Hay Group: The six megatrends transforming businesses

22 October 2014 Consultancy.uk

Leaders already know that keeping their teams motivated, engaged and driven to succeed is a demanding task in itself. But in today’s world it’s even harder, because leaders have to keep their people engaged while responding to huge, disruptive changes in how we work and what we care about in the workplace.

It’s a big challenge, but the first step to overcoming it is knowing what the changes are. In Hay Group’s new book, “Leadership 2030: The Six Megatrends You Need to Understand to Lead Your Company into the Future“, we’ve identified six ‘megatrends’ that are transforming societies and the global business environment as we know it.

Leadership 2030

The six megatrends leaders must be prepared for:

Globalization 2.0 – Economic power is shifting from mature Western economies to emerging markets, so we’re seeing more diverse market needs, more collaboration across countries, and global competition for talent

Environmental Crisis – The world is facing a disruptive combination of climate change and scarce raw materials that brings the perfect storm of challenges for businesses: increasing costs, fluctuating values and concerned stakeholders

Demographic change – Aging populations are changing the face of the global workforce and exacerbating the war for talent

Individualism – Growing freedom of choice is eroding loyalty and forcing organizations to respond to individual needs in an increasingly diverse workforce

Digitization – Work is going remote, and the boundaries between professional and personal lives are blurring, as people increasingly live life online

Technology convergence – A combination of nano, bio, information and cognitive (NBIC) sciences is set to spur a wave of powerful technological breakthroughs – speeding up the pace of change and creating new product markets

Right now, employee engagement is already a moving target. To take a line from the X Files, “the future is out there.” To successfully keep people engaged and on track to deliver business results, leaders must respond to trends outside the organization, because they will affect what happens inside it. The six megatrends bring about a multitude of challenges – here we’ve identified four core responses to help you, as leaders, successfully navigate them:

Six Megatrends - Hay Group

1. Imperative #1: Instill confidence in the direction your organization is taking
How engaged employees feel is influenced not only by their current work experiences but also by their view of the future. For people to commit, especially over the long term, they need to have confidence that a company is well-led, heading in the right direction, and well-positioned to deliver products and services they know customers want.

Unfortunately, given the pressures that come with change, communicating regularly about the changes with employees can often slip, leaving them confused about the priorities for the organization. Demand for information often outstrips what you and your managers are able to supply: the consequence is a lack of clarity, which erodes confidence in leadership and strategic direction.

Technology convergence won’t just create new product opportunities; it will also increase the challenge of staying ahead of the curve. And in an increasingly global business environment, new competitors can be expected to emerge regularly. So how can you respond?

As well as having a clear and compelling vision, you need to communicate regularly and personally about changes in your organization and what they will mean for individuals and teams. Making sure you and your peers at all levels know about changes and receive the same messages about them is essential to promote consistent understanding across the organization.

Vision and Strategy

Managers in particular play an important “sense-making” role in times of change, helping employees understand new developments in the organization and their implications for teams and job responsibilities.

You must make sure that managers at all levels are aware of and engaged with planned changes, and that they understand the importance of reinforcing key messages with their teams. If middle managers and supervisors signal to employees through their words or actions that they lack faith in their leaders, employees’ trust will decline rapidly.

2. Imperative #2: Have integrity
Socrates said: “Regard your good name is the richest jewel you could possibly be possessed of.” That advice applies to companies just as much as individuals. Consider a quote from Miles White, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Abbott: “Today we’re in an all-out war for reputation, our companies are battling – to an unprecedented extent – for our most vital assets: our own identities.”

That battle is playing out on many different fronts. Companies are facing increasing pressure from the media and from political and regulatory scrutiny. But increasingly too there is a power shift in play, brought by digitization, toward consumers and employees. A single voice can undermine a company’s reputation. Individuals can make a huge impact with the click of a mouse. And so companies need to be ever more careful in managing their reputation, because hard work to make a good name can be undone in seconds.

To foster employee engagement, you need to give your people the sense that they are contributing to a purpose larger than themselves. The desire to work for an organization that stands for something and makes a difference is not limited to Millennials, but extends across generational groups.

Integrity

So, in a transparent world, where reputation is increasingly at risk, organizations need to prove they operate with a high level of integrity. For leaders, this demands high levels of openness and sincerity, demonstrated through consistent values, words, and deeds.

With critical natural resources becoming scarcer and climate change more threatening, the environmental crisis will highlight the need for all organizations to demonstrate that their operations are sustainable. Pressure will come not only from outside (societies, governments, and customers) but also from within.

Showing employees that you are responding effectively to sustainability issues will be necessary to build confidence in prospects for future success. “Greenwashing” will not cut it – and in fact will damage trust.

3. Imperative #3: Be transparent
Importantly, employee engagement is an exchange relationship. If you want your employees to do and deliver more, it’s essential that they feel valued, believe that their extra efforts are appreciated and that, over time, there will be a balance between total rewards and contributions.

In a digital world, the four walls of an organization will have increasingly large windows. And interested eyes will be looking both in and out, which puts additional pressure on companies from an engagement and retention perspective.

Social Media

Social media allows your employees, especially those with highly desirable skills and experience, to promote their knowledge and accomplishments – making key talent more difficult for organizations to hide. Likewise, online resources make it easier for your employees to compare what they currently get in terms of compensation, career development opportunities, and work environment with what is on offer elsewhere.

To respond, you need to develop and reinforce strong employer brands, showcasing the unique attractions of working for your organization. You also need to recognize that rewards extend well past compensation and benefits and you should build core organizational messages around total reward offerings.

In this context, line managers can effectively reward team members outside of the confines of compensation and benefits. Total rewards statements, for example, can be powerful resources for selling the rewards you offer beyond merely salary.

4. Imperative #4: Be flexible
Leaders are increasingly challenged with overseeing 4G workforces, with four generations of employees working side by side, each with their own needs and motivators. And, with increasing acceptance of the idea that a career should be tailored to the individual, all employees, regardless of age, are likely to value fulfillment, meaning, self-development, and recognition in their jobs.

Leadership

As a result, a one-size-fits-all approach to employee engagement is doomed to fail. Engagement will need to be more personal, tapping into each employee’s drivers, outlook, and expectations. It’s important you balance traditional roles of directing and organizing team activities with more listening, coaching, mentoring, developing, and advocacy. You’ll also need to be flexible in responding to employee needs. Keeping the skill sets and expertise of Baby Boomers nearing retirement in the organization, for example, may require exploring part-time, work-from-home, or contract employment arrangements.

Finally, recognize that there are limits to the “mass customization” of engagement on the part of organizations and empower people to take responsibility for their own engagement, connecting them with the tools and resources available to help them manage their work experiences, development and careers in a personal, positive way.

Don’t be caught out
To motivate and retain employees, you need to rethink your engagement strategies – because a changing world is changing the game. As part of our research looking at how the external environment is transforming engagement, we conducted a survey of 300 leaders responsible for employee engagement in Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 companies:

• Over 80% agreed that their company needs to find new ways to engage its workforce in light of the changing environment

• Yet just one-third feel their organizations are adapting to the megatrends

• And only a quarter have personally started to drive change

Mark Royal - Senior Principal

You can avoid being caught out by:

Considering which megatrends will have the biggest impact on your organization and workforce:

• Identifying the changes needed in your approach to employee engagement

• Building networks or taskforces that involve the right people and functions to make change happen

• Regularly talking to your people across the employee lifecycle to understand how their motivators and behaviors are changing in light of the megatrends

An article from Mark Royal, Senior Principal within Hay Group’s employee research division in the US and co-author of the book, “The Enemy of Engagement: Put an End to Workplace Frustration – and Get the Most from Your Employees”.

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How First Consulting generates more insight using fewer reports

08 March 2019 Consultancy.uk

Organisations are continuously investing in more advanced data collection and manipulation methods to enable smarter and more informed business decisions. In order to maximise their business value, companies understand the growing need for performance related insights from their data. First Consulting, a consultancy firm specialised in business change, has helped many clients in the utilities sector to deliver effective change through improved use of their data.

Most utilities firms are structured in such a way that every business unit has a team of analysts who are responsible for providing relevant data insights to their business colleagues. The business analysis teams form the link between business decision making and IT by translating business requests into meaningful actions and delivering information via reports.

Typically, the business user will receive a unique report for each information request, with each new report requiring individual, tailored support from the analyst team. This limits the productivity of the analyst teams and minimises their ability to address new data requests. The growing demand for information puts additional pressure on these teams, as a significant amount of time is required simply to gather and update the required data. This has caused reporting portfolios to expand dramatically. However, due to the analysts’ already stretched capacity, reports do not always deliver the most vital information and documentation is often incomplete.

Redesigning information delivery

At First Consulting, business consultants work in close collaboration with their clients to improve the mechanism for the delivery of information and analysis in response to business requests. The improved structure focuses on providing information per role type, rather than per request. As such, one dashboard is designed for each organisational role type, with all the relevant information presented in a single overview. This allows all individuals of a given role type to open a single dashboard and view what they need, as opposed to collating a large range of disparate links and unique reports which, previously, were all required to enable business decision making.

Moving from unique reports for each request, to reusing KPIs in a select group of dashboards

By implementing this new way of working, clients are able to reduce the reporting portfolio from over 100 reports to fewer than 20 dashboards (see figure above). In addition, the capacity for data maintenance can be reduced significantly by using modular KPIs, allowing for the re-use of data across multiple dashboards.

Changing while everyday work continues

In order to deliver effective change, it is essential that day-to-day processes remain unaffected whilst transitioning to a new reporting landscape. First Consulting achieves this by embedding business consultants within the client’s analysis team to gain feedback and determine exactly what visuals are necessary within the dashboards. This focuses effort on the outcome (such as what should be presented in the final dashboard) and allows a broad range of requirements to be considered in the business context and combined, where appropriate.

Key users and stakeholders are involved from the outset to help define what makes a high-quality dashboard. Adopting this approach helps the team to produce an optimal output that contains the key business information for the appropriate roles in an easy-to-use format.

Once it is clear what should be included in the final dashboard and how this should be presented, the team works according to the priorities set out by the product owner. This ensures that analysts work on the requirements which deliver the most value and which form the most coherent dashboards.

Main results

The advantages of implementing straightforward, no-nonsense solutions using fewer reports are particularly noticeable for the business and for the analyst teams:

  • Making adjustments is easier and maintaining and updating data costs less time
  • Management information is displayed in one location and is displayed according to defined standards, facilitating decision making
  • There is greater capacity within the business for complex analysis and project support

First Consulting combines process, technology, and implementation consulting to deliver impactful and value-adding solutions. The firm has more than 200 consultants based in the UK and the Netherlands.