[Guest Blog] Balancing Remote Work & Pets

Guest blog by Luxe Pet hotels, a doggy day care

Do you share your home with a four-legged pal that meows or barks? If so, you are not alone. More than half of the world’s population has a pet in their home. Furthermore, one-third of average households own at least one canine and another quarter owns at least one feline. However, pet owners aren’t limited to just cats and dogs. Other common pets include reptiles, freshwater and saltwater fish, birds, and rodents such as guinea pigs and hamsters.

  

Infographic provided by Luxe Pet hotels, a doggy day care

 

A New Routine

Our beloved animal friends can help us with daunting issues such as isolation, loneliness, and stress. Especially now, we may feel these emotions due to the ongoing pandemic. Prior to 2020, working remotely was already a progressive trend for several employers. Between 2005 and 2018 alone, the number of at-home employees increased by 170%. The COVID-19 pandemic only aided in accelerating this great shift, as many businesses have requested their nonessential workers to work from the safety of their home.

While many employees are content with adapting to new routines that don’t involve lengthy commutes or stiff work clothes, working pet owners are facing some added challenges. Their adored four-legged friend may start asking for a lot more care and attention now that you are home more often, but you’re expected to uphold the same high levels of productivity when you were working in the office. So, what can working pet owners do?

 

Adding Extra Activities

It’s important to first consider the situation from your pet’s perspective. Having you home more often and for longer periods of time can throw off the normal schedule that they’re used to. To help your favorite fur-baby feel more comfortable with the changes, create new and fun routines such as walking your dog more frequently or setting aside playdates for your cat. These changes could relieve any additional anxiety and encourage a more peaceful environment at home. A relaxed pet also means less destructive and/or distracting behavior.

 

The Benefits Of Having A Furry Co-Worker

Despite the additional challenges, owning pets can make the transition to an at-home work environment less stressful. More than 8 in 10 pet parents stated that spending extra time with their animal friends has helped alleviate stress. Furthermore, two-thirds of owners reported that they’re actually happier and more comfortable working from home when their pets are alongside them. Another positive benefit? 7 in 10 pet owners indicated that they’re able to add more physical activity into their schedule by walking or playing with their pet.

For more tips and tricks, check out the following infographic created by a dog resort.

[Guest Blog] 3 Tips For Networking In The New Normal by Reena James

Guest blog by Reena James

Image via Unsplash

The pandemic brought along many changes, one of which is the idea of the “new normal” for professionals. However, the BBC reports that there is still no way to exactly define what these new normal work changes will finally look like due to the unpredictable course of the pandemic. What they can be sure of is that workers are less likely to find pre-pandemic work structures with more companies offering flexible or hybrid work setups.

Often, the new normal prioritises a hybrid work option where an employee can work from home or at the office – depending on the company’s wishes. But how does this affect the practice of networking where the essence of socialising and meeting new people is important? Read through our tips below to know more about networking in the new normal.

Use LinkedIn to join professional communities

LinkedIn is a social media platform and the largest professional network on the internet. It can help you begin and strengthen professional relationships. Moreover, it is a platform that can help you learn and grow in your career.

As we wrote in our previous post on ‘The 4 Keys to Networking for the Business Generation’, LinkedIn can create successful connections through its lead generation tools. Using LinkedIn to join various communities and groups can allow you to meet industry experts, peers, and other professionals. In addition, it is also a powerful platform that will help you find job opportunities that can offer you the challenge you need.

To use LinkedIn, you must update your profile with relevant information to help you find like-minded people in the same field. It is also helpful to start finding your in-person connections on LinkedIn and widen your network by tapping into mutual connections.

Express what you need from your network

Even though you will likely be networking remotely, you still need to remember traditional networking techniques. Networking is about developing relationships, opportunities, and connections. Communication, no matter through what platform, is essential in networking. It is the foundation that builds your network. Clear communication can help you meet more people who will help you grow along the way.

One of the remote networking tips listed by LHH is being deliberate in what you want from your network, as this is key to building fruitful relationships. You need to express specific intent to prove that you have a clear goal. This helps your network know that you are genuine in your need to connect and learn. Be direct and honest – this will allow you to meet great people

Explore Reddit to pursue your interests

Reddit is more than just forums for fandoms and internet theories. In fact, similar to LinkedIn, Reddit is actually a social news website and forum where you can find specific content and communities. It’s an incredible platform to gain information about niche topics and hobbies. “Subreddits,” the communities within Reddit, range from philosophy, languages, physics, food, celebrity, and work topics.

What is great about Reddit is that you can network in a more casual environment. You can pursue your interests while meeting people who like the same things as you. This way, you can make a connection with people on a deeper level on top of the professional aspect.

The first thing you’ll need to do to join Reddit discussions is create an account. After that, you can easily find subreddits that can suit your interests.

While the new normal has changed a lot about how we work, networking is still a vital part of your career growth – whether in-person or remotely. If you are now a remote worker we hope the above tips are useful.

 

Article contributed by Reena James

[Joint Blog] Where digital transformation goes wrong?

Written by:  

 

Digital transformation has been high on the agenda for most companies over the past few years – but there’s often too much inaction. This is preparing for failure, and that will come sooner than many might think. Furthermore, getting started on the journey is one thing, but implementing it in the right way, for success, takes time, people, leadership, management, and focus.

This is now a need to do, not a nice to do. Are you ready to commit to the journey? Do you need to fast-track the road that you’re already on? Let’s explore some of the common pitfalls that companies fall for, and what success looks like.

  

PART ONE

The need for change

There’s no such thing as being too big to fail anymore.

Technology continues to evolve at pace, and that opens up new ways for companies to be able to deliver products and services to their customers. We’re now seeing every industry start to have an influx of new “challenger” companies, which are created as technology-first. There’s no such thing as being too big to fail anymore. Competitive advantage is speed and rapid performance. Are you as a leader in your organisation ready for the steep learning and action curve?

The ways that companies are delivering value to their customers is also changing, as they create more interactive and self-serve experiences. Customers are now starting to demand more of this in every aspect of their life, and are now often reaching for convenience and functionality over brand loyalty. The movement is from customer experience, to longer-term, in-depth customer journeys.

learning how to lead and manage remotely has been one of the biggest hits and misses for successful and failing leaders our there

The pandemic has also introduced a lot of new problems for companies to deal with that are likely to be around for the foreseeable. This includes a more distributed workforce, a change in customer behaviours, and disruption to traditional supply-chains. Technology and change opens the door to solutions that can help a company to not only overcome these issues, but also find new audiences and efficiencies.

Today, putting leaders and managers on a level footing with other employees is also important. As the landscape continues to change, it’s key that everyone learns together -and learning how to lead and manage remotely has been one of the biggest hits and misses for successful and failing leaders our there.

  

PART TWO

Technology departments remain a key component

It’s key to remember that it’s a collaborative process

Once the need for change has been identified, the next step is often that a company will lean on the technology department to lead the programme. This usually starts with a transformation specialist (such as a Chief Technology Officer) who can start to build a roadmap.

Some companies choose to first look at new ways of reaching their customers. This could be through using social media, and more digital-first ways of marketing, or by introducing things such as interactive web experiences, or mobile apps. Others start with their internal systems and processes, looking to find ways to achieve things faster, cheaper, and with fewer faults.

many organisations are set up in a way that’s too rigid

While technology leaders and the teams that support them are excellent generators of practical ideas and strategies in this area, it only goes so far without proper support from the rest of the organisation. It’s key to remember that it’s a collaborative process, and as much as digital strategy, it’s also a human one. CTOs need the whole business lens, not just the technical one. Technical systems must be matched with getting people “on board” with them. Developing binding ecosystems is required to ensure that technology truly becomes embedded in the long run.

We have seen successful organisations start by introducing somewhat standalone “innovation centres”. These act almost like a startup, with more autonomy to bring about change. But, in order for this to actually impact the core business in the long term, it requires a transition through to “business as usual” for everyone else.

To actually put in place even the most well thought out transformation plans, they need the key things that every other project does – budget, resources, and time. These are often the things that introduce hurdles to overcome, as many organisations are set up in a way that’s too rigid for some of the unknown exploration required for change to be brought about.

 

PART THREE

It begins with leadership

Leadership is where digital talk and workforce transformation fails first. Budgets and resources can often be locked behind paperwork and lengthy sign-off processes. These are often designed to mitigate risk, and ensure that spending happens in the most efficient way – but they can be the main reason that projects never get off the ground.

more often than not, you need to test and explore the possible by running a series of experiments

Change in any organisation is almost always a calculated risk, with a dose of educated guesses thrown in. In this case, mitigating those risks can be a sensible thing to do, but more often than not, you need to test and explore the possible by running a series of experiments. This naturally requires a budget and approach to be more flexible than the company may be used to.

Let’s imagine that an energy company is thinking about making their core services available via an app to their users, to make it more “self-serve”. There’s bound to be a good business case for this, including cost savings to contact-centre staff. But as with any technology project, there’s a question of what users actually want. There may be no point developing the app if 95% of users still end up choosing to call up to give their meter reading.

The agile methodology has been the standard in technology for many years now. It’s designed to break down projects into smaller chunks and “test the water” by getting feedback at each stage. This naturally requires a different approach when it comes to budgeting and roadmaps.

 

PART FOUR

Whole-organisation transformation

As we’ve explored, the issue often stems from not bringing the whole organisation along for the ride, and instead, trying to implement transformation as a “side project”.

Working in agile ways shouldn’t just be reserved for the technical teams.

Working in agile ways shouldn’t just be reserved for the technical teams. Being strategically reactive and data-driven, by using tools such as analytics, data visualisation, and feedback will bring a shift in the company, when it’s implemented across the organisation. Leaders must walk the walk across departments – and also ensure that the the entire organisation follows the example.

Plans are less “set in stone”, and often need teams to have freedom to “fail” and learn by testing. To succeed with transformation, boards must become more open to a game-plan, rather than a strict step-by-step proposal. Those who lead the company must also adapt their ways. Teams must be given relative freedom and autonomy to find the best way to achieve the business goals.

Perhaps most importantly, to get results from digital transformation, companies must be willing to truly transform with it. Leaders must nurture a more collaborative, and data-driven environment – and be willing to take calculated risks towards a new future for the organisation.

  

Written by

Scott Gulliver

Scott Gulliver is the Director of Fluff Software, a software development company based in the South West of England. Scott has been helping large companies to implement software and technology, with a particular focus on digital transformation over the past decade.

Website | LinkedIn  | Twitter

 

Jeremy Blain

Jeremy Blain is the Chief Executive of Performance Works International (PWI), a modern business transformation consultancy and training company that helps executive boards, leaders and teams succeed in the digital climate amidst disruption, opportunity, and uncertainty. Jeremy is a global authority on empowered working and backed this up with his 2021 award-winning, International #1 best-selling book: ‘The Inner CEO – Unleashing leaders at all levels

Website | LinkedIn

[Guest Blog] Modern Employee Benefits to Consider for Your Organization by Julie Morris

Guest blog by Julie Morris

Image via Unsplash

What steps is your organization taking to attract and retain top talent? If you’re relying on traditional employee benefits to build a team of devoted workers, you might be selling yourself short. These days, millennials and zoomers expect different perks from their companies than people in previous generations.

Along with the longtime staples of medical insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, and disability insurance, consider thinking outside the box regarding the benefits you are offering your current and potential team members. Below, Performance Works provides some quick tips on how you can draw (and keep) top-notch talent!

The Workplace

Let’s start with making your workplace more amenable to your employees. More companies are offering their team members additional vacation time, paid leave, and flexible working hours, all of which are guaranteed to attract the best talent.

Another thing to consider is how much effort you are putting into developing your team’s skills. Make sure you invest in any technology that can help each of your employees improve their craft and fulfill their responsibilities more efficiently. Furthermore, think of ways to encourage healthy eating among your employees; you might be surprised by how effective it can be to provide free lunches, fruit, and hot tea to your team!

Lifestyle

Work-life balance has never been more important to employees. Consider any way that you can show your team members that you value their health and well-being by offering benefits that account for non-work activities. For instance, maybe you could provide discounted grocery delivery, child care, legal services, and financial services, to name a few.

Allowing your team to work remotely or through a hybrid model could also benefit their work-life balance. And you might be surprised by how productively your team can work remotely! If your employees need to come into the office regularly, you could help them cover transportation costs or provide alternative solutions like bicycles, scooters, or public transit passes.

Health and Wellness           

You can’t research employee benefits without seeing a lot of content on health and wellness, and that’s because it’s vital for any company that hopes to succeed in the long run. Millennials and zoomers expect companies to offer an employee wellness program, which can come in many forms.

Some smaller companies may provide a simple fitness center membership; businesses with more resources might include a full-spectrum program with an in-house gym, mental health services, and financial health counseling. The best approach is to simply do what you can with the resources you have.

If you want to take it to the next level, you could even offer a workshop or training seminar on boosting health and wellness at home. For example, you could teach your team members about how decluttering their belongings can reduce their stress, as well as how to organize their closets and cabinets better.

Financial Security

We can’t forget about the importance of financial security. At the end of the day, anything that will help your employees achieve financial health will be the most substantial incentive for them to join your team. This means that you should figure out how to offer pension plans, comprehensive insurance, outstanding bonuses, financial consultations, and any other financial benefits that could help your company attract and retain top talent.

If your company hopes to stay ahead of the game in a constantly changing business landscape, it must prioritize employee benefits. Consider the ideas above as you prepare to make any necessary modifications, and keep looking for other ways to build a top-notch team. In no time, you will see that the time, money, and energy you are investing in employee incentives are proving well worth it!

 

Would you like to read more helpful content or learn about the training and consultation services we provide for organizations and individuals around the world? Contact us today!

Out of a Job? Resources for Finding Remote Work, Succeeding and Knowing the Tools You Need by Eleanor Wyatt

Guest blog by Eleanor Wyatt, Remote Work Wellness

 

As a digital nomad, have you lost your work-from-home career during the coronavirus pandemic? As difficult as this time may be, there are some things you can do to find new remote work. And who knows, maybe you will stumble across work that you enjoy more than what you used to do!

To help you find remote work, transition to a new career, and get all the tools you need in these uncertain times, Performance Works offers the following resources to consider.

Implement a Plan

It can be easy to fall into the trap of staying in your PJs all day and watching TV. However, while it might be a few weeks before you land anything, having a plan in place can help you stay at the top of your game:

  • Add structure, like filing for unemployment and having a job search schedule
  • Turn to LinkedIn to make a more compelling profile
  • Reach out to your network to let them know you’re searching for employment
  • Go after future goals. Want to start a business? Start learning the ropes with these resources – Creating a business plan. Deciding what to sell.
  • If your home doesn’t accommodate your goals for starting a business, look into how much you can spend and find a place that’s more accommodating.
  • Incorporate a positive daily practice like meditation, exercise, journaling, or reading

Finding Remote Work

While starting with job boards is your best, consider some of the many companies that are currently hiring. Even if you land a part-time role, it could be a great launching pad for you to move to full-time. Several major companies hiring remote workers right now include:

  • Facebook, which plans to hire an additional 10,000 employees
  • Varsity Tutors, which expects to hire 10,000 instructors
  • Zoom Video and Slack, and both continue to add new jobs every day

Use Keywords to Help Your Resume and Cover Letter Stand Out

In addition to underscoring your experience and skills, you want to help your soft skills to stand out. This shows potential employers you are comfortable making decisions and working well with others. Show off some of your top qualities by:

  • Explaining how you applied courage with an experimental process
  • Highlighting your openness and how you show compassion and handle failure
  • Providing a situation where your integrity shined
  • Offering up an instance where you remained vigilant as you watched a project unfold

Chasing Success

To ensure you’re ready to go when that job lands in your lap, you need to be completely prepared on multiple levels. Having structure and tech in place shows potential employers you understand how to maximize productivity and take care of yourself. Things to consider:

Just because you lost your job doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Use these resources to help you handle a career upset, find remote work, make your resume and cover letter shine, and be prepared for when you get hired. In no time, you could be on your way to a revitalized career!

[Guest Blog] 6 Lessons Learned From a Year of Remote Work by Eleanor Wyatt

Guest blog by Eleanor Wyatt, Remote Work Wellness

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work was a relatively uncommon job perk. By mid-2020, it became a necessity with nearly half of all employees working remotely during the pandemic.

With the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic well underway, the companies that found themselves unexpectedly thrust into remote work are finally hitting their stride. What lessons have we learned at Performance Works International and what struggles remain? These are the unexpected upsides and ongoing challenges of the remote shift.

The Good: Remote workers are just as productive

Managers feared that remote work would enable slacking off, but data proves the opposite is true: Due to shorter commutes, a reduction in office space, and talent pool expansion, remote work is predicted to increase productivity by 5% across the economy. Managers are noting productivity upticks among their own teams with shorter project turnarounds and reduced absenteeism.

The Bad: Remote teams are harder to manage

Management is a stressful job under normal circumstances — just take a look at the statistics here — and remote work amplifies those challenges. Work-life balance is harder to maintain when subordinates work varying schedules and miscommunication and silos run rampant without appropriate communication infrastructure. Going forward, remote team managers must strike a balance between being responsive to remote employees’ needs and avoiding micromanaging.

The Good: Flexible work lowers employee turnover

Employees are also happier working from home. Three out of four remote workers say they’re less stressed, more focused, and less likely to get caught up in office drama while working from home. That spike in job satisfaction contributes to a 25% lower turnover rate in companies that offer remote work.

The Bad: Remote work can be isolating

The flip side of fewer water cooler conversations is that remote employees are prone to loneliness and isolation. It’s up to managers to keep remote workers engaged by creating opportunities for connection and ensuring remote workers have access to the information they need to perform. Many companies are discovering the best way to achieve this is with a hybrid working model that gives employees the best of both worlds — face-to-face connection and remote flexibility.

The Good: Remote work accelerated digital adoption

The rapid shift to remote work triggered a scramble to equip employees with the necessary tools to work from home. Suddenly, companies were migrating to the cloud and digitizing internal operations to reach employees at home. Beyond enabling remote work, the digital workspace is making organizations more integrated, organized, and resilient than ever before.

The Bad: Remote work increases cybersecurity risk

The race to digitize also left companies with big holes in their cybersecurity infrastructure. Each remote worker represents an endpoint and, in turn, a security risk. The result of these vulnerabilities was a dramatic spike in cyber attacks, particularly ransomware and social engineering attacks. To manage risk in an increasingly dangerous virtual world, organizations must adopt a proactive approach to IT support. This includes ramping up training, requiring employees to connect over VPNs, and ditching bring-your-own-device policies in favor of secured devices.

Remote work has a lot to offer organizations, but the rapid transformation to working from home hasn’t been without its challenges. As companies look forward to another year, it’s time to move out of crisis mode and start planning for the future of flexible work. Whether your organization goes remote-first, adopts a hybrid work model, or returns to an office-first culture, the demand for flexibility isn’t going anywhere. The companies that fare best in the digital era will be those that adapt.

The Platform Economy Up-Close & Personal: WDHB Launches Invitation for Open Expedition in Singapore

PARTNER PRESS RELEASE, 3 OCTOBER 2019

WDHB, the world-leader in designing and delivering experiential learning for people & strategy development with executives, has launched a call for an open enrollment expedition on the Platform Economy together with best-selling author and recognized authority on the subject, Sangeet Paul Choudary. The three-day program in Singapore will provide senior leaders and emerging future leaders in corporate strategy, digital transformation and innovation a unique opportunity to start, accelerate or deepen their venturing into a new paradigm of business model and ecosystem management.

“We continue in the tradition of agenda-setting, a function that our Learning Expeditions over the years have held for executive teams of many of our Fortune 500 clients.” said Samuel Mueller, Chief Growth Officer, on Wednesday, when WDHB released the call for this Open Expedition.

The three-day program, built as a purposeful combination of immersive strategic discovery and facilitated reflection and exchange, is suited for any executive interested in creating value from ecosystems as we live through the deep and disruptive evolutions of the foundational structures of value creation, also characterized as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The partner in co-design and co-delivery on this unique program is none other than Sangeet Paul Choudary, best-selling author of Platform Revolution and Platform Scale, whose work has been work selected twice as a TOP 10 Must-Read by the Harvard Business Review. On the choice of destination, he comments: “Singapore has seen the rise of the platform economy through a unique model of publicprivate cooperation where the government, incumbent firms, and startups have worked together to create new innovation. It is a unique destination offering insight into a tectonic shift of our time.”

As business models are becoming ever more modular, interdependent and exponential, having a clear platform strategy is key to finding an organization’s place and generating opportunities. The Open Expedition format provides exposure to current thinking and real-life examples on one of the most transformative trends of the global Digital Economy while also drawing valuable insight from peer- opeer learning across cultures and industries.

Sunil Narang, President & CEO of WDHB explains: “We’ve always been mindful of creating authentic moments for growth with our programs and want to avoid, by any means, the commoditization of those exchanges to the level of industrial tourism – hence our ambition to pick only cutting-edge topics for our Open Expedition series,” in reference to the company’s ambition of launching more open enrollment programs in 2020 on topics that push the frontiers of learning and strategic thinking within companies.

The Open Expedition «Driving Digital Innovation in the Platform Economy » will take place in Singapore from 2 to 4 December 2019 and is available as a comprehensive package at affordable rates of USD 4,250 (standard sign-up fee) or USD 3,550 (early bird sign-up fee by 13 Oct 2019) excluding travel and hotel. For more information and registration go to www.wdhb.com/openx

Contact Samuel Mueller, Chief Growth Officer, smueller@wdhb.com, +41 79 509 43 46

WDHB designs and delivers programs for people and strategy development. Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989 and present in the United States, in China, France, Singapore and Switzerland, WDHB is the world leader in the field of experiential strategic discovery for executives and brings the spirit of authentic exploration and emergent learning also to formats such as corporate events and development programs. To date, WDHB has crafted over 600 programs enabling over 12,000 global decision-makers from various industries to progress both individually and in a team.

https://wdhb.com/

Sangeet Paul Choudary is the best-selling author of Platform Revolution and Platform Scale. He has advised the leadership of 30 of the Fortune 500 firms and has been selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is a frequent keynote speaker at leading global forums including the G20 Summit, the UN, and the WEF. Sangeet’s work on platforms has been selected twice as a TOP 10 Must-Read by the Harvard Business Review: HBR Top 10 Must Reads 2017 and HBR Top 10 Must Reads on Business Model Innovation.

http://platformthinkinglabs.com/

[Interview] With Jeremy Blain, Digital Transformation Expert On The Next 5 Years For Your Company


April 29, 2019

Jeremy Blain is an award-winning Business Leader, Futurist, New Era Learning Professional, Author & Conference Speaker.

Jeremy is founder and CEO of PerformanceWorks International (PWI). He has created PWI because he knows that his experience, knowledge and passion can help organisations and individuals face into the changing workplace and help them be fit and ready for the future.

We had an opportunity to have a chat with Jeremy to discuss digital transformation and what it holds for the future of companies and their retention of customers and brand loyalty to become a more digitally centered business.

1. How Do Define Successful Digital Transformation?

By not calling it digital transformation but re-orientating that to Whole Business Model Transformation. This is the real need.

Digital transformation seems to have lost its meaning for many companies, who are seeing it as the integration of technology, a system, a structure or similar. Multiply that effect by the potential for different technologies being implemented across different functions, without necessarily talking to each other, and they are compounding the problem. In many companies, a further question is not even considered…how does my digital strategy and transformation align to what my customers need and want? Here lies the problem.

For me true success is looking at the end to end transformation the business needs to include the digital, the people, the customer and partners; all led by a credible leadership and management team. Whole business consideration, not just piecemeal interventions that may not work. It is no coincidence that in research across 2016/17 by IBM and Forbes that 84% of digital strategy fails**. A staggering amount and this is largely due to a misunderstanding of what digital transformation actually is, what it means and how to go about it.

My latest research goes into this in some details and proposes a brand new 11-step model for digital strategy implementation. While doing the research, it was clear very little guidance actually exists – until now. You can see more here.

** source:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucerogers/2016/01/07/why-84-of-companies-fail-at-digital-transformation/#13d5410a397b

https://www.ibm.com/blogs/insights-on-business/oracle-consulting/84-of-companies-fail-at-digital-transformation

2. How Do You See The Effect Of Digital Transformation On The Public Sector?

It depends on the part of world we focus on. For example, Countries like Vietnam, India, China, Singapore, HK and more across Asia have digital at the core of their policies. Be that in the development of Smart Cities like Singapore or building the economy on technology-driven services and business.

In Europe, from my recent survey (white paper above) it is clear that Red Tape and Bureaucracy is getting in the way of adequate planning, budgeting and execution of government level policy and implementation when it comes to digital. For example, very few public sector organisations we surveyed have a digital vision or even a leadership capable of understanding what is needed…compounded by a ‘laisse faire’ attitude. Unless that changes, transformation in the public sector will be slow and only in certain areas; rather than an integrated, policy-driven actionable plan – which is adequately funded.

Interestingly digital is levelling the global competitive playing field and allowing emerging economies across the world, notably in Africa, SE Asia and Latin America to start from the same place as more established economies. The more enlightened governments are centralizing their planning around this to build future-ready economies and attractive investment sites for external developers, investors and businesses.   Whole conferences are being fast-tracked around this area as a platform for global, not just local, participants. Such as Africa Com later this year and many more. This is as important to government as it is to private enterprise of course.

3. How Do You See Digital Transformation Efforts Affecting Customers In The Next 5 Year?

It is not just about our customers, it is more a question of how we do more together with our customers, fuelled by digital and driven by human expertise. For example, as we transform our businesses, how do we ensure that our technologies, data and processes align with those evolving in our customers. To the extent that within the next 5 years our systems should actually ‘talk to’ those of our customers to fast track data sharing, informing more rapid joint decision making and forward strategy planning. This is the gold at the end of the rainbow for suppliers and their customers.

4. Which Are The Emerging Technologies That Will Play A Significant Role In The Digital Transformation Process?

This could be a long list but key tech that can enable successful transformation includes AI (Artificial Intelligence) – around big data analysis, strategic planning and rapid decision making. Bin the excel spreadsheets and be driven by hyper rapid analytics, for real-time action.

5G will be a game-changer in terms of the above and the ability for businesses who are ahead of the curve to secure competitive advantage. This not just about bandwidth, download speeds etc. this could become the life-blood running through the veins of our businesses and how we interact with employees, partners, customers and competitors even. More leaders need to truly understand the power that 5G can provide their businesses. Right now, too many ‘don’t know what they don’t know’

Aligned to this will be technology to allow systems to talk to each other. Prior to a true ‘Internet of Things’ filling the gap, the use of API (Application Programming Interface) should be adopted by more organisations (small, medium and large). API is a way to ensure that there are clearly designed methods and communication lines across  the varying technology components you may use internally – and – over the next few years, to enable better integration with your customer systems and technologies. A key component for competitive advantage.

RPA – robotic process automation. A way to automate your future business processes to ensure the technology, AI, robotics etc all work together and are linked to the human heart of your business. Crucial to some industries over the next 3-6 years and something that many informed corporations are budgeting now for, as they prepare their forward strategies. Others are not doing enough…

In the digital age one could argue that the human touch is as important as it ever was. Leveraging your human capital in the age of whole business model transformation can be the ‘edge’ as far as competitive advantage goes (particularly around the attraction, protection and retention of Talent). This is why many organisations are restructuring their organisation around Human Design Centres. Mobilising your resources according to core personality, preference and capability, not necessarily job role or function. It embraces ‘difference’ and enables your people to perform in ways suited to them. A more fluid way to use Talent and more sophisticated way to mobilise resources be they permanent, contingent workers, in an office or remote. Equally a way to understand how this can work best with the digital thread of the business as much as the human.

5. How Do You See The Integration Of Block-chain Affecting The Businesses?

By 2021 it is predicted that over $6Trillion USD will be lost through cyber crime. As part of any digital strategy, cyber risk, secure systems and end-to-end secure processes, technologies and tools require much work in many organisations. Not just for how they work internally but how they interface externally most importantly. Those organisations with 20th century systems in place now are not fit for purpose in the Industry 4.0 era. But many heads are being buried in the sand. It is perceived as expensive, non-urgent and, again, a fundamental misunderstanding of the ‘cost of doing nothing’ is the biggest risk here.

In 2020s ‘trusting’ a company, system or tool is not good enough. In the era of fake news, sophisticated scams and readily available ‘credible’ technology, you need more. And that is where Blockchain comes in. For me – as a summary – Blockchain is the end to end ‘traceability’ your organisation needs internally and to be seen externally. It is TRUTH over TRUST. And that is the key point and why it is so important.

Thank you to Jeremy for taking the time to speak with us at Upwise.  We have certainly learned a lot and hope this insight has helped our community too.

The Future of Work and Learning – The 2020s : Utopia or Dystopia?

Research shows we are conditioned to think negatively 70% of the time – largely in ways that express our fears; something we don’t want or are actively trying to avoid.

As we leap further into an uncertain world – forever changed by jittery markets, rapid digital transformation, disruption, hyper competitive marketplaces, shifting cultural landscapes and the end of the ‘job for life’ – it’s only natural to be daunted by our own position in the evolving workplace.

Yet there is much to be optimistic about if we’re open to change and the exciting new opportunities that present themselves with it.

While conducting much of the research I have done over the past few years, I have interviewed many professionals and leaders across Business, HR and Learning. Interestingly, despite some differences across regions, companies and cultures, there are 5 common themes that are reinforced time and again, as organisations prepare their businesses and workforce for the future.

1, Be ready

We are living in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ – the advent of sophisticated automation and the information age. We have transcended the ‘electronic’ era and are firmly in the digital. This revolution is not about to happen…it’s happening now. Yet too many companies fail to accommodate new technologies and new ways of working. This is understandable, what with the pace of change being quite overwhelming, but companies can make incremental changes to ensure they exploit the latest technologies and systems to their full advantage. Digital transformation is here to stay and this is one area exposed in our research which too many organisations, worldwide, are not tackling quickly enough, with the right research and in an efficient way.

2, Embrace social technologies and experiment

Social media has taken over the workplace like nothing else. Many people are aware of its existence and will probably use some platforms socially, such as Facebook or Instagram, in their personal lives. Yet when it comes to using social technologies and media in the workplace, many leaders are unsure just how it fits into the vast scheme of things. The point here is to experiment and learn. There are countless new ways to connect, to market and to be educated. There is likely something out there that could really make a difference to your place in the market, but you don’t have to succeed immediately. What we absolutely must do is experiment, learn internally and externally and act.

3, The old ways are no longer the best

There remains in 2018 much talk of Gen Y / Millennials and how companies should respond to their needs to engage them in the workplace. Gen Y Millennials represent a generation that has grown up with the Internet who don’t necessarily fit the narcissistic and lazy stereotype they are often tainted with (the ‘Me’ generation I feel is a dangerous, sweeping generalization). Instead, Millennials are challenging the old ways of working and adapting to a whole new working landscape; one devoid of 9-5 and top-down management. Rather than pandering to Gen Y – as their elders often feel pressured into – the most successful companies are finding new ways to work cross-generationally and embrace diversity. And this is yielding some very positive results.
In fact, it will become even more important to “flatten out” the cross generational debate as we welcome GenZ into the workplace within the next 2 years and, in many worldwide markets, define how to utilise and benefit from an aging population of ‘sliver stars’ who are ready to commit for longer and  contribute more.

4, Think positive

It is so important for Leaders to build motivation and clear direction for the future. It inspires positive thinking and commits hearts and minds. Consider the start of this post – many people fail because they frame objectives in a negative way (“we cannot miss our target this month” etc.)
As we navigate the 2020’s workplace, a positive mindset makes a huge difference, at all levels, and learning how to motivate your workforce so that they embrace change is paramount in any modern organisation.

5, Adopt new ways of learning

More agile working methods, ongoing business transformation, disruptive new competitors and more, mean we need to LEARN more. New knowledge, skills and behaviours to help us compete, collaborate, communicate and win. Corporate learning needs not just to evolve but I would argue requires a mini revolution of its own. We only have to look at the Education sector to see how learning can be different. The school classroom of today is flipped completely to focus on building knowledge remotely through online student working groups and then in the classroom to apply the learning to real cases, projects and challenges. Learning strongly through peer-to-peer collaboration and action.

Transforming HR and learning for the digital era is the single biggest challenge facing many human capital professionals. What is more important is to find the right blend of solutions that suits your organisation, personalises learning to new levels and impacts growth – of the business, our leaders, our managers, our teams and individuals.

After all, in the increasingly digitized world of business, one could argue that the human touch is more important than ever.

I am looking forward to taking you on a journey to the future of now – which, of course, is now! Through our research to establish how the landscape is looking our there and to some organizations who are taking brave, bold steps to transform and win differently in their markets. The somewhat portentious Chinese saying has more resonance now than ever before. “May you live in interesting times”. Many may not know but this saying was actually a curse. Interpret that as you will!

The 4 keys to successful networking for business generation

Well, we are heading to the year end and fast approaching 2019. As I look back on our year, I revisited a stat from a previous post – namely that the majority of our new business came from networking both informally and formally. This was driven from a shift in our business to have a more joined-up approach to our networking (both technology enabled and the human touch) which started with a fundamental question….which of course seems obvious now but for too long was not taken seriously enough. The question was this:

What are the best vehicles for our business to effectively network, make meaningful connections, attract true interest and lead to a higher level of business conversion?

Before we tackled the questions we were running to each new ‘fashionable’ tool as the Holy Grail for networking and lead generation. It was indeed tempting to want to do everything on Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Wiebo, Pinterest, WhatsApp, hangouts etc etc – in fact whatever the buzz seemed to be about that particularly month / year / day. Our thinking was based on the “everyone else is doing it, so we have to do something similar…& quickly” school of thought.  You know where I am heading…It quickly became apparent there were fundamental flaws in this approach and the need for research, learning, best practice input and a far more specific approach was now alarmingly obvious.

We realised we had been slaves to technology and had almost forgotten how to connect human-to-human.  Technology become everything rather than being the enabler. This was the big mistake.

Technology is not everything of course and as you can see we learned the hard way to filter out the noise and find the tools / techniques appropriate to our business. We are in the Learning and Development industry and realised that we had to be pickier – and, due to the nature of the business we are in, ensure we have a strong Human Touch at heart of how we connect and network. Whether in the Cloud or at an event. It’s not so different across other industries I am sure…

18 months on and with a successful track record of change in approach behind us, here are the top 4 key approaches that have made the biggest difference to us in terms of meaningful networking and the generation of actual business:

a) Alignment of our technologies, social tools & activities
We started by filtering out the social tools and technologies that were not adding value to our business. We were left with Linked In, Twitter, Facebook and EDM campaigns joined up to our social sites, website and lead generation database. Before this shift we were happily sending ad hoc EDMs, occasionally updating our website, independently managing our own social media interactions and, ultimately, scratching our heads in wonder at why we were not getting any leads coming in, or any business generation upsides, above and beyond our sales efforts. Hello!

Our new approach is evolving and is now glued together. Linking our EDM activities and key insights for customers / prospects, aligned across all our platforms, enabled by a revamped website to capture data, helping us to engage in ‘real-time’ with our target audiences where interest was highlighted. Some data to back up how this joined-up approach has provided us with measureable results.

Twitter and Linked In followers have increased by 380%

Website visits and individual page views increased by over 105%

On average, around 20 warmed leads per month coming directly from our campaigns, through our website compared to less than 5 before.

This certainly feels like we are on a more successful track. We will continue to fine-tune and evolve the approach but the data speaks for itself. Planning and getting it all glued together is a recipe for success.

b) Linked In as our most successful social connection, lead and business generation tool.
Being more aligned and having a consistent approach to our posts, groups and reaching out to like-minded professionals, has enabled us to target our messaging much better and lead with “Insights” in our sharing and discussion threads to generate contributing comments, new connections and then informal discussions – often leading to more formalised meetings face to face. We have learned to plan this well over a medium term road map, rather than short term bursts and then silence and then another burst. We learned you have to put the work in! It doesn’t happen by itself, but the more thought and planning you put in, the higher degree of connections you can attract (ie through rolling posts like this) and the more new conversations you can open. Then it’s down to you!

c) We no longer pay to sponsor or attend major industry events (regionally and locally) and favour smaller boutique events at both industry level and those generated by ourselves (ie Breakfasts, Expert Sessions etc). Borrowing a useful metaphor from Malcolm Gladwell’s recent book this changed the game for us and helped us move from being a “small fish in a big pond” to a “bigger fish in smaller pond”. It has helped us open up more meaningful network connections with a quicker transfer from informal to formalised business discussions. When comparing our number of leads generated a large events to these smaller events, of course there was a difference in favour of then larger events. But these leads were more general. For our new Boutique approach our leads have been more specific and our ‘voice’ is louder. If we even out the data the measurable success rate due to this shift in approach has generated 30% more specific leads and just over 25% more business conversions when compared to our previous approach. A third more higher-quality leads, leading to 1 in 4 more conversions.  I’ll take it thanks!

 

d) EDM campaigns joined up to our social sites, website and lead generation database. This has been relatively new for us, it pains me to say. Before now we were happily sending ad hoc EDMs, occasionally updating our website, independently managing our own social media interactions and, ultimately, scratching our heads in wonder at why we were not getting any leads coming in or any business generation upsides, above and beyond our sales efforts.