HR can learn a lot from marketing and market research. Employees are consumers, and why would they behave a lot differently in the workplace than in the marketplace?
Last year we used the terrific material of trendwatching.com on the 2017 consumer trends as the basis for our article: 2017 consumer trends and the opportunities for HR. Time for an update. In this article we look at the major 2018 consumer trends, as reported by Trendwatching, and consider what the implications in the workplace could possibly be. The extensive report of Trendwatching is summarised in an article and in a video.
“In 2018, shoppers will look to hand over aspects of the retail experience -think sourcing, negotiating, purchase and delivery arrangements- to algorithms and smart devices.”
A-Commerce stands for “automated commerce”. People like convenience, and everybody loves good service. Amazon’s cashier-free convenience store, launched in 2016, is a good retail example.
In the workplace there are many areas where, with the help of AI, the employee experience can be improved. Some examples:
From active to passive recruitment: as a candidate you no longer have to apply for a job, the clever sourcing software will find you, and the recruitment chatbot will ask you if you are interested in a new opportunity (and the software can probably predict that you are interested, before you are aware yourself). Read: The changing scope of recruitment.
From active to passive employee mood measurement. In the past, employees had to complete questionnaires, to measure there level of engagement, today it can be done in an easier and passive way, e.g. by analysing the e-mails of the employees (with KeenCorp). Read: Employee mood measurement trends.
If learning solutions could be offered at an appropriate moment in the workflow, based on real time observations of the behaviour the employees, this would be a big step forward. Read: 6 trends in learning and development.
With some imagination, you can easily imagine many areas where the application of this trend could make a real difference, like: automatic access control, in the company restaurant, during onboarding.
2. Assisted Development
“In 2018, consumers with complex lifestyles will look to brands to help them realise personal life goals and write new narratives of adulthood.”
This trend clearly has implications and creates opportunities in the workplace. How can organisations help their employees to “realise personal goals an write new narratives of adulthood’? We see some early signals.
More and more organisations, especially startups and scaleups, take their staff on skiing holidays in the winter.
Organisations that stimulate employees to start their own business, and gives them financial support in the initial phase.
Organisations that provide breakfast, lunch and sometime dinner (or the ingredients for dinner).
3. Virtual Companions
“In 2018, virtual personalities will prove they have the power to entertain, educate and heal. They will make the leap from assistants to companions.”
Trendwatching gives a nice example of KLM. Last year KLM provided, as a test, passengers that visited Amsterdam with a smart care tag. The smart audio luggage tip, with GPS, provided the visitors with tips about the places they visited.
If you want an impression of what kind of conversation you have with a chatbot, you can try Replika. “Replika is an AI friend that’s always there for you”. Replika tries to learn as much as possible about you, so that it can replicate your personality.
Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple Homepod can also be considered as virtual companions. If you are alone at home, you can play games with Google Home, and the other devices have comparable features.
In the HR domain, chatbots are quickly gaining ground (Read: The invasion of chatbots). Most of these chatbots are still very transactional, mainly used in recruiting and as interface with the HR service centre. Next step: the chatbots become your friends and allies in the organisation. Onboarding solution Talmundo, for example, is experimenting with chatbots. You can imagine that the personal guide in the onboarding journey of a new employee is a friendly chatbot, whom you can ask anything, and with whom the employee can also share personal reflections. Alexa and the other devices are also entering the workplace. Read: Amazon is putting Alexa in the office.
4. Forgiving by Design
“In 2018, consumers expect all kinds of products and services to forgive them when their past – the product they selected, the size they chose, the service they wanted – doesn’t match their future. How? By near-magically adapt around their changing needs, wants and whims.” Expect “Design forgiving offerings that adapt to changing needs before your customer switches to a competitor”.
This trend has important implications for the workplace, and adaptation to this trend is already in motion. When people are no longer hired for specific jobs, there is more flexibility to “adept to their changing needs, wants and whims”. Sensing these “needs, wants and whims” is key, and unfortunately the sensing capabilities in organisations often need development. There is room for improvement, but also here HR can learn a lot from the Amazon’s and Netflixes of this world. Read: On size does not fit all and The end of static jobs.
5. Glass Box Wrecking Balls
“In 2018, your internal culture is becoming a key part of your brand.”
Transparency is increasing, and this creates opportunities and threats. When organisations become glass boxes, candidates and employees can compare the reality with the stories. If there is not a good match, the consequences can be severe (ref. the Uber story). Transparency in organisations is increasing, but the pace is often slow. Take for example salaries. On average men earn more than women in comparable jobs. If salary data in organisations would be easily available, this might cause one of the “glass box wrecking balls” to appear. This is the same with people engagement data. The outcomes of engagement surveys are most of the time not transparent. What would happen if they were? Read: Employer branding – 7 trends and What the pay gap between men and women really looks like.
Five consumer trends that can stimulate your imagination. These five trends alone, offer a lot of possibilities for applications in the workplace.
In 2017 the website of the HR Trend Institute was visited by people from 201 countries! 71% of these visitors came from 15 countries:
USA, with 21% of the total number of visitors
South Africa, 2%
We are very glad with this international list. On the bottom of the list, we find countries with one person that visited our site: Samoa, Cook Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Northers Marina Islands, Anguilla, Faroe Islands, Vanuatu, Montserrat and Mauritania.
Of course, everybody is welcome, and we want to thank everybody who visited the HR Trend Institute in 2017. Hopefully we can continue to inspire you in 2018!
If you want to create confusion in a group of consultants, you should start a discussion about the purpose of organisations. There is always someone who starts explaining (with an underlying tone of “why do I always have to explain the basics?”) what a purpose is, and what the difference is between purpose, mission, vision and values. For a moment it seems to be clear, but that never lasts long. Especially the boundaries between purpose and mission are blurry (or was it between purpose and vision?).
Time for the BIG Purpose Quiz. The main question is number 2: are you able to match 62 organisations with their purpose/ mission statement?
1. What is the purpose of an organisation?
a. “Defining purpose is a straightforward proposition. In its simplest form, purpose is the organisation’s reason for being (-). It is a combination of vision, mission, and values. To define the purpose, you want to ask three questions: What is our vision? What is our Mission and What are our values”. (Ref John Baldoni: Give your organisation a reason to believe in itself).
b. “The Purpose of an organisation is not the answer to the question “What do you do?” which typically focuses on products, services and customers, but rather the answer to the question “Why is the work you do important?” (Ref. Sheila Margolis: What is an organisation’s purpose?“).
c. “Vision = The picture of our desired future state. Mission = What we do and who we serve to get there. Values = The beliefs that underpin our behaviours in order to make mission and vision a reality. Purpose = Why we do all this in the first place, why we exist”. (Ref. Gina Hayden: What is your organisation’s purpose?).
d. “A mission statement is a short sentence or paragraph used by a company to explain, in simple and concise terms, its purpose(s) for being. These statements serve a dual purpose by helping employees to remain focused on the tasks at hand, as well as encouraging them to find innovative ways of moving towards an increasingly productive achievement of company goals”. (Ref. Investopia: Mission Statement).
e. “You begin with a purpose. A purpose is the “why”your organisation has begun a journey, guided by the deeply-held values and beliefs that inspire it to make a difference”. (Ref. Brian Sooy: The difference between purpose and mission).
2. From which organisations are the following purpose/ mission statements?
1. Belong anywhere.
2. Changing business for good.
3. Driving prosperity through transport solutions.
4. Empower people to experience the world.
5. Inspire the world, create the future.
6. Improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation.
7. The maintenance of international peace and security.
8. To provide the best customer service possible.
9. We mobilise personal, social and business networking.
10. To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
11. We save people money so they can live better.
12. To improve the health and happiness of the world.
13. To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.
14. To build trust in society and solve important problems.
15. Discover new ways to improve and extend people’s lives.
16. Connect, protect, explore and inspire the world through aerospace innovation.
17. To create a better everyday life for the many people.
18. To be a company that inspires and fulfils your curiosity.
19. We push the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines.
20. To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
21. Organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
22. To pioneer nutritional discoveries that help people live longer, healthier lives.
23. Empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more.
24. Innovate to bring therapies to patients that significantly improve their lives.
25. To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
26. We make medicines that help people live longer, healthier, more active lives.
27. To help people around the world plan and have the perfect trip.
28. To enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.
29. To connect everybody to live a better today and build a better tomorrow.
30. To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
31. To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.
32. To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.
33. To provide authentic hospitality by making a difference in the lives of the people we touch every day.
34. We brew great beers, we build great brands and are committed to surprising & exciting our consumers everywhere.
35. To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
36. We enable our clients to make informed decisions and well-considered investments as they develop our natural and built environment.
37. To deliver information on the people, ideas and technologies changing the world to our community of affluent business decision makers.
38. Shape the future of the Internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for our customers, employees, investors, and ecosystem partners.
39. To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.
40. To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilising the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
41. To make unique sports cars that represent the finest in Italian design and craftsmanship, both on the track and on the road.
42. To help our clients create such high levels of economic value that together we set new standards of excellence in our respective industries.
43. To prepare and sell quick service food to fulfil our guest’s needs more accurately, quickly, courteously, and in a cleaner environment than our competitors.
44. We will lead the way to the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people.
45. Our purpose goes beyond what we sell. We’re using our reach to be a positive force. For our customers. Our people. Our communities. Our world.
46. To help people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from health care.
47. To be the most creative and thoughtful investment consultants in the industry, helping clients of all types to achieve results through sophisticated, client centric options.
48. To succeed requires the highest standards of corporate behaviour towards everyone we work with, the communities we touch, and the environment on which we have an impact.
49. With our research-driven specialty businesses, we help patients, customers, partners and our communities around the world to live a better life. We deliver entrepreneurial success through innovation.
50. To help our clients make distinctive, lasting, and substantial improvements in their performance and to build a great firm that attracts, develops, excites, and retains exceptional people.
51. Whatever the challenge, we deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes for our clients. We work collaboratively to create value through built and natural assets that work in harmony with their surroundings.
52. To be the most hospitable company in the world – by creating heartfelt experiences for Guests, meaningful opportunities for Team Members, high value for Owners and a positive impact in our Communities.
53. We make real what matters by setting the benchmark in the way we electrify, automate and digitalise the world around us. Ingenuity drives us and what we create is yours. Together we deliver.
54. To earn customers for life by building brands that inspire passion and loyalty through not only breakthrough technologies but also by serving and improving the communities in which we live and work around the world.
55. To undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights.
56. We are committed to giving people and organisations the space they need to realise their dreams and ambitions. We do this because we believe the world is a better place when people are in charge of their own lives, their own development and their own growth.
57. We go deep to unlock insight and have the courage to act. We bring the right people together to challenge established thinking and drive transformation. We work with our clients to build the capabilities that enable organisations to achieve sustainable advantage. We are shaping the future. Together.
58. Our purpose is enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. We want to help shape a better and healthier world. We also want to inspire people to live healthier lives. This is how we contribute to society while ensuring the long-term success of our company.
59. We will provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers, now and for generations to come. As a result, consumers will reward us with leadership sales, profit and value creation, allowing our people, our shareholders and the communities in which we live and work to prosper.
60. We believe all sustainable progress is driven by people with the imagination and determination to improve their future and the futures of those around them. We empower people and organisations to realise their own vision for a better future – however modest or grand. Our purpose therefore is: Empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and in business.
61. As one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world, our mission is to provide consumers around the world with delicious, affordable, convenient and complementary foods and beverages from wholesome breakfasts to healthy and fun daytime snacks and beverages to evening treats. We are committed to investing in our people, our company and the communities where we operate to help position the company for long-term, sustainable growth.
62. We believe that oil and gas will remain a vital part of the global energy mix for many decades to come. Our role is to ensure that we extract and deliver these energy resources profitably and in environmentally and socially responsible ways. We seek a high standard of performance, maintaining a strong and growing long-term position in the competitive environments in which we operate. We aim to work closely with our customers, our partners and policymakers to advance a more efficient and sustainable use of energy and natural resources.
The purpose/ mission statements of the following organisations are in the list:
Recently we got in touch with an interesting start-up: Remote-how. Remote-how is a monthly remote work & travel incentive program, to attract and retain top talents. They organise the possibility for young top talent to work at a remote location for one month. During this month they continue working, and also learn a lot about all the important aspects of remote working. And of course, they have a lot of fun and learn about new cultures. If the program is a joint program, they connect to top talent of other companies as well.
Remote-how with some partners, have started an interesting research project: the “EU labor market 2018 – Expectations vs. Reality” research. You can learn more about it here.
Remote-how.com, together with companies like PwC and Amazon, will identify the most up to date insights about needs of young employees in the areas of employee benefits and remote work, confronting them with existing strategies of HR departments.
Why is it worth to join the research? All participating companies will receive a cost-free benchmarking analysis to other businesses from their industry or country.
If you want to learn more about the report, you can easily schedule a call with Remote-how team member – just click here.
In the recent times, more and more organisations are taking the wellbeing of their employees a lot more seriously. And why shouldn’t they? Research has shown that a healthy and engaged workforce can cut down the cost per employee more than $1500. If yours is a large organisation, this means a lot of money can be saved, which in turn translates to an increase in the return on investments. Improving the wellbeing of your workforce has a lot of obvious benefits.
It increases the productivity of your employees — With the help of wellbeing initiatives, employees feel a lot healthier — both physically and mentally. With the reduction in stress, increases the energy to perform better.
Brings the team in cohesion — Wellbeing initiatives involve team-building activities, that bring your team together. It gives the whole organization a shared purpose for which they work.
Creates a positive work environment — Practicing mindfulness and meditation are facets of improving wellbeing in the workplace. These activities will decrease the stress levels of your employees and create an overall positive work environment within the organization.
There is no one way to create a wellbeing programme for your organization. Different companies use different modes for fostering their mental and physical wellbeing. However, there are a few wellbeing trends that have worked for a lot of large corporations.
In this article, we cover some of the top wellbeing trends that you can implement in your organisation to improve employee productivity and generate a higher return on investments. Take a look.
A lot of large companies are outsourcing Yoga experts within their organisation to create an environment of meditation and mindfulness. You can put in an hour before work for employees that are interested in the same. For companies that function on a large scale, this can be extremely useful. Since they can afford the assistance of experts, they won’t have to spend time on coming up with other cheap (and sometimes ineffective) plans.
2. Give gym discounts
This trend is a great way to render incentives to your employees while ensuring their physical well being. Since it would be given out as an incentive, they’d be naturally motivated to work better, and their physical well being will also, in turn, improve their work productivity. Two shots from the same arrow, wouldn’t you say? Another aspect you can work on is redesigning your office layout. Keep ample space for the employees to move around and freshen up once in a while. Use of ergonomic chairs, standing-desks, etc. can also be imparted. This will keep the work culture non-monotonous and keep the workforce active!
3. Be flexible in working hours
Rigidity in working is a lost cause now. Organisations are becoming more and more open-minded about a lot of things. One of those things is the flexibility in working hours. Every employee is different. They have their different situations and problems. Therefore, if it is possible, you should be more flexible in assigning work hours for your employees as long as they do the work right. This will inculcate a natural sense of loyalty and satisfaction towards the work and reduce stress.
4. Promote usage of productivity boosting devices
Wearable devices like Fitbit, Apple’s Smart Watch, etc. can help your employees in monitoring their personal well-being. These smart wearables can track personal activities of an individual like sleep quality, calories, pulse rate, etc. This will help your employees in not only staying active & healthy, but also make them proactive. In addition to this, the organisations can also promote mindfulness and meditation activities. Apps like Headspace can serve this purpose well!
5. Incorporate team activities
Team bonding activities have always happened in organisations, and they will continue to happen. However, most team bonding activities fall flat. Employees get the feeling that there may be a hidden agenda behind it, and they end up becoming formulaic and meaningless. Make sure that you spice up these activities with new, creative ideas so that your team remains interested and it feels organic. Perhaps do not assign a rigid time for it? Surprise your team with a weekend getaway with the whole organisation. I’m sure you can think of great ideas.
6. Financial advising
This is one trend that not a lot of employers think about, but should. Financial crisis can be a huge burden for any employee. It also results in a lot of stress. Addressing these concerns becomes imperative to ensure that an employee’s productivity is not hampered. Giving financial advice and education to your employees from different walks of life can be greatly beneficial for your employee’s well being.
7. Limit office hours to boost productivity!
It is essential that you restrict the office hours and keep the work-timings fixed. You can communicate to your employees that you do not expect them to work outside these foxed hours. This will promote a sense of relaxation amongst employees and motivates them to maximize their productivity during the working hours.
Right after you implement these initiatives, you should always run a survey to see whether your plans are working or not. Feedback is critical. If one initiative is not working, try another. Keep trying till you find the sweet spot, and achieve the desired work-culture dynamics for your company.
Speed is of utmost importance. HR can help to accelerate processes and decision making. The pace in most organisations is too slow. The year is still the most important planning building block. HR can do a lot to help to increase the speed. Hire speedy persons. Get rid of, or redesign, slow and bureaucratic processes. Stop with one-size-fits-all concepts. Adopt ‘Just-in time’ and get rid of ‘Just-in-case’.
2. The Challenger
We need people who dare to challenge at the top. Group think is observed too often. The plans are always ambitious and will result in more growth. Nobody wants to be the party pooper. Nobody wants to be perceived as a blocker. This is where HR can show its independency, and challenge where others choose to be followers.
3. The Connector
In today’s organisation it is all about connections. HR must focus on building and strengthening the connections. Between countries. Between functional areas. Between old and young. Between Baby Boomers and Gen Y and Gen Z. Between old and new. Between early-adaptors and followers. Between change lovers and stabilisers. Between inner circle and outer circle. Between leaders and followers. Between HQ and the people at the front. Read: Organisational Network Analysis.
4. The Data-cruncher
Traditionally data analysis is not one of the core competencies of HR. It should be, and modern technology will help a lot. HR can have its sensors out wide in the organisation. What is happening with the engagement levels of people in critical projects? What capabilities are slowly eroding? Moving people analytics from descriptive to predictive.
5. The Designer
Can organisations be beautiful? Can organisations be a place where it is fun to be? HR can play a more active role in workplace design. Functionality and efficiency: yes, but let’s as HR add the people element. Let’s also make sure what we design can fulfil the needs of different groups.
Another type of designer is the employee journey designer (see role 7).
6. The Employee Champion
One of the most undervalued roles in the original Ulrich model is finally getting some traction. For years HR has focused on becoming part of senior management (or al least getting as close as possible to senior management). Nobody wanted to be an administrative expert, and focusing on the employees was also very old fashioned. This is changing, and employee intimacy is becoming more important. Read: To a more human and holistic HR.
We can learn a lot of experiments. HR can drive experiments. Do not strive to design the global all-encompassing process, practice or system that will be future-proof. Time goes by and nothing happens. Start experiments with those parts of the organisation that love something new. Implement, learn, adapt and start a new experiment.
9. The Guardian of the Values
Organisations and people become more and more values driven. Strong values need to be nourished and defended. HR leaders should be role models that through their behaviours show that they are living the values.
10. The magician
Top HR professionals can be magicians. For example, by producing surprising insights with the help of people analytics. Management and employees like surprising insights, and HR can provide them. Sourcing surprising candidates is another area where HR can add a lot of value.
11. The meditator
The HR pro keeps her head cool. She is focused and immune to distractions. She finds time to mediate every day. Headspace is her favourite app.
12. The performance consultant
Some people are better in giving feedback than others. It is probably better to make use of the capabilities of these people, then to train all people to give better feedback. Performance consulting is an excellent role for HR: helping good people to become better.
Read: Improving Performance Consulting.
13. The Receptionist
Administrative Expert was the least desirable role in the Ulrich model (see also role 6). An important element in the HR service centre is hospitality. If organisations investigate how employees experience their journey, they often mention how difficult it is to find relevant HR information. The intranet contains may pages, but to find the right information is cumbersome. If you try to contact the HR service centre, they are difficult to reach. Hospitality should be high on the capability list of HR employees in the service centre. Although chatbots will play an important role, for more complex issues we will need human interaction. Read: HR Operations in the lift.
This role is related to role 13, the receptionist. The smooth operator knows her IT-stuff. HR processes and workflows are running smoothly in the background, and offer all the users (candidates, employees, managers) a world class experience. The smooth operator is invisible, but very important as the engine of HR.
16. The Storyteller
2018 will also be a year of storytelling. Through stories we can learn about the ambitions of the company. Through stories we can learn what living the values really means. Through stories we can connect the organisation to the surrounding world. HR could be the master of storytelling.
17. The Techie
HR tech offers numerous opportunities. HR should be tech savvy, and be able to find solutions that can help to increase the impact of HR. Not an easy role. There are many solutions on the market, and the HR tech landscape is changing every day. Read: HR Tech trends often ignored by HR. Have a look at the HR Tech Community.
18. The Voice
As one of the major HR trends for 2018, we mentioned “Power to the People”. Many organisations are still used to work in a top-down way. In those organisations, also HR finds it difficult to approach issues in a different way. Performance management is a good example. Changing the performance management process is often tackled as an organisation wide issue, and HR needs to find the new uniform solution. In line with the trend called “the consumerisation of HR” employees are expected to take more initiative, being tired of waiting for the organisation and HR, and wanting to be more independent of organisational initiatives. If HR is clever, it senses the needs and ideas in the undercurrent of the organisation, and acts as the voice that expresses these ideas.