Virtual offices, augmented reality, artificial intelligence- these are only some of the revolutionary technological advances which have so far characterized the 21st-century. These innovations continuously transform the labor market and the modern workplace. For 2018-2022, the World Economic Forum estimates that such labor transformation may lead to 133 million new jobs and a simultaneous displacement of 75 million others. To survive and thrive in this new employment landscape, one must be equipped with the most in-demand 21st-century skills.
There is no universal definition of 21st-century skills. That is hardly surprising given the range of agendas being progressed by employers, policymakers, and others. But the adopted descriptions within the Global Partnership for Education's Report can give help us describe and categorize these new skills. They adapted the definition of Binkley et al. (2012), which states that "Twenty-first-century skills are abilities and attributes that can be taught or learned to enhance ways of thinking, learning, working and living in the world. We can look at these skills as tools to help individuals to cope with the modern world, allow people to unlock all the benefits of digitalization, keep up with the demands of everyday life, and participate in the innovation process.
21st-century skills fall into three major categories. Let's dive into each:
Learning refers to the understanding gained with experience, education, and practice. Learning skills teach individuals about the mental processes needed to adjust to the modern work environment.
Literacy skills help individuals consume and create knowledge through traditional and digital platforms. They focus on how individuals can access and analyze information, discern fact from fiction, and grasp the influences that affect public information. It protects the individual from false information that floods the internet and helps them guard their security and privacy online.
Life skills focus on the "invisible" elements of an individual's everyday life. These emphasize both personal and professional qualities needed to fully and effectively participate in modern life.
The four C's under the Learning Skills category are the best known 21st Century skills. They are:
Critical Thinking refers to an individual's ability to analyze, question, and relate one set of information to another to solve complex problems. Critical thinking is a mechanism that weeds out issues in business settings and replaces them with productive endeavors. It's what helps individuals figure stuff out for themselves when they don't have a teacher at their disposal.
Creativity is an equally important means of adaptation. It refers to a new way of seeing or doing things, or one's ability to deviate from the norm and see concepts in a different light. Learning creativity forces someone to shift their perspective and create novel solutions for both longstanding and emerging problems. This ultimately leads to innovation, which is key to a company's adaptability and overall success in any field.
Collaboration, once it's mastered, can breathe new life into dying companies. This skill means getting individuals to work effectively together, achieve compromises, and get them to contribute to finding the best possible solution to any problem. Willingness is a crucial element of collaboration. All participants must be ready to sacrifice parts of their ideas and adopt others for the "greater good", which in this case tends to be the company's success.
Finally, communication is what ties these qualities together. Some companies may take it for granted, but effective communication is a requirement for any company to maintain profitability. Poor communication can make well-thought-out plans and projects fall apart. It may even lead to confusion and tension in the workplace. Thus, individuals must learn how to express their sentiments and convey their ideas across different personalities.
The four C's are only the beginning. 21st Century skills also demand that individuals understand the information that surrounds them. Literacy skills are concerned with the different facets of digital comprehension. These are:
Information literacy is foundational of all the other literacy skills. It helps individuals understand data that they'll encounter online and critically evaluate content to separate fact from fiction. In this age of chronic misinformation, finding the truth online has become a job on its own. It's crucial that individuals can identify truth on their own. Otherwise, they can become victims of myths and misconceptions.
Media literacy helps individuals identify source and publishing methods and outlets while determining the ones that are credible and the ones that are inaccurate and unreliable. Media literacy is how individuals find trustworthy sources in a world that's saturated with misinformation. Without media literacy, anything that looks credible might be considered credible. With it, individuals can understand which media outlets to embrace and which ones to ignore. Both of which are equally important skills.
Technology literacy gives individuals the information needed to understand what gadgets perform what tasks and why. As robots, smart devices, and automation become more rampant, more people need to understand these inventions' concepts. According to the OECD Skills Outlook 2019 report, the adoption of new technologies can either enable workers to perform their tasks more efficiently (complementary effect) or replace workers with computers and robots that can perform routine tasks that can be entirely automated (substitution effect). Technology literacy can spell the difference between career advancement and unemployment. It unveils the intricacies of tools that run today's world. This leads to a deeper understanding that removes the intimidating feeling that humans tend toward new technology. As a result, individuals can adapt and play an active role in the technological evolution.
Workers need more than learning and literacy skills to navigate the 21st century. Life skills are also crucial. Life skills are as follows:
Flexibility refers to a person's ability to change his actions and take steps to adapt to changing circumstances. It is an expression of an individual's dynamism in the face of new situations and environments. Being flexible can be a challenge to learn. It requires one to pierce their ego and abandon their preconceived notions when necessary.
It's a struggle for many individuals to learn, especially in an age when the accessibility and abundance of information often lead to a false sense of judgment and confidence. Flexibility requires humility and acceptance that they will always have a lot to learn despite their years of experience. This is crucial to an individual's long-term career success.
Leadership pertains to one's propensity to set goals and guide a team to work collaboratively to reach said targets. The ability to lead is crucial at any stage of one's career- whether someone is an experienced entrepreneur or a fresh hire entering the workforce.
Entry-level workers need leadership skills to help them comprehend the decisions that business leaders make. They can then apply their leadership skills when they're promoted or need to lead entire companies in the future. Workers must be allowed to hold leadership roles in their respective divisions at least once. This will help them learn the work process's ins and outs and enable them to demonstrate their collaboration and critical-thinking skills while directing a team.
Real success also requires initiative. Initiative often means beginning a task independently, working on projects outside of regular working hours, or spending an extra 30 minutes polishing something up before the weekend. It's mostly indicative of someone's work ethic and professional progress. The rewards for individuals with extreme initiative vary from person to person, but being a self-starter is an attribute that consistently earns rewards.
21st Century skills also require individuals to learn about productivity. An individual can complete work in a given amount of time. This is also known as efficiency and effectiveness. The common goal of any professional is to get more done in less time. By understanding productivity strategies at every level, individuals discover the best practices for their work and others' work.
Social skills or an individual's ability to approach and persuade people, respect boundaries and differences, and empathize with people from diverse cultural and social backgrounds is crucial to professional success. Business is often made through networking and forging personal and professional relationships. With the rise of social media allowing instant communication and virtual contact, the nature of human interaction has transformed. Individuals now need a wide range of social skills in response to these developments. But beware; while virtual communication and instant messaging are the new norms, etiquette and manners can still differ in the modern world.
The 21st Century demands a wide base of skills from the individual. Whether physical or cognitive, repetitive tasks are being automated. This means that the remaining tasks require flexibility and willingness to change. These skills boil down to adaptability.
New ideas and methodologies can disrupt industries without warning. In an era of continuous change, no industry is immune. Their time just has not come yet. Every day, new tools, products, and ways of working and living are discovered. Nothing is guaranteed.
With that in mind, individuals and businesses must be committed to developing the skills that will help them harness the powerful changes that are consuming their lives. They can either adapt to these changes or take the helms of innovation. Otherwise, they are on their way to obsolescence. With 21st Century skills, your individuals will have the qualities they need to survive and thrive in workplaces amid constant evolution.
Martin Belton examines Talent Transformation’s latest survey results and concludes that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be what you are expecting.
I was recently re-reading the 2020 forecasts for business, originally published at the turn of the year. Most specifically, the predictions for ‘most important issues for HR’ in 2020. I found only one that specifies remote working. I shall spare the author’s blushes by not naming him. That’s because he spends most of his copy cautioning against rushing into the experience.
I mention this because it is worth pointing how easily world changing events through history can make fools of us all. Our forecasts are always based on snapshots of the world at that moment. And, of course, dramatic changes can cause dramatic shifts in points of view and actions.
Our latest survey is, of course, just such a snapshot. Conducted in June, it represents a viewpoint based on over three months of experience of the pandemic. But it covers little of a return to what might be called normality. I believe this timing makes it even more important. It may be unlikely that we will see similar conditions prevailing soon. Even more reason to gauge opinions and attitudes under these conditions. Though how likely the views expressed will be valid in another six months’ time remains to be seen.
There are some surprising results. For instance, there were only slight variations between the different generations’ attitudes to work and their ability to react to change. That was true, both when respondents spoke of their own generation, and when they considered others. Similarly, when we focused on different countries, again only minor variations were recorded. The survey focused primarily on the USA, UK and Brazil, three areas with superficially different attitudes towards the virus. But it seems we adapted to pandemic working in pretty much the same way, wherever we were and however old.
But where the survey gets really interesting is when we compare its results with another survey we conducted in January 2020. Here, we find out just how quickly attitudes can change. For instance, interest in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) has more than tripled in less than six months. In January, only 14% of respondents felt that AI and automation may be important to them during 2020. Now, 35% of respondents are keen to extend their use of AI as soon as possible.
Our earlier survey also revealed a major disconnect between HR and the other organization’s leaders. They viewed the future of work very differently on most of the subjects we identified. The advent of COVID-19 has helped to realign these views, especially when it comes to technology. Today, a remarkably consistent 69.8% of HR staff and 70.2% of C-Suite agree that increasing use of technology will help to protect against future pandemics.
This obvious shift prompted us to crunch the numbers a little harder. The more questions we examined the more evidence it provided about the challenges. It consistently backed up our earlier supposition that there is now a far greater alignment between C-Suite and HR. It seems a common enemy provides a uniting purpose! Both are now concerned and starting initiatives related to employee safety, employee emotional wellbeing, and planning for
Of course, the standout and overwhelming business change issue in our latest survey is ‘working from home’. Our respondents’ viewpoints were strong and widely positive on the issue. For instance, 70% told us that their working from home technology performed extremely well. More troubling though were emotional and personal issues. One of the real standout findings of our survey was that 44% of our sample reported that they had to deal with these disturbing problems. 5% of these were especially distressing. Security and data protection issues were also challenging in around 20% of cases.
But let’s revisit our earlier contention that these views may change in six months. It is widely accepted that homeworking will become much more commonplace, now we’ve properly experienced it. We have already shown can easily we can overcome technology challenges with just a little more training and implementation. No trouble there then.
But delving deeper, we may discover that security and data protection issues are tougher to deal with. They carry more danger and are harder to predict. Likewise, dealing with personal and emotional problems can also be real showstoppers for some. These issues could become the real ‘fly in the ointment’ for wholesale working from home adoption. That is not to say that working from home will not become more prevalent. It’s just that these are embedded issues that will not easily disappear. And that can change our views again.
In which case, let us turn to another change flagged by the survey. That is, the dramatic increase in interest in AI and robotics. Let’s also couple this with the other highlighted desire to use technology to ‘future-proof’ organizations. As non-urgent issues, they have not been a source of pain during and immediately after the pandemic. But this new surge of interest could lead to important long-term effects. Implementing new robotics and AI is, after all, just that – an implementation challenge. And we have just seen, when push comes to shove, how easily we can deal with that.
The wider adoption of AI and robotics can therefore become a key consequence of the pandemic outbreak. That could also mitigate against more working from home. History confirms that business, in times of change, creates many new roles. It seems reasonable to assume that generating new roles will demand working closely together in tight-knit teams. The robots will be working on company premises. So therefore, may you.
In which case, where does that leave our organizations? Will HR be busy implementing working from home solutions for ever more people? In that case, will a degree in psychotherapy become de-rigueur for HROs as demands for greater emotional well-being and personal support escalate? Or is it more likely that AI and robotics become center stage and the focus of our working world returns, once again, to the head office? After all this, I have a notion it may be the latter. But as I say, history can make fools of us all…
Talent Transformation’s latest survey “Back to Work Survey Report: How COVID-19 is affecting the Return to the Workplace” is available here.
#report #backtowork #covid19
$Martin Belton examines Talent Transformation’s latest survey results and concludes that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be what you are expecting.$
So many of today’s job roles have been thrown into confusion because of COVID19. Many other roles are being questioned as a result of the progress of AI and automation. But a timely new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) might just be the blueprint we are looking for in a post-pandemic world. Eric Shepherd reviews its finding.
The new forces shaping jobs in the new world of work will affect millions worldwide. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is giving rise to unprecedented prospects for economic prosperity and communal progress. But Coronavirus threatens to undermine this progress in a big way. On the other hand, it may also lead to the acceleration of acceptance of new ways and opportunities. In this rush to embrace ‘the new’ however, timely measures must be taken to ensure that unequal opportunity and income inequality do not arise and lead to unrest in an already shaken up world. Governments, industries, and workers may need to align their efforts to rethink market policies, employment arrangements, and skills development. Bringing about a positive outcome to the pandemic is contingent on all parties being able to espouse a strategic mindset and spirit of lifelong learning.
In a post pandemic world, existing jobs will continue to be augmented by new technologies. New professions will certainly appear. But these changes will entail a challenging transition. It will demand proactive investments in workers and a suitable framework to manage these changes. These endeavors need to be based on reliable data derived from thorough research into these emerging roles. This can then feed into solid action to prevent talent shortages on one side and unemployment on the other.
Prior to the current pandemic, leading thinkers at the WEF put together a report titled ‘Jobs of Tomorrow: Mapping Opportunity in the New Economy’ that serves as a roadmap for this process. Although this does not include an appraisal of today’s situation, the plans are still hugely, if not more, relevant than ever. It includes plans for spearheading a “reskilling revolution” to create new possibilities for almost a billion people over the coming decade. It looks at the way employment is drifting towards emerging professions, the underlying reasons, and the skills needed to thrive under such circumstances. In that sense, this report is a supremely timely call to action for governments and organizational leaders to deal with the challenges of a post-pandemic economic environment.
The WEF report uses innovative metrics together with researchers from three associate firms. The collaboration paints a realistic picture of up-and-coming occupations and the mindsets and skillsets needed for individuals to grasp these opportunities. Amongst the key findings, perhaps the most crucial is that both human talents and technology will drive growth in the future. The adoption of new technologies is imminent, even accelerated because of Covid 19. They will raise the profile of green economy jobs as well as creating new roles in engineering, cloud computing, and AI. But the human element needed for leadership, management, innovation, healthcare, marketing, content production, and cultural undertakings will remain indispensable.
The report names seven professional clusters and 96 jobs of tomorrow most likely to gain prominence. Statistics can gauge the relative significance of the clusters in the broader labor market. It claims that they will feature in 611 out of every 10,000 career opportunities by 2022. We guess that this figure may have increased still further since the start of March 2020. The WEF forecasts that this will translate into over 6 million new jobs worldwide over the course of the next two years. The roles expected to display the highest growth rates within high-volume jobs are artificial intelligence specialists, data scientists, and full-stack engineers. Where lower-volume jobs are concerned, we should expect growth for green marketers, social media assistants, and growth hackers.
The new world of work displays vibrant demand for an assortment of skills that will underpin these professions. This includes both cross-functional and technical skill sets, divided into five distinct categories. They are:
The ability needed for a role depends on the exact requirements and nature of the job. The kind of job opportunities that will arise largely depends on the demographic, economic, business model, and technological evolutions. A sizeable chunk of new jobs maybe created in new occupations or current ones that are undergoing an overhaul in terms of mindset and skills. The potential impact of these developments on future economic activity is considerable. Out of the total job churn precipitated by these events, new roles will account for 27% of all jobs by 2022. As 4IR accelerates change, the new tasks and types of work could chart pathways to upward social mobility.
The consequences of these transformations will affect all sectors of the workforce. The WEF has been tracking these variations for the past five years to assess the scale of labor displacement. The work was performed to enable workers to shift from declining to abundant roles. The Forum also examined ways of mapping outmoded jobs onto emerging ones to ensure a smooth transition for workers. The WEF agreed that prosperity in the changing marketplace would depend on transitioning to a skill-based hiring system focused on continuous improvement.
The approach adopted by this report of ‘real-casting’ employment trends was done in collaboration with two organizations that hold authoritative data on job opportunities: Burning Glass Technologies and LinkedIn. The former organization traces the number of job openings posted online, and the latter keeps track of how many professionals are being hired for new opportunities. They classified emergent professions as those that experienced record growth over recent years. Applying these methods produced seven characteristic occupational clusters: data and AI, cloud computing and engineering, care economy, green economy, product development, people and culture, as well as sales, marketing, and content. It is notable that individual growth rates and extent of employment prospects vary across all seven clusters.
The clusters in which the absolute number of job projections have the highest probability of changing in line with shifting business practices are the care and green economy. The green economy is susceptible to fluctuating government regulations due to upgrading of the services infrastructure to accommodate renewable energy. It has also fared less well during the pandemic outbreak as people’s attentions have turned to more immediate concerns. As far as the care economy goes, we have seen world events focus attention on to these challenges. But influences also include other demographic and society trends such as increasing numbers of women entering the workforce, aging populations.
Occupations registering high growth often require diverse competencies. The skills taxonomies used to delineate these competencies have been standardized by the WEF’s partners but only up to an introductory level. International cooperation is necessary to formulate a common language for the labor market to transcend geographic boundaries. Data scientists at online learning provider Coursera have drawn on users’ insights to devise a taxonomy of skills as a pre-requisite for online assessments. Keeping up with the learning preferences of people working in emerging professions helps to find patterns for upskilling in those fields. Coursera has also created a global skills index to appraise learners across a set of crucial future-oriented skills ordered into the three clusters of computer science, data science, and business skills.
Much of the past decade is defined by the rapid technological disruption that raised the threat of massive job losses and unsustainable skills inflation. Coronavirus has magnified this disruption ten-fold. This has naturally caused real concern and livelihoods are no longer guaranteed. Analysts that have previously tried to solve this puzzle concluded with a call for prudence but they also offered hope. A few analysts surmise that technological advancements will anyway shrink the size of the corporate playing field. But, encouragingly, most propose that many new opportunities will materialize. This stipulates that efficient training mechanisms must be in place to ease the transition of workers to the new world of work.
The World Economic Forum’s 2020 report embraces a quantitative, data-driven method to arrive at professional classifications for the future job market. AI is used to augment human estimations in this regard and offer unparalleled insights into the labor market. The development of standard metrics shared by public and private firms will be a powerful tool to help employers position themselves for a successful upskilling agenda. Exactly the kind of agenda we will need to help us all get back on our feet again once the current disruptions are over. The methodology adopted for matching skills to new jobs can be piloted to create sustainable systems that can supply information on the labor market in real-time. We need more attention to conceive skills taxonomies that reflect the demand for baseline and new disruptive technical skills. Although disruptive technological skills like data science are vital, so is the ability to give personalized care and supply bespoke learning and development. The diverse opportunities set to appear in the market will open multiple avenues for both low- and high-skilled careers.
The progression of these careers will be directly influenced by the decisions that governments make. This report shows that the means to inspire positive change in the labor market is within reach. More than ever, this will be in the best interests of everyone to create new opportunities and efficiencies for tomorrow’s post pandemic environment.
Predictive Analytics helps organizations leapfrog their competitors. Well-informed prediction models, to inform decision making, are essential during times of change.
Assessments and analytics are increasingly used to predict employee behavior, engagement, performance, and risks of attrition. In this article, Eric Shepherd explains what predictive analytics is and how this will revolutionize our thinking.
We see examples of predictive analytics in our day to day lives. Credit scores, product recommendations, dating apps, and supply-chain management systems all use predictive analytics. Credit scores predict how likely we are to repay a debt. Finely tuned algorithms can predict products that we're like to purchase. Dating apps use personal data to connect people that could be a match. And supply-chain management systems can pre-order and pre-position products that are likely to be consumed. Unlike the 2002 movie Minority Report that uses "precogs" to predict crimes, we use machines to crunch data in making predictions.
The social media giant Facebook uses predictive analytics to predict which user is likely to buy a product and place ads, based on the data collected from their profiles and the posts. It is a technology that uses historical data and predicts future events or outcomes.
The question arises, how does it work? Predictive analytics are data-driven and use statistical techniques to forecast and analyze the outcome. A mathematical model or algorithm is created by analyzing the data collected to project potential futures. For organization’s leaders and HR teams, this enables them to build predictive models to understand the possible engagement and effectiveness of its workforce.
Managing a golf club provides a useful example. Playing golf is most enjoyable with perfect weather conditions. If the manager tracks reservations, course usage, weather predictions, and actual conditions, over time, there is a possibility of predicting bookings and usage. Armed with this information, a manager could prepare staff and equipment for the busy times and reduce the facility's capacity based on the data collected.
Does the manager have enough data to predict course usage reasonably? The answer is yes and using a decision tree predictions can be more useful.
A decision tree is a tree-like model of decisions and consequences; it is a powerful tool used in analytics, where each leaf, or node, denotes an attribute, and each branch indicates the potential effects.
In the case of the probability of golf course usage, let's think about two predictors to keep the model simple, i.e., sunny day vs. rainy day. The likelihood of playing golf diminishes if it rains. Whereas the possibility of playing golf increases when the day is sunny. In short, weather forecast data can be used to predict the likelihood of golfers playing golf. Weather forecasts are not entirely accurate and so keeping an eye on the weather is another useful predictor. The leaf is the data, such as its raining, and the brand is the consequence, we need less staff and less equipment. This simple case of managing a golf course helps us understand the principles. Now imagine that we have hundreds of data inputs, and we are trying to predict if someone will enjoy a specific movie. And now imagine that we're trying to provide that service for millions of individuals. The problem becomes exponentially more complicated. Machine learning, which is a technique for computers to produce their own statistical models, can help here by digesting numerous data points and making sense of the patterns to come up with predictions. When organizations apply it to their workforce, it can provide useful insights on engagement, risk of loss, and productivity.
Data stored by organizations in their Human Resource Information System (HRIS) can be used to develop predictive models for employee behaviors. HR predictive analytics can help formulate policies for employee well-being, engagement, and efficiency, and to predict the performance the organization is likely to achieve.
Here are some examples:
All organizations have a level of regretted attrition, that is losing employees that an organization truly regrets losing. An employee's tenure will depend upon their circumstances and the nature of the work. Employee turnover may be benchmarked against similar job roles and industry sectors. Regretted attrition has many negative consequences which include loss in revenue, added cost of hiring, unwanted distractions, and reduced productivity.
Employees that enjoy their work and fit in with the culture and have good managers are likely to stay with organizations. Calculating a "Flight Risk Score" using mathematical models can help to predict the possibility of a worker resigning. Over time these models will improve to help the organization understand additional predictors for attrition.
There are privacy-related issues with accessing flight risk scores. That means access to this data must be restricted on a need to know basis. The power of the flight risk score is to help a manager intervene to avoid a regretted resignation and give them a game-plan in cases where an employee's departure is inevitable.
Statistics play an important role in predicting hiring success; many large organizations have accepted this. When recruiting, there are times of feast and famine. When there are more jobs than people looking, assessments can promote interest by using clickbait on social media to engage a qualified person who isn't yet looking. When more people are looking than jobs available, assessments can screen candidates into, or out of, the process.
Assessments, and the data collected, can streamline the engagement and interview process to find the right candidate. Using data helps determine cultural fit, i.e., does the candidate's values, motives, and preferences, match the organizational culture. Assessments can also predict job fit by testing to see if the person has the abilities required for the job. Assessments can promote better hiring practices but do not guarantee success.
Just as an organization wants to learn about the candidate to determine cultural and role fit, the candidate is making judgments about their potential employer. Using data to drive an active engagement process means an organization has a better chance of winning the heart and mind of the candidate. Predictive analytics can use data from multiple sources to guide the recruitment process and ensure that first-class candidates are properly engaged.
Studies reveal that there will be a decrease in morale and productivity should toxic employees be recruited or retained. Behaviors indicating disrespect, drug use, alcohol abuse, and sexual harassment need to be investigated before they fester. Predictive analytics can help spot the signs of toxic employees to promote an early intervention to discover the root cause of their behaviors.
Studies have uncovered that an increase in employee engagement leads to higher revenues. More engaged workers are more creative, less tardy, and work harder to achieve their goals resulting in greater productivity with higher levels of quality.
Measuring employee engagement and taking actions to create an extraordinary situation for individuals at work will positively impact an organization's performance. Using pulse surveys (a short, frequent survey with simple questions to give a quick insight into an organizations health) and other data sources, organizations can use predictive analytics to improve the workplace, engagement, retention, and performance.
An increasing and vital role for HR is to be an advisor to managers. HR, using data and predictive analytics, can help managers better understand themselves, others, and how to intervene to encourage behaviors required for success. Assessments and analytics are transforming the way HR is helping managers and employees and their work. Predictive analytics is also helping them forecast and optimize policies for employees and organizational growth.
#Assessments #solar #analytics #predict #employee #behavior #engagement #performance #risksofattrition #predictive #analytics #revolutionize #thinking
$We see examples of predictive analytics in our day to day lives. Credit scores, product recommendations, dating apps, and supply-chain management systems all use predictive analytics. Credit scores predict how likely we are to repay a debt.$
When normality returns, we will be facing a different set of challenges and opportunities than we had back in 2019. Martin Belton takes a look at the mindsets we're going to need from a personal and a business stance.
At Talent Transformation, we've been calling attention to the new world of work for quite some time before COVID-19. But the changes to work processes and the speed of those changes, signaled by the virus, have surpassed almost everybody's expectations. A good example, from a member, where they had a significant three-month project scheduled to introduce Microsoft Teams company-wide. With the advent of COVID-19, and the mass introduction of home working, they reduced that schedule down to three days. And so far as we are aware, it is all working well!
Of course, the broader definition of the new world of work is about a lot more than just working from home and taking on-board new tech to do your job. Even before the virus, so much was changing already; businesses are experiencing increased expectations in terms of social responsibility. Many organizations have been experiencing new stresses as millennials enter the workplace. The increased use of AI and robotics have also brought new opportunities but fears as well.
Given how well people have been adapted to new ways of working, it is tempting to say that these other issues will also be dealt with confidently and swiftly. But not everyone can change so quickly. It still requires a genuine change in mindset from us all to embrace such speedy changes. Not everyone is comfortable with such changes. And unquestionably, more changes are on the horizon. When normality returns, it is likely to look a lot different than it did back in 2019.
In the first instance, here is some practical advice from a personal point of view. These thoughts are mostly taken from the advice of experts in psychology and personal enrichment. They are designed to help those still struggling to adapt to working from home and the changes in their environment. We hope that this counsel will help prepare you for what's to come when the 'new normal' hits us:
As well as re-evaluating your personal goals, now is the time to do the same with your business goals. As we've already noted, so much was changing already with new technology and social responsibility becoming center stage. The influence of these factors will almost certainly increase now. So what does that mean for your business?
Here are some thoughts that might help you navigate these new challenges and opportunities:
This is clearly the ideal time to properly understand these new opportunities as new roles, products and ways of working are emerging
The world is in a different place now to where it was in 2019. It is how we deal with the new paradigms that will make the difference in the long run.
Martin Belton checked out there for the best and greatest advice for you all working from home and got some great advice from our Twitter followers.
Transport for London, (with an illustration by Kera Till) started us off well, giving us sound directions for getting to our desks on time. Though as Peter Harrison points out, don’t imagine your journey will always be free of challenges:
Our sporting heroes are have also been quick to remind us that there are still opportunities to make sure you get the recognition you deserve for your hard work:
Planning ahead is also important. Stock answers can be a boon says Marie-Christine:
Of course setting up your laptop at home can be a challenge. Hannah Wetherill is clearly into re-purposing existing facilities:
Paul Nazareth on the other hand has really got into the spirit of things:
That said, Marcel Cardillo is also organised but is still complaining that his international conference calls aren't going too well.
We hope you enjoyed our April 1st post enjoying the creativity of everyone from home. And as we work form home let's take a moment to thank our scientists and healthcare workers that are using their talents to inform us in the short term, cure us in the medium term and keep us safe for the long term. Thank you.
Critical tools and indicators need refreshing. This article from Eric Shepherd suggests new data sets that are needed to evaluate the organization’s health.
C-Suite executives are used to managing organizations with the help of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Objective and Key Results (OKR’s). But, during a crisis like we’ve never seen, these critical tools and indicators will need refreshing.
Information and data are the lifeblood of decision making especially during times of crisis. But the data, KPIs and dashboards the C-suite need to manage during this pandemic, will look very different from those of the past. After engaging in calls for the last few days, we have compiled a list of crucial questions to tease out data that the C-suite can use to help with decision making during and after the pandemic.
Data is never perfect. But the more detailed information you can collect, the better the chances of the analytics and projections being accurate. Medical data is sensitive, and most countries restrict access to such data. A sick employee can volunteer their diagnosis, but it is not good practice to ask. In many countries, employers cannot even ask for a projected ‘return to work date,’ which can complicate analytics and predictions further.
There are several ways we can empower the C-suite with useful data. One useful indicator for our model is to take is the average number of days out sick. Given laws and good practice, this data could be sourced from:
Analyzing 2019 data can provide a useful indication of the norms for your organization. When analyzing more recent data, you can factor historical norms into your models to help determine the effects of the coronavirus.
However, historical norms must be used with care as they will not reflect the current norms for non-coronavirus related illnesses as more hand washing will reduce colds and flu infections as these are transmitted in the same way as the coronavirus.
The actual questions and data collected will be specific to your organization. We present the following list to help you brainstorm through the process of identifying the data and information that your C-Suite will need to review to make decisions and perhaps add to the organization’s KPI’s and OKRs.
1. Historical trend data segmented by geography and team for how many and the percentage of people are employed and:
3. Population trend data (from trusted sources) by geography and age, for the number of individuals and percentage of the population:
4. How ready are we for remote working?
5. Historical trend data and predictions of revenue-generating capacity considering:
Data harvested from this data will help the c-suite understand:
Predicting is never accurate, especially when it is about the future! However, we hope that this article provides a stimulus to help you use data-driven-decision making during this pandemic.
And please let us take a moment to thank all the scientists and healthcare professional that are using their talents, to inform us in the short term, cure us in the medium term and keep us safe for the long term.
Working from home is an essential part of the new world of work. But COVID-19 has seriously accelerated this practice. Experienced homeworker Martin Belton gives managers 10 tips to help them successfully manage the transition.
Homeworking is nothing new. But for reasons we all recognize, the concept is now being extended to new groups of employees, managers, and leaders. For all of them, this brings a new raft of responsibilities, actions, and tools to learn. Specifically, it falls on our managers and leaders to create an environment to support these new workers. Let alone ways of encouraging best practices in this new world. This is important. A poor homeworking environment will lead to a lack of motivation and understanding beyond anything we see in normal day to day office workings. I have therefore provided 10 easy-to-follow tips to help you provide a great homeworking ecosystem. They are as follows:
1. Arrange daily conference calls: Many experienced homeworkers and managers will tell you that a short pre-arranged call every day is the single most powerful tool you can have. This can be a group call for a large team. It teases out opportunities and challenges like no other tool and connects everybody instantly. Note that they don’t have to use video; voice will be fine. Attendance is the key.
2. Ensure the technology is adequate: An obvious issue, not to be underestimated, is to make sure that everyone has access to the right hardware, software and internet connection speed from day one. I would encourage you to consider additional financial support to make sure systems are up to scratch. Short term lease schemes are available if you’re not keen to lay out capital at this time. Those costs will be nothing compared to the loss of productivity that can result from workers sitting idle or a data breach.
3. Assess suitability. Given the current crisis we might not have this luxury, but assessing an individual’s ability to work alone at home will pay dividends. It’s not always easy to work out who will or will not be comfortable working from home. Your assessments should be based on sound logic rather than invalid assumptions. Assessing the human factors involved such as personality traits, motivation, preferences, motives, values, and home circumstances will help determine if any accommodations are required. Some people may benefit from partial homeworking rather than losing all face-to-face interactions.
4. Check out all the legal implications: Working from home may demand additional written agreements. These may, of course, already exist. As well as covering remote work expectations, you may also need agreements to cover equipment, expense, confidentiality, and security issues.
5. Don’t skip the training: Likewise, it should also be obvious that everyone can access to the right software. In remote working, it becomes even more critical that these tools are used consistently throughout a team. This is not quite as easy as it sounds. For instance, leading tools that support homeworking are Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom but there are many more. These systems are fairly intuitive but supporting user confidence will accelerate their speed to productivity. People are apt to use it and store information in different ways which might increase risk to data security and so training Is essential. For employee engagement, productivity, and data security a good degree of training and practice might be required.
6. Make sure support is available: In any group of employees, someone will struggle with new tech. And if it’s not the tech, it might be the isolation or the changing work environment that cause frustration. Whereas it’s easy to ask someone sitting next to you or by the water-cooler how they are doing, it’s more difficult when they are working at a distance. So make sure that you have a support structures in place to tease out and provide the support required.. Embrace this early as change can be unsettling and cause real problems – people don’t always like to admit that they are struggling with the new culture or can't use all the tech!
7. Metrics are critical for managing remote workers: This is true for both for managers and employees. Agreeing, setting and discussing expectations becomes more important when people work from home. Using and referring to scorecards, KPI’s or OKR’s regularly helps everybody understand your expectations and how they will be assessed. Note this should not be an excuse to change your organizational objectives and goals; there will be sufficient challenges to deal with anyway. But you should be aware that remote solutions call for the use of the fixed and objective methods which these tools provide.
8. Spread the news: The lack of an office means you have to provide other methods for social interaction. That interaction should include both information provided by the organization and personal information that anyone wishes to share. The tools are less important than the messages. It could be something as simple as a WhatsApp or Slack group. Sharing good (or even bad) news; maybe an account win, or big sale, employee award is motivational for employees working from home. You could also consider having a “dress up” for work day and start your day with a video conference, or creating an area for shared online positive experiences just for fun.
9. Townhall webinars: Weekly webinars are an effective way to share knowledge, ensure a consistent vocabulary and engage your employees This can be made stimulating and enjoyable by representing a wide range of views with different presentation styles. The leader will manage the call but bringing in presenters from other departments, team members, product managers, or support staff can be very effective. Alternatively, bring in an external expert to promote new working practices or to promote personal wellbeing such as mindfulness.
10. Buddy up and have mentors available: Inevitably, working from home can sometimes feel like you’re working alone. It helps if you have a buddy or a mentor to turn to and share your challenges and successes. In mentoring programs, both the mentor and the student often benefit. But mentoring may not always be appropriate. In which case, an ‘assignment’ buddy - someone working on the same or similar project – can be equally supportive. Evidence suggests that this both motivates and increases accountability on a project.
Ultimately working from home suits some people more than others, just as some people hate coming into an office or a factory every day. But by providing the right atmosphere, tools, and support, this can be more effective than feared.
As well as increasing the efficiency of organizations, Martin Belton explains how AI is helping us in the fight against coronavirus.
As fears over the Covid-19 coronavirus continue to grow, scientists are turning to artificial intelligence to help them understand more and combat it at every level. There are three areas that AI is helping us combat Covid-19:
Online technologies have already helped organisations to compile a number of online resources which provide up-to-date information about the disease. These include Healthmap from Oxford University and John Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre.
And AI is already helping us to understand how we can reduce the spread of Covid-19. In the UK for example, the BBC modeled data on infectious diseases using virtually infected mobile phones. It was this that helped to validate the now widespread and accepted advice that by washing our hands thoroughly, we can dramatically slow the spread of Covid-19.
AI has also played a pivotal role to help us understand this initial outbreak. One of the first organisations to identify this a new medical issue was Canadian infectious disease specialists Blue Dot. By using a combination of medical and airline data, their machine learning algorithms picked up information in Chinese about an unknown pneumonia centered around the market in Wuhan. Their team quickly recognized there were parallels to the SARS outbreak 17 years earlier. This helped us understand the risks involved; how contagious the disease might be and the wider risk to human life.
Other organizations are using AI to predict how the Covid-19 might be affected by seasonality. In the Northern hemisphere, upper respiratory pneumonias and viruses peak in the winter months, but then decline. AI is already being used to help us predict how the warmer summer weather might combat this spread.
But there is more to the contribution of AI than just tracking the virus. AI can also contribute to the creation of the vaccine as well as other drugs. It does this by providing a better understanding the mechanism of the disease. By correlating data on drugs, illnesses and their outcomes, AI can dramatically improve the amount of information on offer. This data, covering diseases, vaccines, symptoms and more is then crunched together to form new patterns and relationships which can then reveal surprising new information.
One result of this testing and searching is that, instead of looking for and creating new viral drugs to cure the disease, AI has identified potential existing drugs which may combat the disease. One drug in particular may be able to both inhibit the spread and reduce the effects of the disease on the lungs (the most common cause of death from the virus). Typically used to deal with Rheumatoid Arthritis, the drug must still be tested and approved before it can be used to combat Covid-19.
AI can also be used to understand the genetic sequence of a disease. That is where it’s come from and where it’s going to in the future. This can also be used to combat the spread of the disease.
AI cannot yet just be used to find a direct and immediate cure for the disease, however, it will be essential in evaluating proposed therapies to speed those to market. And let us take a moment to thank all of the human scientists, using their talents, to inform us in the short term, cure us in the medium term and keep us safe for the long term.
Do we trust robots and automation? In this article, Eric Shepherd discusses the studies that help us understand the changing relationship between employees, managers, AI, robots, and automation.
Employees, managers, and executives around the world now realize that artificial intelligence (AI) is real and here and emerging into the work environment. Attitudes towards AI are changing. Be they positive or negative; people are starting to recognize the power of these technologies.
Many studies have shown that these technological advances are affecting the output of managers. A recent survey by Gartner, the consulting, and advisory company, revealed that 69% of the tasks performed by managers will be delivered by artificial intelligence by 2024.
A study conducted by Future Workplace and Oracle found that the increasing use of AI at the workplace has a significant impact on the relationship of employees with the management. Their survey of 8,370 managers, employees, and HR representatives around ten countries discovered that 82% of participants said that robots or AI could do some tasks more effectively than their management. 64% said that they trust robots more than managers, and they have a positive relationship with AI; they are happy and thankful to have robot co-workers.
AI is growing stronger, with 50 percent of workers today using some sort of Artificial intelligence at work compared to 32 percent last year. In the study, they found that artificial intelligence has modified the relationship between humans and robotics at the workplace and reshapes the part that HR executives and teams have to perform in trying to attract, maintaining, and developing talent.
When participants were asked what made AI better than employees, they stated that the technology provides better impartial data, maintains working schedules, solves problems, and manages a budget. Survey participants said managers are better than robots in boosting their emotions as well as providing quality counseling and building a positive workplace culture.
Emily He, Senior Vice President, HCM Marketing, at Oracle, said: "I think one of the bigger themes from the study is that smart use of technology can actually bring humanity back to work." Emily continued, "The study found that workers perceive AI and bots to be better at certain things than humans, but that employees also would prefer their managers to apply technology where it makes sense so they can spend more time on things like showing empathy or providing personalized coaching."
This report represents a real shift by respondents. They’ve moved from voicing reservations about AI in the workplace to being far more interested in technological advancements.
The main two issues that discourage employees from using AI at work were security and confidentiality. But several respondents stated that they needed a more comfortable working experience with AI, with participants calling for improved user interfaces (34% demanded improvement), behavioral interactions (30%), and best practice learning (30%).
The long-term impact of AI at work is starting to become clear. Organizations can benefit by focusing on streamlining and securing AI in the workplace to take advantage of its benefits and new developments. By understanding what prevents people from using AI, organizations will then be able to build more effective and strategic approaches to address the challenges.
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