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Contractor Management Solutions

Companies are increasingly leveraging internal resources by contracting for a diverse range of services, including design and construction, maintenance, inspection and testing, and staff augmentation. In doing so, a company can achieve goals such as (1) accessing specialized expertise that is not continuously or routinely required, (2) supplementing limited company resources during periods of unusual demand, and (3) providing staffing increases without the overhead costs of direct-hire employees.

GroConsult Contractor Management solutions is a well-rounded solution that involves the use of control measures to ensure that a contractor is properly managed to produce efficient and effective results at their designated places of assignment. With regards to the effective management of your talents (both locals and expatriates), we make it our priority to guarantee that contractors and their dependents are fully catered for in order to create a safe and productive environment for work.

We implement a system that manages all contractor’s health, safety and insurance information as well as arrange affordably furnished or unfurnished luxurious accommodation and car rental services for our clients upon request. All these auxiliary services are designed to give your human capital the utmost peace of mind, an inspiring and rejuvenating work & living experience. Enabling them to work efficiently, making your company more productive and eventually profitable. Our management and expatriate support services are deployed in Ghana, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, South Africa, Sierra Leone and the  United Arab Emirates. Our solutions include:

  • Employer of Record Services (PEO):
  • Immigration Support Services
  • Payroll & Tax Administration

We have fully controlled branches in Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates and a network of partner offices backed with experienced and passionate professionals, you are assured of value for money.

We are available on call on the following telephone numbers: +233249722228, +233302936095 or +447554529222 or send us an email at [email protected]

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The Key to Business Growth is People

Every manager has opportunities to coaching and feedback skills into their relationships with employees, even in fields where processes and structures make it challenging, or in today’s volatile business landscape. Coaching, in essence, helps people identify – for themselves – the power of their potential.

Instead of giving them step-by-step instructions of exactly which roads to take, you are handing them a map and a compass and allowing them to find their way to that end destination. They may take different roads than you would, but it allows those employees to grow and develop on their own instead of continuing to rely on you. Through coaching, employees learn to solve problems on their own.

HERE ARE 7 COACHING TIPS FOR MANAGERS TO BECOME BETTER COACHES:

  1. Listen before you respond: Gathering as much information as possible will help you decide if this is a situation where you should act as a manager or as a coach. Without knowing the extent of the employee’s concerns or problems, it is easy to misjudge whether it is an opportunity for a coaching conversation or not.
  2. Think of yourself as a sounding board, not a Magic 8-Ball: As a manager coach, you are there to help employees solve their own problems instead of telling them what to do. Adjust your mindset away from providing answers or suggestions toward offering employees independence and trusting them to come up with a solution.
  3. Ask questions, don’t just tell employees what to do: Often, managers get into the trap of being the problem-solver for their direct reports. With employees who are searching for the answer to a problem, ask questions that lead the employee toward solving their own problems, instead of giving them your solution.
  4. Use open-ended questions, not closed-ended questions: Also known as discovery questions, open-ended questions increase the coachees’ engagement in the conversation as they brainstorm their own solutions. Instead of “yes” or “no” answers, open-ended questions solicit ideas, drawbacks, potential opportunities, and options from the employee being coached.
  5. When someone asks you a question, that’s your trigger to ask a question back: Especially when employees want to know “How should I solve this problem?” you can immediately go into coach mode and ask “How do you think it should be solved?” This interaction creates a great learning opportunity, an answer that potentially could be better than the answer you might have provided, and increased efficiency through quicker problem-solving.
  6. Encourage employees to think about potential barriers: Part of being a coach is being realistic about what might derail a plan of action. Once the employee has devised a solution, it’s critical for coaches to remind him or her of what could go wrong and help him or her to establish alternatives and adaptations if something unexpectedly goes differently than planned.
  7. Create a contract of accountability: For a true coaching conversation to occur, action must be generated and accountability must be established. Once the employee has made his or her decision, create a timeline and a deadline for the desired action to take place and follow up.

Coaching can be part of many situations: a career goals conversation, a yearly review, or even a tough conversation about performance. There’s a time and place to be a manager or a coach in the workplace; not every situation will be ideal for one approach or the other. But when managers become better coaches to employees, the benefits are incredible: it can increase employee engagement, establish trust in employees, help gain a variety of perspectives, allow employees to grow and develop as leaders, and gain buy-in for decisions.

The workplace benefits of coaching are numerous. If you’re a leader or manager, developing a coaching mindset moves your team members toward success.

By LINDA DAUSEND

Source: https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/edition/weekly-wellness-compliance-training-2021-07-31?open-article-id=19908216&article-title=7-tips-for-managers-to-become-a-better-coach-now&blog-domain=flashpointleadership.com&blog-title=flashpoint

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4 Social Media Marketing Trends to Implement in Your 2021 Strategy

With the rise of social media comes the increase in marketing being leveraged across these platforms. Each day, more businesses are realizing the infinite potential that social media marketing has. Even brick-and-mortar businesses that have existed in the same capacity for decades are now jumping on the social media bandwagon — and rightly so.

Never has it been easier to identify, find and sell to our target audiences through social media. With infinite resources at our fingertips, we have the ability to instantly chat to just about anyone we like (whether or not they respond is an entirely different story).

Now, at least a whopping 91% of businesses are marketing on social media. With that being said, the social media landscape is evolving faster than ever, and in order to keep up to date, we must be aware of the latest trends. Here are 4 social media marketing trends to incorporate in 2021.

Stories over feed posts

In a recent move, LinkedIn jumped on the story bandwagon. Why? Because more and more people are opting to view stories rather than scroll the newsfeed. Stories are more exciting, in part because they are only up temporarily, and in part because they give more of a glimpse into people’s everyday lives.

The element of scarcity, combined with humans being natural stickybeaks, gives stories the ultimate power to form a more personal bond. Have you ever followed a particular entrepreneur or influencer on social media for a prolonged period and then seen them in real life? To me, it felt like I actually already knew them. Opting towards spending more time and energy towards stories is a great way to build unbreakable bonds with your audience.

Short-form storytelling

Artificial intelligence (AI) ad-tracking

We all know that technology is evolving at an astounding rate. What was cream-of-the-crop a couple of years ago is now old news. With the vast majority of businesses spending money on ads, a lot of time and energy has been poured into their optimization to ensure you can outperform your competitors, without making a battle of who has the biggest ad-spend budget. This where AI-tracking shines.

With the ability to read data thousands of times faster than humans, AI-tracking can take your ad optimization to a whole new level. According to Australian digital marketing agency Yakk Digital, clients return-on-ad-spend has increased by a whopping 25 percent since implementing AI-tracking for their ads. By optimizing your ads using AI, you’ll significantly reduce your cost per lead and ultimately, make more money.

Connection and community

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we humans crave connection more than we ever thought. Staying connected with our community is essential, and most great brands and marketers know the best way to build a brand is to create a community behind it.

Human beings crave significance, and that significance often comes from being a part of online communities. This can come in the form of joining the livestream of someone they admire or being in a Facebook group of like-minded individuals, but connection and community go hand-in-hand, so keep that at the forefront of your mind and marketing strategy.

Social media has certainly passed the test of time and is here to stay. In order to leverage it to your greatest ability, keep up with all the latest trends, incorporate them in your strategy and most importantly, be consistent.

By  Lewis Schenk,  ENTREPRENEUR LEADERSHIP NETWORK CONTRIBUTOR,                                                        Director of Boost Media Agency

Source: www.entrepreneur.com/article/370892

 

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4 Ways to Modernize Your Business

In the digital age, operating a successful business increasingly requires a touch of modernity. The traditional business tactics and operational standards of the 20th century are rapidly being overshadowed by new technology and new methods of communications. In order to keep your business on top of its game, and keep up with the times, here are some essential goals for upgrading your business in the modern age.

  1. Cloud-Based Solutions

Everything business-related is transitioning to cloud computing. Whether you are operating multiple business locations or just working from home, keeping all of your business-related computing relegated to online servers gives you a leg up in both security and convenience. Working explicitly from local files makes your work far less portable, increasing the difficulty of long-distance collaboration and restricting your access to business-related data while on the road. Turning to cloud-based solutions provides you the ability to connect your business materials and all of your business associates at the push of a button. Plus, aside from the convenience of access, cloud services are increasingly incorporating built-in analytics services and machine learning capabilities to open the door to more capabilities for business owners to enhance and expand upon their current marketing strategies.

  1. Software Automation

In line with the ever-evolving capabilities of most modern cloud-based services, you should take advantage of MLOps strategies for implementing AI-based software automation to improve your overall productivity. Invest in programs that streamline your day-to-day tasks like automated scheduling assistants, time management analytics tools, and data management programs to track expenses, organize accounts payable, and automate invoicing.

The human element is essential to creativity and ingenuity; however, automation allows you to delegate repetitive data-oriented tasks to programs that can manage them with far more efficiency. This boosts your business’s overall flexibility by giving you and your employees more freedom to tackle any tasks that require a direct, human touch, like customer relations and marketing content.

  1. Messaging Apps and Social Media

Once upon a time, the postal service was the go-to means of communicating important information between multiple parties; then, email took its place as the king of communication. Now, social media and interoffice messaging systems give you the best advantage in establishing reliable lines of communication both within and without your business. Whether you need to notify your staff with important information, contact specific employees directly, or interact with the general public, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook as well as messaging apps like Slack and Discord simplify and streamline communication. Where letters and emails created downtime and posed the risk of “lost” messages, these modern communications platforms reduce clutter and ensure instantaneous, direct interaction, improving both interoffice and remote interactions.

  1. Digital Marketing

Print marketing is rapidly becoming an outdated method of sharing product information with potential clients. In the digital age, your best option for marketing your goods and services is digital content. With online marketing tools, you are no longer limited to a specific quantity of marketing materials, so you can reach out to an unlimited number of existing and potential clients with the push of a button. Amidst digital graphics, video content, blogs, and direct contact via social media, the digital age offers a wide variety of marketing opportunities. More important, perhaps, than the specific digital “medium” used, is to take advantage of real-time marketing strategies. Marketers can now interact with customers immediately, rather than waiting for weeks or even months to compile useful feedback. Social media, for example, allows you to gather real-time data from customers to quickly make adjustments that will improve their experience on the go.

While the core principles of operating a successful business never change, the tools available do. Whenever you are modernizing your business, just keep in mind that as technology evolves so too should your business strategies to take full advantage of the tools currently available. Keep testing the waters with new techniques and technologies, and learn to incorporate the parts that are successful.

 

BY CHANTAL BECHERVAISE

Source: https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/edition/daily-psychological-contract-diversity-2021-07-01/?open-article-id=16442745&article-title=4-ways-to-modernize-your-business&blog-domain=takeitpersonelly.com&blog-title=take-it-personel-ly

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Training and Onboarding for the New Remote Work Landscape

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has officially become the new normal. More and more people are working from home, making virtual training and onboarding a growing priority for human resource professionals.

Prior to COVID, HR mainly utilized in-person methods to guide new employees through orientation, company goal sets and team expectations. However, Forbes reported that up to 74% of professionals expect remote work to become standard after the pandemic. Employees hope to keep the flexibility of remote and hybrid work, so it’s important that employers learn how to meet the digital expectations of the future work landscape.

In fact, as most organizations transitioned to remote work this past year, employees also reported considering or planning a move farther away from their current jobs, according to a separate Forbes article. Employees who were laid off were more likely to report planning a move, as well, which would influence how they applied to future job opportunities.

Returning to fully onsite work will prove difficult for most new employees, so HR must build creative and efficient ways to replicate the training and onboarding process for the remote work landscape. Here are some best practices your company can follow to improve your new employee’s virtual experience:

Provide timely technology and support

To ensure that new hires start off with their best foot forward, organizations must consider what technological requirements need to be addressed for each position. If the employee needs a corporate laptop or cellphone to do their job, reach out and schedule shipping so that they arrive before the employee’s start date.

Once your employee has the proper technology to start their role, HR should coordinate with IT to verify that setup and configuring the new tech is digitally streamlined. Check in with your IT department beforehand to guarantee they don’t become overwhelmed as remote work continues. Ask how the company can automate additional processes to ease the extra workload. Some examples of computer setup automation are interactive platforms that guide new users through setup or step-by-step instructions (written or video) that can be generally distributed online.

Clear communication between HR, new hires and IT is essential to digital onboarding. Don’t be afraid to ask new hires what tools they require to be successful in their new positions and how previously in-person IT tasks can be digitally streamlined. New employees will still need personalized assistance, but automating certain steps in the process is a necessary first step for remote onboarding.

Replicate the remote training process virtually

A great way to build your new HR guidelines for remote work is to use the foundation of previously tried and true methods. If you have set practices for training new hires onsite, go through them and determine how your company can transition each of these steps to online.

Schedule the first day of virtual orientation as similarly to pre-pandemic guidelines as possible, advised the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This means creating a full-day, interactive schedule for new hires that include team and colleague introductions via video conferencing. By now, employees have become all-too-familiar with the importance of video meetings, so just be sure to include what platform expectations (Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, etc.) are during onboarding.

Once the first day is scheduled, consider how best to guide new hires through their first week, as well. For example, are there any larger company meetings that could demonstrate how your employer operates overall? New questions may arise as employees find their footing in the new digital landscape, so advise managers to schedule daily and/or weekly check-ins in advance. This way remote workers can be certain that they have opportunities to touch base with you.

As your digital onboarding and training schedule is determined, don’t forget to include breaks for your new hires. Employees should feel guided throughout their first day and week at your company, but it’s also important to give them time to go over new materials and properly retain each piece of new information.

Digitize important onboarding materials

Manual paperwork is a time-consuming and stressful part of human resource management. However, a newfound benefit to remote work during the pandemic has been the implementation of virtual onboarding and training materials that can be accessed at any time by new hires and managers from home alike.

By transitioning document signing, company policies, rule books and training materials to digital copies, employers can streamline the onboarding process for both HR and new hires. For example, sharing and filing tax documents, contracts and payroll information can be as easy as sending a link or signing into your company’s preferred platform. Within your company’s online platform or website, HR should also include an FAQ page for more information and a contact page for additional questions.

This cuts back on labor costs as HR and new hires can spend more time engaging with each other and their teams. For some roles, you can also implement onboarding tools that include training videos and/or learning modules that cover specific role needs.

Remote work is here to stay, so learning how to onboard and train new hires in the virtual workplace is a high priority for all companies moving forward. HR teams that successfully transition to online onboarding and training will be able to not only improve efficiency, but also overall job satisfaction and employee engagement.

According to SHRM, overall HR recruiting budgets have decreased this past year due to the pandemic. Employee retention is crucial for companies to be successful in the current remote work landscape. By investing in new hire digital onboarding and training, your team will vastly improve the remote experience for all of your employees — not just new hires.

The best course of action for HR professionals is to mirror the in-person onboarding experience for remote workers as best as possible. The more interactive the schedule is for your employees, the more likely they will have a positive and lasting experience with your company.

 

By PeopleStrategy Staff

Source: https://www.peoplestrategy.com/training-onboarding-new-remote-work/

 

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Why Investing in Your Employees Can Benefit Your Company

Your employees are your business, it is that simple. The people you bring on, train and put into strategic positions throughout the organization are what will make or break your success. From the bottom to the top of the hierarchy, your human capital is your most important capital. This is why it makes so much sense to invest in these people. From sending employees on a leadership career track to business school to simple online seminars or cross-training opportunities, professional development takes many forms. If you are considering an MBA for an employee, keep in mind that there are MBA admissions consultants out there to help you make the right choice.

Employers must start to think of human capital development in terms of ROI. With that in mind, below are some of the ways investing in employees can benefit your company.

Employee Engagement

A Gallup poll from 2018 indicated that only 34 percent of employees in the United States felt engaged at work, which was broadly reflective of a worldwide crisis of engagement. There are a variety of reasons for this lack of engagement, including feelings of burnout from job creep, organizations failing to align philosophically with employees, apathy that comes from a lack of job security but also, importantly, a lack of investment in human capital on the part of employers.

Too often employers see the labour force as mere tools and means to ends, rather than strategic assets to be developed. When employees feel that their professional development and career health is taken seriously by their employers, engagement will increase in turn. Engagement corresponds to more job satisfaction, bigger and better brand advocates for the business, better collaboration and better employee retention.

Attract New Talent

Another reason it pays dividends for an organization to invest in its current workforce is that doing so has future benefits for recruitment and talent acquisition. Surveys have shown that the vast majority of people are willing to trade less money for more meaningful work, which translates into a lot of different things, but among them is work that allows them to develop and utilize their skills and core competencies.

The implications for talent acquisition are easy to see and potentially enormous. If a business is able to establish a reputation as a place that nurtures talent, invests in its people’s professional development and provides opportunities to constantly grow and improve skill sets, it will be a much more attractive place to work for talented, ambitious people looking for a challenge and interested in lifelong learning.

Future-Proof

Investing in people should also be seen as a necessary part of future-proofing the organization. The rate of economic change that is taking place and will continue to do so obligates leadership to take a future-proofing approach to business. The pandemic proved that entire business models could dry up overnight and that the resulting skills gaps could potentially cripple an organization or industry. Your people are your best chance against being blindsided by the future.

Investing in employees can provide the organization with valuable skills–particularly digital ones–to ensure a more seamless transition to a much more digital business environment. It can also ensure that the mission-critical skill sets required for business success are always in supply. Having employees who are able to cover for one another, pick up the slack for absent coworkers and take on new responsibilities when necessary make the organization much more agile.

Productivity

Investing in employees also has implications for productivity. Employees who are confident that their employer has their professional best interests at heart and are committed to providing them with opportunities to improve and increase their skills are more likely to want to do their best for the company. The management and organizational behavioural literature over the last year have been almost singularly obsessed with the phenomenon of decreasing productivity, what to do about it and when, if ever, it will be back.

Of the many things that we know about productivity and the influences on it, employees who believe they are supported in their professional development by their employers are more likely to want to exert themselves on behalf of the company and to make the best use of their working hours. The quality of the employee-employer relationship is dictated by many things, but among them is certainly the extent to which the former believes the latter is concerned about their careers and professional development.

Conclusion

The problem with many organizations is that labour expenses are seen as something to be kept as low as possible at all costs. Professional development and enriching the organization’s human capital takes a back seat with such a philosophy. What these businesses don’t realize is that they are shooting themselves in the foot in the medium to long-term. Investments in employees, and particularly promising people with a demonstrated desire to learn, improve and add value, are investments in the business.

Image by Ronald Carreño from Pixabay

By Editor’s choice|Employee recognition

 

Source: https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=16422120&article-title=why-investing-in-your-employees-can-benefit-your-company-&blog-domain=gethppy.com&blog-title=get-hppy

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What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting

As companies scramble to protect employees from the spreading coronavirus with travel restrictions and remote work arrangements, there’s a distinct possibility that in-person meetings with teams, customers, or suppliers may be canceled for days — or potentially weeks.

Under the best of circumstances, as soon as one or two attendees “dial in” to any meeting, productivity starts to suffer.  There’s a long list of reasons. Attendees often interpret virtual meetings as a license to multi-task. Meeting organizers tend to be less careful with the purpose and design of the conversation. And it’s not uncommon for one or two attendees to dominate the discussion while others sit back and “tune out.”

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Virtual meetings — even impromptu ones sparked by fears of a contagion — can be run more effectively, using basic meeting best practices and easy-to-use, inexpensive technology.

Here are 12 steps you can take to make that happen:

  1. Use video. To make people feel like they’re all at the “same” meeting, use video conferencing rather than traditional conference dial-ins. Technology — such as Zoom, Skype, and GoToMeeting — helps to personalize the conversation and to keep participants engaged.
  2. That said, always provide an audio dial-in option. Video conferencing can work very well, but it relies on a strong internet connection that may not always be available. People need the ability to participate via audio, but make it clear that video-first is the new norm.
  3. Test the technology ahead of time. Nothing kills momentum at the start of a meeting like a 15-minute delay because people need to download software, can’t get the video to work, etc. Prior to a virtual meeting, all participants should test the technology and make sure they are comfortable with the major features. And remember, supplier or customer conversations may require your team to familiarize themselves with different software packages.
  4. Make sure faces are visible. Video conferences are more effective when people can see each other’s facial expressions and body language. Ask individuals to sit close to their webcam to help to recreate the intimacy of an in-person meeting.
  5. Stick to meeting basics. Prior to the conversation, set clear objectives, and send a pre-read if appropriate. During the session, use an agenda, set meeting ground rules, take breaks, and clearly outline next steps (including timing and accountabilities) after each section and at the end of the meeting.
  6. Minimize presentation length. The only thing worse than a long presentation in person is a long presentation during a virtual meeting. Meetings should be discussions. Background information should be provided beforehand. If someone needs to present, use screen sharing to guide the conversation, so attendees can literally “be on the same page.” But prioritize conversation to maximize the time people are looking at each other.
  7. Use an icebreaker. Although we’re not big fans of them, it’s important to use every tool to reinforce interpersonal relationships when people may be feeling isolated. Also, it’s important to know if a participant may have a close friend or relative fighting the virus, so some type of “check in” is in order.
  8. Assign a facilitator. It’s usually harder to manage a virtual discussion than an in-person one. It can be helpful to assign one individual to guide the conversation, allowing the other participants to focus on the content. The facilitator can also use a polling system to “take the pulse” of the group on certain questions and ensure that all voices are heard. The facilitator should also be able to resolve basic questions on the technology being used.
  9. Call on people. Getting everyone to participate without talking over each other is one of the more challenging aspects of running a virtual meeting. To forestall this, we recommend periodically calling on individuals to speak, even by virtually “going around the table” before a decision is finalized. Some software packages even allow attendees to “raise a hand” if they want to. This can help the facilitator drive closure without the risk of excluding an introverted participant’s views.
  10. Capture real-time feedback. Gathering and processing high-quality input during a virtual meeting can be challenging, especially since visual cues are harder to read. Use a phone-based survey tool like Poll Everywhere to collect on-demand feedback from attendees on specific topics in real time. Keep the polling open, separate from the videoconference to avoid disrupting the conversation. Participants will need clear instructions on how to use the system and practices, but groups get the hang of it very quickly and it’s well worth the effort.
  11. Don’t be afraid to tackle tough issues. Meeting virtually is a learned behavior, and you’ll be amazed how much you can get out of it once you and your team begin to be comfortable working this way. It may seem natural to wait to discuss tough issues until everyone is in person, but that may not be an option. So don’t shy away from controversial topics.
  12. Practice once or twice while you’re still together. Hold your next staff meeting virtually, with each executive sitting in their office and hooking into the meeting with no assistance. After the meeting concludes, gather and debrief about the experience. What went well, and what didn’t? How can you evolve your virtual meetings to make them as productive as when you meet in person?

Not being able to work together in the same room with colleagues may become a major challenge in the next few weeks. To make virtual meetings work, you might need to adjust how your team conducts them.  But a small investment in preparedness now could have a huge impact if that time comes.

By Bob Frisch and Cary Greene, March 05, 2020

Source: https://hbr.org/2020/03/what-it-takes-to-run-a-great-virtual meeting?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=hbr&utm_source=twitter&tpcc=orgsocial_edit

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Data Is Great — But It’s Not a Replacement for Talking to Customers

kkgas/Stocksy

 

Summary: Many companies rely too much on big data and analytics in their hunt for strategic insights.  They’d do better if they actually went out and talked to their customers instead, as Toyota and Adobe do, because data is too rooted in what managers already think their customers are interested in.

 

 

The ability to gather and process intimate, granular detail on a mass scale promises to uncover unimaginable relationships within a market. But does “detail” actually equate to “insight”?

Many decision-makers clearly believe it does. In Australia, for instance, the big four banks Westpac, National, ANZ, and Commonwealth are spending large on churning through mountains of customer data that relate one set of variables — gender, age, and occupation, for instance — to a range of banking products and services. Australia’s largest bank, the Commonwealth, has announced its big data push.

Like the big banks, Australia’s two largest supermarket chains, Woolworths and Coles, are scouring customer data and applying the massive computer power now available, and needed, with statistical techniques in the search for “insights.” This could involve the combination of web browsing activity, with social media use, with purchasing patterns and so on — complex analysis across diverse platforms.

While applying correlation and regression analysis (among other tools) to truckloads of data has its place, I have a real concern that — once again — CEOs and senior executives will retreat to their suites satisfied that the IT department will now do all the heavy lifting when it comes to listening to the customer.

Data’s Deceptive Appeal

To peek into the deceptive appeal of numbers, let’s review how one business hid behind its data for years.

Keith is the CEO of a wealth management business focused on high-net-worth individuals. It assists them with their investments by providing products, portfolio solutions, financial planning advice, and real estate opportunities.

Like its competitors, Keith’s company employed surveys to gather data on how the business was performing. But Keith and his executive team came to realize that dredging through these details was not producing insights that management might use in strategy development.

So, Keith’s team decided on a different path. One that really did involve listening to the customer. They conducted a series of client interviews structured in a way that allowed the customer to do the talking and the company to do the listening. What Keith and his executives discovered really shocked them.

The first was that their data was based on nonsense. This came about because the questions they’d been asking were built on managers’ perceptions of what clients needed to answer. They weren’t constructed on what clients wanted to express. This resulted in data that didn’t reflect clients’ real requirements. The list of priorities obtained via client interviews compared to management’s assumed client priorities coincided a mere 50 percent of the time.

Keith’s business is not alone in this as studies have shown that big data is often “precisely inaccurate.” A study reported by Deloitte found that “more than two-thirds of survey respondents stated that the third-party data about them was only 0 to 50 percent correct as a whole. One-third of respondents perceived the information to be 0 to 25 percent correct.”

In Keith’s case, this error was compounded when it came to the rating of these requirements. For example, the company believed that older clients wouldn’t rank “technology” (digital and online tools) as high on their list of requirements. However, in the interviews, they discovered that while these older clients weren’t big users of technology themselves, many cared about it a great deal. This was because they had assistants who did use it and because they considered having state-of-the-art technology a prerequisite for an up-to-date business.

What Keith and his team also discovered, to their surprise, was how few interviews it took to gain genuine insight. Keith reports that “we needed around 18 to 20 clients to uncover most of the substantive feedback. We thought we’d need many more.” What Keith has encountered here is saturation; a research term referring to the point when you can stop conducting interviews because you fail to hear anything new.

Listening to the Customer

Engaging with your customers may not be as exciting and new as investing in “big data.” But it does have a solid track record of success. Cast your minds back to a historic time in Toyota’s history.

When Toyota wanted to develop a luxury car for the United States, its team didn’t hunker down in Tokyo to come up with the perfect design. Nor did it sift through data obtained from existing Toyota customers about current Toyota models. Instead, it sent its designers and managers to California to observe and interview the target customer — an American, male, high-income executive — to find out what he wanted in a car. This knowledge, combined with its undoubted engineering excellence, resulted in a completely new direction for Toyota: a luxury export to the United States. You will know it better as the Lexus. Listening to the customer is now embedded in Toyota’s culture.

Listening to the customer is also a fundamental component of Adobe’s culture. The company speaks of a “culture of customer listening” and has produced a useful set of guidelines on how to tune in to customers. Elaine Chao, a Product Manager with the company, has expressed it this way: “Listening is the first step. We try to focus on what customers want to accomplish, not necessarily how they want to accomplish it.”

So, provided your data isn’t “precisely inaccurate” employ modern computer power to examine patterns in your customers’ buying behavior. But understand big data’s limitations. The data is historic and static. It’s historic because it’s about the past. Your customers have most likely moved on from what the data captures. And it’s static because, as with any computer modeling, it can never answer a question that you didn’t think to ask.

Real insights come from seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. You will only ever get that by truly engaging with customers and listening to their stories.

March 05, 2021
Source: https://hbr.org/2021/03/data-is-great-but-its-not-a-replacement-for-talking-to-customers
by grocon grocon No Comments

Agile Talent Strategy: Why You Need It and How to Develop One

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at SilkRoad Technology, a provider of strategic onboarding solutions to drive workforce readiness and organizational transformation. They were recently recognized as one of Chicago’s Best Places to Work. Congrats to them. Enjoy the article!)

 

Every day, more people are getting vaccinated and looking forward to their personal and professional re-entry. However, that doesn’t mean we’re all going to simply go back to the way things used to be. Too much has happened. This is an important issue that businesses should not ignore.

When the pandemic first started, organizations had to make quick decisions and not everything went according to plan. But I believe that employees, customers, and everyone else tried to be very tolerant and empathetic. That was then, this is now.

Organizations have been operating under this scenario for over a year. During this time, customers changed their expectations and spending habits. Employees changed the way they feel about work. Unfortunately, it’s possible that organizations didn’t adapt fast enough to the changes around them, according to a new report from SilkRoad Technology titled “Full-time Flexibility: Do employees feel supported working from home?”.

One of the biggest takeaways for me from the report was that 2 in 5 office workers plan to look for new job opportunities based on how their employer handled the pandemic. This aligns with other articles we’ve recently seen about the labor market. An article from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests that up to a quarter of workers plan to quit their jobs once the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey says that one in three employees don’t want to work for an employer that requires them to be onsite full-time.

So, what does all of this mean? I know that organizations are very focused on economic recovery right now. However, organizations need to start thinking about their talent strategy as part of that economic recovery.

Talent Strategy is a Key Component of Business Strategy

The good news is that talent and business performance have always been intertwined. And the solution for both is intertwined. We’ve been talking for a while about how business agility is important to business success. Organizations need to be able to quickly react to changing business conditions.

Well, the same holds true for talent. Organizations should adopt an agile talent strategy that allows them to react quickly to the changes in the labor market. Here are three components to consider in developing an agile talent strategy:

WHERE we work. Before the pandemic, working remotely was more of the exception than the rule. Then during the pandemic, remote work – specifically working from home – became the norm for many. Moving forward, organizations have the ability to create a best practice in terms of a hybrid model. The question becomes what does that hybrid model look like?

I wish there were some concrete answers to share regarding the right balance of remote and onsite work. Even the SilkRoad report notes that organizations haven’t reached consensus in this area just yet. But that doesn’t mean organizations shouldn’t consider a hybrid work environment. What it does mean is that it could take some trial and error to find the right balance for your organizational culture.

WHAT we work on. During the pandemic, 63% of employees took on new responsibilities, according to the SilkRoad report. Totally makes sense – everyone just did whatever it took to get things done. But given the statistic, it’s time for organizations to look at existing jobs. Make sure the right people are doing the right things and make any necessary adjustments to work responsibilities.

This has a cascading effect on other talent-related activities. HR departments will want to reevaluate whether to buy, build, borrow, or use bots when it’s time to hire. Ideally, they should be looking at all four strategies. Managers should be provided with the training and tools to effectively manage a remote workforce. The SilkRoad report noted that over half of workers wanted more support from their employer. Finally, onboarding programs should be adapted for a hybrid work environment. If organizations want employees to be successful, they have to spend time setting employees up for that success. We all know that starts on day one.

HOW we get things done. There’s a McKinsey study that reported the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation by as much as seven years. While that can be an overwhelming statistic, it’s equally important to remember that all digital transformations are not equal in terms of results.

The SilkRoad report cites that the reason digital transformations efforts often fail isn’t because of the technology but rather because organizations didn’t make the investment in people, who are responsible for executing the transformation. If we think about these three components – where we work, what we work on, and how we get things done – it’s a good reminder that organizations will need to invest in learning, training, and development to ensure ongoing business success.

I totally understand that organizations are anxious to get to the next normal. Lilith Christiansen, chief strategy and product officer at SilkRoad Technology, reminds us it won’t happen overnight. “Our current environment and the change and disruption we’ll all continue to experience presents an opportunity for organizations to redesign their employee experience or talent strategy.”

The good news is that data – like the data found in this SilkRoad report – can help us identify where to focus our talent strategy. Christiansen reminds us that organizations need a successful talent strategy to have a successful business strategy. “We should continue to deliver intentionally designed experiences as well as a cadenced delivery of content, learning, and performance conversations. We also need to prioritize flexibility over rigidity in our approach to where work gets done. If we are to be successful in the future, we must increase our focus on communication, inclusivity, and alignment, and adopt more outcome-oriented performance strategies that drive engagement and contribution.”

Source:  https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=16049562&article-title=agile-talent-strategy–why-you-need-it-and-how-to-develop-one&blog-domain=hrbartender.com&blog-title=hr-bartender

 

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TIPS FOR A COST EFFECTIVE LIFE ABROAD

If you’re looking to move abroad, but you don’t have the budget, don’t panic. Some countries do offer the possibility of enjoying an excellent quality of life along with a low cost of living. So here are some tips for living overseas for cheap from Jerry Nelson, a US expat blogger living in Argentina.

My housekeeper has her own chauffeur. Really. He brings her by the condo once a week and lingers in the automobile while she spends several hours tidying up the mayhem, which has taken me a week to create.

I’ve offered and encouraged her driver to come inside and join me on the mezzanine for matè (a traditional South American infusion), but he chooses to wait in the car.

Regardless of his reason for ‘social distancing’, when was the last time you heard, in America, of a maid having her own driver? My hunch is you never have.

Having a housekeeper who has her own chauffeur isn’t a sign of my being rich. It’s a gauge of life which is available once the twisted chains to America are separated.

The prices are decent. More than reasonable, really.

A gallon of milk? $1. A litre of soda? Eighty-cents. How about a breakfast of four empanadas, coffee and a medialuna (croissant)? $2.58.

A nice steak dinner is lomo — the Argentine version of ribeye — baked potato, salad and dessert—$ 7.75.

What about travel costs? A person can fly from Buenos Aires to Washington DC for less time and money than it takes someone to journey from Washington DC to Los Angeles to see their parents and crazy Uncle Henry.

Travel overseas enough, and you’ll see something in the Americans you meet. Most of the people I know in the states are handcuffed to repetitive tasks, uncertain relationships or uneducated about the world beyond the horizon.

The expats I’ve met have visited almost 150 nations and rarely show evidence of boredom, worry, or regret. Almost all seem to be the personification of what an Australian man told to be on a dirt road in the Outback. “Don’t spend time, enjoy it!”

Americans’ poverty line stands just a tad over $12,000 a year — for a single adult with no kids. $12K won’t get you far in Oakland, but it will get you a full year of awe in one of these three nations. In each of these $1,000 a month covers housing, food, and access to exploits which Americans can hardly imagine.

Bolivia
Everything is super-cheap in South America’s least-visited country. A room in a five-star hotel runs $5 a night, and they will let you take a (leashed) alpaca for a ramble at no cost.

Landlocked behind Peru and Chile, Bolivia is an even greater bargain than backpacking sanctuaries like Cambodia.

Bolivia has the largest Native American culture in South America, and they practically created the frugal experience such as Cholita. In Cholita wrestling, the Bolivian counterpart to America’s WWE, women battle it out for your entertainment. The cost to watch a match is about five-cents.

Bolivian natives never look to be in a rush. They manage to maintain links to their 3,000-year-old ancestors. In the past 185 years, they’ve had almost 200 heads of state. They’re not in a big hurry to put the past behind them.

Mountain biking on the treacherous road leading from Coroico to La Paz is a blur of microclimates which tosses mud in your face. Given the nickname, “death road,” the highway was dug into the side of a mountain in the 1930s and connects the Amazonian rainforest to La Paz.

Georgia
No. Not Atlanta. The former Soviet republic which gives ‘cheap’ a new meaning. Tbilisi, the capital, overflows with cafes and wine bars. A nice bottle goes for $5 and a hotel room for $8 at Fabrika, a former Soviet-era garment factory since converted into a dazzling hotel and community centre.

Most expats shell out $150 a month for a nice apartment. But don’t talk politics. It’s better to debate white versus red in the wine-crazed nation.

Grenada
This West Indies paradise has plenty of exotic beaches to nice places to relax. Welcome to the Caribbean. Going local means navigating retirement in style and luxury. Get into the national dish made with coconut milk oil residue and enjoy the one-pot stew of breadfruit, callaloo, okra, cabbage, fish, dumplings, turmeric — and anything else on hand.

A traffic circle near Grand Anse Beach bounds an outdoor marketplace named “Wall Street” with banks on opposite ends. The circle attracts locals busy buying open-air-grilled meat and fish for beverages sold directly from blue and red ice chests in pickup beds.

Late at night, cars blare music and parties. The distant calypso music fills the barbecued night air and therein lies your cue to follow the music of steel drums. To see it all and do everything, plan on spending about $20.

The takeaway
From Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, each James Bond has lived, worked and played in the world’s top-shelf vacation spots. Part of the reason is no one wants to believe that a world-class spy would work anywhere other than world-class regions. James Bond in Cheboygan doesn’t have the same flair.

But I believe that Bond couldn’t afford to live his lifestyle in America, so he goes overseas where life is cheaper and living well is less expensive.

source:Expat.com