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Tomorrow’s workforce needs collaborative learning


Tomorrow’s workforce needs collaborative learning

Jeremy Tillman had a vision. “I wanted to create a marketplace that made it easy for people to find the corporate training they needed and to develop technology to allow companies to better manage the learning processes of their employees.” And so, in 2004, after an epiphany while working on another firm’s project, he started

Eighteen years later more than 60,000 companies, including 92 percent of the Fortune 500, have purchased one or more training courses from And Tillman, who grew up in public housing, has from the company’s inception traveled all over the world with training and with technology he says, “helps bring people together.”

His story is a fascinating one. Tillman started an e-commerce company while a computer sciences student at the University of Alabama – Huntsville. He managed the university’s five computer labs and built a training management system to aid in its corporate education programs. There, Tillman got his first taste of working with firms like Boeing, Teledyne, and Raytheon.

Tillman stated that truly took off by 2006 and has continued its growth and vision. The secret to his firm’s future, he lets on, lies with helping people to learn collaboratively. Traditional corporate training had been focused primarily on conveying job-related information, but adult learning theory teaches that information alone is insufficient to produce real change.

The collaborative approach flips the old narrative of, “what can I gain” to “what can I contribute to the larger whole.”

“We learn things faster when we gain the insights from others and brainstorm to find solutions to on-the-job problems. The end-result is often a richer learning experience that has ongoing impacts for individuals and companies alike,” Tillman noted.

That’s the view of training, one that multitudes have undertaken. is also on the cutting edge of creating custom learning, performance, and talent management solutions for building, tracking, managing, and assessing enterprise-wide initiatives for multiple large, recognizable corporations.

And in 2022, as companies across myriad sectors face the challenges posed by the new paradigm of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Tillman believes his training methods are a perfect fit.

The collaborative approach which has developed over nearly two decades is particularly geared toward Inclusion. Diversity and Equity are largely hiring decisions, while Inclusion requires a change of culture from the bottom up.

“Building inclusive workplace cultures has to include everyone on the job. The key to successful inclusion training is connecting people together rather than presenting training as divisive – and allowing employees to recognize contributions from those they may have previously discounted. These principles apply across the board, from global corporations to small businesses, and even church organizations. Good training is founded in connectivity, and that requires inclusivity,” he tells me.

Tillman cited a recent four-nation, 1,000-person pilot training session for a multinational corporation. In the pilot, 250 people each from China, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States were encouraged to leverage the platform for training. Prior to the event, over 600 of the participants were engaging together and interacting to address serious discussion questions, actions that surely enhanced the collective learning experience and that of the most active participants.

Plus, says Tillman, obtained lots of data on how the people engaged both before, during, and after the event. The platform enables participants in such group trainings to continue their conversations and share their successes and failures. The outcome has been impacts in areas far beyond the scope of the specific training. Once again, the key is creating community out of diverse parts, not just talking diversity.’s latest initiative to addressing contemporary adult corporate learning is its Institutes project, due to launch in April 2022. Therein are four planned courses – leadership skills, inclusive leadership skills, essential skills for first-time managers and supervisors, and customer service skills. The company asserts that unlike most online courses, participants do not have to schedule their lives around expensive live webinars and overpriced course libraries. Instead, these institutes are both on-demand and rooted in community.

In the Leadership Institute, the mantra is “you manage things; you lead people.” The program teaches the difference between people management and visionary leadership – which includes learning and putting into practice essential leadership skills including communication, strategic thinking, and empathy. The institute seeks to provide tools for beginning a lifelong journey.

The Inclusive Leadership Institute prepares students for creating and inspiring diverse workplaces. Students learn the basic building blocks like Cognizance of Bias, Collaborative Training, and Cultural Intelligence. Inclusive leaders must be able to tackle the challenges of diversity, equity, and inclusion with a confidence founded in practical implementation. has learned that jumping from individual contributor to manager is a difficult challenge requiring many skills that all too often are not in the toolboxes of first-time managers. To empower first-timers to achieve the goal of maximum team performance, the curriculum includes such skills as goal setting, time management, giving and receiving feedback, and employee recognition.

The Customer Service Institute teaches participants skills for retaining customers, in recognition that it is much cheaper to keep old customers than to acquire new ones. This institute focuses on elite ‘soft skills’, such as emotional intelligence and communication, and ‘hard skills’ such as time management and support metrics.

Tillman recounts one client company’s focus on customer service as a strategy for retaining top talent. Disaffected salespeople were reassigned to customer satisfaction roles. They had to refocus from short-term sales to helping customers feel value and satisfaction. The result was that the sales force found a new level of pride of accomplishment in satisfying customers that made them better salespeople.

Tillman, who knows something about the power of inclusion and overcoming adversity, says he dedicated his career to empowering growth and shaping the future of learning. His reason? “It is what takes someone from where they are today and get them to where they want to be tomorrow.”


And that, he adds, is best done by encouraging everyone in the workplace to maximize their potential and actual contributions to the work at hand – and to their individual futures.


Duggan Flanakin is a journalist and policy analyst who writes from San Marcos, Texas.

employment supply

A Macroanalysis of the Future of Work and Employment From Its Facilitators

Recent disruptions have made it clear that the nature of employment is changing. Labor shortages have proved persistent across industries, and employers are realizing that traditional workspaces, trends and workflows may not be ideal.

Perhaps the most notable shift coming from these trends is a broad movement toward remote work. As Nicole Sahin, CEO and founder of Globalization Partners, emphasizes, “companies who can build successful international teams will be ideally placed to succeed in the post-pandemic economy.”

These changes are coming to more than just office workspaces, too. The future of supply chain employment hinges on this shift.

Changing Workforces Today

This shift is already visible across workforces and industries today. While some companies have announced a return to in-person work, many plan to enable remote or hybrid options long term.

According to a Gartner survey, more than 80% of companies plan on enabling remote work at least part-time after the pandemic. Many of these businesses likely didn’t anticipate embracing these policies long-term but changed their minds after witnessing the effects. About 82% of executives reported similar or higher productivity after shifting to remote work.

Another trend impacting the future of supply chain workforces is the growing labor shortage. In a recent survey, 47% of third-party logistics companies cited finding, training and retaining qualified labor as a top challenge.

Amid these shifts, supply chain employment won’t remain the same for long. Here’s a closer look at what’s ahead for the industry.

Why Future Supply Chains Need Remote Work

The most significant change coming for supply chain employment is the same as other industries: remote work. Over the next few years, leading supply chain organizations will embrace off-site and hybrid jobs. Those that don’t will fall behind.

Remote work will be a necessity for future supply chains. Here’s why.

Higher Productivity

One of the biggest reasons supply chains will need remote work is because of its productivity benefits. Sahin emphasizes the benefits of remote work on productivity in a recent blog post. “Those who spend at least 60%-80% of their time working remotely were more likely to be engaged.”

Engaged workers tend to meet higher productivity standards, which supply chains need. Widespread disruptions will likely continue into the future, and logistics organizations must adapt to mitigate them and prevent future delays. Higher productivity is a crucial step in that direction.

If supply chains can boost employee productivity through remote work, they can meet growing logistics needs.

Acquiring Top Talent

Another critical advantage of flexible work environments is how they give companies access to global talent leaders. As Sahin explains in a LinkedIn post, “by spreading the net wide, you can tap into highly qualified talent pools, many of which are found in emerging economies … remote work can bring the best companies and the brightest people together.”

As the supply chain space grows more competitive, acquiring top talent will be increasingly valuable. Companies that can gain the expertise of worldwide leaders in management and technology can speed ahead of the competition. Since these people will come from all regions of the globe, working with them requires remote collaboration.

Mitigating Labor Shortages

Remote work will also help supply chains overcome the ongoing labor shortage. In the face of unfilled positions, logistics companies must look outside their immediate area, and traditional avenues in that area are declining.

Sahin explains: “While some companies depend on immigration programs to relocate talent, those avenues are facing increasing restriction. All the while, the skills gap widens.” The solution is to enable remote work to pull talent from around the globe.

If supply chains can access distant talent pools, local labor shortages won’t be as impactful. As the current “Great Resignation” continues, that will become all the more central to ongoing success.

How Remote Work Could Grow in Supply Chains

While it’s clear that supply chain workforces must go remote, the path to that goal is less evident. Unlike in office jobs, where much of the work-from-home revolution is happening, logistics involves a lot of hands-on, physical labor.

Despite these challenges, the supply chain industry can still capitalize on remote work. However, doing so will require significant change over the next few years. Here’s what that could look like.

Hybrid Offices

The first step the industry will take toward remote work is on the management side of operations. While truck drivers and many warehouse workers must be in-person to perform their duties, that’s not true of office employees. These jobs also potentially have the most to gain from remote work.

In an interview with Tealfeed, Sahin touched on how traditional office jobs are becoming a thing of the past: “it seems likely that the office-based environment that has remained a foundation of modern business could see permanent change.” When modern technologies make these jobs easily accessible remotely and working from home improves productivity, there’s little reason to keep them in a physical office.

Supply chain management is ideal for remote collaboration given its distributed, often international nature. If management teams need to collaborate across multiple countries anyway, it’s only natural that they should fully embrace work-from-home tools.

Industry 4.0 Technologies

The next step in the shifting future of supply chain employment is to bring hybrid work to the warehouse. Traditionally, these jobs were impossible to translate into the work-from-home model. Industry 4.0 technologies like 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) offer a solutions.

Some companies have already started testing remote-controlled forklifts, enabling off-site employees to accomplish in-warehouse tasks. As faster, more reliable networks become widespread through 5G, similar technologies could apply to multiple workflows. Companies that invest in these methods earlier could drive the workforce shifts of the future.

This transition will take time, largely due to limited infrastructure. As Sahin points out, “As of October 2020, only 59% of the world’s population had internet access … [and] many communities with internet infrastructure don’t have the resources to access it.” Internet access will have to become more widely available and reliable for this shift to take full effect.

Employment Is Changing, Even for Supply Chains

After the disruptions of the past few years, it’s clear that supply chains must adapt. Part of that evolution is a shifting workforce, especially in embracing remote work.

The road to remote work for supply chain organizations is long, but the benefits are too promising to ignore. As current trends continue, logistics employment will shift to become more flexible, unlocking new possibilities.

employee median

5 Ways Leaders Can Use Empathy to Increase Employee Job Satisfaction

As many workplaces struggle to retain and hire employees during the “Great Resignation,” leaders don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves. But it may be time for more of them to feel empathy toward their workers.

Ernst & Young’s 2021 Empathy in Business Survey showed around 50% of employees quit a previous job because their boss wasn’t empathetic to their struggles at work or in their personal lives. On the other hand, nearly 90% of workers who were queried believe empathetic leadership creates loyalty, and 85% say that it increases productivity.

Empathetic leadership is a must in today’s COVID-affected workplace, as employees struggle with burnout, working from home and other issues, according to research by Catalyst, a nonprofit that works to advance women in leadership positions. But until more business owners, executives and managers put a priority on listening to their employees and showing them they care, workers will look for companies that are more tuned in to their concerns, says Kathleen Quinn Votaw, the author of DARE to CARE IN THE WORKPLACE: A Guide to the New Way We Work.

“Most people do not know how to truly understand someone else’s point of view without letting their own thoughts, opinions, and emotions get in the way,” Quinn Votaw says. “Leaders often sit in their own place of judgment rather than using empathy as the bridge to understanding and connection.”

Quinn Votaw says that while empathy has gained importance in the work culture in recent years, many managers aren’t prepared for that role.

“Leading with empathy means understanding and accepting that people are not always operating at their very best,” she says. “Issues from home affect work lives. Working within and around that reality is the best way to create a place where people want to come to work.”

Quinn Votaw offers these tips on how leaders can lead with empathy and enhance the employee experience:

Be authentic. “Like actors in a Shakespearian play, we play roles versus showing up authentically,” Quinn Votaw says. “We have been taught to hide our true selves and display a false sense of bravado. To lead with empathy, get beyond the facade we all walk around with. Go the extra step – with your willingness to dig deep in terms of caring and asking questions that convey your interest in them as people.”

Communicate with a personal touch. A leader who consistently communicates with a personal touch for a variety of reasons – praise for the employee, concern and support for them – builds morale and increases retention, Quinn Votaw says. “The more personal they are, the more appreciated they are by the employees.”

Make space for connection. Quinn Votaw says leaders need to respect how their employees need personal connections with each other, and also says leaders should personally connect with employees once or twice a week outside of regular meetings. “Make time for more social and genuine connections in virtual meetings,” she says. “Have fun with virtual coffee chats, happy hours, trivia contests, or scavenger hunts.”

Provide remote workers with the tech support they need. ”There’s a growing economic inequality crisis with remote workers not having money for or access to technology,” Quinn Votaw says. “No one wants to lose out on high-quality talent because they lack funds for high-speed internet or a computer. Create a program to provide office equipment for your employees so they can have a functional setup in their personal space.”

Respect the boundaries of work and home life. Working in a remote environment has thrown off a lot of employees. “It was easy to have barriers and work/life balance when we commuted,” Quinn Votaw says. “Leaders can help  employees create a home space where they can turn work on and off, which boosts productivity, enhances connection and creates a healthier work/life balance.”

“Empathy is not about you, the leader,” she says. “It’s about taking time to listen, putting yourself in someone else’s place, and providing what they need in that moment.”


Kathleen Quinn Votaw ( is the CEO of TalenTrust, a strategic recruiting and human capital consulting firm. She is the author of DARE to CARE IN THE WORKPLACE: A Guide to the New Way We Work. Regarded as a key disruptor in her industry, Quinn Votaw has helped thousands of companies across multiple industries develop purpose-based, inclusive communities that inspire employees to come to work. Her company has been recognized in the Inc. 5000.


8 Small Policy Changes That Can Significantly Strengthen Retention

Worker shortages are plaguing the warehousing and logistics industry. While many companies are looking for new ways to attract workers to remediate the situation, retention is just as, if not more, important.

Without strong retention, recruitment will do little good. Replacing a salaried employee also costs six to nine months’ salary on average, so retention is far more affordable. Thankfully, even small policy changes can strengthen employee retention. Here are eight examples.

1. Tighten the Recruitment Process

Retention starts with hiring. Employers can prevent many turnover cases by hiring workers who are more likely to stay in the first place. The first step to achieve that is to ensure that job postings are accurate and transparent.

One study found that nearly half of all workers have left a job because it didn’t meet their expectations. Instead of relying on vague language and buzzwords, job descriptions should offer specific details about the position. That way, any applicants understand the roles they’re taking on, preventing disillusionment down the line.

Job seekers will also appreciate honesty. Being transparent in the recruitment process may give new hires a better starting impression of the workplace.

2. Create Upward Mobility Opportunities

One of the most crucial policy changes for better retention is to enable upward mobility. In 2019, 20% of workers who left a job did so because of career development-related reasons. In fact, career development has been the number one reason employees leave for 10 straight years.

This issue has a relatively straightforward fix, too. When a new position opens up, instead of looking for outside hires, companies should promote from within. Businesses should also look to create plenty of opportunities for advancement to give workers a career growth goal.

Career development opportunities can be more than raises and promotions, too. Courses to teach employees new skills or fund their education will help increase retention, too.

3. Accept Anonymous Feedback

Another simple yet effective policy change to make is to have a system for anonymous feedback. Workers may have suggestions for improving the workplace but may fear retribution if management can trace their comments back to them. Anonymous feedback forms let employees speak up confidently.

It’s important to respond to this feedback, too. Making changes that workers want can help ensure the workplace fosters a positive environment. Employees will also feel empowered if they see how their actions impact the workplace, and empowered workers are 33% more likely to stay for three years.

It can help to encourage workers to use these systems, too. That encouragement will promote an air of trust and transparency and empower them further.

4. Support Worker Health

Lifestyle-related benefits are easy to overlook but can be an effective policy change to retain employees. Healthy workers are likely to feel happier and more satisfied, and employers can help them be healthy. By offering perks that support healthy worker lifestyles, businesses can show their employees that they care about their well-being.

Providing nutritious food options in company cafeterias is an easy change to make. Foods high in nutrients like vitamin C can boost workers’ immune systems, helping them feel stronger and healthier. Providing exercise programs or occasional on-site massage therapy can help too.

5. Communicate With Employees Often

Along similar lines, it’s important to maintain communication with employees. Studies show that nearly half of Americans feel lonelier than usual, so feeling seen and valued in the workplace can make a significant difference. Talking with workers will help them feel valued and bring any issues they have to light.

Remember that this communication goes both ways. In addition to listening to employees, management should inform them of any upcoming opportunities and changes often. If workers don’t understand what’s going on at the company, they’ll feel underutilized and unimportant, leading to turnover. In contrast, feeling involved can convince them to stay.

6. Maintain Competitive Compensation

Most employers already understand that higher pay and more competitive benefits will help convince workers to stay. This issue goes beyond bumping up a starting salary once or offering new perks, though. Businesses should have a policy to review industry compensation rates periodically to see how theirs compares.

Workers quitting because of pay and benefits-related reasons have increased by more than 26% since 2010. This trend also coincides with the growing movement of more businesses offering new perks and adjusting pay rates. What constitutes competitive compensation is changing and changes regularly, so a one-time fix is insufficient.

Periodically reviewing industry trends can reveal whether an employer offers sufficient compensation or if they need to adjust. This prevents underpaying compared to competitors as well as unnecessarily raising rates.

7. Recognize and Reward Commendable Behavior

According to one survey, 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a major factor. Thankfully, employers can address that with relatively straightforward policy changes.

Workplaces should have a policy of recognizing and rewarding positive behavior in their workers. Regular awards given to the highest-performing employees or praising workers’ actions and achievements in company newsletters can help workers feel valued. These rewards, though seemingly small, can go a long way in employee retention.

Workers don’t often expect much in return for good service. Typically, recognition of a job well done is sufficient. While monetary incentives don’t hurt, taking the time to praise commendable behavior can make a significant difference.

8. Encourage Employees to Take Advantage of Perks

Another seemingly small but significant change for employee retention is letting workers know it’s okay to use their benefits. Poor experiences with other employers may leave workers feeling like they shouldn’t use their time off or other perks. Encouraging them to do so can assuage those concerns, making them feel more welcome.

When workers take advantage of their benefits, they’ll likely feel more relaxed and fulfilled. When management doesn’t just allow but encourages it, they’ll feel appreciated, too. If employees feel like their employers care for their work-life balance, they’ll be less likely to leave.

Small Changes Can Have a Big Impact

Workplace changes don’t need to be disruptive to have a substantial impact on employee retention. It’s often an amalgamation of multiple “little” things that convince workers to leave a job. In the same way, making several little changes can convince workers to stay with their current employer.

These eight changes represent some of the most effective yet straightforward improvements to strengthen retention. By implementing these fixes, businesses can reduce turnover and related costs and foster a more motivated, positive workforce.


How to Deal with Employee Absenteeism

While on average an employee would miss 54 days of work in 2020, the logistics sector holds an unfortunate record: one of the highest annual increases in absenteeism, putting it just behind the health sector, i.e. 32% over one year. Beyond the exceptional sanitary situation, the supply chain is facing a chronic problem of workforce retention. What HR and organizational levers should be used? Here are a few ways to encourage employee commitment and well-being… and reduce absences.

In its annual survey based on data from 671 companies and more than 350,000 employees, Gras Savoye Willis Towers Waston confirms that absenteeism has increased sharply and steadily over the last five years, particularly in SMEs and ETIs. If the first containment has had an obvious impact, it is far from being the only explanatory factor. While the “transport and logistics” category now holds second place in the sectors most affected by this phenomenon, the study reminds us that the average cost of absenteeism in a company of 1,000 employees varies between 1.7 and 3.5 million USD per year. The weight of logistics activities in this loss of earnings is considerable. Faced with the growing risks of delays and shutdowns in the supply chain field due to lack of personnel, here are three steps for dealing with absenteeism.


1. Offer visibility to employees regarding the impact of their tasks on the entire operation

Just like remuneration or benefits offered by the company, the quest for meaningfulness is now well known as a major lever for commitment to the workplace. But how to motivate employees when the tasks they are entrusted with are by definition simple and repetitive? As a manager in the logistics sector, taking the time to regularly explain the stakes and the purpose of your job to each employee, and being able to give them concrete and personalized feedback on the impact of their work, is a way to give meaning to low-skilled logistics functions. Examples include employees knowing which customer profile is ultimately targeted, having details on the products handled and the marketing promise, knowing and understanding all the other technical steps upstream and downstream of his or her intervention. This type of information will help everyone understand his or her role in the supply chain, and therefore, empower teams individually and collectively.

Today, integrated HR tools and advanced warehouse management solutions offer a comprehensive view of current operations and can provide data and visibility to managers.

To learn more about technology that can help you optimize your workers’ performance and increase motivation, read our WMS – Decision Making Guide

2. Invest in technology and robotics to reduce drudgery

Implementing voice command devices for operators or equipping them with exoskeletons is a way to limit strenuous movements and loads carried, thus reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Some companies are even starting to equip themselves with ‘cobots’, these robotic collaborative assistants that help employees prepare orders and reduce their movements.

Used wisely, these tools have the dual benefit of reducing the risk of sick leave and work-related accidents while optimizing overall warehouse performance.

3. Incentivize employees through game-based management

Sometimes alone at their workstations, with no real opportunity to communicate with their colleagues for long hours, supply chain operators can legitimately feel isolated. Keeping them motivated is a daily challenge for managers and HR. Gamification is one way to encourage commitment, pride of belonging and team concentration. For example, it is a matter of organizing interactive performance contests, between peers or between teams, aiming at collecting a maximum of points to obtain symbolic or material rewards. Or measuring the quantity of plastic recycled by each person, with rewards at stake. These challenges can also encourage employees to follow professional training courses or to respond to co-optation campaigns. These initiatives contribute indirectly to the fight against dropping out of the workforce and absenteeism.

Generix Group North America helps distribution & manufacturing companies achieve operational excellence with their WMS & MES Supply chain solutions. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission.


Why Are Good Employees Leaving Your Company? 5 Tips To Keep Them.

The job quitting isn’t stopping: a record 4.3 million workers left their jobs in August – a milestone that followed the April landmark of 4 million Americans exiting their companies.

Some people are leaving their jobs because the COVID-19 pandemic caused them to reconsider how much their companies value them. In that context, whether it’s a matter of pay, work demands, work-from-home flexibility, or overall culture, it’s important that businesses seeking stability and growth know how they can retain their best employees, says Michele Bailey (, ForbesBooks author of The Currency of Gratitude: Turning Small Gestures into Powerful Business Results.

“With over 10 million employment vacancies, some people are leaving because they are confident they can find a better job, a better fit in line with the new perspective the pandemic has given them,” Bailey says. “So at this point, a good number of jilted employers should be asking themselves, ‘Why are talented people leaving my company? What can I do to change that, regain stability and grow?’

“The answer is often looking back in the mirror at them, and in how they treat people more as laborers than rare gems who are special – people who can make the workplace special. It’s fixable, but it’s all about putting your employees first.”

Bailey says in terms of retaining top employees, companies and their leaders should think about these points:

Know the cost of replacing good employees. One report shows that it costs 33% of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement if that worker leaves. “Clearly, retention and development of existing employees make the most sense if they are the right fit,” Bailey says.

Encourage professional development. Bailey says forward-thinking, growth-oriented companies hire talented people with the capability of taking on bigger responsibilities. “Professional development provides the opportunity for steps up in their career path,” Bailey says. “Employees who do not see a clear path are at risk of leaving.”

Build culture by acknowledging the whole person. “Work-life balance” has gotten a lot of attention during the pandemic, but Bailey says good leadership ensures that balance is in place by going the extra mile to know employees and to listen to their concerns, whether personal or professional. “The reality is that all of us bring our personal selves to work and our work selves home with us,” she says. “When something is going well or poorly in either space, it tends to seep into our attitudes and behavior in the other. When you address the overall wellness of your people as part of your business mandate, you have people well-aligned and rowing in the same direction.”

Create an army of brand ambassadors by empowering your employees. Employees who feel their voices are heard at work are nearly five times (4.6) more likely to feel empowered to perform their best at work. Employees who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8 percent more productive, and 15 percent less likely to leave their jobs. “Many businesses tout themselves as collaborative workplaces with great cultures; however, worker frustration suggests that the reality is otherwise,” Bailey says. “A good culture is a place where they’re freed to flourish, energized, and proud to represent the brand to clients.”

Reward and recognize. “Showing gratitude to your workforce is imperative to having a successful business,” Bailey says. “Eventually people want you to show them the money – and you must if you truly value them – but frequent shows of gratitude in any form should be consistent and timely.”

“We can hold onto our talent and keep our people engaged,” Bailey says, “by creating an environment where employees become emotionally connected through gratitude to company leadership, to each other, and to the company’s purpose.”


Michele Bailey ( is the ForbesBooks author of The Currency Of Gratitude: Turning Small Gestures Into Powerful Business Results. She also is founder/CEO of The Blazing Group, a brand and culture agency born of her strategy-first approach to business and desire to enhance employee wellness in pursuit of business goals. She is also the founder of My Big Idea®, a mentoring program designed to propel individuals toward their personal and professional goals. Bailey has been recognized for contributions to women and entrepreneurship with honors such as the Bank of Montreal Expansion & Growth in Small Business Award and the Women’s Business Enterprise Leader Award in 2020. Bailey is a popular speaker and is also the author of a previous book, It’s NOT All About You, It’s About the Company You Keep.

culture fit

Who’s the Best Person for the Job? 5 Tips to Find ‘Culture Fit’ in a Candidate

Many factors go into a company’s decision to hire someone: the candidate’s experience, talent, skills, and ability to communicate, for starters.

But while a sparkling resume and impressive job interview are still important considerations, a job prospect’s ability to fit the company’s culture has never been more critical in the hiring process, says Joel Patterson (, a workplace culture expert, founder of The Vested Group and ForbesBooks author of The Big Commitment: Solving The Mysteries Of Your ERP Implementation.

“Companies head into a new year full of uncertainty and are coming off a year of so much change and disruption,” Patterson says. “These challenges test the strength of a work culture, and as companies seek stability, adaptability, and growth, finding the right culture fit is the most crucial factor in choosing a new hire.

“An aligned team will work far better together, be more productive individually, and feel more satisfied in their roles overall. And with more people working remotely, keeping your culture strong and your workflow cohesive is imperative. Adding new people should only serve to enhance it.”

Patterson offers five tips on how to hire for culture fit:

Define and document core values. “First of all, ensure that your company has a set of values, which are the foundation of the culture,” Patterson says. “Company values show what the founder and management hold as important and the behaviors they expect employees to uphold. Spend time analyzing and fine-tuning your company values and document them into clear, specific words.”

Display company culture on the website and social media. “When researching the company, job candidates should get a glimpse of the work culture before the interview and decide if it fits them,” Patterson says. “The company needs to be clear about its core values and promote its environment so it can appeal to the best candidates. Value statements conveyed in content, slides and videos should appear in the company’s careers section, corporate blogs, and social media posts.”

Ask culture-focused questions during the interview. It’s vital for those interviewing candidates to have a firm grasp of the work culture and to ask questions that relate directly to it. “The interviewer should build a picture of who this candidate is both inside and outside the office,” Patterson says. “Ask them things like, what’s their most positive personality trait and their worst, and why for both. What type of team do they thrive in? Have they read our values? Which one resonates the most with them? What have their past relationships with co-workers, managers, and clients been like?”

Let candidates interact with staff. A prospect can say all the right things during an interview, but how they interact with employees can be more telling about whether they’re a culture fit. “Those who do well in interviews and make the short list should be brought back for extensive interaction with staff members,” Patterson says. “You can determine a lot by how engaged they are, what questions they ask, and how employees react to them generally in normal conversation.”

Research your process. Between hirings, Patterson says it’s a good idea to ask around and see if your process reflected your company culture. “Ask recent hires what worked and what didn’t,” he says. “If possible, track down candidates to whom you offered jobs but they turned them down. Find out why. You can always improve your hiring practices so they better align with the company culture.”

“Company culture provides your team with direction and is effectively the glue that binds the team,” Patterson says. “To keep improving it means hiring with culture fit top of mind. Employees who embrace your culture boost morale and productivity and positively impact future recruiting.”


Joel Patterson ( is the founder of The Vested Group, a business technology consulting firm in the Dallas, Texas, area, and ForbesBooks author of The Big Commitment: Solving The Mysteries Of Your ERP Implementation. He has worked in the consulting field for over 20 years. Patterson began his consulting career at Arthur Andersen and Capgemini before helping found Lucidity Consulting Group in 2001. For 15 years he specialized in implementing Tier One ERP, software systems designed to service the needs of large, complex corporations. In 2011, Patterson founded The Vested Group, which focuses on bringing comprehensive cloud-based business management solutions to start-ups and well-established businesses alike. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Baylor University.


Cities With the Most Technology Jobs Per Capita

California’s Silicon Valley has long served as the nation’s technology hub. But while Silicon Valley remains a global leader for tech firms and jobs, technology’s transformative impact on the economy and society is driving job growth across the United States. Led by employers—and even entire industries—that did not exist a generation ago, many of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. are in the fields of science, technology, and mathematics. The long-running trend of growth in these fields shows few signs of slowing down.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in computer and math occupations has outpaced the national average since 2008. The gap has only grown larger over the last decade, and the trend is likely to continue. According to the BLS, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow by 11 percent over the next decade, adding more than 500,000 jobs to the economy. And unlike many jobs that have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, computer and IT occupations are largely remote-friendly, which positions them well for continued growth.

Some states have seen the benefit of this job growth more than others. Driven by a high number of firms specializing in defense, information technology, and other professional services for the federal government, Virginia leads the nation with 5.6 percent of its workers employed in computer and math occupations. Washington—home to a strong aerospace engineering sector and tech giants Microsoft and Amazon—is second, with Maryland, Colorado, and Massachusetts following behind.

However, statewide trends do not tell the whole story of tech employment either, as employers in high-tech fields tend to cluster in local regions where the labor market can supply the specialized knowledge required for those positions. This often means that metro areas with many well-established innovative companies, strong institutions of higher education, or both—like Silicon Valley—tend to be the areas that incubate many of the firms that drive job growth in tech.

To see which metro areas have the most tech jobs, researchers at Spanning used data from the BLS’s 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey to identify metros with the largest share of employment in computer and math occupations. The researchers also calculated the total number of jobs, wages, and wage premiums for computer and math occupations in each metro. To improve relevance, metros were also grouped into population cohorts of small (100,000–349,999 residents), midsize (350,000–999,999 residents), and large (1,000,000 or more residents).

Here are the large metropolitan areas with the most technology jobs per capita.

Metro Rank Share of employment in computer & math occupations Total employment in computer & math occupations Median annual wage for computer & math occupations Median annual wage for all occupations Computer & math wage premium



San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA    1      12.7% 144,530 $130,100 $61,980 +109.9%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV    2      7.6% 242,090 $106,220 $56,320 +88.6%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA    3      7.3% 147,800 $123,340 $53,360 +131.1%
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA    4      6.6% 163,630 $120,550 $57,040 +111.3%
Raleigh, NC    5      6.2% 40,580 $91,290 $41,640 +119.2%
Austin-Round Rock, TX    6      6.2% 66,800 $85,640 $41,560 +106.1%
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO    7      5.4% 81,090 $96,520 $47,440 +103.5%
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD    8      5.0% 68,450 $99,500 $45,810 +117.2%
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH    9      4.9% 136,850 $98,440 $53,300 +84.7%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA    10      4.7% 128,030 $89,150 $40,000 +122.9%
Salt Lake City, UT    11      4.6% 33,550 $78,490 $40,120 +95.6%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI    12      4.3% 85,590 $90,290 $47,010 +92.1%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX    13      4.3% 158,490 $91,760 $40,430 +127.0%
Kansas City, MO-KS    14      4.3% 46,240 $78,760 $40,640 +93.8%
Columbus, OH    15      4.2% 44,590 $86,490 $40,380 +114.2%
United States    –      3.1% 4,552,880 $88,340 $39,810 +121.9%


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Spanning’s website:

business culture

5 New Year’s Resolutions To Make Your Business Culture A Winner

New Year’s resolutions are not only for individuals but businesses too. Company goals leaders set for the year ahead are usually measured in data tied to categories like revenue production and expense reduction.

After a difficult 2020 due to COVID-19, many enterprises’ bottom-line numbers will take on extra importance in 2021. And business culture will be just as crucial. Any resolutions that company leaders make are an effective way to measure their work environment and help their teams meet performance metrics, says Mark McClain (, CEO and co-founder of SailPoint and the ForbesBooks author of Joy and Success at Work: Building Organizations that Don’t Suck (the Life Out of People).

“Meeting individual, team, and company goals begin with employees and managers working well together in a vibrant environment,” McClain says. “And given the changes and challenges of these times, culture and how leaders pay attention to it have never been more important.

“The bottom line falls into place when everyone is on the same page. But even if leaders have established a strong culture, it bears constant vigilance to ensure everyone is rowing in the same direction, especially now when a volatile world can threaten to throw even the most solid companies off course.”

McClain offers these business culture resolutions for the New Year that leaders could consider:

Focus on shared values. McClain thinks it’s misleading to frequently state that a “family atmosphere” exists in a company. “The bigger a company gets or the more it grows in capability and value, the less it’s going to feel like a family,” he says. “Creative friction and disagreement on processes and concepts are inevitable. Smart companies leverage broader, shared values as common ground on which workers can connect. I’ve found one of the best places for doing that is through service to the community beyond company walls. If your culture encourages people to work together for some greater good, they’ll continue to appreciate each other as humans and fellow workers.”

Avoid prima donnas. “Talented people are essential for a successful business,” McClain says, “but don’t fall in love with a gifted person if they are constantly letting you know how special they are. Watching them work can be breathtaking, but not when they’re the ones sucking the air out of the room.”

Double down on integrity. “Large legacy companies are often loaded with people who are just taking up space and collecting a paycheck,” McClain says. “It’s a significant issue, and it goes hand-in-hand with integrity. Effective workers know the difference between busywork and producing value. Everybody in the organization must be clear on what success looks like. The role of management is to be clear on objectives and then let people run.”

Don’t stop innovating. McClain says many companies stagnate in this area and should learn how to expand their innovations while encouraging the cultivation of new ideas. “Innovation is an amalgam of product marketing and product management skills, of listening to the market, and of engineering people who can take a problem and figure out how to solve it,” he says. “But innovation should apply in every direction – in how a company contracts, how they sell, how they market.”

Be the first to own mistakes. “Anyone who has been involved in conflict directly knows there’s always the sense that both parties have some responsibility,” McClain says. “The sooner you own yours, the more likely the other person will own theirs – and the project can move forward.”

“New Year’s resolutions are often easily discarded because of a person’s lack of commitment,” McClain says. “For business leaders and their workforce, they reflect company core values and can create or improve a culture that everyone will appreciate and aspire to uphold and deepen.”


Mark McClain (, ForbesBooks author of Joy and Success at Work: Building Organizations that Don’t Suck (the Life Out of People), is CEO of SailPoint, a leader in the enterprise identity management market. McClain has led the company from its beginnings in 2005, when it started as a three-person team, to today, where SailPoint has grown to more than 1,200 employees who serve customers in 35 countries.

manufacturing industry

5 Reasons Each Student Should Try to Work in the Manufacturing Industry

In this technologically advanced age, most students want to work in offices where they can sit down more often and operate a computer. Many neglect the manufacturing industry because they believe it is dull and boring. On the contrary, working in the manufacturing industry can be exciting with its perks and privileges. It is interesting to be part of a place that produces materials, food, and equipment used daily by the masses. Below are some of the reasons a student should endeavor to work in the manufacturing industry.

Considerations for working in the manufacturing industry

The manufacturing industry is one of the largest sectors in any society. Depending on the field you are studying, you could develop programs and software, run prototypes, or work in R&D. Again, it keeps you in learning and keeping up with the latest developments in your field. Also, internships in the manufacturing industry will give you much to discuss, especially if you have to write a research paper for me on your activities there.

#1 A safe environment

The manufacturing industry is believed to be full of toxic chemicals that make the environment unfit for human survival. Students get told early enough that manufacturing plants are dirty, unsafe, and dangerous. They also believe that the skills necessary to work in such an industry are unspecialized and that the task is stressful.

But it is not the case, as machine automation and robots have reduced the tedium in manufacturing industries, with improved health and safety regulations making the environment much safer. This new technology makes internships more fun and helps students learn how to work in a conducive environment. Manufacturing industries are more focused on the needs of their employees more now than ever before.

A student doing an internship in the industry might only have to monitor machines from a safe distance or learn how to design operations.

#2 New technology provides an opportunity for growth and development

The manufacturing industry is all about how to improve processes by making them more efficient while saving cost. So, a student gets to learn these qualities and practice them in his/her everyday life. He/she also gets to learn to develop solutions and ideas and apply them to create products that are needed by society.

New technology such as machine automation, robotics materials, 3D printing, Internet of things (IOTs) also changes the processes of making products. So you further learn valuable skills and keep up-to-date on society’s latest developments. It will also bridge the gap between what you learn in school and what is obtainable in the industry. The time spent practicing what you learned in school will grant you an opportunity to decide the best sector to help advance your career.

Also, as manufacturing companies are always looking for persons to fill in higher roles day by day, you find yourself continuously growing and learning in several avenues. You get to learn from experts who have been in the manufacturing industry for years. Moving from one position to a higher one and attaining several leadership positions becomes possible. As a student, you could also get scholarships to further your career from the company.

#3 Diverse entry-level opportunities

The variety of work opportunities in the manufacturing industry means that any student from high school to college can fit into one position or another. Several new roles keep coming up, such as program and software development, and so, the chances that you will find the exact role suited for you is high. Even if you feel you are unsuited for a particular line of work, most companies offer on-the-job training for their recruits and interns.

There are also many departments available to those seeking to work in the manufacturing industry; marketing, sales, product research and development, human resources, and business development. These departments require varied skills and technology to operate. The student could use the time spent in such an industry to determine a career path that fuels his/her passion and purpose.

#4 Keeps you active

Unlike sedentary work in offices that require little or no movement, working in the manufacturing industry involves some form of activity; hence you are rarely in a position for long. It keeps the student worker active and fit, ensuring that work is neither stagnant nor monotonous. Even if you are looking into managerial positions in the future, the manufacturing industry will keep you consistently on your toes.

There is much room for originality in the manufacturing industry. Challenges that build your mental strength and allow you to show off your skills will arise, and you also learn how to solve problems faster and with positive results. Since school encourages long periods of learning and teaches one how to sacrifice time, it is no new idea for a student to work long hours in the manufacturing industry.

#5 You can see the results of your hard work

In school, the hard work involved in writing exams and custom college essays results in grades and certificates. However, in the manufacturing industry, you create tangible products like food, drugs, equipment. These products are items used often by you and other people. Knowing that what is produced will help people may be the motivating factor you need to believe your life has a purpose.

Another result of hard labor is the remunerations and competitive wages paid to you when working in the manufacturing industry. As a student with higher skills, you are employed in higher positions, and you are also challenged to develop your skills. So, you may undergo other training that allows you to be paid higher wages when compared to non-skilled jobs.


The manufacturing industry leads in technology and innovation that improve the standards of living of a society. And so, there is so much potential in a career there. The reasons above show that work in the manufacturing industry can be exciting and not as dreary as most people make it to be. There are great rewards and health benefit plans for all employers which you could partake in. This security and stability could help you get a better footing when you finally decide to follow a career path in the industry.


Frank Hamilton has been working as an editor at essay review service Best Writers Online. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.