Great Leadership With Jacob Morgan

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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT