“One Branding” : “Uniting the Employer, Corporate & Product Experience” | BCG

Every day, the Digital-World shines a spotlight on Brand inconsistencies…Employees & potential recruits might get one impression online, customers and partners might have another experience, while investors and influencers might see an altogether different picture…The result is brand confusion or worse : “Brand Conflict ” !!

Consumers today, led by the digitally native Millennial generation (ages 18 to 34), expect much more from brands. They increasingly require a holistic and authentic experience across all the online and offline ways they interact with a company. When we surveyed them, Millennials reported that the number one way that brands can engage them is to have an “authentic purpose.” Many consumers expect to engage more actively in a two-way dialogue with brands—and the Internet gives them a megaphone to express their positive and negative opinions loudly..

The global business environment also demands more from brands. The service sector now makes up approximately 70 percent of most developed economies, and that share is even higher when it includes the many products that have a service component. People have become a critical resource for service-based industries: labor costs are higher than capital costs in many service companies..

Likewise, people have also become an essential component of branding, a field that was once highly product oriented. Brand experiences are now largely shaped by the people on the front lines who interact daily with customers and must meet their rising expectations. Employees have become, in effect, brand ambassadors. Brand management of the future requires, therefore, even fuller and more consistent engagement among the people inside and outside the company—both those who experience the brand and those who represent it..

The problem is that companies too often focus on only one or two aspects of their brand image. Many ignore employees as brand advocates or else narrowly relegate marketing communications for employees and recruits to the human resources department. People often assume that a strong product or corporate brand alone will attract candidates and customers. To become part of its customers’ lives, however, a company’s product and brands will first have to be “lived” by its employees.

To succeed, companies today must elevate employer branding to its rightful place among the other major pillars of corporate, product, and service brand management. At the same time, they must create harmony among customer experiences with the product, the company, and employees. We call this new concept of integrated, employee-powered marketing One Branding...A tight linking of all the aspects of brand management ensures that brands leverage their most significant asset—employees—to create more powerful and relevant brands for today’s changing world. One branding also significantly boosts performance..

THE REWARDS OF ONE BRANDING:

Only the harmonization of corporate, product, and employer branding ensures that everyone involved “pays into” the one-brand account, together raising the brand’s value. We have found that, in many cases, behind this success lies strong employer branding..

Companies that have strong employer brands tend to outperform those that do not. To measure the strength of employer brands, we asked students in MBA programs to rate the attractiveness of prospective employers. A BCG analysis of 39 global companies over the ten-year period from 2003 through 2012 found a positive correlation between the strength of employer brands and the average growth in total shareholder return (TSR)..

We found that the correlation between an employer’s brand and TSR was stronger at companies with a strong employer brand than at those with average or poor ratings. Moving into the top leagues of employer branding is, therefore, worthwhile not only from an HR perspective but also for its medium- to long-term impact on company value..

Not every company must be a leader in all THREE Brand-management disciplines…But all companies must gain a basic command of each, as they discover how to differentiate themselves in the areas important to their business. Only then will they achieve more integrated and consistent brands..

The Power of Employer Branding:

Even though it has become central to how a brand is experienced, employer branding is frequently the missing ingredient in achieving the promise of one branding. Employer branding represents a company’s brand promise to the people who work there, the people who want to work there, and the people the company wants to recruit. HR leaders cite employer branding as a high priority, but not even 10 percent of prospective employees during job interviews know the key elements of an employer’s brand, according to one European survey.

To succeed in today’s complex business environment and deliver a unified experience across all the brand dimensions that are important to future success—especially through its people—every company needs to define its unique advantages for employer branding and then work hard to cultivate these differentiating factors more effectively. (See Exhibit 1.)

To discern how companies are giving employer branding an equal place inside a unified brand, we interviewed executives in the European operations of ten global companies with leading brands. In our work with companies around the world, we have found these leaders’ insights to be broadly applicable to many other regions.

Consider the success of the employer-branding campaign recently launched by the adidas Group, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of sporting goods, with €14.5 billion in sales; 50,700 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $7.5 billion by Interbrand as of 2013.

In 1998, Matthias Malessa, chief HR officer of the adidas Group, established an HR marketing department that focused on its external presentation as an employer. “Today, employer branding is a perception index of people inside the company that projects to the outside and says, ‘Check this out. This is how it looks here. If you think it looks good, join us. If not, we’re not for you”..

For the first time, the features of the campaign were developed with employees on the basis of their experiences working for adidas. The company surveyed employees of all its brands worldwide. Five main branding messages resulted…Each country has the flexibility to highlight the message that has priority for the employees there..

“More and more young employees are demanding that their voices be heard,” says Malessa. “I ask my people, ‘How do you perceive this company?’ Then I build my employer-branding story based on what they say.” For instance, one message involves social and environmental responsibility. The motto “to make the world a better place” connects this message into a unified product-, corporate-, and employer-brand strategy..

The success factor is that employees are free to share their experiences with the adidas culture online. “In the digital age, it’s important to win over your employees as brand ambassadors, but for it to function, there also have to be rules,” says Simone Lendzian, corporate communications manager. Social-media guidelines orient employees to their rights and responsibilities when communicating as brand ambassadors during work hours..

The company had a lot of discussions about whether each brand in the adidas family—which includes Reebok and Rockport in addition to adidas—needed its own employer branding. “We believe it all has to flow into one employer brand that is all-inclusive and covers the entire company,” says Malessa..

Six Guiding Principles for One Branding:

To put one branding into practice, a company must keep in mind six overarching principles about how employer branding relates to its overall brand portfolio.

Credible positioning starts with a well-defined process. At the heart of employer branding lies a convincing employer value proposition (EVP): the promise of value that employers make to their current and future employees. The emphasis should be on the uniqueness of the company. Only with a differentiated strategy can a company achieve competitive advantage.

To ensure that the EVP is relevant and differentiating, it must be based on solid data and integrated into the overall HR strategy process. First, market research compares the internal understanding of the company’s current positioning with the motivations and needs of external target segments. This is translated into a credible brand position and concrete actions and then anchored in the company’s organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. (See Exhibit 2.)

Employee motivations guide Employer Branding – to attract and retain good people, a company must appeal to both logic and emotion. Effective employer branding uses a “double perspective” of internal and external views to discover the elements of the brand experience that drive engagement among existing and prospective employees…Qualitative and quantitative market research can identify motivations that fit the brand, whereas creative techniques can uncover even deeper insights. Rather than simply delegating market research to an outside organization, all internal and external stakeholders should be invited to speak their minds through an active dialogue with the marketing, HR, and strategy departments..

Only a brand that is lived every day can be experienced – Employer branding can be only as strong as the health of the company’s culture.A true standout is the culture of Google, the world’s largest Internet company by market capitalization, with $50.8 billion in revenues; 45,000 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $93.3 billion by Interbrand as of 2013. “Our employer value proposition is the result of our company culture as we live and experience it,” says Frank Kohl­-Boas, Google’s head of HR in northern Europe. “As our motto says, ‘Do cool things that matter.’ I am convinced that you can recruit and retain knowledge workers only if you give them the room they need to think freely and you offer them interesting work. If you do this, candidates and employees will say, ‘I can earn money elsewhere, but where else can I be a part of things, be myself, and grow ? ’”

At Google, responsibility for employer branding resides in HR, because it is understood less as a marketing task than as the management of corporate culture. A core team, under the leadership of a chief culture officer, works with local culture ambassadors who support the topic voluntarily in addition to their core jobs. The goals are to find the right people to hire, to ensure the internal multiplication of knowledge, and to provide the freedom for product discovery and invention..

“We don’t do any big marketing campaigns—neither for recruiting nor for Google as a brand,” says Kohl­-Boas. “Instead, we invest in employees who develop the brand. We trust that a lot of people will come into contact with our products and associate the company with the quality of our products. If users like our products, the customers and shareholders will come.”

Employees are the best brand ambassadors – The most authentic sources of employer branding are employees who can communicate credibly about the company and make its culture tangible..

Consider eBay, well-known as a global leader in online retailing and payments, with $16 billion in revenues; 30,000 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $13.2 billion by Interbrand as of 2013. At eBay, employee referrals are the most important recruiting component by far. “When you shape your employer branding out of the culture and put your people at the center of it, the advantage is that you can motivate them to channel their pride by recommending the company,” says Tobias Hübscher, eBay’s senior manager, European employee communications.

“Referral campaigns save headhunter fees and ad campaign costs and helped us get budget for employer branding and resources for talent acquisition,” he adds. “Basically, we see referrals as being a lot more effective and working better in the recruiting process.”

Social media is only one tool in the toolbox –  Despite all the hype about social-media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, every channel must be closely analyzed for its benefits and risks. If a company does not have confidence that it can present itself authentically and engage in open dialogue with consumers through certain mediums, it should not use them until the advantages outweigh any potential damage.

The social-media strategy is well defined at Heineken International, the world’s third-largest brewing company, with €19.2 billion in revenues; 85,000 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $4.3 billion by Interbrand as of 2013. “When it comes to social media, you have to know exactly what you want,” says Dario Gargiulo, global social-media manager at Heineken International. “A lot of companies do social media only because they think it’s good to have a presence everywhere. Instead, you have to use every social channel differently and with a specific aim. You must take the time to find out which channel should be used for which message.”

Gargiulo recommends focusing on the brand message and consumer attitudes on social media rather than communicating all of the company’s activities. “In social media, you immediately get consumer reactions about what’s important and what’s not,” he says. “It’s about the connection with real life.”

To integrate brand management disciplines tightly, stay loose – The players in one branding are less like a conductor-led orchestra than a leaderless jazz band. In the latter, the optimal combination of players is more important than who leads at any point in time. Well-executed examples of one branding show that there is no universal solution: although HR is often in charge—for instance, at BMW and adidas—several companies we studied maintain an ongoing, constructive conversation among the different components of branding, including marketing, communications, strategy, and HR. The corporate brand often takes the lead when the path forward is not clear.

At eBay, employer branding is jointly managed by the HR, talent acquisition, communications, and marketing departments and covers all eBay brands. Both internal employer culture and external campaigns are steered by communications in the local country unit.

Regardless of the organization design, marketing and HR must work together as equals. Each of the functions has plenty to contribute: HR has the competencies needed for strategic personnel planning and the ongoing development of company culture. And marketing can bring its “detective skills” to the table—by feeling out and establishing a unique positioning for employees and job applicants..

The era of one branding is dawning. Employer, corporate, and product branding will only grow more closely integrated..

Although we see no one-size-fits-all strategy that can address all the challenges ahead, we have observed this about the leaders: one branding works only if executives in charge of HR and the brand disciplines make it their common goal and have the courage and flexibility to work together.

Companies that are willing to cross organization boundaries and experiment with this new approach now will discover the proven benefits of one branding. Those that do not move in this direction risk falling behind their more integrated and nimble competitors..!!

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“The Retail-Revival” : Succeeding with a “Store-Led Strategy” | BCG

A Store-Level Focus Can Transform Retail Chains Faster and Yield real results..!!

A bottom-up approach is entirely appropriate for retailers that find themselves struggling to make meaningful performance gains. Unlike what’s typical in many other industries, symptoms of sub-par performance in retail are readily detectible by both retail experts and customers, and those customers are able to provide immediate feedback..

Of course, #RetailTransformation is not simply a matter of “walking the store floor”…Although the physical demonstration of engagement is important, it is insufficient to effect lasting change…BCG has found that big performance gains are possible when executives are ready and willing to drive an integrated store-first change program that fits within the existing business model: that is, there are no additional capex requirements and no major changes to infrastructure…

Significant Results Within Months :

The results can be impressive. In BCG’s work with retailers worldwide, we have seen noticeable increases in store traffic that have, in just a few months, translated into a 5 percent lift in like-for-like sales and consistent profitability. Customers will almost certainly see cleaner and tidier stores with neat, well-stocked shelves, up-to-date price tags, fresher fruit and vegetables, and cheerier, more helpful employees..

Such results can be seen in a large Asian retail chain that successfully piloted and rolled out new operating practices. Guided by a store-led initiative, the chain boosted sales per square foot by more than 14 percent inside nine months, and it showed a profit for the first time in five years. We have observed comparable results in Europe and North America. One large European grocer gained a full percentage point in market share in its hotly contested market within six months..

The essence of such change initiatives lies in the deliberate, choreographed coordination of three concepts that previously had been used only selectively, in isolation, or outside the framework of a sustainable, system-wide change effort..

Anchoring the effort is the “Transformation SWAT team”—a carefully selected group whose job is to lead and embed sustainable change. Unlike typical change-management teams, these SWAT teams include high-potential middle managers who have a deep understanding of commercial and operational realities..

The second element is “stores of learning”—a small selection of representative stores that serve as centers of excellence. The goal is to rapidly pilot new operational and commercial practices, provide a visual look-and-feel trigger point to improve team culture, and to educate, inform, and excite senior store operators. The third element is fast rollout across the chain, spearheaded by the store operators themselves..

We’ll examine each of those transformation levers after a brief look at the context of retail challenges today…

Inverting the Business Pyramid :

Successful retail leaders are all “fluent in floor.” They can discuss, with authority, stockout rates in each store. They have a good sense of how customers are helped in stores. They’re likely to have ridden in a supplier’s truck, so they’ve seen how products are sorted, packed, and loaded at the distribution center—and how efficiently products are unloaded, unpacked and stocked at the stores..

That kind of store-led approach is needed to resuscitate grocery and mass-retail chains whose performance is sagging and that face tough online competition and upstart specialists. Yes, top-down approaches are entirely appropriate for macrostructure decisions—how many stores are needed in the region, say—but increasingly, executives need to be directly in touch with employees and shoppers. They need to see stockouts and untidy shelves for themselves and to understand the root causes of those problems. Put simply: it’s necessary to turn the traditional business pyramid on its end. (See Exhibit 1.) This inverted model isn’t simply about a change in operation; it involves a new cultural paradigm that motivates employees to deliver results because they want to—not because they’re told to…

exhibit

Why Store-Led Change Is the Way to Go:

Store-led change involves testing and fine-tuning a series of interventions in a selected group of trial stores with an eye toward immediate impact. Senior managers can see the potential of the interventions and be confident that they will work. After that test phase, the interventions with the most impact are rolled out rapidly, in disciplined, systematic ways, to the whole chain. Each performance gain supports the funding of the next stage in the roll-out, funding the transformation through its early stages and eliminating the need to “go back to the well” for financing.

Store-led change also means developing a cross-functional approach, improving and building capabilities for the long term. This approach enlists not only the executives from commercial and operational leadership but also the store managers, along with representatives from support functions such as finance, IT, and human resources..

The THREE Cornerstones of Store-Led Change: Let’s examine what makes this approach work well.

A transformation SWAT team must lead the necessary changes. This group’s primary responsibility is to align the business structurally with the interface to the shopper; the SWAT team’s charter makes it accountable for achieving that objective and for piloting the necessary commercial and operational processes. The team is the spark and the propulsive power behind the store-led transformation effort.

To explain what the SWAT team is and does, it helps to explain what it is not. It’s not a group of “the usual suspects” from the executive team—talented but extremely busy leaders who would have to find time to lead the change initiative as yet another in a long list of projects. Instead, the SWAT team comprises motivated, proactive managers hand-picked for the duration of the change effort. It is critical that they be drawn from many operations and functions. Unlike many conventional top-down change teams, which often splinter quickly into functional hammers seeking nails, the SWAT team assumes and retains a function-agnostic stance that better serves the stores’ needs..

The approach also means that the SWAT team members can bear down fully on the change tasks. It is the perfect crucible for learning and leadership development: top managers soon see which team members are set for stardom..

The team’s members—high-potential middle managers, together with senior managers who are, in most cases, three levels below the CEO and are proxies for each top-management role—are tasked with selecting the test stores and deciding on the duration of the tests. Then, with input from the stores, the team develops a series of operational and commercial interventions that are designed to stimulate and sustain growth in sales and profitability. The team also liaises with the retailer’s regional and central teams to make sure that they are on board and to seek specific technical input and support as required..

It’s the SWAT team’s job to validate and approve the interventions using a proven business case or strong recommendation, and to design, develop, and secure approval of a detailed rollout proposal. The team also oversees the chain-wide implications of the program and remains accountable for the successful implementation of the transformation and for its financial success..

Stores of learning allow for safe experimentation. The stores-of-learning idea is essentially an incubator model in which a select few stores are designated as centers for experimentation and learning. With this approach, the proposed change levers—or interventions—are less likely to be caught in organizational treacle. This type of activity creates short-term value and provides the required funding for the more significant structural changes that will be needed to win in the medium term..

The fundamental concept isn’t brand-new, but it is new for retailers to run individual interventions in specific stores, measure the results, and then aggregate those results back in the stores of learning. And it is novel to ask the store teams to determine the priorities for change and to involve high-potential managers in the effort. Their involvement almost always accelerates the change effort..

We have identified FOUR Main Categories of intervention that collectively make a difference:

A Winning Culture – This intervention involves listening and learning from the store teams, helping them by reducing unnecessary work, communicating clearly with recognition and rewards, clarifying accountability and expectations, and creating values that resonate with the store teams and can become part of their everyday jobs. Little things add up: the more that retailers make job duties and expectations crystal clear and consistent, the better. The more that pointless work is minimized, the better employees like it. And the more that they’re listened to—and their ideas acted upon—the more they’ll be vested in the life of “their” stores..

Customer Focussed Opeartions – This intervention focuses on sales rather than waste, improves visibility of daily and weekly performance, prioritizes product availability, emphasizes cleanliness and queue reduction, and addresses labor scheduling. There is enormous potential here: these are the factors that shoppers notice right away. For instance, one grocery chain reduced the numbers of SKUs in some categories by as much as 30 percent and saw a 20 percent lift in category sales in some cases..

The Right Range at the Right Price – Here, the emphasis is on opportunities to improve merchandising impact; upgrade the quality, freshness, and value of items in departments such as fruit and vegetables and bakery; make progress with price laddering or private-label initiatives; and strengthen and simplify promotions. Another retailer that followed a store-led approach cut its numbers of promotions by almost a third, boosting sales growth and store productivity..

A Differentiated Look and Feel – The goals are for the stores to have open and welcoming entrances, clear sightlines and obvious navigation inside the store, legible communications about value and quality, well-planned category adjacencies, and effective macrospace allocation. At one retailer, a floor-up focus enabled the transformation team to quickly improve sight lines by lowering shelf heights, using large signage to improve customer navigation, and placing categories in more logical sequences..

The stores-of-learning concept turns the whole organization—not just store operations but everything from merchandising, marketing, and supply chain to IT and HR—into a laboratory..

Rapid rollout has an immediate impact. To deliver top-line sales growth fast, the transformation project must transition rapidly from stores-of-learning pilot status to a scalable rollout across the whole chain. (See Exhibit 2.) Many of the interventions can be activated immediately, delivering quick impact on customer and team morale and yielding sales gains that range from 3 to 12 percent..

exhibit

The reason why rapid roll-out works so well is that it is led by the stores. It is common for retailers to feel that the process should be led by the organization’s center. However, we have consistently observed that a regionally dispersed model—in which stores of learning serve as “universities for change”—results in more accurate, consistent, and sustainable results precisely because it is operator led..

Some interventions are immediately scalable: with product availability, for example, simple interventions in store procedures and in accurate measurement give immediate results. In the case of one retailer, we saw a 1.5 percent improvement in shelf availability. Other interventions require more fundamental organization design changes: for instance, promotional execution and supply-chain delivery windows can yield strong returns but only after several central functions have rejiggered their operational procedures..

Roll-out has to be systematic, led by the stores’ operators and guided by a clearly communicated methodology…Two Roll-out techniques work well :

  1. Keeping the stores of learning close together so that results are seen and best practices can be shared and acted on quickly
  2. Enabling the first store of learning to support and train a carefully designated group of other stores—perhaps those served by the same distribution center or that are located in the same metropolitan area—so that the roll-out requires a very light touch from headquarters

In turn, the first groups of stores that take part in the roll-outs train the next groups of stores until the roll-out is complete. Done right, the momentum of the roll-out is palpable and energizing in itself..

Now is the time to get back to the basics of retail—one store at a time. By tapping the energy, courage, and commitment of a transformation SWAT team—first, in the selected stores of learning—and mapping and rapidly implementing rigorous roll-out strategies, retailers can look forward to the kinds of performance gains that their shareholders have been expecting all along..

If they truly understand the business from the Store-Level upward, #Retailers can more easily jump-start their transformations…

A choreographed approach, featuring the coordination of the THREE Store-led Concepts described in this article, is what is needed to deliver quick, positive impact, creating the breathing room—and generating the funding—needed to galvanize other crucial transformation initiatives….!!

“Corporate Team-Building”: Exercises in “Workplace Collaboration” | by: Edward Iwata | Concordia

Team-building may be the most studied and elusive concept in the management and leadership field…Clearly it remains one of our most valuable practices. And it applies equally to companies and nonprofits, to small groups and large organizations..

#TeamWork, influences nearly all of us in our lives and careers…Think of the many scenarios that involve successful (or failed) team-building : Job-related projects and partnerships…College studies and internships…Volunteer church or school activities…Sports teams and performing arts groups..

As management consultant Patrick Lencioni writes in “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, #Team-building “remains the ultimate competitive advantage because it is so powerful and so rare.” If an organization and its people can work toward the same goal, it can whip any competition and rule any market or industry, according to Lencioni…

Teams have been around for centuries, since ancient humans hunted and farmed together. Team-building grew in complexity through the Industrial Age, mass manufacturing and the computer era. Globalization and competition among the United States, Japan and Germany raised team-building to an even higher level, according to Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley, co-authors of “The New Why Teams Don’t Work.”

For certain, all employees can use team-building skills, including the setting of tasks and goals, building trust and community, communicating well and tapping into diverse thinking and backgrounds.

Benefits of collaboration illustrate value of Team-Building:

Why do we rely on Teams so much ? For many reasons, according to Robbins and Finley :

  • Teams save money.
  • Teams increase productivity.
  • Teams improve communications.
  • Teams create better-quality goods and services.
  • Teams lead to improved processes.

Similarly, the best teams share concrete goals, develop trust, define their roles as team members and engage in clear communication and other team-building practices, say Charlene Solomon and Michael Schell of RW3, an online cultural training firm.

Team-building approach helps multiple industries:

Strong team-building can be found in every field and industry. In healthcare, for instance, hospitals are finding that well-run, interdisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals may reduce costs, improve the treatment of patients, shorten their average hospital stay and even reduce death rates, according to AMNHealthcare.com.

More hospitals — from Long Beach Memorial Hospital in Long Beach, Calif., to Unity Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. — are deploying teams of doctors, nurses, administrators, social workers, pharmacists and case workers who meet throughout the day to share information and assess patients.

At the Cleveland Clinic Center for Multidisciplinary Simulation in Cleveland, Ohio, doctors, nurses and administrative staff train as teams in the clinic’s simulation center. They study and review their performance in simulated medical situations, such as stroke or heart attack patients arriving in the emergency room.

In the nonprofit world, the Children’s Defense Fund in New York City became a leader in child health issues by using cooperation and team-building with government agencies, labor unions, churches, daycare centers and other partners, according to a report by Venture Philanthropy Partners and McKinsey & Company.

The fund quickly achieved its first goal: to increase the percentage of children receiving proper vaccines, as the percentage of vaccinated children in New York City rose from 52 percent in 1995 to 85 percent in 2001. Then the organization and its partners went further, persuading Congress to fund the multibillion-dollar Children’s Health Insurance Program for youth nationwide.

The team- and alliance-building strategies of the Children’s Defense Fund “allowed it to tap into the strengths of existing organizations without threatening them” and also “add value to the whole (child health) sector,” according to the McKinsey & Company report.

Global teams can outperform Local Teams:

In global business, well-run teams based around the world can significantly outperform and collaborate better than local teams, according to a study of 80 software development teams by Boston Consulting Group and business professors.

The study looked at 28 research facilities in the United States, China, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany and other countries. The researchers found that virtual teams with strong task-related processes — mutual support, work coordination, open communication and full contributions from team members — performed more strongly than local teams.

“Managers have typically viewed dispersion as a liability rather than an opportunity,” the authors of the study point out. “But dispersion can provide substantial benefits if companies can take advantage of the diversity and varied expertise of team members at different locations. … Our research shows that virtual teams can outperform their (local) counterparts when they are set up and managed in the right way.”

What causes setbacks in Teams:

Team-building isn’t easy, of course. Unless it is encouraged and practiced widely by an organization, many employees will work only with their goals in mind, with little interest or incentive in broader teamwork throughout the workplace.

Even well-meaning teams suffer severe setbacks. In their study of 55 teams, London Business School professor Lynda Gratton and Tamara Erickson, president of the Concours Institute, found that collaboration and cooperation decreased when:

  • Teams grew larger, especially over 20 members.
  • Teams became more virtual and spread among many locations.
  • Team members had higher education levels and a greater proportion of experts with specialization.
  • Teams had a higher proportion of strangers and a greater diversity of backgrounds and experiences.

In studying successful teams, however, Gratton and Erickson found that team leaders and employees leaped past obstacles by focusing on key factors, such as:

Building and investing in “social relationships throughout the organization” :

At Royal Bank of Scotland, new corporate headquarters near Edinburgh featured an indoor atrium with shops, restaurants, biking and jogging trails, athletic facilities and green space for picnics and barbecues. The goal: to create more open communication, a free flow of ideas and a sense of community among employees.

Training in team-building skills:

It’s not enough to encourage employees to collaborate. They must be trained in the skills of collaboration, from conflict resolution to building personal trust. PricewaterhouseCoopers, for one, trains its employees worldwide in networking, coaching, communicating values, having difficult conversations and other team-building practices.

Using leaders who are task- and relationship-oriented:

The most successful teams have leaders who are skilled at setting tasks and goals, and at building relationships and a climate of trust and goodwill. In performance reviews at Marriott, managers are assessed by their growth in both types of skills.

Moving up to ” Team-Learning “:

After Team-Building 101, some leadership experts recommend Advanced Team-Building in “learning organizations.”

In his classic leadership manual “The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook,” management consultant Peter Senge calls it “team-learning,” which involves high-level dialogue and group dynamics that go beyond simple agreement to create real alignment, or new ways of thinking and working as a powerful and unified whole.

In short, team-building won’t vanish soon…And leaders and employees who use the best team-building techniques are sure to strengthen their teams, colleagues and companies…

“7 Motivational Navy-SEAL Sayings” Will Kick Your Butt Into Gear : “Read this and Get going” | by: Brent Gleeson | Inc

Whether you are an #Entrepreneur, working in Corporate, or Building a #Start-up, it is imperative to continually seek New Ways to stay #Inspired and #Driven“Being a self-starter is a fantastic quality”, but we are all human and get distracted by the minutiae of our day-to-day responsibilities…!!

Here are “SEVEN Navy-SEAL sayings” I keep top of mind while moving toward achieving my Personal and #ProfessionalGoals…

1. The only Easy-day was Yesterday:

This is one of the more well-known sayings of the SEALs. When constantly pushing yourself to excel, there will be challenges that make every day a battle…As an entrepreneur, this concept keeps me motivated, because it puts things into perspective. If you wake up knowing that every day will pose new challenges and that you are ready to face them head-on, you will be well equipped to achieve any goal you set…

2. Get Comfortable being Uncomfortable:

One exercise in SEAL training is “surf torture.” You link arms with your classmates and stand, sit, or lie in the frigid Pacific Ocean until your body reaches the early stages of hypothermia. During the initial phases of training, you do this daily. Then you cover yourself from head to toe in sand and stay that way for the rest of the day. You might follow this with running the obstacle course, weapons training, or classroom time, but you are expected to push the discomfort aside and stay focused on the task at hand.

There have been many times as a business owner that I have been in very uncomfortable situations. That could be a difficult conversation with a team member, a lawsuit, or dealing with a demanding board member. Discomfort comes in many forms. But the more you embrace that as a reality, the wider your comfort zone becomes. This boosts confidence and provides the tools for facing even larger challenges down the road.

3. Don’t Run to your Death:

In SEAL teams, this is not a metaphor. When conducting raids that put you in close-quarters combat scenarios, restraint is often the best approach. Once you breach and gain entry to the target, being slow and methodical often wins the race. Hence the phrase, “Don’t run to your death.”

Knowing “When Not to Act” is as “important as knowing when to Push-forward”…Restraint is crucial for #BusinessLeadership…This is especially important if you are running or managing a rapidly growing business…Growth is fantastic, but smart growth is even better…Have a good plan, slow down, grow intelligently, and never, ever, run to your death.

4. Have a shared sense of purpose:

A shared sense of purpose is hard to continually communicate. The economy changes. New technologies emerge. Employees come and go. There are many moving parts, which is why it’s critical for the leadership to always be communicating the reality of the situation and what the “win” will look like when you get there. And, most important, what everyone’s role is in helping the team achieve that goal.

5. Move, Shoot, Communicate:

As a SEAL, you must be able to perfectly execute these three functions to ensure mission success. Move: You have to be able to work as one well-maintained mechanism with the ability to have constant fluid motion. Shoot: That’s self-explanatory. Communicate: All good teams have frequent, open, transparent communication. When the bullets start flying, everyone needs to know what the next move is.

The same philosophies apply in the fast-paced world of business and entrepreneurship. The team has to have the ability to communicate effectively to adapt to changing environments. Which takes us to the next saying.

6. No plan survives First Contact with the Enemy:

This is from Helmuth von Moltke, a German field marshal from World War I. Similar is this sentiment from Mike Tyson: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” That is why preparation and training are even more critical than planning.

When you have a team of the right people doing the right things, they will know how to adapt when the you-know-what hits the fan. And they will adapt with composure, not panic. This is why ongoing training and professional development are so important.

7. All in, All the Time:

I wanted to close with another one of the more well-known SEAL sayings. Just being a good performer won’t cut it to make it into the SEAL teams. You have to give everything you have just to make it to the next day. Just like managing stress, you have to focus on one piece at a time. So don’t worry about the test you have in the afternoon. Your goal is to make it to breakfast. Then lunch, and so on…!!

Whether you are building a start-up, leading a team in a large organization, being an active parent, battling cancer, or training for a triathlon, it’s got to be all or nothing. Mediocrity and moderation won’t get the job done. Give everything you do everything you’ve got.

My heart welled with pride when I heard my 8-year-old son’s flag football coach give the team one last piece of advice in the last couple minutes of its championship Super Bowl game. He said, “Now is the time to dig deep”…

Leave everything you’ve got on that Field…If you do that, “Win or lose”, you will be the champions..” So whether you are 8 or 58, “get Comfortable being Uncomfortable”, get well prepared, and “be all-in, all the time”…!!

Things “Exceptional Leaders Do Better”: a “Distinction between Exceptional & Good”| by: Linda Finkle | Incedo Group

“Exceptional Leaders” do many things better than #GoodLeaders….For the purpose of this article I don’t think it’s necessary to define exceptional OR make a distinction between Exceptional and Good…!!

Each of us has our own definition that can be applied here. I’m sure we would all agree though that we recognize exceptional leaders when we see them, even if we can’t specifically define it…

Exceptional Leaders :

In my opinion there are some qualities that all Exceptional Leaders have…This list is not intended to be all inclusive OR suggest that Good Leaders don’t have some of these qualities. It’s my opinion only…!!

1. Communication skills are stellar. Exceptional leaders’ communication skills are first rate. It’s not that they write good emails or memos. It’s that they understand how important communication is. As an example, they listen exceptionally well and don’t make assumptions before asking questions. They use communication as a tool to drive their organization to success…

2. Delegation is second nature. Delegating is not something they think about, the just do it naturally. These leaders have learned that for the health of the organization and the individuals in the organization, including them that people need to grow and develop and this happens through delegation. Their own success is measured not by what they do but by what others accomplish through their guidance and leadership.

3. Failure is allowed. This is not to say that failure is accepted with an ‘oh well’ attitude. But exceptional leaders know that learning includes making mistakes. If there are no mistakes they are not taking risks. Bill McGowan, the founder of MCI had a sign in his lobby that said “Make Some Damn Mistakes”…His belief was if they weren’t making mistakes they weren’t taking risks. He clearly was a leader in both his style and vision.

4. Admit when they are wrong. No one is infallible…Even when with research and analysis as underpinnings of your decision making mistakes will happen. And we are all human…We overreact at times. We make assumptions and draw conclusions and act on those conclusions as if they were fact. Admitting when we are wrong whether it’s in a decision or action is a mark of an exceptional leader..

5. Building a culture of Fun, Creativity and Cohesiveness. Pick up a magazine or read something on the Internet and what are the common denominators of great companies? They create a culture where people can be creative and grow. The environment is fun and the team is cohesive….It’s not accident when this occurs, Exceptional Leaders build it..

Are you Good or Exceptional ??

As you read this list where do you see yourself ? Maybe you have some of these qualities already and can develop them further. What takes you from good to exceptional may be as simple as the frequency of your actions. For example: Maybe you delegate but only to a few key people. Or maybe you delegate but hold on to some things and assume you are the only one who can handle..

I encourage you to rethink some of your beliefs and see where you can move from good to exceptional. Like many things it takes a conscious effort. It will require you to step outside your comfort zone. I may even mean you have to accept failure in yourself…

There’s nothing wrong with being a good leader. Frankly I wish there were more ‘good’ leaders in companies….But if you want to grow and stretch yourself, if you want to see what your True Potential is then taking the step towards becoming an Exceptional Leader is what you need to do…!!

“Recruitment is Marketing”: “3 Changes” you Need to “make with Talent-Strategy”| by: Kevin Wheeler | ERE

Once upon a time we sold products much as we “Sell” Jobs & Organizations today…!! At the turn of the 20th century, merchants waited for a potential buyer to show up… The buyer was supposed to know what they wanted and ask for it…. Most of the merchandise was kept in drawers OR under the counter… A customer had to ask for something specifically and the merchant showed them only one particular item… There was no engagement, no selling, and no touting the benefits of the product…!!

But, soon department stores like Macy’s changed all this by displaying items openly, running ads targeted, in particular, to women. It offered well-known socialites the newest fashions and relied on gossip and word of mouth to attract new referral customers….Window displays created dream worlds and played to emotions. They encouraged salespeople to engage with the customers, build relationships, and even try on clothes or demonstrate the product…

“Recruitment has a Lot to Learn from this Story and from Marketing”…

Talent scarcities remain and the primary differentiator between companies is often only their brand, public image, and emotional appeal… Why work for Google over Facebook ? The pay is roughly similar, benefits are great, and management is similar…

The primary reason is a belief that one is in some way better than the other… This opinion is largely subjective, built or weakened by friends, and also partly built by the press and social media…

To create “differentiation” and “improve #CandidateEngagement”, Recruitment must morph into a #MarketingProcess…While there has always been an element of marketing in a good recruiting process, it has never been the core…

Most recruitment resembles the turn of the century store I wrote about above. It has been and still is centered around a recruiter. A person applies for the only position they know about. The candidate is a relatively passive element who the recruiter and subsequently a hiring manager interact with. Many jobs are not advertised at all or advertised only lightly. Others are advertised, but the descriptions don’t reflect reality. The job a person applies for may or may not be a suitable one, but only the recruiter makes that judgment.

A Recruiter generally decides if and for which job a candidate is best suited…. “The recruiter controls everything by reaching out, interviewing, and ultimately recommending the candidate”….The candidate’s role is to be compliant, somewhat subservient, and showcase his or her talent…!!

While there are better variations on this, it is a fair summary of most recruiting processes…

If the goal of recruitment is to bring the best possible people to the organization – the people who will accomplish the objectives, sell the product or service, design, and innovate — then to accomplish that goal we need to attract candidates from as wide a spectrum as possible and always have the attitude that by interacting together and learning more about each other, we can find a good fit.

There are “THREE Area” where Recruiting-Functions can begin to make the changes that will keep them relevant and useful…!!

DESIGN :

This will require some deep discussion about where recruitment can add real value. One of the ways is to enable potential candidates and people in the organization to share information, talk about the brand, about daily life, and about the good and not so good sides of working there.

Websites, social media, and communication tools need to be redesigned to deliver a personalized, customized experience to the candidate and go so far as to invite them into conversations with current employees or experts within the firm. Candidates should decide where to focus their interests and when to look for opportunities. It is the job of the recruiting folks to provide them with information about all the opportunities you have. There should be tools that let potential candidates screen themselves against a variety of job competencies and skills.

The usual, simple, and one-directional recruitment websites we are used to are not adequate… Even social media pages that are updated only occasionally offer little to no value to a candidate who is seeking current information or looking for help in understanding or needs a question answered…!!

Other aspects of Re-design include making job descriptions better indicators of what the work really is like, locating employees who are willing to talk with potential candidates, building referral programs that are engaging, and making sure mobile apps are appealing, easy to use and effective…

Be fully aware that candidates seek out information about the corporate culture and research who works at the organization by searching on LinkedIn….They check on Glassdoor to see what employees are saying….They look at social media, and their own network to become aware of issues, culture, working style, and even knowledge about who they will potentially work for and what that person is like…. There are no secrets and open communication is critical to creating trust…

DATA :

In order to build the most useful websites and social media tools, recruiters need information that is gleaned from data. Many corporate websites and social media sites collect data — number of hits, retweets, likes, clicks, and so forth, but few make much sense of the data.

Does it matter than one item was retweeted more than another? Do more Likes mean more hires? What data elements are most useful to predicting a good candidate versus a mediocre one? What content draws the most number of qualified candidates? When do people engage in the website and with who? And so on…

Every recruiting function needs to collect this kind of data and analyze it…Decisions about new content and areas to focus on can be made better and faster. You should have a data scientist involved who can help answer these kinds of questions. Perhaps you can pull together a cross-functional team made up of data scientists, IT folks, and marketing people to get the information you need to continuously learn and update your content, websites, and social media.

You can only target content and draw in the most qualified people when you have the right data…

ENGAGEMENT :

Using the tools and data that I have described, recruitment functions can become engagement hubs, information centers, and conduits. Employees and potential candidates can get to meet each other, learn from each other, and find ways to collaborate, whether it is as a full-time regular employee or as a part-time or sometime-employee or in some informal way.

Think of this as a journey. For some it will be the first time they have heard of your organization; for others, they will know some but not a lot. For others your firm may be an old story. But wherever they are, there should be compelling content, videos, and perhaps games or other tools that enlighten, engage, and keep them involved.

To do this will require redesigning the recruiting function and moving it from a transactional, sequential, one-directional process into one that is relationship-based, multi-directional — involving a cross-section of employees and potential candidates — and whose end goal is not necessarily a hire, but an engaged and interested person who might become a candidate at some point.

The formula for Recruiting Success is beginning to look a lot like a #MarketingStrategy :

Recruiting Success = Data + Targeted Content + Authentic Information +

Candidate Interaction + Candidate Experience + Brand

A note on Brand : Do not confuse what I am saying with #RecruitingBrand….Recruiters have spent too much time relying on their recruiting brand to differentiate themselves when, in reality, it is the ability to shape opinion, create emotion, and create authentic interaction between candidates and employees that leads to the best results….!!

#EmploymentBrand, is only a small piece of the equation…. For example, Macy’s brand is an important part of its success, but it also needs to make sure salespeople engage customers, that there are discounts, and enticements to come into the store. They need ways to solicit shopper feedback…

They need displays that “Create Emotion” and “Create a Desire to buy”….They also need to collect and analyze data about what customers buy, when they buy, what actions improve sales and inhibit sales, and so forth…A successful marketing or recruiting process is far more than just brand…!!

Do a “Snapshot-Assessment of your Talent-Function” with these “Powerful Business Impact-Metrics”| by: Dr. John Sullivan | ERE

In a world where it’s easy to get a “snapshot assessment” of your personal physical health or your organization’s Financial or IT Security Effectiveness, what could be more valuable than an Easy-to-Conduct Executive Level “#SnapshotAssessment” of Talent Management and HR  ??

Unfortunately I have found that most in HR are satisfied with a subjective OR Low-level #TacticalAssessment, which instead of #BusinessImpacts, covers spending efficiency, lean staffing, and whether managers and employees are satisfied with us…!!

In order to be considered as credible, instead this snapshot must be strategic, and it should mirror the executive snapshots that are available in finance, customer service, and IT… In order to assess how well you’re doing, a benchmark number must also be provided so that you can compare your results to your direct competitor firms..

I have included SIX-simple measures that themselves are enough to give you a Snapshot but Accurate View of Talent’s Business-Impact :

 

1. A high Revenue-per-Employee number is as an Easy-to-Compare Indication of a Productive and Effective Workforce  this “#RevenuePerEmployee ” workforce effectiveness measure will give you a quick, uncomplicated assessment of the value of your employee outputs by telling you how much revenue the average employee generates each year. Obviously the more revenue that the average employee generates, the more productive and effective your workforce is. Revenue per employee is listed as the first snapshot metric because it is an easy number to compare between competitor firms because financial websites like MarketWatch include it in their standard financial profile for each firm. That makes it incredibly easy to measure the increase in productivity over last year and to quickly compare the productivity of your workforce to your top five industry competitors. You calculate this ratio by simply dividing the number of employees into the company’s total revenue (company revenue/number of employees).. Make comparisons within the same industry, but the top benchmark revenue per employee number to compare yourself is Apple, where the average employee generates an astonishing $2.19 million in revenue every year. If you really need a rule of thumb, in most industries you would expect above-average firms to produce a revenue per employee that should exceed three times their average employee’s salary (at Apple it exceeds nine times).

2. A high ROI on workforce expenditures is an indication of efficiency– the revenue per employee measure listed above has a significant weakness in that it omits “the cost” of an average employee. And since the gold standard of efficiency assessment in any business area is ROI, which compares the cost of an item to the value of its output, if you have time to calculate it, the profit generated per dollar spent on employee costs is the next-most-valuable snapshot metric. This “ROI on workforce expenditures” is a more complex but more accurate measure because it includes the cost of employees (as opposed to just the number of employees) and it substitutes profit for revenue (a better measure of company success). You get this ROI ratio by simply dividing the dollars spent on your employees, known the Total Cost of the Workforce (which includes all salaries, benefits, and HR costs) into the company’s total profit for the year. Obviously the higher the ratio of profit generated per dollar spent, the more efficient you are. A rough estimate of Apple’s total cost of labor last year is $16 billion ($200,000 spent per employee) and dividing that into its profit of $37 billion gives you an astounding ROI of 2.3 to 1. At other firms, a ratio of .20 to 1 could be considered a minimum target. Unfortunately because total labor costs are not publicly available, you cannot easily compare your efficiency with other firms, so focus on year-to-year improvement, which means getting more profit from each labor dollar spent.

3. Effective workforce innovation will directly increase corporate revenue – once you determine whether your workforce is productive (i.e. effective and efficient), your next concern should be whether it is innovative. This is because innovations can produce up to five times the economic value that results from merely being productive. Rather than counting the number of ideas or innovations that are generated by the workforce, a superior success measure is to look at the impact of implemented innovations on corporate revenue. The revenue impact of innovations is important because you can’t consider an idea effective unless it is implemented and it has proven to be valuable by the marketplace. An innovative workforce generally produces high-value innovations, and as a result, a significant portion of corporate revenues will come from those new products. So the metric for assessing the impact of your workforce innovations is the percentage of corporate revenues that come from new products (i.e. products that were introduced or completely revised during the last 18 months). Once again the benchmark comparison number depends on the industry, but the revenue percentage from new products should be at minimum 33 percent in order to show that your recent innovations are being well received by the marketplace. Obviously the higher the percentage of revenue coming from these new products means that you are effectively pushing out my new products and services but that you are also obsoleting your own current products (which is a good thing).

4. Everything with a high business impact is prominently mentioned in the annual report – the fourth but the simplest measure covering whether you are considered to have a significant business impact is how prominently your results are displayed in the annual report. It’s a simple concept but legally companies are required to list their major accomplishments and problems in their annual reports.  So if you do not receive prominent coverage (number of lines or pages compared to other functions), either your function has only a minor business impact or you have somehow failed to demonstrate and quantify that impact to senior executives…

Focus Further Assessment Only on the Highest Impact Talent Functions:

After calculating these four strategic indications of talent management’s impacts on the business, there is a natural tendency to want to go further and to measure the efficiency of every individual talent function like engagement, leadership, T&D, and compensation. But you should avoid falling into the trap, because you can safely assume that Great Leadership, Training, Comp, #PerformanceManagement, etc…will directly lead to the improvement of your workforce productivity and innovation….However, if you want to go a step further, it is okay if you restrict your metrics to the highest impact talent areas.

A recent study by the prestigious Boston Consulting Group, out of 22 different #TalentFunctions, identified the ones that had the highest impact on revenue and profit….So if you want to directly assess the TWO Highest Impact-Functions, they were “Recruiting” (and the closely related employer branding at No. 4) and “Retention”….!!

5. Great recruiting and employer branding will result in a large number of applications and referrals – there are many indirect ways to measure recruiting and employer branding effectiveness, but the first revealing bottom line measure is the number of applications that your firm receives each year. This is because no matter what you or others have said, the only way to tell if your message has been effective is by the number of job applications you receive each year. The benchmark number to target is that you should receive the same number of applications each week as you have employees. Or if you’re curious about how your total number of applications compares to other firms, Zappos gets 31,000 each year, Yahoo gets over 600,000, and Google gets over 2 million. A related indicator of your employee brand strength is your employee referral rate. The referral percentage (out of all hires) is important because if you don’t like something, you certainly won’t recommend it to your top-performing colleagues. And if your morale, satisfaction, and engagement are low, you certainly won’t take the time to refer your most-admired colleagues. And so it makes sense to use the percentage of all hires that come from referrals as an indication that your employees like where they work. The benchmark standard is having at least 45 percent of all hires coming from employee referrals..

6. Calculating the $ value of top performer turnover will demonstrate a high business impact – losing key assets directly to competitors is never a good thing, so one of the key success measures of great talent management is how effective your firm is at keeping its highest-performing employees (i.e. those rated in the top 10 percent of performers in a job family). But listing that turnover percentage is not enough. You must go the next step and quantify the dollar impact of this loss if you want to ensure that you get the attention of your executives. To get the dollar value of turnover, multiply the number of lost top performers by the percentage of increased performance that you get from your top performers (it is usually assumed to be at least 10 percent above your average revenue per employee). Once again the target turnover percentage varies by industry and the current unemployment rate, but the best firms overall routinely hit below 5 percent and the top performer turnover rate should be half of the standard rate. A low turnover rate viewed independently cannot not be an automatic indication that your firm is a great place to work because there is an important caveat regarding low turnover. If your firm has a relatively low turnover rate but it doesn’t have a relatively high employee productivity rate or a high job application rate, this low turnover rate could be an indication that your employees either simply have little initiative or that they are not desirable in the marketplace…

You May Be Tempted to Look Further at Other Metrics, But Don’t :

There is a tendency in talent management to use way too many metrics, so be careful about adding any more to this short business impact list. While it is of course okay to measure common tactical metrics including time to fill, training hours, employee engagement scores, and other factors, be aware that these are tactical metrics not strategic impact metrics…

Use these tactical metrics for internal continuous improvement purposes, but the bottom line is if you train, develop, move employees, and hire effectively, these successes will all improve the above business-impact measures…

Final Thoughts :

No matter what metrics you pick, executives won’t find them credible unless they have been fully vetted by the CFO (the undisputed King of Metrics). As a result before you go very far in creating your snapshot assessment, work with the CFO’s office to ensure that they support the metrics you selected, their formulas, the methods for gathering the relevant data, and the benchmark comparison number that will be used to judge yearly success against.

You should then run these metrics by a sample of managers and executives, so that you can identify all of their questions and concerns and be able to answer each one whenever you present your snapshot metrics…

After calculating issue your metrics, if you find that your firm is simply not competitive, you then must ask yourself : what the Top-Firms are doing in #TalentManagement, that you are not….??