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5 Tips To Avoid ERP Failure And Turn 2020 Disruption Into Success

ERP

5 Tips To Avoid ERP Failure And Turn 2020 Disruption Into Success

The trials of 2020 have put many businesses in a mode of transformation. For some, that can mean changing anything from their internal operations to the services and products they offer.

Due to advancements in digital technology, massive change was well underway in numerous industries before the pandemic. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) has been a central part of those changes as companies learn to organize and analyze data and use software applications to automate business functions.

But while the main goal in acquiring ERP is to streamline processes and increase productivity, it can be difficult to implement without the right combination of people, training, and technology. Failure with ERP implementation happens for many reasons, and knowing how to avoid those pitfalls is critical to a company’s growth and survival in these trying times, says Joel Patterson (www.JoelPatterson.com), a workplace culture expert, founder of The Vested Group and ForbesBooks author of The Big Commitment: Solving The Mysteries Of Your ERP Implementation

“Many businesses are aware they need to adopt digital technologies to compete in today’s market, but the fear of failure holds some back,” Patterson says. “Often, the barriers to successful ERP implementation have less to do with the software and more to do with communication- and employee-based issues.

“A change of such magnitude in a company requires solid and consistent change management, in which company leaders work well with outside consultants, but more importantly appreciate the importance of their workforce as much as the need for change.”

Patterson offers five tips on how to avoid failure in ERP implementation:

Tie ERP into long-term planning. One reason for engaging in an ERP project is to improve processes for the long haul. Therefore, an organization’s leadership needs to have a vision for the timeline that makes sense for their industry, typically at least 5 years. “It’s a key question for many businesses, especially in terms of selecting and implementing ERP,” Patterson says. “For example, it would be a big mistake to choose a product that doesn’t allow you to easily add new companies or service lines if expansion is a component of your strategic plan. Create a roadmap and share it with your IT partner.”

Put people first. Patterson says that having a solid work culture in which employees, their treatment and their betterment are prioritized is necessary for any ERP implementation to succeed. “You can have great ERP software,” he says, “but your employees are your greatest asset. Listening to them helps the overall effectiveness of the system going forward. If your culture is a mixed bag of nay-sayers and disengaged managers, projects of this magnitude are doomed to fail.”

Get buy-in across the organization. It’s common for people to fear or resist change, especially employees who have been with companies the longest. “When an organization is made up of people who understand the reasons behind what is being done, then they are more likely to be on board with the changes,” Patterson says. “How will these changes not only benefit the company, but more specifically, how does it impact their daily lives? These details need to be clearly laid out.”

Cut out bureaucracy, delegate responsibility. “The consulting team needs to be allowed to play the role they were hired to play, and you need clearly defined decision-makers on the project team,” Patterson says. “Otherwise, too many people wrestling over decisions can bottleneck projects. Your project team should walk you through each stage, and your company needs to establish a good governance structure in which each person knows their role.”

Prioritize aftercare. The next set of challenges comes when the company is running the new system on its own. “You can’t overlook the potential for problems,” Patterson says. “That’s why you want a partner who offers ongoing support. Assign teams to gather data about how employees are using the software, what issues they are encountering, and how to make it more effective overall.”

“In any ERP implementation,” Patterson says, “leaders need to stay connected with their employees and keep departments aligned while encouraging them throughout a sometimes challenging process.”

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Joel Patterson (www.JoelPatterson.com) 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.

 

change

How To Measure The Effectiveness Of Changes In The Office

In order to solve problems at work, you often have to make policy changes. Unfortunately, a policy change doesn’t always work out how you hoped it would.

Below are some suggestions for measuring the effectiveness of a policy change and what to do once you’ve determined whether it’s working or not.

Ask Two Simple Questions

There are two, simple questions you should ask yourself when trying to determine whether or not a policy change is effective.

The first question is, “Are we still noticing the problem?” At some point, someone saw there was a problem with the way work was being done. There was either a bottleneck in someone’s workflow, mistakes were frequently being made, or something else was happening that caused problems. Eventually, someone noticed, brought up the problem, and worked on a solution.

The question is, are you still seeing that problem or has it gone away? It’s possible that the problem has been reduced, but isn’t totally gone yet. That may require some simple tweaking instead of a complete policy overhaul. But either way, you should be able to get a quick idea for how effective the policy change was by simply looking at the task that inspired the change in the first place.

The second question is, “Has our solution caused other problems?” Just because you solved one problem doesn’t mean you didn’t accidentally create another problem. What problems are people having with the policy? How hard are those problems to deal with? Are they bigger or smaller than the problems you were trying to solve?

Digging through your work processes and talking to involved team members about these topics will help you figure out if the solution is better or worse than the cure.

Take Advantage Of Employee Surveys And Interviews

One-on-one interviews and employee surveys are good ways to encourage your employees to tell you what is slowing them down at work and what parts of their workflows need help. Be sure to emphasize that the company is looking for problems to fix in order to make everyone’s life at work easier.

Otherwise, they may be afraid to speak up in case they look like they’re complaining.

Approach the questions in such a way to get them to talk about the new policy. Ask them what is working, what isn’t working, and what problems they’re still seeing.

Take this feedback into consideration when you’re trying to determine whether you should keep, alter, or remove a policy.

Ask Managers About What Problems They’re Seeing

Managers generally have a higher-level view of what’s going on with their team. Be sure to lean on them for information that you’d otherwise miss if you focused on talking to people who may not always understand what their coworkers are doing.

Managers are probably best able to answer your questions about who’s affected positively by a given policy, who’s affected negatively, and what they think could be done to solve any other problems that have popped up.

When You Get Your Results, Take Action

Once you’ve analyzed everyone’s feedback and you’ve looked at the related KPIs and whether they have improved or declined, it’s time to act. Acting might mean scrapping the policy entirely, optimizing it to make it better solve the problem, or it may mean enhancing an already successful policy to make it even better.

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Katie Casaday is a marketing content writer at eFileCabinet where she specializes in computer software and document management topics. She graduated from Utah State University with a BA in Global Communication. She has experience writing about B2B technology companies and besides enjoying writing, she loves nature and taking hikes with her companion, a Border Collie named Margo.

company

How To Build A High-Performance Company

There are some executives that like to look at academic journals but unfortunately, the crossover literature has not reached them enough. I attempt to blend scholarly concepts with real-world applications. For the executive’s corner, I place a great deal of emphasis on the literature of leadership and information technology as two significant indicators for financial performance. This article adds to a relatively small body of literature but pays homage to the scholarly contributions. I highlight the direct impact of leadership on financial performance, and also simultaneously portray the indirect contribution of leadership in improving organizational outcomes by implementing information technology as another important component of organizational performance. This article actually investigates the crossover potential of scholarly research and how it can be applied in the organizational boardroom.

Executives will also see that cultivating effective technological initiatives requires developing leadership within companies—not only at the higher echelons of the company but at every level. In light of the increased pressures of the global workplace that inspires executives to exert effective change at the organizational level, this article points out the vital importance of leadership in reshaping and, in some cases, manipulating a company’s internal resources to have access to higher performing technology within firms.

The focus of this article is based upon the critical role of leadership which allows a rich basis for understanding the mechanisms by which knowledge management and financial performance are influenced. Scholars repeatedly uncovered leadership impacts on knowledge management and financial performance. This article articulates a different approach. I simply extended the current literature by showing how executives can contribute to knowledge management and financial performance by fostering effective technological platforms. These two factors coupled with leadership are presented as a new approach for executive implementation.

I also suggest that executives embrace leadership. Leadership influences some of the spans of control of executive responsibility. My primary focus is on one factor (i.e. information technology) but there are many more important components of the managerial function that can be enhanced when leadership is embraced. The key here is that there are positive effects of information technology on knowledge management and financial performance.

Executives will also see that I expand upon the subject matter of a company’s internal resources. Through articulating the impacts of leadership on information technology, I add to the current and extant literature. Insufficient consideration of the impact of leadership on the companies’ internal resources has been exposed and I attempt to address this concern for the first time. For executives, this article can portray a more detailed picture of the effects of leadership on information technology, knowledge management, and financial performance that have been mentioned but not placed in a model in the past.

Leadership and Information Technology

The only thing we know is technological change is on the rise. With the inception of new technology, while services become obsolete so quickly today, executives are staid with managing the future that is somewhat evasive.

Executives can develop relationships and interactions within companies, set desired expectations, and inspire employees to identify further opportunities in their business environment. When executives view information technology as a vital important organizational resource that facilitates organizational communications and improves the search for knowledge, they begin to see opportunities for successful business ventures.

Executives also spend a great deal of time conceptualizing strategic endeavors. Scholars affirm that the strategic role of leadership is enhanced when the implementation of information technology successfully occurs at the right time and place. Thus, executives raise the levels of awareness on the importance of technology and empower employees to improve the effectiveness of information technology implementation within corporations. Therefore, executives can positively affect information technology implementation within companies. Executives must understand that leadership can highly support information technology to improve knowledge management and financial performance and, therefore, remain competitive.

Leadership and Financial Performance

Executives develop organizational communications aimed at providing valuable resources for all employees. Thus, executives can enhance knowledge sharing among employees and stipulate knowledge to be shared around the company. Sharing the best practices and experiences could positively impact some aspects of organizational performance such as innovation, providing learning, and growth opportunities for employees. Empowered employees can also enable a firm to actively respond to environmental changes and collective-interests. The key idea is to identify employee’s needs and show concern for both organizational needs and employee’s interests concurrently.

When executives show concern for the employee’s individual needs, individuals begin to contribute more commitment and they become more inspired them to put extra effort into their work. This extra effort improves the quality of services, customer satisfaction, and impacts the return on assets, sales, shareholder value, and improves operational risk management.

Executives can also inspire employees by setting highly desired expectations. The higher level of follower expectation can enhance productivity and perhaps decrease organizational costs. Scholars agree that executives positively affect financial performance through improving the price of stock, decreasing costs, increasing sales, improving innovation, increasing the rate of responses to environmental changes, improving the quality of services, along with a stronger customer focus and developing learning opportunities for employees. Thus, leadership is positively associated with companies’ financial performance.

Information Technology and Financial Performance

Information technology significantly contributes to corporations’ financial performance. Scholars acknowledge that information technology is an important enabler to effectively implement organizational processes. Communication technologies can, in fact, reduce paper-based transactions for companies that can potentially decrease costs and subsequently improve profitability for companies. Furthermore, it can be seen that communication technologies contribute to companies to effectively identify opportunities in the business environment that leads to identifying the best opportunities for investment in the industry that potentially leads to improve financial performance for companies in terms of return on investment (ROI).

Decision-aid technologies as another kind of information technology can also help companies to effectively create more innovative solutions for their organizational problems. Executives can, therefore, build a high-performance company through implementing information technology.

Information Technology and Knowledge Management

Information Technology is the new competitive advantage, and the companies that embrace it will survive while those that do not will find their companies facing possible acquisition. Information technology is a resource for knowledge management. With knowledge management, executives can sustain current operations while preparing future endeavors. Information technology, as a competitive resource, encourages employees to embark on technological facilities such as shared electronic workspaces to provide new ideas and possible solutions for solving problems. Problems that may leave a company to debunk and less competitive.

Scholars found that the lack of innovative workplaces adversely impacts on the company’s capability to manage knowledge, and they suggest that companies use information technology to successfully facilitate knowledge management. Information technology plays a critical role in managing knowledge by executives and is also aligned with the knowledge-based view of the firm which not only builds upon the dissemination of information but also how it is restored and retrieved.

The following figure provides a snapshot of how executives steering information technology enhances goal achievement.

 

Some Lessons for Executives

This article theorizes that leadership has significant effects on information technology. It follows that cultivating effective impacts on information technology is assisted by developing leadership within companies. The practical contribution of this article lies in explaining how executives influence information technology.

This article suggests that information technology constitutes the foundation of a supportive framework to improve knowledge management and financial performance. In fact, it can be argued that if information technology is not completely supportive of knowledge management, companies cannot expect to benefit fully from knowledge management projects. Both in theory and in practice, information technology is depicted as an important enabler for knowledge management and financial performance.

Scholars noted that a strong alignment exists between the success of knowledge management projects and information technology implementation and found that knowledge management projects are more likely to succeed when companies develop and use broader technological infrastructures. This article goes further and provides elaborative insights for executives by modeling how information technology mediates the relationship between leadership, knowledge management, and financial performance.

This article reveals that executives actively deploy this organizational resource (i.e. information technology) to improve knowledge management, and it is quite understandable that leaders are better suited to enable knowledge management projects within companies through channeling knowledge management efforts into employing supportive information technology. Therefore, this article suggests that it is critical that executives understand that leadership supports information technology implementation to effectively manage knowledge management projects.

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Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.

working conditions

Working Conditions High on the EU’s Priority List in Recent Years

In recent years, the EU has made a strong commitment towards improving working conditions which is excellent news for employees. So, what exactly is meant by working conditions, and what steps is the EU taking to improve these conditions for workers? Read on to find out more.

Working Conditions Defined

Working conditions is a broad term that covers a lot of bases. Essentially, working conditions refer to both the working environment provided to employees by the business along with terms and conditions of employment – this means that everything including the organization of work activities, health, safety, wellbeing, work-life balance, training, and skills all fall under the term working conditions.

Benefits of Good Working Conditions

Having good work conditions is important for a number of reasons. Obviously, from the European worker’s perspective, it contributes to the physical and mental wellbeing and will help to provide overall work and life satisfaction. It is also beneficial for the business because it ensures that staff are happy, engaged, and will perform to a high standard each day. Plus, from an economic standpoint, high-quality work conditions will drive economic growth in the EU so it is a win-win situation for all.

How They Have Improved

Understandably, improving work conditions is a core issue for the EU and they have been working closely with national governments to improve the workplace environment for European workers. This has been achieved by determining what the main characteristics of a favorable work environment look like and what the criteria to meet is. EU labor laws and regulations have been established to set the minimum requirement for a sustainable working environment for EU workers and these are now applied to all Member States.

Laws

These laws have strengthened worker’s rights in recent years and it is one of the main achievements of the social policy of the EU, but compensation claims are still high with workplace accidents often being inevitable. The European Framework Directive on Safety and Health at Work was established to set general principles related to minimum health and safety requirements and applies to practically all sectors.

Working with Social Partners

The EU also works with social partners such as trade unions and employer organizations via social dialogue and consultations which is key in the shaping of various different EU social and employment policies, including working hours, workers’ mobility within the EU, health, and safety, and promoting work-life balance.

Working conditions have been high on the EU’s priorities for a few years now and there have been major strides in recent times in terms of protecting EU workers. While these policies obviously help workers and provide important protection, it is also important to realize that they are beneficial for individual businesses as well as the economy as a whole so it is certainly an area that is worth focusing on.

corporate

How Global Leaders Formulate and Execute Corporate Strategies to Meet External Challenges

Any organizations have plans going well into the future. Strategic goals spanning five to fifteen years while short-term goals are more tactical and are just as important. Two prominent scholars that are well known in the Academy of Management – one of the largest leadership and management organizations in the world, by the names of Charles Hofer and Dan Schendel see strategy as a “fundamental pattern of present and planned resource deployments and environmental interactions that indicates how the organization will achieve its objectives.” Another scholar, Kenneth Andrew, describes strategy as a pattern of decisions and plans which are directed at interacting with the external and internal environment and effectively and efficiently allocating capabilities to achieve organizational objectives.

There are different typologies of strategies and one typology of these existing typologies that can create better results for companies when compared to others. Much of what I share comes from my experience as a senior management consultant in San Diego, California.

In my experience working with more than 30 Fortune 100 companies, executives consider the four dimensions of corporate strategy including analysis, pro-activeness, defensiveness, and futurity. Analysis strategy is defined, by Venkatraman, as “the tendency to search for problems and their root causes and generates better alternatives to solve them.” When executives analyze strategy, they can create more knowledge and find the best solution using a problematic search of various options. This type of strategy also stimulates companies to apply information systems in their decision-making processes in order to investigate various alternatives and options. Also, executives analyze strategic milestones to meet the goals of employee development.

An analysis strategy can develop opportunities for employee development by assessing current situations in detail. This strategy provides new and more innovative solutions for organizational problems as they arise. To develop this strategy, executives can particularly contribute to the development of a workplace in which there is/are:

-Emphasis on effective coordination among different functional areas.

-Extensive use of information systems to support decision making.

-Comprehensive analysis undertaken when confronted with an important decision.

-Use of planning techniques.

-Effective deployment of management information and control systems.

-Use of manpower planning and performance appraisal of senior managers.

Pro-activeness is a strategy element used by executives who take a proactive approach to search for better positions in the business environment. As executives use the pro-activeness strategy which refers to finding new opportunities and proactively responding to current challenges in external environments, they can enhance their span of control. To cultivate a pro-activeness strategy, executives can contribute to the development of a workplace in which there is/are:

-The constant search for new opportunities.

-Attempt to introduce new brands or products in the market.

-The constant search for businesses that can be acquired.

-More effective expansion of capacities when compared to our competitors.

-Strategic elimination of those operations that are no longer profitable in later stages of life cycles.

Defensiveness recommends undertaking defensive behaviors that manifest themselves in enhancing efficiency and in cutting costs while maintaining continuous budget-analysis and break-even points. Executives can take an offensive approach and in this case, they employ a defensive strategy. A defensive strategy utilizes modifications in order to efficiently and effectively use organizational resources, decrease costs, and control operational risk. Some executives feel that a defensive strategy, while necessary, sets a negative connotation on their span of control. A defensiveness strategic approach, in fact, enhances organizational learning through reusing commercial knowledge. To foster this strategy, executives can particularly contribute to the development of a workplace in which there is/are:

-Regular modifications to manufacturing/service technology.

-Use cost control systems for monitoring performance.

-Use of current management techniques to ensure that we move smoothly at the required level.

-Emphasis on product/service quality through the use of work improvement teams.

Futurity is reflected in the degree to which the strategic decision-making process takes a two-way approach—-an emphasis on both long-term effectiveness and shorter-term efficiency concurrently.  Executives use a futurity strategy to expand the growth opportunities available to companies to close the gap between success and failure. Futurity strategy implements basic studies to identify and actively respond to the changes that occurred in the external environment and provides better outcomes. To create a futurity strategy, executives can contribute to the development of a workplace in which there is/are:

-Specific criteria used for resource allocation which generally reflect short-term considerations.

-Emphasis on basic research to provide us with a competitive edge for the future.

-Key indicators of operations forecasted.

-Formal tracking of significant and general trends.

-Regular analyses of critical issues.

This article summarizes my experience as a senior management consultant and is about getting the information needed to be successful in the right hands of executives worldwide. The key for executives is that by channeling organizational processes into corporate strategy, and employing a supportive strategy that executives can continue to prosper.

Success is, therefore, dependent upon how executives formulate and execute corporate strategy. Executives can now see how they can cultivate an effective corporate strategy, which can enable superior performance to achieve business objectives and satisfy careers.

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Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.

knowledge management

Researchers Propose a Model to Better Manage Knowledge and Innovation in Multinational Corporations

With a clear understanding of knowledge management, executives can make more effective managerial decisions. Knowledge management has been evaluated from various perspectives. This variation may differ because knowledge management is understood in many different ways and therefore different scholars focus on different aspects of it and offer several options of managerial application. These perspectives are discussed below.

Taking a Technological Perspective

Executives know that they can take a technological perspective. In this case, the executive understands how knowledge management as facilitating organizational processes and activities uses information technology to organize existing information. Executives have found that knowledge management embraces information technology to convert individual knowledge into valuable resources for their organization. Executives focus on individuals as the major source of knowledge and show how followers tie together so that they can effectively share the storage, transfer, and application of knowledge within organizations. Executives, therefore, see these connections, and the related shared knowledge and memory, as central to the effectiveness of knowledge management.

Taking an Economic Perspective

Executives agree with Doyle McCarthy, who sees society as a product of knowledge. Defining culture as various forms of knowledge and symbols that make up an organization’s culture. However, knowledge is a by-product of culture and knowledge’s role in guiding and facilitating people’s action is key to executive decision-making. Four scholars by the names of Bernard Marr, Oliver Gupta, Stephen Pike, and Goran Roos define knowledge management as “a set of activities and processes aimed at creating value through generating and applying intellectual capital.”

Executives direct practices that create value from intangible organizational resources. For executives, it is clear that the objective of managing knowledge is to add value to organizations. The focus here is that executives consider the fact a firm’s knowledge is positively associated with its outcomes.

Taking a Process Perspective

The process perspective focuses on knowledge flows that executives use through embracing the processes of knowledge management for strategic management decision-making. Managing knowledge is not new, scholars have considered the various processes involved. Executives can look at three-step processes of knowledge accumulation, integration, and reconfiguration. Jang-Hwan Lee and Young-Gul Kim’s model for managing knowledge takes a strategic process-oriented approach and is relevant to executive leadership. Executives build a climate of openness for individuals to exchange ideas. Knowledge is accumulated by creating a new approach to gathering, evaluating, and disseminating information throughout the organizations.

Executives inspire people to create new ideas and develop effective mechanisms to acquire knowledge from various sources such as suppliers, customers, business partners, and competitors. This is similar to a value-chain approach. Executives need to first support this approach for the model to work because they play a strategic role in expanding the knowledge accumulation through applying incentives as mechanisms to develop a more innovative climate and managing effective tools to acquire knowledge from external sources.

Executives then integrate knowledge internally to enhance the effectiveness and efficiencies in various systems and processes, as well as to be more responsive to market changes.

Accumulated knowledge is synthesized to produce higher quality outcomes. Thus, knowledge integration focuses on monitoring and controlling knowledge management practices, evaluating the effectiveness of current knowledge, defining and recognizing core knowledge areas, coordinating expert opinions, sharing organizational knowledge, and scanning for new knowledge to keep the quality of their product or services continuously improving.

Executives can promote knowledge integration by creating expert groups or steering committees to enhance knowledge quality and evaluate knowledge assets. Follower’s diversity of skills and interpersonal relations that is based on trust and reciprocity can improve the performance of group cohesiveness.

Therefore, in the process of knowledge integration, knowledge enters organizational processes and provides valuable contributions to products and services. Executives as leaders steering the organizational strategy facilitate this process, by undertaking initiatives that improve knowledge transfer, thus enhancing the performance of employees and the implementation of effective changes to maintain the quality of products and services. The burden of success when the effective implementation of knowledge integration is concerned is heavily dependent on the capabilities of the organization’s leaders.

Executives must also curtail knowledge within organizations. This knowledge needs to be reconfigured to meet environmental changes and new challenges. At the same time, it should not be leaked to the competition in any shape or form unless agreed upon by senior executives. When executives agree to share knowledge with other organizations in the environment, studies have shown that that knowledge is often difficult to share externally. One reason is that other organizations have too much pride to accept knowledge or are apprehensive to expose themselves to the competition.

Therefore, executives may lack the required capabilities to interact with other organizations, or distrust sharing their knowledge. In addition, just the notion of creating an expert group or steering committee may be shortsighted because such groups may not have sufficient diversity to comprehend knowledge acquired from external sources. On the other hand, executives are aware of networking with business partners is a key activity for organizations to enhance knowledge exchange.

Networking is a critical concern for leaders in this process is developing alliances with partners in external environments. Executives and their expert groups and/or steering committees are the ones who can make final decisions about developing alliances with business partners.   Figure 1 depicts this model of knowledge management.

In Conclusion

There are some executives that like to look at academic journals but unfortunately, the crossover literature has not reached them enough. This article attempts to blend scholarly concepts with real-world applications. This article introduces an applicable model to evaluate knowledge management success. Also, this article provides evidence that knowledge management is used in corporate infrastructure for strategic decision-making.

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Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.

employment

The Employment System Was Broken Long Before COVID-19 – Can tilr Lead a Workforce Revolution?

Young people make up a disproportionate share of what is a low-wage workforce and recent studies argue that they will be the hardest hit by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. 

What are your projections for their job-market recovery, post-COVID-19?

 Co-Founder and CEO Stephen Shefsky

Unfortunately, a lot of entry-level positions affecting younger, lower skilled workers were the first and hardest-hit at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many employers during the pandemic, fired or furloughed many of their workers, that were deemed necessary for their survival. Given the above, it is no surprise that U.S. low-wage unemployment has skyrocketed at its peak to roughly 40%.

As businesses start to come back, there may be some subtle advantages for those low-skilled / low-wage workers. Some companies will inevitably gravitate towards hiring or re-hiring their lower-wage earners, instead of turning to an older, more expensive and more-skilled workforce.

Not all young people will immediately find employment; some must be prepared to accept the fact that their jobs won’t come back. When that happens, ‘up-skilling’ will become very important. Giving direction to those looking to re-enter the workforce is something very top of mind at tilr.

We at tilr believe there is a better way to bring job-seekers back into the workforce; a better way for employers to save both time and money in their on-boarding process.

tilr’s technology will help solve some of those challenges for both job-seekers and employers.

The country is going to be in a place of rebuilding and recovery over the next several years. We realize that this is the moment that companies and job-seekers alike will need us most.

How will tilr’s technology be applicable to what is today, an American workforce in crisis?

til’s algorithmic-hiring platform offers an alternative to traditional resume databases and key word search technology. We have developed ‘an on-demand marketplace’, one that matches pre-registered workers’ skills with employers, not based on keywords that may or may not be included in their resumes.

This will give job-seekers a better opportunity to find employment and jobs best suited to their skills, because it will no longer come down to who wrote a better resume, be subject to bias or cause candidates to play the waiting game, while employers sift through countless resumes before they happen to come upon the one they like, costing the company time and money.

For employers (and tilr has worked with hundreds of client companies), the way we’ve developed our technology is, in many ways, revolutionary. We have built the technology that is able to define the deliverable (skills) that a company needs in real-time and then quickly unlock a pool of workers that have the specific, necessary tools to accomplish the job at hand. We provide a platform for locating immediately available, local talent who can be employed in a matter of hours or days.

COVID-19 has hurt many; we’re witnessing presently an historically high unemployment rate. We want to offer people relief by way of giving them a better chance to find work, to take care of their families, and to do so based on their previous job experience and relevant skills obtained; not by having to take many months or years to reinvent themselves (which some people will inevitably have to do).

Today, many unemployed men and women will need time to be reabsorbed into the marketplace. Our technology further directs those people to training platforms capable of helping them ‘up-skill’ and to prepare them for work; to be as good or better than they were before.

As companies pivot to teleconferencing, their employees working from home in the spirit of ‘social distancing’, how can modern technology benefit those looking to employ and/or up-skill future workers?

Many companies are going to continue to employ their workers, and having some of them working from home as opposed to an office environment.

Today’s technology gives companies the option to have many members of their workforce contribute remotely. There are many software solutions that will allow more and more work to be done virtually, affording workers the opportunity to keep in constant contact with their organizations.

However, I’ve always believed that for employers, knowing what human resources (HR) / skills they don’t have in the organization is as important as knowing what you currently have at any given moment.

tilr has built the technology that will assist the job-matching and skills matching for those companies, which can expedite the process of hiring workers, both for in-office positions and from home.

Our ‘marketplace’ technology can support employers in real-time, razor focused on understanding and interpreting aggregated skill-sets, offering access to a more focused labor market, while also preparing future employees for a virtual workforce-environment.

Companies can access the platform from the web on any computer or handheld device.

Workers can access tilr opportunities via an app on IOS and Android mobile devices.

tilr’s technology can assist job-seekers to identify their own present skill-gaps and offer opportunities or suggestions on how to ‘up-skill’ to match the jobs they want. We will introduce new employment opportunities matching their skill-sets which they may not have thought of.

Learning will become much more technology-driven in the near term. Even after we return to a semblance of normalcy, more learning and work will take place online. As an example, technology that drives telemedicine today may very well become the first line of interaction between a patient and a doctor long after COVID-19.

We are currently in discussions with several companies (States and Provincial Governments in the U.S. and Canada) to offer our skill mapping technology and create a database of human resources (skills).

Lastly, is embracing technology the future of the Employment Agency?

Employment agencies are going to need to do things a little differently in the future.

tilr technology can assist the 80-85% of workers who are currently registered with an agency, but not always working.

tilr offers employment agency businesses an additional way of helping those registered with the agency to find work, who are not currently working, providing a more efficient use of human resources.

It’s safe to say that the current workforce is in an awful state of disarray. Technology can help usher in a workforce revolution, and help propel an economic recovery.

tilr automates the recruitment process by using skills to connect companies with job seekers, enhancing workers’ lives and companies’ bottom lines.

taiwan

Taiwan Takes Business Back: Examining the Shifting Landscape and What it Means for International Trade

In an exclusive Q&A with Dr. Richard Thurston – former Senior Vice President at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd, and “Of Counsel” with Duane Morris, LLP in New York, we take a closer look at the current international trade climate as Taiwan’s efforts to re-shore impact current trade relations while exposing a significant need for bilateral trade agreements and the need to improve opportunities in workforce development. Dr. Thurston walks us through what to expect in the near future as Taiwan takes businesses back from China.

What major advantages are gained by Taiwan reshoring? What risks are associated with this move?

Dr. Thurston: There are several main drivers behind Taiwan’s reshoring of Taiwan businesses from China. First, U.S. geopolitical issues, such as Taiwan companies avoiding US tariffs on China-originated products. Taiwan companies are facing a lot of pressure there.

Second, the protection of the supply chain, not just the supply chain for Taiwan’s consumer product companies, but that of other companies such as Apple, Google, and the whole range of high-tech companies. Thirdly, avoidance of both U.S. criticism, and, more importantly, of potential. U.S. penalties, fines, exclusion orders, etc., relating to possible export control violations. Finally, the Huawei issue. Overall, the challenges are much broader than trade secret protection, driven by U.S. desire to keep actual products incorporating certain advanced technologies from getting into the hands of China’s People’s Liberation Army.

Those factors, along with growing demands for international diversification, are complimented by Taiwan’s corporate concerns over ongoing health, safety, and welfare of their staff and managers working in China. One other motivation of Taiwan’s Government is to bring back to Taiwan experienced talent that had left over the last decade (which had created a great hollowing out of Taiwan’s technological and other capabilities).

On that last point, do you see a reverse effect happening in the workforce going back to Taiwan and aiming efforts on workforce development for the tech industry, or are you anticipating a completely different landscape overall?

Dr. Thurston: Previously, a much different environment existed, where there were two key drivers behind the movement to China that started when President Ma Ying-jeou took over the political reigns. One of the key factors he had in mind was to access the sizable but elusive China market. The Taiwan market of 24 million people is not large enough by itself, to sustain market growth driven by technological innovation. Second, access to talented human capital. A serious Taiwan problem exists because the STEM  (science, technology, engineering, and math) talent pool has continued to dry up in Taiwan. This has been a huge issue faced by TSMC and other technology-driven companies. So, President Ma wanted to access a culturally comparable talent pool as well as to lower costs for land and raw material supply. Finally, the KMT wanted to use Taiwan’s trade and investment in China to neutralize China’s threat against Taiwan independence.

How can Taiwan continue dominating the IP (intellectual property) sector by reshoring? And does this have any impact on its current practice?

Dr. Thurston: Taiwan has had a lot of difficulties in the IP area, and part of it is related to what I just talked about, the significant decline in the STEM talent pool. If you look for other issues, a major one is that Taiwan (because of its political position arising from China’s position against them) is not a member of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), and is not a participant in the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and therefore, there are significant barriers against becoming a predominant IP source.

But more importantly, with the exception of a few companies like TSMC, most Taiwan companies continue to operate in the mindset of OEM and ODM companies. That mindset focuses on a slim profit margin. Therefore, they do not truly incorporate intellectual property into their overall strategy because it is expensive to promote and protect IP.

This is very relevant for many companies, especially in some of the new sectors, such as biomedicine, aerospace, clean energy, Big Data and AI labs. For example, Taiwan companies are still reluctant to establish a robust trade secret program. Although the Taiwan government has done a lot for enacting trade secret laws and litigation in its courts, many companies take inadequate measures to protect this most important IP asset and thereby, diluting its IP leadership. While there has been improvement, it has been slow because IP is still not viewed as a key to profitability. The government has been trying to improve that attitude in its companies through its intellectual property laws, so we will see. For now, I think the lack of sufficient and sustainable STEM talent, which affects directly leading-edge creativity and innovation, is a core challenge.

Taiwan is extremely important to the U.S., both commercially, with respect to its supply chain, and defensively, with respect to maintain open and safe sea and air links. What is further of concern is that the U.S. still does not have a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan. This limits the ability of the free flow of information, business, and protections to Taiwan businesses and U.S. businesses operating in and with Taiwan.

During 2019, Taiwan’s efforts to attract its businesses back to Taiwan, and the short-term assistance it is providing to respective land acquisition and operational subsidies, has generated 160 new projects. Companies have most definitely returned from China to Taiwan. But, the question remains: is that sustainable? That issue will hurt Taiwan along with the declining birth rate out there. The innovation advantage that Taiwan has had in the past may well be limited in the years ahead unless Taiwan shores up its bilateral trade and investment relations with the U.S.

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Richard L. Thurston, Ph.D. is Of Counsel at international law firm Duane Morris where he practices in the area of intellectual property law from its New York and Taipei offices. Prior to joining Duane Morris, Dr. Thurston was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd., where he was also Chief Proprietary Information Officer (Trade Secrets) and Corporate Compliance Officer.

recruiting

COVID-19 will Change Job Recruiting; Here’s How Companies Need To Adapt.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the business world and put tens of millions out of work in the U.S. At the same time, it’s caused a seismic shift in the way many companies operate, the biggest change being that more business functions are done while working remotely.

But along with the work-from-home aspect, the fallout from the coronavirus will fundamentally change recruiting and hiring practices long after the pandemic has passed, says Jack Whatley (www.humancodeofhiring.com), a recruiting strategist who specializes in creating employer branding campaigns.

“Social distancing, shelter-in-place orders, and the forced closing of businesses will change the way we look at employment,” Whatley says. “No longer will the promises of changing the world attract the modern workforce. Safety and job stability are at the top of the mind for the modern job seeker – and that changed what they want in a job.

“Businesses will have to become employee-centric as well as customer-centric. The companies that have the ability to capture that part of the employee message, put it into their employer branding, and reinforce it throughout recruitment marketing campaigns are going to be the companies moving ahead in a much different world.”

As states begin different stages of reopening for business, Whatley breaks down what companies should do when recruiting, hiring, and re-hiring:

Create a communication campaign. “If you’re a company that laid off employees with the hope of bringing them back, you have to reach out with genuine communication that goes the extra mile,” Whatley says. “It should let them know in detail what steps the company is taking. Those people who were let go unexpectedly and lived paycheck to paycheck, they’ll be emotionally drained and stressed. A company bringing them back needs to make them feel valued so the company doesn’t lose that relationship.”

Be careful in rehiring. Rehires won’t be a straightforward process for some companies. Circumstances won’t allow them to rehire or bring back from furlough all of their former employees. “Employers must be cautious in determining who to bring back to the workplace; they need to mitigate the risk of potential discrimination claims, which could be based on the decision not to bring back certain employees,” Whatley says. “Employers will need to have a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for choosing which employees to rehire. Those reasons include seniority, operational needs or documented past performance issues. Employers should document their decision-making process now, before deciding who will be invited back.”

Focus on expanded employee rights. Whatley thinks a new appreciation for workers may be emerging as state and local governments mandate paid sick leave and family leave during the outbreak. Some companies are shifting their focus to hourly workers as well for those perks. “This change could become permanent,” Whatley says, “as organizations work hard to hire new staff and increase retention rates.”

Streamline the process. “If the recruiting process gets backlogged,” Whatley says, “it causes problems for your current employees and an under-staffed company. It becomes frustrating for them, because they’re forced to work overtime, and the big workload kills morale and increases turnover.”

“Most companies look at hiring people as a transaction – they need to fill a seat,” Whatley says. “They place a job posting and fill the job. In the new world, that will no longer be the case. To get the best talent, companies will have to engage people sooner, more thoughtfully, and put a higher priority on what employees value most in a job.”

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Jack Whatley (www.humancodeofhiring.com) is a recruiting strategist who specializes in creating employer branding campaigns that position companies as the employer of choice in their market. He is the author of the upcoming book Human Code of Hiring: DNA of Recruitment Marketing. Whatley is known for creating successful recruiting and employer branding campaigns and delivering highly-qualified applicants. His Driver DNA Hiring System has made Whatley the No. 1 people ops recruiting strategist for truck driving recruitment in the world. Together with his partner, daughter and innovation wizard Anika Whatley, they have expanded into other industries and have been working to perfect the Human Code DNA Hiring System, which uses the latest technology to improve the quality of worker life and enhance recruiter productivity.

corporate

How COVID-19 is Reshaping Corporate Culture

The outbreak of COVID-19 is radically changing how many U.S. companies operate.
Public safety measures have closed physical offices and made remote working the norm. Travel restrictions have heightened the importance of efficient technology, communication, and collaboration. Executives have had to pivot quickly, reorganizing and rallying their workforce to push forward in an unprecedented time.
Some business leaders think COVID-19 marks a permanent turning point. And at the center of the seismic change is the reshaping of corporate culture – the beliefs and behaviors that influence how a company’s employees and management interact, says Chuck Crumpton (www.chuckcrumpton.com), author of The Jagged Journey: A Raw & Real Memoir about the Non-Perfect Path of Life & Business.
“The pandemic unquestionably will have lasting effects on corporate cultures,” Crumpton says. “There’s a growing sense it’s a fundamental shift, a new normal.
“It starts with empathy. Company leaders are seeing they need to listen more to their employees’ concerns, which are really everybody’s concerns right now. Many people have fear and uncertainty. It’s an opportunity to be more understanding and build relationships with the people you work with, and from there as a company, being better able to work in new and more collaborative ways.”
Crumpton explains the ways corporate culture will be reshaped in the wake of COVID-19 and how leaders can influence those positive changes:
Providing emotional support along with technical support. While technology is the key to keeping a remote workforce functioning at a high level, Crumpton says how leaders create a culture of mutual support will be a big factor in company culture and the employee experience. “You want to get people helping and looking out for each other,” Crumpton says. “Not every Google Chat, call or email has to be business-related.”
More, and better, communication. Working remotely, with managers and employees at different locations, places an emphasis on focused and more precise communication – even over-communication if necessary – to keep operations flowing, Crumpton says. “The use of video conferencing is very effective, keeping everyone connected and agendas targeted,” he says. “It increases responsiveness, attention span, and strengthens collaboration.”
More of a family feeling. “Working from home personalizes the workplace, partly because you are working from your personal space, and the imaginary line between family and work is basically gone,” Crumpton says. “People are out of their shell now, more relatable. Colleagues and clients are happy to share a screen with their kids or pets in the background. There’s a blending of the personal and professional, and it’s liberating.”
Better collaboration. “Your relationship with your teammates will improve,” Crumpton says. “Fighting a common enemy, the coronavirus, creates bonds in relationships. Everyone being in this together brings new levels of connection with colleagues and clients. You’re happy to see each other onscreen during this period of physical isolation, and that feeling can be brought forward when things settle down. The bond strengthens with teammates also by having worked together to solve problems and be proactive during difficult times. That means better collaboration and more enthusiasm for teamwork and shared success.”
“This crisis has challenged us in seemingly every way,” Crumpton says. “It’s been sudden, profound, and life-changing. Companies have been forced to make major changes, and in the process, they’re seeing the workplace and the world differently. It’s a great opportunity for growth and positive, permanent change.”
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Chuck Crumpton (www.chuckcrumpton.com) is the founder and CEO of Medpoint, LLC, a global consulting firm serving medical device and pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He is the author of The Jagged Journey: A Raw & Real Memoir about the Non-Perfect Path of Life & Business. He’s a featured keynote and session speaker at multi-industry events in the U.S., Europe and Asia for global organizations.