Write the Empathetic Job Postings that Candidates Need in 2020

The way job postings are written has to evolve to meet the new needs of candidates.
Job postings need to be informative, but remember to keep your target audience in mind.
Focusing on tangible project and work experience over years of experience can be helpful in attracting the right fit.
There’s a good day, and then there’s a pandemic good day. Let me explain. Every time I start a call, the first words out of someone’s mouth are, “How are you?” After years of networking, my business reflexes automatically say, “Good! You?” That usually prompts a round of pleasantries, and then we roll right into the business topic.

But I have to reveal a little secret. I don’t trust anyone that’s just “good” right now. If you can say you’re good without admitting that anything — the pandemic, the economy, racial injustice, etc. — is getting to you? I think you’re a robot, not a human.

The context of current events, social movements, and health concerns are influencing how people think about everything. Significant life milestones are muffled by the roar of reality, masks, and social distancing. The difficulties of finding a job are magnified as over 35 million people search at once. There’s no moment in our lifetimes that would compare.

We’re six months in, and studies are starting to confirm our suspicions: everything has changed, especially our mental health. Since the beginning of the pandemic, lower psychological well-being and higher anxiety and depression are showing up across every age group. It will be a decade or more before we know the actual impact on our children’s development.

How Does the Pandemic Impact a Job Seeker’s POV?
I imagine any study on the psychology of the job search right now would see an even higher rate of depression and anxiety. When I speak to job seekers, they often say the odds are stacked against them. “Why should I even try?”

It breaks my heart, and I know job postings do little to encourage them to keep going. Most are full of clichés that say a lot without saying anything at all. In some cases, they’re so bad that it feels like they’re mocking us. “Optimistic, fast-paced, hard-working, high-performer” is a real kick in the teeth when you struggle to get out of bed every day. The world has changed, and recruiting should too, especially when we know this world is not being kind to people.

When I teach people how to write empathetic job postings, I insist they memorize only one thing: we write for people, not about work. If we’re genuinely writing for people knowing everything we do about the world today, we will dump the buzzwords. We will go out of our way to be precise. We will try harder.

3 Ways to Inject Empathy into Your Job Postings
Stop using years of experience. There are more talented people on the market looking for new roles than ever before. Don’t limit your talent pool by creating frivolous years of experience. Write about real projects and work experiences that would prepare a person for this role.
Be explicit about location details. There’s a lot of uncertainty about remote work, safety, and kids going back to school. Every topic takes a toll on the job seeker and becomes another variable in their ability to thrive. They are looking for answers. Add content to your empathetic job posting about your workforce’s remote status, the economic stability of your company, and the programs you offer to support teams.
Go the extra mile — especially for high volume, low retention roles. Be extra helpful. You don’t need a laundry list of requirements, so use that real estate in your empathetic job posting to mention a monthly QA session with recruiters or add a tip on how to optimize the resume. Tell people how to succeed, not just  the job.
While you still need to follow the rules of writing a great job posting, we always have to consider the context of a candidate’s life. Right now, the world is changing, and it’s influencing every aspect of our lives. Job postings and hiring are no exception to that shift.

Source : https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=14481989&article-title=write-the-empathetic-job-postings-that-candidates-need-in-2020&blog-domain=ultimatesoftware.com&blog-title=ultimate-software

What’s the Difference Between Employee Satisfaction and Employee Engagement?

What Is Employee Satisfaction?
Satisfaction is a measure of the discrepancy between what’s expected and what actually happens. That expectation comes from comparing needs and wants to an assessment of what’s realistically possible—for example, if you need food and you want lobster, but you’re served a hamburger, you’ve fulfilled the need for food, but your satisfaction depends on your ability to align your desire for lobster with the reality of the burger. Employee satisfaction is the fulfillment of expectations related to employment. So if your needs, wants, and assessment of what’s fair in the market lead you to expect a salary of $50,000, anything less will be unsatisfactory.

But compensation is only one of many factors that determine satisfaction. Employee satisfaction is determined by an employee’s emotional and analytical assessment of their entire situation, and to what degree an employee feels satisfied depends on how their expectations align with what they actually experience. That experience includes elements like communication, recognition, career development, workplace atmosphere, perks, and much more, not to mention actual compensation.

In the end, the smaller the discrepancy between expectation and reality, the more satisfaction employees are likely to feel about their jobs. In that sense, it’s also a measure of security; high satisfaction can create feelings of stability and safety, lower stress, discourage job-hunting, and at best, allow employees to focus on work with less distraction. Meanwhile, dissatisfaction breeds uncertainty, apathy, and resentment; unsatisfied employees are less loyal, less likely to recommend their employer to job-seeking friends, and less motivated to give their best effort at work.

It’s easy to see, then, why employee satisfaction is an important component of a good employer/employee relationship, and why employers should be invested in both measuring and maintaining it. But satisfaction is only one part of the story.

What Is Employee Engagement?
If employee satisfaction is the feeling of contentment that an employee gets out of a job, employee engagement might be most easily expressed as what motivates an employee to put effort into their job. It’s related to employee satisfaction in the same way love and happiness are related; both are feelings, often coexistent and causally connected, but while happiness and satisfaction are internal, love and engagement involve a relationship. In other words, in order to love or be engaged, you need something (or someone) to love or be engaged with.

In that way, employee engagement encompasses much more than the idea of satisfaction, and in fact, the concept of employee engagement is literally and philosophically a step beyond that of job or employee satisfaction: psychologists seeking a better term than “job satisfaction” to describe the employer/employee relationship examined additional factors like motivation, interest, enthusiasm, involvement, etc. and arrived at the word “engagement” as the cumulative term for all of these ideas.

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Like satisfaction, engagement arrives from not one, but multiple sources; the drivers of engagement are often complex and multifaceted in themselves, and engagement is never the result of one thing. And while some of these drivers are external, others, like the personal wants and needs that help determine satisfaction, depend on the individual themselves. Engagement experts’ opinions vary on to what degree, but all of the following elements have a significant impact on an employee’s engagement level:

Resources – whether what’s provided is sufficient to get the job done
Expectations – how clearly the employee understands what is required of them
Feedback – how clearly and consistently work is evaluated
Recognition – how the organization rewards success
Compensation – how fairly the organization pays employees compared to market rates
Importance – how valuable the employee feels their contribution is to the organization
Purpose – how the employee feels they are contributing to society as a whole
Camaraderie – how connected an employee feels to their coworkers
The Relationship Between Satisfaction and Engagement
Confused yet? It’s easy to see why, because while the two ideas are related, and in some ways very similar, they are also critically different. Satisfied employees can be complacent and unproductive if they aren’t engaged in their work. Likewise, otherwise engaged employees may become unproductive and disengaged if they are unsatisfied with their employer.

The point is, employee satisfaction doesn’t equate to employee engagement, and you need both to get the best performance out of your workforce. Assuming otherwise has led many companies down an expensive path to a confusing destination, because achieving one of these without the other doesn’t produce the kind of results they are seeking.

How does this happen? Here are some classic examples of where organizations come up short:

Over-prioritizing perks – when companies focus on perks like free food, game rooms, and creature comforts without paying attention to real engagement issues like career development or alignment
Undercompensation – when the work may be rewarding, feedback is constructive, and work atmosphere is positive, but compensation lags behind the market or creates financial concerns for employees
Overcompensation – when excessive pay attracts the kind of employees who are only motivated to do the bare minimum required to earn a paycheck
Unclear expectations – when a lack of direction leaves highly motivated, fairly compensated employees feeling frustrated and unsure of their value
Career stagnation – when employees are satisfied and engaged in their current roles, but have no clear path to advancement or skill development/diversification
Any of the above could result in exactly the kind of negative outcomes we’re told can be avoided by focusing on job satisfaction: undesirable turnover, poor productivity, low morale, and hiring and retention problems, to name a few.

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Creating Satisfaction Through Engagement
Both employee satisfaction and employee engagement are steps to a more important goal—developing a workforce of loyal, productive, and happy employees. Developing both the right way means starting with engagement. Rather than looking at one area to increase satisfaction, such as higher compensation or creating workplace camaraderie, step back and examine all the factors that influence the employer/employee relationship and focus on strengthening that bond holistically. Ask questions, seek feedback, and increase communication about initiatives or changes that come out of those discussions. Make sure that you are addressing employee needs and resources and communicating a vision for the company that makes it easy for employees to find alignment. Train managers to deliver clear expectations and consistent, constructive feedback. Constantly promote your company values and ensure they are exemplified at every level. In short, focus on culture, first and foremost and at all costs.

How to Gain Insight Through Employee Satisfaction
If you can accomplish all of the things mentioned in the previous section, you’ll be building employee satisfaction for the right reasons. That kind of satisfaction not only brings stability to your workforce, but also allows you to unlock an invaluable asset: employee satisfaction data as an indicator of engagement. This is the hidden benefit you create by prioritizing engagement over employee satisfaction; by increasing the likelihood that the latter is a result of the former, you make satisfaction—which is measurable through survey tools and performance reviews—a KPI.

If there’s one advancement in business strategy that’s gained a lot of attention in the last five years, it’s the idea of measuring employee engagement. But the differences between employee satisfaction and employee engagement aren’t immediately visible or even easy to explain (as this article clearly shows). However, if you take the time to study both concepts in depth, you’ll soon appreciate how being able to identify the origins of satisfaction and engagement within your workforce opens the door to valuable insights about your organization, its people, and its performance.

Source : https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=14439982&article-title=what-s-the-difference-between-employee-satisfaction-and-employee-engagement-&blog-domain=bamboohr.com&blog-title=bamboohr

Turning Career Caterpillars Into Butterflies

The COVID-19 crisis threw gasoline on many gradual but groundbreaking shifts in the employment market. Career paths are not as static as they were before, with workers driven (or forced) to move into alternative spheres. According to recent studies, over half of workers are looking to switch career paths in the near future.

The pandemic has made the existing trend towards reskilling more urgent, especially within small to medium sized businesses, and businesses in traditionally ‘non-tech’ industries. Entreprises of all types are searching for talent that can pivot quickly, be it to resilience strategies or to emerging technical skills that will keep them on top of the wave of digital transformation.

At the same time, layoffs and furloughs have created a burgeoning pool of new candidates looking to obtain skills in order to fit into the changing market demand, and to broaden personal horizons.

Startups and larger enterprises alike can capitalize on the reskilling wave to transform their businesses for the better, but to do so it is imperative that traditional notions of job roles are torn down. Formulaic job descriptions demanding specific qualifications should be replaced by a call for creative, collaborative, adaptable people who can steer you through uncharted waters. Even if those people come from totally unexpected career backgrounds.

Here are a few key advice on how your business can support career shifters in a mutually beneficial way:
Understand What Motivates Career Shifting and Reskilling
People coming into your startup from different career backgrounds can be incredibly rewarding, breaking the rigidity of your thought processes and connecting you to other industry areas. It is important for business leaders to be aware of why people make the decision to change career paths or develop new skill sets.

Career shifting happens for two major reasons: external reasons, such as technological unemployment or layoffs; and internal, including personal burnout or the desire for a more flexible schedule.

Career shifting has become a growing trend across industries. In general terms, essential skills are only optimal for around five years. And studies show that 9 out of 10 executives see current or future skill gaps in their workforce.

Today, unemployment is rising, but the technology industry has been less impacted than many. In fact, there has been a growing demand for technological solutions to get through the pandemic, from healthcare to food delivery tech.

In this context, many will be considering shifting careers to cover the growing demand for tech workers and other niches opened up by the pandemic.

On a more individual level, changing things up is considered fundamental to people’s professional and personal wellbeing. Sticking to the same career path indefinitely can actually stop you from stepping into higher thought leadership roles, pursuing a more fulfilling lifestyle, making more money and, importantly – making the most of all of your skills (or even your best ones).

Supporting people’s personal wellbeing should be all the more compelling to employers given current pressures. An unhappy hire will not fare well in today’s isolated and unbalanced environment, while a content, ambitious one will help you towards greener pastures rather than leave you for them.

So if we know reskilling is a future necessity, isn’t the path forward clear? Far from it, but the first step is to start talking more about skills and less about roles.
Distinguish Between ‘Roles’ and ‘Skills’ Needed for the New Normal
The “critical” qualities needed in an employee today are inherently different from a year ago. Before, the focus was on staff meeting strategic market and product goals. Now, it’s all about safeguarding essential processes, being resilient and adaptable.

As such, when you’re filling employment gaps, the actual job title has become less relevant than the skills you need to attract. How can you put out a job ad for “COVID-19 crisis strategist”? You can’t. Open job positions need to be presented as problems that need solving. And candidates need to be evaluated less by their professional stripes and more by their soft skills and personal qualities.

You may well find your ideal candidate comes from a completely different background to those you’ve traditionally sourced from. Imagine you need a business strategist to turn your company around and tap into new markets. What if the best person for the job is a psychology researcher, who knows how to gauge the personalities and wants of different consumer groups, rather than a former marketing director who may be limited by their conventional work background?
How to Attract the Right Talent for You
Now, how can you actually be certain a career shifter is right for you if you can’t rely on traditional indicators like previous job roles or education?

The best approach is to shake things up. Go beyond (or disregard) CVs.

Top job candidates should be able to offer you an alternative showcase – from portfolios to websites, vlogs and other digital platforms. Throughout the recruitment stage you should endeavor to discover how their skills have been put into action. In interviews, discuss how they’ve been able to overcome adverse situations, and what strategies they’ve used to deal with the past few months. Try and determine how quickly they adjust and pick up skills – abilities they’ll need to adopt a new job role.

Other skills you should be looking out for in today’s climate are the interpersonal skills that will help keep remote teams unified: that includes empathy but also, for example, experience in long-distance communication.

While it’s easy enough to lie or leave details out of a CV, such questions will get straight to the heart of whether or not they fit your company, regardless of where they went to school or how many years they’ve been in the industry. Our own vision is that eventually CVs will be scrapped altogether for skills-based evaluations.
Show You’re a Cut Above the Rest
As an employer, you have the responsibility of selling your business to the right candidates – they won’t just flood in because times are tough. Today’s employees are more adamant about workplaces supporting their wellbeing, career development, on-the-job education, and flexibility.. And with companies on low budgets, they have to advertise more than their paychecks.

Nurture employee development by offering educational options to staff, from group tutoring to inviting experts to give workshops and tutorials. Integrate mentor schemes where employees shadow staff or even executives in other job areas which may be a better fit. If you’re hiring a reskiller, chances are they’ll want to upskill or reskill in future.

Your actual job advertisements have to reflect all of the above. Stop alienating candidates with predetermined criteria you may as well have copy and pasted from a generic HR manual. That means checklists of degrees, years of experience, hard skills and tools

Consider fashioning a job ad that actively calls out for career shifters. Advertise how your business can support their potential to grow into thought leadership positions. Use your team page and social media to highlight the presence of any career shifters on your existing staff, showing your company is already forward thinking in this respect.

Companies of all sizes are starting to embrace the reality of the new job market – this reskilling revolution is not going to fizzle out after the pandemic. If you’re able to make it a fixture of your long-term strategy, you’ll be tapping into a much broader skill set that will enrich your company now and in future.

Source: https://www.hr.com/en/magazines/training_development_excellence_essentials/september_2020_training_development_excellence/turning-career-caterpillars-into-butterflies_kemulv9k.html

Why emotionally healthy leaders will rule the world

Dr. Emily Anhalt, clinical psychologist and cofounder and chief clinical officer of Coa, was born and raised in Silicon Valley, and thought she knew the people there well. But only after enrolling at the Wright Institute for her doctorate in psychology did she begin to understand the emotions that motivated the business leaders of Silicon Valley to start new companies and risk everything for a new business.

Dr. Anhalt spent two years interviewing more than 100 psychologists and entrepreneurs and asked them: How would you know if you were sitting across from an emotionally healthy person? She synthesized the responses and eventually landed on seven traits that embody emotional fitness:

Since then, Dr. Anhalt has looked at how these seven traits affect the culture of a company and ultimately strengthen customer relations. Salesforce caught up with her last month to learn more about her work, which, amid an ongoing coronavirus pandemic and bubbling social unrest, is more timely than ever. Here is a summary of that conversation in Dr. Anhalt’s words, edited for clarity.

Why it’s important for leaders to take emotional care of themselves

A leader is a lot like a parent. Employees look up to them to understand the ethos and culture of a company, and any issues or struggles that they haven’t worked through themselves are going to leak out into the company and onto the employees. Of course, the structure and culture of the company is important, but I’d argue that it’s actually the way the leaders exemplify that culture that is going to make a difference about whether people step into it or not.

Really emotionally fit leaders tend to foster and attract really emotionally fit employees. And emotionally fit employees create emotionally fit products. And emotionally fit products increase emotional fitness in customers. I think there are huge and positive implications for society as a whole that really starts with the people at the top of these big companies doing this kind of self-work.

Taking a closer look at this ripple effect

I worked with a founder who tended to set impossibly harsh standards for himself. And when he inevitably didn’t reach those impossible standards, he was really hard on himself. I first noticed that he talked about how everyone in his company was exhausted and unhappy, but he didn’t understand why, because he felt like he was taking on such a burden of the work himself—he was trying to almost protect his company from having that same kind of burden.

But what he came to understand, through a lot of introspection and hard work, was that without even realizing it, he was instilling a similar kind of energy and expectation in the company. The idea was: Your best is never good enough, right? People saw the way he treated himself and sort of thought, “Okay, well I guess that’s how I’m supposed to be at this company.” And it was just burning everyone out.

As he started to change that within himself, it created the space and permission for other people to feel good about their work and to celebrate their wins and to feel like they could set realistic standards for themselves. There’s all kinds of really deep ways that leaders, without realizing it, are projecting out to everyone what the expectation is. And if they don’t have an understanding of it within themselves, they’re not going to have a good handle on it within their organizations.

On continually shifting business strategy in pursuit of the next shiny object

When I look at what the seven traits of an emotionally fit culture are, one of them is stability and integrity. If you think about it, stability and integrity are psychologically important to us from the time that we’re babies. We have to take our nap at the same time every day. And when you think about any kind of startup, especially at a tech startup, everything is changing so constantly and rapidly that if you don’t have some things that feel stable and some things to count on, it’s an unsustainable and overwhelming environment.

Sure, in these environments, the product is changing, and the team is changing. The entire mission statement and direction of the company might also be changing. What can you keep sturdy so that people have some kind of tent pole to hold on to, as they’re navigating the constant change around them?

Thoughts on McKinsey’s finding that interpersonal skills, empathy, and social skills are in demand

I’d almost suggest that the demand to have interpersonally competent leaders and coworkers has always been there. There’s been this huge awakening to how important meeting that demand is and how connected meeting that demand is to the bottom line. Business, essentially at its core, is just a series of relationships. The quality of relationships you have in a business directly affect how successful that business is. And this concept of emotional fitness, really when you look at it, it’s all about how to improve your relationships with yourself and everyone you interact with.

How work has changed in the face of a pandemic

Firstly, at Coa, the startup I founded, we’ve seen a 900% increase in the requests for mental health services and support from our customers, just since March. And I think there’s just a lot of realization that when totally unexpected, difficult things like this happen, people who already had some emotional fitness practice in place tend to handle things differently.

These are highly emotional times. There’s the logistical nightmare for businesses right now of: “Are we going to run out of runway?” and “Do we have to cancel that conference?” And “Hiring is more complicated,” and “What do we do with remote work?”

That’s all true, but underneath all of that is a whole lot of emotional stuff—of grieving, and of people readjusting, and things not being what we thought they were going to be, and of family members getting sick. And there’s just so much emotional stuff here that I think leaders who have a handle on dealing with emotional issues are going to have a huge leg up in terms of handling the logistical, unexpected difficulties that we’re all seeing.

A POV on whether customers can sense if a company is emotionally fit

My belief is yes. Think of any kind of customer service. Customer service at its core is building good relationships that have trust, where someone feels taken care of, and where they feel like their needs are intuited and met. A company that’s figured out how to do that for themselves and each other is going to be much better equipped to do that for their customers. They’re going to have worked that into their product.

For example, my partner is a product designer and his work is where design and psychology meet. A lot of what he has to figure out is how a person is going to feel about this feature and is what they need going to be there for them at that moment. And so, him doing his own work on himself to understand what he needs and how to meet those needs is going to put him in a much better position to put that into the product, which will then be much better for the customer.

Salesforce asked Dr. Anhalt to illustrate what an emotionally fit workplace looks like. What characteristics does it have, and what tenets need to be upheld? She came up with seven characteristics of the emotionally fit workplace.

Healthy leadership. It is the core of everything. I promise you that if leaders are telling people to do something and they’re not doing it themselves, other people aren’t going to do it either. How many companies have unlimited vacation policies where the executives never take a day of vacation?
Culture of agency and trust. Organizations must empower people to be clear about what they need to succeed at work. Don’t be afraid to ask your employees questions: Do you like to be praised in public or in private? What time of day do you do your best work? When you’re upset, what do you tend to need? Do you like space? Do you like company? Do flowers cheer you up? Do you tend to communicate best verbally or through written form? We’re trying to create an environment where people feel like they have agency and can ask for what they need.
Culture of play. Play is hugely undervalued in the workplace. It increases creativity, and builds culture, community, and trust—but it’s vulnerable. When you play, your guard tends to come down naturally, which is scary for people who work hard to keep their guards up. Leaders have to show that it’s okay. It’s okay to be playful.
Community and belonging. All kinds of research shows that people will go to incredible lengths to support and defend a group that they feel truly accepted in and a part of. That’s what you want for your company. You want people who would do anything for their company because they believe in its mission—not because they think they have to. This is where diversity and inclusion initiatives come into play too—to give more people the opportunity to feel community and belonging at work.
Proactive mindset. You need to foster an environment where problems are fixed before they become bigger problems. This might include things like structured ongoing feedback and not waiting until someone’s really unhappy to ask how they’re doing. At Coa, I like to do Feelings Friday, where I ask, “What’s a moment I felt supported this week? And what’s the moment I felt a little dropped or unsupported this week?” We clear up miscommunications. We make sure that we do better next week.
Stability and integrity. Employees need to feel like there are some things they can count on; that there is some kind of ritual structure. This can look even like cultural or social events in a company, certain annual perks, a weekly happy hour. Whatever it might be, having some ritual is important.
Communication and transparency. Employees should feel empowered to voice what’s on their mind without colleagues getting defensive, and that people will hear you non-defensively. And also that you trust that people are telling you what’s on their mind and that you’re not constantly having to guess what people really think and feel about you and your work.
In addition to the seven characteristics of an emotionally fit company, Dr. Anhalt recommended a few things that business leaders can start on immediately on their journey toward emotional fitness.

Get therapy! The one I recommend the most is getting into therapy. It’s so profound how much you will learn about yourself and how much you will realize that you have so much more agency over the way things are going in your life than you thought.
Solicit feedback early and often. Make sure you have a sense of how you’re being perceived and what you could do better and what people need from you.
Build support for mental health and emotional fitness into company benefits. You should have mental health days and insurance that actually covers therapy. Do the Emotional Fitness Survey, do Feelings Friday. Show people that you care about these things, and you’ll learn a lot about what it is that people need.
Offer workshops and training on emotional fitness. This should happen as often as you would offer workshops and training on any hard skill. All of our classes right now are online and free, and they’re all facilitated by licensed therapists. We cover how to be a better ally during this time, leading through uncertainty, and mental health at work. Support your team in learning these things. It is like a muscle: The more you work it out, the stronger it will be.

Source : https://brand-studio.fortune.com/salesforce/why-emotionally-healthy-leaders-will-rule-the-world/?prx_t=SAgGAoCRGAovEQA

Six problem-solving mindsets for very uncertain times

 

Six mutually reinforcing approaches underly their success: (1) being ever-curious about every element of a problem; (2) being imperfectionists, with a high tolerance for ambiguity; (3) having a “dragonfly eye” view of the world, to see through multiple lenses; (4) pursuing occurrent behavior and experimenting relentlessly; (5) tapping into the collective intelligence, acknowledging that the smartest people are not in the room; and (6) practicing “show and tell” because storytelling begets action (exhibit).

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As any parent knows, four-year-olds are unceasing askers. Think of the never-ending “whys” that make little children so delightful—and relentless. For the very young, everything is new and wildly uncertain. But they’re on a mission of discovery, and they’re determined to figure things out. And they’re good at it! That high-energy inquisitiveness is why we have high shelves and childproof bottles.

When you face radical uncertainty, remember your four-year-old or channel the four-year-old within you. Relentlessly ask, “Why is this so?” Unfortunately, somewhere between preschool and the boardroom, we tend to stop asking. Our brains make sense of massive numbers of data points by imposing patterns that have worked for us and other humans in the past. That’s why a simple technique, worth employing at the beginning of problem solving, is simply to pause and ask why conditions or assumptions are so until you arrive at the root of the problem.1
Natural human biases in decision making, including confirmation, availability, and anchoring biases, often cause us to shut down the range of solutions too early.2 Better—and more creative—solutions come from being curious about the broader range of potential answers.

One simple suggestion from author and economist Caroline Webb to generate more curiosity in team problem solving is to put a question mark behind your initial hypotheses or first-cut answers. This small artifice is surprisingly powerful: it tends to encourage multiple solution paths and puts the focus, correctly, on assembling evidence. We also like thesis/antithesis, or red team/blue team, sessions, in which you divide a group into opposing teams that argue against the early answers—typically, more traditional conclusions that are more likely to come from a conventional pattern. Why is this solution better? Why not that one? We’ve found that better results come from embracing uncertainty. Curiosity is the engine of creativity.

We have to be comfortable with estimating probabilities to make good decisions, even when these guesses are imperfect. Unfortunately, we have truckloads of evidence showing that human beings aren’t good intuitive statisticians.

2. Tolerate ambiguity—and stay humble!
When we think of problem solvers, many of us tend to picture a poised and brilliant engineer. We may imagine a mastermind who knows what she’s doing and approaches a problem with purpose. The reality, though, is that most good problem solving has a lot of trial and error; it’s more like the apparent randomness of rugby than the precision of linear programming. We form hypotheses, porpoise into the data, and then surface and refine (or throw out) our initial guess at the answer. This above all requires an embrace of imperfection and a tolerance for ambiguity—and a gambler’s sense of probabilities.

The real world is highly uncertain. Reality unfolds as the complex product of stochastic events and human reactions. The impact of COVID-19 is but one example: we address the health and economic effects of the disease, and their complex interactions, with almost no prior knowledge. We have to be comfortable with estimating probabilities to make good decisions, even when these guesses are imperfect. Unfortunately, we have truckloads of evidence showing that human beings aren’t good intuitive statisticians. Guesses based on gut instinct can be wildly wrong. That’s why one of the keys to operating in uncertain environments is epistemic humility, which Erik Angner defines as “the realization that our knowledge is always provisional and incomplete—and that it might require revision in light of new evidence.”3
Recent research shows that we are better at solving problems when we think in terms of odds rather than certainties.4 For example, when the Australian research body Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), which owned a core patent on the wireless internet protocol, sought royalties from major companies, it was initially rebuffed. The CSIRO bet that it could go to court to protect its intellectual property because it estimated that it needed only 10 percent odds of success for this to be a good wager, given the legal costs and likely payoff. It improved its odds by picking the weakest of the IP violators and selecting a legal jurisdiction that favored plaintiffs. This probabilistic thinking paid off and eventually led to settlements to CSIRO exceeding $500 million.5 A tolerance for ambiguity and a willingness to play the odds helped the organization feel its way to a good solution path.

To embrace imperfectionism with epistemic humility, start by challenging solutions that imply certainty. You can do that in the nicest way by asking questions such as “What would we have to believe for this to be true?” This brings to the surface implicit assumptions about probabilities and makes it easier to assess alternatives. When uncertainty is high, see if you can make small moves or acquire information at a reasonable cost to edge out into a solution set. Perfect knowledge is in short supply, particularly for complex business and societal problems. Embracing imperfection can lead to more effective problem solving. It’s practically a must in situations of high uncertainty, such as the beginning of a problem-solving process or during an emergency.

Good problem solving typically involves designing experiments to reduce key uncertainties. Each move provides additional information and builds capabilities.

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3. Take a dragonfly-eye view
Dragonfly-eye perception is common to great problem solvers. Dragonflies have large, compound eyes, with thousands of lenses and photoreceptors sensitive to different wavelengths of light. Although we don’t know exactly how their insect brains process all this visual information, by analogy they see multiple perspectives not available to humans. The idea of a dragonfly eye taking in 360 degrees of perception6 is an attribute of “superforecasters”—people, often without domain expertise, who are the best at forecasting events.

Think of this as widening the aperture on a problem or viewing it through multiple lenses. The object is to see beyond the familiar tropes into which our pattern-recognizing brains want to assemble perceptions. By widening the aperture, we can identify threats or opportunities beyond the periphery of vision.

Consider the outbreak of HIV in India in the early 1990s—a major public-health threat. Ashok Alexander, director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s India Aids Initiative, provided a brilliant example of not just vision but also dragonfly vision. Facing a complex social map with a rapidly increasing infection rate, he widened the problem’s definition, from a traditional epidemiological HIV transmission model at known “hot spots,” to one in which sex workers facing violence were made the centerpiece.

This approach led to the “Avahan solution,” which addressed a broader set of leverage points by including the sociocultural context of sex work. The solution was rolled out to more than 600 communities and eventually credited with preventing 600,000 infections. The narrow medical perspective was sensible and expected, but it didn’t tap into the related issue of violence against sex workers, which yielded a richer solution set. Often, a secret unlocks itself only when one looks at a problem from multiple perspectives, including some that initially seem orthogonal.

The secret to developing a dragonfly-eye view is to “anchor outside” rather than inside when faced with problems of uncertainty and opportunity. Take the broader ecosystem as a starting point. That will encourage you to talk with customers, suppliers, or, better yet, players in a different but related industry or space. Going through the customer journey with design-thinking in mind is another powerful way to get a 360-degree view of a problem. But take note: when decision makers face highly constrained time frames or resources, they may have to narrow the aperture and deliver a tight, conventional answer.

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4. Pursue occurrent behavior
Occurrent behavior is what actually happens in a time and place, not what was potential or predicted behavior. Complex problems don’t give up their secrets easily. But that shouldn’t deter problem solvers from exploring whether evidence on the facets of a solution can be observed, or running experiments to test hypotheses. You can think of this approach as creating data rather than just looking for what has been collected already. It’s critical for new market entry—or new market creation. It also comes in handy should you find that crunching old data is leading to stale solutions.

Most of the problem-solving teams we are involved with have twin dilemmas of uncertainty and complexity, at times combined as truly “wicked problems.”7 For companies ambitious to win in the great unknown in an emerging segment—such as electric cars or autonomous vehicles, where the market isn’t fully established—good problem solving typically involves designing experiments to reduce key uncertainties, not just relying on existing data. Each move (such as buying IP or acquiring a component supplier) and each experiment (including on-road closed tests) not only provides additional information to make decisions but also builds capabilities and assets that support further steps. Over time, their experiments, including alliances and acquisitions, come to resemble staircases that lead to either the goal or to abandonment of the goal. Problem-solving organizations can “bootstrap” themselves into highly uncertain new spaces, building information, foundational assets, and confidence as they take steps forward.

Risk-embracing problem solvers find a solution path by constantly experimenting. Statisticians use the abbreviation EVPI—the expected value of perfect information—to show the value of gaining additional information that typically comes from samples and experiments, such as responses to price changes in particular markets. A/B testing is a powerful tool for experimenting with prices, promotions, and other features and is particularly useful for digital marketplaces and consumer goods. Online marketplaces make A/B testing easy. Yet most conventional markets also offer opportunities to mimic the market’s segmentation and use it to test different approaches.

The mindset required to be a restless experimenter is consistent with the notion in start-ups of “failing fast.” It means that you get product and customer affirmation or rejection quickly through beta tests and trial offerings. Don’t take a lack of external data as an impediment—it may actually be a gift, since purchasable data is almost always from a conventional way of meeting needs, and is available to your competitors too. Your own experiments allow you to generate your own data; this gives you insights that others don’t have. If it is difficult (or unethical) to experiment, look for the “natural experiments” provided by different policies in similar locations. An example would be to compare outcomes in twin cities, such as Minneapolis–St. Paul.

It’s a mistake to think that your team has the smartest people in the room. They aren’t there. They’re invariably somewhere else. Nor do they need to be there if you can access their intelligence via other means.

5. Tap into collective intelligence and the wisdom of the crowd
Chris Bradley, a coauthor of Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick,8 observed that “it’s a mistake to think that on your team you have the smartest people in the room. They aren’t there. They’re invariably somewhere else.”9 Nor do they need to be there if you can access their intelligence via other means. In an ever-changing world where conditions can evolve unpredictably, crowdsourcing invites the smartest people in the world to work with you. For example, in seeking a machine-learning algorithm to identify fish catch species and quantities on fishing boats, the Nature Conservancy (TNC) turned to Kaggle and offered a $150,000 prize for the best algorithm. This offer attracted 2,293 teams from all over the world. TNC now uses the winning algorithm to identify fish types and sizes caught on fishing boats in Asia to protect endangered Pacific tuna and other species.

Crowdsourced problem solving is familiar in another guise: benchmarking. When Sir Rod Carnegie was CEO of Conzinc Riotinto Australia (CRA), he was concerned about the costs of unscheduled downtime with heavy trucks, particularly those requiring tire changes. He asked his management team who was best in the world at changing tires; their answer was Formula One, the auto racing competition. A team traveled to the United Kingdom to learn best practice for tire changes in racetrack pits and then implemented what it learned thousands of miles away, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The smartest team for this problem wasn’t in the mining industry at all.

Of course, while crowdsourcing can be useful when conventional thinking yields solutions that are too expensive or incomplete for the challenge at hand, it has its limitations. Good crowdsourcing takes time to set up, can be expensive, and may signal to your competitors what you are up to. Beware of hidden costs, such as inadvertently divulging information and having to sieve through huge volumes of irrelevant, inferior suggestions to find the rare gem of a solution.

Accept that it’s OK to draw on diverse experiences and expertise other than your own. Start with brainstorming sessions that engage people from outside your team. Try broader crowdsourcing competitions to generate ideas. Or bring in deep-learning talent to see what insights exist in your data that conventional approaches haven’t brought to light. The broader the circles of information you access, the more likely it is that your solutions will be novel and creative.

Rookie problem solvers show you their analytic process and math to convince you they are clever. Seasoned problem solvers show you differently.

6. Show and tell to drive action
We started our list of mindsets with a reference to children, and we return to children now, with “show and tell.” As you no doubt remember—back when you were more curious!—show and tell is an elementary-school activity. It’s not usually associated with problem solving, but it probably piqued your interest. In fact, this approach is critical to problem solving. Show and tell is how you connect your audience with the problem and then use combinations of logic and persuasion to get action.

The show-and-tell mindset aims to bring decision makers into a problem-solving domain you have created. A team from the Nature Conservancy, for instance, was presenting a proposal asking a philanthropic foundation to support the restoration of oyster reefs. Before the presentation, the team brought 17 plastic buckets of water into the boardroom and placed them around the perimeter. When the foundation’s staff members entered the room, they immediately wanted to know what the buckets were for. The team explained that oyster-reef restoration massively improves water quality because each oyster filters 17 buckets of water per day. Fish stocks improve, and oysters can also be harvested to help make the economics work. The decision makers were brought into the problem-solving domain through show and tell. They approved the funding requested and loved the physical dimension of the problem they were part of solving.

Rookie problem solvers show you their analytic process and mathematics to convince you that they are clever. That’s sometimes called APK, the anxious parade of knowledge. But seasoned problem solvers show you differently. The most elegant problem solving is that which makes the solution obvious. The late economist Herb Simon put it this way: “Solving a problem simply means representing it so as to make the solution transparent.”10
To get better at show and tell, start by being clear about the action that should flow from your problem solving and findings: the governing idea for change. Then find a way to present your logic visually so that the path to answers can be debated and embraced.  But don’t stop there. Spell out the risks of inaction, which often have a higher cost than imperfect actions have.

The mindsets of great problem solvers are just as important as the methods they employ. A mindset that encourages curiosity, embraces imperfection, rewards a dragonfly-eye view of the problem, creates new data from experiments and collective intelligence, and drives action through compelling show-and-tell storytelling creates radical new possibilities under high levels of unpredictability. Of course, these approaches can be helpful in a broad range of circumstances, but in times of massive uncertainty, they are essential.

Source : https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/six-problem-solving-mindsets-for-very-uncertain-times

Company wellbeing cannot just be an HR issue

Recent statistics from the ONS revealed that occurrences of depression in the UK had doubled since the start of the year. Our Divided Together report found that one of the key places this is being felt is the workplace, with half of the UK workforce seeing its mental health decline in the last few months.

Mental health issues have reached such extreme levels that health professionals have started to predict that mental illness will be the next pandemic. The widespread nature of this problem shows that helping employees confront and deal with mental health challenges can no longer be confined to the HR team. It has to be on the company-wide agenda and demands support from across the board.
This high-level approach is needed not just because of the sheer percentages of employees affected – our Divided Together found that 72% of HR leaders say employees have reported at least one issue since lockdown – but because this is a widespread issue at all levels, including the boardroom and the CEO.

And finally, there is the impact it has on business performance.

During the recession of 2008, the number of businesses wanting to create wellbeing strategies started to increase. Why? Because these strategies, as a recent study from the London School of Economics found, can help improve retention, satisfaction, productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism.

Productivity speaks for itself and rising absences have a significant impact on this. As the average UK company with 150 employees spends £120,000 a year on absence, this is a big area for concern. When combined with presenteeism – a growing issue where employees are working but are not happy and struggling to concentrate – the cost to the UK economy is estimated to be £81 billion a year.

To put this into perspective, such a figure would more than adequately cover the estimated cost of furlough (£69bn) if it ran in full to the end of October.

Needing a tailored approach to wellbeing

Realisation is one thing, action is another. We know that a blanket approach to mental health is not the right thing to do. Unsurprisingly, there are different experiences of this issue for different people.

Furloughed workers and those with children have been hit the hardest. Some 56% of those on furlough had noticed a decline in mental health and two thirds (66%) of furloughed parents felt their mental health decline during lockdown.

A tailored approach to individual preferences and needs is required from entry level to c-suite.

What are employees calling for?

Many employees want to see more assistance and flexibility from their employers. A third (35%) of employees want long-term changes to the way they work, 29% are seeking mental health support in the workplace and 28% are actively demanding extra wellbeing support.

These are big issues for companies to have to deal with. But with mental health deteriorating and a strong link being made between business performance and wellbeing this is not just about defeating mental illness, it is about growing from it.

We know that coronavirus will change business, and these figures show that one of those areas has to be the mental wellbeing of the workforce. But they also show that mental wellbeing is an issue affecting all departments and levels of a business.

As such, it can no longer be placed at the door of HR alone. Mental wellbeing affects the bottom line, the strength and stability of teams, the morale of employees and the ability of the company to grow in the present and the future. This has to be an issue that all of the business addresses because if we cannot help our teams recover mentally, then we cannot help our businesses recover financially.

Vicky Walker is head of people at Westfield Health

Source : https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/company-wellbeing-cannot-just-be-an-hr-issue-1

The Future of Work: Five Post-Pandemic Workforce Trends

As companies begin to move past the initial layoffs, lost business, and dislocation that came with the outset of the pandemic, they’re also wondering what’s next.

Our view is that companies are now moving to what many call the next normal. Organizations are navigating a return to the office, stepping up operations, and engaging more contingent workers. Workforce strategies and business plans all point to a post-quarantine environment.

But that’s not looking far enough ahead. As organizations consider the post-quarantine world, now is also the time to plan for the post-vaccine future. Success in that future will depend largely on how companies change their approach to the workforce based on lessons learned in the pandemic.

Many of those lessons come from the shift to working outside the office. How do we re-frame our view and seize new opportunities that remote work will afford? We see answers in five areas of change and opportunity: geography, cost control, data, competition, and engagement.

1. Geography: Removing Barriers to Talent for the Future of Work
The future of work conversation is now a priority for businesses. The rush toward digital transformation is happening now, changing the traditional, physically limiting methods of talent acquisition to anywhere recruiting and virtual on-boarding. Companies that faced a finite talent pool can now remove those guard rails by being bold and considering candidates in any geography.

woman on work teams callFor years, many studies showed productivity gains from remote work. By having an anywhere mentality, a company can tap into global networks of candidates for the work to be done. A remote strategy not only improves the ability to attract talent; it also boosts retention. As a result, many companies are thinking about new questions:

Depending on the job, do you care where work gets done? Many aspects of work where physical presence used to be required have proven to be negotiable as far as onsite demands. Has your organization revisited requirements for roles? The real impact of favorable remote work policies is increased access to talent who can do the work well.
Are you confident of remote work performance? Has moving your workforce into their homes given you confidence, or at least made you more comfortable that there will be productivity, even if you don’t see it? The pandemic’s forced remote work conditions gave companies more insight into how well people perform in a work-from-home situation.
Revisit your experience to determine where remote work delivered well and where it did not. In many cases, organizations will have confidence in performance for roles where they had none in the past.

2. Cost-Control: Remote Work Opens Creative Approaches to Spend Management
Broadened geography for talent can mean cost-savings or cost-containment opportunities. This cost factor is not just at the individual worker level; it is also about the total cost of engaging all flexible talent. Of course, the ability to tap into talent in various markets can help with costs. But there are more options. Specifically, two questions reveal areas of opportunity for improving a company’s workforce strategy:

Should you hire top talent or up-skill existing talent? In the past, companies had to build strategies based on recruiting conditions in their markets. If the talent or learning resources were unavailable, they had to adjust their approach in a reactive way. Now they have more control.

Today, the best strategy would be to exercise both options. An expanded geography to acquire talent, combined with anywhere-anytime learning, lets organizations balance hiring and developing new skills with their current talent.
How can you get work done differently? Many organizations realize almost any section of their business can be done remotely. Looking forward, they can now open the door to ask, “How can work itself be done differently?”
For example, companies can learn to leverage their strategy for managing Statement of Work (SOW) or Services Companies in new ways. They can put all of their non-employee spend under one umbrella of management rather than the many silos of engagement that commonly exist today. By doing this, you can control the quality of work being delivered, get a handle on costs, and identify new projects or tasks that may be best executed by SOW resources.

3. Data: Visibility and Transparency Become a Survival Tool
The pandemic has revealed the importance of data and analytics in leading a company through uncertain times. To promote a climate of calm, you need engaged leadership ready to respond in the right way. They need to deliver timely, accurate, assertive, clear, and consistent communication at all levels.

pointing at dataThat type of communication requires hard data, and the need for data extends to managing the flexible workforce. Transparency and visibility to all spend, and all workers, are more important than ever, and many companies struggled in the pandemic because they lacked that visibility. Consider the following questions about transparency to inform your workforce strategy in the future:

Does your tracking go beyond the numbers? At the beginning of the pandemic, it was impossible for some companies with unmanaged spend outside their MSP program to blast out messages to suppliers quickly or attempt to contact trace. Calculating invoice amounts at the time became irrelevant when someone asked, “How many non-employees are on assignment?” And many companies had little data on the workers they engaged through an SOW.

Companies that never considered these issues before now realize that what you don’t know can hurt you. Getting a handle on unmanaged spend and resources is something AGS can take on, complementing a current contingent workforce program to give a more holistic view of what it takes to keep moving forward.
Are you looking at information as an advantage? Data overload is no longer a burden. Access to data is an advantage if it can be analyzed and presented meaningfully to the right audiences. Companies need detailed visibility into what they are buying, who they are buying it from, and the outcomes they’re achieving. These needs shape the future of your contingent workforce strategy.
Going in eyes wide open to the business decisions your hiring leaders have made, and determining if you have leveraged the power of your investment in talent, is crucial to remaining on the offensive. Where and how is money being spent? What are the outcomes? Where can you improve? Every company needs to be able to answer these questions about every resource they engage.

4. Innovation: Competitive Advantage Comes in New Forms

The pandemic forced companies to act in ways no one wants to do. Sending teams home was not a choice, but it forced companies to get smart, quickly, about how to make remote work a core part of the business. Moving forward, organizations will have a better knowledge of what it takes to run the business reliably and efficiently while changing their strategy rapidly and effectively.

There is no single formula for change. Every company is different, but change will happen nonetheless. Consider the two directions your remote work strategy can take:

Remote work is growing in many organizations. Do you see it growing in yours? Along with Twitter, Facebook recently announced its plans to incorporate work-from-home into its long-term talent plan. Mark Zuckerberg went as far as to say that more than 50 percent of the workforce could be working from home permanently within 10 years. They are looking to leverage the change they had to make into a competitive advantage in the future.
Maybe you are going in the other direction. Think you’re alone? Then there’s Apple, which is taking a very different path. They want to continue to leverage their campus as a competitive advantage. They see the workspace, free food, gym, and other aspects of campus life as part of their DNA. A big part of their culture is about building the next big technology behind closed doors. The dynamic would change if everyone were remote.
What would it take to preserve the culture you need to grow? Can organizations plan now for a full physical presence? Even if the trends say otherwise, now is not the time to simply run with the crowd. Ask the real questions others are not asking. The payoff is a future where genuine action can boost real relationships with the great talent you need the most.

5. Worker Engagement: Intentional Good Becomes a Core Priority
Companies that were open, transparent, and intentional about what “good” means to their people will come out of the pandemic better. How well did organizations communicate and foster relationships in a virtual environment? How well did they empower their non-employee and internal talent to stay engaged with an unknown future ahead? Passively assuming the best wasn’t enough.

zoom callActive relationship-building made the difference during the quarantine, and it will continue to do so in the future. Consider questions about the worker experience that will influence engagement and relationships in the post-pandemic world:

Is your representation of the employer brand genuine? Attraction to your company is one thing, but keeping people on board and fully engaged — and not playing the field passively — is another. We know a strong and memorable web and social media presence can bolster a company’s brand for the non-employee worker and traditional employee alike.

In many cases, recent events compelled contractors and employees to become brand ambassadors — or critics. They shared experiences and feelings about how their organization related to them. Was the organization transparent? Were they treated humanely? Did they see their colleagues treated the same? A worker’s take on a company is multi-dimensional, and it can make or break an organization’s reputation on places like Glassdoor and Indeed.

Companies knew the importance of worker sentiment before the pandemic. Now, the attention on worker experience has elevated. A focused effort on sustaining communications and relationships is critical, especially in a remote work environment where an employer’s reputation is at stake.
Is quality of life a front-line objective? Finally, as corporations and their cultures evolve in this unforeseen global crisis, they cannot shy away from the quality-of-life conversation. It is on people’s minds more than ever.

Can someone integrate their work and life priorities in your company — for a career or even just a six-month assignment? Does the work being done contribute to their careers? Are you creating opportunities to train and advance their skills? Are you fostering a culture that makes lives better among workers and the community at large?
These questions cannot be answered passively. A company’s future relationship with its workers depends largely on the actions it takes today. Don’t put off those questions.

Source : https://blog.allegisglobalsolutions.com/the-future-of-work-5-post-pandemic-workforce-strategy-shifts

The Human in HR: Becoming People Centric Organizations to Drive Success

I have been working in HR for several years and I have always appreciated the way we are constantly reinventing our processes over time. We, as HR leaders, are always looking for new practices and initiatives to develop a better working environment and to fulfill business needs.

Some of us are still chasing a strategic position in management teams and establishing ways to measure how HR processes affect organizational performance and contribute to business results. While we are aiming to become a strategic and trusted partner for the business, one of the recent discussions in HR is how to humanize our organizations. The reason for this is that financial compensation alone is no longer enough to retain talent and create long-term commitment.

Professionals are seeking much more than a successful career, they are looking for meaningful jobs in humanized workplaces — where they perceive equal treatment and opportunities. Places where they feel included in decisions, which generate a feeling of belonging and where they feel openness to thrive and be creative. This is when employees feel safe at the workplace and are more likely to take risk.

Dave Ulrich mentioned many times that HR is not about HR, it is about the business and the value we deliver to any organization. It is worth mentioning, that his HR business partner model covers it very well. However, in addition to it, I would say HR is also about people. We are the ones delivering results (including HR) and making the business successful.

The People-Centric Organization
I strongly believe in the concept of a people-centric organization focused on employees in addition to customers. It is “in addition”, because it is not binary thinking, one or the other… I do believe we should also focus on our customers, replying to their needs, creating new business opportunities and promoting growth.

Taylorism or Fordism theories dictated that we should recruit, train and shape the employees to fit into the workplace. Unfortunately, some organizations still work in this way. However, when we study the ‘human factors’ in business, it is about creating people-centric systems, where this concept of “fit in” is no longer valid. Jan Dul, professor of technology and human factors at Rotterdam School of Management, explains: “Workplaces designed with people in mind, should be of great interest to any organization”, not only to solve ergonomic issues, but also because it helps to create an environment of trust and well-being.

When we describe a people-centric organization, we are saying that people come first. Indeed, putting people first means that we are committed to creating and maintaining a culture of caring and inclusiveness. It underlines that each employee at any level is equally important, not just because of their competencies and the contribution they give to the business, but as human beings.

Essentially, a people-centric organization emphasizes the “human” element of human resources. How leadership acts, the way we establish our relationships and the way we communicate in the organization has a direct impact on the business.

In my column, The Human in HR: How Soft Skills Win the Marketplace, I will reflect upon Emotional Intelligence (EI) and its impact in our lives. EI are the emotional abilities, studied and described by Daniel Goleman as the capacity we all have to lead our relationships and ourselves.

EI consists of four essential capabilities: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skills. Each capability, in turn, is composed of specific groups of competencies. In the table below, of Goleman’s HBR article, Leadership That Gets Results, you will find his list of capabilities and their corresponding traits.

As described, Emotional Intelligence is a complex and extensive topic, but as some research demonstrates, we are able to develop or improve these capabilities at any time in life. However, it takes time and the reason for this is that the emotional centers of the brain, not just the neocortex, are directly involved in this process.

The neocortex is involved in higher functions such as perception, motor commands, spatial reasoning, conscious thought and language. The learning process in this part of the brain is purely cognitive and it gains knowledge very quickly.

On the other hand, the emotional brain or limbic system, described by neuroscientist Paul MacLean, as one of ‘three brains’ is responsible for our emotional response. Different from technical competencies, to improve your EI is similar to changing a habit. The more times we repeat a behavioral sequence, the stronger the underlying brain circuits become. We need to unlearn the old habits and replace with new ones.

On a monthly basis, I will write a new article that will explore this topic, promote understanding and support you to find new ways to keep developing yourself and the people around you.

Source : https://www.hrexchangenetwork.com/employee-engagement/columns/the-human-in-hr-becoming-people-centric-organizations-to-drive-success

How To Chart Performance, Criticality AND Potential Value Of Each Employee

Organizations need a mix of high performers & high potentials for immediate and future growth. High performers show extraordinary performance in the current role. High potential employees have the ability to succeed in current role as well as successive leadership positions.

Advantage of identifying HiPo Employees
Match employees with the right potential for specific roles & leadership positions
Retain your top talents and not lose them to your competitors
Promote talents based on the ability to perform in the new role rather than their performance in the existing role
Develop a cohort of emerging leaders and prepare them for a globalized business environment with experiential training.
Synergita helps you discover the HiPo rating of your employees based on their performance, potential, and critical skills. This unique scoring system helps you build a holistic talent pool and hone their strengths for present and future growth.

Source : https://www.hrexchangenetwork.com/hr-talent-management/demos/how-to-chart-performance-criticality-and-potential-value-of-each-employee

How HR Drives Company Culture In The New Normal

How does HR maintain or drive company culture in the “new normal? As most companies battle to adjust, it’s more crucial than ever to zone-in on four key areas to engage, retain, and attract high performing stakeholders with employee relations concepts. These focused areas are not only for HR roles, but should also be driven by managers and all members of leadership teams.

During my 20 years of professional experience, I bounced from an HR generalist to a therapist in private practice later landing back into a high-stepping HR director role. All through these accumulative episodes, I discovered valuable insights to some quick and easy strategies that had fast-tracked many of my former therapy clients. A few years ago, I realized these same strategies were transferable to employees and began producing significant results in the workplace.

As a problem solver by nature, I was struggling to find the answer to help employees, managers, and executive levels find harmony. I was seeking a way to shift the unstable company culture to one that everyone could stand behind. As anyone in HR knows, changing company culture can take years. Pulling from the powerful benefits of my psychology education and therapist backgrounds, I was able to pinpoint direct correlations between four distinct concepts that overlapped with individual’s personal and professional lives.

The discovery first came when I was constantly dealing with manager and employee conflicts. As these conflict rounds became more frequent and seemingly more like speed-dating style meetings, there appeared to be a never-ending line outside my office door. I started noticing patterns, the same as I had seen in personal therapy sessions. I identified four common issues: unclear goal setting, ineffective communication, out-of-step decision-making, that in-turn limited relationships. These four areas became the bottleneck to a former employer’s culture growth. The negative interactions truly stagnated growth across employees, departments, and leadership teams, resulting into a company-wide culture backslide.

During a spontaneous moment, I decided to grab from my previous experience and began implementing the easy-to-use strategies to test them out in a workplace setting. To my surprise, these same strategies produced similar positive results as they did in personal settings. This was great news!

Having another ah-ha moment, I concluded that I needed to capture as many of the universal strategies that could be applied to these four key areas. I started writing them down onto some sticky notes that were sitting on my desk. I wanted to transfer this knowledge somehow in some way in order to help my former employer to improve their employee’s performance along with turning around their troubled company culture. Before I knew it, there were over 100 sticky notes and employees were using these strategies with positive outcomes. As employees began gaining momentum in turn, so did the company. These short and simple strategies started working on overdrive.

The first concept focus, to no surprise, is placing a significant degree of attention on effective communication. The top two essential ingredients to strong communication is being a good listener first then being a mindful messenger second. Listening does translate to thoroughly reading, comprehending, and absorbing company emails. Most misunderstanding surface due to lack of attention during listening or reading information. Pointing out, that it’s difficult to be an effective communicator if you’re only grasping a partial message by whatever mode of communication.

When communicating, carefully select the best form of communication by evaluating the target audiences preferred method. This is critical to considering the sensitivity level of the person’s personality. Consider if an email, in-person, phone, or video chat has proven to be the receiver’s best outcome. During social distancing, gear towards video or phone chat. These should be your go-to if the best method is unknown. Give high consideration to crafting the message with careful thought to word selection. Depending on the nature or goal, this can set you up for a meaningful and successful interaction. This is my definition of being a mindful messenger.

The second and third concepts work in conjunction with each other. Specifically, goal setting is second then followed by decision-making, which is third. By clearly defining and setting realistic goals and attainable timelines, decision making should be aligned with each goal set. For this reason, goal setting and decision making are direct partners in crime leading to success.

Goal setting should be strategically placed before making decisions due to needing to know what the actual goal is will depend on how you focus your attention and what decisions need to be made for alignment. Decisions not aligned with individual, department, or company goals is the fastest way to steer off course. If decisions are out of alignment, employees become derailed and become unable to hit the targeted goal. The higher the level of the employee the more detrimental a missed stepped decision has on the fall out and errors trickles downhill.

The fourth and final concept area of focus ties the other three areas together, which is building and maintain relationships. This places employees and managers on a solid foundation. Effective communication, efficient goal setting and effective decision making all lend to building strong and durable relationships. The quickest way to build solid relationships is through trusting the other person. The best way to do this is by being transparent in our intentions during our interactions. Transparency also means sharing equal amounts of respect during the relationship building process that eventually builds trust. Trusting each other offers a bridge to cross back and forth in relationships, which points back to all four areas of focus.

We reduce the likelihood of sinking in professional quicksand when we are no longer hiding behind our own agendas. We foster relationships when we encourage not discourage colleagues. Another way to foster a professional relationship is to actively become a mentor or seek one out. Either way, it’s a great opportunity to grow and build professional relationships.

As I quickly rationalized that assumptions create barriers, they can be removed by linking these four focused concepts together. By using all four, HR and companies can enhance an employee’s performance, tighten leadership roles, and improve a company’s culture. As with the company mentioned here, all four areas of focus became monumental and paved new paths to overhauling a more desirable company culture.

Source: https://www.hr.com/en/magazines/hr_strategy/august_2020_hr_strategy_planning/how-hr-drives-company-culture-in-the-new-normal_ke8vhs39.html