Should your employees be learning as they go?

Imagine getting your L&D needs met when and where they arise rather than having to book on to a course. For far-sighted organisations, it’s already becoming a reality

There are times when we welcome distractions at work. For the most part, though, they take us away from the task in hand, often with disastrous results: one study of knowledge workers found excessive distractions of the kind found in open-plan environments led to a 15 per cent drop in daily productivity. Learning, all too often, represents another distraction. Not only do traditional classroom-based learning methods take us away from the to-do list but, by their very nature, they take time and effort to organise, which means they may take place long – perhaps too long – after a need to learn has been identified.

That phenomenon explains the explosion of interest in e-learning, but it is also driving the concept of learning ‘in the flow of work’ – in essence, L&D that takes you away from your regular work as little as possible and might mean not even leaving your desk. It means giving people what they need to be effective in the workplace, but also exactly when they need it, using everything from videos or content on internal social media channels, to connections with colleagues.

The idea of flow in L&D was first coined by influential consultant Josh Bersin, and there is a semantic debate in some circles about whether it encompasses all actions that take place in the working environment or only those that can literally be delivered ‘in the moment’. What’s more important, however, is the way learning in the flow of work utilises technology and bite-sized content across all channels to put the end user front and centre, answering their needs instantaneously in the same way a quick Google search often satisfies our need for fast and useful information in our everyday lives.

“Whether it’s an event, or access to resources or people, it’s getting things when you are doing your job,” says Mike Collins, senior digital learning specialist at fashion retailer River Island. “It’s a mindset shift that says ‘actually, I’m learning’, as opposed to ‘I’m going to stop what I’m doing and go to another place to access learning’.”

The River Island L&D team has been empowered and upskilled to create bespoke resources more quickly. It reflects the fact that many customers are coming into stores talking about products they have seen on social channels, says Collins. Being more reactive means the business can push out key information that empowers employees to take action and have better conversations. “Learning in the flow of work for me is the art of being able to help people perform their jobs in real time, without having to break that flow of work,” he says.

To achieve learning in the flow of work properly requires both a shift in attitude and, often, decisive action. At NHS Blood and Transplant, Lisa Johnson – OD manager, digital and people skills – says the OD team have taken a “big leap”. They’re not scheduling any more face-to-face leadership and management development training programmes while they trial a new blended approach. The organisation is also digitising detailed guides covering more than 2,000 standard operating procedures to make them more readily accessible. The aim is for the new format to be synced with voice-activated hardware for lab environments.

Development now comprises a multimedia tool that uses the Microsoft Teams platform to connect employees. Curated content sits alongside bespoke resources including videos and tips, aligned to a regime of self-assessment and a structured pathway of leadership ‘ladders’. “We’re putting people in control of their own development,” says Johnson. “Rather than saying ‘you’ve got to book on to this three-day leadership programme’, we’re going to offer them the opportunity to control their own journey, identify their needs and develop skills.”

Partly, what these ideas have in common is a focus on agile digital products. Andy Lancaster, head of learning at the CIPD and author of the recently released Driving Performance Through Learning, summarises this as a FACTS approach, comprising solutions that are flexible, accessible, collaborative and tailored, and offer a step change to existing practice.

Mostly, though, it is about a culture of continuous learning. “It’s about creating that learning ecosystem so we are empowering learning rather than having dependent learners,” says Lancaster. “Clearly not everything we do at work is learning, but there is something quite profound about understanding that the very job we do is a learning process.”

Lancaster also points out the impact on learning design, which needs to become equally responsive: “Sometimes it’s taken us long periods of time to go from analysis through to delivery. Now it is far more of 
an iterative process, where we’re coming up with solutions and allowing learners themselves to be part of the design process.”

And it can happen in even the toughest of environments. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London has 12,000 staff across five hospitals serving more than 1.5 million patients each year. It has shifted its approach to learning support to a virtual mentoring scheme, which allows staff to connect immediately at the point of clinical need, alongside coaching, regular ‘lunch and learn’ events and digital tools.

“If you’re dealing with a life and death situation, you can’t really stop to pause and reflect,” says Nathaniel Johnston, head of OD, leadership and talent. But he has been able to find ways to ensure ‘never events’ that contain vital learnings are disseminated widely and quickly by shifting the focus away from more formal learning.

And in the future, the process may get even easier. Artificial intelligence – alongside better analytics – will mean our instant learning needs could be anticipated before we have even voiced them. It’s an “incredibly exciting prospect”, says Lancaster, that will further alter the role of the learning professional and ultimately offer greater measurability and opportunities. Until then, however, perhaps you ought to get off the internet and get back to work?

Source : https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/long-reads/articles/learn-as-you-go

How Managers Can Prevent Burnout in Their Teams

Two-thirds of full-time workers experienced burnout in 2019.
Remote and flexible work options are proven to improve employee well-being and decrease work-related stress.
Building strong relationships and setting realistic performance goals are also powerful burnout deterrents.
In a world where two-thirds of the workforce are struggling with burnout and overwhelm, helping your people improve work-life balance is an organizational imperative. In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially recognized burnout as a mental condition stemming from “chronic workforce stress,” and countless headlines revealed its toxic impact on people, culture, and the bottom line (not to mention PR). All this can put leaders in a precarious position: On the one hand, you want to encourage your team to disconnect as much as needed and take care of their whole selves. But on the other hand, work needs to get done.

Fortunately, it’s clear that well-being and productivity are not mutually exclusive—in fact, quite the opposite. Here’s how managers can prevent burnout in their teams while improving overall performance.

Offer remote work opportunities
One of the most effective and widely-studied ways to improve employee well-being is to offer remote flexibility. Approximately 23 percent of U.S. employees work from home at least part of the time, and studies show both women and millennial job seekers actively seek companies with flexible policies. If you’re not offering telecommuting options, you’re likely losing out on top talent.

It’s not hard to understand why remote options are such a coveted benefit: commuting has been shown to negatively impact mental health and overall life satisfaction, with each extra minute adding additional chronic strain. Working from home eliminates this stress and gives employees complete control over their work environment, such as location, clothing choice, and potential distractions. Working from home also saves money, time, and other valuable resources, often providing employees the freedom to pursue endeavors that promote overall well-being.

And lest you fear this freedom leads to apathy, data suggest remote workers are, on average, exceeding manager expectations and excelling in their roles. A two-year study conducted by an economics professor at Stanford University found that remote employees were 13 percent more productive than in-office workers, a finding that’s consistent in other research. Our 2019 State of Remote Work Report found that remote workers were 40 percent more likely to have been promoted in the past year than their in-office peers, and 27 percent more likely to feel they had growth opportunities.

That said, working remotely has its challenges, too. Here are some tips on supporting remote employees and how technology can help.

Flexible scheduling options
Of course, some industries really aren’t suitable for telecommuting, such as traditional retail, manufacturing, and health care establishments. (I love using TeleDoc for minor illnesses, but I wouldn’t want an ER nurse handling my case via FaceTime.) Remote work also isn’t something managers can typically offer if the entire organization isn’t on board.

Fortunately, there’s another option: flexible scheduling. In a flexible environment, your team may still need to come into the office, but schedules are more customizable. If Sophie drops her daughter off at school every day and can’t make it into the office until 9:00 a.m., no problem; her schedule is amended to make up that half-hour elsewhere. The flexible scheduling umbrella also includes the freedom to miss work for important events, such as children’s school performances or doctor’s appointments.

While flexible scheduling doesn’t have the same allure as telecommuting, it can still dramatically reduce burnout and job-related stress. A year-long study conducted by the University of Minnesota and the MIT Sloan School of Management found that Fortune 500 workers who were offered flexible scheduling felt more in control of their lives, more supported by their bosses, and more content with the amount of time they spent with their families. They also reported greater job satisfaction, less burnout, and a decrease in psychological distress.

“Our research demonstrates that workers who are allowed to have a voice in the hours and location of their work not only feel better about their jobs, but also less conflicted about their work-to-family balance,” said Phyllis Moen, one of the study’s researchers, who holds the McKnight Endowed Presidential Chair in Sociology at the University of Minnesota. “Crucially, these workers are also more efficient and more productive on the job. In other words, workplace flexibility is beneficial—not detrimental—to organizations.”

Setting realistic performance goals
Regardless of where or when you work, you have performance goals, and so does your team. Do you tend to play it safe and low-ball team performance goals, or are you overly ambitious? Does it matter?

According to Gallup, yes. Recent data show that workers who think they have realistic goals are 2.4 times more likely to agree that they have a healthy work-life balance. They are also more likely to remain with their company long-term and recommend it to others as a great place to work. And unlike remote and flexible work options, setting realistic performance goals is something that managers can accomplish without needing preauthorization.

According to the research, the top two things managers should do to develop realistic employee goals are:

1. Include employees in setting their performance goals
Employees are more likely to feel good about their goals when they’ve actively played a role in developing them, and this conversation is also an opportunity to discuss expectations. A separate 2019 Gallup study found that barely half of U.S. employees know what’s expected of them at work, but this climbs to 76 percent when they’ve been included in their own goal-setting. The process also creates a sense of autonomy and ownership, which is directly related to improved engagement and performance.

2. Explain the consequences of meeting, or not meeting, goals
Employees who are aware of potential consequences (which can be positive, like a bonus!, or negative, like losing a promotion) are more than twice as likely to say their goals are realistic. Clear expectations and pre-determined targets are fantastic motivation tools.

Be supportive, communicative, and fair
It’s worth noting that in the MIT study mentioned above, managers in the pilot group received training on how to support their team’s professional development and family/personal life. The age-old adage “employees don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers” has its flaws, but the fact remains that the employee-manager relationship is the primary driver of satisfaction at work, significantly impacting both performance and tenure. And, yes, burnout.

Building strong relationships with your direct reports, built on mutual trust, can be one of the most significant burnout deterrents. Taking the time to really get to know your people and what’s going on in their lives can help you proactively step in if needed, whether that means leaving a meaningful “thank you” note or suggesting they work an extra day from home. Make it clear that you care and are on their team. Knowing that you have their back, even if something goes wrong, is extremely reassuring. And, according to Gallup, employees who feel supported by their managers are 70 percent less likely to regularly experience burnout.

Alternatively, when employees feel that they’ve been treated unfairly—which could look like neglect, bias, favoritism, or unfair compensation—they are 2.3 times more likely to experience a high level of burnout.

Let’s thrive
2019 was the year of the burnout, but burnout is far from inevitable. These tips can help managers prevent burnout by fostering a thriving and resilient team culture that truly supports the well-being of their people.

Oh, and one last thing: Don’t be a nightmare boss.

Source: https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=12654839&article-title=how-managers-can-prevent-burnout-in-their-teams&blog-domain=ultimatesoftware.com&blog-title=ultimate-software

2020 Vision: How To Review Your Employee Rewards And Recognition Strategy

It’s the season of performance assessments, program reviews and personal inventories. What was successful? What changes could be made in order to achieve our best potential? For some, this is a formal review process; for others, it’s a casual “gut-check”. However, you approach your process, it is healthy to take an inventory and see if you’re headed in the right direction. In this article, we’ll focus on how to perform a year-end review for employee rewards and recognition programs.

Evaluating the success of employee recognition programs is, quite literally, a full-time job. Their day-to-day routine involves analyzing data from clients’ recognition programs, comparing to benchmarks, asking questions about what worked and what didn’t, and ultimately providing recommendations about how organizations can increase the positive impact of their employee recognition programs.

If your organization has an employee recognition program, we know that this time of year you may be asking yourself, “How is it going?” So, how to conduct a review for rewards and recognition programs? Check out the top 5 “Recognition Program Review” questions. Find out what areas to focus on for improvement in 2020.
1. How Do Staff Members Perceive Recognition Experiences?
Our goal is to maximize the positive impact the recognition program has on all employees in the organization. To be effective, recognition moments must be positive and memorable.

Create recognition moments to remember with a tangible reminder after the moment has passed. This could be a physical recognition award to enjoy, a photo of the event, or a written record of the recognition.

Another practical tip: Make sure to create a comfortable environment for the individual recipient. Do you know how employees like to be recognized, whether more privately or publicly? It’s ok to ask!
2. Do Employees Know the Organization’s Core Values?
How are your organization’s values communicated? Is recognition connected to behaviors that reinforce the core values of your organization? Is the connection clearly communicated to employees? It’s important to be sure staff members get the message about how their specific contributions support the big picture goals.

Awareness of the mission, vision, and values creates a clear focus and goal for employees to achieve. Without recognition of these core values, the impact of the recognition and rewards program won’t be as great as it could be.
3. How Involved Are Managers in Recognizing Their Teams?
We’ve all heard that employees don’t leave companies. They leave managers. The reverse is also true. Companies don’t encourage people to be their best… people encourage people to be their best. How effectively does your recognition program create opportunities for managers to recognize their teams?

Time and time again, statistics prove that the more engaged managers are in the recognition program, the more willing employees are to engage as well. This includes leadership buy-in at the very top. Those in management roles love receiving recognition just as much as employees do.
4. How Can Staff Give Feedback on the Employee Experience, Including Recognition?
Consider creating a survey to measure how employees want to be recognized, awareness of the recognition program, and perception of the awards they receive. Regular employee feedback can provide insights to “determine what leads to changes in the retention and morale, for better or worse.”
5. In What Ways Does Your Organization Communicate Recognition to Employees?
Count the touchpoints your recognition program has with your staff. Think about all the ways you communicate with employees: newsletters, meetings, posters, etc. In what ways can these communication tools be infused with recognition?

It’s a great idea to lead off regular standup meetings between managers and direct reports with recognition, especially if there is a certificate or tangible item involved. This provides employees with visibility around the employee recognition program and provides managers the opportunity to lean into the core values as mentioned earlier.

Source: https://www.hr.com/en/magazines/recognition_engagement_excellence_essentials/january_2020_rewards_recognition_employee_engagement/2020-vision-how-to-review-your-employee-rewards-an_k54uxpuy.html

Could your HR policies be stifling compassion?

Could your HR policies be stifling compassion?
As teams return to work and many employees continue to juggle heavy work demands with personal stress, how can HR foster compassion at work rather than risk making things worse? Dr Amy Bradley explains.

January can be a difficult month. Some people regret over-indulging during the festive season, while others face the stark reality of credit repayments following Christmas debts and many of us struggle with the dark, cold and miserable mornings on our return to work.

Supporting employees
Trauma and stress: supporting workers’ families

Set up an employee assistance programme

At some point we will all face a difficult life episode, and for many, this can be part of the January blues. Take the onset of a critical illness for example, estimates suggest that 50% of the population will be diagnosed with a form of cancer during their lifetime. As people work longer and retire later, the number of people affected by illness is set to rise exponentially within the next few decades.

Despite our best efforts, it is impossible to keep the pain and angst brought about by these experiences separate from our professional lives.

The ‘suffering overspill’ caused by the difficulties we face in our home lives inevitably affects our motivation, performance and relationships at work, yet employers know little about how to respond.

Dignity and care
Working people spend as much time with their colleagues as they do with family members and the way in which we support individuals both formally (through company policies and procedures) and informally (as colleagues and friends) is a critical business issue. By encouraging your organisation to embed compassion, this will help to build a positive work environment in which individuals feel they are treated with dignity and care.

Performance and Engagement opportunities on Personnel Today

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Compassion is not just about feeling good by doing good. It also builds the bottom line. Researchers from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and George Mason University School of Business have detected a clear, positive correlation between compassionate behaviour, work satisfaction and company success. This means that compassion in the workplace can have a profound effect on business performance. In compassionate work environments, employees also report higher levels of engagement, as well as fostering trust and teamwork.

Organisations that are built around compassion have been found to generate better financial performance and experience high levels customer retention, as Cameron, Bright and Caza explore in this article in the American Behavioural Scientist Journal. So how can HR help to embed – rather than stifle – compassion in business? Here are four suggestions:

Focus on line managers

Behind workload and challenges in our personal life, the CIPD has found that management style is the third most common cause of stress at work, so the way in which line managers respond to employee suffering is crucial.

Unfortunately, however, only one in three of us feel genuinely supported by our organisation and less than half of us feel confident in disclosing emotional or personal issues to our current manager, according to the CIPD, so it is important that line managers are equipped to be proactive in their care and concern. They could, for example, ask the individual concerned how they would like to be supported when they are facing a difficult time and if they would like their situation to be communicated to other staff or customers.

Once aware of an individual’s struggles, is vital that line managers do not just offer a one off conversation, but continue to create the time and space for confidential non-work conversations where employees can openly express their emotions without fear of judgement or reprisal.

Recognise difference

During times of personal difficulty, HR professionals should feel able to flex policies to allow individuals to take the time away from work that they need, and if appropriate, to choose their own point of return.

By treating people as adults, most people will return to work within a timescale that is seen as acceptable to their employer. It should be HR’s role to support line managers to be creative with any policies, rather than being seen as ‘the policy police’. This is important because if someone is seen to have been treated unfairly, other employees in the organisation may question their own commitment to their employer as a result.

Some people just want to ‘work through it’

For some people, work can be an important distraction when they are facing personal struggles. By continuing to work during difficult life experiences, some people find that this brings much needed structure and routine to a life otherwise in disarray.

It is important, however, to understand that being at work does not mean it is ‘business as usual’ and individuals are unlikely to be performing at their best in these circumstances. In these situations, HR professionals and line managers are better advised to suspend judgement and to instead ask questions with care and curiosity, as this may uncover underlying reasons for a drop in performance.

HR professionals may also consider offering employees access to a named member of staff outside of the line management relationship with whom they can talk in confidence and through which specialist support can be organised.

Get trained up

Dealing with employee suffering is a common but complex part of a managerial role, yet training often lacks the practical content necessary to help managers to hone these skills.

It is line managers who can play the most important role in supporting employees in this regard, but they need to feel they have the skills to do so. For example, despite a rise in the number of employees who are facing issues of mental ill health, a recent study by Business in the Community found that only 24% of managers had received any mental health training in the past year.

When planning learning and development activities, leaders and HR professionals should consider offering training across a range of topics such as tackling mental ill health; bereavement support; handling redundancy or breaking difficult news.

Clearly, these pointers are only the start. Each organisation has its own context, business priorities, policies and practices, which means there is no one size fits all when it comes to compassion. However, by encouraging your organisation to foster genuine care for your people from within, you can begin to build healthier work environments in which your employees are healthier, happier and more engaged. This might be the best New Year’s resolution your company can make.

Source : https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/could-your-hr-policies-be-stifling-compassion/

How to Develop a High-Impact Succession Plan: A Beginner’s Guide

In its basic form, succession planning is a way to identify and develop professionals entering a leadership position. Transition is undoubtedly something every organization experiences – the ebb and flow of people entering and exiting various roles. Some organizations have mastered a process of continuous succession planning. Yet, many small and medium size businesses remain unprepared for sudden or imminent changes that require immediate action.

EDSI has identified a succession planning process to successfully address changes like retirement and loss of key people. The process focuses on the collection and analysis of specific data, allowing for highly customized solutions. One major focus of this process is certainly communication. Communication builds trust and subsequently reinforces a message to employees that their skills and experience are valued.

Let’s take a closer look at the steps involved in developing a succession plan below.

IDENTIFY –> Needs & Goals
The starting point for any succession plan begins with two important questions:

What is the main goal or goals you hope to accomplish?
What does success look like for your organization?
The point of this step is to develop SMART goals; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals. Overall, it is important to take the time to plan before doing. It is also crucial to identify your audience. Understand the development needs of those who may be transitioning roles and take time to consider the needs of your organization. Communicate with people who can help and gather as much information as possible and consider assigning a process champion to help ensure overall success of succession planning efforts.

DOCUMENT –> Current Skills & Future Skills
In this step, we will collect data which will serve as the foundation of the entire succession plan. Information is instrumental in making the right choices and providing a solid foundation so people can feel confident about the plan. The more people excited by your cause, the more support and advocates you will have to ensure the success of the project, now and in the future.

Consider what daily, weekly and monthly tasks for which the specific employee is responsible to complete. Which tasks are the most critical? What are the primary skills required? Compile the information into a ‘skills balance sheet.’ A skills balance sheet is like a financial balance sheet, yet instead of tracking money, we track the skills of employees. This information will serve as the basis on which to evaluate potential candidates and develop a training plan.

Pro tip: After completing the skills balance sheet draft, pause to consider additional job tasks or skills that may not have been captured. These may stem from advances in technology, underperformance or benchmark information from competing organizations.
Below is a real world example of a small portion of a Skills Balance Sheet for a Chief Operating Officer.

ASSESS –> Candidates & Gaps
Step 3, ASSESS, provides data on each incumbent’s rated ability to perform the job tasks identified in step 2, DOCUMENT. To create the assessment, we add a simple rating scale to the skills balance sheet, like the example below.

Next, ask employees to self-assess their ability to perform the tasks listed on the skills balance sheet. Rating each skill provides specific and valuable information. This data can be used in candidate evaluation discussions and should focus on each candidate’s skill levels and gaps. Example discussion questions include:

What would a training plan look like?
What kind of support can the organization provide to improve identified gaps?
Are the most critical gaps easily trainable?
Pro Tip: When selecting a candidate, consider an individual with high potential with room for growth. A candidate with an overall low-skill level is not a good fit, yet one with an overly high-skill level may be over qualified.
TRANSITION –> People & Roles
At this point in the process, roles are transitioned and people are on-boarded into new positions. Communication is pivotal throughout the entire process, especially when the official announcement takes place. Utilize your data to gain support, understanding and validation.

Include a ‘plan of action’ for the new employee with a focus on skills to be acquired
Provide a list of available resources
Acknowledge the achievements and legacy of the departing leader
DEVELOP –> Abilities & Support
Developing the knowledge, skills and abilities of your talent is perhaps the most critical step in the succession planning process, and this step is truly ongoing. Your employee should feel consistently supported. Setting recurring meetings is a great way to offer this continued support and encouragement. A mentoring phase, with specific time dedicated to training and coaching the new incumbent, is highly recommended.

Consider the following:

Identify a support team
Establish initial performance goals
Address challenges identified in an organizational audit
Establish a mentor and mentorship timeframe
Remember, communication is critically important throughout the entire succession planning process. Effective communication within the organization fosters understanding and provides opportunity for partnerships and support from all stakeholders.

Source : https://www.edsisolutions.com/blog/how-to-develop-a-high-impact-succession-plan

Will Peak AI in the Workplace Be a Blessing for Employees?

Tracey Lall, Director at Operartis shares her insights on AI, matching intelligence and technology in the workplace.

By 2023, IDC predicts over half (52%) of global GDP will be accounted for by digitally transformed enterprises. As companies continue to focus their usage of digital solutions, the potential for AI to make an impact on most job roles continues to grow, but will this be a blessing or a curse?

Although change is slow, research from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab revealed that we’ve already seen workers benefit from a reduction in the average number of tasks they need to perform, as companies take advantage of automation. But should workers worry that a reduction in tasks will eventually make them obsolete, or can we expect wider societal shifts to take hold?

Let’s take a look at some of the changes we might see on the road ahead to 2020 and beyond.

The Problem With Growth
As automation continues to take hold, the first thought on people’s minds will be the risk of direct job losses. However, these predictions vary widely. The World Economic Forum predicts a net gain of 53 million jobs by 2023, yet this is small comfort to the 20 million people expected to lose manufacturing jobs by 2030.

It’s not just the manufacturing sector either. Mid-range occupations are also at risk of seeing wages stagnate, increasing the effect of the squeezed middle classes we are seeing globally. In this case, the possible future looks much like the present. Wage growth has not kept up with increased worker productivity, even as CEO pay has skyrocketed 940% since 1978.

There are ways out of this scenario. Workforce retraining for displaced employees is one method, though the effectiveness of these company-run programs is questionable at best. Without government investment in future-proof curriculums, employees are left behind.

A bleak future for work unfolds when employers and governments alike ignore investment in their employees and citizens. A 21st century that works for all by helping everyone work takes more than just retraining and development. It’s about developing an attitude of collaboration – one that uses technology as a means of creating, developing, and nurturing employee satisfaction.

AI’s Secret Advantage
Much has been discussed what AI can, will, and should do in society, with everything from chatbots to music composition now guided or even fully automated by machine learning. In the corporate world, the fear of job loss can inhibit AI adoption, but only when its adoption is handled poorly.

For example, rote work and menial tasks are easily handled by AI. Any repetitive duty currently handled by a disengaged worker can be outsourced to a machine, leaving workers free to focus on the 21st century’s most important skill: creativity.

A survey of 1500 CEOs found that creativity is the most highly-sought attribute in a candidate, outranking rigor, vision, and even integrity for the number one spot. It’s not just from the top-down either: having less menial work improves worker satisfaction and productivity, a rare win-win for managers and workers.

This drive toward mutually beneficial workplace policy can manifest in other ways as well. The 4-day work week, long discussed and debated online, is already being implemented in pilot programs across the world. Microsoft’s recent work-free Fridays’ test schedule in their Japan office increased productivity by 40%. The program, known as the “Work-Life Choice Challenge,” also encouraged workers to schedule fewer meetings and only answer emails during work hours.

Small business owners, startups and freelancers are also set to benefit as they’re able to outsource aspects of business operations to automation that would have previously required a full-time role, resulting in a new generation of entrepreneurs. By taking advantage of the positive effects of automation, workers and companies can thrive in the digital age.

Learn More: The Impact of AI in Human Resource Decision-Making Processes

A Future We Want
In the early 2000s, we saw many companies off-shoring business functions to India and the Philippines. Initially, this caused wage stagnation and job losses in the US, however, once the initial disruption settled more workers were able to see an increase in satisfying and creative professional roles. In fact, for every one job lost to outsourcing in the 1990s, two more were created in the US.

A similar shift is on the horizon for the 2020s. Whether we move toward a utopian or dystopian outcome depends heavily on how companies handle the automation provided by AI. Responsible companies will pass on the benefits of automation to their employees – and watch their workplaces thrive with newfound creativity.

Source : https://www.hrtechnologist.com/articles/ai-in-hr/will-peak-ai-in-the-workplace-be-a-blessing-for-employees/

How To Fall In Love With Discipline

Discipline has a bad reputation. Yet, we all need it to learn, to persevere, to not give up and to make progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day the saying goes. And the last time I checked, building a healthy habit, changing old thought patterns that don’t serve you anymore, and even learning how to walk – they all don’t come easy.

There’s no magic formula to success, and there’s no shortcut to achieving your goals. However, one of the magic ingredients is often neglected. It’s like the black sheep of the success family and it lives its life in the background. It’s time to bring it into the spotlight and to proudly talk about it. Once you make it your friend, you’ll be less afraid of change and your goals will look so much more realistic!

Start small – be realistic

Small steps lead a long way. Let’s say that discipline is rather a shy person. That’s why it’s better to approach it with small steps instead of jumping right at it. At the same time, it needs space to grow and for that it needs time.

No matter what you want to achieve, be it a career change, weight loss, learning an instrument, exceling in your career – break those big changes into small steps, so-called microsteps. They allow you to plan in a realistic way and to show you what you actually have to do to achieve your (SMART) goals. Discipline likes that, too, and it will be able to accompany you more easily as the route is clearer and you don’t have to take it in one rush but can check in at several stops, so-called milestones.

Today In: Leadership
Track your progress

Along the way, don’t forget to track your progress. If you don’t have a notebook or planner yet, now is a good time to purchase one. Choose one that you like and put it somewhere where you can see it. Write down your goals, the different microsteps, and set your milestones. Your planning isn’t set in stone and you can adjust it along the way. However, check in regularly and see how far you’ve come, what you still need to do and how you can get there. Discipline will definitely cheer at you for that! It will be like your imaginative cheerleader who’s telling you that you can do it, even if it’s hard.

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/lidijaglobokar/2020/01/13/how-to-fall-in-love-with-discipline/?ss=leadership-strategy#4f5e47a07149

Practical advice and tips on building successful teams in the digital workplace

In today’s workplace, traditional delineations are disappearing as the various lines of business are weaving together ever more thanks to the impact of digital transformation. But the weaving is not always seamless or harmonious. In fact, often, it is quite a fraught experience; intentions may be there, but awareness and alignment is often off track. Ensuring everyone is symbiotically working towards a brighter future for the organization truly is the desired outcome. Here are 7 suggestions for making your digital transformation journey a successful one:

#1 Define Digital Transformation
Despite all the research and whitepapers on the subject… everyone has a different definition of digital transformation. Therefore, before even beginning any changes or restructuring, it is highly beneficial first to establish both an explanation and an understanding of how it applies to your organization. Ensuring that everyone understands what the organization is transforming from (current state) and what the future state of transformation will look like is key. An often looked over ingredient is ensuring that once the vision is cast, that the people within the organization actually understand what they are required to do differently now, and if they don’t have the capabilities – how will they be supporting in obtaining them.

#2 Don’t Jump on The Trend Bandwagon
While it is advantageous to understand the current buzzwords, always remember who is taking the journey. Organizations must still look to what applies to their situation and address those accordingly. Conduct a comprehensive review of all your current processes and procedures and examine them for bottlenecks and other problem areas. Look to solve these first. Otherwise, you risk duplicating an inferior system. Looking within the organization and bringing the people along to help solve those bottlenecks will help the change journey progress.

#3 Build A “Dream Team”
Look around at the talent you currently have and then complete an assessment to see what skills they are missing or could benefit from enhancing. As part of this internal audit, be sure to pay careful attention to the digital aspect of the skills review. But take precaution against assuming because of where they work, a department or team will either take the lead or direct the digital aspect of the transformation. EVERYONE has a new job/new role.

#4 Empower Everyone
A successful transformation is one where everyone in the organization takes responsibility and manages their change. Instilling this belief of shared responsibility is critical. Start by holding conversations with the people on the frontline – those closest to the customer. Develop a culture where everyone understands the value of the change both to the organization and their role and is therefore supporting and adapting as needed.

#5 Encourage A Mindset of Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is a collaborative process and it’s critical to foster a team mentality. In many organizations, the IT team is often the lead on this as they are more familiar with working on a collective goal. If this is the case in your company, leverage this experience to encourage and assist other departments in switching not just mindsets but workflows and new ways of working.

#6 Holistic Organizational Approach
One of the critical enablers of change is understanding. Developing people in what’s known as “power skills”, aka modern soft skills training can serve as a cornerstone of a successful transformation. When people can understand what they are doing and why, then they can begin to do their jobs differently.

#7 Model New Behaviors
It is everyone’s responsibility to play a part in the digital transformation journey. However, it is particularly incumbent upon executives to demonstrate to the rest of the organization their contributions to the change. For example, in one energy company, leadership was aware that to implement a new data strategy, they must first develop a better understanding of the data’s significance. To do this, each executive, regardless of their role, undertook data training and became data citizens. Their willingness to acknowledge that they needed training opened up the possibilities for everyone in the organization and helped ensure the successful implementation of a new strategy and model the behavior of continuous learning across the organization -setting the stage for success.

Source :https://www.hrdive.com/spons/practical-advice-and-tips-on-building-successful-teams-in-the-digital-workp/562310/

Dos and Don’ts For Millennials And Zs Managing Boomers

Late last year, the phrase “OK, Boomer” took off in surprising fashion online. From young politicians using it as a rallying cry of exasperation for action on climate change to internet memes, the saying was pervasive in late 2019. When I last wrote about the phrase in November 2019, it had just started trending and it seemed that it would fade into oblivion shortly thereafter as these trends usually do. I found the phrase to be a convenient lead into my research on generational divides and particularly a current musing of mine about Boomers’ propensity to mock the desires of Millennials, only to want what they want later down the road. However, unlike most other social media trends, the phrase’s popularity took longer to die out, and in hindsight it appears to have captured, to some degree, the zeitgeist of a fractured corporate and social reality.

While the “OK, Boomer” trend has unleashed a wave of back and forth opposition with Boomers on one side and Millennials and Generation Z on the other, I feel that we can also mobilize its broader significance to productive ends in the workplace where different generations interact on a daily basis. Today, one third of the American labor force is composed of Millennials, while Gen Xers and Boomers represent 33 and 25 per cent of the labor force respectively. In fact, this is the first time in history that four different generations—Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and the first members of Generation Z—occupy the workplace together.

The diverse age of the workforce means that our classical understanding of leadership is changing: not only are Gen Xers and Millennials moving into managerial roles, but corporate cultures are also showing an interest in more complex forms of leadership like reverse mentoring. Young managers can capitalize on this emerging variance in the age of workers to highlight their shared experiences as well as the respective strengths that each generation can share with the other.

Today In: Leadership
Don’t assume that you know better. I often argue that Millennials and Generation Z should be reverse-mentoring Generation X and Boomers at least 20 per cent of the time. They have a lot of wisdom to impart about new trends and realities that their older peers may not understand in the same way. But there is a right and a wrong way to go about this reverse-mentoring.

A key part of reverse-mentoring is resisting the temptation to assume that as a Millennial or member of Generation Z you know more about a given topic like technology. Imagine trying to lecture Tim Cook or Bill Gates—both Boomers—about how to turn on their computers just because they weren’t born into the age of the Internet. The situation would be awkward and in fact they would likely have a thing or two to teach Millennials about technology use.

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/karlmoore/2020/01/13/dos-and-donts-for-millennials-and-zs-managing-boomers/?ss=leadership-strategy#2371453f3480

Leading in the 2020s: 3 Emerging Workplace Trends

In the year 2010, it would have been hard to imagine where the world is today. And in the years since, technology has only become more pervasive, and change more rapid.

Thus it might seem like an impossible question: How can leaders ready themselves for the coming decade, which promises to bring changes that may make our workplace unrecognizable to past generations?

The first step is by realizing that the “future of work” is no longer a distant entity — the future of work has begun. Here are three trends every modern leader should prepare for as we enter the 2020s.

1. The Ubiquity of Artificial Intelligence

In 2018 alone, the number of businesses using artificial intelligence (AI) tripled; now, 37% of businesses have implemented it in some form. Hilton International uses a chatbot and AI-backed interview platform in its recruiting, Amazon uses more than 200,000 robots in its warehouses, and even Domino’s uses an AI tool to supervise pizza makers in Australia and New Zealand. By 2030, research from McKinsey suggests that 70% of businesses will have adopted at least one type of AI technology.

Today In: Leadership
This could have significant ramifications in the realms of customer relations, recruitment and hiring, supply chains, and cyber security, to name a few. Though AI’s eventual latitude is impossible to predict, its effect on business is not: 72% of executives believe AI will be “the business advantage of the future,” according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report. To keep pace with the competition, therefore, leaders cannot ignore AI any longer. They will need to upskill employees, adjust organizational structures, and implement AI in strategic ways.

“A monumental change is underway, and artificial intelligence is leading this charge,” CP Gurnani, CEO of Tech Mahindra, wrote at CNN. “But we need to remember that humans are ultimately in control… Now is the time for business leaders to understand the opportunities that AI-based technologies can have on their future, and the future of their employees and to ensure they are prepared. Resisting this change is no longer an option.”

Since the next decade will be rife with talent shortages, leaders will need to take pains to ensure their workers are happy, healthy, and fulfilled. These qualities will fall under the umbrella of “employee experience,” a concept that has evolved from employee satisfaction and employee engagement. As Jacob Morgan noted simply in Inc., “employee experience is creating an organization where people want to show up” — and it is influenced by a range of variables, from physical office space to mental health awareness to flexibility regarding where and when employees work.

Augmenting the employee experience can improve recruitment and retention, as well as the bottom line. Companies with the most engaged employees, for example, see 21% higher profitability than those with the least. Looking forward, metrics such as these will make employee experience a top priority for human resources departments around the world; already, in Deloitte’s 2019 Human Capital Trends report, 84% of respondents rate employee experience as an important issue, and 28% rate it as “urgent.”

This emphasis on employee experience will grow even more relevant as Generation Z becomes a greater part of the global workforce (an estimated 33% by 2030). “Gen Zers are looking for leaders who are trusting, support their needs, and express care for them as humans — not just employees,” Dan Schawbel, research director of Future Workplace, wrote at Kronos. “Focusing on Gen Zers’ human needs will be the best way to address their workplace needs.”

3. The Necessity of Purpose

A major shift is occurring when it comes to the core tenets of business. Earlier this year, when Deloitte asked nearly 10,000 CEOs what they considered the most important measure of success, the top answer was “impact on society.” At 34%, it received double the votes of more traditional markers, such as customer satisfaction (18%), employee satisfaction and retention (17%), and financial performance (17%). Further underscoring that view, the Business Roundtable recently redefined its “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation” to include the promotion of “an economy that serves all Americans.”

Yet, while 79% of business leaders believe that purpose is central to business success, according to a PwC report, only 34% said that purpose actually guides their decisions. “This gap demonstrates the optimism and promise that leaders see in being purpose-driven to elevate business, but a hesitation to ‘walk-the-walk’ and actively embed it into foundational elements of the company,” the report’s authors wrote. “Purpose is not an initiative; it is a way of business.”

In the coming decade, leaders will need to listen to the aforementioned authors — and weave purpose into every facet of their business. The public, in fact, will demand it: 87% of millennials believe that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance.” Luckily, companies will not need to “choose between doing well and doing good,” as Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff wrote in The New York Times earlier this year. “[S]ince becoming a public company in 2004, Salesforce has delivered a 3,500 percent return to our shareholders,” he continued. “Values create value.” Leaders who focus on integrity and purpose, such as Benioff, shall be the ones blazing a path for all companies into the 2020s.

While no one can predict exactly what the business world will look like in a decade, one can be fairly certain that the trends above shall play major roles in shaping it — and that leaders should not delay in preparing for the future of work. As Bill Gates wrote in The Road Ahead: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonwingard/2020/01/03/leading-in-the-2020s–3-emerging-workplace-trends/#3363199d4eb6