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

Natalie Foster, the advisor to the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative, discusses the gig economy and our growing need to re-write the norms of how work gets done.  

Natalie Foster is the Advisor to the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative and the Open Society Foundations. She is a Fellow at the Institute for the Future and New America California and she co-founded and launched Peers.org. Natalie also previously served as digital director for President Obama’s Organizing for America and the Democratic National Committee. 

In the past it was considered normal for workers to stick with a job at one company for their entire career. Throughout the worker’s time at the company their benefits, such as healthcare, workers compensation, and paid time off was provided by the employer. The employee was taken care of until the time of retirement. Nowadays the gig economy is steadily growing, but where are these independent workers getting their “social safety net” of benefits?  

One of the goals of the Aspen Institute is finding a bipartisan solution to support independent workers and to re-think capitalism. They are trying to find a “portable, prorated social safety net” for these workers so that they can have a flexible job while still ensuring they have access to the benefits of traditional employment.   

One of the challenges in the freelance economy is our inability to fully comprehend the number of people who are actually working in the alternative work space. One reason for this challenge is the fact that there isn’t one agreed upon definition of this type of work. Just think about how many different titles there are out there for these types of workers. You have gig workers, freelancers, contractors, independent workers, entrepreneurs, etc..  

So what do we know about the alternative work space? Upwork did a study that found that 40 million Americans do freelance work. The GAO found that 40% of workers are involved in some sort of alternative work (this includes part time work). Also, the rate of adoption of digital markets has been going up over the past three years.  

Foster believes that if we had a choice, most people would probably choose the “American middle class job” that you keep your whole life and retire from. But she says that those types of jobs have gone away for the most part. What we see taking the place of these middle class jobs are large employers such as McDonald’s, Walmart and KFC who offer the lowest wages and very minimum benefits. They also do not give their employees any control over their scheduling and no flexible work options. This is one of the reasons that the alternative work space is growing. People who have traditional jobs can no longer make ends meet and they don’t have the flexibility they desire.  

In our move towards an alternative work economy we have to be able to re-write some of the norms to help independent workers get the same support as traditional employment. Foster talks about the changes we made in the work economy when we moved from an agricultural society to an industrial one. Things like the 8 hour workday, paid vacation, and not working on weekends were all things that were not in place when we worked in the fields. Now we are going through another shift so we have to figure out how to create a new set of norms.  

The solution is to find a way to extend the “safety net” we have in traditional workplaces and offer it to the 40% of workers in the alternative workspace. Foster says there is already a model that is being tested by the New York BlackCar Service where there is an extra 2 ½% added to all payments that goes into a fund the company has in order to provide workers compensation to all of their drivers. Perhaps the same type of model could be incorporated into platforms such as TaskRabbit or Upwork where a percentage of purchases are put into a company wide fund in order to provide health insurance, paid time off, or sick days for their workers. Uber is also taking a step forward by accepting an independent drivers guild in New York that they will start using next year.   

Foster also mentioned that over the last 40 years our GDP has gone up and up but our wages have been going down and down. She believes there could be a way that everyone could share in this value that we as a country are creating. The alternative work space is growing, so it is important for us to find ways to supplement benefits that in the past have been provided by traditional employment. This move forward will take a change in policies, an acknowledgment of this change in our economy and a step forward by employers.  

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • We take a look at the social safety net and international income 
  • Find out what the skills gap is and what is going on there 
  • How portable retirement and benefits programs could impact the future of work 
  • Gig economy vs. broader alternate work arrangements 
  • How big the gig economy really is  
  • Social policies and how the workplace is changing 
  • The breakdown in the employee and employer relationship 

Links From The Episode:

Natalie Foster on Twitter

The Aspen Institute: Future of Work Initiative

Direct download: Natalie20Foster20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:41pm PDT

Karyn Twaronite, the Global Diversity and Inclusiveness Officer at EY talks about the importance of having a diverse organization, how to measure diversity in your company, and what steps you can take to move forward in this space.  

Karyn Twaronite is the Global Diversity and Inclusiveness Officer at EY, formerly Ernst and Young. EY provides auditing, accounting, tax, due diligence, mergers and acquisitions and advisory services to companies of all sizes around the world. They have 230,000+ employees in over 150 countries. One thing that makes EY unique is that two thirds of their employee population are members of Gen Y.  

Twaronite’s role at EY is really about helping the company to appreciate the unique differences and talents of all their employees in over 150 countries. She and her team help EY learn how to allow teams to best leverage those differences in order to create higher performing teams who can provide the best client service, innovations and creative problem solving techniques. This process doesn’t just stay in the talent department. Inclusiveness and diversity affects client relations, human resources, quality of service and market/brand recognition.  

How does EY make sure that their team is diverse and inclusive? As Twwaronite mentions, diversity and inclusiveness in itself is very simple, however it is made into a complicated issue due to our human nature. EY has locations all across the world and so they deal with all different types of mindsets when it comes to the subject of diversity. Some countries are more open and excited about it than others. Overall, EY takes a look at their company as a whole with studies, surveys, discussions and data to find where they have gaps in areas where they could be doing better. Once they find those areas it is important for them to implement change from the top of the company down. Twaronite says at EY benefits are for everyone, not just some people. They go to great lengths to make sure they look at not just the typical subjects of diversity such as gender and nationality, but also areas such as educational experiences and differing areas of expertise.  

When looking at diversity programs Twaronite says there are 3 Cs, compliance, character, and commerce. When diversity programs first started it was all about compliance. Companies were focused solely on numbers, and while that is still important to look at, it cannot be the full picture. The second C is character. It is important for your company to take at look at itself and figure out if diversity and inclusion is something you care about and believe in. This step is very important, but again it is not the full picture. The third C is commerce and it is something that is fairly newer. It is being able to look at diversity in how it impacts your topline and bottom line. How are you attracting talent, are you attracting diverse talent, do you have representation of a lot of countries around the world? This is not only important in regards to employee experience, but also in the way of quality of service for clients. Clients nowadays are looking for diversity in teams. EY has noticed that clients pay attention to the diversity of their teams and they have several examples of how their diversity has won clients over.  

How can your company measure diversity? There are several ways, but one of the most valuable things you can do is have your employees talk about themselves and their past experiences. Sometimes a team that looks homogeneous may be more diverse than you think. It is also important to conduct surveys, look at trends in your market, and keep track of data analytics.  

There is still a long way for us to go globally to make improvements in the way of diversity and inclusion. There was a study done in February that was sponsored by EY where 22,000 companies from 90 different countries were studied and two major things were determined. First of all they found that 50% of these companies had no women in management positions. Secondly, they found that companies with management teams made up of 30% or more of women had 6%+ more net margin.  

The problem is that as humans we have biases and preferences and moving past these can be very difficult. Learning to work with a diverse team of people who have different mindsets, backgrounds, and experiences can make the process longer and trickier. Also, not all companies have the awareness and education needed to understand how to put diverse teams in place. But companies need to realize that the results are far more successful than with homogeneous teams.  

When you implement diversity and inclusion into your company you improve employee experience. Employees are more successful when they feel that they can use their unique strengths and skills everyday. Also, when companies are more inclusive their employees feel a sense of belonging which is extremely important in building trust and productiveness.  

What steps can companies take to become more inclusive and diverse? Twaronite gives three pieces of advice. First, look outside of yourself. Make sure you look at your industry and market to see what other companies are doing. Find some companies that you admire in this capacity and learn what programs and policies they have in place. Second, look inside of your company. Find some problems within your company that you want to solve. Find the most critical gaps and focus on those. Do you need to improve how your team deals with customer needs? Do you need to better balance out your teams?. Third, use data to measure your growth. Listen to your employees, conduct surveys, pay attention to analytics to make sure you are not just putting a plan into place, but that you are taking action.  

 

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • Why diversity and inclusiveness are so important for companies today and in the future 
  • How you can measure diversity 
  • What actions EY is taking to ensure they are diverse and inclusive 
  • How we measure up globally in the way of diversity 
  • What steps you can take to make your company more diverse and inclusive 
  • The benefits of having a diverse company 
  • What challenges stand in the way of making companies more diverse and inclusive 

Links From The Episode:

EY Diversity And Inclusiveness

Karyn Twaronite On Twitter

Direct download: Karyn20Twaronite20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:56pm PDT

Tom Gilovich is a professor of Psychology at Cornell University with an interest in judgement and decision making. He is also the author of the book, The Wisest One in the Room: How You Can Benefit from Social Psychology’s Most Powerful Insights. He has studied many different facets of social psychology including sports decisions, political judgement and decision making, and relationship decision making.  

What is the difference between wisdom and intelligence? A lot of aspects go into defining wisdom, but in short intelligence is more about being book smart and wisdom is more about being people smart. To have wisdom you have to be knowledgeable about people; why they do what they do and think what they think.    

How can this be translated to the workplace? Gilovich discusses what managers normally do when employees are not performing as well as they should be. Most managers try to change the employee’s behaviors by pushing them in the direction the manager wants them to go. They push them with incentives, punishments, or motivation. But Gilovich says most of the time the poor performance isn’t due to a lack of motivation, it’s because the employee has a hard time “translating their good intentions into effective actions”. So instead of pushing, it is important for leaders in the workplace to understand their employees and to find ways to help their employees put their intentions into action.  

Another subject that deals with understanding how people think and act is discussed in an article where Gilovich talks about the difference between experiences and material things and how they impact our happiness. He found three things to be true. Experiences connect us to other people more than material goods do, we are less comparative with experiences than with material things, and experiences contribute more to our identity than material things. In the end he found that people get more enduring happiness from experiences than material things.  

Could this principle be used in organizations to make employees more happy and content with their jobs? We spend a majority of our time working, and yet it seems that most people become more and more dissatisfied with their jobs as time goes on. Perhaps if we could find a way to make work more of an experience people would enjoy their jobs and their satisfaction would grow over time. But who is responsible for this change, the employee or the employer? Perhaps a little bit of both. It is important for both parties to be a part of this change. Employers should focus on creating a better employee experience, however up to this point the responsibility has been put on the employer alone. It is also up to the employees to change their outlook.  

Gilovich gave an example of two janitors working at Nasa, when asked what they do for a living one janitor said “I clean the floors and empty the trash” the other janitor said “I help put people on the moon”. Both janitors were correct, except one looked at the simplistic version of the job whereas the other one looked at the bigger picture. One of these two janitors is going to have a greater sense of purpose and a better employee experience based on their outlook.  

Another thing we have to understand is that there are times when we misevaluate things in our lives. Gilovich gives the example of riding a bike. When you are biking and you face the wind you cannot deny it is there; it is in your face and you feel it. However, when you turn around and have it at your back you are grateful for a minute but then you don’t even notice it after awhile. This demonstrates how the things we have to overcome are the things we pay attention to, because we have to. Those hard times in life or the barriers that stand in the way of our happiness, we have to focus and work hard to overcome them. But the things in life that give us “a boost”-- a pay raise or a new car, the good times--those are the things that are easy to forget.  

Because we easily forget the good, easy times we have the tendency to look at others (possibly co-workers) and feel that the other people have better lives. We have a tendency to claim life is “unfair” when we see others get raises, promotions, or good things in life.  

How can we be the wisest one in the room and put it into practice in the workplace? We spend about 30% of our lives in the workplace, so happiness and fulfillment at work are important. In order to improve the employee experience it is important for both employers and employees to focus on cultivating experience. How can employees have a sense of purpose at work, how can employees and employers connect and form relationships, and how can employees attain more freedom while still performing their job? All of these things play into the big picture of employee experience and how to be the wisest one in the room.  

 
 

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • The difference between wisdom and intelligence 
  • Why we misevaluate certain things  
  • Strategies and techniques to use to be the wisest person in the room 
  • How experiences have a different effect on us than purchasing material things 
  • How motivation impacts workplace 
  • Who is responsible for creating a sense of purpose; the employee or the employer 
  • Biases we are subjected to 
  • What is naive realism and how can we avoid it? 

Link From The Episode:

The Wisest One In The Room on Amazon

Direct download: Tom20Gilovich20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

So in this EM world, what would EMs do? In Hanson’s view they would take over all of the work form the humans. Some EMs would do virtual jobs and some would do physical jobs, therefore they would be able to switch from a physical form to a virtual form in an instant as we are able to get in and out of our car to go somewhere. EMs would live mostly in city centers and interact with each other as humans do.

And what would humans be doing during this time? Well, first they would all have to retire. After EMs are around humans wouldn’t be able to compete for jobs so they would retire to live off of their savings and live a life of leisure. Hanson believes some humans would have money from creating EMs, because in the beginning the people who are the best in their fields would be sought out to scan their brains for EMs earning big money. Later on younger people would most likely be sought out to create EMs as they would be able to learn new things the quickest. Some may also make money from investments or have money saved up. Those who don’t have money at this time probably wouldn’t survive, it would just depend on how areas would take care of each other, divide money, and provide for humans. EMs would most likely run 1,000 times faster than humans so they would evolve much more quickly than humans have. Therefore, the EM Age may only last 1-2 years so in that time humans probably won’t have time to change much.

There are different views that people have when they read about EMs, either they think it is fun and exciting to learn and think about or they think it is crazy or scary or impossible. For people who think it is impossible, Hanson explains that we have had 3 major eras of humans; Foragers, Farmers, and Industry and in each era there has been a sudden change to bring about the next era. So the next era after ours could be the EM Age. People who lived 1,000 years ago would probably think that the innovations we have today are crazy or impossible. Regardless of what the future holds it will still be strange to those of us who are living in the current era.

Hanson’s book touches on several aspects of the EM Age including the basics, organization, economics, sociology and physics. In the way of physics Hanson touches on things such as the relationship between the body size and mind speed of EMs as well as the energy and cooling usage that the EMs would need.

In the section on economics Hanson discusses many things including the fact that EMs will happen when it is feasible to make them at a low cost. Even if we had the technology now to create them, it would be too expensive. It would have to cost as much as or less than it costs to pay humans to do those jobs now.

When Hanson talks about organization he talks about how EMs will have similar units as we have among humans; cities, families, firms. However they will also have clans. Clans will be EMs that are copies of the same human and they will be more identical than twins. And in the section on sociology Hanson talks about how sex and mating will be different for the EMs. On the one hand they are a copy of humans and therefore it would be ingrained in them to have a need for love, sex and connection. However there would be factors that would make this difficult such as their work drive not allowing them to focus on anything else and the fact that the ratio between male and female probably wouldn’t be equal.

Many people may ask how could we get a future that no one wants. It is hard to imagine anyone in today’s age that would want all humans to have their jobs taken over by machines and the possibility that humans would be without money and therefore not be able to survive. However, it would not be a result of what we all want together. No one is choosing technology collectively; it’s not something we vote on or agree on. It is done by individuals who are innovating things in order to move forward and make money. The EM Age could come as a result of decentralized competition. Each of us trying to individually get what we want could end in all of us together getting what we don’t want.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Find out what an EM is
  • What the next 100 years look like with Ems
  • Why should we care about EMs now
  • How robots and automation will affect the way we live and work in the future
  • Find out how EMs are different than automation and AI
  • How will EMs live and work
  • What the role of humans will be in an EM Age
  • What would be needed to create an EM Age

Link From The Episode:

The Age of Em on Amazon

Direct download: Robin20Hanson20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:21pm PDT

Arun Sundararajan is the author of The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism. He is a professor of business at the Stern School of Business at NYU. He is interested in researching how digital technology brings about change in our economy and he has published over 50 scientific papers and over 30 op-eds on subjects related to this research.  

The sharing economy is a very hot topic at the moment. How will the sharing economy evolve? How will it impact traditional jobs? How many vendors will succeed in this type of economy? Although we are still in the very beginning stages of this type of economy, Arun Sundararajan’s extensive research allows us to take a deeper look into what a sharing economy actually is and what the future of this space looks like.  

When asked what the sharing economy actually is, Sundararajan says he believes that a sharing economy has at least 5 characteristics. One of the characteristics is that a sharing economy takes an activity that was once provided by a large institution and takes it to a marketplace type environment. One example of this is shown in hotels vs. Airbnb. Not long ago if you were traveling out of town most likely you would stay at a large hotel chain such as Hilton or Holiday Inn. Nowadays Airbnb has become extremely popular. So instead of staying in a large hotel chain owned by a large corporation, people are using the marketplace type platform of Airbnb to stay in other people’s houses.  

Another characteristic is that there is a blurring of lines between personal and professional. Companies like Uber and Airbnb are a great example of this. We are using these professional platforms for things that we used to only do on a personal level with friends or family. We are getting a ride from a stranger or staying in a room in a stranger’s house.  

Some of the other characteristics he touches on are that we are using assets more efficiently and therefore there is an increase in impact in capital of labor of assets, there has been a shift in who is providing the services, meaning a job that used to be done by a group of highly trained professionals is now done by a distributed group of people who may not have had any specialized training, and there is a blurring of lines between professional full time work and casual freelance work.  

When talking about the sharing economy it is important to note the advances and innovations that have allowed us to get here. One of the important advances that is necessary for a sharing economy is a comfort with digital platforms. The fact that we have become so used to and dependent on digital platforms such as Ebay, Craigslist and Amazon has played into the growth of the sharing economy. We have become very comfortable with using technology in our everyday life.  

Another innovation that had to come about before we could have a sharing economy is the GPS. There are several platforms such as Uber that would not work without GPS. Which leads into another innovation that is essential to a sharing economy, and that is the Smartphone. The Smartphone makes it so easy and convenient for people to connect to platforms such as Uber, Upwork, Airbnb, etc… 

Another important aspect of our move towards a sharing economy was trust. Even 20 years ago we didn’t have the trust needed to allow a sharing economy to succeed. Platforms such as Ebay and Craigslist eased us into this trust several years ago. People were able to purchase items to be sent to them and the trust needed was fairly limited. You needed to trust that they would send the products on time and in good condition, but there really wasn’t much risk involved. Now, our trust level has gone up to the point where we are now allowing individuals to come into our home to paint or clean or we are putting ourselves into a stranger’s car. 

Even though it has taken a lot of innovation and forward moving to get where we are, Sundararajan feels that we are coming full circle back to the work model of the 18th century where transactions were peer to peer. The only difference is now we are putting platforms in between the individuals. The sharing economy is like a hybrid between the 18th century marketplace and the 20th century organization. Sundararajan hopes that people will see the move towards a sharing economy more as an opportunity then a threat. He feels that this shift in our economy will bring us back to genuine human contact in our everyday economic activities.  

In the next few years Sundararajan would like to see the sharing economy expand rapidly. However, to have this happen successfully there are two things that he believes are important to focus on. One is funding for things such as paid vacation, insurance, and other benefits. At this time these things are funded by a company or the government in exchange for full time employment, however if we move towards the crowd based capitalism it will be important to find another way to fund these types of benefits. Another thing that is important is getting past the “regulatory conflict” as quickly as possible. He believes that if we can get past both of these hurdles, then the future of crowd capitalism and a sharing economy is promising.  

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • What the sharing economy actually is 
  • What are some of the popular companies in this space 
  • Trends that are fueling and enabling the sharing economy to actually happen 
  • Get a look into the differences between the platforms being used 
  • How many vendors will succeed and thrive in this space? 
  • How big is the freelance economy? 
  • Legal issues that organizations deal with in a sharing economy 
  • Economics and the business impacts of all of this  
  • Where all of this is going in the future 

Link From The Episode:

The Sharing Economy On Amazon.com

Direct download: Arun20Sundararajan20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 6:01am PDT

Thomas Davenport is the President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College in Massachusetts. He is an author, the co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics, a Fellow at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, and Senior Advisor to Deloitte Analytics. He has spent the last 30 years focused on the Sociology of Information, studying and teaching about how people and organizations use information. He currently teaches MBAs at Babson College about Analytics, Cognitive Technologies, Big Data, and Knowledge Management.

Thomas is the co-author of the new book, Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines. In the book Thomas and co-author Julia Kirby discuss the rise of job automation and how humans can secure their place in the workplace in the midst of this shift by using the 5 alternative strategies they lay out.

The move towards automation in the workplace, while not new, is a controversial subject that is becoming a large part of our current work economy. There are two camps of people today, those who are opposed to the move towards automation and those who are embracing it. The people who are opposed are scared about the implications of automating jobs. They feel that this shift in our economy will create chaos and wipe out jobs for humans. The camp of people who are embracing it feel that automating certain jobs could be a good thing and that we will always find a way to create new jobs for humans.

Thomas talks about how reality is somewhere in the middle of the two camps. While automation could cause some jobs to be at risk, it may not be as perilous as some people may think. He talks about how most jobs have several tasks to them, some of them are automatable and some aren’t. In the podcast he gives an example explaining how automation could help lawyers cut down on the time they take to search through documents and contracts for items pertaining to a case. This process probably only takes up about 20% of what lawyers actually do, so as Thomas mentions, this automation wouldn’t completely replace lawyers, but perhaps in a law firm of 10 lawyers, the automation would relieve the workload to the point where they can do with 8 lawyers instead of 10.

In an Oxford study done in 2013 they estimated that 47% of U.S. jobs are automatable. People such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have been very vocal about their concerns with the future of human jobs and our very existence in light of this rapid shift to automation. However, when you look at jobs that have already moved towards automation, such as bank tellers, it shows that the move may not be as rapid as they think. In the 1980s there were a half a million bank tellers, and today, there are still half a million bank tellers despite the invention and implementation of ATMs.

While automation may not take over human jobs at an alarmingly quick rate, it is still something we need to be aware of. Automation, bots, and software are getting to the point now where they are becoming more capable of taking over knowledge jobs, whereas before they were only taking over labor intensive jobs such as manufacturing. Because of this, Thomas and Julia felt it was important to write their book that, first of all, encourages augmenting human labor with smart machines as opposed to completely replacing humans with machines and, secondly, shows people five ways to make themselves irreplaceable in the workplace.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Is automation a new thing?
  • Whether or not jobs are in jeopardy because of the growing use of automation and bots
  • 5 steps you can take to be sure your job is secure
  • The kinds of jobs that will be affected by automation and which ones will be safe
  • Some encouraging examples of automation being used today
  • In the move towards automation, what does this mean for organizations? What does it mean for individuals?
  • How we can prepare for automation
  • The timeline for automation and when automation will become mainstream
  • Where the future of automation is going

Links From The Episode:

tomdavenport.com/

Only Humans Need Apply On Amazon.com

Direct download: Thomas20H20Davenport20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 5:36am PDT

Jennie Carlson is the Executive and Chief Human Resource officer at US Bancorp.  They are the 5th largest bank in the US, with 67,000 employees.  Jennie has been with the company for 15 years and able to provide valuable insight in this week's podcast. The HR department has a pyramid of shared services.  The normal HR functions such as payroll, employee relations, and recruiting are along the baseline. As the pyramid climbs higher, talent development, advancement opportunities are the focus.  At the very top, the message of how US Bancorp can use people and talent to drive the strategy of the organization cascades down and drives the actions of the entire department.  Other topics this can include are organizational design and fostering a great employee experience to lead to a great customer experience.

The role of HR has evolved over the past few years.  The department has seen a shift from an ‘order taker’ mode to become strategic partners that help set the corporate strategy and the organizational design. Employee experience is a huge focal point.  This can include technology, flexible work arrangements, and employee engagement.  Jennie shares how US Bancorp uses engagement surveys from their employees, which they use as a marker for continuous improvement. 

Traditional HR Metrics include employee engagement, as well as, other topics such as retention and exit interviews. Moving forward, US Bancorp is moving their analytics team from HR to strategy.  This allows data to be pulled from the same sources, but it is being looked at differently, from the lens of the customer analytics department.  Jennie believes that analytics should be deciphered in the best suited department.  Companies that have larger marketing and customer analytics departments may be able to provide newer insights than smaller HR departments can.  This can allow cornerstones of data, like the employee survey, to be drilled down as much as possible.  Another area is making sure they are keeping in line with their ethical culture.  The future of analytics also allows for characteristic and trend tracking in many employees.  Keeping ahead of trends allows companies to gain a full picture of what is going on inside their company, allowing them to continuously improve to create a better organization.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How HR Is Leveraging Analytics
  • What Type of Data is Collected
  • Analytics for Hiring
  • Skills Needed to Build an Analytics Function
  • How HR Can Work With IT
  • How US Bancorp Provides Value to Their Business Partners
  • How Transitioning Employees for Flexible Work Effects Management

Link From The Episode:

Learn More About U.S. Bank 

Direct download: Jennie20Carlson20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:53pm PDT

Anka Wittenberg is the SVP and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at SAP, a software firm based in Walldorf, Germany.  She holds master’s degrees in economics and international business and is a mother of three.  That last note is what helped launch her career since holding two master’s degrees was not enough to get her an interview with the larger firms in Germany just because she also had small children.  This one difference between Anka and the rest of the workforce is what opened her eyes and showed her the need for more diversity and inclusion in the workforce.   This observation has helped Anka become a guest lecturer, author and advocate for true diversity and inclusion in the workforce.

 

Being the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for SAP means that Anka oversees the sustainability of people and the diversity and inclusion of everyone.  What exactly does that mean? That it does not matter the sex, culture, ethnicity, age, or physical ability of a person but ALL types of people need to be included within the workforce. The uniqueness of your workforce begins to emerge when you include people from all walks of life you begin to see the diversity.  SAP has a goal of having 25% of their leadership roles to be filled by females by the year 2017 and by the year 2020 their goal is to have 1% of their workforce positions filled by autistic people.  Along with this diversity and inclusion you must work on the sustainability of the people within your organization. 

 

One of the biggest changes that is happening today is the change within the corporate culture and thinking with regards to diversity & inclusion.  Organizations are beginning to change their thinking on how they are training and sustaining their employees by focusing more on the holistic picture.  Due to these changes organizations are beginning to see the business impact within employee engagement, improved customer satisfaction and innovation. 

 

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What diversity & inclusion Means.
  • The four subcategories of diversity & inclusion.
  • What the is the business impact of diversity & inclusion.
  • How organizations are changing their corporate culture.
  • How SAP is implementing various programs to be a completely diversified & inclusive organization.
  • What the key points are in an employee’s experience.
  • What is unconscious bias?
  • How can organizations can focus more on diversity & inclusion.

Link From The Episode:

Diversity And Inclusion At SAP 

Anka Wittenberg on LinkedIn

 

Direct download: Anka20Wittenberg20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 5:04pm PDT