The Future of Work Podcast With Jacob Morgan | Futurist | Workplace | Careers | Employee Experience & Engagement | (general)

Leena Nair is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Unilever. Since 1992, when she joined Unilever as a trainee, Leena has had many firsts to her credit. Prior to her current role, she undertook a wide range of HR roles in India  and currently, she is the first female and youngest ever CHRO of Unilever.

Unilever is a Dutch-British transnational consumer goods company co-headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands and London, United Kingdom. Its products include food, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. It is the world's largest consumer goods company and is also the world's largest producer of food spreads, such as margarine. With 170,000 employees, Unilever is one of the oldest multinational companies; its products are available in about 190 countries.

“I can’t talk about being ‘more human’ if I am not living it every minute of the day.” Leena’s commitment to creating a more human experience is embodied in the way she functions each day. She gives 100% of her attention to the people she is meeting with each day – she doesn’t carry a phone to check emails, instead she waits until the evening before handling them.

Leena gives 3 main steps to being human:

  1. Find your purpose in the organization you work
  2. Cultivate a feeling of well-being
  3. Have the capacity to learn and relearn

How do we get leaders on this journey towards being more human?  Most managers are going through the same feelings as employees. They are required to do more, with fewer resources and are left feeling anxious. Encourage them to recognize their feelings and understand these are the same feelings as their employees are dealing with each day. As companies have become more focused on becoming more human, health care costs have been reduced. Productivity has gone up, pride in the company has increased – there are many positive aspects.

Unilever found that people were spending 2 million hours calibrating people, giving people labels and ‘putting them in boxes’.  Leena changed that by getting rid of the labels and boxes and instead asked the managers to spend the 2 million hour having conversations with people. She asked them to invest their time in the people, making HR much simpler.

 

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How to make an HR ‘more human
  • How Unilever is moving away from a vertical progression model
  • Leena’s 3 steps to making decisions
  • How to help people who aren’t comfortable being human at work
  • Things Leena and Unilever as a whole are doing to encourage human qualities at work

Links from the episode:

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/nairleena

Twitter: LeenaNairHR

Direct download: Leena20Nair20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:17pm PST

David Deming is the Professor of Public Policy, Education and Economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research focuses broadly on the economics of education, with a particular interest in the impact of education policies on long-term outcomes other than test scores. Before becoming a professor at Harvard, David attended Berkeley and Ohio State University where he was trained as an economist. He has always been motivated by policy oriented questions and how economics can affect the real world.

When asked if there is a skills gap, Deming indicated that if you look back to the job market 30 years ago organizations would hire people with few skills but then they would invest in those people to train them on the job. They were willing to take a chance on the new graduates. Now, the jobs are more fluid, employers don’t want to pay to train employees and then have the employees leave a short time later. So we have people graduating from school without skills but people aren’t willing to invest in them - we don’t have the ‘connective tissue’ to pull the two together.

One idea, Deming pointed out, is to develop a European style of building durable partnerships between universities and employers to bridge the skill gaps. They can share the cost and effort.

On the topic of Universal Basic Income, Deming said it has some ‘appealing aspects’, and it is transparent and easy to understand. He also maintains that it does not discourage work and in fact, has some appealing aspects. People talk about it as a solution of the ‘technological unemployment’ (which Deming does not think will happen). Everyone gets the base amount of money – so if you want to earn a lot of money then this won’t help. It is different than welfare. Welfare is a work disincentive because we only will give it to you if you are poor. Universal Basic Income goes to everyone regardless of the amount of money they have.

Deming gave some advice to organizations. He says, don’t be afraid to take a chance on somebody who doesn’t come from the standard background - but might be good a fit for you.

His advice for individuals is to try to be good at two things that are not common together. For example, a good coder who is also good social skills will be in demand and provide more opportunities.  

 

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What David sees for the future of higher education and whether or not traditional education institutions will exist in the future
  • The 90/10 gap in incomes
  • The role of AI and its impact on future jobs
  • Future job skill sets needed
  • What schools should be doing and whether or not they should look like a workplace
  • What skills should we learn in school and how quickly will they be obsolete
  • David’s view on the skills gap
Direct download: David20Deming20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:27am PST

Today my guest is Archana Singh, the EVP and Chief Human Resource Officer at John Wiley and Sons Publishing. Join us as we talk about what transformations Wiley is going through, why these transformations are important, how to create a sense of purpose for your employees and much more.

Today’s guest is Archana Singh the EVP and Chief Human Resource Officer at John Wiley and Sons Publishing. John Wiley was founded in 1807, and amazingly over 200 years later they are still going strong. They currently focus on business books, research and journal publishing with sizeable work around digital assets and learning, assessments and educational technology services, as well.

Wiley is found in 60 locations across 40 different countries, employing 5000 people. There has been significant growth in the last 15 years with a blending of digital and traditional higher education publishing.

How has worked changed?

1. There is more ownership as an employee of what is worked upon. Therefore, as an organization, how do we harness that? There is an increase need for us to understand this.

2. Everyone is seeking flexibility. How do we get our organizations to move to a more outcome based, rather than time driven focus? How do we change our dialogs to provide this flexibility?

3. People’s minds are more fragmented – they have so many things to do and worry about. How do we – as organizations – get the productivity that is needed? How do we harness this to create advantage for our organization?

What is the role of an employee?

Three things:

1. Employees want employers to care and encourage connectedness

2. They also wonder how they can participate in shaping the organization. They want to make an impact.

3. They also question - am I employable and am I learning enough? They want to feel they are being relevant - both internally and externally

Singh gives advice to companies looking to reinvent themselves. She says, to begin visualize what your mission is and where you want to be. Where do you want to be at the end of one year? In 5 years? She also states it is important to engage people and to hear what they think. Encourage employee participation and use a joint approach to identify what matters.

What you will learn in this episode:

* Initiatives going on at Wiley to continue to transform a company over 200 years old.

* What organizations can consider to transform their physical space without a budget

* The role of the mission statement on company culture

* Ideas of how to create a sense of purpose among your employees.

* Singh’s advice to companies who are looking to reinvent themselves

* How work has evolved

Quotes:

* Our true north is life-long learners - whether it is a researcher or a student - and they guide us in what we do

* There is an increased need for us to understand how to tap into this freelance energy.

* Every small thing we do is more important than ‘big bang’ programs.

Direct download: arch20singh20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:55am PST

David Klein, CEO and Co-founder of CommonBond discusses the exciting work culture and hiring process his team uses to bring in the best talent.  

David Klein is the CEO and co-founder of CommonBond, an online lending company for student loans.  It allows student to refinance their debt into a loan that consolidates several loans into one single loan and it provides a lower interest rate. David Klein co-founded CommonBond with two other MBA students whom he met in college when they realized there was a strong need for this type of service.  

CommonBond has around 80 employees and their corporate culture is very important to them. They were rated one of the 50 best work places by Inc Magazine. David Klein believes that creating a great workplace is largely dependent on employees and that is why hiring is so important to him. In the hiring process he looks for four qualities in every applicant. All new hires must have strategic acumen—really good business judgment and the ability to act independently—the ability to execute, internal drive, and good character.  

In creating the work culture, Klein and the rest of his team understand the importance of transparency. They hold weekly meetings on Fridays called Lunch and Learn where they spend the first 30 minutes listening to someone from the company talk about something new that is happening within the company and in the last 30 minutes they get to have a Q&A with Klein. During the Q&A session they can ask anything they want and Klein commits to giving them open and honest answers.  

They also have a social mission where they promise to give assistance to a student in need for every loan that they fund in the US. It is their way of giving back to the community and they are the first and only financial company to offer a one for one social mission.  

Some of the other unique things they are doing include a 12 week paid maternity leave and a 4 week paid paternity leave,  unlimited vacation, catered lunches on Fridays, student loan assistance and monthly happy hours called Common Brews. All of this is planned by their culture team, which is a team of people that is randomly selected from their employees and rotates every quarter. 

Their workspace is also worth mentioning as it speaks to the importance of transparency in the company. It is an open floor plan with high ceilings and wood floors. All of the conference rooms have floor to ceiling windows on 3 sides and they have common spaces with couches and chairs.  

In order to work with CommonBond one must go through a unique hiring process. It starts off familiar with a resume drop, a phone screen and then an in person interview, but if you move past this part it becomes different. In the last step of the interview process every new hire has to do what is called a prompt. They are asked one big question or a few meaningful questions and they have to present their answer in some sort of presentation. The presentation could include a PowerPoint, an excel spreadsheet, or anything else the person can come up with. These prompts give CommonBond insight into the new hire’s personality.  

So why do they spend so much time and detail in the hiring process and in creating an exciting work culture? Well, as Klein discusses, the more they focus on hiring and retaining great employees the more it creates a “self-fulfilling prophecy” where new people come in and they want to work at CommonBond because of the people they meet in the interview process. They want to work with smart, kind, compassionate, hard working people. And with this hiring process and work culture, those are the types of employees they bring in and retain.

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • Why it is important to focus on people and culture 
  • The unique hiring process at CommonBond 
  • What is CommonBond doing that landed them a spot on the top 50 best workplaces by Inc Magazine? 
  • Incentives and wellness programs CommonBond uses 
  • Four important attributes to look for in new hires 
  • The importance of transparency and how the leaders of CommonBond stay transparent to their employees 
  • The one of a kind social mission of CommonBond 

Link From The Episode:

CommonBond.co

Direct download: David20Klein20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07am PST

Ron Storn is the Vice President of the People department at Lyft. Lyft is a ride-sharing company based out of San Francisco, CA that unites technology and humans for more affordable rides. He has been with Lyft for 3 years and he is at the head of all of the recruiting and human resources for the company. Lyft has been around since 2007 and when they started they had 80 employees and now they have 1200.

Over the past 20 years the function of HR within companies has really changed. Back in the 1990s the HR department was more about execution. The head of the company would tell you who to hire and when and HR would do it, no questions asked. Nowadays it is more about being an integral part of the business and the HR department is more involved in the whole process. It doesn’t matter how good your business plan is in theory if you don’t have the people to pull it off.

With this shift in mindset about HR, companies have started spending more time figuring out how to attract and retain talent. The fast rate of growth at Lyft from 80 employees to 1200 in the last 10 years is a testament to their success with attracting and retaining employees. They are doing some really unique and effective things to get the best talent.

One hot topic nowadays is figuring out what Millennials want in a workplace. Storn states that there are three things that Millennials really want; they want to work with top notch people who they can learn from, they want to work on interesting things, and they want to have a connection to the company’s mission. Storn believes that Millennials are enthusiastic and passionate and they really want to make a difference. One of the issues companies have with Millennials is that they want to make a difference very quickly and then move on to the next thing, but the process doesn’t always happen as quickly as they want it to.

Lyft has some really unique internal programs that help create their corporate culture. One example is a tradition they have for new hires. Every two weeks they have an all hands meeting where the whole company comes together for a meeting. During this meeting they do a comedic roast of all of the new people.

Another program they have for new hires is an incentive to get to know other people within the company. They give the new hires a coffee card and tell them to take another employee who is not in their department out for coffee.

Storn says Lyft is set apart from their competition by their experience. They believe it is important to share stories with the employees to show that what they do affects their customers. One example of how a driver impacted a customer is shown in a story about a driver who was driving a passenger on Valentine’s Day. The driver handed the passenger a note that said Be My Valentine and the passenger started crying. The driver pulled over, turned off their meter and talked to the passenger for awhile. A few weeks later a friend of the passenger wrote a letter to Lyft thanking that driver for saving their friend as their friend had been contemplating suicide but felt touched by what the driver did.

Lyft also puts a lot of effort into creating a unique working atmosphere. At one of their buildings they have a secret Willy Wonka room where you push a picture to open up a door into a secret room. Their new building in Seattle will have a secret coffee bar. They also have a mixture of open and closed working spaces that allow employees to work in a space that is conducive to what they are working on. They really encourage collaborative working, so no one has an assigned office.

Lyft has four core values that they use to shape their corporate culture and employee experience. The four core values are be yourself, create fearlessly, uplift others, and make it happen. They want employees to come to work and be the same person as they are at home (they even allow dogs in the office). They encourage workers to feel empowered to fix problems on their own, focus on the team instead of I, and to do things instead of sitting back and waiting.

When it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent Storn advises managers to change their mindset and meet employees where they are at. It is important to appeal to what the employees are looking for. Make them feel like they are adding value to your company. For employees who are looking to have a better work experience Storn says make your voice heard. If you are looking for a new job, don’t focus on the job alone look at the company as a whole. He says, “Pick the company, not the role. The role will follow”.

 

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How HR is evolving
  • Employee Engagement vs. Employee Experience
  • How Lyft attracts and retains top talent
  • How can you help employees connect with the big picture
  • Find out what Millennials are looking for in a workplace
  • What unique techniques Lyft is using to improve employee experience
  • What can employees do if they are looking for a better employee experience

Link From The Episode:

Lyft.com

Direct download: Ron20Storn20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06pm PST

Marco Annuziata is the Chief Economist and Executive Director of Global Market Insights at General Electric. He is relatively new in the company, only having been there for 5 years in a newly created position. Marco is tasked with studying what is happening around the world and how it will affect employment, economies, and growth. He looks at the long term geopolitical, economic, social, and technological trends, then maps that to the risks and opportunities for GE's different businesses around the world. 

GE uses the Global Innovation Barometer to learn how people feel about innovation. It is a survey of business executives and the informed public across 26 countries that identifies the implications, obstacles, advantages of innovation. Marco's team uses the barometer to get a sense of what is happening globally and in each country. One of the key findings is surprising... people are generally optimistic about the 4th industrial revolution's affect on economic growth and living standards.
 
Marco's team essentially tries to predict the future based on the data from the Global Innovation Barometer. They build their own forecasts of growths, investment outlooks, and more. They can then bring insights to management and the rest of GE. It is a very demanding and fallible process, but extremely fascinating!
 
What you will learn in this episode:
What is the Global Innovation Barometer
Key findings of the Barometer
Marco's outlook for the U.S. economy
Automation
4th Industrial Revolution
Startup mentality
Talent acquisition
 
Links From The Episode:
 
 
Direct download: Marco20Annunziata20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:44pm PST

What this episode is all about and why you should Listen

Today I have an interview with Stephen Hoover, CEO of PARC a division of Xerox. PARC is the home of the Ethernet and many other Innovative tools that most people use every single day in the workplace. Stephen & I talk extensively about Open Innovation in the workplace. Open innovation is a very interesting topic and we get deep into what is going on, what is it, why it is happening, what are the trends that are driving it, what are the benefits of open innovation, the challenges, the impact & what organizations should be doing and what they should be thinking about.

Stephen Hoover explains what PARC’s take on the Business of Breakthroughs is all about. Find out what they are working on for the future of work. Stephen’s perspective is very intriguing and spot on with exactly what a forward thinking company needs to be doing and implementing. Discover what his number one tip is when it comes to having a Grand Vision. Stephen really believes that innovation is a contact sport. Find out how he is assisting PARC and their employees with having a Vision beyond what is in the everyday workplace. We explore the problems that arise with people who have an “I can do it all” attitude, and why in the real world you need the assistance of many other smart people to be successful when it comes to open innovation. Stephen talks about how to go out and find those smart people and create partnerships to accomplish open innovation. This conversation is very interesting both from a personal approach and a business approach.

What you will learn in this episode

  • What is Open Innovation?
  • Why is it happening?
  • What are the trends that are driving Open Innovation?
  • What are the Challenges?
  • What is the Impact in the workplace?
  • What should Organizations be doing with Open Innovation and what they should be thinking about.
  • Explore what PARC’s take on their very own philosophy is.
  • What are the problems with Open Innovation?
  • What you need to be thinking about when it comes to implementing Open Innovation.
  • Is personal innovation just as important as business innovation?

 

Direct download: Stephen20Hoover20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:48pm PST

What this episode is all about and why you should Listen

Today dive in with me as I sit down with Mary O’Hara, of Blue Cross Blue Shield of California on the topic of high performing teams and individuals in the future of work. Mary has a mass amount of insight when it comes to different techniques and everything that encompasses “touching the people” within an organization. She has great tips on Workplace Rewards and how to collaborate across an organization. Listen as Mary explains if she feels Employee Experience is more prominent now than it has ever been in the past.

All things effect different aspects of having a high performing team and individual in the workplace. Talent is extremely important when finding individuals that are at the heart of specific innovation & strategies which leads to less supply. You need to have an employee experience that is reflective in your specific marketplace. Mary shares with me how different industries have different pressure points, and when you have quality leaders in your organization you will differentiate yourself from other companies. Find out what the Lead of Excellence program at Blue Cross Blue Shield is all about. Mary is very knowledgeable on how important it is to grow strong leaders and stay on top of the employee experience in the workplace.

What you will learn in this episode

  • Workplace Rewards
  • How to Collaborate across an organization
  • How to create Trust amongst leaders
  • What is fundamental in creating a great employee experience
  • What’s going on in the SF Bay Area compared to the rest of the nation when it comes to labor market & cost.
  • Growing People from within
  • Developing Leaders
  • How to measure goals.
  • Why annual feedback is important.
  • What is a people management index?
  • Lead of Excellence Program
  • How to evaluate talent.
  • How can you be an enabler to execute what development needs to be done to accomplish the overall strategy.
  • Having better quality conversations and interactions with those within an organization.
  • What advice for employees to become High Performing Individuals?
Direct download: Mary20O27Hara20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:36am PST

My guest for this week’s episode of the Future of Work podcast is Michael Karnjanaprakorn, CEO and Co-Founder of Skillshare. For those of you looking to adapt and learn new skills, you will find this conversation quite interesting. Skillshare is an on-line platform where you can learn almost anything you need to stay relevant in today’s workplace. Michael and I look at why the future of work is all about teaching yourself and not relying on education institutions or organizations to teach us the skills, information and knowledge that we might need to be successful in life.

 

Why is it that we should be teaching ourselves? Michael talks about the common problems with learning and acquiring skills today. We look at the skills gap, gamification in the workplace, how demographics are changing, and what the future of learning is going to look like. Michael shares his insights taking a look at why creativity is so crucial for the future of work and what learning is going to look like in the next couple of years. Take a moment and listen to Michael’s thought-provoking insights into the future of learning, which I’m sure you are going to enjoy!

Direct download: Michael_Karnjanaprakorn_Podcast_DONE_WM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:15pm PST

I believe you will find this week’s episode of the Future of Work Podcast to be extremely fascinating, insightful and exciting. My guest is Tim Mulligan, Chief Human Resources Officer of San Diego Zoo Global. Most of my guests have been from large brands in very traditional business areas, such as technology, finance, etc. with employees that are typically from a primary group of knowledge. But, Tim is directly responsible for managing a wide range of employees in very diverse areas such as horticulture, botany, zoology, catering, retail, and animal trainers, to name a few. When you think about the future of work in that context, it is very different from the future of work in a company like IBM, Coca-Cola or any other company you may be familiar with. And, one would not think of a zoo as being one of the most forward-thinking and progressive organizations that is also ranked as one of the best places to work in San Diego.

 

Tim and I have a very, very interesting conversation concentrating on redefining culture to focus on performance. Tim has been with the company for quite some time and he shares with us what it was like when he first started and what it is like now; and why he had to move the corporate culture at San Diego Zoo Global to be more focused on performance. We get an inside look at the initiatives and innovations he has implemented around performance and accountability; employee engagement; talent management; Millennials, Baby Boomers and everyone in-between; the role of technology; and the evolution of management and leadership practices at the company. Listen in to Tim’s very unique and diverse experience that you will definitely learn much from. Enjoy!

Direct download: Tim_Mulligan_Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:49pm PST