Why investing in your people is more than financials

Why investing in your people is more than financials

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”


Benjamin Franklin

Whether you want to identify your high potential staff or prepare the future leaders within your organisation, your commitment and investment in them and the programs you put them on is key.

Hiring a training provider to deliver programs can be the simplest part of the process. When leaders are involved on such programs, the real value and the growth of the people can be further enhanced, made richer and more lasting.

When staff feel they are being invested in, they believe their employers trust them enough to build their skills, experience and future within the company.

To develop such an initiative requires an investment of time, effort and finances from everyone involved. Whether a senior manager decides to partake in a group discussion, sit on a judging panel or even lead a mock scenario, a well-designed, planned and organised program is key. Here are some ways in which staff development programs can be conceptualised, designed and implemented:

1. Knowing “why” you are doing this

“Great leaders and great organizations are good at seeing what most of us can’t see. They are good at giving us things we would never think of asking for.”


Simon Sinek

A company will benefit from asking itself why is wishes to implement such a program. This allows the decision makers to review their decision-making process and gather enough data-points and evidence to support their approach and strategy. Examples of why companies invest in their talent can include: succession planning, reward and recognise talent, prepare the workforce for the future, skill-set gaps, change in company strategy and anything thing else topical for the organisation. 

2. Selecting the right people

“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.”


Simon Sinek

Not everyone is prepared for the commitment, extra time and the challenges of talent development programs and initiatives. It is important to know and understand what motivates your staff and how they will cope when undergoing a program on top of their day job.

A great way to identify the right group of people is to undertake a selection process based on assessments, interviews and presentations. During this process, the motivation and commitments of the staff members can be ascertained. This step in the process will require time and input from senior management.

3. Communicating the program with passion and positivity

The way initiatives and programs are communicated, branded and packaged is as important as the initiative itself. The delivery of messages and the way staff are informed matters as this demonstrates the commitment being made by the bosses within the company. The communication can happen on a one to one basis or to the selected group in scope. Regardless of what approach is taken, the messaging should be motivating, uplifting and emphasise the importance of the investment being made by the company.

4. Choose a vendor you trust and have a rapport with

Working with a supplier to design and deliver a program to your expectations will contribute to the success. Initiatives of this nature are unique, and the cultural setting must be understood and appreciated by the supplier. Every organisation is unique, this means long terms programs cannot be off-the-shelf, there needs to be tailoring. 

Identify a vendor based on the following:

  • Recommendations
  • Meet the people who will deliver the program
  • Assess how bespoke the program will be for your company
  • Meet the suppliers on multiple occasions
  • Ask them to provide you with their ideas and examples
  • Be prepared to pick and choose what works for your company and staff

Ask for different cost options and choose one which is most suitable. It is important to remember that the low-cost options are not always the best.

5. Design a program which can be delivered and will create the impact you desire

Upon selecting the vendor, discuss the ideas, themes and main objectives you wish to achieve. A project plan will be a valuable tool to help structure and inform all parties of when things will happen and responsibilities. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which the program will be subject to as it is a valuable way to track progress of suppliers and the staff.

As you can see, developing your people is an involved process which requires company sponsorship and endorsement. When these are in place, the actual program will be geared up for growth, development, fun and successes for the individual and the wider organisation.

Monica Mahi Mathijs is the CEO and Found of Our Stillness and Firefly Today – a corporate development organisation based in the UAE.

Five Steps To Creating A Healthy, Inclusive And Inspiring Work Culture

Five Steps To Creating A Healthy, Inclusive And Inspiring Work Culture

In the last year, in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, talk of culture has noticeably shifted to talk of inclusion. In my view, the only healthy culture is one that’s inclusive and enables all members to contribute and feel valued. I want to share some practical thoughts and ideas to help your company become more inclusive and, as a result, more welcoming, creative and productive.

How do you develop a culture that includes and inspires all people, including women and underrepresented groups? Part of the key lies in understanding your own privilege, which can be tough for many of us to explore. But it’s a necessary step to creating a work environment that invites everyone’s contributions. Here are some ways to get started:

1. Recognize your unconscious biases and address them.

We all have biases. Admitting that you have bias is essential in order to grow. One way to understand yours it to take The Implicit Association Test (IAT), a free online tool developed at Harvard that lets you assess your bias in categories like gender, race, religion, disability, age, weight and weapons. A goal of Project Implicit is to study thoughts and feelings outside of our conscious awareness and control. Its findings help educate us about hidden biases and provide a “virtual laboratory” for collecting data about bias. It also provides recommendations to help eliminate unwanted biases once you identify them.

2. Act on your empathy to build others up.

If you don’t know where to start, ask a couple of people from underrepresented groups what they need from you. Dedicate yourself to learning and creating change. Every action counts, and no step is too small. Ask for their feedback about how you can be an advocate. Listen to and believe their stories, and take their opinions seriously. Give women and people of color the floor; reinforce their opinions, and publicly praise and amplify their ideas.

3. Allow yourself to make mistakes.

We’ve likely all said or done something at work that had an unintended impact. Remember that it’s natural to feel defensive when you mess up. At the time, you may not understand why what you said landed poorly, and even after some reflection, you still may struggle to understand. Keep an open mind, and realize that feelings of guilt, anger or shame are not productive. Let your defensiveness be a signal — focus on asking questions and taking action, rather than remaining silent. Ask, “What did I learn? How can I help? And what will I do differently in the future?”

4. Learn from other leaders.

It’s no secret that tech companies grapple with diversity, equity and inclusion — the workforce and management at most tech companies are still male-dominated. The good news is that there are leaders showing us the way to build more equitable, representative work cultures. A good example is Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce. In 2015, the head of human resources told him there was a problem with unequal pay across the company, and initially, he didn’t believe it. After an audit showed that there were indeed significant pay gaps based on gender across the company, Benioff corrected the disparities, to the tune of millions of dollars, and now equal pay is policy at Salesforce, and 20% of the senior leadership are women.

5. Start today.

The good news is that regardless of your role, there’s no need to wait to take action. Whether you choose to start with the IAT, speak up for yourself or other underrepresented team members, or recommend diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training and unconscious bias training for your organization, the first step is yours to take.

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2019/01/11/five-steps-to-creating-a-healthy-inclusive-and-inspiring-work-culture/#59b6f13e5f7c

A Survival Guide to Global Workforce Trends in 2019

A Survival Guide to Global Workforce Trends in 2019

Every year brings unique and sometimes wacky new workplace initiatives. 2018 brought us examples such as such as implanting microchips in employees and allowing them to only expense vegetarian food but there are also important trends that will help you become a better employer. Some of the more progressive initiatives we can learn from are Vermont offering an incentive of $10,000 for remote workers to move there and an insurance firm in New Zealand conducting an academically rigorous trial of a four-day work week with great success.

From welcoming a new generation into the workforce to embracing the growing mobile workforce, these are the five biggest workplace trends that your organization should be ready for as we move into 2019:

1. The competition for Gen Z talent is starting.

Gen Z is the first generation to grow up entirely in an internet-centric society and they rapidly joining the workforce, with the oldest members of the generation being 23 years old. They’re estimated to comprise up to 36 percent of the global workforce by 2020. Companies need to adapt their people strategies to attract and retain young digital natives who expect strategic use of software and technology in the workplace.

 To make yourself an appealing employer for Gen Z, have a software strategy and appropriate training to support it. Offer flexibility and wellness-oriented benefits, and have frequent conversations about performance and development opportunities with your young employees. If your company won’t engage them, they’ll find somewhere else that will. Listen to their ideas and be transparent with them from day one. Realistic job previews and employer branding also go a long way to make your workplace a good fit for everyone. 

2. Plan for the 100-year Life span.

In addition to focusing on young employees joining the workforce, a similar emphasis must be put on shifting career and life paths across all generations. More and more people in developed nations with access to effective healthcare are reaching their 100th birthday, meaning people will have longer careers than we’ve ever seen.

With people changing careers and jobs more frequently, companies need to prepare for a more dynamic workforce with workers looking to continually expand their skillsets cross-functionally. Consider moving employees horizontally across your organization instead of just thinking of them for the next promotion in their department. Businesses also need to plan for rising retirement ages by reviewing the role of pensions, benefits and physical or schedule accommodations for older and more senior employees. 

Japan, which expects half of today’s babies to live to or past 100, is taking the idea of the 100 Year Life seriously. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet worked between September 2017 and June 2018 to create a formalized structure for a Human Resources Revolution.

3. Be better than good. Period.

With a tumultuous global political climate, and governments responding glacially to crises with little accountability, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become more important than ever.

As a lot of tech and retail giants have seen recently, doing okay isn’t good enough. Societal expectations and employee demands are the rules by which companies operate. We must be willing and ready to respond to these new demands. We’ve seen livable wage initiatives, such Amazon and Target setting minimum wage targets of $15/hour following public outcry. Ethics also have an increasing presence in strategy, an example being when Google scrapped a Pentagon cloud computingproposal after employee outcry over the possible weaponization of AI.

Younger workers prefer companies with missions that align with their values, but there is a significant gap between society’s demands and corporate readiness. Fiftysix percent of organizations don’t have CSR as a priority and steps must be taken to bridge this gap. CSR comes in many forms — paying livable wages, environmental sustainability initiatives, facilitating community programs, or getting a certification of social responsibility (i.e. becoming a B Corp).

Wondering which initiative is best for you? Ask your employees to determine their values and keep up with current events.

4. Prepare for the shorter employee life cycle.

It’s no secret that many companies are seeing turnover increase. Between low engagement in many companies and younger employees who more likely to leave within five years than to stay beyond five years, it is evident that businesses must respond.

Some businesses, instead of trying to keep employees around longer, are reducing turnover costs by embracing the new shorter lifecycle of employees. Businesses that hire for high-turnover seasonal and low-skill jobs are putting more effort into cost-effective onboarding, training and offboarding processes to get the most out of employees while they’re still there. Some businesses have shortened the hring process to a single interview, or done away with interviews entirely.

Be cognizant of the risks of shorter-term employment, particularly with the rise of the gig economy and contract work. Contract work in low-skill positions often results in underpaid employees and less job security, resulting in lower levels of job satisfaction and engagement. Embracing high turnover can be beneficial but you don’t make your employees feel they can be easily replaced.

5. Embrace HR tech

Employees today expect good technology to do their jobs effectively and data is increasingly important for performance. With software-as-a-service (SaaS) business models prevalent in fast-growing businesses, you need to scale up software capabilities as your company grows. Single-purpose software won’t cut it anymore — end-to-end software suites are becoming a business necessity. When considering SaaS vendors or creating your own in-house software, ensure that systems are able to “speak” to each other and share their respective data sets to maximize value.

In addition, organizations are using technology to win the competition for talent. People analytics derived from these integrated systems can improve hiring and employee engagement, increase productivity and improve strategic decision-making. SaaS is surging in the people space by enabling companies to track and analyze data relating to workforce planning, recruitment, onboarding, learning, development and talent management, among other uses. Effective software reduces burdensome administrative work, gives employees more discretion over how they engage with HR and allows them to focus their efforts on more strategic initiatives that drive your bottom line.

Don’t get caught off guard. Staying on top of industry best practices will allow you to maintain an engaged workforce, attract and retain talent, foster innovation, improve productivity and build or maintain your competitive advantage.

Source : https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/323924

Weekly Market Summary – 16th December 2018

Weekly Market Summary – 16th December 2018

Sean Burgess | PraxisIFM Asset Manager and Co-Founder Emirates HR
US MARKETS ERASE 2018 GAINS

With all but the Nasdaq Composite index in negative territory year-to-date, as investor confidence continues to be damaged by global trade and economic fears. Data released over the week showed that Chinese exports and industrial production slowed in November, whilst European car sales dropped for the third consecutive month. US-Sino trade tensions remained after the arrest of Huawei’s CFO.

€2.5 TRILLION ECB STIMULUS ENDS

With the €30 billion a month bond-buying scheme finishing at the end of this month despite a recent slowdown in the eurozone’s growth. The programme was started in 2015 in order to stimulate the bloc’s economy and avoid deflation, with the ECB being the last of the major central banks to take action. The ECB also announced that they will keep interest rates at zero percent going into next year.

UK SHARES RISE ON LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE OUTCOME

With the FTSE 100 gaining almost a percent over the week, after Prime Theresa May survived a vote of no-confidence in her Conservative party. Although May received 200 votes from a possible 317, she no longer has the political strength to push through the current Brexit deal. European leaders added a further setback to May’s leadership by refusing to negotiate the current deal.

JAPAN’S GDP CONTRACTS 2.5 PERCENT

Measured at an annualised rate over the third quarter, which is more than twice as much as originally estimated by the government. A number of weather-related disasters contributed to the contraction, with economists seeing growth returning in the current quarter. Japan and the EU ratified the Economic Partnership Agreement which will govern trade worth a third of the world’s economy.

NATURAL GAS FUTURES FALL 14.7 PERCENT

The biggest weekly loss in three years, due to both weaker demand and higher production. Warmer-than-normal weather for December dampened demand at a time that gas production hits a record high. Meanwhile, oil prices dropped for the week on a stronger dollar and lower investor confidence in riskier assets, despite a fall in the Baker Hughes US oil rig count for a second consecutive week.

In other financial news:
  • Turkey’s growth falls to 1.6 percent in Q3, compared to 5.3 and 7.0 percent in the previous quarters, due to higher interest rates, a weaker lira and rising oil prices.
  • Indian stocks fall on surprise resignation, with the Sensex index ending 0.8 percent lower, after the central bank governor Urjit Patel unexpectedly left his role.
  • Global debt reaches $184 trillion, which equates to approximately 225 percent of global GDP in 2017, with the US, China and Japan accounting for half of this figure.
  • Apple to build $1 billion Texas base, with another $10 billion spent on data centres, as the tech giant sets out its 5-year investment plan that will create 20,000 US jobs.
Weekly Market Summary – 09th December 2018

Weekly Market Summary – 09th December 2018

Sean Burgess | PraxisIFM Asset Manager and Co-Founder Emirates HR
US EQUITY MARKETS FINISH LOWER

With the major indices down more than 4 percent for the week, as investors absorbed a wave of negative news, including a weak November jobs report and the inversion of the Treasury yield curve. The optimism on Monday from positive US-China trade negotiations over the weekend was lost by Thursday, after Canada arrested the CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei – on orders from the US.

US TREASURY YIELD CURVE PARTIALLY INVERTS

For the first time since the financial crisis, as yields on the two- and three-year notes rose above the five-year note, whilst the spread between the two- and ten- year was the closest since 2007. A yield curve inversion has proceeded the last seven US economic recessions, with the last event taking place in August 2005, just over two-years before the global recession and financial crisis.

EUROPEAN MARKETS FINISH AT 2-YEAR LOW

After the pan-European Stoxx 600 index lost 3.3 percent over the week on continued global trade concerns as a potential US-Sino truce appears to have collapsed. Germany’s DAX index officially fell into bear market territory after closing over 20 percent lower from its January high, as the country’s automotive-heavy economy sees renewed barriers on exports to its two largest markets.

JAPAN’S Q3 GROWTH REDUCED FURTHER

With a group of economists suggesting that the economy contracted by 1.9 percent over the quarter compared to the government’s initial 1.2 percent estimate. Whilst Q4 growth is likely to demonstrate a strong bounce-back, the economists are forecasting weak growth over 2019 as the export-dependent economy is starting to show the damage caused by the US-China led trade dispute.

OIL PRICES RISE AFTER OPEC AGREEMENT

With the two-day meeting in Vienna ending with an agreed 1.2 million barrel a day cut to global production. 800,000 barrels will be cut from OPEC members, mainly the de facto leader Saudi Arabia, whilst the remaining 400,000 barrels will be taken from non-OPEC members, predominantly Russia. Oil producers are aiming to increase Brent crude to $80 a barrel – it closed Friday at $62.

In other financial news:
  • FTSE 100 down on Brexit concerns, with the index losing 3 percent for the week as investors wait on the UK parliamentary vote to approve the EU’s withdrawal deal.
  • US economy adds 155,000 jobs in November, driven by growth in healthcare, manufacturing and manufacturing, whilst the unemployment remained at 3.7 percent.
  • South African shares rise on economic growth, with the FTSE/JSE All Share Index up 0.7 percent after third quarter growth hit an annualised rate of 2.2 percent.
Weekly Market Summary – 25th November 2018

Weekly Market Summary – 25th November 2018

Sean Burgess | PraxisIFM Asset Manager and Co-Founder Emirates HR
US TECHNOLOGY STOCKS PUSH MARKETS LOWER

After the major tech giants, Facebook, Apple, Amazon.com, Netix and Alphabet – referred to collectively as the FAANG stocks – entered a bear market on Monday, down more than 20 percent from June highs. Despite the fall in FAANG prices, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index is the only major US index that remains in positive territory year to date, up 0.52 percent this year.

ITALY REFUSES TO CHANGE BUDGET DEFICIT . . .AGAIN

After the European Commission rejected the coalition government’s 2.4 percent target for 2019 that Italy say is necessary to achieve their campaign promises, such as introducing a universal basic income. The EC initiated proceedings during the week that would lead to a ne of 0.2 percent of the country’s GDP but could rise to penalties worth 0.7 percent if the situation is not resolved.

JAPAN’S TRADE DEFICIT 9 TIMES LARGER THAN FORECAST

With October’s 19.9 percent rise in imports overshadowing an 8.2 percent increase in exports and fuelling a $4 billion deficit. Japan has been under pressure from a series of costly natural disasters and the US-Sino trade war that has impacted the export-heavy economy. Core inflation, which excludes food and fuel prices, rose 1 percent in October, half the central bank’s 2 percent target.

CHINESE STOCKS FALL ON TRADE FEARS

With the Shanghai Composite index losing 2.5 percent on Friday, as markets weigh up the meeting between US President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at next week’s G20 summit in Argentina. Investors fear that if this meeting ends without a reconciliatory agreement, then the two nations will continue to impose sanctions on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of goods.

OIL PRICES CONTINUE THEIR PLUNGE

With Brent crude down over 6 percent on Friday whilst the US benchmark closes in on $50 a barrel. Brent crude closed the week at $58.80 a barrel, over 30 percent off the $86 mark it hit just seven weeks ago. Leaders from Saudi Arabia and Russia, the two largest exporters of oil, are expected to meet next week at the G20 summit to discuss global production targets and the direction of prices in 2019.

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