Five ways to harness the power of purpose

Leaders instinctively understand the value of corporate purpose. They know that, when it is well articulated, a company’s purpose statement—or the best proxy for it, such as a mission or vision statement—serves as a north star. It is a reminder of what matters most and provides clarity to employees, managers, and leaders about how to focus amid the cacophony of daily, competing demands. Yet in our work with leaders across industries and markets, we’ve seen many struggle to communicate a meaningful purpose that builds employees’ conviction about why their work matters. Worse still, purpose statements often fail to articulate the outcomes that will enable companies to win in today’s market.

Such disconnects tend to be baked into the creation process. That’s because when they craft a purpose statement, leaders often sidestep critical questions: Does it address a clear customer need or problem to be solved? Is the organization uniquely qualified to deliver on the promise embedded in that statement? And is the stated purpose directly connected to what the organization does to earn its revenues? Failure to answer these questions creates confusion and can distract both employees and customers from the core of what fuels the business. Over time, strategic and operational drift can set in, chipping away at cohesion, motivation, and alignment across an organization—and potentially undermining performance.

Whether they are setting bold aspirations to stay relevant to their customers, undertaking large-scale transformations that involve significant business model changes, or launching far-reaching ESG (environmental, social, and governance) initiatives, organizations rely on an engaged workforce to carry such initiatives forward. For those companies that succeed in motivating their employees to innovate and deliver real value every day, purpose is a critical source of energy. Here are five ways that every leader can harness its power.

  1. Make creating your purpose a strategic exercise, not a communications exercise. Simply put, strategy starts with purpose. Leaders need to take responsibility for crystalizing their company’s purpose, doing so with the conviction that purpose has great power to motivate and clarify decision-making. A well-articulated purpose can drive the transformation companies will need to make to stay relevant, and should guide investment decisions that provide the funding for differentiation. Leaders also need to ensure that their employees are able to proclaim with pride the value of the products, services, and solutions they bring to their customers and why that matters to the world, both today and in the future.

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But none of these objectives is likely to be achieved if, as happens all too often, leaders delegate the crafting of the company’s purpose statement to public relations or human resources teams. Although these teams may offer important perspectives, placing purpose in their hands raises the risk of creating what we call the great purpose gap—the difference between what sounds good and what the organization really does. Too often, these teams simply benchmark to peers and create statements that build on the theme of “we are here to change the world,” using vague language such as “empowering people,” “building community,” “enriching lives,” “pursuing a passion for…,” and “unlocking the power of….”

  1. Focus on how you earn money, rather than how you spend it. We’ve seen many company leaders point to a variety of ESG-related goals when discussing purpose. For example, they talk about investments or metrics in areas such as diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainable packaging; or employee well-being to demonstrate how they pursue “purposeful” activities. While we applaud organizations that have found the true intersection between these initiatives and their impact on customers and profitability, such companies are relatively few in number (although they tend to get more media attention in the current environment). And most of them have yet to prove their longevity in the marketplace. In most purpose statements we have reviewed where ESG initiatives are touted, the language is not tied to what the company actually produces.

It’s not surprising that leaders gravitate toward lofty statements that might generate good feelings about their organization. But in the end, all for-profit companies need to have a reason why customers will agree to give them money. It is leaders’ responsibility not just to talk about a variety of new ESG-related initiatives, but also to reexamine their customer-value proposition in light of the question “Why do we exist?” There is a danger in simply adding ESG language because it feels like the right thing to do, or because it might attract employees.

Leaders need to do the hard work of unpacking how their organization creates impact. They can do this by making a meaningful connection between their obligations to customers and investors and the greater well-being of society—and to communicate that connection to their employees. Consider the CEO of a small consumer-air-filter supplier who recently had the insight to explain to her employees that their products “make homes healthier for families.”

  1. Identify your special power, and build your purpose around it. When answering fundamental questions such as “What critical role do we play for our customers” and “What would happen if we disappear?” many leaders struggle to find a foothold, particularly when their organizations may not have a meaningful advantage.

It’s not surprising that leaders gravitate toward lofty statements, but in the end, all for-profit companies need to have a reason why customers will agree to give them money.


We understand the dilemma. Organizations that have followed many different definitions of value creation and revenue generation over time often come to resemble a collection of profit-generating activities without a cohesive core. Inevitably, companies tend to become less differentiated as they scale up, seeking to reach new markets, access new sources of capital, attract talent, and gain cost efficiencies. They provide products and services that customers would likely be able to procure from several competitors. For organizations that have grown largely undifferentiated, the struggle to accept this situation and solve for it—to identify and double down on a meaningful source of competitive advantage—can feel daunting.

However, we’ve seen that nearly all organizations have some “special power”—unique capabilities that are often unrecognized and can form the basis of a frank discussion about how to scale or transform. In fact, most portfolios have a high-performing business unit, brand, or group. Invariably, differentiation lies behind that success. Identifying that special power is critical to the long-term performance of the company. Leaders then need to articulate that reason for existence, invest in it, and galvanize their employees around it.

  1. In multi-business-unit organizations, make sure purpose goes beyond a single unit. Once leaders have clearly identified what role their company can play in the lives of customers and in society, it’s important for them to take a cold-eyed look at their current portfolio. They may find that some businesses don’t line up as well as others. While purpose may not have to span every part of a company’s revenue, it is important that what employees do every day doesn’t work at cross purposes to the company’s stated purpose.

Leaders need to start by ensuring purpose is incredibly clear at the business or market level for each of their business lines; they need to work with each unit leader to clearly articulate how their unit makes its money and why that matters. Then corporate leaders need to assess and articulate how (and if) the corporate center adds value across these businesses’ many different purposeful activities. This is sometimes described as “the role of HQ.” That role could include deploying scaling capabilities that the business units on their own can’t afford (like innovation centers or supply chain components) or providing access to capital and talent.

Organizations have two imperatives. First, they need to make sure that their businesses can independently develop meaningful purposes that makes sense for their customers and that are related to their strengths. Second, they need to ensure that keeping these businesses together still makes sense, and that the organization’s overall purpose enables all of these businesses to succeed. This will sometimes mean making tough decisions to divest or sell businesses that can better enable their purpose by standing on their own or by becoming part of another organization’s portfolio.

  1. Boards need to do more to hold leaders accountable on the topic of purpose. Discussions in the boardroom tend to focus on capital allocation, margin improvement, executive compensation, and, when cash is flush, compensating shareholders, either through dividends or stock buybacks. In contrast, deeper, more nuanced discussions about the value a company brings to its customers don’t tend to rank sufficiently high on the board agenda.

Perhaps ironically, the ESG movement isn’t helping. Although the imperative to do better on ESG issues can be a great opportunity to engage in the big questions of purpose, it too frequently shifts the focus to ESG metrics and reporting, and to one-off investments that may not be genuinely connected to the real business of the organization. (What was our score from the Green Building Council? What percentage of our light bulbs have been swapped out for LEDs?)

Some boards understand that they have a unique role in the longitudinal success of the organization and facilitating the right discussions. But taking control of the board agenda to ask management hard questions about purpose can be difficult, and those questions may feel too unwieldly and time-consuming to incorporate into a tightly orchestrated meeting. Still, we would argue that the discussion of purpose lies at the heart of fiduciary oversight.

Given the magnitude of the challenges they face, leaders need to rethink their approach to purpose. Rather than relying on platitudes to move the needle, they need to be boldly honest about how their organization will shape its customers’ future—and how employees can make that future a reality.

Source:https://www.strategy-business.com/article/organizations-and-people

Focus On Existing Employees’ Skills to Fight Talent Shortage

First created in the 1960s by Black employees at Xerox, employee resource groups (ERGs) have had a resurgence in popularity as the country reckons with racial inequality and the Great Resignation. Typically led by volunteer employees, ERGs are a type of affinity group that allows members and their allies to share their experiences in a safe space. ERGs can help increase a sense of belonging and support underrepresented groups by bringing together employees who share certain characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation or sexual orientation.

ERGs have regular meetings to discuss business items and any concerns or thoughts members may have. Members often plan and host employee events, facilitate training and engage in activism and awareness campaigns. For example, the LGBTQ+ Alliance ERG at digital marketing software company HubSpot commissioned a mural at a park in Boston to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. The group also publishes an internal newsletter and hosts a book club to highlight LBGTQ+ authors. Additionally, ERGs that receive funding from their employer or a sponsor may be responsible for managing a budget and tracking ROI.

Not only does this allow the ERG to have a greater impact, but it also provides a unique opportunity to track DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility) efforts and measure their effectiveness. There is no doubt that ERGs can improve the onboarding process, employee job satisfaction and DEIA at work. But how will they continue to be effective as remote and hybrid work becomes increasingly common? This is where technology becomes essential. Integrating ERGs Into the Existing Tech Framework There are several ERG-specific software tools on the market, but they are not always necessary to create and manage an effective ERG.

Leaders can just as easily use free tools and the software already used by the company. ERG meetings can become virtual with the use of video chat software, such as Zoom or Teams. At this point, most companies and employees are quite comfortable holding meetings via video and using tools like virtual whiteboards. Slack, Teams and good, old-fashioned email can all be used to keep in touch between meetings. Outlook and Google offer numerous planning tools, including calendars, to-do lists, document storage, and surveys, all of which can be extremely helpful for ERGs. A simple company calendar that lists every ERG meeting and event is a great place to start. So long as the information is kept organized, the transition from in-person to virtual planning can go quite smoothly. A company intranet is also a useful place to house information about ERGs.

Leaders can add and edit information about available ERGs when they meet and the process for joining or starting a new ERG. When this information is centrally located, easily accessible and integrated into the onboarding process, employees will be more likely to get involved. Finally, technology can also help members of an ERG improve their skills and grow at work. For example, members of an ERG for young employees may wish to connect with mentors to learn how to use new technology. ERGs are an excellent starting point for upskilling and training. Software Can Simplify ERG Administration Although free and existing tech can work well for smaller ERGs, global companies with numerous ERGs may find it challenging to adapt software for their needs. This is when ERG-specific software may be an appropriate investment. Popular options include Affirmity, Chezie, Diverst, Espresa and Teleskope.

Each ERG software has its own bells and whistles, but its main function is to act as a hub for all ERG planning. Employees can access a designated platform to browse every available ERG and stay up to date with them. This can save significant administrative time because employees can join, onboard, or create an ERG through a self-service model. Once a member of an ERG, employees can use this software to schedule meetings, assign tasks and plan events. Some software includes an in-app chat function and even a mobile app so members can stay in touch on the go. Another bonus is that members can share items directly from the ERG platform to their social media. Additionally, ERG software offers more comprehensive data tracking.

Leaders can break down membership and engagement by demographics like race, gender and department, giving more insight into DEIA efforts. ERG software also offers the ability to track program funds, set financial targets and manage budget requests. The larger and more global the company, the more important these functions are. It is simply unsustainable to limit ERG administration to a shared Google Doc or a Slack channel when there may be dozens of ERGs with hundreds of members each. ERG software can help ensure that all processes are consistent across an organization, even if members are continents apart. See More: How to Design the Right Employee Resource Group for Every Generation Is It Time To Invest in ERG Technology? ERGs are only as successful as the technology they have access to, especially when members are remote.

To have truly effective ERGs, leaders and their members should have tools that match their size and goals. Before deciding whether to invest in ERG technology, there are three key questions to ask. First, can the company’s current tech stack meet the needs of the ERG? If planning is getting derailed by communication difficulties, or if ERG leaders are spending more time on jerry-rigging software than actually doing ERG-related work, that may be a sign it is time to invest in new software. Second, are there metrics the company would like to track that cannot be tracked currently? Meaningful DEIA data can be difficult to come by. ERG software allows users to track not only simple metrics such as demographic information but also deeper data such as member engagement.

Few other tools can offer this insight. Lastly, would new software facilitate the ERG process, and if so, what would the benefit be? On the one hand, saving time on administration could allow ERG leaders to devote more time to important work. On the other hand, training employees on an entirely new system could eat up more time than it is worth. If ERG members are getting along just fine with the tools they already have, asking them to transition their work to a new platform can do more harm than good. Ultimately, the purpose of an ERG is to increase inclusivity and belonging in the workplace. Before investing in new tech, you must ask whether it will serve this larger goal.

Source:https://www.spiceworks.com/hr/engagement-retention/guest-article/choosing-the-right-tech-tools-for-your-employee-resource-groups/

Choosing the Right Tech Tools for Your Employee Resource Groups

First created in the 1960s by Black employees at Xerox, employee resource groups (ERGs) have had a resurgence in popularity as the country reckons with racial inequality and the Great Resignation. Typically led by volunteer employees, ERGs are a type of affinity group that allows members and their allies to share their experiences in a safe space. ERGs can help increase a sense of belonging and support underrepresented groups by bringing together employees who share certain characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation or sexual orientation. ERGs have regular meetings to discuss business items and any concerns or thoughts members may have. Members often plan and host employee events, facilitate training and engage in activism and awareness campaigns.

For example, the LGBTQ+ Alliance ERG at digital marketing software company HubSpot commissioned a mural at a park in Boston to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. The group also publishes an internal newsletter and hosts a book club to highlight LBGTQ+ authors. Additionally, ERGs that receive funding from their employer or a sponsor may be responsible for managing a budget and tracking ROI. Not only does this allow the ERG to have a greater impact, but it also provides a unique opportunity to track DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility) efforts and measure their effectiveness. There is no doubt that ERGs can improve the onboarding process, employee job satisfaction and DEIA at work. But how will they continue to be effective as remote and hybrid work becomes increasingly common? This is where technology becomes essential. Integrating ERGs Into the Existing Tech Framework There are several ERG-specific software tools on the market, but they are not always necessary to create and manage an effective ERG.

Leaders can just as easily use free tools and the software already used by the company. ERG meetings can become virtual with the use of video chat software, such as Zoom or Teams. At this point, most companies and employees are quite comfortable holding meetings via video and using tools like virtual whiteboards. Slack, Teams and good, old-fashioned email can all be used to keep in touch between meetings. Outlook and Google offer numerous planning tools, including calendars, to-do lists, document storage, and surveys, all of which can be extremely helpful for ERGs. A simple company calendar that lists every ERG meeting and event is a great place to start. So long as the information is kept organized, the transition from in-person to virtual planning can go quite smoothly.

A company intranet is also a useful place to house information about ERGs. Leaders can add and edit information about available ERGs when they meet and the process for joining or starting a new ERG. When this information is centrally located, easily accessible and integrated into the onboarding process, employees will be more likely to get involved. Finally, technology can also help members of an ERG improve their skills and grow at work. For example, members of an ERG for young employees may wish to connect with mentors to learn how to use new technology. ERGs are an excellent starting point for upskilling and training. Software Can Simplify ERG Administration Although free and existing tech can work well for smaller ERGs, global companies with numerous ERGs may find it challenging to adapt software for their needs. This is when ERG-specific software may be an appropriate investment.

Popular options include Affirmity, Chezie, Diverst, Espresa and Teleskope. Each ERG software has its own bells and whistles, but its main function is to act as a hub for all ERG planning. Employees can access a designated platform to browse every available ERG and stay up to date with them. This can save significant administrative time because employees can join, onboard, or create an ERG through a self-service model. Once a member of an ERG, employees can use this software to schedule meetings, assign tasks and plan events. Some software includes an in-app chat function and even a mobile app so members can stay in touch on the go. Another bonus is that members can share items directly from the ERG platform to their social media. Additionally, ERG software offers more comprehensive data tracking. Leaders can break down membership and engagement by demographics like race, gender and department, giving more insight into DEIA efforts. ERG software also offers the ability to track program funds, set financial targets and manage budget requests.

The larger and more global the company, the more important these functions are. It is simply unsustainable to limit ERG administration to a shared Google Doc or a Slack channel when there may be dozens of ERGs with hundreds of members each. ERG software can help ensure that all processes are consistent across an organization, even if members are continents apart. See More: How to Design the Right Employee Resource Group for Every Generation Is It Time To Invest in ERG Technology? ERGs are only as successful as the technology they have access to, especially when members are remote. To have truly effective ERGs, leaders and their members should have tools that match their size and goals. Before deciding whether to invest in ERG technology, there are three key questions to ask. First, can the company’s current tech stack meet the needs of the ERG? If planning is getting derailed by communication difficulties, or if ERG leaders are spending more time on jerry-rigging software than actually doing ERG-related work, that may be a sign it is time to invest in new software.

Second, are there metrics the company would like to track that cannot be tracked currently? Meaningful DEIA data can be difficult to come by. ERG software allows users to track not only simple metrics such as demographic information but also deeper data such as member engagement. Few other tools can offer this insight. Lastly, would new software facilitate the ERG process, and if so, what would the benefit be? On the one hand, saving time on administration could allow ERG leaders to devote more time to important work. On the other hand, training employees on an entirely new system could eat up more time than it is worth. If ERG members are getting along just fine with the tools they already have, asking them to transition their work to a new platform can do more harm than good. Ultimately, the purpose of an ERG is to increase inclusivity and belonging in the workplace. Before investing in new tech, you must ask whether it will serve this larger goal.

Source:https://www.spiceworks.com/hr/engagement-retention/guest-article/choosing-the-right-tech-tools-for-your-employee-resource-groups/

The pros and cons of psychometric testing

Psychometric testing is a process that uses psychological measurements to evaluate an individual’s personality, cognitive abilities, and emotional intelligence. Businesses have used it for many years to assess potential employees during recruitment. However, there has been a lot of debate surrounding psychometric testing, with some arguing that it is an invasion of privacy.

What is psychometric testing?
Psychometric tests are standardised psychological tests designed to measure abilities, attitudes, aptitudes, or personality traits. They are commonly used in recruitment and selection, employee engagement, employee training and development, performance evaluation, and psychological assessment.

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of their employees, businesses can tailor their training programmes to maximise efficiency and effectiveness

The most commonly used types of psychometric tests include aptitude tests, achievement tests, intelligence tests, personality tests, and interest inventories. Aptitude tests measure an individual’s potential to learn or perform a specific task. Achievement tests measure an individual’s actual level of proficiency in a specific domain. Intelligence tests measure an individual’s global ability to think abstractly, solve problems and remember information. Personality tests measure an individual’s characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Interest inventories measure an individual’s likes and dislike about different activities and occupations. Psychometric testing is a valuable tool for understanding an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and making informed decisions about their development and career path.

What are the pros and cons of psychometric testing?

Is psychometric testing effective? The discussion as to whether psychometric testing is an invasion of privacy or a valuable tool for selection rages on. Here are the pros and cons of psychometric testing to help you make up your mind.

Pros
Improves engagement
Psychometric testing can help to improve employee engagement in several ways. First, it can help to identify employees who may be disengaged or at risk for disengagement. By identifying these individuals early on, organisations can take steps to address the root causes of their disengagement and prevent it from becoming a bigger problem.
Second, psychometric testing can help to identify employees who are likely to be more engaged in their work. This information can then create tailored engagement strategies more likely to succeed. Finally, psychometric testing can help to measure employee engagement levels over time. This information can identify trends and determine whether engagement strategies have the desired effect.

Accuracy
Another advantage of psychometric testing is that it can help to improve the accuracy of selection decisions. Traditional selection methods such as interviews and reference checks are often inaccurate. This is because they rely heavily on subjective judgments, which biases and errors can easily influence human judgment.
Psychometric tests, on the other hand, are designed to minimise the impact of these biases and provide a more objective assessment of an individual’s suitability for a role. This can lead to improved accuracy in selection decisions and reduced turnover rates.

Cost efficiency
One of the main advantages of psychometric testing is that it is highly cost-efficient. Compared to other assessment methods, such as interviews or work samples, psychometric testing requires less time and resources to administer. In addition, psychometric tests are often administered online, reducing costs. Furthermore, the results of psychometric tests are highly reliable and valid. This means that employers can be confident that the test results accurately reflect an individual’s psychological capabilities and behaviours. As a result, psychometric testing is an efficient and effective way to assess candidates for employment.

Timesaving
Psychometric testing is an invaluable tool for any business, large or small. By measuring an individual’s abilities, skills, and personality traits, businesses can save time and money by ensuring that they only recruit the best possible candidates for the job.In a world where competition for top talent is fierce, psychometric testing gives businesses the edge they need to find the best employees. In addition, psychometric testing can also help businesses to identify training and development needs within their existing workforce. By knowing the strengths and weaknesses of their employees, businesses can tailor their training programmes to maximise efficiency and effectiveness.

Cultural fit
Culture is increasingly essential in the modern workplace. With the rise of remote working and global teams, it is more important than ever for businesses to ensure that their employees fit well with their company culture. Psychometric testing can help to identify individuals who are likely to be a good match for a company’s culture. By understanding an individual’s values, motivations, and personality traits, businesses can assess whether they will be a good fit for the organisation. This info can then be used to make sober decisions about recruitment, training, and development programmes.

Highly effective
As compared to other assessment methods, psychometric testing is highly effective. It helps businesses to identify the best candidates for a role, assess training and development needs, and improve accuracy in selection decisions. This is especially true if the test has high job-relatedness and content validity.

Cons
Despite the advantages of psychometric testing, some disadvantages should be considered.

Over-interpreting test results
Over-interpreting test results is a common pitfall in psychometric testing. This can happen when tests are administered without proper context or test-takers place too much importance on their score. Over-interpretation can also occur when tests decide things like job placement or college admission. In these cases, a high score may give a false sense of assurance, while a low score may lead to feelings of inadequacy. Neither of these extreme reactions is warranted, and both can be avoided by understanding the limitations of psychometric testing. Psychometric tests measure specific constructs, such as intelligence or personality. They are not intended to be all-encompassing measures of an individual’s worth or ability. Therefore, it is essential to consider the test results in the proper context.

For example, if you are taking an IQ test, your score will tell you how your intelligence compares to the general population. However, it will not tell you how smart you are in absolute terms. Similarly, if you’re taking a personality test, your score will reveal how your personality compares to the average person’s. However, it will not tell you whether or not you are a good person. In short, psychometric tests should be used as one piece of information in a giant puzzle. They should never be used to make definitive decisions about someone’s worth or ability.

Must be used together with other methods
Psychometric testing is often used to measure an individual’s mental abilities and personality traits. However, these tests must be used with other methods to provide an accurate assessment. This can be seen as a downfall of psychometric testing, as its reliance on other measures can lead to potential inaccuracies. In addition, psychometric testing is often only effective when used with large sample size. This can make it difficult to obtain reliable results when testing a small group or individually. Overall, while psychometric testing can be a useful tool, its usefulness is limited by several factors.

Parting shot

Different types of psychometric testing are valuable assessment tools for businesses. It is timesaving, highly effective, and can help to identify the best candidates for a role. However, psychometric testing should not be used in isolation, and the results should be interpreted carefully to avoid making over-hasty decisions. It is often used to provide incremental validity in addition to other predictors, often with the use of non-cognitive assessments on top of job-related assessments. Psychometric testing can be an invaluable tool for any business when used correctly.

Source:https://www.trainingjournal.com/articles/features/pros-and-cons-psychometric-testing

When it comes to changing culture, think small

Effective leaders know that long-term corporate success requires a strong organizational culture that is well aligned with a company’s purpose and strategy. As Lou Gerstner wrote, describing the turnaround he orchestrated at IBM in the 1990s, “I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game—it is the game.” Nevertheless, it remains commonplace for corporate transformations, mergers and acquisitions, and other large-scale initiatives to lose momentum after running headlong into cultural barriers. What gives?


This is a question that Roger Martin, a CEO advisor and the professor emeritus of strategic management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School, has been mulling for 30 years. In his latest book, A New Way to Think: Your Guide to Superior Management Effectiveness, a compendium of his writings for the Harvard Business Review, he observes that leaders typically approach culture change in one of two indirect ways.

Most often, Martin told me in an interview, they attempt to change the culture by edict. “They say something like, ‘I’m CEO, and this is a very bureaucratic organization. Everything takes too long. This will be a nonbureaucratic company because I say so.’”

The other commonly used approach relies on structural changes, Martin explains. “The CEO says, ‘This place is bureaucratic because the finance department is overbearing. So, the CFO will now report to the COO, and the COO has a mandate to keep finance from getting involved in things in which it shouldn’t get involved.’”

Unfortunately, neither approach is powerful enough to successfully change an organizational culture on its own. “They don’t work, because they don’t change the shared interpretations and norms within an organization,” says Martin. “The truth about culture is that the only way you can change it is by changing the way individuals work with one another. If you can change that, then you will find the culture has changed.”

To change the way people work together, Martin argues, leaders must model the behaviors they want to see. “Literally the only way that I’ve seen culture change in the 42 years since I graduated from business school is when a leader sets out to demonstrate a different kind of behavior and makes that behavior work. Other people take their cues from that behavior, and, slowly but surely, the culture changes,” he says. “Kremlin-watching does not happen only in Moscow—it’s an incredibly powerful force. People watch the leadership and do what the leadership does.”

A notable aspect of this approach is that it does not require a major initiative or investment. Instead, the culture change depends on micro-interventions: small adjustments to the structure, dynamics, or framing of interpersonal interactions, applied consistently over time.

Culture change depends on micro-interventions—small adjustments to the structure, dynamics, or framing of interpersonal interactions, applied consistently over time.


Martin helped orchestrate this kind of change while working with A.G. Lafley when he was the CEO of Procter & Gamble. Lafley wanted to revamp the consumer giant’s overly bureaucratic strategic process. To do so, they made just one small change to the strategic review process: instead of allowing business unit executives to present ponderous slide decks during the annual strategy meeting—and thus getting bogged down in needless detail—they required that the slide decks be submitted a week prior to the meeting. Then, they notified the executives of three (or fewer) topics to be discussed at the meeting, stipulating that no additional presentation would be made. The small adjustment led to more focused conversation and greater attention to what was ultimately important for the business. “People did their best to thwart us,” writes Martin. “It took about four years for the business units to fully adjust to the idea that what A.G. really wanted was simply to have a rich strategy discussion that explored ideas—new ways to compete, new growth avenues, fundamental threats—and to make sure that the best minds in the company talked together rather than engage in corporate theater.”

Four years suggests that culture change is a long game. “It’s not an on-off switch,” says Martin. “It’s a migration that starts the minute behavior starts to change, but not everyone can see the behavior, and people aren’t necessarily going to spread the behavior quickly. It’s like throwing pebbles into a pond to build and sustain waves. They take a while to get to the edges of the pond.”

When Martin was appointed dean of the Rotman School, he used micro-interventions to change a toxic culture in which faculty and students had adversarial relationships with administrators. “I didn’t make a bold announcement of a new culture; in fact, I didn’t talk about culture at all,” he writes. “Instead, I focused relentlessly on changing the interpersonal steering mechanisms—for example, the way I handled faculty review discussions, faculty conflicts, and meetings with my key staff who worked with outside stakeholders.”

In each area, Martin made small changes. In the faculty review process, for instance, he added a one-hour personal meeting with each professor, in which he asked for an assessment of the professor’s goals for the prior and coming year, and what the school could do to help achieve them. This meeting, he says, was instrumental in changing the nature of the review process, shifting the focus from passing judgment to collaborative cooperation.

In the end, Martin’s most salient advice to leaders is to approach culture change one sale at a time. “Don’t underestimate the power of retail,” he counsels. “When leaders declare a new culture or institute a new organizational structure, they’re trying to wholesale culture by making the change all at once. But for me, it’s retail. Every interaction that you have is a chance to move the culture in the right direction.”

Source:https://www.strategy-business.com/blog/When-it-comes-to-changing-culture-think-small

How To Use Technology to Measure 4-Day Workweek Success

Is the four-day workweek radical or obvious? That’s what we wanted to find out. Could we get the same amount of work done in fewer days? And what impact would it have on our team? With these questions in mind, we began our four-day workweek experiment in January this year, testing a condensed Monday to Thursday schedule for three months. We were among a very small wave of companies daring to challenge the norm, yet it’s hard to believe it’s taken this long. The world has changed drastically since FDR effectively formalized the 40-hour workweek into law with The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Logic would suggest that the workweek should change, too. We believed the experiment would work, but we needed to collect both qualitative and quantitative data to understand the impact of cutting down from five days to four. We leveraged technology solutions to make sense of the data and reveal indicators of work, focus, collaboration, and process. Before starting our experiment, we held an internal hackathon for our teams to engage in cross-functional brainstorming. Together, we developed our definition of success, with each team establishing its own metrics and protocols. We shared these criteria with an organizational research scientist to develop survey questions to measure success throughout the experiment. Did we hit our roadmap goals? Was it easier to get work done? What was the impact on our effectiveness metrics: pull request (PR) activity, Deep Work, time spent in meetings, interruptions, and always-on behavior. These were just some questions we asked to determine four-day workweek success. How We Measured the Qualitative Impact It was relatively easy to collect employee feedback through pulse surveys as well as 1:1s, all-hands, and informal conversations. And we used this qualitative data to measure team happiness and productivity before, during, and after the experiment. Our pre-implementation survey gave us a baseline to measure against, and we continued to collect monthly feedback with short mid-month pulse surveys in Slack to check in quickly. Ultimately, a post-experiment survey provided our final look into how our employees felt about the four-day workweek. Unsurprisingly, the results were extremely positive. Employees reported feeling more productive and satisfied with work. They had more time to exercise, focus on professional development, and tackle personal responsibilities. And many still worked on a Friday at some point, though typically no more than a few hours. For the most part, we expected these results — who doesn’t want a shorter workweek? But we didn’t want to rely solely on qualitative data. Employee feedback alone wasn’t enough to truly discover if the experiment was a success. Instead, we wanted to determine the quantitative impact of the four-day workweek on productivity, which is much more difficult to measure. See More: 8 Strategies To Help Employees Adapt to New Technology in the Workplace How We Measured the Quantitative Impact We relied on hard data to measure the quantitative impact, using our own software technology to track PR activity, Deep Work, time spent in meetings, interruptions, and always-on behavior. With this quantitative data in hand following our three-month experiment, we were able to better assess the impact of a shorter week on dev team productivity. These insights, paired with the qualitative feedback from our employees, gave us the confidence we needed to make a final decision on whether to continue the four-day workweek. So what did the quantitative data tell us? Despite having fewer days to complete our work, product delivery volume actually increased. Our dev team used digital analytics tools to track sprint progress and PR workflows, looking at the overall number of tickets completed and their estimated complexity. Both went up during the experiment, meaning we got more done and worked on more high-impact projects. We also onboarded more customers than any other quarter to date. These results aren’t all that surprising when you look at our other findings from the experiment. We pulled from the tools our people use most — Jira, Slack, calendars, and more — to establish effectiveness metrics for our teams. Each data point told us something, and only by weaving it all together through a single insights solution were we able to tell the entire story. The first of these metrics was Deep Work, which we defined as two or more hours of uninterrupted work time. We used machine learning to analyze working patterns, calendar trends, and activity time, helping us quantify available focus time throughout the experiment. Overall, Deep Work either increased or stayed the same across our teams, the result of our efforts to actively protect that time. One way we protected Deep Work was by rethinking our meeting culture. We established guidelines to help our teams shorten and consolidate meetings, removing those that weren’t providing real value. We then used the insights solution to analyze high-level details around meeting duration, titles, and the number of participants, helping identify meeting distribution among individuals and teams. The data showed that our meeting hours and average length either decreased or stayed the same throughout the experiment. We also measured data around Slack interruptions, which cut into Deep Work time. We quantified the impact of each interruption based on the speed and brevity of the response. The results showed an increase in interruptions for our dev team, likely due to this increase in Deep Work time, as there were more opportunities to be interrupted. Finally, we looked at how often our people worked overtime or on weekends. These “always-on” metrics helped us determine if our developers had to work beyond their normal eight-hour workdays to make up for the shortened week. Even without Friday work, we did not see a statistically significant change in always-on scores, suggesting our people got the same amount of work done in fewer days. In the end, we had collected enough metrics to make a data-based decision on if we would continue with the four-day workweek. Did the Four-day Workweek Work? We not only met and even exceeded our product delivery goals but also took significant steps in preventing team burnout. Based on these results, 100% of our employees wanted to continue the condensed workweek, and we decided to extend the experiment through the end of the year. If at any point, the four-day workweek stops supporting our business goals or we can no longer be responsive to customers, we will pivot fast. I don’t see that happening, but we must be mindful of the possibility and prepared to change course. We must constantly push ourselves to think about how we can work more effectively, especially with fewer days to do so. For now, the four-day workweek is working for our team, but that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. You must have a culture of trust — of outcomes, not hours. When you trust your people to bring their full selves to work and get things done, they will. And they’ll do it in four days.

Source:https://www.spiceworks.com/hr/future-work/guest-article/how-to-use-technology-to-measure-4-day-workweek-success/

Six Strategies for Building Socially Responsible and Profitable Companies

A dozen years ago, Harvard Business School Professor George Serafeim wondered why some companies operated with an eye toward the greater good, while most did not.

Back then, he always got the same response: Corporate leaders thought social and environmental practices were “soft,” little more than a drag on business. When he told colleagues about his interest in researching companies focused on corporate social responsibility, some expressed skepticism because there were so few to study.

Serafeim says that era of business is already history. The result of his curiosity—his book Purpose and Profit: How Business Can Lift Up the World—delves into the cutting-edge research those early questions spawned. The key findings can help business leaders understand how the world is changing—bringing corporate purpose to the fore—and how their organizations could produce better environmental and social outcomes while designing profitable and therefore scalable solutions.

“A NEW GENERATION OF LEADERS IS GROWING UP WHO BELIEVE THIS IS NOT JUST NICE TO HAVE.”
In the book, Serafeim details six major ways that companies can adjust to the changing landscape. His book tells the stories of individuals, at every stage of their career, pursuing entrepreneurial and managerial efforts to make a difference in a way that makes them fulfill their own personal purpose.

Serafeim is the Charles M. Williams Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, where he co-leads the school’s Impact-Weighted Accounts Project, and the Sustainability and Climate Impact AI Lab as part of the school’s new Digital, Data and Design (D3) Institute.

‘Not an isolated phenomenon’
Businesses have always impacted the world, beyond the economy and financial system. What has changed is that corporations now pay attention to their social role.

The shift he describes has rapidly emerged as a result of several converging factors. Reams of analytic data are now available, so customers and investors have more ways than ever of evaluating companies—and many now expect businesses to be as green, ethical, and transparent as possible. Social media has also given consumers a greater voice. Climate change has made everyone aware of humanity’s effects on life and the planet. And corporations have placed a growing emphasis on so-called “human capital,” rather than traditional financial capital.

“A new generation of leaders is growing up who believe this is not just nice to have,” Serafeim says. “It is the way to attract talent and develop solutions.”

Serafeim still encounters executives who hesitate to set clear and ambitious targets to improve the way their organizations impact the environment, its employees, and its customers. As he writes in the book, “They knew the world had changed. They just did not know quite what to do about it.”

Alignment and execution
Serafeim says the “purpose plus profit” model rests on two pillars: Alignment, by which opportunity is created, and execution, the plan a company implements in its purpose-driven initiatives.

He identifies six ways that companies can pursue these goals:

  1. Create a new model or market. Warby Parker introduced social-responsibility practices to the eyeglass market, where little in the way of social awareness existed previously. For every pair of glasses the company sells, it donates a pair to people who can’t afford them and for those with less access to glasses.
  2. Transform the business. The former DONG Energy of Denmark is a coal, oil, and gas producer that has renamed itself Ørsted and has turned its focus to wind power.
  3. Pursue pure-play alignment. This involves shifting to a new venture, rather than transforming an existing business. Cultivo of Mexico uses satellite imagery to locate distressed farmland for restoration. When land is restored, Cultivo sells carbon credits, and some of that money is returned to the farmers who improve the land.
  4. Offer a substitute product. Ball Corporation, once known for its glass canning jars, is competing to phase out its plastic bottles in favor of recyclable aluminum.
  5. Focus on operational efficiencies. The chemical giant Dow is investing in industrial safety and environmentally friendly construction, such as building brine-well embankments from local stone and vegetation, rather than using concrete.
  6. Recognize an added value. The utility company NextEra Energy—originally Florida Power and Light—has increasingly focused on renewable energy production, while the utility AES has moved into solar development and battery storage.

In the Boston area, Serafeim gives a nod to the 3D-printing startup Seurat Technologies, which “does much more with less,” reducing carbon emissions for its customers along the way.

“I get excited about these kinds of companies,” Serafeim says.

Actions speak louder than words
While many industries promote green values, some may just be paying lip service. “To be truly impactful, that is not easy to do. It requires a transformation, and not everyone will do that,” Serafeim says.

Legacy industries such as transportation and auto manufacturers, in particular, are under threat of disruption, he notes. “Many companies are struggling to adapt in the face of change,” he says. “This requires convincing your workforce to do something different, and it’s hard for all of us humans to change.”

“THE UNDERLYING IDEA THAT WE NEED TO MEASURE, VALUE, AND DRIVE IMPROVEMENTS IN CORPORATE SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT IS HERE TO STAY.”
He urges companies not to abandon their purpose when times get tough. Despite disruptions, such as intensifying natural disasters, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the looming possibility of a global recession, Serafeim tells leaders to stick by their principles.

“Even though events will happen, the underlying idea that we need to measure, value, and drive improvements in corporate social and environmental impact is here to stay,” he says. “Ten or 20 years from now, we’ll take that for granted. We’ll say, ‘Oh, there was a world where that wasn’t the case?””

Source:https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/six-strategies-for-building-socially-responsible-and-profitable-companies

Using cognitive diversity to underpin inclusion

This is not just about individual freedoms, it’s about recognising that the diversity of thought can add value to the quality of debate and decision making in teams, groups and organisations.

The importance of cognitive diversity
We’re all well versed in the concept of “male, pale and stale”. Aside from the visual image the phrase conjures, it is also suggestive similarity in thinking. It sends a message to aspiring employees that diversity isn’t valued, and they need to look, think and behave in a certain way to make it to the top.

Yet the dangers of “group think” are well documented. Decisions aren’t interrogated, innovation is stifled, and conflict is avoided. It creates a breeding ground for poor performance, lack of accountability and disengagement.

Exploiting different proclivities

We all have preferred working styles and proclivities, or energy levels for certain tasks. Successful businesses, business leaders and managers, will recognise the importance of making informed business and people decisions that reflect a diverse range of views.

It’s the old adage: ‘if a team of five people all think the same way, then four of them are redundant’.

But recognising and exploiting cognitive diversity is not easy and, when it occurs, often degenerates into unhelpful conflicts that are framed as ‘clashes of personality’ between ‘opinionated people’.

Varying styles should complement each other but they also have the potential to clash. However, it’s the variation in style that is crucial to creating a cognitively rich and diverse workplace which we know makes good business sense – this, together with an understanding of what each person brings to the table is what helps teams and organisations succeed.

Our Organimetric, The GC Index®, describes an individual’s energy for impact, and this energy, in turns, reflects different ways of seeing the world; different ways of thinking about the world.

The GC Index proclivities are:

  • Game Changers, who see possibilities for a transformational future
  • Strategists, who map the future
  • Implementers, who build the future
  • Polishers, who create a future to be proud of and
  • Play Makers, who orchestrate the future.

It’s immediately apparent to see the valuable role each plays when it comes to their contribution to quality debate and decision making.

Game Changers are key to generating creative possibilities that others don’t see. But ideas by themselves ‘don’t win prizes’ in the world of business; they have to be acted upon. Enter the Strategists. They can complement Game Changers by evaluating the strategic relevance of ideas and possibilities and by bringing shape and focus to them that can lead to action. Implementers will then bring energy to delivering the plan with Polishers perfecting outputs and Play Makers facilitating collaboration and teamwork.

The GC Index® framework also highlights the fact that inclusion is not enough! It’s not enough to simply include someone with the hope that their differences will make the difference! People need to be involved in a way that helps them to make the contribution that’s needed. Understanding an individual’s potential contribution, in GC Index terms, provides the basis for that involvement.

Creating an environment for contribution
Understanding individual proclivities then, enables organisations to structure teams and tasks effectively to get the best out of employees. It allows everyone to make a positive impact and contribution. Working to their energy for impact, it sets people up for success and gives them the opportunity to ‘shine’.

Understanding people with reference to their proclivities also provides a common language for understanding and resolving conflict; the essence of robust debate and quality decision making.

Polishers, for example, can become frustrated when quality standards aren’t met. Knowing this can help colleagues to understand and be supportive rather than simply dismiss the individual as a critical or ‘picky’ personality.

And, of course, Polishers are exactly those individuals who are suited to those roles that require a focus upon continuous improvement and the ‘pursuit of excellence’.

Driving the inclusion agenda
Research shows, companies that prioritise true equality are often more financially successful and are viewed as more desirable places to work. McKinsey & Company carried out research that shows a correlation between being in the top quartile for diversity and financial outperformance.

But that does mean understanding what true equality means and actually embracing it, rather than just ticking what we consider to be the right boxes. A central area in DEI is cognitive diversity, one that is often overlooked, but it gives employees the freedom to unleash their true working styles.

By helping employees understand their own proclivities, and that of their colleagues, businesses can create a platform where everyone contributes. Understanding preferred working styles also encourages better working relationships and tolerance. It’s important that employees know their opinion and preferences are valued and respected, and that they don’t have to change their behaviour to receive preferential treatment. Companies that achieve this really thrive, as employees are energised and empowered to work to the best of their abilities.

Source:https://www.thehrdirector.com/features/diversity-and-equality/using-cognitive-diversity-to-underpin-inclusion/

The Hot Labor Market Has Almost Become A Crisis

Unbelievable. After four months of worries about a recession and a steady increase in interest rates, today the BLS reported that 528,000 jobs were created and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%. This is the lowest it has been since 1969, a year when I was in middle school.

And at the same time more and more jobs are being created, the GDP itself is slowing. What does this mean? Well, economists keep getting it wrong – it’s actually quite simple. The economy is shifting from goods to services, with an ever-increasing need for people.

As I discuss in the video below, we’ve automated many things in the business world, but technology never stops. The whole idea that a computer or AI system will “replace people” is silly. As soon as you build it something else comes along, so if you don’t have people to monitor it, evolve it, and adapt it, the technology simply becomes less valuable.

This is why companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft keep hiring. Technology itself is a people-centric business, and now that we can work from anywhere, the talent model for every company is global.

Why do I say this is a crisis? Because, quite simply, we cannot “manufacture more people” in a flash. We can solve the global supply chain problem by building a factory, buying a ship, or scaling up a distribution center. People don’t work that way. We need to educate them, train them, and coach them to perform at work. And as all the data now shows, when you “push” people too hard, they just quit, check out, or change careers.

I won’t repeat all the research we’ve been discussing, but many studies now prove that almost a third of the workforce will change employers this year and more than 40% of these job-hoppers will change industry. So regardless of these layoffs, you’re seeing in over-inflated tech companies, virtually every company is struggling to hire, retain, and grow their people.

There are lots of underlying causes for this: the low fertility rate, the early retirement of baby boomers, and the frustratingly difficult work experience many people have in retail, transportation, hospitality, and other industries. And of course, people feel underpaid when inflation goes up, and most employees feel overworked. (81% feel they are burned out.)

My point is not to repeat what you probably already know, but rather to tell you that this problem is not going away. This shift to “service-centric” industries is a big and long-lasting effect, and it drives the message that every company, regardless of industry or size, is now in the people and talent business.

Next week we are launching a fascinating new look at the corporate training industry and you’ll see how much it is impacted by this issue, and in September we launch our Global Workforce Intelligence research and you’ll see all this data in detail.

The big message for CEOs and CHROs, however, is that you have to think about your company differently. No longer can you just “recruit” your way out of this problem. We need what we call “systemic HR” strategies and totally integrated HR operating models that bring together the four R’s: Recruit, Retain, Reskill, and Redesign, all in one integrated way.

We’ll be explaining this more in the coming months, but it’s now clear from all our research that you have to do these things in a new and innovative way. That’s the only way to deal with this existential shortage of labor.

The only real solution, regardless of the direction of the economy, is to treat people as an asset. As I describe it in my book, it’s time to “make your company Irresistible,” and all that this implies.

Every company we talk with is now figuring out how to do this, and ultimately this is the solution to the crisis. Stay tuned for more.

Source:https://joshbersin.com/2022/08/the-hot-labor-market-has-almost-become-a-crisis/

Recruiting internationally – where to start?

There is much speculation around how the economic trend started, with many experts believing it has been fuelled by the rise of flexible working expectations, cost of living and Brexit – factors which aren’t going to disappear anytime soon.

While The Great Resignation has affected industries across the board, it has hit the tech sector particularly hard. The pandemic accelerated the digital transformation of many businesses which rapidly increased the demand for skilled people who have the capability to develop and create online products and services. This has resulted in an increase in talent commanding higher salaries, more benefits and greater flexibility than some are willing to offer. This is making it difficult for smaller companies in particular to compete – and survive.

At WOLF, we experienced those challenges first hand when we looked to recruit software engineers, where demand in the UK has rocketed. Brexit had already made it difficult for development resource to move across borders into the UK, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to a further loss of resource as Ukrainian talent had to leave the industry and go to war.

So, we turned our attention to the Middle East. We already operated there so it made sense for us to recruit our talent there. In doing so we have learned valuable lessons for international recruitment. The process will depend on the region you look to operate in, but here are five considerations for businesses to acknowledge:

Setting up tax entities
Hiring talent that live and work outside of the UK can present some payroll complexities. The tax requirements will depend on the tax rules of the country the employee lives in – not yours. It sounds complicated but, if the foreign employee has never worked or lived in the UK, then they are not liable for UK taxes. In this instance, the UK company may be required to set up a legal entity in the employee’s country. The process varies depending on where the employees are located and can include registering with local authorities, opening a local bank account, appointing a local director and then setting up the relevant processes such as payroll, contracts etc.

Understand the local talent pool
Understanding local cultures, values and priorities is key when looking abroad for your hires. Cultural nuances can be a crucial factor in how you approach a prospective employee, how you communicate with them and in the longer term, how you work with them. A lack of cultural consideration could cause a misunderstanding that could inadvertently detract a strong candidate away from your company.

Talk the talk
Localising the application process to the first languages of your international recruiting targets is a must. It means job posts will be written correctly and investment in a credible translation service will help you to understand the applications and candidates will be able to communicate with your personnel teams based in the UK.

Research the country’s training opportunities
When looking at where you place your international recruitment efforts, research the training opportunities that are on offer in that market. Your new recruit may need additional training to bring them up to speed with certain systems and processes so it’s worth looking at what requirements you’ll have and whether they are available in the country your employee resides in.

Approach markets where help can be two-way
On the flip side of the recruitment coin, the US tech sector is currently enforcing hiring freezes and a pool of American tech talent is unfortunately facing layoffs. UK businesses that are struggling to find talent at home could look to the States and help those workers remain in the sector. It could also help businesses from a productivity perspective if time differences mean work is being carried out around the clock.

While the UK economy faces continued challenges, the switch to recruiting internationally can open a wealth of opportunity for businesses over here. It may seem daunting, but businesses must look to the ‘why’ – it can open up the company to new markets, offer greater diversity and provide access to a worldwide pool of talent. The world is open so go for it

Source:https://www.thehrdirector.com/features/recruitment/recruiting-internationally-start/