stay focused on the best.
Aligned but constrained (24% of companies). This group works well as a unit in lockstep, yet often lacks the people needed to manage greater amounts of change and disruption. That leaves them feeling as if they’re running a race in the mud, struggling with capacity, development, and connection. These organizations need to identify and address their capacity bottlenecks, reorder their priorities, and add resources where most needed.
Stuck and skeptical (20% of companies). Companies that fit this archetype have good ideas and a history of success, but too much of their change gets stuck at the local level. They are weak in scaling, action, and connection, and they are unable to spread innovation across the organization. That leaves their people impatient, skeptical, and even at times a bit hopeless. Moving forward will depend on reigniting the enthusiasm of teammates and convincing them that success is possible.
Struggling to keep up (19% of companies). This group is similar to a team of cyclists in the Tour de France, battling a grueling race with many stages. They’re great athletes with a single-minded focus and an action orientation, and they have delivered results. But as the race wears on, fatigue sets in, and their weakness in flexibility, choreography, and scaling becomes a liability. Companies in this category need to better anticipate what’s around the corner and change their plans accordingly, evaluating whether their strategic direction is still the right one.
You can read more about our work in Harvard Business Review.

Purpose for the long term
Of all the elements of change, purpose may have been the hottest topic of conversation among executives this year. In an article titled “How To Build a Corporate Purpose That Will Help Navigate Change,” I highlighted a survey Bain had done of nearly 1,000 people around the world. Conducted during the early months of the pandemic, the study found that, among employees whose satisfaction with their company had increased during the crisis, 86% said their employer has a purpose that its people are passionate about and find meaningful.

At its core, purpose is the reason a company exists―the thing that gives meaning to employees’ everyday work. It’s important that it support the CEO’s vision and strategy, but it is a notion that is best considered over the long term, far beyond the retirement date of today’s leadership team. The pandemic has given leaders the opportunity to reignite their corporate purpose by studying what the organization has learned about itself during recent crises. What brought employees together, made them proud of their organization, and deepened their engagement?

A clear purpose is critical to making change that lasts. As change becomes more pervasive and companies’ employee bases more diverse, there’s a strong need for a unifying anchor that provides context and focus. Purpose creates an important sense of belonging and attachment. It’s not a slogan, but rather the thing that defines and guides action. During periods of crisis, purpose proves its worth, but it’s a competitive advantage whatever the business cycle.

Thriving in the new hybrid world
Hands down, one of the greatest changes leaders have had to navigate this year is the revolution in how we work. From Zoom fatigue to the “new normal,” Covid-19 seems to have accelerated a decade of behavior change into one year.

While we miss one another and the deeper, more substantial interpersonal connection and impromptu interactions of in-person gatherings, virtual formats have their own advantages. The greatest is the ability to scale the number of participants, no matter their location, at incredibly low cost and minimal carbon footprint. The less obvious advantages include the ability to customize experiences for subgroups of participants, to gather and analyze data in real time, and to create together in large groups. If you want your top 1,000 people across the globe to jointly refresh your company’s mission, values, or purpose, the right virtual design can make that not only possible, but fairly easy.

Like the center of a Venn diagram, hybrid work seeks to bridge the virtual and physical environments and capture the best of each. The conversations and content that benefit most from nonverbal communication and eye contact can be executed in person, and the material suited to the scale, transparency, and visibility of virtual interaction can be covered via Miro, Trello, Zoom, etc.

As you think forward into 2022, whether setting up regular leadership meetings, scheduling steering committee sessions, or planning bigger events or workshops, hitting the proper hybrid balance starts with asking the four Ws.

Why: Why are we gathering? What is the purpose?
Who: Who are the participants, and what are we trying to achieve with them? Think of this as casting. External parties, facilitators, your own front line—almost anyone can parachute in virtually from anywhere in the world.
What: Which of the many virtual tools we’ve tried over the past year could help us meet our goals? Where can we benefit from in-person interaction, and where can we benefit from virtual?
How: How can virtual and in-person intersect, and for which participants? What new possibilities are opening up?
For a much deeper dive into the new ways of working and the future of work, please see this trio of articles:

What Meetings Will Look Like In The Future
Building The Executive Meeting Of Your Dreams
Connecting The Disconnected: Overcoming The Hybrid Work Dilemma
In with the new
December is a time of reflection. A moment to sit back and look at what went well in the year before, what could have gone better, and how this insight can help us kick off a successful new year. Covid-19’s economic and societal jolt has ignited a rethinking of many of our traditional assumptions about work and leadership. It’s also given us an amazing opportunity to reach new levels of leadership.

I’m looking forward to finding out what changes 2022 has in store.


How India’s Godrej Consumer Products innovates for emerging markets

he Godrej Group’s innovation journey began in 1897, when Ardeshir Godrej patented a high-precision padlock that wouldn’t rust in India’s humid weather. In 1918, Godrej manufactured the world’s first soap made from vegetable oil instead of animal fat. A century later, the company introduced Magic, a 20-cent powder-to-liquid handwash that helped to democratize sanitation during the pandemic.

Today, Magic is sold by Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL), the diversified Godrej Group’s leading firm focused on emerging markets, based in Mumbai. With Nisaba Godrej, a fourth-generation member of the Godrej family, at the helm, GCPL has developed a strong footprint in the fast-moving consumer goods space. Bringing affordable and sustainable home care, hair care, and personal care products to emerging markets is the mission of 43-year-old Godrej, who earned a bachelor of science from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Nisaba Godrej has pursued inorganic growth through acquisitions in Africa and Indonesia. But to buoy organic growth in India’s domestic market of 1.35 billion people, she also remains focused on organic volume growth, a strong innovation funnel, investments in scaling new categories, and strengthening the company’s management bandwidth. In 2021, GCPL, a public company with a staff of more than 11,000, reported a consolidated net profit margin of 20% and net revenues of roughly US$1.5 billion. Godrej recently spoke with strategy+business about the challenges and opportunities involved in catering to the evolving needs of her customers, at home and abroad.

S+B: How will the global economic recovery affect your business, both in India and in the other emerging markets where you are active?
GODREJ: I think it’s hard to anticipate that right now, because there are so many variables to factor in. Although we do see a K-shaped recovery, there’s a level of frothiness in the market with valuations. There has been a lot of liquidity coming into India, and I am hoping that will encourage a capex cycle, because that’s what is needed for sustainable jobs and growth. I am neither pessimistic nor hugely optimistic—perhaps somewhat neutral, but banking on hopeful realism. In other emerging markets, such as Africa, our business has been doing well.

More PwC insights

December 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey

What’s next: How consumer goods leaders envision tomorrow
In general, larger companies that have been able to manage the situation on the ground, supply chain issues, and inflation are doing relatively better [than smaller businesses]. But that’s a sliver of what’s going on in the economy, more of a market share gain rather than an indicator of the overall economy doing well.

In the retail space, consumer products related to health and safety peaked during the second wave of the pandemic. For example, everyone has had a masterclass on handwashing, and penetration for handwash has shot up from 19% to 34% in India. It may moderate at some point, but some of these pandemic-related consumer trends and demands are here to stay.

S+B: During the pandemic, your hygiene business grew by 24%, and household insecticides—your largest product category—by 15%. How has the pandemic changed the way you think about your various product lines and businesses, and the operations that support them?
GODREJ: During the pandemic, we focused where the demand was, which included hygiene and health products. Discretionary products such as air fresheners didn’t do well. And as we know, this has really been the year of the supply chain, with supply being impacted by unprecedented disruption. There was chaos all over the world, and the one thing we learned was to rethink and focus on more agile supply chains and localization, especially in countries that had been importing from China.

To manage the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities, we need more automation and more capex. And I think India has a potential advantage if we set ourselves right in terms of attracting more manufacturing and building an ecosystem around it. With its strategic location, large internal market, and a thriving private sector, India is well poised to be the next manufacturing destination.

S+B: Your revenues are currently split between India (56%) and other emerging markets (44%). Going forward, do you plan to focus more on the domestic market and organic growth?
GODREJ: What we’re looking for is double-digit volume organic growth. That is our aspiration and our first priority. We will also continue to look out for interesting acquisitions in the home and personal care space in India and Indonesia.

Our Indonesia acquisition of 2010 [Megasari Makmur Group, a leading manufacturer and distributor of a wide range of household products, including insecticides and air fresheners] has done really well for us. The business has grown four to five times in value over the last decade, and it has very strong EBITDA margins.

We struggled in Africa for a couple of years, but we’ve brought the business back to good growth. Our EBITDA margins are moving up. But it’s still far off from being defined as a success. I wouldn’t say setting foot in Africa has been a mistake, because there is certainly a huge market for high-quality products at low prices. Think of Nigeria and its 200 million consumers.

But in hindsight, I think we spent too much, and we did too many acquisitions. We should have focused on three or four of the big countries on the continent and not done so many small acquisitions. Although it did give us a good opportunity to build the brand in cultural alignment—for example, in the hair extensions category—we underestimated the influence of Chinese companies already operating in Africa. One of my blind spots because of my education [in the US] and exposure has been my Western-centric view of the world. But when we look carefully at what’s happening geopolitically and economically, having a Chinese-centric view is also hugely important.

S+B: How does all this influence your strategy for emerging markets?
GODREJ: I think it is about innovating to develop accessibly priced products that could be distributed far and wide, with a low cost to serve. For example, household insecticides are critical, especially in places with malaria issues. That is why our recently launched multi-insect solution, Goodknight Power Shots aerosol [a concentrated, no-gas spray that costs less than $3], is seeing an encouraging response in Nigeria, and the demand will persist.

You have to give consumers what they want. Your offerings have to be differentiated and innovative. And in emerging markets, making things accessible, whether it’s from a price point or distribution perspective, becomes extremely important, as basic as it may sound. You want consumers to exclaim, “Wow, the quality of this product is fantastic!” And then when they hear the price point, it’s that added delight that they can actually afford to purchase that product. That’s fundamental.

S+B: With the rise of the omnichannel shopper, how are you meeting these evolving needs and simultaneously ensuring brand differentiation?
GODREJ: For older companies like ours, a lot of the digital revolution is not just about gathering consumer-facing data through the e-commerce channel, but also, and perhaps more important, the efficiency that technology and digital bring.

You want consumers to exclaim, ‘Wow, the quality of this product is fantastic!’ And when they hear the price point, it’s that added delight that they can actually afford to purchase that product.”

Moreover, the digital ecosystem opens up the ability to premiumize and launch digital-native products that can only be purchased via an e-commerce platform. We did that with dishwasher tablets, anti-mosquito bed nets, and detergent pods. But there are exceptions, too. For example, for Goodknight [the top-selling household insecticide brand in India], we have Naturals, a range of products made of natural active ingredients, that we launched on our e-commerce platform, as demand for that product is quite strong. But now local department stores are also asking for these products, and we need to cater to that demand, as well.

The other interesting marketing strategy is direct-to-consumer [D2C]. This enables you to educate the consumer online and then use conversion marketing to get them to buy products online. Influencer marketing and product promotion via social media are also set to change the game. For example, during a consumer visit in Delhi, I asked a lady who had bought Magic, our powder-to-liquid handwash product, if she had seen our ad. She told me, “No. Someone sent me the picture on WhatsApp. So I bought it.” Word of mouth has acquired a new meaning altogether.

S+B: How does your stated purpose, “Bringing the goodness of health and beauty to consumers in emerging markets,” tie into sustainability?
GODREJ: I believe you can rethink how everything is done—for example, building products and supply chains for emerging markets in a sustainable way. As incomes and per capita consumption rise, we should not build Western models of consumption. Because if we consume like the West, it’s not going to work out well for us.

For example, Magic is aimed at upgrading people from bar soap. In India, the soap market was valued at $2.6 billion in FY2020. Forty percent of the country’s soap market is in the less-than-13-cent category that is accessible to consumers. At its 20-cent price, Magic handwash [which comes in a sachet and needs to be mixed with water] replaces the use of two bars of soap. There is a definite value for the consumer. Also, because it is lighter, four times more handwash refills can be transported per truck, using less fuel for transportation, and lowering carbon emissions.

We need to look at such models. We’re still using plastic in Magic’s packaging, but with innovation, that too can be brought down. And importantly, because we are able to lower emissions by using less fuel, there is no additional cost associated with using clean technologies to produce it—we don’t have any green premium on this product—and we make more margin on it than we do with bar soap. We need to now focus on how we innovate to find that circularity, where it ticks all the boxes.

S+B: Godrej aims to become carbon-neutral and reduce specific energy consumption by 30%. What steps are you taking to achieve these goals—for example, with regard to manufacturing and supply chain practices?
GODREJ: We’ve taken several steps to move toward net zero or carbon neutrality, and this is in line with our Good and Green Vision 2025 that we had announced in 2010. We are focused on improving energy efficiency to align with our [ethics pronouncements] EP100 commitment, by improving the resource efficiency of all our processes. [EP100 is a global initiative that brings together companies committed to improving their energy productivity by deploying efficient technologies and practices.] That means we are using less energy, water, and raw materials, while increasing productivity.

We do have some challenges, for example, our green manufacturing performance remained flat after fluctuating in the first half of 2021 due to lockdown measures and intermittent operations, and our water usage spiked. On the brighter side, we have achieved zero waste to landfill. We have also started doing assessments that we were not doing five years ago to ensure that the goods and services we provide are safe and contribute to sustainability throughout their life cycle. We’ve streamlined our equipment and use briquette-fired boilers rather than oil-fired boilers across the Group.

We also source 29% of our energy from renewable sources such as solar PV installation, and we are collaborating on energy efficiency with our supply chain partners, because we have a sustainable supply chain program. We are 100% compliant with extended producer responsibility (EPR), as we take back post-consumer plastic packaging waste equivalent to the plastic packaging we send out.

S+B: You often talk about creating an equitable world alongside a greener world. How do you approach diversity and inclusion within your organization?
GODREJ: I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having different people and different perspectives at the table to influence decision-making. When Parmesh Shahani, who leads our diversity and inclusion agenda, first spoke about offering gender transition surgery [as a company benefit], my thought was, what if people just join our company to use this benefit? I soon realized it was a blind spot triggering these thoughts, even in me, with my liberal upbringing. Of course, we all have unconscious biases and blind spots, so we need diversity at the table to influence and initiate change. Many of our policies supporting LGBTQ employees were in place well before the 2018 landmark decision that decriminalized homosexuality in India.

It is not just about being diverse, but also being inclusive, and it is important to design for that. Here, it is important to distinguish between the idea of your best self and your true self. I could give you all the numbers that tell you about our best self. For example, 45% of our workforce is female, and we have the highest number of women board members of any listed company in India. But that doesn’t say much because I get to decide who is on the board, and it is easy to push it through.

It is therefore critically important to talk about our true self—not just about what we do well, but what we’ve learned and where we’re failing, because that’s where you get the support to improve and be better. For example, we’re not at the equal representation [rate] we aim at for women. In India and at Godrej, we grapple with already low and decreasing participation rates of women in the workforce. India’s rate of female participation in the formal economy is as low as 24%; we’re just slightly higher than Saudi Arabia. Our internal studies at Godrej show that women’s engagement is lower than that of men, and women’s attrition is higher. While there is no gender-based disparity in pay, biases—possibly cultural—play out in 360-degree feedback. [For example,] trends indicate that men tend to rate women lower than they rate other men.

S+B: How does this tie in to your ability to build trust with your stakeholders?
GODREJ: We have the humility to learn. I think in our 125-year history, we’ve probably made mistakes many times, but we own up to them, and come back to the table and say, how do we get better?

During the pandemic, we’d decided that if there was any time that we’d take the hit in losses, it would be now. Our people and communities and their safety would be a priority. This was grounded in something my father, Adi Godrej, always says, and that we follow: It’s easy to live your values when the going is good. What really matters is how you stick by those values and live them when you have tough choices to make.


Outsourcing HR Functions: Is it Worthwhile?

What are the Benefits of Outsourcing HR Tasks?
Outsourcing HR functions to experienced organizations come with several benefits. They include:

  1. Cost-saving
    The cost of maintaining an HR department can quickly add up, especially if you have many employees since HR personnel can’t handle several functions. For instance, you can’t force one employee to handle all your employees’ recruitment, payroll, and compliance tasks. You will need a team with varying expertise to ensure that all HR functions are handled.

Hiring a large team means that you should pay their salaries, benefits, workers’ compensation and create a large workspace to accommodate them. For a team that doesn’t generate business income, maintaining such a team is expensive. This makes outsourcing a better, cost-saving option.

  1. Risk Management
    Outsourcing your HR tasks also reduces business risks. HR laws and regulations keep changing, making it difficult for businesses to keep tabs. However, HR firms have professionals who regularly update themselves with the latest regulations in this field. Simply put, outsourcing grants you access to an experienced pool of talent with great expertise in HR tasks.
  2. Increases Efficiency
    Most businesses outsource their HR functions to increase efficiency in their HR departments. Outsourcing streamlines various HR activities, such as payroll, employee administration, and payroll.
  3. Flexibility
    Flexibility is another reason why employers are hiring remote HR teams. This usually occurs during peak seasons. For instance, if your business faces an information influx unexpectedly, you can outsource to remote HR teams, enabling your business to keep running normally.

What HR Roles Can Be Outsourced?
Obviously, you cannot outsource all of your HR functions. You should maintain a slim in-house team and outsource time-consuming tasks. Below are HR functions that should be outsourced.

Employee relations – The HR department should ensure that your business complies with all labor laws. They should also address arising employee concerns and handle workplace issues, such as discrimination.
Payroll services – Payroll services involve ensuring that employees are paid their wages properly according to the hours worked, tax deductions, and more. Removing these tasks from your plate will allow you to focus on other pressing tasks.
Employee screening and background checks – Apart from recruitment, HR should conduct background checks on potential candidates. They also screen them to ensure that they are a perfect fit for positions they applied. These tasks are time-consuming, and remote teams work better.
Temporary staffing – Depending on the nature of your business, you might need to recruit and onboard new staff for short periods; working with remote HR teams may prove valuable.

Note that these aren’t the only tasks that can be outsourced. ind out other outsourced HR services that can benefit your business.

Are there Drawbacks of HR Outsourcing?
Like outsourcing other business tasks, HR outsourcing has the following risks;

Quality issues – Unfortunately, you can’t assume that all HR firms provide assured quality services. Besides, these firms aren’t driven by similar standards and missions as your company. Some vendors focus on making profits and not providing quality services.
Hidden costs – Cost saving is probably why most people outsource. However, you should be wary of some hidden costs of outsourcing. Fortunately, you can avoid this by having a detailed contract of services the company should provide.
Security threat – Your business risks breaching confidentiality if the outsourced company gets access to your employees’ medical records and other personal details. Regardless of the nature of outsourced tasks, always ensure that your service provider has solid data safety and protection measures.

Is Outsourcing Worth It?

While outsourcing your HR functions comes with many benefits, it also presents several challenges, especially if not done right or outsourced to good service providers. You can avoid these potential problems by using a contract that highlights service agreements, timeframes, penalties, and exit strategies.

Outsourcing can only be worth it if done by the books. Being a new trend, businesses can work with remote teams to stay ahead of the competition. It relieves your employees and managers from various repetitive tasks and frees them to focus on business growth.


HR Headaches: How to Respond to Rude Customers and Teach Your Staff

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The aftermath of the pandemic has small and medium-sized businesses struggling to keep up with demand and supply. Shortages in staffing and inventory are challenging. Add disgruntled or rude customers to the mix and you may see a minor scuffle or an incident that goes viral. For most businesses the old-fashioned, “the customer is always right” is standard operating procedure. Many businesses, large and small have learned that not only is the customer not always right, but that model can also have a negative impact on employees.

There will always be customer issues to address in business: workers and customers make mistakes that need to be corrected. There will also, unfortunately, be aggressive and rude customers. Front-facing employees are generally the brunt of anger that can escalate (sometimes very quickly) from verbal abuse to the destruction of property and even physical attacks. Training frontline staffers and their managers in how to deal with combative customers is key to keeping the workplace safe for employees and other clients.

The customer isn’t always right
Virgin Airlines CEO Richard Branson shocked the business world when he wrote, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” Branson also insists on impeccable customer service in all his businesses. How do both be true? He suggests employees put themselves in a customer’s shoes when there’s a problem and work together to resolve it.

Often the customer isn’t right, they may be asking for something that’s unreasonable. They may be abusive and threatening. When business leaders support employees to handle these situations professionally, they provide the best possible customer care. But business leaders must remind their staff being abused isn’t part of the job: they don’t have to tolerate that type of behavior.


Prep employees with support
There will always be rude customers that are hard to manage, demand more than what’s reasonable, or are simply disruptive. Siding with them over employees sends the wrong message. When you let employees know you trust them to do their best, even in the heat of the moment, you provide the support they need to manage customers who are difficult.

Remind staff that they are not being paid to be abused — no one deserves to be mistreated by rude customers. If frontline employees are intimidated or threatened by a customer, they must immediately call their supervisor for support. The message must be clear: you don’t have to tolerate abuse – we’re here to help.

Supporting staff is only the beginning — they’ll need training to handle the public when things go south. Basic training can help employees de-escalate the situation, empowering them to resolve the issue with the customer before it gets too heated. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to bring in reinforcements – either a manager or sometimes security or law enforcement. Here are some tools that might work.

De-escalate the situation and rude customers with empathy
You may see them coming, or they may spontaneously erupt, but as soon as a customer becomes abusive or unruly start with empathy. Your gut instinct may be to go on the defensive – you’re under attack and that’s natural. Shifting that reactive response can lower the tone immediately. Rather than fighting back and watching the situation get worse, try an empathetic posture and tone.

Keep your voice even and calm, speaking slowly and quietly. Apologize and ask the customer how you can help fix the problem. You may have no fault in the mistake, but you can understand how frustrating it can be. Working with the customer to resolve the problem, rather than arguing, can keep the situation from getting worse. Here are two examples.

You’re short-staffed and a customer has waited in a long line to check out. By the time they get to the counter they’re visibly upset. Start the encounter with “I’m so sorry you had to wait – we’re short-staffed but we’re trying to do our best.” It may not be your fault there’s a long line, but sharing that you know how frustrating it is to be in one often cools down the situation.
A customer has received the wrong food or product – again, you may not have been the one who prepared their order, but you know how annoying that can be. “Oh no! Let me fix that for you right away – I’m so sorry!” Empathy, instead of defensiveness, should be the first response to try to keep the problem from escalating.
Take rude customers down a notch
Sometimes empathy doesn’t work. The customer may be rude, vulgar, or abusive. The next step is to try to resolve the problem professionally. Let the customer know you’re sorry they’re upset, and you’re happy to help, but you’ll need them to work with you, calmly to get that done.

Start with a calm, empathic tone, and avoid the instinct to go on the defensive: “I’m sorry you’re not satisfied and I’d like to fix this, but I need you to work with me to get what you want.” They may not be quite ready to calm down – you may have to repeat yourself a few times, but often, if the customer sees you’re trying to be reasonable and helpful, they’ll be reasonable too.

Fix a rude customer’s mistakes with kindness
Occasionally the mistake is completely the customer’s fault. They showed up at the wrong time or day for their appointment. They bought something from another store and are trying to return it to yours. You’ll want to point out the mistake with kindness rather than shaming them. Often making a joke, “No worries — I’ve done the same thing myself,” can help. Stay calm to try to resolve the problem with kindness and a bit of humor, if possible.

When rude customers get out of hand
Some customers will continue to be abusive no matter how hard you try to help. For these, it’s time to bring in assistance. “Let me get my manager to help you,” should be the calm response whenever an employee feels threatened or overwhelmed by rude customers. It’s not their job to be mistreated – when they need help, their team leader must step in.

Often just knowing they’re talking to someone in charge helps calm down an unruly customer. The manager may use the exact tone and techniques as the employee did, but they feel better accommodated when someone higher up hears their concerns.

Don’t tolerate inappropriate behavior
In some instances, employees will need to call their manager and outside assistance. You may want to warn the customer you’re calling security or the police or do so quietly, but if the situation escalates to one where you feel threatened or intimidated, definitely call 911: it’s always much better safe than sorry.

Remind your employees often they are not required to tolerate inappropriate behavior from anyone – even customers. If they can’t manage the situation or the customer, or if they feel endangered in any way, call for help immediately.

Few people are trained to manage arguments, so offer these basics.

Employee checklist:

Keep a calm, empathetic tone – speak quietly and slowly. Apologize for the mistake or problem and offer to fix it.
Don’t take insults personally. Don’t go on the defensive, don’t argue – stay calm and professional to try to de-escalate the incident.
Call manager for help if you can’t resolve the situation or if the customer continues to be rude.
Call security or the police if you feel threatened or intimidated in any way.
Managing the aftermath of a rude customer
Unruly customers can make employees feel drained after an encounter. If the customer was very aggressive or threatening, consider sending them home rather than finishing their shift. Small steps that recognize they’ve been through a lot message your support for employees and their professionalism.

Employees are the face of your company to the purchasing public, but that doesn’t mean they need to tolerate abuse. Not all customers are worth keeping: talented employees are. You’ve trained your staff to manage rude customers properly, but mistakes happen. Remind staff they have your support and trust to resolve issues professionally. If the situation is beyond their ability or they’re intimidated, they should be confident there are people and resources to help and support them.


HR Guide to the Omicron Variant

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is striking a blow to the best-laid HR plans for 2022. Over the weekend before the Christmas holiday, businesses began to close their doors and reconsider their return-to-office policies. Google, Apple, and Citigroup all returned to remote work and abandoned previous timelines for returning to the office, according to NBC News.

The Wall Street Journal reported that numerous companies also changed their holiday plans. For example, Ropes & Gray LLP canceled its 200-person law firm partner lunch in early December because of safety considerations and the arrival of Omicron, said Julie Jones, Chair of the firm, to WSJ.

CNN and Universal News Group also shifted gears and had employees who did not have to be in the office to complete their jobs begin working from home again. And 88% of CFOs expect hybrid work to remain the norm through 2022, according to Deloitte.

The first step in facing this new normal is confronting what you just experienced. You need to look back to learn lessons and determine the best path forward. In the HR Exchange Network’s latest report, State of HR 2021, you can compare your experiences to other HR leaders, who responded to our survey. You will gain insight from HR experts, who share their thoughts on timely challenges, such as vaccine mandates and the hybrid workplace.

Reconsider Return-to-Office Plans
Learn about how the Omicron variant is changing employers’ approach to return-to-office plans. The truth is that no one knows what’s going to happen next. the last couple of years have taught executives that they have to be flexible and nimble. You simply have no choice but to adapt. If you don’t, you risk becoming redundant.

A Return to Remote Working
Many executives bemoaned having their employees working from home, and they were eager to return to the office on a more regular basis in 2022. But Omicron has completely upended those plans.

The reality is that some form of remote work is here to stay. You need to accept it. Then, you have to figure out how to effectively collaborate, measure performance, communicate, and manage work when the laundry is calling.

Get tips on how to improve the virtual office and stay connected with your team even if you’re not in the same physical space in How to Improve Your Hybrid Workplace.

Setting the Rules
Stopping the spread of COVID-19 seems impossible. But smart, practical guidelines can help. Human Resources has been charged with making decisions about vaccine mandates and masking up. Consulting doctors and organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help you make these kinds of decisions can help.

Focus on Mental Health and Wellness
The pandemic forces you to consider practical matters like the vaccine and social distancing. But you can’t forget that people are the ones whose lives are getting disrupted, whose work keeps changing, whose emotions have been through a tornado.

Amid the Great Resignation and a historic labor shortage, talent management becomes all the more important. It’s not just about an employee being able succeed in his or her job.

Helping employees tend to their health and wellness, especially when many have experienced burnout, has taken on more significance than ever. It is a demonstration of an employer’s recognition of what truly matters, and it can go a long way to help both recruits and employees feel cared for. It’s also simply the right thing to do in these hard times. Care for your people and they will care for you.


AI Trends All Staffing Firms Should Be Aware For 2022

Artificial intelligence and automation are changing the way people interact with each other. For people in the staffing industry, it has completely revolutionized the way candidates are recruited, tracked, and placed. Moving forward into 2022, more major changes are expected. There are some predictions about what pieces of technology and trends will be most important in 2022.

In general, AI and automation tools will become a must-have for staffing agencies. While they have been good for cost reduction and simplification for many firms in the past, they will begin to take a more central role in recruiting, onboarding, and more. To remain competitive, you will have to implement this technology and adopt these trends.

Many agencies are using it to track onboarding and candidate status. The software programs are also helpful in maintaining contact with each candidate and keeping track of certification requirements, etc. Companies with this technology will be placed far ahead of those who haven’t adopted AI tech yet.

Faster Decision Making
Agencies will be boasting faster fill times for positions due to the efficiency of AI software. It will be able to sift through resumes, identify candidate qualifications, narrow it down, and send the information in a condensed manner to you to review before sending it to the client. In some cases, using artificial intelligence can help get a set of candidates to a client within hours. Tech will also free up recruiters to make more meaningful connections, increasing the quality of candidates you’ll receive.

Use Insights to Drive Upskilling
With the insights gained from AI, your agency can provide data as to why candidates should seek upskilling or reskilling. You can point to where the industry will be growing in the years to come and point to where they can educate themselves to expand their career. For clients, you can give insights into what employees may be looking for in development programs.

This is a huge resource for both candidates and clients. You will be able to tell candidates what they need to do to remain competitive in their respective industries. Your clients will get access to new hires that are career-driven and have the necessary skills to take the company forward. Really, it is a win-win for everyone involved.

Data-Driven Business Deals
When it comes to your clients, you can provide them with industry data that will help them predict their staffing needs. If demand in their industry is climbing, you can help them prepare with temp-to-hire staff.

Similarly, if the industry is changing, you can provide candidates with the knowledge they need because you know what direction it’s headed. Having this knowledge will provide you with an additional value proposition when negotiating business deals.

Make sure you are updating your process to better serve your candidates and clients. At the end of the day, automation is changing the world as we know it. Your company needs to be able to keep up. Work with Essium for a more modern and effective onboarding process.


Do You Have an HR Tech Backup Plan If You Get Hacked?

You’ve seen the headlines about the urgency of getting cybersecurity in place for your HR tech to run smoothly and without any hiccups. But what do you do if your best-laid plans go awry? What if you get hacked?

Kronos Private Cloud, a workforce management service owned by the Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG), recently had a breach of security that made it impossible for employers who use their services to access vital employee information. Their clients include Whole Foods, Staples, Puma, and Tesla, according to Business Insider.

Recognize the Risk
The hack meant that HR leaders could not access UKG Workforce Central, which includes time cards, attendance, and scheduling, according to Business Insider. This happened in mid-December, a time when employees are scrambling to use up paid time off (PTO) and anticipating their paychecks with even more urgency than usual.

Some employees shared their concerns on social media and expressed worry about not getting paid on time. This is a difficult situation for HR leaders for a number of reasons. After all, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers track the hours worked by their employees using any method of timekeeping. It spells out the obligation employers have to switch to paper time cards to manually track their time or use another electronic timekeeping method, according to Business Insider.

No one knows for sure, but the UKG hack may have been a result of vulnerabilities related to Log4j, a software used with Java. Companies need to be aware of this possibility and be proactive about addressing it in their own security strategies.

In the wake of the UKG hack, SHRM reported that Linn Freedman, a partner in the Providence, Rhode Island law firm Robinson & Cole, said that these kinds of ransomware attacks against companies are becoming more frequent. Hackers want to instill tremendous fear and pain on employers to increase the chance that they will pay the hefty ransom.

“The big lesson is that companies must have specific contingent operations and backup plans in place for when a critical third-party service provider is taken out,” Freedman said to SHRM. “This will not be the last time this will happen.”

Indeed, UKG’s misfortune is a warning signal to HR leaders everywhere. If it can happen to them, it can happen to you. The good news is that you can prepare for the worst.

Freedman and other experts say that you should do the following:

Have a Backup Plan
Many employers rely on these platforms for payroll, but they need to have another system in place in case of getting hacked. You could have a backup technology or you could have a system for manual timekeeping and paper pay checks. Make sure the teams in charge of these services know the backup plan and can execute on demand. You might even have drills to ensure the process is seamless.

Disaster Recovery Plan
Even the most secure systems can be hacked. So, you must be ready to respond. What will PR look like? What is your policy for dealing with ransom demands? How will you delegate powers in case of an emergency such as the one UKG faced in December?

You can’t just focus on hacks of your company. Obviously, the clients of Kronos had to face difficult questions about what to do now that a platform they used for a critical part of their operation – employee management and payroll – had been hacked. Know what you will do if something similar happens.

Remote Desktop Monitoring
Remote desktop monitoring is software that allows you to remotely monitor client networks, computers, and endpoints. It is vital to your cybersecurity strategy. It should be a priority for IT departments, as well as HR.

Insider Threat Mitigation
“An insider threat is typically a current or former employee, third-party contractor, or business partner. In their present or former role, the person has or had access to an organization’s network systems, data, or premises, and uses their access (sometimes unwittingly),” according to the U.S. government’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). “To combat the insider threat, organizations can implement a proactive, prevention-focused mitigation program to detect and identify threats, assess risk, and manage that risk – before an incident occurs.”

The government’s website offers a structured plan for mitigating such threats. The steps suggested include detect, identify, assess, and manage threats. A key to preventing an insider threat is to know the people you hire well. HR leaders must take an active role in engaging employees and recognizing potential threats.

READ: Digitization vs. Digitalization: The Importance of Transformation in the New World of Work

Multifactor Authentication
Multifactor authentication means that you have to go through a number of steps to enter a system.

“When you sign into the account for the first time on a new device or application (like a web browser) you need more than just the username and password,” according to Microsoft. “You need a second thing – what we call a second ‘factor’ – to prove who you are.”

Having multifactor authentication in place, especially now that employees are sometimes working remotely, can be a benefit to your cybersecurity. It might also make the process of logging on annoying, but it’s a small price to pay for a more secure network.

Strong Spam Filters
Obviously, if you can keep spam out, you can save yourself more than a few headaches. Spam is digital junk mail. It can also refer to junk texts and calls. The point is that it sometimes includes links that activate breaches in security and lock up computers, so that people lose access to private and vital information. It can also incapacitate your ability to work. Strong filters to identify spam before anyone encounters it and could accidentally click on something are important parts of a security strategy.

Be Prepared for Paycheck Hiccups
Business Insider suggests being ready to switch to paper paychecks if necessary. You can also issue baseline checks to employees for the hours they previously worked and adjust down the road. The point is that you never want to be in the position of relying solely on technology to dole out paychecks to workers.

Unfortunately, even if you take all these precautions and more, you may still get hacked. Nothing is foolproof. So, you should have a backup plan, take preventative measures, assess risk, prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.


The Tipping Point: The Subtle Psychology and Economics of Taxi Fares

From 2009 to 2013, Kwabena Donkor drove a taxicab through the heart of New York City to pay for college. It was a perfect stint while attending school, he recalls, because he wasn’t tied to a 9-to-5 that might keep him from an economics exam. It was during these trips that a seed for his recent scholarship was planted. “The personal experience helped me to ask questions beyond what one would just sit down and think abstractly about,” he says.

It always fascinated Donkor that even an uncomfortable or negative interaction with a passenger didn’t seem to affect whether and how much they tipped him. Why was that? He also began to wonder: Why do people even tip to begin with?

“The behavior of tipping in NYC cabs is not rational according to traditional economic models,” explains Donkor, now an assistant professor of marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Classical economics assumes that customers are rational and self-interested. Yet the choice to pay for a service and then give something extra to the service provider is not exactly that. Some studies indicate that people engage in tipping to increase the likelihood of better service in the future. But in New York, where there were more than 11,000 yellow cabs before the pandemic, the chances of getting the same driver twice are very low.

Looking for another way to explain passengers’ decision to tip, Donkor turned to behavioral economics and its focus on social norms. “Tipping is not obligatory but discretionary. But because this norm exists, people don’t avoid it,” Donkor says. In a recent working paper, Donkor uses theoretical and empirical analysis to quantify the economic value of tipping in New York’s yellow cabs. “We know norms matter, but by how much? How do we figure out how binding it is?” he asks.

A Fare Share
It helped to have a dataset of 1 billion NYC taxi trips paid for with credit cards, which allowed Donkor to track how far passengers went and how much they tipped during a single year. He observed that a striking 97% of customers left a tip, which strongly suggested the presence of a norm. The “social norm tip” was around 20% of the total fare.

On-screen tip menus, Donkor says, can “actually increase the wages of workers without necessarily making life terrible for consumers or taking money away from them.”
Donkor added another layer of analysis by looking at how passengers interacted with the touch-screen payment devices in the cabs. The screens presented passengers with a menu of tip options: 20%, 25%, or 30%. There was also a button to opt out of the default tip menu and punch in a custom amount. Donkor found that around 60% of people chose a tip from the menu, indicating that most passengers preferred not to have to calculate a tip in their heads.

The most popular tip menu option was 20%. However, as taxi fares went up, passengers veered away from the typical rate. “Twenty percent of five bucks is not that much. But then when the fare’s $50, it’s like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to stick with 20%. Now I’m going to move away from the menu. Because it’s worth my time doing a calculation, compared to giving 20% of $50 to the driver,’” Donkor explains.

He found that the share of people who opted for the menu defaults decreased as fares increased. And more than 80% of passengers who skipped the menu tipped less than 20%.

To further understand the way people tip, Donkor designed a model that suggested that when a passenger tips, they aren’t simply paying the driver but also avoiding the psychological cost of leaving a small tip or not tipping at all. “You have something in your mind that you think is the norm or the right thing to do. And deviating from that results in a feeling like shame or guilt. And so I call that a norm-deviation cost,” he says. That cost increases as passengers stray from the norm: When a customer tips 10% rather than 20%, this cost is around $1.30.

“There’s a trade-off,” Donkor says. “How much am I going to save myself versus adhering to this norm? So this context is what allowed me to quantify these unobservable behavioral fundamentals that we know matter but are really hard to measure.”

His model also quantifies the cost of a passenger not sticking with the menu suggestions and computing their own tip. “It’s the cognitive cost of you doing your own exercise,” Donkor explains. The average cost of this calculation — aka the menu opt-out cost — is around 90 cents. “People would rather avoid computing 17% of $13.75 and would rather pay $1 to avoid that situation,” Donkor says.

Tips for Better Tips
These findings demonstrate the benefits of on-screen tip menus for both drivers and customers. As Donkor explains, “If you don’t give them any menu options, you can force the passenger to do the computation themselves. But then, if you give them the right options, it would increase tips, so it increases the profits that drivers are going to make. And it also increases the welfare that customers have, because they don’t have to do the computation.”

And this quickly adds up. In New York City, there were more than 250,000 taxi rides per day before the pandemic. If the cost of computing an acceptable tip is around a dollar, then the amount saved by passengers who pick a default tip plus the increase in drivers’ average tips is considerable. Donkor calculates that pre-COVID, the tip menu increased both cabbies’ and riders’ welfare by more than $200,000 per day compared with no menu at all.

As payment screens have replaced tip jars and outstretched palms, Donkor’s findings have implications for cafes, restaurants, delivery services, or any industry where workers rely on tips to supplement their income. Tip menu suggestions can “actually increase the wages of workers without necessarily making life terrible for consumers or taking money away from them,” Donkor says. “In fact, they don’t have to do as many computations; we’re making it easy for them to do these calculations. So this is a win-win situation.”


The Next Global Pandemic: Mental Health

What if the next global health crisis is a mental health pandemic? It is here now. According to Gallup, anger, stress, worry and sadness have been on the rise globally for the past decade — long before the COVID-19 pandemic — and all reached record highs in 2020.

Line graph. The Negative Experience Index, an annual composite index of stress, anger, worry, sadness and physical pain, continued to rise in 2020, hitting a new record of 32.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 41.5% of U.S. adults exhibited symptoms of anxiety or depression in early 2021. Globally, seven in 10 people report that they are struggling or suffering, according to Gallup.

People die from COVID-19 — they also die from depression and anxiety disorders. The U.S. has seen spikes in deaths from suicide and “deaths of despair.”

Deaths of despair — a new designation made prominent by Princeton economists Anne Case and Nobel laureate Sir Angus Deaton in their book of the same name — are suicides and deaths caused by fatal behaviors such as drug overdoses and liver failure from chronic alcohol consumption. They have particularly harmed working-class males in the American heartland and increased dramatically since the mid-1990s, from about 65,000 in 1995 to 158,000 in 2018.

Think of deaths of despair as suicide in slow motion.

Anxiety and depression disorders manifest in very different ways than physical illness does. While they can debilitate the individual, anxiety and depression disorders also can debilitate teams, families, schools and all institutions around them.

Think of deaths of despair as suicide in slow motion.

Anxiety and depression can destroy ideas, energy and eventually the economy — and especially small businesses, which is where almost 50% of us are employed. Yet these aren’t taken as seriously as physical wellbeing because we understand physical problems so much better than mental problems.

Mental wellbeing remains a medical blind spot compared with physical wellbeing.

Sheltering during COVID-19; daily fear of job loss; daily fear of a compromised loved one dying from COVID-19; kids at home in “remote school” whose learning is set back while they’re also cut off from friends; dramatic changes in how and where work is done — and the big one, unimaginable anxiety from not knowing what comes next — all of these create a health injury as or more serious than the virus.

What if pandemic anxiety and depression change the culture of humankind more than COVID-19 has? It is now. It doesn’t make the news because the definition and measurement of anxiety and depression have such fuzzy edges compared with the absolute diagnoses of COVID-19 and other diseases.

The world took action against COVID-19 by sheltering, distancing, masking and vaccinating. What action can leadership take to save America and the world from a mental health crisis that is spiking now?

What Leaders Can Do: Awareness and Prevention
Gallup finds the answer lies first within awareness of the crisis — getting out ahead of it. The big solutions can be found in prevention.

And the second solution: Take immediate action to address, treat, and if possible, reverse the condition once a person is experiencing an anxiety disorder. Mental wellness checkups need to be as socially accepted and routine as getting your blood pressure or glucose levels checked — or as getting a COVID-19 test.

To take action in the U.S., Gallup has joined forces with Magellan Health to offer what we think is a fast solution for most of the treatment that falls outside of medications. We think we have discovered something that is especially effective for the prevention of depression or anxiety-related disorders: A quick mental wellness test, the results of which help identify ways to embrace a more resilient lifestyle and improve their own current condition. An assessment that identifies where you stand on Gallup’s five elements of wellbeing: Career, Social, Financial, Physical and Community — and on an additional element developed by Magellan: Emotional wellbeing.

Gallup’s five wellbeing elements are based on meta-analytics performed across global, in-depth interviews. Mental wellness and resilience lie within Gallup’s five elements plus Magellan’s Emotional wellbeing.

When your employees’ wellbeing suffers, so does your organization’s bottom line. Learn how Gallup can help.
It is a health exam assessing your general day-to-day wellbeing that you can take just like a physical from the doctor. It is a checkup of your mind — your wellbeing. And you can do it at home — it can be taken right on your mobile phone or laptop.

Together, Gallup and Magellan plan to execute the largest ongoing wellbeing study ever — to assess as many people as possible via health plans, employers, various military and government agencies and third-party administrators. Magellan will then use members’ results to deliver personalized solutions to help members thrive in each wellbeing element, and then reassess members to measure improvements.

Our goal is to create a new national awareness of this issue and a solution for individuals, so that the mental health pandemic is taken just as seriously as the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Fast Feedback Fuels Performance

Different workplace scenarios require different kinds of feedback
Collaborative and informative feedback focus on hard skills
Investigative and corrective feedback focus on interpersonal skills
How should you tell your employee that his presentation to the client was boring? Point it out directly? “Sandwich” it with positive feedback about his other work? Wait until he actually makes a good presentation, and then focus him on the positives? Hope the client’s reaction was feedback enough?

Those are all valid choices — but they’re not effective approaches for development.

Much has been written about how to give good feedback. Some near-universal principles have emerged, but specific recommendations vary widely — and we seldom pause to define what kind of feedback to give based on the situation at hand.

Does the situation call for a critique of “hard” skills (i.e., the quality of the tangible output) or soft skills (i.e., the quality of the human interaction)? Where is the real problem? Where is the real opportunity?

This may be why only 26% of employees strongly agree that the feedback they get helps them do better work, according to Gallup research.

If feedback-givers appropriately categorize what they are communicating, the feedback will miss the mark less often, they will avoid insulting people, and it will accelerate employee development.

Giving the right kind of feedback improves performance, development — and it may help engagement, too. Given how high the stakes are, how exactly can you give the right kind of feedback?

First, feedback on hard skills should be vastly different than feedback on interpersonal skills. Next, each of these two general categories can be subdivided into objective and subjective failures. Before giving feedback, run through this simple matrix:

Hard skills:

Objective: an email contains typos or grammatical errors
Subjective: the content of an email was unclear (in the eyes of the manager)
Soft skills:

Objective: a manager blew up at an employee
Subjective: a manager comes across as cold and uncaring
Graphic depicting feedback matrix as described in body text.
Collaborative: Let’s work on this together.
This feedback requires humility on the part of the feedback-giver and a willingness to engage with and teach the recipient a new way of doing things.


an email was unclear
an analysis was too shallow
How to approach it:

Seek external perspectives: Given that no one is infallible, the feedback-giver should, when possible, seek the input of others before sharing feedback.
Make it a busy, two-way highway: The feedback-giver should share their perspective on the issue and ask how it strikes the recipient. The aim here is for the feedback-giver to persuade and teach the recipient.
Be didactic (teach and coach toward the ideal): The feedback-giver should show the recipient “what great looks like” and then coach the recipient through iterative attempts to achieve this ideal state.
Investigative: How do you think you are coming across?
This is the kind of feedback that requires the most dialogue and investigation. It is truly a two-way partnership between the giver and the recipient. It requires the most investment on the part of the feedback-giver.


a presentation was boring
a manager comes across as cold and uncaring
How to approach it:

Seek external perspectives: Given that no one is infallible, the feedback-giver should, when possible, seek the input of others before sharing feedback.
Make it a busy, two-way highway: The feedback-giver ought to be willing to work with the recipient over time to help improve their skills.
Be Socratic (ask questions to find a collaborative solution): “How did you feel about the presentation? Did the audience seem engaged? Why do you think that is? How might we improve together?”
Informative: I want to point this out to you.
This is the most straightforward type of feedback, as it is simple, incontrovertible and not personal.


an email contains typos
an analysis was conducted with the wrong methodology
How to approach it:

Be direct (and constructive): “I just noticed there were a few typos in your email. Can you please double-check for those in the future?”
Be solution-oriented: If errors are recurring, the feedback-giver should point the recipient toward helpful resources.
Be available and supportive: The feedback-givers should make themselves available to help the recipient move toward a solution.
Corrective: How can we make sure this does not happen again?
This kind of feedback requires great tact. While the “bad behaviors” are likely obvious, the root cause is not. A balance of directness and empathy is needed.


a manager blew up at an employee
an employee is dismissing their work
How to approach it:

Be direct (and constructive): “Losing your temper with Jim was unacceptable, and we need to make sure it never happens again.”
Be solution-oriented: “Let’s discuss a plan to prevent this from happening again.”
Be empathetic: “What was going on at the time? Why did you act this way?”
When we fail to distinguish between these categories, our feedback often misses the mark. We give excellent hard skills feedback for an interpersonal issue and then feel frustrated that change does not occur. Or we give feedback that would be appropriate for an objective failure about something subjective and offend our employee.

If feedback-givers appropriately categorize what they are communicating, the feedback will miss the mark less often, they will avoid insulting people, and it will accelerate employee development.

Your employees may even start looking forward to receiving feedback after client presentations. And you’ll start looking forward to those presentations a lot more, too.