Automation is not a factor for…

… wait for it.

The automation of processes and systems is changing organisations.

The automation will also change our way of working. There is no doubt about it. What is going to change regarding our employability? We’ll need to learn new skills and adapt to new demands.

The talent acquisition departments need to adapt and understand the talent market trends. Which is a need that will not change? The need for soft skills. Being able to influence your stakeholders and be great storytellers won’t change.

 

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Their story is not yours!

You can read about other people careers’ failures and successes. There is a lot of content around that.  There is definitely a lot of content. What’s the best approach towards those readings? You should read it but take a step back when you reflect on these stories.

What do I mean? The stories that you read are not yours. Your view of success and failure can be different from other professionals’ ones. You have to be aware of it and take time to think about those differences; in other words, you have to understand what is important to you. You should not automatically adopt other professionals’ schemes. It could work or not. If it does not work, it is not your fault. Happiness and success are very different for all of us.

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Question yourself…always!

Feeling confident at work makes our lives easy. We feel good, comfortable and happy with the status quo. That’s great.

What do we do when we feel confident? We stop asking if it is all good for real. Normal. We stop asking for feedback, we do not research what is requested on the labour market and we stop working on our self-improvement plan. We lose curiosity.

Having confidence is great; however, it’s better to double-check where we are going!

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No time, no innovation!

Where does the lack of innovation come from? The answer is the lack of time.

What does it mean? A team is often focused on the transactional and the operational activities; in other words, a team needs to deliver and complete tasks. However, being completely focused on the delivery does not allow a team to take distance from the “operational” side of work. In the case your team has not the chance to pause and think, it is impossible to work on innovation, transformation and operational reviews. A limited space to innovation leads to the creation of an operations-oriented culture. With no time you will never ask “why”.

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Asking questions? It does not hurt you (much).

Making mistakes is a normal step with respect to the growth of any professional. There are many examples of entrepreneurs that have begun with a career or business plan, but then they have changed their paths.   Making mistakes allows you to make experience and realizing that there is another way or opportunity.

When you work into a positive organizational environment, your mistakes are interpreted as the chances for improvement or just a sign of commitment; there are other contexts where a mistake is stigmatized and who made the mistake is punished in some way.

In both cases, making mistakes affects our self-esteem. In other words, a mistake brings us to feel embarrassed and it is accompanied by stress which is of course not pleasant. We can feel down and inadequate. As I said before it is essential to experiment and make mistakes.  However there’s something we can do in order to try to avoid mistakes if we are not sure about a task/situation.

 

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The self-esteem is the powerful psychological aspect which allows us creating our personality and our status within our organization. In order to defend our status we do not want to show weaknesses to other members of the organization (or even to our colleagues). If this is the case, especially into very competitive environments, we tend to do not ask advice or guidance. It happens because the psychological mechanisms related to our self-esteem stop us in a self-defensive process. Of course, it would be good to ask for help or support before making a mistake.

In other words, it would be better to lower our defensive mind-set (ask for advice) in order to avoid the “destruction” of those (making a mistake). The mistakes have a stronger effect on our psychological well-being than asking questions. Again, making mistakes helps our growth; however, sometimes, you can ask without thinking of being judged.

This is not another post about time management!

Our behaviour at work is the result of the perceptions of the reality around us. For example,  the perceptions related to a particular work environment are different amongst the employees of the same organization. There are employees who find the work environment very enjoyable and other ones who hate it.

One important perception is the one related to “time”. Let’s start with a simple example. We usually feel that the time is flying while we’re doing something that we like. On the contrary, we have a completely different experience when we are part of something (task, project, activity) that does not stimulate us and/or does not boost our creativity. As a consequence,  it is difficult for a manager to interpret the individuals’ perception of time. Why? We interpret our roles/task/activities in a complete different ways.

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However, the managerial role is not tricky as for what I am going to describe now. Specifically, what is the perception of time with respect to success or failure?

Well, the whole thing becomes even more complicated and less generalizable than what said about the interesting (or not) tasks . The reaction towards the time spent to a complete an activity can be positive if you have completed something quickly; however, it can be perceived also positive if you have finally completed a task after a lot of time; why? you feel relieved.

 

Moreover, how much time we dedicate to the celebration of success or thinking about failures? Again, another perception and interpretation which depends on personality, attitude and also the work environment.

Yes. lt is very complicated. There are cases, such as in sales departments, where the achievements ( for example new deals) are celebrated. But, as the group celebrates, what is the achiever thinking? Is that celebration perceived as enough? Or is it needed more time for an individual (personal) self-reflection?  

Yes. It is complicated.  Your perception of the time is simply a fundamental dimension of your relationship with your job.

 

What’s the simplest thing to do for creating a collaborative team?

What’s the simplest thing to do for creating a collaborative team? I will tell you in a minute.

It happens often to read several articles about team building and collaboration; the fundamental elements which are usually presented as fundamental to create the “chemistry” are:trust, clear communication , clear goals and having an inspiring manager. In order to achieve this framework, organisations usually invest money for programs or specific initiatives. I imagine that it is happened to most of us to participate in offsites, social events or simple team meetings where your manager defines (or redefines) the team goals and/or the way of working.

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But, are these official occasions enough? Do they really create that needed chemistry? Probably they do, but not completely. The first reason is due to the fact that not all the organisations invest in this kind of initiatives . Secondly, even if they do,  there is a lack of continuous development which follows these events; in other words, there are not initiatives which follows the official event.
So, which is the simplest thing to do? Creating a culture of gratitude. Saying “thank you” when someone is working with you, saying “thanks” to your boss for the opportunities and supports are just few example. Recognition is fundamental in order to creating a good teamwork atmosphere and a needed collaboration…

Do you usually thanks people only when they have done something for you? Better to open up your horizon to create a better work framework.

Lifelong learning.. why is so important?

Lifelong learning is one of the most fascinating topic for HR professionals. Why? It is the mix of the will to grow as professional which is accompanied by “self motivation”. In other words, lifelong learning is the voluntary search for improvement. It is very important to underline that it is not the research of perfection but it is the research of improvement… continuous improvement.

Diapositiva1Many people think that their learning efforts end when they’ve completed a degree or when they participate in official training on the job. That’s exactly how you can stop your growth. With the lifelong learning mindset you can customize your learning goals and your learning curve; for sure, this kind of customization is not possible to do with an official training on the job or at university.

In order to grow and improve your skills, you need constantly to reflect on what is important for you in order to improve your way of doing things (for example: soft skills vs technical knowledge). It is fundamental to understand where your learning efforts need to be directed. Clearly, being passionate about something will hep your learning; however, many times, your learning need to be directed to something that you do not like to do or about something that you are struggling with. It is not easy, but this continue reflection and work is what you need to improve.

Succession plans? Knowledge sharing helps!

Succession plans are fundamental for the delivery of the organizations’ strategy. Many organizations have (unfortunately) a short-sighted approach in creating or thinking about the succession plans. Organizations often focus their efforts and attention only on the top-level, the management. With this approach, they assume that the technical and social knowledge which is retained at the “lower” levels of the organization is not that important.  I understand that the “top-level” has more responsibilities for the strategy; howeve, the other part of the organization is responsible for the delivery of the strategy.

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Then, if an employee leaves, whatever responsibilities he/she has, a replacement needs to be foundFounding replacements does not mean only replacing the skillset; in fact, it is also mean working on the social network that needs to be (re)-created and the need of maintaining the same level of delivery. Activating the recruiting “machine” with an “asap” approach focused on the technical knowledge/skillset does not really work.

Finally, when a person leaves also his/her knowledge goes away. It happens because the personal knowledge (technical, political and social) is “communicated” but not stored. It is true that technology has changed the knowledge sharing (and retention) processes, but (luckily, in some extent) we still share information in person.

Considering what just mentioned, instead of panicking in order to find who “will be able to do the job”, what can organizations do to prevent this succession plan crisis? The solution is  creating a knowledge sharing culture and work on the implementation of knowledge sharing systems; knowledge is a real treasure for the organizations.  It is so important because many times does not really matter who is going to do something but the how counts much more. If your organization wants to be successful in the long run a more systematic approach for the knowledge sharing is needed.

 

Data quality vs quantity. Find the right trade-off for your (Recruiting) Branding Strategy

An Employer Branding strategy has the mission of positioning a company as employer of choice ( for internal and external stakeholders). In fact, many organizations are presenting data and information about processes and their working culture in order to show their “real” and “human” face. The same need involves their recruiting strategy. Recruiting is a fundamental point of contact with the world outside the organization. Among the various data presented, it is usually possible to find the number of applications for a specific role. This kind of “tracking” is also made public by  job sites like Linkedin or Glassdoor.

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In terms of transparency, there is an important difference between the processes related to the transparency towards internal stakeholders and the one towards the world outside an organization. For the first, the need for transparency aims to work on the organization effectiveness, probably as result of the frustration experienced by the organization’s members. The “external” transparency is (most of the times) related to the image and the brand positioning which can lead to the frustration of the external stakeholders. In other words, the “internal” transparency is the result of an internal auditing process; on the contrary, the external one is the possible cause of frustration  for the external public which leads (as consequence) to an auditing process.

Getting back to the recruiting process, the number of applications for a specific role (often) catches the attention of the “external world”. When the candidates read the number of applications for a specific role, they know how many “competitors” they have; this public information should improve the perception of transparency, but it is not always the case. It happens to read complaints by the candidates that have not been contacted or about the fact that they thought that there were too many applications for a specific role. These complaints are the possible consequences of companies’ search for transparency (for example there is no data about the number of interviews run by recruiters or how many candidates have been contacted for starting the interview process). Thus, showing the number of candidates who applied for a role does not add any value to your brand positioning.  For this reason, before publishing data, the organizations need to understand which one will provide an added value to their brand positioning.  In other words, organizations need to understand if their messaging will be perceived as valuable or misleading.