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EU Compliance Developments That Parent Companies Should Tackle in 2023

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EU Compliance Developments That Parent Companies Should Tackle in 2023

Foreign parent companies, including US parent companies, are increasingly subject to extraterritorial legislations and are likely to face new compliance challenges coming from the European Union in 2023. Similarly, US subsidiaries of French groups should beware of both the applicable US rules and French compliance framework that they are subject to. Compliance regulations have exploded this year with 11 successive waves of EU sanctions issued against Russia. The French Anticorruption Agency (the “AFA”) has issued several publications which clarify the position of the French administration. We could not explain all these new major developments in this short article, but have selected three important topics which we dive into below.

I) The need to update the anti-corruption investigation procedures for companies owned by a French parent company

Who is concerned? Since December 2016,  French Sapin II[1] law makes internal anti-corruption compliance procedures mandatory for French companies with 500 employees and consolidated sales in excess of €100 million. This includes foreign and French subsidiaries when their head office is located in France with consolidated annual sales of more than 100 million euros.

Authorities may take serious civil, criminal and administrative sanctions both against the company and  individuals (legal representatives and directors) who are noncompliant with the Sapin II Law and/or with the French Criminal Code regarding active or passive corruption and influence peddling.

What is new? Internal measures and strong compliance procedures have been in force since June 2017. Companies can rely on the guidelines from the French Anti-Corruption Agency (AFA) to implement the required anti-corruption measures which, since 2021 are based on the following three pillars:

  • The commitment of the management body to compliance. The choice of executives’ commitment as the first pillar reflects the AFA’s emphasis that the implementation of the compliance program is the responsibility of its leaders.
  • Precise risk mapping for the group. Providing detailed information of the risks to which the group entities in each country are exposed to for each type of business activity; and
  • the management of these risksby means of prevention, detection and remediation measures and the issuance of adapted compliance procedures such as the Code of Conduct.

The French Anticorruption Agency (the “AFA”) and the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (the “PNF”) collaborated to publish on 14 March, 2023 a guide relating to internal anti-corruption investigations. The guide aims to support companies in implementing their relevant internal investigations and to assess facts that shall trigger investigations. The goal of these authorities is to encourage companies to fully cooperate and to report non-compliant facts. Like in the USA, the French authorities are also placing cooperation from companies at the heart of their new criminal policy.

II) The need to conduct corporate sustainability due diligence: The French and EU duty of care (“devoir de vigilance”)

Foreign companies can be caught under French law for breaches of the duty of care provided by the “Law on the duty of care of parent companies and ordering companies”[2]. Indeed, the French duty of care is binding on companies employing (i) at least 5,000 employees in their own organization and in subsidiaries with head offices located in France, or (ii) having at least 10,000 employees in their own organization and in subsidiaries with head offices located in France or abroad.

Foreign parent companies which meet these criteria shall be required to implement a corporate sustainability due diligence plan which complies with five pillars provided by French Law[3], including risk mapping and relevant implementation procedures. Non-compliance with these rules can lead to a court order to put in place an efficient due diligence plan, but more importantly, compensation for the damage caused as a result of the lack of an adequate due diligence plan and reputational damage.

A number of companies have already been subject to formal notice on this basis in France for various reasons, including: (i) Total for climate objectives insufficient to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement” in relation to business activities in Russia where sanctions are imposed and its oil project in Uganda; (ii) Truck transport and logistics multinational XPO Logistics Europe (a subsidiary of the American group XPO Logistics) concerning workers’ rights in the truck transport multinational’s subcontracting chain, and (iii) McDonald’s France concerning workers’ rights in Brazil and France.

No doubt future litigation will shape this particular area of law. Big companies should therefore carefully draft their corporate sustainability due diligence plan since they can be held liable on this basis.

In the European Union, only France and Germany have adopted laws on duty of care. However,  duty of care should be implemented at the EU level in the following months, once adopted by the EU Council.  Indeed, on 1st June 2023, the European Parliament adopted a proposal for a Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence which aims to establish harmonized European legislation on the duty of care, in an effort to improve corporate respect for human rights and to strengthen environmental protection.

This EU duty of care will target more companies than the French one with decreased thresholds of applicability, i.e. (i) European companies employing more than 250 people on average and generating more than 40,000,000 euros in sales or (ii) companies that are the ultimate parent company of a group that employed 500 persons and generates more than 150,000,000 euros in sales worldwide during the last financial year.

 Thus, contrary to French law, the EU duty of care should also apply to big SMEs. In addition, this new Directive should lead to the adoption of new sanctions against companies for non-compliance with the due diligence framework, and the creation of a new regulator to monitor compliance with the EU duty of care.

III) Implementation of the GDPR

The well-known General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) applies to any organization established in the EU territory which processes personal data, as well as those the activity of which directly targets European residents. Foreign companies should therefore pay particular attention to these very specific rules, the violation of which can result in severe sanctions.

Companies must guarantee protective rights to persons whose data is being processed, whether employees or customers. The GDPR also binds foreign companies as it places regulations on the transfer of data outside the EU, which is of particular interest to international groups.

The CJEU ruled in its Court judgment (Grand Chamber) of 16 July 2020, Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland Ltd and Schrems that the GDPR requires data exporters to assess the conditions framing transfers and to put in place suitable measures to ensure that such data is subject to protection substantially equivalent to that guaranteed in the European Union. Both data controllers and data processors transferring data are accountable for these requirements.

Since the invalidation by the CJEU on the 16 July 2020 of the EU-US Privacy Shield, the data transfer agreement between the EU and the US, such transfer has become a sensitive operation and required the implementation of strict safeguards ensuring sufficient guarantee, such as, according to the text of the GDPR, the implementation of Binding Corporate Rules and Standard Contractual Clauses.

However, it seems that the respect of these rules is not sufficient since the Irish Data Protection Authority has very recently stated, on Monday, May 22, 2023, that META’s recourse to “standard contractual clauses” was insufficiently protective of data transfers and fined it 1.2 billion euros, as well as ordering the US firm to cease all transfers of data from European Internet users to the USA as of October 12. The data collected since 2020 must also be repatriated to European data centers by November 12.

It appears in practice that organizations transferring data under U.S. surveillance legislation are the first to be affected by this ruling and that the strengthening of their data protection procedure is urgent whenever they are transferring personal data from the EU to the U.S.

Conclusion: Foreign parent companies are responsible for ensuring that their subsidiaries in France and the EU are able to meet these multiple compliance challenges, and must navigate a complex and international compliance framework.

[1] Law n°2016-1691 of 9 December 2016 on transparency, fight against corruption and modernization of the economic life.

[2] Law n° 2017-399 of 27 March 2017 on the duty of care of parent companies and ordering companies

[3] Article L225-102-4, I, of the French Commercial Code)

companies

The Evolving Landscape of Company Requirements in 2023

In the dynamic and ever-changing business world of 2023, companies face new challenges and opportunities that are reshaping how they operate and the skills they seek in potential employees. As technology advances and industries undergo transformations, the criteria for what companies seek in job candidates have also shifted. In this article, we’ll explore the key areas of focus for companies in 2023 and offer insights into how job seekers can position themselves for success.

Adaptability in the Face of Change

The 21st century business landscape requires organizations to remain flexible and agile, ready to quickly adopt new strategies and technology in order to stay competitive. In 2023, employers are looking for job candidates who can demonstrate the ability to adjust their skillsets as needed and the foresight to anticipate potential changes. Employers want team members who can think proactively and come up with creative solutions to new problems.

Strengths in Digital Platforms

The growth of digital platforms, from social media to online applications, has led to a demand for employees who understand the tools and technologies businesses use today.

Adapting to Technological Advancements

As technology advances at an unprecedented pace, companies seek individuals who can easily adapt to new tools and platforms. Proficiency in digital tools, software, and data analysis has become essential across various industries. In fact, a survey found that 75% of companies prioritize hiring candidates with strong digital skills.

Embracing Remote Work Culture

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote work, leading companies to value candidates who can excel in virtual environments. Remote work skills are highly sought after, including effective communication, time management, and collaboration across distances.

In-Demand Skills and Expertise

In the new business landscape of 2023, certain hard and soft skills have become increasingly important for employers. In addition to digital platforms, companies are seeking workers with expertise in areas such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and cybersecurity. Soft skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and interpersonal communication can also help job seekers stand out from the crowd.

Data Literacy and Analysis

The ability to interpret and leverage data has become a fundamental skill for companies in 2023. The industry is experiencing high demand for professionals skilled in deriving valuable insights from data and making data-oriented decisions. Industry reports indicate that there has been a increase in job postings related to data compared to last year.

Sustainable Practices and ESG Awareness

Companies are placing more emphasis on applicants who have understanding of sustainable practices and Environmental, societal, and Governance (ESG) principles due to growing worries about the environment and societal effect. Candidates who can contribute to a company’s sustainability initiatives and ethical responsibilities are valued assets.

Soft Skills for Success

In addition to the highly technical skills mentioned above, employers are emphasizing softer skills that can help employees adapt and excel in their positions. From teamwork communication, having a set of soft skills is equally important for success in today’s business environment. 

Effective Communication

Clear and concise communication remains a cornerstone of success in any business environment. Companies are actively seeking candidates who can convey complex ideas in simple terms, both in written and verbal communication. Strong communication skills contribute to improved team collaboration and client interactions.

Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking

Companies greatly emphasize the capacity to assess difficult circumstances, think critically, and suggest novel solutions. Job seekers who demonstrate a track record of effective problem-solving are likelier to stand out during the hiring process.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

In 2023, companies increasingly recognize the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives have become essential components of any company’s growth strategy. As such, employers actively seek applicants who commit to DEI principles, cultural understanding, and awareness. 

Promoting a Diverse Workforce

Companies prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to create a more representative and inclusive workplace. Forward-thinking organizations favor candidates who have experience working in diverse teams and who recognize the value of diversity.

Conclusion

In the fast-paced business landscape of 2023, companies are looking for candidates who can navigate technological advancements, embrace remote work culture, and possess a combination of technical and soft skills. Adaptability, data literacy, sustainable awareness, effective communication, problem-solving, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion are key attributes that can set job seekers apart from the competition.

By understanding and aligning with these evolving requirements, individuals can position themselves for success in their career pursuits.

FAQs

1. What are the most sought-after skills in 2023? 

 Skills such as data literacy, adaptability to technology, effective communication, and problem-solving are highly sought by companies.

2. How important is remote work experience? 

Remote work experience is increasingly important, as companies value candidates who can excel in virtual collaboration and communication.

3. Why do companies emphasize diversity and inclusion? 

Diversity and inclusion foster creativity, innovation, and a broader perspective, contributing to a more dynamic and successful workplace.

4. Are there specific industries where data skills are crucial? 

Data skills are essential across various industries, including finance, healthcare, marketing, and technology.

5. How can I enhance my adaptability skills? 

To enhance adaptability, stay updated on technological trends, engage in continuous learning, and embrace new challenges positively.

 

company culture loyalty

Is Your Company Giving Customers What They Want?

Alongside most everything else, travel is getting more expensive. But that hasn’t curtailed demand — at least not yet. After more than two years of COVID travel restrictions, consumers are eager to make up for lost time and are flocking to airports like never before. July 1st set a record for screened passengers at airport checkpoints nationwide since the pandemic began, according to TSA. But that doesn’t mean they’re willing to travel at any cost. 

Though they may accept that they could pay more for a vacation in 2022, consumers are still looking to get as much value as possible from their travel booking. According to a recent arrivia survey on American consumer attitudes about cruise travel, almost half of respondents said value for money was the most critical factor impacting their decision to book. Another arrivia report indicates that this is true across all travel touchpoints. 

Businesses that deliver that value to customers can leverage this once-in-a-lifetime travel demand to engage their audience and grow their business. But as costs rise, how do companies achieve this, and what do consumers mean when they say they want value?  

Driving value through rewards and benefits  

You don’t have to be a travel provider to offer your customers travel products or discounts on those products that demonstrate that you care about meeting their needs. You just need a travel rewards and benefits platform. Any organization with a dedicated audience or member base — think associations, employers, loyalty programs, or subscription services— can partner with a rewards technology and fulfillment supplier company like arrivia to create a dedicated travel booking platform exclusively for their members or customers. 

Think of it as an exclusive travel club for your brand allowing your audience to access members-only travel deals that far exceed the savings they’ll find on public forums like online travel agencies. As an organization, you can become the go-to travel provider for your customers, enabling you to engage with them more frequently and better understand their preferences and behaviors. 

But a travel rewards and benefits platform is more than just a booking portal. It’s a loyalty ecosystem that you can leverage as a valuable incentive and engagement tool. Depending on your business, this can take many forms.  

Travel as an employee incentive or new member sign-up reward 

Suppose you’re a large employer that has decided to introduce travel to your benefits package. In that case, you could offer each new employee a points-based signing bonus as part of your recruitment strategy. A credit union could offer points to members for each new referral or to celebrate specific milestones like opening a new investment account. Because travel is so prized and is generally considered a high-value item, the reward aspect is almost limitless and far more impactful than more commonplace rewards like a magazine subscription or a gift card to an online store.   

Travel rewards platforms are proven, too. Many organizations, particularly financial services and travel companies, already offer customers loyalty programs with points that can be used for travel and discounted travel options. But many current programs fail to provide their program members with recognizable value, especially compared to the number of publicly available discount travel sites. According to arrivia’s recent survey on the intersection of travel rewards and loyalty, 24% of American consumers say their rewards don’t seem valuable enough. In comparison, 28% of loyalty program managers say they struggle to demonstrate the value of their rewards to members. These numbers indicate that existing travel rewards platforms need to do a better job of advertising their unique value proposition and leveraging their members-only programs to deliver the best possible discounts and rates to members. 

It’s not (all) about the money 

When consumers say that their loyalty programs don’t seem valuable enough, what are they really saying?  While they do cite value for money as a top priority, that doesn’t mean all they care about is booking a trip for the least amount possible.  

To get value from their travel rewards programs, customers want options and a great customer experience —something they say is lacking. In arrivia’s travel loyalty survey, 32% of respondents said they were bothered by the lack of redemption options among the programs they are signed up for, and 29% said the earning and redemption process was too complex. Other pain points they mentioned were “irrelevant or superfluous recommendations and marketing,” “poor customer service,” and “poor website user experience.” 

When members log on to their rewards platform booking website, they should be able to book the trip they want without facing a bevy of restrictions or limitations. Maybe that’s why only 26% said they first turn to their loyalty programs when shopping for travel deals. This number could be much higher if those loyalty platforms delivered value on every front, not just in terms of straight discounting but by meeting customer expectations overall.  

Consider the travel options available through the rewards platform for purchase and points redemption. Suppose a member or customer wants to book a cruise, but your brand only offers flight and hotel options. In that case, they might find it inconvenient or too complicated to book through your service and instead turn to another source that can accommodate both. To turn your travel rewards program into an engine of growth, you need to provide your members with the travel options they want to deliver the value they demand.   

Don’t forget about the customer experience

Overall, customer experience is equally important. A rewards platform should make it easy and transparent to exchange points and be designed as a digital-first experience. That means more than just a nice-looking, user-friendly website. It means providing a modern, personalized experience for your users. Member-based travel rewards programs have a distinct advantage over online travel agencies — their members. As a trusted organization, you have unique insight into your members’ travel preferences, priorities, and behaviors. A rewards partner that employs intelligent marketing can use information gathered from the member’s digital footprint to create targeted and relevant travel content that best meets their individual needs, thereby increasing the likelihood of conversion.  

How your customers experience travel booking and travel rewards 

Let’s say you are a member of a credit card company’s travel rewards program and are looking to take a family beach vacation. You’ve spent some time looking at online destinations but haven’t committed. Then you get a promotion in your inbox for a travel deal to Riviera Maya from your rewards provider that specifically highlights family-friendly resorts and the activities you can do there. Riviera Maya wasn’t on your radar, but the deal is so great and speaks directly to your family’s needs that you decide to book your vacation there. The next time you plan a trip, you may remember the value your loyalty rewards program brought to the table and turn to that brand first.  

That’s the combined value – recognizing members’ needs and offering personalized options to meet them at a proven discount – that only a good travel rewards and benefits platform can deliver. Publicly accessible OTAs don’t have a built-in digital relationship with members to provide tailored options based on previous brand or program interactions. They can’t match the depth of discount travel suppliers made available to members-only groups like private loyalty programs. When consumers are eager to travel but increasingly cognizant of getting the best value on their journeys, providing a positive combined benefits experience is a real differentiator for loyalty programs, membership organizations, and businesses of all kinds. For many, travel will always be aspirational. 

With the right travel rewards platform — one that’s modern and flexible — your organization can better engage your target audience, deliver incomparable value, and use the platform to meet your goals, whether that’s employee recruitment, customer acquisition, or member loyalty. 

JEFF ZOTARA

Jeff Zotara is the Chief Marketing Officer at arrivia, one of the world’s largest travel technology companies celebrating more than 25 years of partnering with the world’s most respected and iconic brands. 

Jeff leads the global D2C/B2C marketing technology, advertising, merchandising, and creative teams for arrivia. Spanning 10 offices across the globe, arrivia employs more than 2,000 engaged team members. He and his teams are steadfast in transforming loyalty by providing the most differential member experience at the intersection of travel and technology. 

Jeff joined arrivia with a two-decade track record as a strategic and operational leader. Previously, he served as Chief Marketing Officer for SOR Technology, leading the digital transformation and marketing expansion of its private-label technology software platforms for the travel sector.

 

sensor

Does Your Tech Stack Match Your Company Culture? 3 Tips For Alignment

Deciding on the right technology that fits your business’ needs and people can be challenging, but in today’s world that alignment is a must.

Software adoption often has a measurable effect on the bottom line. Research shows, for example, that sales organizations are less likely to meet their quotas if they are using customer relationship management systems less than 75% of the time.

But choosing a tech stack for your company is about more than the technological capability; leaders must also weigh its role as a key dynamic in the workplace culture and be able to tailor it to their business’ goals, says Denise Brinkmeyer(www.jumptechnology.com), author of Project Orienteering: A Field Guide For Project Leadership and president of Jump Technology Services®.

“Your tech stack needs to support your culture, and ROI shouldn’t be pushed so far into the future as to risk the investment due to loss of organizational knowledge,” Brinkmeyer says. “When you look at the average tenure for analysts and developers, you should protect yourself with incremental deliveries that achieve ROI on a shorter timeline rather than longer.

“When you choose a stack, you’re putting your people in a new ecosystem, and It’s vital that the stack will feel comfortable to you and your people as well as meet the company’s needs.”

A tech stack is the combination of technologies a company uses to build and run an application or project. It typically consists of programming languages, frameworks, a database, front-end tools, back-end tools, and applications connected via application programming interfaces. Brinkmeyer says implementation is often an ongoing process, requiring a culture that stays engaged and connected.

“Due to changing business needs, company growth, and technology’s frequent upgrades, you’re never completely ahead of the curve,” she says. “But driving ownership at each step of implementation and the adoption journey propels steady progress and maximizes return on investment.”

Brinkmeyer offers these tips for aligning your tech stack with your business: 

  • Perform a technology assessment. When scrutinizing a tech stack in operation, Brinkmeyer says it should improve internal processes, align with business objectives and improve the customer experience. “An assessment will give you a clear view of what you may need to reevaluate, what’s working well, or how it can be used more effectively,” she says. “Depending on those findings, then the next step could be thoroughly researching other solutions that are more user-friendly and cost-effective.”
  • Map the project and determine the best route to your destination. Much like mapping software that gives people different driving routes to their destination, Brinkmeyer says team and tech alignment depends on charting a project’s smoothest way from its starting point to its envisioned end point. “All involved must have conversations about the tech features they need to reach the destination,” she says, “and then you have to map and discuss the projects’ route, which must be as clearly delineated as possible. Assumptions and constraints must be addressed. And the more you know your team members and their levels of experience, the more accurate your map from the starting point to the destination, and the more on schedule you will be.”
  • Clearly communicate and document expectations. Brinkmeyer says ownership and adoption of a tech stack can’t happen without clarifying expectations in advance with regard to roles and schedules each team member  will have. “It’s crucial to have clear documentation that furthers learning and ensures users are making optimal use of the software,” Brinkmeyer says. “Internal training is essential, and it’s helpful to coordinate with the vendor’s support team so that questions are quickly addressed and bottlenecks are prevented.”

“Aligning new technology with your team requires strong, organized leadership and a culture that’s on board,” Brinkmeyer says. “The people components are your foundation, and ideally, your tech stack is an excellent complement, geared to bring out the best in your people and a company’s efficiency and production.”

About Denise Brinkmeyer

 Denise Brinkmeyer (www.jumptechnology.com) is the author of Project Orienteering: A Field Guide For Project Leadership and president of Jump Technology Services®. She has over 20 years of diverse business experience with various-sized companies and develops business consulting service strategies. Brinkmeyer focuses on the development and implementation of software project management and software design methodologies that dramatically increase both customer satisfaction and department performance.

tech

Retaining Talent Through Sustaining Momentum: Tech’s Starring Role in The Great Resignation

We’re in the middle of a major shift in the workforce.

The pandemic caused a massive change from shared office space to remote work. As people spent time at home—and as they faced a multitude of intense stressors and even direct loss—they reevaluated what’s important when it comes to their careers.

Because of this, we’ve seen four million people quit their jobs in July 2021, and a record-breaking 10.9 million jobs remain open. You may have also seen the troubling statistic that up to 95% of the workforce is considering leaving their current company right now.

Companies looking to recruit and retain high performers are smart to take action in light of this Great Resignation. However, the answers may not be found in hefty signing bonuses or hasty returns to in-office collaboration.

The key is to lean even harder into the technology that has gotten us through this pandemic.

The pandemic as an unfortunate but powerful catalyst

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed business as usual, and companies had to become virtual, digital-centric, and agile faster than they could have imagined.

According to a global survey of executives conducted by McKinsey, companies took an average of only 11 days to move to remote working–40 times faster than they thought possible. Companies also adopted digital technologies for advancements in operations and decision-making 25 times faster than expected.

The pandemic disruption removed (sometimes artificial) barriers to adopting new technology and made it imperative that companies keep investing in technology to sustain, grow, and thrive.

Now let’s take it a step further: If we can leverage technology to get our businesses through a global pandemic, we can absolutely do the same to keep our people happy and engaged.

Here’s how.

1. Dig into the tools you already have

Businesses jumped into collaboration tools out of necessity over the pandemic with a very practical goal of keeping operations running remotely. With that hurdle cleared, it’s time we refocus our efforts from pure functionality to connection, culture, and engagement.

My team, for example, has been using Slack for nearly all of our internal communication and collaboration since 2017. Back then, our primary goal was to lessen email fatigue (which 38% of office workers say is likely to make them quit their jobs).

Once the pandemic hit, we needed that platform to do some heavier lifting for us. Some changes we’ve made include:

-Creating new forums (channels) for conversation around everything from the pandemic itself, to how we can best deliver value to our clients remotely, to social injustice and unlearning bias.

-Adding new integrations including more practical HR tools that “show” who is out when you can’t physically see your team, and fun tools like the Donut bot that randomly pairs employees up and facilitates conversations.

-Learning and taking advantage of the package’s ongoing developments, like the “huddle” feature and direct messaging with outside organizations.

-Doubling down on using our few mandatory channels for clear communication on changing policies, amplifying team achievements, and—perhaps most importantly—soliciting feedback.

Of course, keep in mind that simply providing tools is never enough; you have to also provide your team with the training to take proper advantage of them, and the safety and opportunity to do so. This is a place where active involvement (and modeling) from your leadership team can make a big difference.

2. Evaluate your tech through the lens of individual experience and equity

When it comes to engagement, 42% of employees say their peers have the greatest influence. We have also (fortunately) entered the stage where employees will not stand for what they perceive to be unfair treatment.

It’s incumbent on employers, then, to zero in on how employees experience their work on a day-to-day basis and whether they feel connected to their team and heard as an individual.

Take a run-of-the-mill department meeting, for instance. Say your new hybrid configuration has half the department in your office and half at home. Do the remote workers have equivalent means to participate in the meeting itself? In the more casual chit-chat that takes place before and after?  Can they clearly hear who is speaking and when they can interject? Can they read and add to notes being taken? Do they have the same opportunity to execute on any follow-up items?

Unbalanced interactions like this are subtle, but over time will erode connection and leave certain teammates feeling alienated. Identify places where you may be unintentionally creating rifts, and use that pandemic-inspired tech confidence to fix them. Some common areas for improvement are:

-A better conference room setup with barrier-breaking tools like the Vibe whiteboard and the Poly Studio soundbar/camera.

-A better home office setup with external cameras and speakerphones as needed, a stipend for better internet bandwidth, extra monitors, and so forth.

-Standardizing on a document co-authoring solution like SharePoint or Google Docs.

-Training your managers to opt for the most inclusive meeting and collaboration formats over what is most convenient.

Any new tools you add will require—you guessed it—training!

3. Make sure your digital presence reflects your priorities

My final point is one of visibility. If your company is making these great strides to do right by your team, do them and your business a favor by giving talented job seekers enough insight to want to join you.

Questions to consider are:

-Does our online presence (website, social media) show—not tell—our commitment to our people?

-Do our online employee reviews paint an accurate picture?

-Do our job descriptions capture our values in a way that an outsider would grasp? Are we explicit about remote work policy and benefits?

-Does our hiring process mirror our culture? Does it blend the responsiveness of automation with empathy?

Part of this involves the thoughtful use of specific technology tools. We, for example, have had great success with Bamboo HR to digitize, secure, streamline, and humanize our hiring and onboarding processes.

But a lot of this is the evolution of taking our office-bound corporate cultures digital. First and foremost we make sure all employees, regardless of location, are connected and bought into our culture. Then we take it externally and let all the talent out there know what we’re bringing to the table.

And the more we can get our current employees to tell our story online, the better—not only do most candidates inherently trust individuals over brands, but this also reinforces engagement with those employees.

Final thoughts

It’s true that the Great Resignation and the current labor shortage won’t last forever; people who want to change jobs or careers right now will make those shifts, and eventually the waves will settle.

The question is which organizations will come out on the other side with their high-performing employees intact, and with some new star players (whose previous employers weren’t savvy enough to keep them) on board.

If you want it to be yours, keep the momentum going. Technological competence and creative use of the right tools at the right time will empower your team to forge strong connections no matter where they’re physically located.

There are few competitive advantages as powerful as that.

________________________________________________________________

Heinan Landa is the Founder and CEO of Optimal Networks, Inc., a Rockville, MD-based IT company that helps law firms and associations achieve measurable business results by way of thoughtful technology guidance and white-glove support. For three decades clients have turned to Optimal when they are spending too much time overseeing their IT team, are worried about the security of their data, or are concerned their technology isn’t providing the mobility or flexibility that their employees and clients expect. For more, www.optimalnetworks.com, 240-499-7900, or info@optimalnetworks.com.

servant leadership thought

The Hallmarks And Benefits Of Servant Leadership In Today’s Business World

Traditionally, society hasn’t thought of company leaders as servants. But to deal more effectively with today’s changing business dynamics, more companies are incorporating servant leadership to benefit employees and the community as well as the bottom line.

Servant leadership is especially important and applicable in a post-COVID business world, when millions are quitting their jobs and CEOs are trying to stabilize their work cultures, says Jason Randall, CEO of Questco and ForbesBooks author of Beyond The Superhero: Executive Leadership For The Rest Of Us.

“Servant leadership is leading in a manner that encourages growth and success in others,” Randall says. “By investing in them, you as a leader instill a deeper buy-in.

“Leaders who are comfortable with a commanding style may find servant leadership counterintuitive, as though showing empathy to employees is an invitation to be taken advantage of. But when the servant leader listens with empathy to an employee who is strained by conflicting obligations, that leader is more likely to make accommodations such as flexible work schedules. These accommodations benefit productivity and the culture.”

Randall says that overly controlling leaders shut down their top talent and thus are a hindrance to company progress.

“As Steve Jobs said, ‘It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do,’ ” Randall says. “Getting divergent perspectives, as servant leaders do, is essential for company growth and individual engagement and fulfillment. Leaders who commonly resort to issuing commands are conditioning their people to not take much ownership.

“Employees who believe they are not valued for their minds won’t bother to come up with fresh ideas – or they will take their fresh ideas elsewhere.”

Randall says there are six hallmarks of the servant leader:

Availability. This means making sure there is adequate time in meetings for people to have their say, whether it involves venting frustrations, questioning, or establishing collaboration. “Giving time over to the employees and coaching them is really valuable to their development and contribution,” Randall says. “In too many organizations, senior leaders mostly huddle behind closed doors, and if they claim to have an open-door policy, it becomes a joke.”

Candor. “Because the servant leader is extending a lot of trust in individuals, it’s necessary to address any failures in a straightforward way,” Randall says. “But improving performance is not likely when the leader’s voice is angry or hostile.”

Consistency. Randall says that consistency in meetings and day-to-day procedures can be a challenge in the commotion of a growth organization, but the more consistency, the better the response from the workforce.

Empathy. “Being aware of and sensitive to the feelings, thoughts and experiences of others is a key characteristic of servant leaders,” Randall says. “Nobody can be a truly effective leader without understanding the humanity behind the individuals they are expecting to lead.”

Patience. The starting point for patience, Randall says, is when leaders recognize they can’t do everything themselves. “In the long term, it’s important for leaders to understand that we have to balance our lofty goals with the fact we have fallible human beings who must grow to achieve them,” he says. “The servant leader, who is patient, recognizes that team members are precious, and weathering the peaks and valleys will make everybody stronger.”

Trust. The servant leader encourages a freedom to experiment, which also means a freedom to stumble and learn from it, Randall says. “To delegate responsibilities, to encourage employees to speak up and be creative, leaders must show trust in the whole team,” he says. “Trust is the underpinning of the entire servant leadership approach of building a strong team.”

“Servant leaders get results, and they make everyone’s life better in the process,” Randall says. “They focus not only on business outcomes but also on the humanity of the team.”

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Jason Randall (www.meetjasonrandall.com) is CEO of Questco, an HR outsourcing company, and ForbesBooks author of Beyond The Superhero: Executive Leadership For The Rest Of Us. Formerly he was director of brand marketing for Maritz and vice president/managing director of Insperity. Randall earned his MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School Management.

employees

How Recognizing Top Employees Can Cure The Quitting Epidemic

A record 4.3 million workers left their jobs in August, continuing a trend in 2021. Reasons for quitting vary, but as one recent survey shows, a lack of appreciation from employers is a common driver.

Appreciation is an especially important factor to a large segment of the workforce – millennials and Gen Z. In a poll taken shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic began, 79% of millennial and Gen Z respondents said an increase in recognition and rewards would make them more loyal to their employer.

With companies losing talented people and struggling to fill open positions, leaders need to know how to make employee recognition and appreciation a more consistent part of their work culture, says David Friedman (www.culturewise.com), author of Culture by Design: How to Build a High-Performing Culture Even in the New Remote Work Environment.

“Recognition is the best way to boost employee engagement, productivity and profit while significantly strengthening your culture,” Friedman says.

“It may seem intuitive that employees who are thanked and recognized for their work are happier and, as a result, perform better. But unfortunately, managers may be busy with other tasks or have an attitude of ‘If you don’t hear anything, assume you’re doing a good job.’ That approach loses good people who were very valuable.”

There are benefits to company leaders praising teams as well as individuals. A Gallup survey shows giving kudos to teams can encourage collaboration, inspire trust, clarify organizational goals, improve quality, and reinforce a team’s sense of purpose.

“Praise for a job well done should flow across all levels of the organization – peer to peer, manager to their direct report, and direct report to their manager,” Friedman says. “Remember your remote workers – they may already be feeling disconnected from the workplace, so remind them that you notice and appreciate their contributions.”

Friedman offers these thoughts on giving recognition and showing appreciation in the workplace:

It should be authentic and individualized. Friedman observes that employees are savvy and can see through an “everyone gets a trophy” mentality. “Saying ‘great job’ is nice, but it’s much more meaningful if you detail the specifics of the person’s actions and how they helped advance the company’s objectives,” he says. “And if their efforts merit more than a compliment, or such efforts are a trend for them, then leaders need to figure out a fair tangible reward. Promotions with pay raises and increased responsibilities go the next step to show consistent high performers that they are truly valued.”

Tailor recognition to the recipient. Some people enjoy being the center of attention, so a formal public recognition is ideal for them, Friedman says. Others avoid the spotlight and prefer a one-on-one acknowledgement. For a team acknowledgment, a company-wide or departmental meeting might be a fitting forum. “That’s a great way to show the link between the team’s accomplishments, company objectives, and the importance of working well together,” Friedman says.

Convey your appreciation in person. Friedman notes this may be difficult with remote workforces, and sometimes a phone call or email will have to do. “But the in-person touch has a lot more impact,” he says, “especially when it comes from an executive with whom the employee has very little exposure.”

Create a culture of recognition. “Culture change starts with identifying the specific behaviors that drive success in your company,” Friedman says. “One of them should be showing meaningful appreciation. That means regularly recognizing people doing things right, rather than frequently pointing out when they do things wrong.”

“Recognition leads to happy employees, better retention, and better business results,” Friedman says. “When your people know they are appreciated, really valued, it will make a huge difference in your day-to-day culture and in your growth as a company.”

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David Friedman (www.culturewise.com) is author of Culture by Design: How to Build a High-Performing Culture Even in the New Remote Work Environment. He also is founder/CEO of CultureWise®, a turnkey operating system for small to midsize businesses to create and sustain a high-performing culture. He is the former president of RSI, an award-winning employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm that was named one of the best places to work in the Philadelphia region seven times. Friedman has taught more than 6,000 CEOs about work culture and led more than 500 workshops on the subject. With Sean Sweeney, Friedman formed High Performing Culture, LLC, based on the culture methodology Friedman created at RSI.

company culture loyalty

Is Your Company In Culture Shock? How Leaders Can Practice What They Preach.

As many workers flee their current jobs, burnout and lack of growth opportunities are being cited as two of the biggest reasons.

These changing work dynamics and employee perspectives, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, are highlighting the importance of having a strong work culture that’s sustainable, says David Friedman (www.culturewise.com), author of Culture by Design: How to Build a High-Performing Culture Even in the New Remote Work Environment.

But unfortunately, Friedman says, while business leaders often talk about culture, many don’t have a systematic process in place to build and maintain that culture as they do for other important aspects of their business.

Leaders should be as process-oriented about their culture as they are about their sales, finances, and operations.” says Friedman, founder/CEO of CultureWise®.

“Leaders have a responsibility to be intentional and systematic about designing the culture they want, rather than settling for the culture that is created by chance.”

Friedman offers these suggestions for designing and driving company culture: 

-Define employee behaviors that drive company success. Driving culture is mostly a teaching function, Friedman says. It requires building a curriculum around the specific behaviors, or fundamentals, the leadership team wants to teach daily, such as blameless problem-solving, honoring commitments and being a fanatic about response times. “Behaviors, because they’re action-oriented, are clearer than values, which tend to be abstract,” he says.

-Ritualize the practice of your fundamentals. “How many new initiatives have we started at work and in our personal lives, only to see them fall by the wayside as we got busy?” Friedman says. Those failures at work feed employee cynicism, he notes. “But by creating a structured, systematic way to teach winning behaviors repeatedly, they become ingrained in your people,” he says. “Without repetition, nothing lasts.”

-Select people who are the right fit for your culture. A new hire’s value system isn’t likely to change, Friedman says, so it’s vital they have the right values to fulfill the behaviors leadership wants to drive the company.

-Integrate new hires into your culture. A person’s first week on the job is hugely important in the context of culture, Friedman says. “It’s their first impression, and that tends to be lasting and difficult to change,” he says. “It’s remarkable how few companies spend appropriate time and resources orchestrating every aspect of a new hire’s early experience.”

-Communicate your culture throughout the organization. Too often, Friedman says, company leadership displays inspirational messages and posters on the office walls that are inconsistent with the way people behave in the work culture. “We talk about teamwork, but then people work and think in silos,” he says. “Or we talk about quality, but our people are forced to produce at warp speed and without the proper tools. If our culture is authentic, the more we see images and reminders of it all around us, the better.”

-Coach to reinforce your culture. “Coaching sessions by managers and supervisors are critical opportunities to teach and reinforce your culture,” Friedman says. “Using the specific language of the culture in the coaching session shows staff that the words on the wall are meaningful.”

“Most leaders think of culture as something that happens on its own,” Friedman says. “It’s never occurred to them that they can be as intentional and systematic about culture as they can about the rest of their business. And in these changing, challenging times, more are beginning to see how important it is.”

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David Friedman (www.culturewise.com) is author of Culture by Design: How to Build a High-Performing Culture Even in the New Remote Work Environment. He also is founder/CEO of CultureWise®, a turnkey operating system for small to midsize businesses to create and sustain a high-performing culture. He is the former president of RSI, an award-winning employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm that was named one of the best places to work in the Philadelphia region seven times. Friedman has taught more than 6,000 CEOs about work culture and led more than 500 workshops on the subject. With Sean Sweeney, Friedman formed High Performing Culture, LLC, based on the culture methodology Friedman created at RSI.

cultural

Covid-19 and the Future of Cultural Changes

Success in the post-COVID world can be more effective when executives manifest themselves as change agents who reshape, and in some cases, manipulate corporate culture to better apply knowledge and create competitive advantage.

Building on the three aspects of corporate culture (collaboration, trust, and learning), companies can attempt to continuously innovate and create new and valuable services or products by applying new ideas and knowledge. This article is set in place to inspire executives to create effective cultural changes in order to meet and exceed the challenges of not only today but also what we see as the onset of new advances in the future. The practices mentioned in this article can represent a complete answer to the need for cultural changes in today’s global market environment.

What Corporate Culture Is

Corporate culture is reflected in shared assumptions, symbols, beliefs, values, and norms that specify how employees understand problems and appropriately react to them. Executives today are focusing on company culture. They can build an effective corporate culture to improve customer satisfaction through acquiring additional knowledge from customers, developing better relationships with them, and providing a higher quality of service for them. Company performance is determined through various aspects, such as customer satisfaction. And executives can positively affect company performance through increased customer satisfaction. Company performance is what every executive is concerned about. Thus, there is a global need to cultivate a strong corporate culture to accomplish sustainable competitiveness in global markets. This strong corporate culture includes the three aspects of collaboration, trust, and learning.

How Corporate Culture Works

These three cultural aspects play a critical role in improving innovation and enhancing the effectiveness of organizational knowledge management. For example, collaboration provides a shared understanding of the current issues and problems among employees, which helps to generate new ideas within organizations. Trust towards their leader’s decisions is also a necessary precursor to create new knowledge and improve company performance through increased quality of products and services. Moreover, the amount of time spent learning is positively related to the amount of knowledge gained, shared, and implemented, aiming at breaking through performance gaps in corporations.

Executives are highly involved in cultural change initiatives and, in particular, by creating more effective workplaces, developing people, and shifting organizations toward the creation of new services and products. Knowledge, in itself, is a by-product of culture, and culture’s role in guiding and facilitating people’s actions is the key to executive decision-making. Through an effective company culture, executives can contribute to new products and services to meet dynamic market needs, through higher expectations and stimulation for new and strategic opportunities to meet the expectations of strategic goals and the needs of customers in the marketplace. Executives can build this such company culture to serve the customer needs and become more profitable.

By influencing behavior and providing valuable resources, executives can change the culture of an organization. This new focus helps the organization develop a unique culture that is hard for the competition to duplicate. Executives can act as change agents who provide a more humanistic and applicable approach to create a great company culture. For example, executives can facilitate collaboration by developing relationships in organizations. An executive can contribute to the cultural aspect of trust by considering both employee’s individual interests and the company’s essential needs. Executives can also identify the individual needs of employees and develop a learning culture to generate new knowledge and share it with others. The next section particularly presents a set of actions that can be taken by executives to build an effective corporate culture within corporations.

How to Do It Right

Building a True Collaboration Culture

To build a collaboration culture, executives need to improve the degree to which employees actively support and provide significant contributions to each other in their work. In doing this, executives can take the following actions:

-Develop a collaborative work climate in which employees are satisfied by the degree of collaboration between departments

-Develop a collaborative work climate in which employees are supportive.

-Employees are helpful.

-Develop a collaborative work climate in which there is a willingness to accept responsibility for failure.

Creating a No-Fail Trust Culture

To create a trust culture, executives need to maintain the volume of reciprocal faith in terms of behaviors and intentions. In doing this, executives can take the following actions:

-Build an atmosphere of trust and openness in which employees are generally trustworthy.

-Build an atmosphere of trust and openness in which employees have reciprocal faith in other members’ intentions and behaviors.

-Build an atmosphere of trust and openness in which employees have reciprocal faith in others’ ability.

-Build an atmosphere of trust and openness in which employees have reciprocal faith in others’ behaviors to work toward organizational goals.

-Build an atmosphere of trust and openness in which employees have reciprocal faith in others’ decision towards organizational interests than individual interests.

-Build an atmosphere of trust and openness in which employees have relationships based on reciprocal faith.

Cultivating a Successful Learning Culture

To foster a learning culture, executives need to enhance the extent to which learning is motivated within the workplace. In doing this, executives can take the following actions:

-Develop a learning workplace in which various formal training programs are provided to improve the performance of duties.

-Develop a learning workplace in which opportunities are provided for informal individual development other than formal training such as work assignments and job rotation.

-Develop a learning workplace in which there is an encouragement to attend external seminars, symposia, etc.

-Develop a learning workplace in which various social mechanisms such as clubs and community gatherings are provided.

-Develop a learning workplace in which employees are satisfied by the contents of job training or self-development programs.

In Conclusion

Now that we have identified that company culture has risen to a phenomenon that is worth understanding, learning, and using in organizations around the world.  This introduces a new and dynamic perspective of organizational culture and suggests that corporate culture constitutes the foundation of a supportive workplace to improve knowledge management performance. I indicate that corporate culture is a major internal resource for knowledge management success. Without a grasp on these two tenets executives are bound to fail in the post-COVID world.

supply chain

Tips to Manage Successful Remote Teams in Supply Chain Management

A recent CNBC/Change Research States of Play poll concluded that the Covid-19 pandemic managed to push 42% of Americans into virtual workplaces. Supply chain analysts have encountered many challenges in terms of analysis of the projected supply chain needs from flexible working spaces.

With the new changes, they will have to identify new suppliers, monitor existing supplier inventories, and use analytical data to predict the timelines for new inventory orders. To run the operations smoothly, supply chain managers should prioritize establishing appropriate protocols in due time to enable their employees to work efficiently from home. For that to happen, the right remote culture becomes essential for a promising employer branding which you can establish using the 7 tips mentioned below.

Tips to Manage Remote Teams:

1. Implement Technology: With teleworking becoming the new normal, most companies have started to leverage the latest technology available to enhance the communication channels with employees along with ensuring higher employee productivity. Some of the necessities for successfully implementing technologies to work include teleconferencing software like Skype, Zoom, etc., remote desktops, VPNs, collaboration tools, and stable internet connections along with reliable cellphones. Additionally, tools like relevant field service management software will help keep a track of your on-field workers and customers to analyze and maintain your inventories adequately. Essentially, rely on an intelligent blend of the technological assistance available at your disposal.

2. Promote Right Infrastructure: Corporate supply chain software, ERPs, and other systems are the most used tools by most supply chain workers. The right infrastructure typically means being able to access the data from these sources easily over the cloud via the internet. Once that is in place, your employees can access them to manage their remote work culture relatively easily. By promoting these infrastructure changes you will gather a small core of IT experts, maintenance staff, and supervisors to resolve any issues including scanning and emailing documents between employees.

3. Place Appropriate Policies: A lack of appropriately drafted work-from-home policies can ruin the investment you make in your technological updates for remote work. Beginning with addressing cybersecurity to keep official data confidential and secure, you should also mention the employer expectations, formal clothing for virtual meetings, physical workspace necessities, telework locations, ideal working hours, the required internet speeds, etc. You can even consider desktop sharing software for the IT department to access employee computers remotely should any problems arise.

4. Equip Your Team: Once the technological requirements are in place, supply chain managers need to provide their teams with essential hardware including laptops or desktops, scanners, printers, etc. along with necessary training. That becomes inevitable because not every employee will have a background in using remote operational software on their computer and some of them would not prefer company programs on personal devices. Did you know that both communication and project management, known as collaborative tasks, need specialized software to run effectively? Supply chain managers should look into employing tools such as Slack, Trello, and Quire to manage these responsibilities.

5. Communicate Effectively: During these uncertain times when your employees are working remotely, you must ensure that they are frequently reminded about their job role and company expectations competently. Clear, easy-to-use, reliable, and well-sought-out communication channels are essential components to maintain worker productivity. Now, supply chain managers will have to efficiently communicate with the team about what is required from them more often than was required during office jobs. Look for newer ways to remain in contact and reach your team apart from the occasional virtual meetings.

6. Administer Trust: I understand that trust may sound like just a touchy-feely word but believe me it has become a more salient factor for productive teamwork. The level of accountability and reliability between teams and managers determines job satisfaction, commitment to work and productivity levels, workload responses, turnover, work quality, and office dynamics that benefit the company. Do not remain short-sighted about it and pick up your phone to call or text the teams to collaborate with them on a real-time basis along with administering video calls for emotional reinforcement and trust-building.

7. Prioritize Security: Lastly, do not overlook the fact that cybersecurity is a fundamental need especially for flexible workspaces. Cybercriminals are constantly on the lookout for different gaps and vulnerabilities within businesses to extract critical corporate information. To avoid any data leaks, you must equip all the employee computers with the latest software and security patches along with reputable anti-virus software. Besides, unsecured Wi-Fi could pose a cybersecurity threat therefore your teams should use secure WiFi along with firewalls and access passwords.

Work-from-home is the new normal and as dependable team leaders, you can assure a seamless transition for your team by using these tips. With the right tools, policies, work practices, and reliable logistics partners you can effortlessly maintain your supply chain output and manage logistics during the pandemic.

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Author Bio: Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager for Jobsoid – Applicant Tracking System. She is responsible for leading the content and social media teams at work. Her expertise and experience in the field of HR enable her to create value-driven content for her readers – both on Jobsoid’s blog and other guest blogs where she publishes content regularly.