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Archive for the ‘Talent’ Category

No Worker Left Behind: The Change Management Idea Every Leader Should Follow (and Share)

 16th April 2019 by gihan

A few months ago, I was working with a group of CEOs in the healthcare industry, and we were talking about what it takes to attract and keep the best talent in their workplaces. Most of our discussion was about the top talent – smart, passionate, driven, and highly motivated – but one CEO asked the question:

“How do you motivate the people who have been there for a long time and just don’t want to change?”

More recently, another client – in the financial services industry this time – asked me a similar question:

“In our industry, we have a large body of highly-experienced employees who have been very effective for many years. But when younger generations are brought in to challenge the status quo and take the organisation forward, it leads to an inevitable conflict. How do leaders take those experienced workers on the journey with them?”

It’s a good question.

First, there are some people who just refuse to change, no matter what. They don’t realise there’s another way, don’t recognise the need for another way, or just don’t want to do things another way.

But those are not the people I’m talking about – and they are not the people my two clients above were talking about, either. We’re talking about people who genuinely have a lot to offer, and would contribute if they could, but they feel threatened because what has always worked for them doesn’t work anymore.

They might be worried that if they let their guard down, they might be overtaken, overrun, and over the hill.

How do you bring them along on the journey?

First, be careful of your language! If you use phrases like “need to change”, “don’t want to change”, “stuck in their ways”, or even “bring along on the journey”, you’re suggesting they need to be pushed, pulled, or carried. It’s almost like saying you would rather not have them there, but it’s hard work to let them go, so you’re going to make the best of a bad situation.

That’s not necessarily true.

These people do have value to offer – value that you can’t get anywhere else. And that value becomes obvious when you follow this simple principle:

Separate the “why” from the “how”.

When Albert Einstein was teaching at Princeton University, he was criticised by the staff because he gave his students the same exam two years in a row. But he said, “The questions are the same, but the answers are different”.

You don’t have to be an Einstein to know the same thing applies now. The world has changed, and there are different answers to the same old questions.

But everybody is talking about the answers, and many leaders forget about the important questions that haven’t changed.

The really important questions in your organisations are “Why?” questions, which are questions about your mission, purpose, vision, and values. For example:

  • Why was this organisation built?
  • What do we really stand for?
  • What problems do we really solve for our customers?
  • If we have to choose between A and B, what matters most in making a wise decision?
  • What gets us through the tough times?
  • When have we stood up for what really matters?

Of course, all these questions don’t literally start with “Why”, but – make no mistake – they are questions about your organisation’s “why”.

And who knows the answers to these questions? Those older, highly-experienced people you were thinking you had to drag kicking and screaming into the future.

Their experience has given them valuable insights, and that in turn leads to wisdom.

If you’re a leader, make them the guardians of your “Why”. They might not know how to travel the path you choose for your future, but they know why you should choose that path.

Use them for your compass, and then let others draw the map.

How can you make this work in practice?

If you value their experience, insights and wisdom, of course you will look for ways to share that in your organisation. And there are ways – many ways – to do just that. Here are just a few:

  • Pay them what they are worth!
  • Ask them to mentor younger, less experienced people.
  • Invite them to be “reverse mentored” by younger, less experienced people.
  • Interview them for your company blog, newsletter, podcast, or vodcast.
  • Invite them to join project teams – even if it’s just occasionally – to provide their insights and wisdom.
  • Create opportunities for them to share stories about people living the organisation’s purpose, mission, and values.
  • Give them the same development opportunities you offer everybody else.
  • Ask them how they think they can best share their experience and insights.

There’s wisdom in this diversity.

There’s a big push now for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but one of the most neglected areas is age diversity. Even when it’s considered, many leaders think only of the diversity that younger people – the Generation Ys (Millennials) and Generation Zs – bring. But don’t forget the value in the hearts and minds of your most experienced people.

When you combine their wisdom with the passion and drive of your “bright young things”, that’s when you truly future-proof your organisation.

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The #1 Thing That Gets in the Way of Flexible Work

 11th April 2019 by gihan

LinkedIn recently published its “2019 Global Talent Trends” report, which identified what it calls “the 4 trends transforming your workplace”.

They compiled this report based on surveying over 5,000 talent professionals across 35 countries, and also incorporated vast amounts of data from the online behaviour of LinkedIn members. Given their unique access to leaders, experts, and employees worldwide, when LinkedIn says something about the future of work, it’s worth taking notice!

It came as no surprise to me (and to many of the forward-thinking people leaders I work with) that one of these four trends is work flexibility. The other three are just as interesting, but let’s focus on this one for now …

What is flexible work?

When we say “flexible work”, that could mean a number of different things. For some people, having “flexitime” – where they can choose their start and end time each day (within limits) – is enough. For others, they want complete flexibility in when, how, and where they work. And there’s everything in between.

Obviously, this varies across different jobs and roles. Some people need to be there in person (a pilot can’t work from home when she’s supposed to be flying the plane!) and others need to be there at specific times (a salesperson must fit in with his customers’ working hours). But in many cases – especially for knowledge workers – you could offer more flexible work, if you put your mind to it.

LinkedIn is not alone!

There’s plenty of research showing the best people want more flexibility in how, when and where they work – for example:

  • 81% of employees want to be trusted when, where and how they work (Sage People)
  • 35% of people are choosing freelance work (Forbes)
  • 75% of UK employees want flexible working, and nearly a third prefer flexible work over a pay rise (Sage People)
  • 47% of Australian workers would accept a pay cut for more flexible working hours (Robert Half)

Make no mistake – the best people expect it now, and it could be a significant factor in whether they choose to work for you (or stay with you).

So, is it a no-brainer?

If you’re a leader who wants to attract and keep the best people, it seems like a no-brainer to offer them more flexible work, right?

Not so fast!

Yes, it’s a good idea in principle, but it’s not always so easy to put into practice.

Of course, there are some infrastructure things to consider – such as IT setup, HR policies, legal issues, running virtual meetings, and so on. But these are all relatively easy to address.

The biggest problem might be you!

Do you have the right mindset to make it work?

The big difference is that you must change your focus from inputs to outputs.

For example, when people work together in an office, they all see each other’s inputs: when they arrive (especially if it’s late), when they leave (especially if it’s early), what they do at work, and whether they’re “busy”. As a leader, you might be subconsciously influenced by these inputs, even if you claim to only measure their results.

When you have team members working remotely, you can no longer see their inputs, so you must rely on outputs. Instead of monitoring their processes, activity and time spent, you only measure the results they achieve, the quality of their work, and their contribution towards achieving your goals.

You might think it’s easy to focus on outputs, but it’s not. It’s not easy to change this mindset, especially if you have become unconsciously competent in the old way of leading people. But if you don’t make the shift, you won’t attract the best people, and those you have now won’t stay.

If you’re ready to step up, you might like this video, where I share 10 ideas for enabling and encouraging flexible work in your teams and organisation:

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Are You Ready for Generation Z In Your Workplace?

 2nd April 2019 by gihan

Generation Z – the “dot com kids” – are people born between 1995 and 2009.

They are the largest generation ever, make up 20% of Australia’s population, and 2 billion people worldwide. By 2025, they will make up 27% of our workforce.

Are YOU ready for them in your workplace?

Here are 10 things to know about Generation Z …

  1. Most prefer a multidisciplinary and global focus to their work – so they get richer experiences and opportunities to travel (Deloitte)
  2. Most (70%) say a curious and open mind is more important than a specific skill or expertise (Ernst & Young)
  3. Their ideal work environment is a mid-size organisation (41%). Only 14% want to work in start-ups (Robert Half)
  4. 25% want their companies to incorporate virtual reality into the workplace (Future Workplace)
  5. Most (77%) expect to work harder than past generations to have a satisfying and fulfilling professional life (Robert Half)
  6. They are 2.5 times more likely to stay with their employer for five or more years if they have challenging, meaningful work (Accenture)
  7. Most (80%) think that embracing failure on a project will help them to be more innovative (Ernst & Young)
  8. Most (65%) feel confident they will be better off – financially and happier at work – than their parents (Ernst & Young)
  9. Nearly half prefer a fully self-directed and independent approach to learning. But only 20% of leaders plan to offer this level of self-direction (LinkedIn Learning)
  10. The most important quality they want from a boss is “honesty/integrity” (38%), followed by “mentoring ability” (21%) (Robert Half)

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Are You Flexible Enough for Flexible Work?

 19th March 2019 by gihan

The best people want more flexibility in their working hours – as research shows:

  • 81% of employees want to be trusted when, where and how they work (Sage People)
  • 35% of people are choosing freelance work (Forbes)
  • 47% of Australian workers would accept a pay cut for more flexible working hours (Robert Half)

So what are YOU doing to provide more flexible work? Here are 10 ideas …

  1. Find out what flexibility your people really want – It might be easier than you think to provide it
  2. Measure their results, not their effort
  3. Move information into the Cloud for access anywhere at any time
  4. Have fewer meetings
  5. Pay for membership of co-working spaces for people who want to work there
  6. Don’t discriminate against people who don’t work in the office
  7. Offer the same opportunities to everybody – not just parents with family responsibilities
  8. Help them build their judgement, so they can work independently and autonomously
  9. Think of it as a strategic advantage, not just an employee perk
  10. Start planning for it now, so you can offer it before people start demanding it

Also read my Smart Company article here.

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Talent Magnet: 4 Trends To Future-Proof Your Workplace in 2019

 28th February 2019 by gihan

As a futurist, I’m always looking at the trends affecting workplaces and organisations, and I’ve noticed an interesting trend over the last 8-10 years.

A decade ago, we were in the early stages of the technology explosion – with social media, smartphones, and the first discussions around practical uses for AI and robotics. Everybody was excited about the technology, its opportunities and threats, and its impact on their products and services.

Then the conversation shifted from technology to skills – in other words, how we will cope, navigate, and lead in this brave new world that technology will create for us.

Now, the conversation has shifted again. We know there are people – smart, savvy, talented people – with the skills for the future. Because of their skills, they are in high demand. So the question now is: Will they want to work for you?

If you think there’s been a war for talent in the past, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Research by XpertHR says finding high-quality talent will be the top challenge for HR leaders in 2019.

So what do you need to do to create the sort of workplace that will attract, reward, motivate, and inspire these people?

Here are four key trends to help you future-proof your workplace.

1. Prepare for AI in the workplace

This is clearly the 600-pound gorilla in the room. There’s a lot of talk now about AI in the workplace. The report “Australia’s Future Workforce” suggests 40% of jobs in Australia are likely to be automated in the next 10-15 years. So yes, it’s a significant concern for many people.

But as much as we hear about “robots coming for your jobs”, the reality is that the best workplaces will have people and machines working together.

Employer demand for AI in the workplace has more than doubled over the last three years, but (according to Dell research) the majority of leaders expect their employees and machines to work as “integrated teams” in the next few years.

So, work diligently at enabling more AI in your workplace – but in a way that it augments, not replaces, your best people.

2. Offer a more flexible work environment.

The days of in-office, 9-to-5, Monday to Friday, work are dead … or, at least, dying – and technology allows you to provide more flexibility.

The best people want more flexibility in how, when, and where they work. When a 2018 Robert Half survey asked Australian workers what they would be willing to accept a pay cut for, 47% wanted flexible working hours and 40% wanted to work from home sometimes.

This doesn’t mean you have to provide a free-for-all when it comes to flexibility. In many cases, some flexibility will be enough to accommodate a more diverse workforce – for example, people with families, partners moving for their careers, hiring global talent, using freelancers and contractors, and so on.

Speaking of diversity and inclusion …

3. Embrace diversity as a strategic advantage.

No longer do the most senior people have the best expertise, experience, and wisdom to lead your organisation into the future.

According to the recent DCA-Suncorp “Inclusion@Work Index 2018”, employees in diverse and inclusive teams are:

  • 9 times more likely to innovate
  • 10 times more likely to be highly effective
  • 4 times more likely to stay
  • 19 times more likely to be very satisfied with their job

A diverse workforce is not just a “feel good” initiative – it’s a competitive advantage for future-proofing your organisation.

4. Stand for something that matters.

Finally, offer more than a pay cheque and a clean office. The best people today want work that’s meaningful, not just menial; and in a place where they can say they feel proud to work.

In fact, research by Cone Communications says 64% of Generation Y employees won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong CSR (corporate social responsibility) values. And this is no longer just a sideline initiative, it needs to be front and centre in the organisation’s mission.

What are YOU doing to be a talent magnet?

Which of these four initiatives can you implement – or enhance – in your workplace to turn your organisation into a talent magnet? I’m not saying they are easy, but the most important things rarely are. But they are essential, because the best workplaces on Earth are doing these things. So, if you’re not doing them, you’ll fall behind.

Want to know more?

I recently conducted a webcast for my clients about the top talent trends for 2019. I covered the four trends above and shared some ideas for you to implement them in your organisation.

The recording is available here:

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To Attract Top Talent, Create a Shared Journey

 30th January 2019 by gihan

When a small, New York City-based organisation advertised for a graphic designer to join its 70-person staff, over 500 people applied. When they later advertised for a receptionist, they had almost twice as many applications.

This organisation wasn’t offering above-average salaries, lucrative stock options, or free food and massages for their employees. In fact, some employees were leaving those perks in other jobs to join the list of applicants here. That’s because they want to work for this non-profit organisation, charity: water, which builds wells around the world to provide clean and safe drinking water for those who need it most.

It’s not surprising an organisation with such a strong social purpose attracts like-minded employees. Founder Scott Harrison proudly claims people give up other benefits to do work that matters. Everybody there knows everything they do directly or indirectly helps families around the world.

But charity: water doesn’t just do good on the outside; it was also named one of Inc magazine’s 2018 Best Workplaces for how it operates on the inside. Their internal practices reflect the brand values of kindness and caring, and build a culture that attracts people who are also aligned with these values.

Here’s the Point

Stand for something that matters, and you will attract people who want to do work that matters.

The best people won’t tolerate a job that only gives them a simple exchange of time for money. They want a place where they can say they’re proud to work, and where their work has meaning. They know what “we” stand for, they value what we stand for, and they know they are making a difference in the world.

That sense of pride doesn’t only occur in a non-profit organisation like charity: water that reaches the entire world. It can occur in any organisation, small or large, in any industry, and in myriad ways.

An organisation like charity: water started with a higher-purpose goal, but that isn’t the case in many organisations. They start by solving more prosaic problems for their customers or helping them reach some small goal in their lives. That used to be enough to thrive, because solving problems kept the business alive, and employees were happy enough to work for that kind of business.

Solving customer problems is still important, but it’s now just the price of entry. Employees expect more, and want to work for an organisation with a strong mission, values, and purpose.

This is the difference between offering a salaried job and inviting people on a shared journey. If all other things are equal, they will choose the more compelling journey (Wouldn’t you?). And even if all other things aren’t equal, the best people will still choose that journey.

This is the real secret to employee engagement. Instead of investing time, money, and energy into employee engagement programs, offer work with meaning and your people are automatically engaged.

The research backs this up.

It’s easy to dismiss this as yet another touchy-feely, wishy-washy, feel-good initiative. But there’s plenty of hard evidence that backs this up. Here’s just a sample of recent research about what the best people want now from a workplace:

  • 64% of Generation Y won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong CSR values (Cone Communications)
  • 78% of employees are not convinced their leaders have a clear direction for the organisation (Gallup)
  • Companies “that stand for something bigger than what they sell, communicate their purpose and demonstrate commitment, are more likely to attract consumers and influence purchasing decisions.” (Accenture Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research)

Combine passion with purpose.

To create a shared journey, combine passion with purpose. Some people confuse these two concepts, but they are very different things. As Morten T Hansen says in his book, “Great at Work”, passion is “Do what you love”, while purpose is “Do what contributes”. In other words, passion is about how the world serves you, and purpose is about how you serve the world.

Your team members do meaningful work when they can apply their passion to your purpose.

On the one hand, you have passionate people, who are energised, excited, and enthusiastic about their work. It gives them joy and pleasure, they find true meaning in it, and they push through the tough times because they really, truly care. These are all good things, and they are exactly the people you want in your team and organisation.

At the same time, being aligned with your purpose means they channel that passion to create real value. They understand how their job fits in with other parts of the team, collaborate for a common cause, and measure their impact by external results rather than just internal motivation. This turns their passion into something meaningful (for them) and productive (for you).

Thinking Ahead

Here are three questions to ask yourself about creating a shared journey for your team – so you can attract and keep the best people:

  • How do you regularly connect the passion of your people with the purpose of your organisation?
  • How do you connect your passion with the purpose of your organisation?
  • What else can you do to provide more meaningful work for each person in your team?

Bonus Material: Top 10 Talent Trends for 2019

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Top 10 Talent Trends for 2019

 22nd January 2019 by gihan

  1. The War for Talent: Finding high-quality talent will be the top challenge for HR leaders in 2019 (XpertHR)
  2. Integrating AI: 67% of workers believe they must develop their skills to work with intelligent machines (Accenture)
  3. The Rise of Social Recruiting: 79% of job seekers use social media to find a job (Glassdoor)
  4. Demand for Social Responsibility: 64% of Generation Y won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong CSR values (Cone Communications)
  5. Generation Z in the Workforce: More than 75% of workers find multi-generational teams a challenge (University of North Carolina)
  6. Strengths of Diversity and Inclusion: Diversity and inclusion bring additional skills, ideas and perspectives (World Economic Forum)
  7. Desire for Flexible Work: 47% of Australian workers would be willing to accept a pay cut for more flexible working hours (2018 Robert Half)
  8. Increasing Automation: 40% of jobs in Australia are likely to be automated in the next 10-15 years (Australia’s Future Workforce)
  9. AR and VR in Training: The demand for augmented and virtual reality in corporate training will reach $2.8 billion by 2023 (Research and Markets)
  10. Shift to Online Learning: More than 50% of employers are investing in learning platforms and development tools (Manpower Group)

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The Top 10 Skills for Australian Workplaces

 17th January 2019 by gihan

In their report “The Future of Jobs 2018”, the World Economic Forum identified the top 10 skills we need for Australian workplaces to be fit for the future.

How does YOUR workplace stack up?

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The Best Workplace on Earth

 10th January 2019 by gihan

We all know the workplace of the future will be very different from the workplace of today. But what will the workplace of the future look like? It’s more than just technology and automation – it’s about the environment you create for attracting the smart, talented, savvy people with the skills we need for future-proofing our organisations.

The bad news is that those “stars” are in demand, and can choose where they work. Are YOU providing the sort of workplace that will attract and keep them?

You can watch the recording here:

After the webinar, I asked participants “What was the most useful thing you learned today?” Here are some of their answers:

“The quality of thinking and clarity is first class-excellent mentor”

“Reverse mentoring”

“I liked the five from/to scenarios. they are all aligned to becoming agile, but without mentioning agile.”

“The 5 reasons why people love their workplace”

“Different perspectives”

“Reverse mentoring. Of course I had heard about the concept, but what a great provocation. A real “ah ha” moment for me! :)”

“Reverse mentoring.”

“The reverse mentoring is very important. One aspect I have done which is similar is 360 reviews where staff review managers and visa versa. Had a great impact on the management team.”

“Up to date information to pass on to my clients”

“setting up formal mentoring for my team”

“The references you used, some of which I have accessed already, but others I hadn’t and want to do and look them up.”

The Future Proof Webinar Series

The Future Proof webinar series will keep you in touch with our future – what’s ahead, what it means for us, and how to stay ahead of the game.

In each webinar, I’ll cover an important topic about the future – for example, the shift of power to Asia, the changing workplace, healthcare technology, the shift to customer-centric business, big data, and more. This is not just theory; I’ll also give you practical examples and ideas for you to future-proof your organisation, teams, and career.

Register here

More ways to engage with me:

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Disrupt Less, Innovate More

 8th January 2019 by gihan

I hear a lot of talk about leaders talking about their business or industry being disrupted, and they want to know how to deal with all this “disruption”.

I think that’s the wrong way to look at it.

Two decades ago, Harvard scholar Clayton (“Clay”) Christensen wrote the book “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, in which he coined the term “disruptive innovation”. Over time, many people have abbreviated this to just “disruption”, but that’s dangerous!

His original idea was about innovation, not disruption. But we’ve distorted it so much that few people think of innovation when they hear the word “disruption”.

Disruption is when it happens to you, innovation is when you do it yourself.

Innovation is all about change. Yes, it’s about disruption, but with you in control. In other words, it’s disruption by design.

You might have heard this joke:

The Dalai Lama orders a burger from a stand, hands over $20, and gets his burger but no change.

“What about my change?” he asks the vendor.

The vendor replies, “Change comes from within.”

Innovate from the inside out. You disrupt yourself, but in a positive, progressive way that positions you better for the change happening in the world.

So, as we head into 2019, instead of thinking about disruption, think about innovation and change.

The world has changed – but have you?

Broadly, most organisations go through three phases.

First, you see a problem and notice many people with that problem. In this “strive” phase, you build an organisation with the skills and resources to solve that problem.

In the next phase, the world has moved on, and customers face an entirely new set of problems. They expect a completely different set of solutions, and your organisation is no longer relevant. You haven’t become “dumber”, but you have become less relevant. You’re doing all you can just to “survive”.

If you do the things you’ve always done, your organisation won’t survive. The organisations that thrive now solve a different set of problems. It doesn’t matter whether these organisations even existed in the “old” world. In fact, in many cases, it’s an advantage if they didn’t, because they aren’t carrying all the extra baggage that comes with solving the problems of the past.

In the past, when the world wasn’t changing as quickly, you had time to adapt, adjust, and evolve your organisation to solve new problems. Now, you need to move much faster – and disrupt yourself or be disrupted.

That means you need new skills.

You can’t solve new problems with the same skill set you used to solve old problems. You need new skills, and it’s not difficult to guess what kind of skills you need: collaboration, diversity, independence, flexibility, and so on.

The good news is there are smart, talented people out there with those skills.

The bad news is they have a choice of work.

So, the question is: Do they want to work for you?

That puts the responsibility for success back on you. If you want to thrive, create a better workplace so you can attract – and keep – the best people!

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