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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

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

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

Career Transition, Outplacement and Mobility Change Management People Development

Building Skills to Renew an Existing Workforce

Building Skills to Renew an Existing Workforce

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Like many businesses, Microsoft Australia is preparing its workforce with the skills of tomorrow as the company ponders the challenges ahead in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. What is different is the path they are taking to renewing the existing workforce rather than replacing them.

The changes wrought by the coronavirus have included a speeding up of the digital transformation trend, placing demands for new skills on companies in every sector and affecting even a technology giant like Microsoft.

“This is a dramatic escalation of digital transformation and the demand has been significant,” the firm’s local human resources director, Ingrid Jenkins, says.

“Our customers are accelerating their digital transformation. They are looking to us as a partner in bringing that technology acumen and expertise into the conversations. So we have a definite focus around technology skills.”

But rather than hiring in new staff and making redundant those staff whose skills are no longer needed, the company is reskilling and upskilling its existing staff.

The company is boosting its workforce’s skills in cloud technology, data analytics and artificial intelligence, and cyber security – all central elements of a move to increased digitisation.

“What our customers are asking is that depth of technical acumen,” Jenkins says.

But technology “will only get you so far”, and the company is also placing a focus on analytical thinking, problem solving, creativity and consulting skills.

“It’s actually about deeply understanding your customers and industry enough to make that technology relevant,” she says. “Using the power of technology to help customers and industries with their business challenges or opportunities requires our teams to have that deep industry knowledge. So we’ve got a big focus around industry acumen.”

Jenkins says technology is moving so quickly that Microsoft couldn’t keep up simply by hiring new staff with the new skills, even if it wanted to.

Instead, each member of staff has a mandatory learning program designed specifically for their role to help them meet what will be the core requirements of that role for the future.

In addition to the core requirements training, staff have the option of taking on additional training which will help them grow into new roles. The company provides a day a month for workers to dedicate to their learning.

“Our people absolutely appreciate just how much investment there is in their skilling and keeping their skills up-to-date and relevant. They get our industry. They get how quickly things evolve and change and how they have to come up to speed,” Jenkins says.

Ultimately, she says, renewing talent rather than replacing it is a smarter business decision which can help to foster a better team culture overall.

digital transformation

James Mcilvena, the Australian managing director of workforce transformation and development organisation LHH says there simply aren’t enough qualified people in the workforce to meet demand for the skills that will help organisations grow in the future.

“Organisations need these future roles and they’re going to need to grow rather than hire when it comes to these roles,” Mcilvena says.

“It’s a smart investment of their money. If you think about the cost of taking an individual who already has the institutional knowledge from working with your organisation for 10 years, you can actually reskill and retrain that person for a lower cost than paying a redundancy and then a recruitment fee to bring a new person in.”

There are two different but related approaches, he says.

Upskilling is where staff have a significant component of the skills already needed to carry out a future-proofed job and are learning to supplement their existing skills.

“Reskilling is taking a role that might not exist in two years and saying we’re going to set you on a completely new path,” explains Mcilvena. “You might go from being a customer service rep to becoming a data analyst, a complete 180 when it comes to reskilling.”

The first step to equipping a workforce with the skills needed for the company’s future is to get a full understanding of where the company is headed and the challenges it might face, and to consider the roles that might be displaced or affected by the changes, and the new roles that will be created.

Companies then need to assess the staff to target where their investment can be maximised. If someone doesn’t have a head for figures or basic mathematical ability, trying to reskill them into a data analytics role, for instance, would be a waste of time and money.

Secondly, if companies want to get a good return on their investment in retraining, they need to spend the money on staff who are keen and open to learning new skills. Those who want to evolve with the business.

Finally, redeploying talent into the right roles is essential. “There is no point making products you can’t sell, and the same logic applies here,” Mcilvena says. “Once you have invested in your talent, you need to ensure they are placed and supported in the roles that will drive business outcomes and prosperity for the long term. If you don’t get this right, you can’t protect your investment. It takes a dedicated approach, not an internal job board.”

For the company, the financials of getting this right are just responsible business management. This is before considering there is also a pay off in terms of increased employee engagement and a stronger employer brand, says Mcilvena.

“The overwhelming response from employees is the positivity in feeling rather than outcomes being dictated to them they have more control of their own destiny,” he says.

To learn more about developing a renewable workforce, visit https://lhh.com.vn/the-new-roi/

Source: afr.com

Career Transition, Outplacement and Mobility People Development

How to Emphasize Soft Skills in Your Personal Branding

How to Emphasize Soft Skills in Your Personal Branding

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How to Emphasize Soft Skills in Your Personal Branding

Those who have strong soft skills are usually great listeners, persuaders, and collaborators. They make the workplace easier for others.

For decades, there’s been a strong emphasis on technical or hard skills in the workplace. Hiring managers picked people based predominantly on their work experience or training. 

However, employers have realized that work experience alone isn’t enough to create a productive and engaging workplace.

“People get hired because of their hard skills but get fired because of their [lack of] soft skills,” said Irish management consultant Bruce Tulgan.

This situation forced employers to reconsider what they look for when hiring. Now, they’re not just looking for hard skills. They’re demanding soft skills like never before.

The Rising Demand for Soft Skills

Today, soft skills are needed more than ever. Soft skills are interpersonal or people skills. Those who have it are usually great listeners, persuaders, and collaborators. They make the workplace easier for others.

Employers are searching everywhere to hire these people, but they’re not having a lot of success.

In 2015, The Wall Street Journal surveyed 900 executives and discovered that 92% of them thought soft skills were just as or more important than hard skills. However, 89% of them had trouble hiring people who had these skills. 

The next year, LinkedIn surveyed 281 hiring managers. About 58% of the managers said that the lack of soft skills in job candidates had limited their company’s productivity.

LinkedIn discovered that these were the skills managers were looking for:

  • The ability to communicate
  • Organization
  • Capacity for teamwork
  • Punctuality
  • Critical thinking
  • Social savvy
  • Creativity
  • Adaptability

If you excel at any of the skills listed above, pat yourself on the back because you’re a unicorn. Not only are you great at completing tasks, you know how to be a team player.

Someone like you is in high-demand. You should take advantage of your scarcity by emphasizing it in your personal branding. 

When you’re known for your soft skills, you have to worry less about chasing after employers because they’ll start coming to you.

How to Show Off Your Soft Skills in Your Personal Branding

Use your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to show that you have great soft skills. Write compelling examples of behaviors and results that quantify your intangible skills.

Too often, soft skills are awkwardly woven into a job seeker’s summary (“Multi-tasking team player who consistently demonstrates adaptability, leadership, open-mindedness, and positivity”) and then it’s left for the reader to determine the validity of the claims.

Beneath each job listing, include bullets that illustrate your accomplishments (three to six bullets for your most recent job; one to three for older positions). 

Use the SOAR model (situation, obstacle, action, and results) to tell the story concisely and completely. For example, if you’ve said you’re “adaptable,” include an event where you spearheaded change or successfully adapted to a new process or format.

Instead of merely saying you’re a “team player,” include an example of a time when you relied on your interpersonal and communication skills to gain consensus.

Overused, worn-out words tend to become meaningless, leaving you undifferentiated from everyone else vying for a position. Soft skills can give you a competitive advantage, but it’s up to you to make the intangible tangible.


The demand for soft skills is high but the supply is low. If you’re great at working with others and making them feel at ease, you should express this to potential employers.

You can do this by crafting your unique knowledge and experience into your personal branding. Highlight in your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile the soft skills you demonstrate effectively and consistently in your role.

However, remember to give qualitative examples. Vague terms will only confuse employers. Use numbers, time, percentages, and detailed examples to show that you can drive results.

Soft skills are your competitive advantage. Be proud of them!

Source: lhh.com

Assessments & Analytics Career Transition, Outplacement and Mobility Change Management People Development

Reinventing Today’s Workforce: Welcome to the Skills Economy

Reinventing Today’s Workforce: Welcome to the Skills Economy

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Reinventing Today’s Workforce Welcome to the Skills Economy

“We are definitely seeing that the knowledge economy is becoming the skills economy,” said Michael Priddis, CEO of Faethm, who shares the opportunities for companies that adopt a data-enabled and human-first approach to workforce transformation, in response to automation, COVID and recession, to rapidly upskill and reskill their workforces to transition to the jobs of tomorrow.

Ranjit de Sousa, President, LHH

After several years of diving deep into the future workforce needs of successful companies, Mike Priddis, CEO of Faethm, has come to a bold conclusion.

The “knowledge economy” is dead. Long live the “skills economy.”

“We are definitely seeing that the knowledge economy is becoming the skills economy,” said Priddis, whose company uses AI to predict the impact of forces such as automation, robotics, and the pandemic on current and future jobs. 

“Today, knowledge and access to knowledge is easy. Google is on any device we’ve got. Applying that knowledge is different. We are entering a period where learning skills will be critical.”

Priddis said many business organizations are struggling to embrace this rapid transition from knowledge to skills-based economies. That is, he said, due in part to the fact that economic disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the pace and magnitude of all forms of transformation.

Priddis calls this “the slingshot to 2023” what once used to take years to design, plan and put into action must now be brought to fruition in a matter of months.

“Prior to January of this year, most organizations were preparing for a transformation of some sort. Now, the pace of transformation has accelerated at an alarming pace to ensure that companies survive. We call that the slingshot effect.”

Unfortunately, Priddis said, current approaches to education and workforce management do not match up well with the slingshot phenomenon. Most post-secondary institutions still focus heavily on traditional approaches to education, where knowledge is acquired over a period of years in an academic vacuum but never applied in the real world. Employers, meanwhile, remain wedded to buying talent or hiring people with new skills, rather than reskilling existing workers to meet new business demands.

“The best boss I ever had said ‘the half-life of learning is 30 minutes unless you get to apply it,’” Priddis said. “What that implies is that we need to have action-based learning, taking place in context. We need to be giving people not just the information but a chance for people to practice that skill.”

If you apply those principles in a real-world example—like a company forced to transform to address the impact of a global pandemic—the emphasis very quickly shifts to identifying those jobs that are vulnerable to automation, or cannot be performed effectively in a remote environment and those that have longer-term future viability.

Priddis said Faethm works with clients to analyze the impact of external trends on current workforces and the skills required to be future-ready. This analysis is predictive, he said, identifying portions of jobs that might be replaced by technology (automation), jobs that might evolve with technology (augmentation) and the new and emerging jobs that will need to be filled to support deployment of these technologies (addition).

This analysis should help companies to not only meet future skills needs but identify people within an existing workforce that can transition from vulnerable to emerging roles.

“Our biggest contribution has been to show companies that the people they are going to need in the future, they already have,” Priddis said. “It’s a pretty simple equation. It’s cheaper to retrain and redeploy than to make redundant and rehire.”

Even though almost everyone wants to take a “humanistic approach,” where the well-being of individual employees is not sacrificed to a bottom-line objective, not every organization can see the value in retraining and redeploying, Priddis said.

“We all want to do right by people,” Priddis said. “But most companies also know that it’s the lens of dollars and cents that drives decisions at the executive table. The problem is that if everybody sheds staff, they don’t need with no thought about what they’re going to do next, it creates chaos.”

Thankfully, Priddis said an increasing number of companies are starting to see that the humanistic approach may also be the most cost-effective approach.

That was certainly the experience with one Faethm client who was facing a pressing need to reduce its workforce of accountants. Few jobs have been more impacted than accountancy, Priddis said, which involves a range of skills that are easily performed by AI applications. However, a predictive analysis of other remaining and emerging jobs within the same organization revealed opportunities for the accountants to be retrained.

Specifically, Faethm was able to determine that an accountant’s skill set was very similar to that of a cyber security analyst—a high-demand job in organizations all over the world. 

“The only gap we could see was the specific cyber-security knowledge and that was a trainable gap,” Priddis said. “It didn’t make any sense for this company to shed their accounting staff, spending all that money on redundancy and then hiring new cyber security people. They could teach those accountants to be cyber analysts.”

Priddis said predictive analysis can function as a data-driven “GPS” that can help employers anticipate future workforce scenarios and inform decision making.

That means organizations need to acquire the capacity to transform their workforces in a more rapid and agile fashion as new and potentially seismic technologies arrive.

“It always struck me as slightly ambitious and perhaps slightly naïve to think that we are in a position to determine exactly where we’re transitioning to,” Priddis said. “I think most organizations, rather than trying to figure out where they are going, should be building capabilities to continuously experience these sorts of changes. The ability to change, and to have a dynamic workforce that can adjust as the context changes, is probably the single biggest muscle that organizations need to build.”

Source: lhh.com

Career Transition, Outplacement and Mobility Change Management Organizational Development People Development

Top Four Takeaways to Advance the Convergence of Learning and Work

Top Four Takeaways to Advance the Convergence of Learning and Work

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Top Four Takeaways to Advance the Convergence of Learning and Work

It’s time to change the way we think and deploy learning. We need this shift in thinking not only to meet future skills needs, but also to start mining the maximum value possible from human capital, the real engine of growth and success.

Ranjit de Sousa

If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of the future of work colliding head-on with the future of learning.

This is a collision that has been building for a long, long time. However, the convergence of a number of powerful forces—artificial intelligence, the global skills shortage, the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of the contingent workforce—have put a new edge on the debate about how best to prepare ourselves for the future of work. 

Increasingly now, we are realizing that our future capacity to build, create and problem solve—the foundational tasks that help drive vibrant economies and create fulfilling jobs—is fully and completely determined by our ability to provide learning opportunities that are fully aligned with the human jobs of the future. While some of us are just waking up to this reality, others such as the World Economic Forum, have been predicting this for years.

“The current moment provides an opportunity for leaders in business, government, and public policy to focus common efforts on improving the access and delivery of reskilling and upskilling, motivating redeployment and reemployment, as well as signalling the market value of learning that can be delivered through education technology at scale,” according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020

Those are lofty goals that many of us in the human capital industry have been advocating for some years now. And there has been some progress. However, because of the massive corporate and technology transformation ushered in by COVID-19, there is urgency to address the lack of overall progress we have made in preparing workers around the world for the future of work. Even when individual nations or companies show us the way with innovative solutions, far too many of us lag behind unsure of what to do and when to do it. 

As the WEF report put it, a marriage between learning and work will require “a holistic approach” that must involve “multi-stakeholder collaboration between companies looking to support their workforce; governments willing to fund reskilling and the localization of mid-career education programmes; professional services firms and technology firms that can map potential job transitions or provide reskilling services; labour unions aware of the impact of those transitions on the well-being of workers; and community organizations that can give visibility to the efficacy of new legislation and provide early feedback on its design.”

This is a steep hill that we must climb. And we’re only going to reach the top if we start to reconsider some of the oldest, deeply seeded assumptions about the relationship between learning and work.

Towards an on-demand world of learning

The Higher Colleges of Technology, the largest institution of applied learning in the United Arab Emirates, did not wait for a global pandemic to start changing its approach to education. For several years now, HCT has been preparing to reimagine itself as a virtual institution. To minimize risk during the pandemic, HCT moved quickly to ramp up its plans to deliver learning remotely and took all of its courses online in March 2020.

However, HCT is doing a lot more than just taking traditional, in-person learning and moving it online; the school has adopted an on-demand model for delivering education that allows students to pursue training in specific job-oriented skills as opposed to a standard, years-long journey to a degree. Now, students can enroll and learn from anywhere and build an education plan that is less about acquiring academic credentials and more about meeting the real-world needs of a specific job.

HCT is not just an advocate of a new approach to learning; it is also practicing what it preaches. HCT now offers one of the world’s first “e-Teacher” programs, training a new generation of instructors who will have specific expertise in virtual instruction and the use of leading-edge digital learning tools. 

If we learn anything from the HCT story, it should be how this school willingly challenged all our preconceived notions about what relevant education looks like in a modern context, and how we structure learning to bridge the gap between education and occupation. 

Increasingly, employers are beginning to challenge their own notions of what skilled really means. Higher education, with its lofty price tags and years of commitment is still a valuable commodity. But employers are focusing less on academic credentials and more on things like “relevant experience.” At the same time, more and more countries are starting to invest heavily in apprenticeship programs where learning and working are perfectly married.

Re-inventing the sequence of learning and work

Everyone used to know the path to a great job: work hard in secondary school to qualify for a top post-secondary program; work hard at college or university and get a degree; use the degree to secure a good and lasting job. If we’ve learned anything during this most trying year, and in recent years, it is that this sequence is no longer viable.

Heather E. McGowan, a future-of-work strategist, recently released a book called The Adaptation Advantage, in which she argues that the “learn-to-work” pathway has been replaced with a “work-learn-work-learn-work-learn” journey. A few years ago, McGowan coined a phrase that I believe all employers should etch into their human capital strategies: “Learning is the new pension.”

On that basis, we at LHH have been encouraging leaders in learning & development and human resources to start changing the way we think and deploy learning. We desperately need this shift in thinking not only to meet future skills needs, but also to start mining the maximum value possible from human capital, the real engine of growth and success. Here are our top four takeaways to advance the convergence of learning and work:

1. Learning needs to become foundational

Employers should incorporate learning as a core element in our contracts with employees. For too long, we have focused on the individual’s obligations to the employer: engagement, productivity, creativity, loyalty. In our current context, we now know that employers must reward these commitments with our own commitment to life-long learning opportunities so that strategies like coaching, reskilling and redeployment become principal tools for managing workforces.

2. Learning needs to become more flexible, more purposeful

Old and outdated approaches to learning at work must be eliminated and replaced with new, digitally powered and on-demand education that uses the best online tools and learning strategies, and provides the best consumer-grade user experience. We have the power now to put learning literally in the palms of our hands through mobile apps and smartphones. This means we can also organize learning to be part of the workday, or outside working hours, whichever is preferable for the individual. And it needs to keenly focus on both the employers’ future skill needs, and the individual’s future career goals.

3. Leaders will need to become coaches, mentors and teachers

A key leadership function today is the ability to coach employees to develop their own abilities and become the best they can be. But effective coaching is an acquired skill. Companies should invest in leaders to build coaching capabilities that drive employee performance, including building new competencies for conducting expert coaching conversations related to performance, development and careers.

4. Learning must be viewed as an investment, not a cost

Generally accepted accounting principles require organizations to categorize investments in reskilling or retraining as costs and not investments. Many forward-thinking advocates, however, have been arguing for new accounting models that allow employers to re-categorize these expenses as investments, just the same as the purchase of a new building or a new machine. The Adecco Group has led internationally on this topic, publishing numerous white papers calling for a modernization of accounting rules so that learning is fully reclassified as an investment. This could spark a new generation of investment in learning that could future-proof our workforces.

During the pandemic, as we’re all struggling to meet a tidal wave of new challenges, we risk losing sight of the opportunities that come with change. Now is perhaps our greatest opportunity to re-imagine our approach to learning so that it is part of the basic contract between employer and employee. Those organizations that accept the challenge and seize the moment will find they have unleashed a future full of potential and success.

Source: lhh.com

Career Transition, Outplacement and Mobility Change Management Coaching People Development

Living Your Best Life: 4 Key Lessons that Will Advance Your Career

Living Your Best Life: 4 Key Lessons that Will Advance Your Career

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Living Your Best Life 4 Key Lessons that Will Advance Your Career

If you want to be the CEO of a Fortune 100 company, then your career path needs to be much more deliberate

Caroline Pfeiffer Marinho

After three years away from the corporate world, Shanthi Flynn knew she was ready to take a step forward in her career.

A former top executive at some of the world’s largest and most iconic companies—including Ford Motor Co., The Boots Company and A.S. Watson Group—Flynn had taken three years off to focus on her family. It wasn’t clear when or even if she would return to the corporate world.

And then one day, she uttered seven words that would ultimately serve as a turning point in the evolution of her professional career.

“My older daughter, who was three at the time, kept biting her younger sister on the face,” Flynn said recently in an LHH Conversations Series live-stream event. “I found myself saying, ‘Stop biting your sister on the face’ repeatedly. It’s not something that I ever thought I’d be saying.”

The desire to return to the corporate world was getting quite strong. However, Flynn conceded that it wasn’t clear she could return to a senior job with a large corporation, something that she very much still wanted. “When I took my career break out, it tested my value proposition,” she said.

“I thought, ‘I’ve got three kids now, it’s hard to step back into a separate world.’ I had been used to making fast decisions and I was confident. Being out of the game for three years created doubt in my ability to return. My confidence had a dent for the first time in my career.”

Unexpectedly, a headhunter contacted her about a high-level job with Walmart Asia and—within months—she was back on her career track once again. “I’m a strong believer that if you make the right choices, you’re competent in what you do and can tell your story in a compelling way, then it won’t matter if you take time out to do different things.”

Flynn would go on to work five years for Walmart before striking out on her own as a strategic leadership consultant. In early 2016, she accepted the position of chief human resource officer with the Adecco Group in Zurich. Two years ago, she went back to her own consulting practice, with a focus on keynote speaking and advising executives and boards, leveraging her deep and broad HR expertise as well as business leadership.

Through her varied, three-decade career as an HR executive and business leader, Flynn said she learned many important lessons about how to manage a career, how to thrive as a woman in what is still largely a man’s world of business and, last but not least, how a well-structured network is your best lifeline at key career inflection points.

How women can thrive without giving into the temptation to ‘act more like a man’

Flynn started her career at the Ford Motor Company plant in Dagenham, a suburb of East London and a seminal monument in the history of United Kingdom labor law. It was there, in 1968, that 187 female Ford employees walked off the job for three weeks. The strike was a catalyst for the 1970 Equal Pay Act which attempted to prohibit the inequitable treatment between working men and women.

“My choice to join Ford Motor Company in the UK was probably my most foundational choice,” Flynn said. “I spent nearly 10 years there; my first three years were in a car plant where there were probably about 30 women and about 10,000 men. So, as you can imagine, it was a pretty male-dominated environment.”

Although the atmosphere was generally tough for the women working there, Ford was a “truly global company that invested heavily in its people.” Flynn was able to move very quickly through several jobs, which not only built out her resumé but “helped me build my confidence.”

The lessons acquired from being one of the few women in a male-dominated company still resonate today. “As a woman, you can be tough and decisive,” she said. “Those are not male attributes. You just have to be yourself. If you try to copy all the men in the room, you’re not bringing anything different to the table.”

If you learn anything in your career, learn to be opportunistic

Flynn said that even with all the best laid plans, no one can completely predict the course of their careers. Especially today, when so few people spend their entire working lives with one organization. The trick for those people who want to get ahead is to focus keenly on what kind of job they ultimately want to hold, and then look for those opportunities to realize that dream.

That will mean using a broad interpretation of “opportunity.” Don’t get hung up on obtaining a particular title, or on the idea that every move you make needs to be upward. Try to assess the potential in every opportunity, no matter how unlikely it may seem at the time.

“If you want to be the CEO of a Fortune 100 company, then your career path needs to be much more deliberate,” Flynn said. “You need to know all of the steps you have to take on that journey. Look for those opportunistic moments that allow you to make a different decision or take a different course.”

No matter where you go or what you do, keep building your network

When Flynn first went to Hong Kong in 2002—she followed her husband who had received a teaching position—she admitted to having a huge gap in her career network. Back in the UK, Flynn said she had developed an extensive, high-level network of contacts who both sought and offered support.

In Hong Kong, however, it was like starting over. “I had absolutely no network in Hong Kong,” she said. “So, I went to a headhunter and said, ‘I’m not looking for a job, but I would like to know who are the best networkers in Hong Kong in my space. Ultimately, the headhunter helped connect me to a network with nearly 200 people.”

After developing a new network, Flynn said she set about applying best practices to allow her to get the most out of the people she was meeting. At the top of that list was to not rely solely on connections made through social media. 

“LinkedIn is a blessing and a curse,” she said. “With social media, sometimes you can be in contact with people and not really in contact with people. You have to meet people and have a tangible conversation to develop a network connection. Go for a coffee or try to have a phone or video call, to build presence.”

After building presence, it is important to also remember to be deliberate in what you want from your network. “Before you reach out to your network, you have to have an idea of what it is you want from them in terms of advice or even sponsorship. ‘I’d like to work for the company you work for, how do I do that?’ You have to have some questions that you need answered.”

The best advice I’ve ever received

Flynn said that one of the best parts of cultivating a solid professional network is that you are exposed to some truly sage advice. Of all the things she has been told over the years, Flynn said advice on being “bold and fearless” stands out.

“Sometimes, people overthink things. You have to think through your career decisions carefully but there’s always an element of leap, where you cannot know everything, you cannot gather all the facts.”

Now having moved from an operational role into an advisory and consulting role, Flynn said she still tries to practice a bold and fearless approach to her life and career. She will never stop learning new skills or challenging herself. Her focus, as always, is to help others grow.

“I don’t think I would change anything about my career,” she said. “I very rarely ever look back. Learn from the past and always look forward.”

Source: lhh.com

Coaching Organizational Development People Development Workforce Transformations

HR Professional’s Top Concerns When Facing Seismic Change

HR Professional’s Top Concerns When Facing Seismic Change

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HR Professional’s Top Concerns When Facing Seismic Change

This white paper covers the big concerns of HR professionals when it comes to the new challenges they are facing due to seismic workplace changes.

When the landscape of work gets more challenging than usual, as it has around the numerous difficulties faced by workforces because of COVID-19, what are the top concerns of HR professionals in terms of managing and maintaining their talent? Ezra compares the popular opinions to our findings from participants in our Free Month Of Coaching program for HR leaders.

The industry press said:

  • Only 38% of companies had work from home policies in place at the start of the pandemic.
  • 14.83% of HR professionals were issuing communications around remote work.
  • 11.29% were developing standards for remote work.
  • 88% of organizations have transitioned to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, we expected participants in our coaching program to want to focus on helping others to work effectively in a remote setting.

What we found was actually that HR professionals prioritized support around how to lead change effectively, along with how to demonstrate confidence and build it in others.

  • 62% requested coaching around projecting and instilling confidence.
  • 55% of participants requested coaching around leading change.
  • 33% selected achieving results virtually as a target.
  • Just 17% selected virtual collaboration.

As HR were the ones needing to provide the info about change to employees, they were more focused on how to communicate this effectively and confidently rather than the mere logistics of leading Zoom calls etc, which shows how good professionals will focus on the bigger picture of leading rather than just execution.

Source: Ezra

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