Will a robot take my job? We reveal top 12 jobs to go first..and it’s not good news

Will robots take away all of our jobs? Fast Future Publishing authors identify just some of the jobs that are set to disappear altogether over the next few years

We are already seeing jobs being transformed by AI technologies. While new jobs will be created some jobs that we currently do could be eliminated entirely.

To help put the potential changes in an everyday context, we identify in our new book, Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity, twenty human job roles that could be transformed or eliminated completely by the use AI and robotics between 2020 and 2030.

Here are a few just to get you thinking.

1. Customer service representatives

Chatbots are already making sales calls, helping customers make choices and solving callers’ problems across a wide range of industries. No mood swings, standardized quality, 24/7 availability and extensive and constantly updated knowledge are just a few of the benefits that AI promises to bring to customer service. However, there might still be delicate and complex issues that would be handled better with a human touch.

2. Doctors / Surgeons

Fully autonomous and remote controlled robotic surgeons will diagnose, treat and operate on patients in areas where there are no physical human medics available. Humans might monitor or control these robo-docs via video from central hub hospital facilities in bigger towns and cities. New services might emerge such as mobile doctors’ surgeries using autonomous vehicles which visit the patient to enable remote diagnosis and conversation while the doctor remains in their office.

3. Teachers

A combination of technology advances, changing societal expectations and the needs of business, mean we can anticipate transformations of the educational system and curriculum. So, while AI might be in charge of imparting most of the technical skills and information for learners, educators would focus on developing human-to-human social skills with teachers as sensitive mentors.

4. Construction Workers

Robotic excavators could undertake trenching work for new construction projects while increasingly sophisticated 3D printing coupled with drones and robotic workers could replace many construction jobs. These might include demolition, bricklaying, plastering, plumbing, cabling, and carpentry.

Provision could be made in the 3D printed construction process for the different materials required e.g. external weather proofing, preparing internal surfaces for bespoke decoration and finishing which may be completed by robots. New materials used in the construction could have “self-healing” properties and further reduce the need for human labour for repair and maintenance throughout the building’s life.

5. Journalists

AI tools are already being used to gather, sort, analyse, interpret, and write reports and articles for online news sites and investment banks. This will extend to drone based robo-journos sent in to capture and report on the most dangerous situations around the world and to cover a far wider range of situations at far lower cost that sending human journalists.

6. Accountants

AI will enable real-time analysis of every transaction, reducing the potential for error and fraud and enabling a continuously updated set of accountants. For accountants the emphasis would be more on improving business results rather than collating and auditing them.

In this role, the keys to a successful career will include understanding the evolving dynamics of a mixed business environment comprising machines and humans, the ability to spot and interpret complex emerging patterns, communication skills, and creativity.

7. Lawyers

A range of search, analysis, and contract drafting tasks are already being automated. The elimination of the potential for human error will decrease the number of legal disputes. Robot-lawyers are already overturning parking tickets in the UK and US. Moral and ethical issues related to technology advances may become the next legal growth arena.

8. Drivers / Mechanics

From taxis to buses, trucks and rescue services, humans seem likely to be eased out of these roles as autonomous/driverless vehicles are allowed on the roads. These new “autonomous people moving units” promise to be inherently safer, more fuel efficient and productive – freeing up drivers’ time. The use of shape shifting 4D-printing techniques could also result in self-repairing vehicles.

9. Travel Agents

From holidays to business travel, AI will increasingly take on the entire booking process. It will be used to collate individual, family, and group/event travel preferences, search for options, design highly personalised itineraries, make reservations, and complete the payment on our behalf.

Travel Agents may need to become application specialists; signposting the best apps for their clients. Other immersive technologies including augmented and virtual reality could provide opportunities for agents to provide a taster experience, allowing travellers to feel the bed linen, smell the bathroom fragrances, and taste the food from a hotel on the other side of the world. All as part of their client service.

10 Entrepreneurs / Leaders

Instead of looking for human partners and employees, entrepreneurs might increasingly scout for the combination of AI systems that would match his/her personality profile and range of business needs better.

One-person businesses could become more common as artificial general intelligence materialises, enabling the growth of fully automated Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) which have literally no employees.

11. Personal assistants

Future generations of Siri, Cortana and Alexa will be able to undertake personal shopping, screen incoming calls and determine which news to show us. They could also save our time by sorting and responding to email backlogs and look after our wellbeing, sharing our health and allergy information with a restaurant prior to our visit.

12. HR managers

What will employee diversity mean when many businesses include a mix of AI, physical robots, holograms, “standard issue” humans and those with artificial augmentations of their brains and bodies? Different types of AI will have different jobs to fulfil alongside and – increasingly – to supervise humans. Helping people retain their worth and dignity and resolving human-machine disputes could become priorities for HR managers.

In addition to these types of roles there are numerous ways jobs could evolve in the future. Opportunities might arise in areas such as personal trainers, care of the elderly, the performing arts, helping older workers learn about the new and disruptive technologies and possibly teachers/classroom facilitators if greater emphasis is placed on developing life skills in smaller-sized, face-to-face classes.

Whether eliminated or transformed, one reasonable take-away remains: AI is recalibrating the division of labour between humans and technology. The robots are going to be with us one way or another.

Source: https://www.techdigest.tv/2017/12/will-a-robot-take-my-job-we-reveal-top-12-jobs-to-go-first-and-its-not-good-news.html

How IBM puts the right person in the right job

With 380,000 employees globally, it makes sense for a tech giant like IBM to leverage technology to keep workers productively occupied. One way it does so is with “Blue Matching,” a tool that links IBM employees with potential new job opportunities within the company. Anshul Sheopuri, IBM’s chief technology officer of Cognitive HR, has been at the center of that initiative. He recently discussed the program with Employee Benefit News. Edited excerpts follow.

Employee Benefit News: Tell me about the Blue Matching initiative.

Anshul Sheopuri
Sheopuri: We were thinking about what employees really want to do professionally, and our needs as an employer. At any time at IBM there could be tens of thousands of jobs open. Many employees were trying to understand what their next jobs should be, and what they should be doing to get to that job. We did some workshops to try to understand how employees could be helped to take the right action. That was the genesis of Blue Matching.

We launched an MVP [minimum viable product] of Blue Matching in 2015 to deliver personalized job recommendations to employees who decide to opt in. They would receive personalized alerts based on their job history, and that of people with a similar job history, the employee’s performance, location preferences, and skills. All those things together help us deliver personalized job recommendations. It’s all voluntary, and about 15% of our employees have opted in to use the service.

EBN: How do you assess the program’s success?

Sheopuri: Our success metric is how many job placements we can enable. Since the launch of Blue Matching, we have been able to measure about 1,000 job placements that have resulted [because of] Blue Matching. If people don’t opt to use the system, it could just be that they are happy with where they are, and not any concern about Blue Matching. We’re excited about the results so far.

EBN: Do employees who opt in just have to wait to receive notifications?

Sheopuri: No, it’s both push and pull. Let’s say that today you decide that you’re looking for a job. You can go in and look at everything at this point available to you so that’s a pull trigger. And then there is also a push trigger where every week you receive personalized summaries of jobs that are relevant to you in your email or on your mobile app.

EBN: Can employees specify search result parameters, such as geographic job location?

Sheopuri: Yes, but it’s not a search tool in the normal sense. Think about it more as an intelligent agent that learns what is best to pick for you without your needing to identify parameters. It is really about learning from career trajectories, skill sets of other individuals and bringing that insight to you to help you on your career journey.

EBN: What about specifying compensation parameters?

Sheopuri: Compensation is not directly a factor in this, but we do have a level of expertise in position in the job. So if you are somebody who has an expertise level which is, let’s say, number five, we won’t be recommending jobs that are level number one. We’re recommending those that are commensurate to your level of expertise. And compensation is related to levels of expertise.

EBN: Does Blue Matching help people make successful transitions to jobs they might not otherwise have been on their radar screens —something quite different from what they were doing?

Sheopuri: Yes. The key value proposition is the ability to learn from other transitions that occur and skillsets that can then be learned or inferred, and matched against your description. If you have things in your resume that you haven’t paid attention to or you don’t think are important, with Blue Matching you could wind up somewhere you didn’t expect to be.

EBN: For example?

Sheopuri: Take blockchain technology. If you’re working on that in one division, and now it’s being used in finance. If you’re not in finance, you might now know where you’d fit in with that expertise. Blue Matching can facilitate that.

EBN: Does Blue Matching get smarter as it gains experience?

Sheopuri: Absolutely. First, if your resume gets updated, you’ll get more intelligent matches and more recent matches. And second, if new trends begin to emerge, let’s say if five people make transitions from certain jobs to other jobs, or even if only one does, then that trend and that insight informs what matches other people might get. So both things do occur.

EBN: Are there other sources of information about employees and their aspirations than what’s on their resumes and job history that can be used to advance their careers?

Sheopuri: Yes. We have begun to incorporate a lot of other digital footprints, like blogs. So if you write a blog on, say, security, and its applications from an AI standpoint, that blog will then be used to employ your expertise. So different types of internal digital footprints have been used to infer expertise and that capability has been added.

EBN: Anything else?

Sheopuri: One of the things that we learned after an internal hack-a-thon was that employees tend to think about their careers very holistically, and they’re thinking about learning they may need to do, not just what’s the next job. They think, ‘Maybe I’m not eligible for the job right now because I don’t have the skills, but maybe if I do a bit of learning in this area, then I may have the skills to move to that job.’ So we’re incorporating that insight into new iterations that we have begun to deploy.

EBN: Do you believe any employees resist using Blue Matching out of a concern that their supervisors will learn that they’re thinking about making a move, and that this could hurt their working relationship?

Sheopuri: This issue is part of a culture change we’re trying to drive within the company. It is a very conscious and intentional choice to give this information to the employees. And I think the way we think about it is it is better for the employees to find jobs within the company that are more subject to their skillset because that means that the employees are more effective there, and they are progressing. And an important outcome is this is reduced voluntary attrition.

EBN: You have tracked that metric?

Sheopuri: Yes, and it’s making us confident that this is the right thing for the employee. It’s a journey, and we’re certainly not at a final destination, but we’re moving in the right direction.

EBN: Can this initiative be leveraged to help identify positions for people who are currently not working at IBM?

Sheopuri: We’re not there yet. We’re evaluating opportunities for more solutions with AI embedded in it that touches multiple experiences, that will help candidates who apply, or people who are not even looking for a job, but maybe there is a job within IBM that we can recruit him for.

Source: https://www.benefitnews.com/news/using-cognitive-hr-systems-to-optimize-talent-deployment

Careers 2018: Growing your own talent is best way to ensure quality pipeline

To create a pipeline of new talent, recruit the right candidates and develop future team leads, Fastnet — The Talent Group has launched a unique ‘Grow Your Own’ Talent Programme to produce graduates.

As an innovative end-to-end talent and recruitment consultancy, the Fastnet Graduate Programme sees graduates embarking upon a two-year training courses, developed to ‘grow’ talent for the company’s team over the short and long term.

The programme incorporates a six-month on-boarding plan, covering all aspects of the Fastnet business, including: creative use of social media, facilitation of client recruitment processes, HR consultancy training, client and candidate partnering, relationship management and ultimately sourcing talent and executive search.

To create a pipeline of new talent, recruit the right candidates and develop future team leads, Fastnet — The Talent Group has launched a unique ‘Grow Your Own’ Talent Programme to produce graduates.

As an innovative end-to-end talent and recruitment consultancy, the Fastnet Graduate Programme sees graduates embarking upon a two-year training courses, developed to ‘grow’ talent for the company’s team over the short and long term.

The programme incorporates a six-month on-boarding plan, covering all aspects of the Fastnet business, including: creative use of social media, facilitation of client recruitment processes, HR consultancy training, client and candidate partnering, relationship management and ultimately sourcing talent and executive search.

All of the candidates spend Year 1 in the Talent Acquisition division focused on Quality & Laboratory and Year 2 on Engineering.

“Given the growth in demand for talent that we are seeing, we are leading by example and implementing our own talent acquisition strategy through our ‘grow your own’ talent programme,” said Dave Barry, director of Fastnet’s innovative new Talent and Transformation division.

“Ensuring that employees are hired, managed, developed, engaged and retained in the best possible ways will have positive knock-on impacts for every aspect of the business including performance, productivity and ultimately, profitability. We have established the Talent & Transformation division to partner with companies so that they can perform better and are more successful in the future.”

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, current chair of CIPD Ireland, Southern Region and a graduate of University College Cork in HR, Economics & French.

Having previously helped companies like Eli Lilly and Trend Micro to attract and retain key resources, he now leads the division designed to exclusively service the role of talent management within multinational and indigenous companies. The division was created not just as a response to counter the growing challenge faced by companies to attract, but also to retain, the services of valued employees.

“The main inspiration for this is the clients that Fastnet has been partnering with over a considerable period of time, but what is particularly innovative about it is mirroring the approach in SME’s and the recruitment talent space — something I haven’t heard of being done here before.”

With offices in Dublin and Cork, Fastnet — The Talent Group is already a leading recruitment provider, and whose new division is reflective of its strategic focus and consultative approach.

“Over recent years, the company has grown exponentially, and we are certainly back in the war for talent, so to speak, and often in sectors where the available pool of such talent is quite small,” he said.

“Bringing in and growing our own talent to meet the needs of clients just made sense time-wise to formalise it through our Graduate Programme,” he added.

Over the last number of weeks, Fastnet has welcomed two graduates to the Grow your Own programme, with Ryan Malone joining the Fastnet team from DIT, where he graduated with a BSc in Chemical Sciences with Medicinal Chemistry. He is now specialising in recruiting Quality and Laboratory professionals for clients in the Pharma, Biopharma, Medical Device and the Food Agri sectors.

Sanathan Govender, a graduate of UCC and WIT with a Masters in Work and Organisational Psychology. joined the Engineering Talent acquisition team this month.

“Over the course of a number of talent workshops that Ryan attended, he has already found suitable candidates for Fastnet clients — a represented a tangible outcome of the programme already being seen. Sanathan has only joined very recently, but will hopefully contribute in a similar fashion. There are plans for similar additions like them in 2018.”

Fastnet has experienced significant growth over the last number of years and continues to expand its teams across the Cork and Dublin footprint.

“One of the biggest challenges facing the industry is the skills shortage, and retention of employees has become key to growth. The challenge for employers is to optimise talent management outcomes in how they attract, manage, develop and engage their people. The company’s re-branding in 2016 from Fastnet Recruitment to Fastnet — The Talent Group came about from trends during the downturn, where, even though there wasn’t that much recruiting going on, clients were keen to tap into more ‘end to end’ talent management more than just acquisition. Now, with the economy clearly back, it is not just about attracting, but about retaining.

“This is where initiatives like the Talent & Transformation division and the Grow Your Own Graduate Talent Programme emerged from — designed for a longer term perspective other than just recruitment, but accompanying our clients on the whole journey.”

Source: https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/business/careers-2018-growing-your-own-talent-is-best-way-to-ensure-quality-pipeline-818903.html

Corporations Must Embrace Diversity to Prevent Misconduct and Money Loss

The safety net is full of holes.

The sexual harassment revelations of the past two months have made it clear that procedures for policing misconduct in the workplace are largely ineffective. The more power wielded by the perpetrator, the harder it is for victims to stand up for their rights.

The wave of firings and swift falls from grace by prominent men — from Harvey Weinstein to Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey to Matt Lauer, Roger Ailes to Brett Ratner — have created a climate of outrage, turmoil and fear. This moment of national reckoning has proven that public shaming is the only way to combat the scourge of workplace harassment.

Employers and major corporations have in many instances been willing to absorb the costs of settlements and blows to morale to protect abusers with clout. The sea change of recent weeks has been the willingness of victims to air sordid details of conduct ranging from sophomoric to criminal. Under the hot light of media coverage, corporate giants and blue-chip brands can’t distance themselves fast enough, even from those once seen as invincible.

But this is not a solution for the millions of women and men in every business sector who face unwanted sexual attention on the job. Legal experts say the outpouring of testimonials about traumatic experiences with misconduct demonstrates the desperate need for tougher laws against perpetrators and penalties for corporate leaders who ignore warnings. The current system that relies heavily on companies to enforce their own policies on harassment and discrimination in the workplace simply isn’t sufficient.

“Civil rights laws do a poor job of clearly defining what constitutes harassing or discriminatory behavior. This allows employers an opportunity to construct what compliance means and argue that they have complied with the law,” says Shauhin Talesh, a professor at UC Irvine School of Law. “Courts often dismiss lawsuits against employers who are able to demonstrate that they have a policy against harassment and a complaint procedure in place.”

So what will it take to drive substantive change? It’s been more than 25 years since Anita Hill bravely forced the nation to confront sexual harassment through her testimony during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas. Activists and experts see this extraordinary moment as an opening to implement systemic change that could make a difference for the next generation of workers.

Among the areas of focus for publicly held companies:

» Making corporate leaders and boards of directors personally liable if sexual harassment complaints are received and behavior violations continue.
» Mandating that human resources departments have a direct reporting structure to the board or a board committee.
» Mandating regular and detailed reporting to the board from human resources on employee complaints and working conditions at all levels.
» Mandating greater disclosure to the board and to the public on the gender, racial and ethnic breakdown of a company’s workforce as well as the number of full-time, part-time and contract employees.
» Mandating diversity goals for the composition of boards of directors.
» Tying CEO compensation packages to the achievement of diversity goals at the board and senior management levels.

Increasing the level of diversity in company management is seen as a fundamental step to bring business priorities in line with the multicultural reality of the consumers they serve, in America and beyond. The presence of women in high positions and greater diversity throughout management is seen as the single biggest way to clear the climate of fear and intimidation that so often prevents victims from coming forward with harassment claims.

The deluge of sexual harassment stories comes at a time when many institutional investors already have been stepping up the pressure on companies to be more proactive on diversity goals. That means the infrastructure is in place for activists to use the economic fallout from the harassment-related turmoil as fuel to press for larger diversity goals. Harassment becomes a huge investor concern when it leads to situations like NBC News’ hasty firing of star anchor Lauer from one of TV’s most profitable institutions.

“The patriarchy works through these big, publicly listed companies that we trust to employ millions of people. We need a commitment to sunlight when these [harassment] situations come to light,” says Pat Miguel Tomaino, associate director of socially responsible investing for Boston-based Zevin Asset Management. “The [corporate] impulse is to handle these things internally without public accountability. Comcast could have dealt with [the Lauer situation] years ago without threatening the health of a $500 million franchise.”

The Florida-based 30 Percent Coalition has been pressing public companies to commit to appointing women to 30% of their board of directors seats within the next decade. The Detroit-based Human Capital Management Coalition has petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission to force broader disclosure of workforce demographics, employee policies and performance statistics. The coalition, led by the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, encompasses 25 investor groups that manage more than $2.8 trillion in assets.

Some efforts to battle sexual harassment that may have seemed quixotic just a few months ago are gaining steam under the undeniable weight of the anecdotal horror stories of women facing sexual assault behind closed doors. For all the headlines about high-profile personalities in Hollywood, media and politics, experts say sexual harassment also remains rampant in other industries such as retail and hospitality, where low-wage female workers are particularly vulnerable. If there’s ever a moment to capitalize on outrage to fuel social change, it’s now. Social media, of course, is an invaluable megaphone for galvanizing a movement — as demonstrated by the velocity of the conversation in recent weeks among victims of sexual harassment.


“We’ve reached a massive turning point with the flood of women and men feeling comfortable coming forward with their stories,” says Neil Wertlieb, an adjunct professor at UCLA School of Law, and whose Wertlieb Law Corp. specializes in corporate governance issues.

“I don’t see this going back to the way it was. This shows management, boards, investors and advertisers that there are some serious problems in corporate America,” Wertlieb says. “People who run businesses have to be ultra-sensitive to their fiduciary duty to maintain the integrity of their businesses, otherwise it can subject them to liability if the board or senior management was aware of these things but took no action.”

UC Irvine’s Talesh argues that the accountability trail should run well beyond the C-suite. “We need to make midlevel managers of employers accountable for what happens in their departments,” he says.

The Boston-based Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of progressive-minded investors, views diversity concerns and harassment as prime topics to be raised through shareholder resolutions during the spring proxy season.

“As shareholders, we think it’s particularly critical that companies send a strong message through clear, unambiguous corporate policies that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the workplace,” says Interfaith Center CEO Josh Zinner.

Veteran activists liken the turmoil around sexual harassment to the environment that drove past shareholder activism efforts such as the anti-apartheid push to divest holdings in South Africa in the 1980s. More recently, pressure from investors and consumers via social media spurred numerous Fortune 500 companies to back out of business ventures in North Carolina after the state passed a controversial law limiting the rights of transgender people to use public bathrooms.

At the state legislative level, activists are targeting efforts to toughen Delaware’s laws on workplace harassment because so many public companies are incorporated in that business-friendly state.

Charles Elson, director of the University of Delaware’s Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance, cautions that any such moves need to find a way to “delicately balance the rights of the accuser and the accused.”

But he concurs that more disclosure of workplace complaints and HR concerns at the board level is crucial. “HR needs to have an ongoing reporting obligation to the board,” he says. “If it isn’t, it ought to be.”

Zevin’s Tomaino says more disclosure coupled with greater diversity and heightened liability for management is the key to combating the ease with which senior leaders can disavow knowledge of troubling behavior. Plausible deniability should no longer be an option, he argues. “‘They didn’t know’ or ‘They wished they’d known’ is a tired argument,” he says. “Companies need to make sure gender equity is built into the governing documents of the bylaws.”

Amid a cultural reckoning with harassment, it’s important for investors to frame the case for change not as contributing to a social movement but rather as a best practice for a business’s bottom line. There’s ample evidence that companies with greater diversity and more worker-friendly policies perform better over the long run.

“From an investor perspective, the ability to attract the best talent has to be a priority,” says Susan Baker, VP of shareholder advocacy at Boston-based Trillium Asset Management, a member of the Interfaith Center coalition.

“If you have issues of sexual harassment and other types of complaints, that’s going to expose you to reputational risks and loss of potential employees. We need an understanding that the company has the proper incentives in place to tackle these abuses,” Baker says. “If companies don’t have strong leadership, they’re exposing themselves to all kinds of risks. Transparency is critical.”

The connectivity of the social media age also ensures that companies have no choice but to respond to outside pressure. Witness the advertiser boycott that helped drive Bill O’Reilly off the air at Fox News after The New York Times revealed his checkered history of sexual harassment settlements.

“In the last 10 years, companies have become very sensitive about their brands and consumer perceptions of them,” Tomaino says. “They’re more prepared to make a quick change if they decide [a controversy] just isn’t worth it. Investors have to be concerned about any company that will allow people within them to operate with impunity. The health of the organism is always more important than that of any of its limbs.”

Inside Business: 5 ways to doom an employee recognition program

At a basic level, employee recognition helps individuals understand what successful performance looks like so they can create more of it. But if your recognition program is committing any of the following offenses, it’s probably not effective at encouraging the right behaviors.

1. Your program doesn’t consider whether behavior relates to the company’s mission, goals, and values. This is a surefire way to administer a recognition program inconsistently, encouraging suspicion among employees that favoritism or other motivations lead to recognition.

2. Recognition is one-size-fits-all. Employees may prefer different types of recognition, so get a diverse group of workers involved in the program design.

3. The program has only one level. Recognition programs can be flexible enough to allow managers to recognize subordinates, executives to recognize individual contributors, or peers to recognize peers. Levels can also be included to allow employees to recognize varying levels of contributions.

4. Nominating or recognizing someone is complicated/intimidating. If your nomination process takes more than five minutes, it’s discouraging participation.

5. You skip the marketing. Be sure to periodically create visibility and buzz for your program even long after launch. Remember that announcing recognition as it happens is one form of marketing that can get employees interested.

A formal recognition program should help to motivate employees, but it’s just one tool. A recognition program that isn’t working in tandem with supervisor-to-employee communication and feedback simply won’t be enough.

Source: http://www.dailylocal.com/business/20171228/inside-business-5-ways-to-doom-an-employee-recognition-program

To face a changing business world, managers need better training

The role of managers in the American workplace has shifted dramatically. Gone are the days that managers watch over employees, assessing their every move and correcting every mistake. Today’s manager has to do more to meet the needs and expectations of a talented, independent workforce.

They must serve as coach and mentor, be accessible and remain communicative. Their responsibilities are larger than assuring the work is performed; they have to ensure that workers are content as well. The level of responsibility and accountability placed on managers is greater today than it has ever been.

But for most, the level of training provided to managers hasn’t kept pace with their changing responsibilities. The expectation has been that they will hit the ground running with all the communication, coaching and supervisory skills needed — but that’s proving to be untrue.

What do employees think?

A survey by Ultimate Software and The Center for Generational Kinetics found the number one driver of satisfaction in the workforce is the employee-manager relationship, yet 80% of employees said they could do their job without their manager. The survey also highlights the differences between the perception and experience of managers and staff:


  • 80% of managers think they’re transparent with direct reports; but,
  • Only 55% of employees agree.


  • 75% of employees say approachability is the most important quality in an effective manager; and,
  • 50% of employees say they have an approachable manager.


  • 71% of managers say they know how to motivate their team; but,
  • Only 44% of employees agree.


  • 45% of managers report they have never received formal management training.

Many companies provide initial training to new managers, but as the scope of their work and relationships grow, so does their need.

“I think a lot of organizations invest in training for new hires, providing the basics — enough to get employees started in their roles — but then never really follow up from there,” Adam Rogers, Ultimate Software’s chief technology officer, said. “We’d all be better served by our employers if the focus was on continuous learning and development, rather than one-time training.”

Millennials and management

Many millennials in management roles are in a position most have never encountered before: managing workers older than them. Seasoned employees may believe younger managers lack real world experience. While the millennial manager may have more technological ability, older direct reports may hold more institutional information, leading to problems with credibility and trust. These roadblocks can make it even more challenging to excel in the management role.

The flip side is managing millennials, who have a different set of priorities in the workplace. In a survey of this large and diverse generation, 72% said they want to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79% want their boss to serve as a coach and mentor. Comprising 75% of the world’s workforce by 2025, meeting the needs of this generation will be necessary to keep businesses productive.

Source: https://www.hrdive.com/news/to-face-a-changing-business-world-managers-need-better-training/513086/

The Eight Letter Word that Will Excel Your Career in 2018!

“To determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study” is how Merriam-Webster defines the word EVALUATE. While the holiday season is a time of giving thanks, we should also use this time for career evaluation. Taking a few moments to carefully study where you are in your career relative to the goals you set could mean the difference in you getting that pay increase or that promotion. This post will lay out effective steps to help you in your career evaluation.

Evaluate Yourself

Self-evaluation is the most important and most neglected step. For whatever reason, self-evaluation always seems to take a back seat to other priorities. Busy schedules, family obligations and Netflix are some prime suspects as to why finding time is so difficult. So, how do you break the cycle? First and foremost, you must MAKE the time. Earmark at least one hour on your calendar for this exercise. If you do not have time during the normal course of the workday, try waking up an hour before work or perhaps reserving an hour before you go to bed. If that is difficult because of other commitments, try using the time you have for lunch. The key here is making sure that you give yourself dedicated time to focus on asking yourself a few questions:

1) Based on where I thought I would be five years ago, am I meeting that standard or am I far off? If I am off, how far off the mark am I?

2) Do I see myself progressing in this career or is it stagnant?

3) Does the industry I am working in still give me pleasure? Is there another industry that I could more effectively use my skills?

4) Where do I want to be in the next five years and how do I get there?

You may not have thought about some of these questions in a long time. If you don’t have a goal, then you will need to establish one. Several studies have proven that unwritten goals will not be achieved. Sit down, make time and outline your objectives. You are the only one in charge of your career and nobody will or should care more than you.

Evaluate Your Management

There is an outdated notion that management chooses candidates and management is the one in control. In today’s marketplace, the dynamic has shifted. Top talent chooses where they want to work based on several factors. Companies and their managers need to find new and innovative ways to interact with their workforce, or they will sustain high attrition rates and a poor industry reputation that ultimately will lead to a decrease in the bottom line. Managers are rarely taught, so finding a good one is really the luck of the draw. I’ve heard of some managers who believe that moving employee’s seats around the office every six months is a way to “see everybody,” or “get the juices flowing.” Clearly moving seats around the office is not a long-term strategy. Management should be committed to ensuring that business objectives are achieved and their employees are happy. Here are a few things you should be looking for when evaluating your management:

1) Is management encouraging a culture of openness and honesty that allows for varying viewpoints?

2) Does management listen to the people they hire?

3) Is there diversity in culture and thought in your organization?

Companies that rely on the old homogeneous way of doing things will be left behind.

Evaluate Your Options

Finally, after going through the exercises above, it is important to evaluate your options and devise a plan. If you have reached the conclusion that you need to switch industries, you will need to determine the best companies in that industry. Seek them out and develop relationships with managers. If you are in a toxic culture, find your way out! You will only hurt yourself in the long run if you spend too many years being infected by management that is not truly invested in your career growth and development. If you conclude that additional education may be in the best interest of your career, begin the process of considering those options. Find out if your company has tuition reimbursement and if they do – utilize it!

Evaluation is something that should be integrated into your work life as well as your personal life. Once you complete an evaluation, you may find that a change is necessary. If so, devise a plan and act! Inaction and complacency is where most people fail. They choose to stay in a situation that is not good for them because they are comfortable. You control your career and you control what happens.

There is no excuse for your career not to take a huge jump in 2018. This is YOUR year. Attack it!

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-eight-letter-word-that-will-excel-your-career-in_us_5a44ee3de4b0d86c803c752b

On Leadership: What keeps leaders from blossoming?

Leadership is the “perennial issue,” at least that is how Deloitte described it in its 2015 Global Human Capital survey report. No matter the survey, such as PwC’s annual CEO Survey or Willis Towers Watson’s annual Global Workforce Studies, leadership emerges as both a problem and solution. Research details how businesses spend billions of dollars on leadership development, only to be disappointed with the results. Why aren’t these leadership development initiatives producing the expected results?

Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal sheds some light. He was the keynote speaker at a Veterans Day event I attended this year as the guest of Matt Mayer, an Army veteran and attorney at Leisawitz Heller. McChrystal possessed an unmistakable executive presence as he delivered a master class on public speaking, seamlessly transitioning between levity and gravitas. And his advice, to lead like a gardener, vividly contrasted the mental images of traditional military generals to that of humble gardeners.

McChrystal said that leaders are like gardeners, someone who tills the earth, pulls weeds, and waters the plants, providing a healthy garden for those plants to grow, develop, and thrive. Accordingly, a primary role of leaders is to cultivate an environment where people grow, develop, and thrive. I left hopeful that the gardener approach to leading would resonate with the audience.

But my hope was quickly dimmed by the realization that, even if people did want to change, they might be returning to organizations and realities that unintentionally inhibit this ‘gardener’ approach to leading. Think about it: time pressures and deadlines, the need for results, pay-for-performance programs, constant crises, and ‘wicked problems’ that need solving. Who has time for leading like a gardener? Sounds interesting, but seriously, there is real work to accomplish! And it is this mindset and these realities that quickly grow into weeds, choking off good intentions and blocking leadership development initiatives from delivering intended value. McChrystal shared a story that provides insights useful for facing such realities and overcoming these mindsets.

McChrystal described how the U.S. military of old, effective for combating the adversaries and problems of that time, was no longer effective for facing contemporary challenges. Over time he realized the real issue was the inefficiencies from the structure, systems, and processes. Recognizing the problem, he adapted from a command and control model, one with a rigid reporting and information flow structure, to one that promoted a ‘shared consciousness’. And according to McChrystal, this made all the difference.

The applicable takeaway for our purposes is that organizational structures systems, and processes are often the invisible hand stifling the success of leadership development initiatives. Research suggests that part of the invisible hand stifling the success of leadership development initiatives are poorly designed strategic talent management plans. Strategic management plans include talent acquisition, onboarding, training and development, performance management (job descriptions, performance reviews, pay-for-performance), compensation planning, succession planning, and offboarding. If designed and implemented correctly, these plans focus people’s attention and drive behavior by introducing, measuring, and rewarding the things important to organizations. They help create direction, alignment, and commitment and encourage people to get the right results, the right way.

Leadership development initiatives can produce the expected results if organizations bake them into strategic talent management plans. And adopting a gardener approach to leading that emphasizes creating an environment that allows people to grow, develop, and thrive makes sense. An environment of continuous learning, dialogue, and useful feedback not only produces an organization of high performers, but also delivers an organization better equipped to manage the realities and pressures of business. n

Travis A. Berger is an assistant professor of business and leadership at Alvernia University, and the founder and managing partner of Vide Consulting Group, a regional leadership and management consulting firm.

Source: http://www.readingeagle.com/business-weekly/article/on-leadership-what-keeps-leaders-from-blossoming

Employee Stock Options 101

Offering stock option plans could boost retention rates, help maintain cash reserves, and shape truly transformative experiences. Discover what makes employees like Starbucks barista, Kaycee Kiesz, happy and motivated for over two decades

Are you looking to take advantage of your company’s established market footprint, and offer senior executives incentives without impacting liquidity?

Or are you a young business, trying to retain and motivate top talent without dipping into the precious seed funds earmarked for innovation and expansion?

The last few decades have been a virtual rollercoaster ride for stock options as benefits. After a sudden surge in popularity during the 90s, the dotcom bubble burst, making millions of shares worthless and disappointing a large workforce.

Yet, success stories like Starbucks keep the dream alive. The company is famous for giving employees in every tier, from the humble barista to management, a chance to be compensated in kind. The upside is that it helps foster investment and ownership at every level – something Starbucks knew and even accentuated by calling all its employees ‘partners’.

In fact, employee stock options place talent at the heart of your business, giving them a very real stake in the firm’s success.

Here’s how it works – right at the recruitment phase, a specific number of company stocks are offered at a ‘strike price’ or an ‘exercise price’ to be purchased after a ‘vesting period’. The exercise price is usually the market value at the time of recruitment.

Once the employee has been part of the organization for the stipulated period, he can buy shares at the original market rate, back when he had joined. If the price has increased substantially, he makes a solid profit.

Employee stock option plans could lead to several benefits for employers:

1. Employee Stock Option Plans come with a lock-in period called the ‘vesting period’:

At Starbucks, for instance, early baristas had to log in 360 hours of work before they were eligible to exercise their stock options. This means that while the plan comes into play at onboarding itself, the employee can choose to buy or not buy the shares.

Lock-in periods encourage employees to stay, be part of the company’s forward journey, and while retention rates soar, the workforce stands to gain from the time they’ve spent your organization.

2. Instill a sense of ownership:

Unlike manufacturing, healthcare, education, and a handful of other sectors, several industries don’t involve ‘hands-on’ labor. This has a fatal side-effect: workers often struggle to connect efforts and outcomes, resulting in a basic absence of fulfillment.

When employers become shareholders, they are directly impacted by the company’s fate.

And as a rise in stock prices means a larger windfall in the long run, employees are more focused on larger value creation – not just their slice of the job pie.

3. You can disburse in kind, instead of cash:

Stock options are a good way of rewarding employees in kind, freeing up cash reserves for other investments like acquisitions, office space & infrastructure, recruitment, and most importantly, new products.

Here’s an unlikely example – Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon.com and temporarily the richest man on earth, owns very little in cash and assets. In October this year, his net worth jumped to a whopping USD 93.1 billion, pivoted on his company’s performance – each Amazon stock then cost around USD 1120.

Of this, his non-Amazon assets were to the tune of USD 3.7 billion only. His individual success is clearly linked to the company’s and by not liquidating the remaining USD 89.4 million, he ensures that the business continues to hit it out of the park.

A 2014 survey revealed that while 71% companies have some form of employee stock option plan in place, there are major gaps across the paradigm.

The leading segment is technology and IT with 37% respondents in the category, while service sectors lag behind at a wide margin. Also, 87% companies go for a selective plan – rewarding only high-level employees: a different, more biased reality from the Starbucks ideal.

And among the 29% with no stock options for employees, over half said that they don’t intend to put one in place in the near future.

Tax regulations and statutory norms are the first to cross. Start-ups also run the risk of having individual employees straight out owning equity, and since the stock options have to stay in action for a while even after termination, complaints from disgruntled alumni are always a possibility.

That’s why companies are looking at alternatives that blend the pros of employee stock options with secure, more predictable incentive schemes.

You could go for a restricted stock option, where the stock is granted outright with a few restrictions in place – this could be in the form of tax breaks, ownership conditions, and so on, designed to iron out some of the complexities of regular plans.

Stock appreciation rights (SARs) are also a smart option, popular among companies trying to prevent an excessive employee share in the business. They work just like stock option plans, only after the vesting period is over, the incentive is equal to the increase in the stock price – and not the stock itself. Again, this stops the company from becoming too and could be paid out in cash, stocks, or any combination of the two.

Several employers are also opting for ‘phantom stocks’ – as in SARs, no real stocks are allocated. However, here the employee is entitled to the original stock price, and not just the uptick value.

There you have it – employee stock options are a changing animal. From the mythical Wall Street execs looking to cash in, to children of the Silicon Valley riding the wave of good products in a dynamic market, this is an incentive plan with clear, human outcomes.

Done right, the plan is so effective that it kept Starbucks barista Kaycee Kiesz with the company for 22 years. This allowed her and other long-term employees to gain from the stock’s 13,000% increase over the period – growth that’s fostered by a motivated, engaged workforce.

Source: https://www.hrtechnologist.com/articles/employee-engagement/employee-stock-options-101/

Why I Stopped Doing Annual Employee Reviews

When my company Phone2Action launched in 2013, we tried to manage employee performance with annual reviews. It was pointless. Why wait months to discuss problems that matter now? In a startup, we needed to move faster and calibrate more often than annual reviews permitted.

Related: Want Your Employees to Be High Performers? Tie Goals to Rewards Like Extra Days Off or Cold Hard Cash.

We scrapped reviews and implemented a performance management system developed by Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland. He “disrupted” conventional management techniques well before Agile and Lean Startup methodologies swept through Silicon Valley.

Today, many companies use “data-driven” management techniques. However, they struggle to find a balance between team and individual accountability, transparency and privacy, and actions and goals. O’Malley’s approach may help you find the sweet spot.

The CitiStat story
When O’Malley become mayor of Baltimore in 1999, the city suffered from chronic absenteeism, excessive overtime and poor response times. He implemented a data-tracking and management approach called CitiStat, inspired by the New York City Police Department’s CompStat crime analytics. Between 1999 and 2007, CitiStat saved Baltimore an estimated $350 million yet the program cost only $400,000 per year (spent mainly on staff salaries), according to the Center for American Progress.

Related: Stop! You’re Demoralizing Employees With Reviews! And Frequency Isn’t the Reason.

CitiStat required city departments to track performance metrics unique to their responsibilities. The Department of Transportation, for example, recorded how quickly it filled potholes after being alerted.

The department heads met with the CitiStat team every two weeks to review the data. If it was trending in the wrong direction, the CitiStat team and department head would brainstorm and test a solution. At the next meeting, the data would reveal whether the follow-up actions had made a difference. By 2007, the Department of Transportation was filling 97 percent of potholes within 48 hours of notification.

“CapSTATs” were intense accountability meetings that gathered all the agency heads. When an initiative hit delays, there was no place to hide. The numbers, the colors (green for on track, yellow for delayed and red for behind) and mapping revealed the status of everything.

Having observed the effectiveness of CapSTAT, I wanted to create a version for Phone2Action. We called it ActionSTAT.

Why it’s different
There are different schools of thought in performance management. ActionSTAT addresses three conflicts that arise in most performance evaluation systems.

1. Team v. individual

Traditional employee reviews often happen in isolation and emphasize individual achievements. In contrast, ActionSTAT holds both the team and individual accountable by measuring how people spend their time. The system connects individual actions and goals to departmental and company goals.

This kind of “systems thinking” is hard to achieve in government but comes naturally in technology companies, which have standard measures of success. In software-as-a-service (SaaS), these could include annual recurring revenue (AAR), monthly recurring revenue (MMR) and gross retention.

For example, let’s say we ask each salesperson to make 40 calls per day. The salespeople who perform this “leading action” close more deals than those who don’t. The action appears to work, so we keep doing it. If salespeople made the 40 calls but didn’t close more deals, we’d test other leading actions. Ultimately, we trace the salespeople’s work to AAR and MMR.

2. Public v. private feedback

One of the hardest aspects of performance management is giving and receiving feedback. When a manager gives an employee feedback in private, the company doesn’t gain institutional knowledge. Only two people learn from the experience. When performance management is a team activity, a culture of continuous learning, improvement and transparency can emerge.

Phone2Action holds ActionSTATs every Thursday at 10 a.m. The meetings are open to everyone but focused on one department each week. We start ActionSTAT by reviewing a dashboard that shows the most important metrics of company health. Those include our load time, conversion rate and retention rate.

Next, we look at the department’s lagging indicators (marked green, yellow and red, just like in CapSTAT) followed by its “leading actions.” Often, we look at individual leading actions, too. The data sparks questions, conversation and feedback from across the company.

Over time, a few things happen:

Everyone in the company gets used to providing and receiving feedback.
Everyone gets used to discussing performance publicly.
Everyone sees what people do in other departments and therefore learns how each team member contributes to the company’s goals.
The health metrics never change, but how teams spend their time can. By discussing the leading actions of each department, we set and correct behaviors.

Related: 3 Steps to Help Employees Understand Your Objectives and Expectations

3. Actions v. goals

ActionSTAT distinguishes between how people spend their time (leading actions) and lagging indicators (goals defined by metrics). This is crucial because companies that manage solely by objectives cannot address the behaviors that drive the outcomes.

If we want to lose weight, jumping on the scale everyday won’t change anything. What we eat and how much we exercise will. The same applies to companies. If we measure lagging indicators but not the activities that influence them, we will not identify what works.

Every ActionSTAT becomes a chance to refine leading actions. If we wait one full year to evaluate an employee, we see if she hit the metrics, but we cannot correct behaviors along the way. Performance management is about continuously identifying the actions that produce desirable outcomes.

A thing of the past
Every tech company wants to be “agile,” but traditional employee reviews hinder that culture. Annual reviews exhaust managers and stress out employees who might have spent months working tirelessly — in the wrong direction. Neither the company nor the employee can afford to wait a year for the feedback.

Today, people choose work environments where they can learn continuously and understand how their actions contribute to the company’s success. Annual reviews are thing of the past.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/305997