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

Today’s conversation is with Dr. Jody Foster, author of The Schmuck in My Office and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry. Our discussion centers around dealing with difficult people at work and learning to look for the reasons behind their annoying behaviors.


Dr. Jody Foster is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Vice Chair for Clinical Operations in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Pennsylvania Hospital. She attained her MBA, with a concentration in finance, from the Wharton School. She is also the author of the recently released book, The Schmuck in My Office

Dr. Foster was involved in forming a program to deal with disruptive physicians which became publically offered due to interest in resolving the same issues in other settings outside of the medical field. After the program became public, Dr. Foster was approached to write the book to share the program’s main ideas to the general public.

We all have traits that make us who we are. None of these are problematic by themselves, however when we allow these traits to interfere with our work or our relationships with coworkers, they can become an issue. In Dr. Foster’s book she lists out 10 types of traits that are often observed and can become disruptive to a workplace if they get out of control:

  1. Narcissus – their ego fills the room
  2. Venus Flytrap – their initial appeal may draw you in, but anger later surfaces
  3. Swindler – the rule breaker
  4. Bean counter – the controlling micro manager
  5. Distracted – has real difficulty in time management, frequently has unfinished projects
  6. Mr. Hyde – someone who struggles with an addiction problem, one that was not apparent when hired but then another ‘person showed up’
  7. The Lost – one who is experiencing cognitive issues, and who is getting sloppy
  8. Robotic – one might say they were a ‘person on the spectrum’ – very little social skills
  9. Eccentric – the person has odd or magical belief patterns - the beliefs are ‘strange’
  10. Suspicious – thinks that there are conspiracies, looks over their shoulder

Dr. Foster states that the most common are those titled, narcissus. They may demonstrate behaviors that seem like they feel entitled, seek attention and exaggerate their accomplishments.

One key way to deal with them is to attempt to understand them. It may be that the person has a low and fragile self esteem. They may be afraid to be found smaller than average, in some way. They also may not realize they are dominating the conversation – they are used to controlling the conversation and they may not even have full realization they are doing it. Giving some positive feedback and acknowledging their story may be helpful.

Dr. Foster says, “You want to find a culture that is right for you.” It could also be that the disruptive person is working in the wrong setting for their personality type. Sometimes a worker that is labeled as disruptive is actually just in the wrong workplace culture. “What is considered disruptive to one person may be attractive to another”, states Dr. Foster.

Dr. Foster gives tips for dealing with difficult people. First of all, she says, you have to accept the fact that people don’t want to be disruptive. It is important for us to work to understand the people around us. We also have to understand that what is disruptive in one culture may not be disruptive in another. You should try to call out disruptive behavior when you see it, waiting just causes hard feelings to build up to the point of anger.

You should take a step back and examine why a certain behavior is bothering you, in some instances it could be because you see something in a person that is a trait you don’t like in yourself. Another tip Dr. Foster gives is, if the other person doesn’t see a problem then you have to set limits. And finally, ask the question, ‘Am I the schmuck in the office’? Are you going from place to place and continuing to ‘see the same issues’? If you are, you could be the problem.

What You Will Learn In This Episode:

  • Tips for organizations for dealing with ‘schmucks’
  • Personal life ‘schmucks’
  • If you aren’t happy in your job why it might be time to do some reflection!
  • Why Dr. Foster wrote her book
  • What are the 10 types of people and how can you identify them
  • How can we get to a point where we can understand the truth behind someone’s actions
  • Real life examples of how to deal with others
  • What roles does the environment play vs. the individual
Direct download: Jody20Foster20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:49am PST

My conversation this week is with John Hagel, the Co-Chairman at the Center for the Edge at Deloitte, and we are talking about the future of work: what you need to know, how to prepare and what to look forward to.

Today’s guest is John Hagel the Co-Chairman at the Center for the Edge at Deloitte and author of 7 books including: The Power of Pull. John leads the Silicon Valley based research center for Deloitte. Their charter is to identify emerging business opportunities that should be on the CEO's agenda, but are not, and to do the research to persuade them to put it on the agenda

Automation and the future of work are part of a bigger shift of how business is changing globally. The main issue is the rapid increase of technology. Hagel believes that ‘robots can restore our humanity’. He explains that the way we define work - highly standardized and integrated tasks - will be able to be accomplished by robots – which are much more efficient than we will ever be - leaving the creative work to humans.

Hagel says the availability of robots will become the catalyst for a shift in the work that humans will do. Instead of routine tasks that can be done with robots, humans will be focusing on being creative.  This transition may be a painful one for some people – taking them out of their comfort zones - so we will need to look at how we can support people as they move to these new roles.

This change can be stressful, but we need to find a way to turn that anxiety into excitement. Hagel says, “People who learn fastest are those that are passionate”. They are constantly looking for the next challenge and are excited about it.

How do organizations or even individuals face this magnitude of change? Hagel suggests ‘starting on the edge’. In a large organization, such as a school, find a way you can demonstrate a new kind of work to use as a magnet to pull people in. Use time after hours to encourage creativity and provide opportunities rather than trying to change the traditional school setting.

Individuals should think about what makes them really excited. What hobby are you passionate about? Start to explore how you can make it more of what you do for a living. Start on the edge…don’t quit your day job, do this on the side.

Develop a questing disposition – what are your reactions to unexpected challenges?  Most workers go into fear and avoidance mode. The passionate are excited by the challenges and actually go looking for them.

Another element is a connecting disposition.  People with this attitude seek out others who are experienced in the field they are pursuing – so they can get answers faster.  They work to connect with others.

What is the future of work? In the short term there will be 3 things:

  1. Evolving in world as customers we have more power. We want creative services and products that are customized – not standardized mass market.
  2. Recognition of different work segments – Millennials and Boomers who are looking for ways to do more creative work and learn more in the process
  3. Technology coming in and replacing routine tasks – work meant for humans not done by machines.

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • How can robots restore our humanity?
  • Will there be a job apocalypse?
  • How your favorite hobby can be your next job!
  • How gamers and surfers’ perspectives can help you find your next job
  • Advice for parents and employees about the future of work
Direct download: John20Hagel2020Podcast-DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:08pm PST

This week’s guest is Daniel Franklin, the executive editor of The Economist and editor of The Economist’s annual publication The World In....  which focuses on predictions for the upcoming year. He is also the author of the book, Megatech: Technology in 2050

Looking beyond the immediate horizon is helpful when looking at future trends. In particular, Franklin looks at the drivers of change. For instance, follow the money and what does that tell you?  Look at what might hold technologies back or push them forward and that gives some insight into future trends.

The title of the book – 2050- is a metaphor to encourage one’s thinking to push out to what might be possible in the future.

One of the future technologies that Franklin is paying attention to is farm technology. By 2050, it is predicted that there will be 10 billion people on the earth. The need to feed all of these people is critical. Therefore, a combination of advancements – such as distant farming, the massive applications of data to farming, when to sow and harvest, when to water and fertilizer, will help to meet the need to support that population.

While food is very important, so is energy. In the future, solar and wind technologies will become a large factor. Franklin sees that more power will be in our homes rather than in a big grid. This leads to a discussion of the potential to create a lack of incentive in the workplace towards finding other ways to produce energy when the “sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing” and how that will be resolved.

Moore’s Law [processor speeds, or overall processing power for computers will double every two years] has proven to be ‘doable’ by the industry. The ‘metronome’ – the regular beat of efficiency – has led to astonishing changes. The smartphone is one way in which this is exemplified. The smartphone has allowed people to now have computing power in their pockets - the same power that used to take rooms to achieve.

This makes us hungry for ways to have more and has become the lifeblood of lots of industry. We have reached the point where we can’t go any smaller so there has to be another means where we can continue to produce gains and efficiencies such as in the past.

This is the challenge of Moore’s Law – if the computer loses its metronome.  The bad news is that it’s tougher and more expensive and gains don’t come as regularly as in the past. The good news is the computer capacity will continue to grow, such as the use of ‘clouds’ and improving software.

Franklin’s advice for business leaders? Think big and broadly about the possibilities that are there, be prepared for things to happen faster than you probably imagined. Think about what happens to your industry when data processing becomes more efficient and be prepared to be flexible in the heart of your operations.

Franklin also says we shouldn’t be afraid of trends. Instead we should look at them from the point of view of ‘what does it offer me’? We should be excited about the possibilities of future trends, rather than fearing them.


Things you will learn in this episode:

  • Science fiction and its role in the ‘real world’
  • The future of wearables & autonomous vehicles
  • What about virtual reality in the future?
  • What are some big picture things that Daniel Franklin is paying attention to?
  • What the future of farming will look like
  • Why when it comes to energy we have a problem of plenty rather than a problem of scarcity
  • What is Moore’s Law and why is it important?
  • Where is augmented reality at now and where will it go in the future
Direct download: Daniel20Franklin20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Technology -- posted at: 2:26am PST

Monique Herena is the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at BNY Mellon. As Senior Executive Vice President, Herena oversees BNY Mellon’s Human Resources and Marketing and Corporate Affairs departments. In her role as Chief Human Resources Officer, she is responsible for all human resources strategies, policies and practices.

BNY Mellon, founded in 1784 by Alexander Hamilton, has 52,000 employees across 35 countries and 6 continents. They have two main businesses, investment management and investment services. The make-up of the company is diverse - 46% of the US workforce is women and 30% representing ethnically and racially diverse people.

BNY believes that putting people first is critical to every aspect of their mission. It is how people experience the company – through their talent.  They invest in people, believing in the power of development- “People can always be better in the next moment than what they are right now.”

They have put together a report, appropriately entitled, People Report, which is told through the voices of the associates and their experiences in a digital only experience. In this, one is allowed insight into what it is like to be an employee at BNY.

Four pillars that are the framework of the company include Lead, Innovate, Impact, Collaborate and Inspire.

Lead includes the desire to be more mobile and be where clients are – making wealth management applications more mobile, socially connect with other people, an emerging leader program – BK University – all which drive the business.

Innovate looks at the workspace becoming even more efficient and includes everything from robotics, to better accuracy, reducing risk and cost savings.

Collaboration is important to BNY. Company-wide leaders look at different ways there are to help each other to work virtually, different digital centers, have chat bot technology and so on, encouraging collaboration across all kinds of ‘borders’.

Inspiring people to be their best includes many facets such as VetNet that supports veterans returning to the workplace. This has doubled the number of veterans at BNY. They are also placing an emphasis on gender equality and are working to achieve this across the industry.

The employee experience is a two-way street. A performance review should not be just the manager’s feedback but how the employee participating in available resources. The employee needs to take a joint ownership in the process. Those that contribute the most are the most successful.

There is a ‘push versus pull’ strategy. The push says – “I’m here, what are you giving me next?” The pull strategy includes creating your brand, working hard which in turn, leads people to notice the person.

Herena’s advice to organizations who want to know what to do to start putting their people first, check out BNY Mellon’s People Report and also, from a leadership point of view – the earlier in your career that you learn to ‘make it not about you - and get other focused’ the more successful you will be in that career

What You Will Learn In This Episode:

  • Why ‘setting the tone at the top’ includes getting up at 4:25 am each day!
  • Should there be an emphasis on keeping up with business ‘trends’?
  • Does every investment have to have a dollar and cents return?
  • Background on People Report done by BNY Mellon and their findings
  • How BNY is putting their people first
  • Why bother making investments in your people if your company is already doing well?
  • How do you differentiate between perks and true organizational change
  • What do Millennials want
Direct download: Monique20Herena20Podcast-DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:38am PST

This week’s conversation is all about the gig economy. Listen in to find out how big the gig economy actually is, what the skills gap is and how we can fix it and how individuals and organizations can adapt to a rapidly growing gig economy.


This week's Future of Work podcast features a conversation with Steve King, a partner at Emergent Research. Steve has extensive consulting, marketing and general management experience with both large and small companies.  He has served as vice president of Corporate Marketing for Macromedia, vice president and general manager of Asia Pacific for Lotus Development Corporation and vice president of marketing for Isys Corporation. Steve's current research and consulting is focused on the future of work, the rise of the independent workforce and the impact of Big Data on small businesses.

The gig/freelance/independent worker economy has two levels; those who have this as their full-time employment and those who use it as a way to supplement their income.   There are various estimations of the number of people who are gig workers in the U.S.

Some research shows a low number of independent workers – less than a million people to a high number - 75 million people. The 75 million includes people that have taken surveys online and received payment for it or play a game and get paid for it.  So, it is critical to define work when discussing the number of freelance workers.

Emergent Research estimates there are 18 million full-time gig workers and another 22 million Americans who are part-time.  Here, full-time is defined as working 15 hours or more per week and it is the primary source of income.

Though the percentages of workers vary, there are three things we can take away:

  1. Gig industry is a bigger than any other and just as big as the government segment.
  2. It has clearly been growing over the last decade.
  3. It is permeating every sector of the economy. There are gig workers who are lawyers, doctors and other highly skilled professionals along with the commonly thought of Uber and AirBnB.

One trend in the economy is the shift in workers’ perceptions of job security. In 2011, 27% of people believed that independent work was more secure than traditional work.  The same question in 2016, found that 47% of workers believe that independent work was more secure.

King’s advice for companies when considering the independent worker is to get a grasp on the number of independent workers they have working in their organization.  Often in large organizations, they find that 20 -25 % of full-time employees are freelancing and 8% – 10% of part-time employees are independent. 

King also says organizations should work to understand where freelancers are playing an important role in their organization. Often they are found in IT or marketing.  Then it is important to understand the role they play, how to attract the right talent and then how to train them.

His advice for individuals thinking about the role of freelancing in their own careers? It is important to be prepared. Success in gig work comes from preparation and choice. People who fail in gig work are those who are not prepared. If you are interested in starting with a gig job go with part time and keep your day job.

Things you will learn in this episode:

  • How many Americans are considered part of the gig economy
  • King’s thoughts on the taking economy
  • What safety nets can independents look for in the future
  • What are some gig markets that are less known
  • What aspects have created the skills gap and how can we fix it
  • King’s advice to individuals and organizations when confronting the gig economy
  • Are traditional jobs disappearing
Direct download: Steve20King20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:36am PST

This week join me as I talk with Sylvia Metayer, the CEO of Worldwide Services at Sodexo, about the report that Sodexo recently conducted to find the top trends shaping the global workforce.  

Sodexo is the 19th largest employer in the world. They currently employ almost 500,000 people, delivering ‘quality of life services’ to 40,000 client sites in eighty countries.  These sites include hospitals, schools and a variety of places where people work.  The services they provide range from cafeteria, maintenance, cleaning and everything that touches the employees. 

Sylvia Metayer manages one-third of the employees at Sodexo, for corporate clients.  She sees her role as CEO as one in which she serves her team and her clients to focus on ensuring  a better day, believing that when people have an improved quality of life, they perform better at work.  

Sodexo recently released a report on trends that are shaping the workplace in 2017. To gather the data they pulled approximately 150 experts from a variety of sources to come up with these ten trends. Metayer said she was initially surprised to find that even though the data looked at global trends they found that the issues were the same, regardless of region.   

In the study there were 10 global trends that Sodexo found to be shaping the workplace. The 10 trends are the agile organization, the rise of cross-workplaces, employees without borders, the new Gen of Robotics, intergenerational learning, personal branding goes to work, redefining workplace experience, the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, unlocking the potential of millennial talent and Wellness 3.0. 

One of the major trends Metayer is looking at is the role of robotics and automation and how it impacts the work itself. While it is prevalent in some fields – such as automotive manufacturing, it still is often thought of as both scary and interesting.  She sees its use expanding beyond manufacturing. For example, there is a need to inspect the roofs of buildings, but this is often a dangerous job. Rather than send up a person to complete this hazardous task, send a drone.  

One interesting type of automation that Sodexo is utilizing is an automatic till or cash register.  They are testing a new generation that will not only automatically produce a total to be paid but also include the nutritional data for a meal and perhaps even link it to data in the workplace gym. This provides additional benefits to the employee/consumer, integrating their experience into more of a journey than just an end result of a financial bill.  

The employee/consumer journey is also tied to the concept found in one of the trends in the report – Wellness 3.0. This considers the shift of organizations from their belief that they must ‘take care of the employees’ to one in which companies are looking to empower workers to take control of their own life and wellness.  This is with the focus that an organization’s most important capital is their ‘human capital’. Therefore, if people are healthy they will be more productive, and ultimately, a better performing organization.  

Today, two things are forcing companies to be agile. All companies, regardless of size, are in a global world. This is driving the level of complexity to new heights. With that in mind, the old hierarchy is not working.  Sodexo believes in the importance of being agile and has undergone reorganization in the last eighteen months. This has included disempowering the top levels of the company to push the emphasis to employees and clients. It is often difficult because it is a matter of going from a hierarchy to a lateral format but this is important to be able to work across ecosystems.  

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • What trends are shaping the global workplace in 2017 
  • Why a company must have an EQ rather than an IQ to be agile. 
  • The role of society and your organization 
  • Ideas of the future of robotics and automation in office spaces 
  • What Sylvia thinks the workplace will look like in the next few years 
  • What is a ‘talent cliff’? 
  • What is personal branding and why is it one of the trends for 2017 
  • The hardest thing about transformation in the company 
  • Sylvia’s perspective on whether or not full time employment will disappear 
Direct download: Sylvia20Metayer20Podcast-DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:47am PST

Today’s guest is Sjoerd Gehring, the Global VP of Talent Acquisition at Johnson & Johnson. We are going behind the scenes of talent acquisition to explain what it is, how it works and why one size never fits one in this area. 

Sjoerd Gehring, was born in the Netherlands and attended universities in Europe. He was with Accenture for almost ten years. The last two years he has been with Johnson and Johnson as Global VP of Talent Acquisition. 

When asked for an overview of Talent Acquisition (TA), Gehring indicated that it was a matter of matching talent with opportunity on a massive scale. Specifically, talent needs must be defined and then an understanding is developed regarding the opportunities that are available within the organization. 

In the past, HR would look to fill open positions. Now, TA is more strategic and proactive. In fact, last year Johnson and Johnson TA filled 25,000 positions. The need to be strategic at that level is massive. 

The proactive strategy includes looking both internally and externally for candidates. When looking within, it provides opportunities for TA to communicate openly about possible career paths in the organization. This type of recruitment process requires transparent communication about available positions within the company.  

This is something that is done proactively at Johnson and Johnson – they move people around within the organization. Here, the TA ‘owns’ the entire hiring process. This has process has four distinct steps or ‘buckets’.  

1. Strategic conversations with hiring managers.  

2. Candidate outreach - daily connecting with potential candidates 

3. Selection assessment - assess the ‘slate’ of candidates in a respectful and fair way to lead to making the right talent decisions.  

4. Compensation and benefits negations. 

When asked about whether candidates should negotiate salary Gehring responded that there were two schools of thought. The first is to be open in the beginning about aspirations. Both candidate and organization need to be within the same range of each other. If not, time will be wasted for both parties. However, salary should not be first thing out of one’s mouth; usually this is at the end of the first conversation. 

The second is to look at the total compensation package, rather than just looking at salary and bonus. Consider health care, leave, on-site child care, etc.  

When asked if he has any tips for what candidates can do to prepare for an interview, Gehring said to be prepared. Look at the organization’s career website, research the culture. Also, consider bringing a portfolio. Even those that are not designers could potentially utilize this tool to help showcase previous work.  

When asked if he has any tips for organizations to find the best employees, Gehring said to focus on the job descriptions. They are often very dry and actually disconnected from the reality of the position. Look at things like the wording and potential gender bias. This can lead to better candidates.  

Also, look at selection assessment approach. The number of interviews can be overwhelming. Research has shown that after 4 or 5 interviews there is not much new learned. Additionally, ensure that all interviewers are trained in effective techniques.  

What does Gehring see as the future of  TA? The emphasis will be on a candidate perspective – more consumerism and transparency. This will be driven by data and personalized recruiting. He expects to take massive leaps forward in this area in the next few years. 

From an organizational perspective recruiting will become even more strategic to business leaders. They need to be more agile with better abilities to anticipate the ebb and flow of businesses.  

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • What is talent acquisition? 
  • Insights into how talent acquisition works 
  • Four steps in the hiring process at Johnson & Johnson 
  • Tips for both candidate and organizations during the hiring process 
  • Should you negotiate your salary? 
  • How important is a candidate’s social media ‘brand’? 
  • Some things J&J is thinking about testing out or trying 
  • What is the role of data and technology in talent acquisition 
Direct download: Sjoerd_Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:36am PST

This week’s podcast features two guests, both from Acadian Asset Management, Churchill Franklin and John Chisholm. Join us as we discuss what Cognitive Diversity is, why it is important, why companies find it challenging to implement and where the future of finance is going.

Churchill Franklin is the CEO of Acadian Asset Management and John Chisholm is the Chief Investment Officer at Acadian. Acadian is an institutional asset manager, managing roughly 75 billion for investors. They invest in equities all around the world, both in the US and developed markets, as well as emerging markets. Acadian follows a very quantitative approach towards investments. They build models that help predict returns and invest in those securities in which are believed will likely generate the best returns, to build the best portfolios. The culture is one of listening – to both clients and colleagues in trying to be proactive in responding to the market place.

Acadian employs 320 people with a main office in Boston and additional sites in London, Sydney, Singapore and Tokyo.  Found are investment, marketing and operation professionals. They come from a variety of backgrounds such as finance, science and math and often there is a benefit to have traditional investment backgrounds - but not always necessary.

Both Churchill and John come from diverse backgrounds.  John went to MIT and started in aerospace engineering. After going back to business school, he joined up with Churchill to launch Acadian in the mid 80’s and runs the investment side of the firm.  Churchill leads the culture and leadership. He started with a degree in American literature from Middlebury College, was a commercial banker for a while, became a treasurer in a company and then moved to start Acadian.

Churchill and John are examples of implementing Cognitive Diversity. They deeply believe that the more perspectives around the table the better for their business and ultimately for their clients. The diversity is demonstrated by having a variety of backgrounds, personalities and individual perspectives that bring various points of view to discussions.

Research has shown that having groups with diverse thinking styles will generally perform better than having a homogenous group.  This is true for mixed gender groups as well – research has shown they perform better, as well. With a more diverse group, discussions can test a variety of theories with other points of view.

These different perspectives bring different ways of problem solving – there may be those that use intuition, some may test out ideas, others may use some type of rigorous, theoretical frameworks to find a solution. Each of these can contribute the thought diversity that is needed to find the best answer to a problem.

Acadian uses a variety of methods to find those employees that are a best fit for their firm. Depending upon the role they are seeking to fill, they may probe a candidate’s thinking processes with questions such as…how much water would it take to fill up an office? The answer is not the critical aspect here; rather it is the thought process that the interviewee took to get there.

The different thought processes might include the fairly common way to go about it – the logical chain of answers. It might also include where one starts at a high level and breaks the problem into pieces or an experimental approach. Each of these may be a valid response and depending on the position being filled may work.

Cognitive Diversity is often a challenge to achieve. It is ‘easier’ to hire people that think alike, laugh at the same jokes and so on. One way to avoid this is to ensure that you have interview teams made up of diverse thinkers. This will help to avoid getting pigeon-holed into a particular style.

When asked how the world of finance has changed in the last decade, Churchill and John noted the huge growth in the availability of data as well as the tools that allow the data to be understood. This has led to a critical demand in the use of a quantitative approach.  There is a wide range of interesting and perhaps, unusual types of data available. For instance, the use of satellite data is relatively new. This may include looking at the directions or activity of shipping containers in a particular region.  It may also include the brightness of lighting in certain areas. This can assist in forecasting.

One future trend in the finance world is understanding how the role of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing can be profitable.  These ‘socially conscious’ investments previously needed to have reduced return expectations on investments but it seems that Europe and Australia are ahead on this aspect and there will be more to come on this subject.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What is Cognitive Diversity?
  • What role can Cognitive Diversity play in moving your organization further?
  • Interesting future trends in the world of finance
  • Predictions of the role of the use of ‘cash’
  • Stories of how Acadian implements Cognitive Diversity
  • How the world of finance has changed over the past few decades
  • the role of technology in the world of finance
  • Churchill and John’s thoughts on whether to use a robo-adviser or a human advisor for personal funds
Direct download: Churchill20G.20Franklin20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:06pm PST

David Green joined IBM about a year ago to help IBM customers grow their people analytics and technology. He has been involved with HR since the late 90’s and also writes and speaks about data driven HR.

Historically, HR decisions used ‘gut and intuition’ to drive decisions. Now the use of data in the form of people analytics is providing value, allowing better decisions to be made.

One example is a large, global company that was looking at building in China. However, the head of the analytics looked at the data and discovered that it was not an ideal place to locate the company. It was found that the talent in the region was very ‘thin’.  The completion for this work group was high in the area, creating additional shortages. This would have made it difficult to not only hire the initially needed workers but then it would have also limited their planned expansion.  This company did not open there - saving money and other possible difficulties.

Though there are examples such as this, there remain three areas of skepticism currently seen in the use of people analytics within the business community. The first is whether the business can adequately analyze the data. Secondly, they are often concerned about the cost of its use. Can they afford to invest in it? Finally, does the HR staff need to be ‘experts’ in data?

Green’s response to those areas of concern focus on the idea that people analytics is a long-term investment. It is not something that can be rolled out over night. His suggestion is to start small.  If an organization has a hypothesis of what might be valuable information to gather – start there.  Don’t waste time and money on predicting for something that is not a problem for the organization, so give it some thought before you make time and money investments.

Three steps for a healthy start:

  1. Learn the business and what matters specifically to that one. Identify leaders within the organization who are open to the use of analytics.
  2. The Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) is involved and can assist with insights to focus upon.
  3. Ensure there is a ‘bold’ person at the head of analytics. Often a strong business and political background is needed to drive forward.

People analytics can often uncover counter intuitive issues. For example, it was commonly believed that graduates with high GPAs from Ivy League universities would be the most productive employees. However, Google’s use of analytics found – for them- that a higher GPA was not a good predictor of the best workers.

The caveat here though is that though this may be true for Google, it may not be true for other organizations. It is once again that ‘one size does not fit all’ and each organization must discover what works for them.  One suggestion is to start with a small sampling – see if that works. Then validate the insight and work from there.

People analytics do have a subjective component to them. Insights can be skewed based on people’s interpretations or perceptions.  This requires that the data is entered is accurately and there are checks and balances. Since this data is about people, it must be augmented with both judgment and transparency.

Transparency is a critical feature of people analytics – both legally and morally. Without it, people will revolt and the data will not provide the insights the company is looking for with its use. Nor will it be good for performance, retention or overall trust within the organization.  If employee trust drives the implementation, then positive results will occur. This might include giving people the option to opt out of the program. Or it may include giving employees the data that is revealed. Microsoft has done this with positive results.

Advice for organizations looking at getting into people analytics includes:

  1. Just start!
  2. Be curious – ask how you know if you have the ‘right people’ how do we know if we are paying the right salaries?
  3. Read up on your particular business challenges – don’t copy (Google or …), talk to peers about your business

Things you will learn in this episode:

  • Suggestions for technology tools to use as an initial foray into people analytics
  • Future of artificial intelligence in the workplace
  • What is Blue Matching?
  • David’s advice for companies who are not using People Analytics yet
  • Examples of companies who have found issues using People Analytics
  • Areas of skepticism
  • Why you shouldn’t try to be like Google
Direct download: david20green20podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:24pm PST

Enrico Moretti is a professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. His research covers the fields of labor economics and urban economics.  Professor Moretti’s book, “The New Geography of Jobs”, was awarded the William Bowen Prize for the most important contribution toward understanding public policy and the labor market.  

His research has been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Atlantic, Businessweek, The Economist, The New Republic, CNN, PBS and NPR. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and the son.  

When considering the overall ‘health’ of the US economy, Professor Moretti believes that it is generally good.  Compared to the time period of the great recession, job creation has picked up.  Additionally, within the last six months, wages have picked up. When asked about how to assess the ‘health’ of the economy, he suggests that rather than look at day-to-day changes, such as the media, focus on the yearly changes. That gives a more realistic perspective.  

Overall, American’s with a high school diploma have found their wages reduced by 20% and are less well off than the previous generation. On the other hand, those with associate’s college degrees or above– are doing better each passing year. This includes their standard of living, not only salaries but future outlook, their overall assets, and even their marital stability. This has created significant differences in earnings between those with more education and those with less. In fact, 30 years ago, it was less than a 40% spread; now it’s more than double – at 80%. 

For the past 30 years the US has been losing 350,000 blue collar positions in manufacturing per year. A change that is not just a US phenomenon, but is also found in other advanced countries – such as Japan and Germany.  This has been predominantly based on increased automation in factories 

Automation – robots, artificial intelligence – has had a profound effect on jobs. The new technology and automation have changed the face of jobs in manufacturing plants. Fewer people are required and instead of blue collar workers, they are highly skilled engineers.  This change has lead to an increased need for higher skilled workers.  

When asked about the US cities that have undergone the most amount of change in the past 30 years, Moretti cited three that have had positive transformations: Austin, Texas, Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina and Seattle, Washington. Each of these has become an area of global innovation, has an availability of an excellent work force and also provides high wages.  

In contrast, those he sees struggling are found in the ‘rust-belt’. For example, Detroit and Flint, Michigan as well as Rochester, New York, which have lost population due to a reduction in the need for traditional manufacturing jobs and therefore, lower wages and innovation.  

Specifically, Moretti has found that the US can be divided into ‘three Americas’.  

1. American Brain Hubs – strong workers with more than 40% of the population which holds a college degree. These include cities such as Boston, New York City and San Francisco. These cities are productive, innovative and provide higher salaries. 

2. Former Manufacturing – struggling, shrunk in size, lost in terms of aggregate population. 

3. Neither Brain Hub nor Former Manufacturing – maintaining current productivity and fairly stable population 

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • Why one tech job can increase the economy by multiples 
  • Why cities with more college graduates are beneficial to all 
  • Why the ecosystem of a city matters 
  • The current ‘health’ of US economy 
  • What effects AI and Automation have had on jobs 
  • The differences in labor markets across different cities 
  • What cities Enrico is paying attention to that are going through big changes 
  • Enrico’s thoughts on universal basic income 
Direct download: enrico20moretti_podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:31am PST