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These are the 5 “super skills” you need for jobs of the future

By Fast Company

Work is changing, so to stay ahead you’ll need to master these skills that you probably didn’t learn in college.

These are the 5 “super skills” you need for jobs of the future
[Illustration: Evgeny Gromov/iStock]

Chances are your job description has changed over the past five years. Or maybe your role didn’t even exist a short time ago. The workplace of today and the future looks quite different due to technology, the economy, the environment, and politics, according to the Institute for the Future (IFTF), a not-for-profit think tank that helps organizations plan for the future.

The evolving workplace is creating a skills divide, says Adam Miller, CEO of Cornerstone, a talent management software and systems provider that partnered with IFTF to create a future skills study. “We have a very large group of jobs that require relatively few high-level skills, and a lot of those jobs will become obsolete in the future, being automated away,” he says. “On the flip side, highly technical jobs are wide open because there aren’t enough people with the skills to fill them. Whether or not employees recognize it, the half-life of their skills is shorter than it used to be.”

If you want to compete and stay relevant in the marketplace, you’ve got to master five “super skills,” according to IFTF:


Being successful means setting yourself apart, and you’ll need a personal brand that defines who you are and who you want to become, according to IFTF. That involves building a reputation, trust, and a following. The impression you project about yourself is crucial for finding the best workplace culture fit and for inspiring confidence in your coworkers, clients, and managers, says Jennifer Lasater, vice president of career services at Purdue University Global.

Start with the basics, such as auditing your social media presence and email name. “Ensure that your image comes across as professional, polished, and appropriate for an organization that you are interested in, now or in the future,” she suggests, adding that it helps to have a mentor, adviser, or trusted friend provide you with candid feedback on your reputation.

Building a personal brand can also include being mindful of your accomplishments and traits, says Tammy Erickson, adjunct professor of organizational behavior at London Business School. “I like to call them ‘badges,’” she says. “It’s skills that are gathered that build your reputational portfolio. It can be that you’re a financial wizard, dependable or creative. You begin to blend softer, more qualitative skills that are not reflected in traditional academics.”


The digital transformation impacts every industry, and being able to befriend the “machine” is one of the most critical of the five skills, says Miller. “Technology is not going away,” he says, adding that tech used to be a department. “Now the whole world is a tech world.”

You’ll need to know how to assemble teams of humans, robots, and bots and get them all to work together, according to IFTF: “Your AI assistants will promise you convenience and efficiency, but you’ll need to know how to tap their intelligence to do more, to accomplish things you could never do before.”

The ability to embrace technology and machines is about the ability to get stuff done, says George Brough, vice president of organizational development at Caliper, a provider of employee assessment solutions. “It’s about knowing the tools and how to use them, it’s about knowing which tool to use in which situation,” he says. “This can be done either by acquiring new knowledge, or by collaborating with people or machines that have what you lack.”


As the economy embraces gig work and crowdsourcing, having a personal tribe becomes critical. “You’ll need to master the many different kinds of trade: open, private, or public goods. And with the world shifting shapes all the time, you’ll need to think like a designer to make the shapes you want,” according to IFTF.

“To be successful in building a career and maintaining financial stability in this environment, relying on your personal network is key,” says Jim Davis, assistant director of Pace University’s Career Services Department. “It has been proven many times that networking is the most effective way to land a new position or new job.”

Understanding this and dedicating time to build and cultivate your network throughout your career will help open opportunities when it’s time to make a career change.


Complexity can look like chaos, and you’ll need an ability to connect the dots to create new pathways, according to IFTF. Being adaptable will help you keep up with change, says Miller.

“You need to be accepting of the new skills you have to have,” he says. “You need to be comfortable with change and you need to be willing to develop new skills.”

Flexibility will help you seek growth opportunities, says Bonnie Hagemann, coauthor of Leading with Vision and CEO of Executive Development Associates, an executive development consulting firm. “The best growth opportunity may be in another role or project and not necessarily moving up,” she says. “Sometimes it’s stepping down to learn a new skill and then going up again. Think career lattice instead of career ladder.”


In your personal life, resilience is often linked to overcoming problems and obstacles. In a business setting, however, resilience helps you transform obstacles into solutions and opportunities, says Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow, clinical assistant professor of management and business law at Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

“Employees who do this are priceless because they accelerate a culture of business innovation in the workplace,” she says. “Companies that can’t transform aren’t resilient, and in turn, they often aren’t successful.”

One of the best ways to enhance resilience is to focus on keeping negative things from having an overwhelming impact on the positive possibilities in any given situation, says Westerhaus-Renfrow. “Don’t forget: It takes a village,” she says. “Surround yourself and lean on resilient people for support and guidance. Resilient people tend to inspire and build up resilient people.”

Resilience is the most important trait for anyone in any profession, adds Lasater. “Setbacks, problems, and personal issues can be distracting and overwhelming, but the people that rise every time do great things,” she says. “There are no shortcuts or quick tidbits for this one; if you want something badly enough, you have to keep working toward it.”

10 Ways to Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence

Up your EI quotient.

Posted Jan 05, 2012

Everyone’s always talking about Emotional Intelligence (EI) but what exactly is it? One important aspect of emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions – in oneself and others – and to use that information appropriately. For example, recognizing emotional intelligence in oneself can help you regulate and manage your emotions, while recognizing emotions in others can lead to empathy and success in your relationships, both personal and professional.

Given the importance of emotional intelligence, I thought it might be helpful to give a very brief overview of the topic, as well as 10 ways to enhance your emotional intelligence, originally published in my book “The Emotional Revolution.”

In 1990, Yale psychologists John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey originally coined the term emotional intelligence, which some researchers claim that is an inborn characteristic, while others suggest that you can improve it with proper guidance and practice. I agree with both schools and obviously with the latter – or I wouldn’t be giving you tips as to what you can do to improve your EI.

It may not be possible for everyone to have a psychotherapist. But you can become your own therapist. (After all, Freud analyzed himself.) It all starts with learning how to listen to your feelings. While it may not always be easy, developing the ability to tune in to your own emotions is the first and perhaps most important step.

Here are 10 Ways to Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence:

1. Don’t interrupt or change the subject. If feelings are uncomfortable, we may want to avoid them by interrupting or distracting ourselves. Sit down at least twice a day and ask, “How am I feeling?” It may take a little time for the feelings to arise. Allow yourself that small space of time, uninterrupted.


2. Don’t judge or edit your feelings too quickly. Try not to dismiss your feelings before you have a chance to think them through. Healthy emotions often rise and fall in a wave, rising, peaking, and fading naturally. Your aim should be not to cut off the wave before it peaks.3. See if you can find connections between your feelings and other times you have felt the same way. When a difficult feeling arises, ask yourself, “When have I felt this feeling before?” Doing this may help you to realize if your current emotional state is reflective of the current situation, or of another time in your past.

4. Connect your feelings with your thoughts. When you feel something that strikes you as out of the ordinary, it is always useful to ask, “What do I think about that?” Often times, one of our feelings will contradict others. That’s normal. Listening to your feelings is like listening to all the witnesses in a court case. Only by admitting all the evidence will you be able to reach the best verdict.


5. Listen to your body. A knot in your stomach while driving to work may be a clue that your job is a source of stress. A flutter of the heart when you pick up a girl you have just started to date may be a clue that this could be “the real thing.” Listening to these sensations and the underlying feelings that they signal will allow you to process with your powers of reason.6. If you don’t know how you’re feeling, ask someone else. People seldom realize that others are able to judge how they are feeling. Ask someone who knows you (and whom you trust) how you are coming across. You may find the answer both surprising and illuminating.

7. Tune in to your unconscious feelings. How can you become more aware of your unconscious feelings? Try free association. While in a relaxed state, allow your thoughts to roam freely and watch where they go. Analyze your dreams. Keep a notebook and pen at the side of your bed and jot down your dreams as soon as you wake up. Pay special attention to dreams that repeat or are charged with powerful emotion.

8. Ask yourself: How do I feel today? Start by rating your overall sense of well-being on a scale of 0 and 100 and write the scores down in a daily log book. If your feelings seem extreme one day, take a minute or two to think about any ideas or associations that seem to be connected with the feeling.


9. Write thoughts and feelings down. Research has shown that writing down your thoughts and feelings can help profoundly. A simple exercise like this could take only a few hours per week.10. Know when enough is enough. There comes a time to stop looking inward; learn when its time to shift your focus outward. Studies have shown that encouraging people to dwell upon negative feelings can amplify these feelings. Emotional intelligence involves not only the ability to look within, but also to be present in the world around you.

Modern HR – How To Ace Being An Employee Champion

Organizations and corporations are undergoing massive changes in today’s business world.

The HR department is experiencing a lot of pressure from increasing globalization, rapid technological changes and increased competition. These changes call for a new, different, and more modernized approach by Human Resource towards achieving organizational goals.

Employees are the backbone of a company or organization, therefore, a good HR team will have Employee Champions to execute the following strategies and techniques to make the company’s employees feel more valued.

Modern HR business roles:


A Strategic Partner


An Administrative Expert


An Employee Champion


A Change Agent

The above strategies were compiled and recommended in “Human Resource Champions“, a book by Dr. Dave Ulrich,  renowned writer in the HR field today.

HR As An Employee Champion

Prioritize your employees.

A modern HR employee champion listens and responds to an employee’s personal needs and puts them first. As an employee advocate or sponsor, a HR manager needs to provide a working environment in which workers choose rather than feel forced to be motivated, productive and happy at work.

Cultivate a culture of effective communication, goal-setting, and empowerment.

As Manager, you need to build your employee’s oneness with the organization. Assigning them responsibilities gives them a sense of ownership in the company and develops a culture and climate where they feel concerned, committed and competent to serve customers exceptionally.

Employee assistance programs [EAP].

Strategies to assist employees to get past complaints and problems helps them focus on a common goal. Addressing these problems with continuous communication strengthens employer-employee relationship.

Employee development opportunities.

The employee advocate makes opportunities available to employees to help them better their talents and skills on the job. This strategy will improve their problem-solving capabilities.

What are you waiting for? Carpe diem!


* the video is a mini-lecture by our founder, Nicole on Modern HR – for one of the online group classes she is facilitating.

© New To HR


The Most Important Component of an Effective Team



rawpixel / Pixabay

What kinds of teams have you been a part of? Maybe a sports team or theatre group, a dreaded school or work project group, or an implementation team to bring a new technology at work. Many can attest that working with teams can go really well – but more likely than not, when asked about working as a group, people become disgruntled and have negative stories to share. Why is that?

A few years ago, a team of Google workers set out to discover exactly what makes a team work well together. This became known as Project Aristotle, led by a manager from Google’s People Analytics division, Abeer Dubey.

“‘We looked at 180 teams from all over the company,’’ Dubey said. ‘‘We had lots of data, but there was nothing showing that a mix of specific personality types or skills or backgrounds made any difference. The ‘who’ part of the equation didn’t seem to matter.’’


In other words, a group working on a project could be made up of the six smartest, most successful workers the industry has to offer, but that alone did not mean that the group effort would be a success. After much research, surveying and analysis, the Project Aristotle team found that “psychological safety” was the number one component of a successful team – and significantly beat out other characteristics.


But what exactly is psychological safety? According to the Project Aristotle results, psychological safety basically means that every team member feels comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions – and that everyone gets a chance to talk for about the same amount of time in group meetings. This is not to say that there is a time limit or select time for each person to talk, but that organically, each person genuinely wants to hear from others in the group. Each team member should feel respected and confident enough to share any thoughts, without the fear of being shot down or laughed at by others.Psychological safety can encompass many qualities one might think of when describing an effective team.

Open, honest communication

Being able to share honest thoughts and opinions with team members is a huge portion of a successful project. Additionally, this open communication includes receiving honest feedback and quick responses. No one should have to hunt someone down because they did not reply to a message about scheduling a meeting or asking for a particular document.


A diverse team includes people with different education and training, life experiences, and backgrounds. A successful group also includes varied personalities and strengths – introverts/extraverts, analytical minds, and great public speakers. Ideally, each team member brings his or her unique skills to the table and the combination creates a great team.

Passion for the goal/cause

Each team member should have a full understanding of the team’s purpose and strategy. Hopefully the entire team has a genuine interest in the project at hand, or at the very least a passion for accomplishing the goals in the best way.


Perhaps the most important component of psychological safety outlined by Project Aristotle is team members who show empathy. Most people spend more time with coworkers than anyone else, even family and close friends. Feeling comfortable sharing things with coworkers, besides just project details and work information, helps develop trust and understanding.

Project Aristotle’s goal was to find out the components of a successful team so a dysfunctional or ineffective group combination was less likely to happen. While it is impossible to totally eliminate teams that do not work well together, learning about psychological safety and how to educate teams about this very important characteristic is vital to ensuring success.


3 Questions to Evaluate a Candidate’s Emotional Intelligence


When looking to fill an open position, a lot of factors go into the screening process for the perfect candidate. You want someone who has relevant experience; an acceptable number of years in the field; a solid work history; and, the skills you’re looking for. But the most often overlooked, and arguably most important, factor you should be looking for is emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence, a term coined by Daniel Goleman, involves self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.

This innate ability has proven to be connected to success in the workplace. In fact, one study found that people who were strongest in emotional intelligence were more likely to succeed in a position than those who were strongest in IQ or relevant previous experience. Add to that the fact that job retention has also been linked to emotional intelligence — and you have a pretty strong case as to why you should be altering your screening process to incorporate Emotional Intelligence indicators. To help assess Emotional Intelligence during the screening process, we’ve gathered three questions you should incorporate and what you should be looking for in a candidate’s responses.

Can you explain to me a conflict you had at work that left you feeling aggravated?

Handling work conflict can be aggravating, but it’s how an individual handles the emotion at hand that makes all the difference. When asking this question, you want to be listening for how a candidate handled their emotions during this trying situation and how they were able to empathize with those they were conflicting with.

As mentioned, take into consideration the five factors of emotional intelligence Daniel Gorman laid out and look at how they understood and handled their own emotions, whether or not they seemed aware of others’ emotions, and whether or not they were able to work through the conflict and still have a relationship with those involved.

Tell me about a time your boss or colleague criticized your work. How did it make you feel and how did you handle it?

An emotionally intelligent person understands that criticism about work is not personal and will use the feedback to positively impact their future work. You should listen for a candidate who sounds defensive or offended when speaking about the feedback or tries to assign blame, as all of these are indicators of lower emotional intelligence.

Assess they way they’re talking about the situation. Do they still seem upset? Can they articulate how they were able to incorporate the feedback to improve upon themselves? Howa candidate talks about a situation is just as important as the story they tell. 


What job skill do you feel you could use improvement on?

People low in emotional intelligence have a hard time discussing their faults, so you want to take note of someone who has difficulty answering this question or someone who has a boilerplate answer like, “I’m too much of a perfectionist.” While most often these types of answers aren’t really true, they are also too vague to be of any help in assessing the candidate.

You want to listen for someone who takes the time and effort to be thoughtful and articulate in their answer. Someone high in emotional intelligence will also be more likely to display curiosity and a desire to learn with their response to this question.  


Kellie Brown

Kellie Brown is the marketing manager at Humantelligence. She is responsible for spearheading Humantelligence’s digital marketing, demand generation, and events efforts. Kellie has built her career upon her passion for the intersection of analytics and creativity that marketing provides. She has extensive experience strategizing and executing demand generation, engagement and awareness programs for human resources and assessment software. When she’s not strategizing, she’s researching and writing about the latest in HR and recruiting technology.

Kellie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where she studied marketing, advertising and communication theory. She has worked under the marketing function in business consulting, creative advertising agencies, and cloud-based software organizations.


3 Strategies for Open Plan Productivity

By Neen James

open office workspaceDepending on who you listen to, open plan environments either dramatically increase your collaboration and creativity… or decrease your effectiveness and health… Hmmm who to listen to!

There are many statistics I found on the good (and bad effects) of open plan, I chose to take the positive side (you know me, glass is always not only half full, but overflowing and waiting for more water to be poured in!).

When leading a team; wanting to maximize their productivity and manage their attention, here are three strategies to assist make the most of this growing trend:



Know the do’s and don’ts – We have made a list for you and a few common do’s are: invest in headphones for the team to block out distraction, keep your space clear and tidy and items securely locked away and respect others privacy.  A few don’ts include: never use speaker phone (so thoughtless), don’t heat up smelly lunch in the microwave, never intrude on others conversations or provide unsolicited advice. Creating a simple operating agreement with your team is a great strategy to foster collaboration.


Know your style – If you are an introvert you may need quiet thinking time (book a conference room to complete strategic work) or you may be an extrovert and constantly seeking input of others (you may also like to book a room for brainstorming). I loved Susan Cain’s TED talk and also her book Quiet: Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.  A great read if you manage introverts, if you are an extrovert… or if you just want to know how to get the most out of your talented team.


Know the culture –are your team constantly collaborating on big sales deals, new marketing promotions or solving customer issues? They might require more collaborative spaces, include couches, conference rooms and breakouts. If they like to work alone and require strategic thinking time consider less meetings, more use of headphones and do not disturb signs.


Open plan environments can be highly productive, or massively disruptive – you decide. Allow your team to pay attention to what really matters and create guidelines for managing their focus during the day and achieving their results.

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How Leaders Can Make Sure Introverted Employees Are Heard


Just because some people have trouble speaking up doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable things to say. Here’s how to help them do that.

By John HallCEO and co-founder, Influence & Co.@johnhall

Big group meetings, team presentations, networking events, and conferences: If you’re an introvert, these settings probably sound like a nightmare. If you’ve ever met me, though, you would be able to tell right away I’m an extrovert and these settings don’t faze me.

Like anyone, I get a little nervous before a speaking event, but that’s about it. Speaking, presenting, collaborating — that all works well for me and a lot of extroverts like me. But what about our more introverted peers and employees?

While we all have our own communication skills and preferences, introverts typically struggle with meetings. These employees tend to be better at thinking and working on their own, as social interaction can often leave them feeling drained. Yet daily interactions and collaborations are a necessary fact of life and business, and this often manifests as various meetings throughout the week.

In recent years, interoffice gatherings have changed, thanks in large part to technology. Add to that the fact that more businesses have begun working with remote employees, and it’s no longer necessary or even feasible to bring everyone on your team together around a conference table on a regular basis.

Tools like videoconferencing and group messaging software keep everyone connected throughout the day, and as a result, introverts have the chance to speak up more easily than in large, in-person meetings. Still, it’s important for leaders to make sure those voices are heard and that employees feel included no matter the setting.

The importance of having a voice.

In group situations, introverts tend to be observers, taking in the scene around them and thinking before they share a response. If you’re like me, that silence can be hard to wrap your mind around because you probably like to develop your ideas as you talk through them.

Introverts are likely to pay close attention to what you’re saying and put that information to use. But if everyone is speaking at once or a few people are dominating the conversation, they can easily feel overwhelmed — and for remotely located introverts, that feeling is even more intense.

They may already feel left out because they aren’t in the office every day, and when they call in for a meeting, they often find themselves forgotten or spoken over unless the meeting leader makes a point to give them time to speak. For this reason, it’s important to ensure every employee has a chance to participate. Here are three ways to do that.

1. Prepare for communication differences ahead of time.

Introverts prefer to think through what they’re going to say before speaking, so throwing them into a meeting with no context or chance to prep can be inhibiting. Plan for these differences in communication style by giving your team a heads up about a meeting or even requesting members prepare to speak on a certain topic.

Consider carving out a section of the agenda for at least one introverted or remote employee to speak during each meeting. This can reduce the number of people talking at once and make employees feel more comfortable speaking up.

2. Play to introverts’ strengths.

2017 study from Office Team found that “feeling unappreciated” was a top reason for employee exits, with two in three workers saying they’d leave their job over it. Employee turnover has a direct impact on your business’s success, and making an extra effort to acknowledge and include your more introverted team members can pay off in the form of ROI in the long run.

In the process of making an effort to be more inclusive of introverts, you’ll also be able to level the playing field for all team members. Meeting leaders can run the risk of prioritizing male voices over female ones, especially when you consider that studies have shown men tend to interrupt and dominate conversations more often. It’s important that you consistently pay attention to every team member and make sure you’ve created a culture where everyone feels welcome and included.

3. Use the right meeting tools to help.

Fortunately for employers, technology has made it easier than ever for introverts to be part of the conversation. These tools play to introverts’ unique strengths, as well as offer the features necessary to help meeting leaders run more inclusive meetings. Here are a few of the most promising tools in this space:

BlueJeans: This service provides a modernized approach to videoconference meetings that includes whiteboarding and annotation features. For introverts, tools like BlueJeans can make it easier to participate in the meeting in progress, as information is being captured for use later. Instead of worrying they might miss something, they can interact and ask questions.

Eva by Voicera: Voicera, a company my team works with, is a platform that allows you to organize conversations and enable post-meeting collaboration. Eva is an intelligent, virtual assistant that makes it simple for everyone, especially introverts, to participate in meetings by recording conversations, taking notes, and highlighting key moments and decisions while everyone gets the chance to interact with one another.

GoWallGoWall brings the power of visualization to the meeting experience, creating a notes wall that allows attendees to work together to capture thoughts and ideas throughout the meeting. For introverts who are better at writing than conversation, this tool can make it easier to supply their thoughts and feedback via text rather than speaking up in the meeting to do so. This helps ensure no voice gets left behind.

When businesses find ways to appeal to every team member’s unique personality traits, they can get the most out of the team as a whole. With a combination of meeting tools and a strong agenda, meeting leaders can make sure they’re being as inclusive as possible while also helping introverts feel more comfortable contributing.


A 5-Step Plan For HR to Show Its Business Value


CEOs today have no shortage of challenges, but what keeps them up most at night? In 2018, it’s attracting and retaining talent, according to the latest C-Suite Challenge survey. In other words, the solution to the boss’ biggest problem today rests on the shoulders of HR.

This challenge is good news for HR. It means HR leaders have an opportunity to step up and fulfill a larger role. But there’s a problem: just over a third of HR leaders believe their teams can address the talent issues around them. It’s clear HR needs to evolve. In order to address talent recruitment, retention and other pressing needs, you must become a more strategic business partner.

To do that, you need credibility. To get that credibility with the C-suite, your HR department should think of itself and its operations as a business. When executives see your team performing like a business, they are more prone to give you a seat at the table, where the broader business discussions happen. Here are five strategies to help you build credibility with the corner office by functioning more like a business.

1. Define your customer

A business serves customers. So who are the customers of HR? Everyone under the corporate umbrella is an HR customer: employees, managers, executives and candidates — even the company’s customers. Start building personas to highlight the needs of each of these customers and how you can best meet them. The best businesses deliver a great customer experience, and you should seek to do the same across these different customer segments. If you’re struggling for resources, identify one or two target customers most in need of the value you have to offer, and focus on them. All you’re really doing is segmenting your target market and prioritizing the customer(s) for whom you can create the greatest impact.

2. Understand and optimize value propositions

Once you’ve defined who your key constituents are, next ask the question, “What value can HR provide to this target customer?” Culture, employee engagement, retention and operational efficiency are just a few of the many areas where you can make an impact. But you can’t boil the ocean. Trying to do everything at once will stretch your team thin and reduce potential impact. Instead, focus on one or two value propositions for a couple of your most important customers. If your CEO’s top concern is talent recruitment and retention, identify the teams where this is most important and focus on solving this problem for them first. This allows you to show your value on the issues that matter most with the C-suite.

3. Measure the value of your efforts and report it

As a business, you too need to market your own value. In this case, you’re marketing that value to your executives. By focusing small — one or two value propositions to one or two target (internal) customer segments — you can now more quickly measure and report on the impact of your efforts. Providing measurement goes a long way to winning credibility by showing that you, like the rest of the organization, take an agile, incremental approach to serving your customers and demonstrating impact. Just make sure that part of your initiative design is the ability to measure and report on impact. Investing in measurement capabilities and making sure results get into the hands of executives is a must.

4. Build a business case to ask for more budget

Human resources needs resources too. Once your HR department can measure its impact, you can then focus on expanding the activities that create the biggest return. Instead of going hat-in-hand in asking the CFO for more money, make a formalized business case. This proposal should include planned activities and the value they provide to each customer segment. Don’t forget the most important lesson: if you can’t quantify your impact, you’re not walking out with more money. It’s been said famously that people don’t want a ¾” drill, they want a ¾” hole. Don’t pitch an initiative. Rather, pitch the value. Start with the customer, state the customer’s need or pain point, state the solution you can provide to that pain, illustrate the activities you will use to create that solution, and then (but only then) identify the resources you’ll need to do so.


5. Don’t lose sight of what matters most

The human element must not be forgotten in human resources. To become a strategic business partner, you need to focus on the most critical element to business strategy — people strategy. To do this, you need to automate operational processes where possible and eliminate unnecessary activities. It would be a terrible error to forget that people create the real value, and not organizations. The human touch creates loyalty, genuine engagement and powerful cultures, and your people are the only part of your organization that truly differentiate you.

More than ever, the HR industry needs to rewrite its story. It must evolve from a transactional department to a strategic partner. This transformation won’t be easy, but it is mission critical, and the rewards are great. The renowned economist Alfred Marshall taught that organizational power will naturally go to the departments solving the biggest problems. Today, those biggest problems are increasingly found in HR operating like a business. Functioning as a business unit will allow you to solve these problems, while also building much-needed credibility at all levels of the organization — especially at the top.


Rusty Lindquist

Rusty is the Vice President of Thought Leadership at BambooHR where he where he speaks, writes, and teaches about high-impact people practices, and how to help HR deliver the value their organizations most need. Rusty has spent 18 years as head of product and strategy in technology companies in the learning and development, and technology industries. He is a husband, a father of seven, and someone who loves life and loves sharing knowledge. BambooHR is a leading HR technology company whose innovations are designed to accelerate the evolution of HR in small and medium businesses by setting them free to do great work.


The Shocking Truth Behind Poor Performance


The Shocking Truth Behind Poor Performance
Promoted by The Shocking Truth Behind Poor Performance

“They’ve got a bad attitude.”  “They simply don’t have the skills to do the job.”  “They think they’re better than they are.”  “They just don’t understand me.”  “They don’t fit in around here.” “They must have problems in their private life.”

These are just some of the judgements that Managers may make when dealing with poor performance but what if instead of blaming people, Managers put their own management skills in the spotlight?

When Managers see employees as problems to fix they might be looking at the situation through the lens of a top-down, command and control leadership model. Even with good intentions, Managers that try to coerce others to share their worldview (or one that they have borrowed from their own Leaders) are unlikely to resolve any ‘performance’ issues that they encounter.  

If however, Managers take a moment to challenge what they think they know about performance management and make changes to the way they act, then they have a much better chance of turning around performance.

Because, the shocking truth is not found in the extreme examples of poor performance – these events are often swiftly handled in conjunction with the help of the HR team – the real danger is when mediocre performance is allowed to thrive.

Mediocre performance is rarely addressed and often goes unnoticed. Mediocre performers hide in plain sight. They are competent but disengaged; they are likely to be demotivated or disillusioned. As a result, they may consciously or subconsciously choose to withhold the discretionary effort that can transform their mediocrity into excellence.

To turn mediocrity into excellence, the first thing the Manager should notice is that it is the quality of the employment experience rather than the individual that is mediocre. By acknowledging this the Manager must begin to accept that they play a pivotal role in changing that experience if they want to release higher levels of contribution and performance.

This isn’t just another hand holding exercise for a largely Millennial workforce. Yes, we hear a lot about how Millennials search for meaning and purpose at work, yet in reality, isn’t this an innate need in all human beings? The Millennials aren’t so different from everyone else, but perhaps what sets this generation apart is that they have grown up with an expectation that they will be heard, that they will be able to affect change and impact the course of life.

In parallel, as organisations develop towards a more agile future they are more likely to recruit people who are naturally curious, flexible and change-oriented. But, when these types of people then receive edicts that are agreed out of sight and implemented through rigid performance management systems, it’s not a surprise that some people are left feeling disengaged and disempowered at the hands of their more stoic Managers.

We already know from a recent Gallup Survey that 50% of leavers exit because of the relationship they have with their Managers, but the hard truth is that those people have been showing up to work every day for weeks, months, even years before they leave, feeling unable and perhaps unwilling to contribute in a way that really adds value.

With this in mind, Managers should take stock of the relationships they form with people at work. This includes: how they involve people in decision making, how they share ownership with others and how they can help to connect every day actions with a wider purpose in a way that is meaningful to people in different ways.

One way that Managers can achieve this is by using more of an ‘Enquiry-Led Approach’ that is central to an ‘Operational Coaching’  style. This approach helps Managers to stop telling and start asking. The simple act of enquiry has the power to change the nature of every interaction a Manager has with others. Instead of dictating what must happen, Managers can use an ‘Operational Coaching’ style to invite people to put their own thoughts and ideas into the mix. This participation can ignite greater ownership for the end result, and in the long run, help people to deliver higher levels of performance.

So, let’s get honest about the real reasons behind poor performance.  Before casting blame let’s start looking at what Managers can do differently to generate behaviour changes, first in themselves, and then in others.

Notion is an expert in behavioural change.  To find out more about how ‘Operational Coaching’ can help Managers to adopt the skills needed to generate high performance click the button below or call us for an informal chat on +44 (0) 1926 889 885.