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Career Transition, Outplacement and Mobility

Executives in Transition: Three Top Actions to Take in 2021

Executives in Transition: Three Top Actions to Take in 2021

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Executives in Transition: Three Top Actions to Take in 2021

“A recent LHH-LinkedIn poll found 47 percent of respondent organizations were planning significant overhauls of senior leadership, with six percent predicting a “total overhaul.” Less than one-third of respondents did not anticipate any changes in their executive leadership teams.”

John Morgan, Chief Operating Officer, LHH

Of all the things that Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos has accomplished in his storied career, none may be as important as the orderly retirement he recently announced.

Bezos, 57, had given no sign that he was going to step away from Amazon. The global pandemic and the economic restrictions that came with it helped the world’s largest e-commerce marketplace soar to new heights. 

But there he was in the first few days of February 2021, confirming to the world that he would step down later this year to remain the company’s executive chair, while passing the CEO job to Andy Jassy, head of Amazon Web Services.

An orderly succession without drama, uncertainty and recrimination. Bezos’ retirement was as clean and efficient as a next day delivery via Amazon Prime. If only other companies could replicate this kind of executive transition. 

The year before, a collection of the world’s highest-profile companies lost key leaders from the very top of their hierarchies. Some, like IBM CEO Ginny Rometty and Ford CEO Jim Farley, managed orderly retirements with several months advance warning and their successors already selected.

Others were not so orderly. 

Disney CEO Bob Iger stunned onlookers when he announced in February 2020 he was stepping down immediately from his position. A major reorganization at Disney led to the sudden departure of Hulu CEO Randy Freer. Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Match (which owns dating apps Tinder and Hinge) resigned her post suddenly because of health concerns. And Jim Murren left his job as CEO of MGM Resorts International with less than a month’s notice and no permanent replacement identified. 

And that was just 2020. All signs indicate that in 2021 we can expect a lot of senior executive departures – some tidy and systematic, others more abrupt and disorganized. 

A recent LHH-LinkedIn poll found 47 percent of respondent organizations were planning significant overhauls of senior leadership, with six percent predicting a “total overhaul.” Less than one-third of respondents did not anticipate any changes in their executive leadership teams. 

Why is it that some leaders and organizations create orderly executive transitions while for others, it’s a hot mess? The fact is, the vast majority of companies experience so few executive transitions, they rarely see the need to build a plan that covers everything from planned retirements to sudden departures due to poor stock performance, burnout or social concerns. 

As Bezos and other CEOs have shown, a comprehensive executive transition plan is an essential part of any organization’s business plan. An orderly succession, even when a sudden transition is required, will help the executive team adjust to new leadership, provide opportunities for knowledge transfer and boost an organization’s overall brand in the eyes of customers, investors and employees. The best executive transition plans need to be tailored to the specific needs of organizations and the executives involved. However, the best practices – transparency, collaboration and support – remain a constant.

Establish your transition team

A pre-existing transition team is the number one priority for any organization that wants to ensure orderly executive departures, whether it is a thoughtful succession or a sudden transition. This is the group that will take care of all aspects of the transition, from negotiations on severance to succession planning and, when required, public relations to help manage external communications.

The transition team should involve, at a minimum, a senior member of the board of directors, the CEO (if not the subject of the transition, the senior-most human resources officer and the company’s general counsel. This is the group that will plan and execute all departures and successions.

Where possible, carefully plan support for the executive in transition

Succession can be a difficult topic to broach with senior executives. Some interpret succession planning as a lack of faith in their performance. Others are simply not interested in leaving and thus put off all talk of planning for a successor.

To mitigate any discomfort or reluctance, the executive in question should be given the opportunity to work with experts who can help them prepare for retirement, if that is the preferred course of action, or plan out a future career path. This type of support helps reduce any feelings of isolation or uncertainty that may come with a decision to leave a senior role.

Set out a deliberate, defined process

For the transition team to fully realize its value, it must have a playbook that clearly identifies the process for an orderly transition, a first point of contact for all negotiations and comprehensive internal and external communications plan. Planning ahead and establishing both a transition team and a playbook will not only help ease the concerns of the executive in question, but also create confidence among customers, investors and employees. 

Executive departures are, by their very nature, disruptive events. However, they do not need to be destructive.

A thoughtful, well-planned approach for re-casting senior leadership can replace ambiguity with certainty and emotion with rational resolve. The best transitions are seamless, with as little confusion and recrimination as possible. They meet the needs of both the individual involved, and the organization. 

A thoughtful, comprehensive transition process established well in advance of any specific departure confirms that the organization involved is caring, well-organized and transparent. That is a win-win-win for any company.

Source: This article was originally published in CEOWorld Magazine on March 12, 2021.

Coaching People Development

Restructuring in 2021: What are the risks?

Restructuring in 2021: What are the risks?

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Restructuring in 2021: What are the risks
Putting people at the heart of a restructuring program.

We explore the 5 key risks that get over-looked in a large-scale restructuring programme and how best to mitigate them.

Many labour market’s across Europe have largely been on pause throughout the pandemic. Whether through generous government and central bank stimulus or furlough schemes that subsidised wages of around 45m people1, employees and organisations have in some way been shielded from the fallout of the pandemic. As the pandemic continues to affect us all in 2021 the strain will be on these government schemes to remain, and on organisations to keep their people employed where they can. However, as we’ve seen already, some companies need to act now and restructure to survive and thrive beyond 2021.

33% of C-suite executives believe restructuring the organisation is a top measure needed to ensure survival2

The Scale of Restructuring

Although outlooks continue to brighten and some markets are starting to slowly recover, the unemployment rate is still expected to reach 8,1%3 across the eurozone and continue to rise through 2021. This isn’t surprising considering the significant size of the job cuts that have happened so far from big named brands. Even with the help from government schemes to prevent job cuts, we’ve seen companies from a variety of industries reduce headcount in the tens of thousands like never before.

With companies being forced to downsize in order to survive, organisations that will remain standing at the end of this year and beyond are those who handle this transition period effectively. Large-scale restructuring programmes are highly complex and require an extensive collaborative approach across the organisation as well as a significant investment in time and resources. The risks of getting a large-scale restructuring programme wrong can be huge and sometimes fatal for organisations.

Putting people at the heart of a restructuring program

Businesses will be depending on their HR professionals to deliver and provide support for a key part of any large-scale restructuring programme. Putting people at the heart of any restructure is what separates a successful process from a high risk one. This people aspect requires technical expertise in topics such as employment law, social plans and specific career transition approaches as well as programme management, communication and change management. Additionally, any complications that arise with various regional and/or local requirements will only add to the complexities of a restructuring programme.

Top risks in restructuring

Here are 5 potential risks that get overlooked in large-scale restructuring programmes:

1. Employee engagement and morale drop

Risk – High

The risk of low engagement and a drop in morale is high. Employee issues and concerns need to be addressed appropriately as any confusion or frustration left unattended will quickly lead to negativity that will seep onto remaining employees. Some of these concerns may also include how those who are leaving are treated as they evaluate how fairly the process is handled.

2. Significant productivity loss

Risk – Moderately high

Due to the inevitable disruption caused by a restructure, productivity will be affected. But by how much? If managers fail to lead and provide transparent communications throughout the process, the risk of productivity taking a significant loss is moderately high.

3. Employer brand damage

Risk – Moderately high

An erosion of trust caused by a poorly handled restructuring programme can have a negative impact on turnover, engagement and the employer brand. The impact of this may not be felt immediately but can certainly be seen over a longer period which is why this risk is moderately high. 

4. Restructuring goals not fully met

Risk – Moderately high

In the absence of clarity of what success looks like and how it will be measured, the restructure effort presents a moderately high risk of failure. The difference a well thought-out and realistic plan can make on the success of a restructure can be substantial. 

5. Negative leaver sentiments

Risk – Moderate

If any part of the consultation or communication process is dealt with badly, the impact on leavers sentiment may be negative. Even though these people are leaving the business, the risk is still moderate as any loosely defined processes, false starts or inconsistencies has a potential to come back and harm the organisation. 

With more changes looming this year, there are positive steps HR professionals can take to support their organisation with planned restructuring programmes. Putting the building blocks together now ensures that line managers, the HR team and the business leaders are prepared to implement a smooth transitional process and that risks are kept to a minimum. 

To learn more about how you can support your business and prepare for a large-scale restructuring programme, you can download our guide here.

Source: lhh.com

Coaching People Development

Finding The Perfect Coaching Partner

Finding The Perfect Coaching Partner

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Finding The Perfect Coaching Partner

Faced with a pressing need to help your leaders forge ahead through an increasingly uncertain world, you’ve decided to take the plunge and partner with a leadership coaching firm.

What a smart cookie you are.

Coaching is a difference maker. In the world of development, it’s a superpower that can supercharge your people.

It can help leaders at all levels of your organization become more effective, more empathetic and more productive. Ultimately, a well-coached leader will help make all of your people more engaged and productive. It’s the ultimate win-win scenario in leadership development.

But for most organizations, developing an appetite for coaching is not the toughest part. The real challenge is finding the right coaching partner. And that, my friend, can be a real mind-bending experience.

So many providers, so many approaches, so many promises. The leadership coaching industry is a complex matrix of solutions, technologies and philosophies. It’s also an industry that is chock full of posers – fitness trainers, wellness gurus and holistic practitioners – moonlighting as professional business coaches.

In a bid to help you understand the true and full power of coaching and how to find your perfect coaching partner, we’ve decided to pull back the curtain and tell you a few things that many other coaching firms won’t. Think of it as your coaching partner checklist.

What leadership coaching is (and what it isn’t)

In short, coaching is one of the most powerful development tools ever created.

It’s a very personalized, intimate, one-on-one intervention that focuses on collaboration between coach and coachee to achieve pre-defined outcomes, some organizational and some personal. It’s all about setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change in a way that works for an individual leader.

Coaches do not “tell” coachees what to do; they help leaders examine the challenges they face and then identify their own solutions. It’s all about the journey to grow as an individual and the coach serves as a guide. It is, in every way, a true partnership.

If that’s what coaching is, then what is it not?

Coaching is not mentoring, counselling or training. Although valuable in and of themselves, those disciplines are more about imparting wisdom or knowledge to a leader. Although they may involve coaching-like approaches, the relationships are more hierarchical, particularly in a mentor-mentee scenario.

And let’s be totally frank. Although you may have many hobbies and share an interest in a particular type of cuisine, coaching is not about swapping recipes for healthy eating or setting fitness goals. It’s not guidance on yoga poses or meditation. Those are all valuable and satisfying activities. But they do not fall into the realm of professional coaching.

How to start a search for the perfect coaching partner?

If you’re company has never provided coaching at scale, or limited coaching solutions to a select few senior executives, then you’re going to have to do some homework before you can start looking for that perfect professional coaching partner.

To be effective, a coaching solution needs to be fully aligned with an organization and its leadership culture. There is very little value in providing coaching for leaders that is at odds with the expectations the organization has for those leaders.

So, methodically answer the following questions and record the answers. They will help to inform your search for a coaching firm.

  • Who makes decisions about leadership development in your company and what are their expectations?
  • How would your organization define the goals for your leadership and talent strategy?
  • How would you define and measure success in leadership development?
  • What are the ideal behaviour and mindset changes you would like to see from your leaders after they are exposed to coaching?
  • What strengths do you want to see enhanced?
  • How would you like your employees to act differently?

When you can answer these questions, then you are ready to start looking for a coaching partner. You now know how decisions about leadership development are made, the goals and modes of measurement and the desired outcomes. Let’s start shopping for a professional coach.

How to find your perfect coaching partner

Be warned: this is a very competitive industry and there is a huge variance between the real coaching pros and the posers. You will do much better if you understand how to spot a real coach but also if you have a list of must-have requirements.

Your coaching partnership must involve:

A firm that offers certified, accredited and 100-per-cent full-time, professional coaches. A coaching partner that takes the time to ask you question to find out your organization’s needs and desired outcomes. And you definitely want a coaching partner that will ensure that the work completely aligns with organizational and leadership culture.

You can deduce a lot of this information from reading a coaching partner’s website or marketing content. But a better approach is to structure an RFP that will give you all the answers you need to pick the right firm.

The coaching RFP checklist

Here are some examples of questions that absolutely, positively must be part of your RFP:

What professional coaching credentials do your coaches hold? 

There are a lot of self-trained, self-identified coaches out there. You definitely want someone with credentials from a recognized leader in the coaching profession, like the International Coaching Federation.

What experiences do your coaches have with coaching diverse employees from different backgrounds and industries? 

Your employee group is a collection of individuals with diverse experiences, backgrounds and career goals. Your coaching partner should be able to find you coaches that are similarly diverse and possess a wealth of related career experience.

How big is the coach pool? 

It’s important to have a broad selection of coaches to pick from. Both to ensure that your leaders are getting coaching when they need it, but also to ensure that there is proper fit between coach and coachee.

What languages do your coaches speak and where are they located? 

Business is a global concern now and coaching needs to be able to reflect a broad array of languages, cultures, and time zones.

What is the diversity mix of your coaches? For example, gender, racial diversity, LGBTQ+

Diversity and inclusion are important considerations in picking a coaching partner. You definitely want a partner that can draw upon an extremely diverse roster of coaches that reflect the importance of gender, race and sexual orientation.

How do you match coaches with employees? 

Coaching firms with small coach rosters will not allow for an intensive matching process. A broad and deep pool of coaches, and a process that helps coachees identify the kind of person they want to work with, will ensure a good match.

Describe your coaching process?

Even with global certifications, different firms still employee different models of coaching. Ask a prospective coaching partner to define their approach. As well, is there a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach or flexibility to design coaching solutions that fit the individual?

What type of technology do you use for the coaching platform?

With the pandemic still impacting face-to-face business interactions, it’s more important than ever to know the full details of your coaching partner’s technology platform. If not in person, then how will they deliver coaching? Will they rely on off-the-shelf video conferencing apps, or do they have a full proprietary platform that allows for seamless integration of coaching with scheduling, feedback and the measuring of outcomes?

Can your coaching partner measure outcomes?

Many coaching providers deliver the service but offer no way of gathering insights or generating reports on feedback and outcomes. If your organization is paying the freight for coaching, don’t you want to know the impact it’s having on your people?

Who are some of your clients and what do they have to say about your work?

Testimonials from other client organizations are a very good way of assessing the quality of any coaching firm. Let’s face it, if a coaching partner is good at their job, why wouldn’t clients want to sing it from the rooftops.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s certainly a good start and it captures many of the most important questions to ask a prospective coaching partner.

Coaching can have a profound impact on an organization and its people. But only if you have taken the time to find the best coaching partner. Best in terms of service, technology and outcomes.

Source: helloezra.com

Career Transition, Outplacement and Mobility

Six Questions You Should Ask in an Interview

Six Questions You Should Ask in an Interview

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Six Questions You Should Ask in an Interview

Here are six questions that you can consider asking at the end of the interview to demonstrate that you’re a thoughtful, curious candidate, with a genuine interest in the hiring manager, role and company.

“Do you have any questions for us?” It’s the final question to be asked at just about every interview, but it is still one that can catch people off guard if they are not prepared ahead of time. Even if you’ve aced the rest of the interview, you should always try to ask the people you are hoping will hire you something insightful before you leave the room.

It’s worth keeping in mind that any question that you do put forward won’t just tell you about the company, it can reveal a lot about you as a candidate, too. 

Generally speaking, questions you wish to ask should occur to you throughout the interview, and the question/s you will ask at the end of the interview will allow you to expand on or clarify on key points.

Sometimes though, you might end up stumped, with the interviewer elaborating on all the areas you would normally ask about. This is not a bad thing, but interview subjects often miss the opportunity to find out more about the hiring manager and build a rapport that could strengthen any future relationship if they do not pose a question at the close of the interview.

What you should be asking

With that in mind, here are six questions that you can consider asking at the end of the interview to demonstrate that you’re a thoughtful, curious candidate, with a genuine interest in the hiring manager, role and company:

1. “I would love to learn more about your role – can you share how you started out here?”

Learning about how your interviewer got to where they are now will not only show your interest in the interviewer as an individual, but it will give you a good idea of how the organization works, too.

2. “What is it that you most enjoy about working here?” 

This will give you a much better idea of the company culture and any perks or benefits on offer. Even if it has been touched upon throughout the interview, this is your moment to move beyond prepared lines and get into specifics. 

3. “What sets the company apart from other places you have worked for?”

Everyone has an employment history, and since they know yours this is an opportunity to ask them to share theirs, too. Whether they have more experience in the industry or have worked for different companies to ones you’re familiar with, this is where you can gain a better understanding of what makes your potential employer tick.

4. “How do you see the company evolving over the next 3-5 years?” 

This forward-looking question will show your interest in the bigger picture context of the company and the role, as well as demonstrate your long-term interest in joining the organization. 

5. “How would you define the ideal employee?”

You already know what they’re looking for in a candidate, but it’s always worth expanding on this to find out more about how they would see you fitting into a team and which attributes they feel are most important in their people.

6. “How would you define success for the applicant who wins the role?” 

This is your chance to get deeper insight into what the actual job will look like, with the bonus that you will come across as engaged and vigilant. 

Using variations of these questions won’t just spare everyone the awkward silence that can come at the end of an interview, they will also let you engage directly with the person with whom you are interviewing. 

This personal connection will stimulate interest, allow you to build a rapport with further conversation that goes beyond their prepared notes, and ensures that you stand out from other candidates. Not only that, but these techniques also give you more valuable (and most likely candid) information about the business and the people in it, letting you make a more informed career decision. It’s a win-win situation.

Source: lhh.com

Career Transition, Outplacement and Mobility Change Management

Head into the New Year with a Revitalized Career Plan

Head into the New Year with a Revitalized Career Plan

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Head into the New Year with a Revitalized Career Plan

Revitalize your Career plan: Take stock of where you are now in your career and identify any areas for development, set new goals, and celebrate your successes. This will give you the perspective needed to make sure you’re on the right path and have the information you need to plan out your next steps for the new year.

For your career to flourish, we recommend that you take a step back and conduct a career “checkup”—a self-assessment designed to help you evaluate the progress and achievements you’ve made throughout the year. And now is the perfect time. 

2020 has been one of the most challenging years, requiring many to adapt to significant changes in the workplace, increased stress and anxiety, and economic upheaval. Taking stock of where you are now in your career will help you to identify any areas for development, set new goals for yourself going forward, and celebrate your successes—giving you the perspective you need to make sure you’re on the right path and have the information you need to plan out your next steps.

But what should this career checkup focus on?

The industry and your employer

Before you look at your own skills and abilities, it’s vital to look at the industry you’re in. A bit of light research can tell you how viable your industry is, as well as its projected health. Be sure to seek out thought leadership articles and social media posts from respected industry authorities, as well as more general news pieces.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics website is also an invaluable resource for the latest projections on individual industries. You should also consider the performance of your current employer, and whether they are building a supportive culture that you want to be part of going forward.

Your skills

Giving yourself a skills assessment will help you see progress you’ve made in the year. Take stock of what you’ve learned, and what new skills you’ve picked up since this time last year, but also use your research to gain insight into those talents that will become most valuable in the future. At the same time, you need to consider what you may need to learn to stay ahead of the curve in the face of new trends, such as increased automation.

Taking positive action

A career checkup isn’t all research and soul searching. In fact, there’s positive action that you should take as part of the checkup.

1. Give your resume a refresh

Add new responsibilities, achievements, awards or accreditations should be on your resume, whether you’re thinking of looking for a new role or not. 

Tip: Use the bullets on your resume to highlight your accomplishments. Accomplishments are examples of how you have added value, versus responsibilities you had. Use a strong action verb to start each bullet. Describe the overarching action you took and give quantifiable results you achieved. This will help make your story more memorable and help the reader understand the value you can bring to the role.

2. Spruce up your social media profiles

Social media is one of the first places prospective employers will go to learn more about you when considering you for a role. In fact, 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary search tool. Update your LinkedIn profile—whether you are actively job seeking or not—to ensure that anyone who visits your profile will get an accurate snapshot of what you offer.

Tip: Update your profile summary and job description, and include facts and figures relating to key deliverables, to build credibility with your audience and make recruiters’ lives easier when assessing your experience. Embed examples of your work (links to awards, videos you are in, links or documents you have created/contributed to) to demonstrate what you have achieved, and ask for recommendations from people you have worked with and for. You can also look for relevant groups and communities to join, where you can seek advice and get noticed by contributing industry discussions.

3. Talk it over

Find a mentor, colleague, or supervisor who you are comfortable discussing your career with and ask for some honest feedback. It’s always good to get a second opinion. Asking them the right questions can help to provide a clear perspective. Questions you can ask to get you started include:

  • What would you say are my most valuable soft skills?
  • Which words would you use to describe my personal style?
  • What would you say I am an expert in?
  • Is there a time you can recall where I delivered something that impressed you? 

Tip: Use the answers from these questions to validate what you already know about your own qualities and experience and add new insights you gain to your resume and LinkedIn profile.

4. Get a head start on some soft networking

Reach out to influential contacts who you’ve made or helped over the year, and let them know that you’d love to work together if they ever need your assistance. Staying top-of-mind is a great way to find new opportunities.

Tip: Do your homework before your outreach, to ensure you know what your contact is currently doing professionally and to gain insights that can be used to personalize your approach.

5. Map out your next year

An action career plan for the next year lets you envision what you want to achieve and where you want to be by this time next year. It sets benchmarks that you can look back on in next year’s assessment, whether you plan for a career change, promotion or want to pick up new skills.

Tip: Be specific! Define the kind of role you would like to be doing, the skills you would like to develop, the kind of team you would want to work with or even manage/lead, and what success would look like for you. This will help you to crystalize what it is you are aiming for, as well as formulate an actionable career plan.

Following these steps will give you the purpose you need to make the next 12 months the best year for your career yet. It’s time to grab success with both hands. You have this!

Source: lhh.com

Career Transition, Outplacement and Mobility Change Management Organizational Development

2021 HR Predictions for Large Businesses

2021 HR Predictions for Large Businesses

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HR predictions for large businesses

There will be a great strain placed on HR leaders of these companies to work with the board to ensure that peaceful and smooth restructuring, outplacement and redeployment takes place. 

The word ‘unprecedented’ has been used a lot to describe this year. There isn’t a business that hasn’t been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s been a temporary shut down, staff having to work from home, or having to navigate the government’s furlough scheme – there have been a lot of business firsts. 

As the year draws to a close, it serves as a good time for organisations to take a step back and reflect. While the news headlines are currently dominated by the positive news that vaccinations have started rolling out, it is certain that businesses will not return to pre-COVID norms. 

Many of the changes we have seen this year will carry on into the future – we will not be returning to working life as it was at the start of 2020, and in some cases we have not yet experienced the full impact of the pandemic. 

So, what does this mean for businesses and HR leaders as we head into 2021 and beyond? We’ve outlined our key predictions below.

HR Qualifications Will Need Updating on outplacement and redeployment

As it currently stands, outplacement and redeployment do not currently feature in the CIPD training for HR professionals. We strongly advocate for this to change as we head into the New Year. The job market is in crisis, yet there are huge benefits to any organisation that actively seeks alternatives to redundancy. HR professionals need to know exactly how outplacement and redeployment strategies work, so they are able to make the best case for it to the business leaders. 

Redundancies Will Continue to Rise

While the UK Government’s furlough scheme is credited with helping to save millions of jobs from redundancy in the short term, redundancies look set to rise in the year ahead, with the Chancellor predicting that unemployment will increase to 2.6 million by mid-2021.

While the government is doing all that it can to help, it is crucial that organisations do not use this time to delay the inevitable or procrastinate. How organisations handle this issue will have a lasting and long term impact on staff productivity, brand reputation, employee morale, company performance and the wider economy. It is therefore vital for organisations to start workforce planning now, if this has not been started already.  This should include alternatives to redundancy including redeployment and reskilling for the creation of an agile workforce. 

The Creation of Employment Bridges 

In 2021 and beyond, we expect to see a rise in the use of ‘Employment Bridges’. An Employment Bridge is a mechanism that takes surplus workers at one company and finds them temporary employment at another company, while allowing the original employer to retain the ability to recall them when and if business turns around.

As we’ve seen, some industries have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, such as the hospitality and tourism industries. However there are other industries such as security and online retail that have a need for short-term employees to deal with increased demand. 

Businesses have found themselves in an unprecedented situation, which calls for an innovative solution. The use of the Employment Bridge is a solution that not only benefits businesses needing a short-term change in staffing, but also keeps workers in employment. 

The Rise of the Chief People Officer

We will not be returning to the typical office 9-5 working environment. Many businesses will continue to implement working remote policies, or at least will adapt a hybrid system – and all businesses will need to ensure they continue having the agility in order to respond to further  have the infrastructure in place in case of further strict lockdown measures. 

Companies will either employ someone to specifically look at company culture, or at least have it as a key part of the job description. Whether it’s to help with the onboarding of new staff, keeping employees motivated or even just recreating the social element of office life remotely – the organisations best place to succeed in the year ahead will be those who take company culture seriously. 

The Rise of AI Means Businesses Need to Future-Proof Skills 

The rise of technology will continue to have a fundamental impact on businesses and the world of work. In some instances it has created new companies, sectors and in turn job opportunities. On the other hand it has created a demand for a new set of skills that can be hard to fill, and has ultimately meant that some roles have become redundant or are no longer seen as mission critical. 

New skills are required to support this shift and business leaders should see the opportunity to enhance careers, protect employees and shape the future of work in a way that benefits all. Changes in technology, longevity, work practices, and business models have also created a demand for continuous, lifelong development and this can bring significant value to the workforce. 

There will be more M&As

As we head into another year of disruption, we will definitely see more takeovers and M&A deals – likely on a scale not seen previously.

There will be a great strain placed on HR leaders of these companies to work with the board to ensure that peaceful and smooth restructuring, outplacement and redeployment takes place. 

Source: lhh.com

Assessments & Analytics People Development

Talent Assessment: Three Ways to Reimagine Your 2021 Talent Development Budget

Talent Assessment: Three Ways to Reimagine Your 2021 Talent Development Budget

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Talent assessments provide detailed insight into your workforce that can help you identify where to make the most impactful investments and where you can save on training and development efforts.

Matthew Such, Ph.D., SVP, Product and Solutions, Global Head of Assessment, LHH

Under normal circumstances, prioritizing training and development needs can be daunting for any HR professional. Undertaking that task amid seismic market disruptions can be nothing short of overwhelming.

The talent development decisions you make now are critical. The current, dynamic business environment is creating an enormous demand for new skills and capabilities. At the same time, organizations are struggling to source and cultivate talent internally. To effectively manage these challenges, HR leaders need data and insights to make smart, informed investments that align with internal strategic objectives and external macro-economic forces.

Investing in the development of your talent is essential. And yet, how much do you know about it?

Your talent not only represents the single largest line item in your operating budget, it’s also the single largest factor that will determine your business’s growth potential. And yet, how much do you really know about your existing talent and what learning opportunities they need to meet the increasing demands on your organization? What you don’t know about your talent today ultimately will hurt you in the future. 

Strategic talent assessment creates objective, actionable insights that help inform targeted investments throughout the talent lifecycle, taking the guessing out of talent and development planning.

Assessment use is not limited to the recruitment and hiring process

While assessments often are associated with the recruitment process, forward-thinking organizations use them to create insights throughout the employment lifecycle. Talent assessment results provide invaluable input into defining, planning, and prioritizing activities around training, development, and hiring that can ultimately help align your talent and business strategies. 

Here are three ways assessments can help you define and prioritize talent development needs in your organization.

1. Reveal strengths and development opportunities in existing talent

If your current method for analyzing development needs is to rely on the opinions of managers and leaders, then it’s time to shift your approach. While this input can be helpful, it also tends to be reactive, biased, and not future-focused. Simply put, it is inappropriate to rely on the gut feeling of managers for informed decisions about broader development needs within your organization. Systematic use of talent assessment yields an objective picture of your workforce that allows you to determine how well aligned it is with the current and future needs of your business. With these insights in hand, you can get the most from each person’s day-to-day performance, prioritize talent development efforts in areas where it is truly needed and avoid spending time and money in areas where you already have substantial strength.

2. Fill key talent gaps

Effectively anticipating and satisfying the demand for new and different skills required to meet business needs is already a mission-critical priority for HR leaders. Talent assessment helps you address this challenge by:

• Identifying future skill gaps within the workforce; 
• Determining whether the organization has enough existing talent to meet future needs, and;
• Highlighting the extent to which external hiring will be required to fill critical gaps.  

If your organization lacks sufficient staff to develop, or if the skills your organization needs do not lend themselves to development efforts, you may be best served to hire from outside the organization. Taking such an approach to quantifying talent through assessment allows you to create long-term strategies to ensure you always know how to find and deploy the right talent, whether it is sourced internally or externally.

3. Identify high-potentials and future-ready leaders

How often have you seen investments in high-potential and leadership programs wasted—or worse—the people you just invested in walk out the door? To get the most out of talent development investments, you must identify the right talent to drive your organization in meeting its near- and long-term business goals. 

Ensuring you identify and develop the right future leaders to drive your business ahead requires understanding the difference between high-performers and high-potentials. High performers are vital to the organization and drive results within their current roles. High potentials, on the other hand, have specific attributes that allow them to advance to more senior leadership roles. Assessments can help identify both high performers and high potentials. More importantly, it will tell you how to make best use of them going forward into the future. 

For example, assessment data allows you to thoughtfully plan how to best leverage your high potentials’ existing critical capabilities and expertise, while identifying development paths for those who may require further training to meet future strategic needs. 

Whether you are feeling uncertain about your talent development plan for next year or just unsure what skills your people have and need, talent assessment will enable you to make confident, evidence-based decisions. 

Talent assessment produces objective evidence about where to make the most impactful talent development investments, where you can save on those efforts, and also, how to quickly find talent who will drive your organization’s success. 

Even if you have started your 2021 talent development plan, adding assessments to the mix can reveal new ways to refine and prioritize needs within that plan and maximize your ability to help drive your organization’s growth and on-going success.

Source: lhh.com

Career Transition, Outplacement and Mobility Change Management

How to Build the Foundations of a Learning Culture

How to Build the Foundations of a Learning Culture

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How to Build the Foundations of a Learning Culture

Deanna Mulligan, the CEO of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, was so confident that the “learning mindset” she helped create at Guardian was the way of the future, she wrote a book on the subject. “Hire Purpose: How Smart Companies Can Close the Skills Gap” offers practical advice on creating what Mulligan describes as a “learning and growth mindset.”

Mary-Clare Race, Chief Innovation and Product Officer, LHH

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America did not need a pandemic to realize that their business, and the skills required to succeed in it, were changing rapidly. 

Deanna Mulligan, the CEO of the 160-year-old company, said everyone realized that many of the core functions of its business were undergoing a significant change due to the introduction of AI and machine learning. That meant many of the jobs at Guardian—particularly actuaries—were going to be heavily influenced if not replaced by machines. 

So, in 2019 Guardian set to work with General Assembly, a global leader in upskilling and reskilling, and sister company to LHH with The Adecco Group, to train actuaries to be data analysts. “It was a very rigorous, intensive course,” Mulligan said in an interview for the LHH Conversations webinar series. “(Participants) spent 10 hours a week at work and 10 hours a week at home studying for a year.”

The results of this investment were almost immediate, Mulligan said. As the pandemic struck and disrupted many of the traditional approaches to work, an increasing roster of Guardian employees were already well on the way to new, more sustainable jobs. “We’ve had some very successful graduates of that course go on, not only to work in our data analytics area, but just to be able to apply data in their everyday jobs.”

But Guardian didn’t stop there. Another pilot program was launched to reskill call-center workers to be coders. “As their jobs become more automated, they will have the chance to move on to another field, another area within the company where there are a lot of growth opportunities,” she said.

Mulligan was so confident that the “learning mindset” she helped create at Guardian was the way of the future, she wrote a book on the subject. Hire Purpose: How Smart Companies Can Close the Skills Gap discusses the obligations that employers have to prepare their employees for rapid change through learning opportunities, while offering practical advice on creating what Mulligan describes as a “learning and growth mindset.” 

Mulligan agreed far too many organizations still put up a lot of barriers to the adoption of a learning and growth mindset. Some business leaders still view reskilling or upskilling as risky investments because of the possibility that employees will learn new things and then seek a job elsewhere. Mulligan said that is not the scenario business leaders should be worrying about.

“Other CEOs often say to me, ‘what if I train people and they leave and take the skills with them?’ Mulligan said. “And I say, ‘What happens if you don’t train people and they stay?’ This is a business investment and it’s really core to your company’s future but it’s a different way of thinking.”

Before Guardian could fully embrace a learning mindset and deliver projects to reskill actuaries and call-center employees, it had to build the foundation of a learning culture. To achieve that goal, the company started small, with an annual day dedicated to micro-learning.

Learning Day offered a wide variety of programs, from two-hour seminars to “lunch bites,” 30-minute videos on different topics that people could watch while eating lunch at their desks. It was so popular, Mulligan said that it evolved into Learning Month. “August is now the month where we have different activities every day around a learning and growth mindset. It is possible to change the culture to a growth mindset but none of these things happen overnight.”

The whole concept of a growth mindset—a term coined by renowned American psychologist Carol Dweck—is gaining traction in many workplaces. In keeping with Dweck’s theories, more employers are putting an emphasis on hiring people who believe that their talents and abilities can be enhanced through education and commitment. Mulligan said growth mindset is so important as a basic skill that it should prompt some companies to reduce the emphasis they place on academic credentials and previous work experience and start hiring based on a candidate’s capacity to learn and embrace change.

“One only needs to look at the situation we find ourselves in now, where we’ve all had to improvise over the last several months to accomplish things that normally would be easy to accomplish,” she said. “And the people who are best at that are the people who are flexible, who have a learning mindset. There was no job description for pandemic manager nine months ago. We all had to figure out how to do it. The days of managing risk by having people who’ve done the exact precise job repeatedly is gone. The world doesn’t operate that way anymore.”

When she is asked by other business leaders about where to start building a learning and growth mindset, Mulligan said her advice is simple: start small and keep moving forward.

“Don’t give up. This is major change, this is hard. You might fail at first but keep trying. The results are worth it. Your employees and your customers are depending on you to get this right.”

Source: lhh.com

Assessments & Analytics Career Transition, Outplacement and Mobility Change Management

The Pandemic as a Catalyst for HR Reinvention

The Pandemic as a Catalyst for HR Reinvention

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The Pandemic as a Catalyst for HR Reinvention

Working through the pandemic, HR leaders have been forced to be more innovative in reshaping long-standing HR policies and practices to look for more strategic, flexible, and adaptable ways of managing their people function.

Sharon Patterson, EVP and CHRO, LHH

When Facebook announced in March 2020 that it was eliminating first-half performance reviews because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were a lot of HR professionals nodding their heads in agreement.

It all made so much sense. After making the tough but correct decision to have its 45,000 employees worldwide work from home, Facebook quickly realized that normal performance reviews wouldn’t make any sense. Everyone’s work life had just been totally upended. Managers were still scrambling to develop protocols for keeping in touch and monitoring the progress of work. The new normal was more mystery than anything else.

In response, the company quickly retooled its review process: rather than going through the motions of a virtual review, all employees were awarded an “exceeds expectation” rating and given a $1,000 bonus.

While Facebook can be applauded for making a quick, rational decision in real time, it’s not clear what the company will do when, or if, employees return to the office. There is, however, a strong argument for a firm second look. The company has been criticized in the past for performance and peer reviews that discouraged dissent and promoted a sometimes cutthroat political environment.

Facebook’s performance review decision reflects a growing cognizance among HR professionals about whether now is the perfect time to improve, streamline and alter long-standing practices and policies that are not working but which have been starved for attention and resources.

The performance review issue is one of the best examples of a HR practice that is badly in need of reinvention. Although they can be an important source of feedback, very few are structured to meet the needs and expectations of today’s workforce.

A Gallup survey published in late 2019 just before COVID-19 struck found that only 14 percent of respondents strongly agreed that traditional performance reviews motivate them to improve their work performance. Given the cost, the survey authors noted, “many business leaders have started asking themselves, ‘Why do we do this in the first place?’ Are our performance reviews really helping us get the most out of our people and engage them?”

Gallup bolstered those results with another survey in 2020 that focused specifically on Millennial workers and performance reviews. That survey found only 19 percent of Millennials surveyed worldwide believe they get meaningful feedback at work. Rather than traditional performance reviews, Millennials are looking for more ongoing, more individualized feedback. 

Taken together, the Facebook decision, the Gallup results and the well-known concerns in the HR profession about the limits of traditional performance reviews, have created an unparalleled opportunity to revisit long-standing policies and practices to look for more strategic, flexible and adaptable ways of conducting evaluations. 

What other opportunities for change exist? Most HR leaders have a long list of innovations they’d like to introduce to improve or replace traditional practices. However, prior to the pandemic, it was difficult to generate urgent interest in these changes. 

Streamlined hiring

The endless job interview has been a sore point for many in the HR community for a very long time. Depending on the organization, it was standard for candidates to endure an endless string of interviews and soft meetings with leaders who have input on final hiring decisions. The pandemic has changed all that. Now, it’s important for organizations to focus the hiring process on only those people who truly need to be involved. Many hope that this streamlined approach—with fewer interviews and meet-and-greets—lasts into the post-pandemic period.

More robust onboarding

Let’s face it—far too many organizations survived for far too long without any kind of formal, comprehensive onboarding process. It was a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach that tossed new hires in the deep end and expected them to swim. In a virtual world, many of those organizations have been forced to create structured onboarding that moves new hires through a process to get them acclimatized as quickly and effortlessly as possible. This is a trend that will most definitely endure into the post-pandemic world.

Reskilling and redeployment instead of layoffs

In this economy, it is impossible to avoid layoffs completely. In certain industries and sectors, many companies are in crisis-management mode, with drastically reduced prospects and profoundly uncertain futures. But in those industries and sectors where there is less threat, but still lots of uncertainty, opportunities abound for new approaches to talent management that utilize reskilling and redeployment.

The shift away from layoffs will not be easy for some organizations to embrace. For too long, too many employers shed talent when times were tough, and then went out and hired the people they needed as things improved. However, thanks to the global skills shortage, if you were flush with the wrong kind of employees with the wrong skillsets, there was no magic talent tree where you could go out and pick up a new crop of fit-for-future talent. Now, companies are looking at their current employees as assets with knowledge and expertise that can form the foundation of a move into an entirely new role. 

The pandemic has provided a keen opportunity to embrace or amplify reskilling and redeployment strategies. Organizations that take the time now to find the potential in existing employees and help them acquire the skills needed to fill future jobs, will be much stronger coming out of the pandemic.

It has often been said that necessity is the mother of invention, and that has never been truer than now. HR leaders have been forced to be more innovative in reshaping basic HR functions. Senior leadership has been forced, more than ever before, to listen and act on these innovations.

Although there is no avoiding the sheer devastation that some companies in some industries have suffered, there are many other organizations who may find they have used the pandemic to make quantum leaps forward in both HR policy and HR practice.

Change Management Coaching People Development

A Paradigm Shift: Leaders Who Coach

A Paradigm Shift: Leaders Who Coach

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A Paradigm Shift Leaders Who Coach

“We knew at that point that coaching skills would help them slow down, tune into someone else’s concerns while still allowing them the time to engage in some self-care.”

Linda Lindberg, Vice President and Head of Commercial Management for Ericsson Market Area South East Asia, Oceania and India

Is a pandemic the right time to train line managers in coaching culture? 

In early 2020, that was the question facing leaders at Ericsson, the iconic Swedish telecommunications company, across the 11 countries in the Oceania, South East Asia and India market area.

Like many companies, Ericsson was anticipating a paradigm shift in leadership culture, with new behaviors, mindsets and skills emerging to meet new and often unpredictable needs of markets and employees. And with so many restrictions on the normal ebb and flow of commerce, the emphasis on developing home-grown leaders had never been as pronounced.

Ericsson had been planning for some months to do a massive leadership development and coaching skills program for all levels of leadership across the region. But when the pandemic struck, the 450 leaders who were the target for this program and the 9,000 employees they oversaw were suddenly forced to work from home.

Did it make sense to follow through with the training when managers and the people they were managing were so isolated from each other? Very quickly, Ericsson leadership determined that it not only made sense, it was essential.

“We knew for some time that we wanted to help our line leaders evolve into strong coaches,” said Priyanka Anand, Vice President and Head of Human Resources for Ericsson Market Area South East Asia, Oceania and India. “When the pandemic hit, it was clear early on that this wasn’t going to go away anytime soon. We also began to realize that helping our leaders deal with the stress and anxiety that their employees were going through was very important.”

In the past, many organizations would have looked at resilience or change management seminars when faced with an operational challenge like the pandemic. However, Anand said there was a strong sense that giving line leaders some insight into coaching culture might do more than just calm their nerves in the face of an unnerving situation.

The program that had been designed in part before the pandemic hit focused on five core goals, she said. 

  • Increase ability to make courageous and fact-based decisions.
  • Increase empathy for different perspectives and approaches.
  • Increase cross-company cooperation
  • Increase capacity to execute decisions quickly
  • Increase support for a “speak-up environment.”

Coaching culture, Anand said, was a clear path to connect all these priorities. “We wanted to evolve our leaders into being strong coaches,” she said. “To help their employees, we needed these leaders to be more empathetic. To do that, we needed them to know that they didn’t always have to give advice; sometimes listening is the most important thing they can do. And that helps create an environment where employees feel safe to speak up and express themselves.”

Linda Lindberg, Vice President and Head of Commercial Management for Ericsson Market Area South East Asia, Oceania and India, said the strategy behind using coaching culture to help line managers navigate the pandemic and support their employees was an attempt to “take leadership development to a more sustainable context.”

Ericsson performed a pulse survey in the spring to find out how everyone was holding up under the stress and strain of virtual work, Lindberg said. “The results showed that stress levels were up across the board,” she said. “We knew at that point that coaching skills would help them slow down, tune into someone else’s concerns while still allowing them the time to engage in some self-care.”

Although the goal of the coaching culture program was clear, the method for delivering the training was not going to be a challenge. Lindberg said that as a telecommunications company that was performing heroic work to keep people connected during the pandemic, Ericsson employees were very comfortable adapting to virtual technology. That meant they were equally comfortable working or learning in a virtual environment, she added.

“Digital investment has always been part of our DNA,” said Anand. “It’s always top-of-mind in our planning, and we’re always looking at ways of building our digital capacity. So, people adjusted to the virtual nature of the learning opportunities.”

More than 450 of the line managers attended a series of virtual “teaser” sessions. Then, the managers were asked to sign up for a series of intensive sessions on coaching culture and skills. Nearly three quarters of those who attended the teasers ultimately chose to participate in the program. 

As well, participants were encouraged to participate in “coaching clubs” where they could practice their coach conversations. “Learning theories is okay but you really need to dive in and do it and put it into practice before it becomes part of you,” said Lindberg. “Those coaching clubs created a stickiness around the training. It helped us develop those internal muscles around coaching skills.” 

The initial results from the program were impressive. A strong majority of the participants ranked their group coaching skills sessions very highly, Lindberg said. And seven in 10 participants reported that their performance had improved as a result of being involved in the program.

Ultimately, the coaching skills program served two major goals for Ericsson, Lindberg said. It provided line managers with the tools and mindset necessary to deal with the current virtual work environment. However, there were other, longer-term benefits as well.

“We have always talked about the importance of accountability in our leaders,” Lindberg said. “The best way to enable accountability is through coaching skills. When your leaders realize they are being accountable, it triggers some pride. It allows them all to own their results. And it allows them to grow as leaders and build bench strength for the company. It’s literally a culture where leaders are building other leaders, grooming and preparing them for future roles.”

Kevin Ackermann, Director, Client Solutions, LHH

Source: lhh.com

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