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Hold Tight to Food & Beverage Knowledge: Retain and Empower Your Workforce

food and beverage

Hold Tight to Food & Beverage Knowledge: Retain and Empower Your Workforce

The manufacturing industry is “eyeing growth despite turbulence,” according to Deloitte’s 2022 Manufacturing Industry Outlook analysis. What will be critical for future growth in manufacturing is business agility in the face of labor and supply chain challenges. 

The Great Resignation became a topic of conversation as 4 million Americans quit their jobs by September 2021. While often discussed from the viewpoint of office workers, the quit rate in lower-paying jobs was overlooked. Bloomberg noted that the manufacturing industry was second from the top (below leisure and hospitality) for the largest quit rate. What’s more, the quit rate was more significant in lower-paying nondurable goods – in particular in food manufacturing – compared to higher-paying durable goods.

With record workforce shortages and existing pressure of an aging workforce and talent gaps, future-of-work strategies are close to the top of the list for food and beverage manufacturers that want to excel in the face of disruption. In Deloitte’s survey, manufacturing executives want to focus on:

-38% attracting new talent

-31% retention

-13% reskilling

Attracting, retaining, and empowering workers can be supported through technology investments. As workers look for purpose in their roles, Food & Beverage manufacturers have the opportunity to recruit and retain a generation of workers that want high-value work in a cutting-edge, digitized environment to engage and connect with.

Where does WMS fit into a Food & Beverage workforce strategies?

Modern WMS for Workforce Retention

Knowledge loss is a hidden cost of turnover and poor retention. Keeping manufacturing knowledge tight is critical to maximizing operations and growth. To do so, Food & Beverage manufacturers need to give warehouse workers the tools and technology they need to be more productive and make their jobs easier. For the newer generation of workers who aren’t enticed by warehouse jobs, implementing a digitized warehouse can help shift perceptions of the warehouse work from laborious and manual to high-tech and meaningful.

There are key capabilities of a modern WMS that support employee retention but also mitigate people and skill shortages.

Automation

WMS automation can provide benefits that support streamlined work and maximize operational capacity:

1. Automation can fill significant workforce gaps that can’t be replaced to maximize capacity.

2. Automation of manual processes and monotonous tasks help workers focus on higher-value activities and improve productivity and accuracy of their work while reducing operational inefficiencies.

3. Automated processes can lessen reliance on specialized knowledge from employees and streamline the training of new workers with a centralized view of the warehouse processes.

Integrated Mobile Hardware

Mobility is central to efficient and productive workers on the warehouse floor. Integrated mobile devices – such as iPads, touch screens, etc. – make workers more effective by putting the tools they want in their hands to complete a task in less time. The more physical and mental strain on workers can be reduced, the more an organization can improve the work experience for employees.

User-Friendly Interfaces

A WMS that puts end users first in its design, implementation, and experience will get better adoption and faster ROI. WMS should be functional, intuitive, easy-to-use, reliable, and enjoyable for the end-users.

Workforce Empowerment in Action

In the Food & Beverage industryCameron’s Coffee is an excellent example of how a highly automated warehouse enables and empowers a workforce. Before implementing Solochain WMS and MES, Cameron’s Coffee relied heavily on paper-based processes. Workers would manually check and encode items and carry pens, notepads, and clipboards while running production lines or operating equipment.

Digitizing their warehouse with Solochain WMS and MES led to 50% sales growth, 200% eCommerce growth, and a 25% expansion of their warehouse.

On top of growth and operational efficiencies, the day-to-day dramatically transform for Cameron’s Coffee workforce:

-New software and iPads reduced the time required to complete a task

-User-friendly and intuitive interfaces made adoption easy

-Automated processes reduced human error across the warehouse

-Workers had more independence with a centralized system for warehouse activities

-New employee onboarding was simplified through transparent processes in the WMS display

-The Finance team would easily understand warehouse workflows and processes and close month-end sooner with integration into the ERP

-Workers were happier and more confident in the jobs

“The WMS and MES systems through Solochain are user-friendly and very customizable. In a dynamically changing company, the system has been able to change and grow with our needs. We have found efficiencies that have allowed us to grow with minimal additional head count. And when we do have new hires, the system is easy to train and empowers employees to confidently complete their jobs.”Amy Fitzgerald
System Administrator Cameron’s Specialty Coffee

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you tocontact us to learn more.

manufacturing

Hold Tight to Manufacturing Knowledge: Retain and Empower Your Workforce

The manufacturing industry is “eyeing growth despite turbulence,” according to Deloitte’s 2022 Manufacturing Industry Outlook analysis. What will be critical for future growth in manufacturing is business agility in the face of labor and supply chain challenges.

The Great Resignation became a topic of conversation as 4 million Americans quit their jobs by September 2021. While often discussed from the viewpoint of office workers, the quit rate in lower-paying jobs was overlooked. Bloomberg noted that the manufacturing industry was second from the top (below leisure and hospitality) for the largest quit rate. What’s more, the quit rate was more significant in lower-paying nondurable goods (mainly food manufacturing) compared to higher-paying durable goods.

With record workforce shortages and existing pressure of an aging workforce and talent gaps, future-of-work strategies are close to the top of the list for manufacturers that want to excel in the face of disruption. In Deloitte’s survey, manufacturing executives want to focus on:

-38% attracting new talent

-31% retention

-13% reskilling

Attracting, retaining, and empowering workers can be supported through technology investments. As workers look for purpose in their roles, manufacturers have the opportunity to recruit and retain a generation of workers that want high-value work in a cutting-edge, digitized environment to engage and connect with.

Modern WMS for Workforce Retention

Knowledge loss is a hidden cost of turnover and poor retention. Keeping manufacturing knowledge tight is critical to maximizing operations and growth. To do so, manufacturers need to give warehouse workers the tools and technology they need to be more productive and make their jobs easier. For the newer generation of workers who aren’t enticed by warehouse jobs, implementing a digitized warehouse can help shift perceptions of the warehouse work from laborious and manual to high-tech and meaningful.
There are key capabilities of a modern WMS that support employee retention but also mitigate people and skill shortages.

Automation

WMS automation can provide benefits that support streamlined work and maximize operational capacity:

1. Automation can fill significant workforce gaps that can’t be replaced to maximize capacity.

2. Automation of manual processes and monotonous tasks help workers focus on higher-value activities and improve productivity and accuracy of their work while reducing operational inefficiencies.

3. Automated processes can lessen reliance on specialized knowledge from employees and streamline the training of new workers with a centralized view of the warehouse processes.

Integrated Mobile Hardware

Mobility is central to efficient and productive workers on the warehouse floor. Integrated mobile devices – such as iPads, touch screens, etc. – make workers more effective by putting the tools they want in their hands to complete a task in less time. The more physical and mental strain on workers can be reduced, the more an organization can improve the work experience for employees.

User-Friendly Interfaces

A WMS that puts end users first in its design, implementation, and experience will get better adoption and faster ROI. WMS should be functional, intuitive, easy-to-use, reliable, and enjoyable for the end-users.

Workforce Empowerment in Action

In the Food & Beverage industry, Cameron’s Coffee is an excellent example of how a highly automated warehouse enables and empowers a workforce. Before implementing Solochain WMS and MES, Cameron’s Coffee relied heavily on paper-based processes. Workers would manually check and encode items and carry pens, notepads, and clipboards while running production lines or operating equipment.

Digitizing their warehouse with Solochain WMS and MES led to 50% sales growth, 200% eCommerce growth, and a 25% expansion of their warehouse.

On top of growth and operational efficiencies, the day-to-day dramatically transform for Cameron’s Coffee workforce:

-New software and iPads reduced the time required to complete a task

-User-friendly and intuitive interfaces made adoption easy

-Automated processes reduced human error across the warehouse

-Workers had more independence with a centralized system for warehouse activities

-New employee onboarding was simplified through transparent processes in the WMS display

-The Finance team would easily understand warehouse workflows and processes and close month-end sooner with integration into the ERP

-Workers were happier and more confident in the jobs

“The WMS and MES systems through Solochain are user-friendly and very customizable. In a dynamically changing company, the system has been able to change and grow with our needs. We have found efficiencies that have allowed us to grow with minimal additional head count. And when we do have new hires, the system is easy to train and empowers employees to confidently complete their jobs.”

Amy Fitzgerald
System Administrator Cameron’s Specialty Coffee

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

resignation

The Great Resignation: What Organizations Must Learn

With a near-record 11 million job openings across the US, new research finds that prospective employees prioritize well-being benefits ­­— including financial, mental, emotional, social, physical, and career perks. The Great Resignation, as it has been called, has left employers scrambling to figure out new ways to turn the tide of departing talent.

In our own ongoing research, we have surveyed almost 3,000 professionals in our Resilient Leader Assessment (resiliencerank.com). This research points to reasons why so many people left their jobs in the Great Resignation, and ways companies can respond to turn the challenge into an opportunity.

The growth opportunity is to understand at a deeper level why people are leaving, to gain a better understanding of your workplace and your workers, and to leverage the change that’s occurring for your company’s growth.

There are many reasons large numbers of people have left their jobs since the pandemic began. Burnout and exhaustion are commonly cited as reasons medical and other frontline workers have quit their jobs in the pandemic. But what about the countless other employees who have left professional positions that don’t necessarily involve saving lives, directly serving the public, or working in hazardous conditions?

Our research points to another reason people have been resigning: They are seeking to fill a gap between what they say is most important in their lives, and how they are actually allocating their time and energy.

Our assessment is a proprietary 16-question tool designed to gauge the resiliency level of participants. We ask participants to rank their level of agreement or disagreement with a number of statements. Based on the answers, we provide a resiliency rank in each of four areas: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual resilience. We then aggregate those scores to identify trends.

For the statement, “I’m engaged in a livelihood that is in line with my core values and beliefs,” the aggregate score has run surprisingly high (85), putting our participants in what we consider the “green zone” on this measure. However, there is also broad agreement with this statement: “There are significant gaps between what I say is most important in my life and how I actually allocate my time and energy.” That put our participants in the “red zone” with an aggregate score around 55. Their score for the statement “I don’t invest enough time and energy in making a positive difference to others or to the world” is also in the red at 59.

The news is a constant drumbeat of all that is wrong with the world. It’s only natural for compassionate, empathetic, self-aware human beings to ask themselves “What am I doing about it?”

These results support a common narrative around the Great Resignation ­— that the pandemic is causing people to reevaluate what is most important in their lives. This is good for individuals, but it creates a challenge for organizations losing experienced and talented employees, managers, and top-level leaders.

The growth opportunity in this moment is to understand at a deeper level why people are resigning in order to gain a deeper understanding of your workplace and of your talent. This will make your organization, your culture, and your ability to retain talent stronger and more resilient. But what does resilient really mean?

We define resilience as how we recharge, and leverage change and uncertainty as catalysts for growth. But resilience in corporate culture has traditionally meant something else entirely: being able to endure more than the competition, work longer hours, burn the candle at both ends, take whatever hits come your way, and keep going. That’s not how you develop long-term resilience, performance, engagement, or loyalty. It’s how you burn people out.

Stress and strategy are mutually exclusive. You can’t think creatively when you’re under stress. When you’re tired, you’re toast. When your workforce is too exhausted to deal with ever-present change, they’re either going to perform in a mediocre way or they’re going to get so frustrated that they’re going to leave.

The news of the Great Resignation is organizations have burned people out. For too long they have not cared about the exhaustion of their employees, and whether those employees are spending time on what is important to them versus what they’re being paid to do.

It’s time to change that. Here are a few ways to do it.

Model Transparency for Transformation: In many work cultures, people are not willing to speak honestly about the stress they are under or ask for help. Leaders can change that by speaking truthfully and transparently and listening to their employees’ challenges and needs. Organizations that are open to listening to what’s really going on within the company will learn what they need to be able to help their people become more resilient.

Build Recovery Rituals: There are simple practices anyone can do to recharge. Recovery in the typical workday is just a series of state changes that you are consciously crafting and executing so you can toggle back and forth between being on, with full focus and creativity and everything you’ve got to do for your work, and being off, truly at rest.

Create a Culture of Resilience: How can we operationalize the concept of resilience going forward? It can’t just be words. It has to be tangible, this commitment to our employees’ well-being. We must be willing to make mistakes and to get feedback. We have to genuinely be interested in listening and learning so that we can try something new and find out what works.

Practice “Pause-Ask-Choose”: We developed this strategy to help leaders build resilience within themselves and their organizations.

-What do you do when you’re in an uncontrollable rip tide of rapid change? You stop fighting. Yes, that’s counterintuitive, but pausing will give you an awareness of how much energy you’re expending and how little it’s getting you. It’s a time to literally catch your breath so you can reframe whatever challenge you face.

-This is the chance to discover deeper meaning in the challenge you’re facing by asking questions such as “What is the creative opportunity presented by what is happening?” and “What am I not seeing?” In this way, you begin to reframe what is happening so you can ride the wave of change instead of fighting it.

-This is deciding how we will act based on what we’ve discovered by pausing and asking. We may choose to act or not to act and instead recharge for the time when action will make sense. This might include consciously ritualizing small, daily practices for our personal recovery to create mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual harmony and resilience.

The Great Resignation is just one of the challenges business leaders face in this time of massive and unrelenting change. Now’s the time to be thinking about how you’re going to take care of the people who are staying, the new people you will attract, and even the people who will come back. Instead of looking over their people, leaders must learn to look after them.

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About Adam: Best-selling author, keynote speaker, and resilience expert Adam Markel inspires leaders to master the challenges of massive disruption in his upcoming book, “Change-Proof — Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience” (McGraw-Hill, February 2022). Adam is author of the #1 Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Publisher’s Weekly best-seller, “Pivot: The Art & Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life.” Learn more at AdamMarkel.com.

absenteeism

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.

leader

How to Be a Leader, Not Just a Manager, Even Working from Home.

Nothing in the business is as valuable as the people, and nobody can help you more than an empowered team of like-minded people. Over the past twenty years, we had a few turning points for our company when we had to make significant changes to catch up with the world around us. Every time, our team helped us, supported us, and collaborated with us to make these changes happen. I could not even imagine doing all that on my own.

This is how I learned that leaders lead by inspiring others, while managers focus on what needs to get done on a daily basis. Both are needed, but only one will truly inspire your team to move through even the hardest times.

In the beginning, a lot of our team had to work nights and long weekends, just like any other start-up. Our management team always stayed with the teams even if we could not help them professionally. I always made sure that the team had something to eat (as simple as getting them a take-out or ordering a pizza) or could get home if buses were no longer going (driving them myself or getting them a cab). We lead by example, not just by telling our team what to do.

As a result, in 2008, our CTO and a few trusted employees opened our first US-based office. These people left the comfort of their established lives at home, they encountered a profoundly changing environment around them, and they practically had to travel halfway around the globe. However, they did it for us and with us. Some of our employees practically became part of the family.

How did this all happen? Through connectedness. When it comes to connectedness, it is essential that people feel that they are still working together even when no one is around.

Here are 5 tips to lead your team to a place that feels truly connected:

1. Make sure that everyone understands the common goal. Think of that as providing your employees with a North Star to guide them. It is the only way to align their efforts and your company’s vision and goals.

2. Make sure that they have enough means to communicate effectively. During COVID-19, we introduced multiple tools for our employees: forums, corporate discord servers, group chats on Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, etc. There are hundreds of products available on the market right now, so choose what works best for your business.

3. Ensure that your teams have at least one daily meeting where they share what they did yesterday to make you all closer to the goal; what is their commitment for today, and are there any obstacles on their way right now?

4. Visualize! Visualization is one of the most effective tools to keep everyone connected—Burndown charts, shared documents with progress, kanban boards, etc. There are plenty of instruments for visualization that allows everyone to keep track of what is going on. And that helps them to feel connected to the company and each other.

5. Make sure that information is being spread around. When people are working from home, you lose osmotic communication. So find ways to connect them. We introduced things like a monthly newsletter and town hall meetings. We share all the news and everything we think is essential in a newsletter. And then we assemble everyone at a general meeting, where anyone can ask management anything. Or share their information with everyone if they want to. That helps a lot.

Above all, ask questions and listen to your team. As leaders, you’re there to motivate, so listen hard and often.

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Gehtsoft USA LLC is a software development and agile consulting company from Raleigh, NC. For more than 20 years, we help businesses to develop and support their products, resolve their IT problems, and do the Agile transformation of their business processes. Our technical experts, certified technical trainers, professional scrum masters, and product owners have a unique skill set and experience.

knowledge

10 Ways to Make Knowledge Transfer Between Employees Effective

Your business’s success lies in your ability to get the right information to the right people at the right time. Miscommunications can be greatly detrimental to your organization. Knowledge management systems are designed to streamline your information sharing experiences for your business. 

As your organization grows and evolves, it becomes necessary to duplicate the knowledge of the existing staff. Such preemptive measures cushion you and your business when a founder or employee leaves, with their absence risking the sustainability of the organization. Knowledge sharing platforms facilitate continuous communication among the different divisions in your business for smooth operations, even during large transitions. 

This exchange of knowledge, using either audio, video, or text, inspires collaboration, which, in turn, increases productivity. An efficient knowledge transfer system allows you to capture and save vital information for use by future generations. Information sharing systems leads to better decision-making, innovation, and performance in an organization. The process’s essence is to create new knowledge that can help better the organization moving forward. 

Here are 10 methods you can use to transfer key information between the employees of your company effectively

Using Technology

Embrace knowledge sharing technology to capture and save vital company or business information. Technology automates the captured information in a variety of formats for safekeeping’s sake. Knowledge sharing tools are capable of removing any duplicate information collected from many employees. Additionally, it’s advisable to encourage your employees to start a social media group where they get to collaborate and exchange information. 

Training your employees

Training is paramount for duplicating the existing employee’s knowledge. It helps keep the knowledge alive if an employee were to depart and the company doesn’t have a ready replacement. Organizations need to operate with a back-up plan in the event that the most experienced IT guy or any other core employees choose to leave. 

Your organizations can’t afford to get caught flat-footed, and that’s why you always need to keep training programs running non-stop. If you don’t have sufficient resources to pay for your employees’ formal training, you can try the less expensive e-learning experiences. 

Promoting networking

Nurture a culture where your employees regularly meet up to exchange information in your organization. Plan for events that bring about teams from different divisions of your company for improved information collection.

These informal gatherings are a great way for your employees to pass on key information to the younger staff. For instance, having a water-cooler at the office or an employee lounge can encourage your staff to congregate and, in the process, exchange information. 

Using formal documentation

Transferring key information in your organization is an intricate step-by-step process. One slight misstep and you risk undoing all the past gains. There are several tools such as Word Docs, Excel Spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations, that you can use to store knowledge. 

That said, you can capture valuable knowledge, without shelling out the big bucks, in a simple and pain-free process by making use of free downloadable PowerPoint templates. A huge perk of most free slides is that they’re easy to use, even for employees who have no experience in making presentations. These are highly customizable, so you can tailor them according to your knowledge-transfer needs.

Armed with the right documentation tools, your employees have a simpler time outlining the procedures in a process. These tools also make it easier for the teams to track their goals. Documenting the process uplifts the morale of the team members. 

Encourage your employees to take and share notes during office gatherings and watch how the overall productivity peaks from then on. 

Leveraging other employees’ knowledge

Hiring consultants to develop an effective knowledge transfer system in your organization is another great idea. Bear in mind, however, that the consultant may eventually leave. Therefore, it’s prudent to get this consultant to share their knowledge with specific employees. The employees will, in turn, carry on overseeing the knowledge transfer practices instituted by the hired consultant. 

Collecting data

Accurate employee data and information is critical when creating efficient knowledge-sharing systems. Use spreadsheets to collect vital info such as the employees’ names and their importance to the organization, the impact of the information known by these employees, and the resources needed to impart that knowledge to other employees. 

Make use of mentors

Mentors, whether short or long-term, play a critical role in disseminating key information in your organization. Mentorship is a great avenue for organizations to transfer implied and underlying information from one generation to the next. 

Enabling employees to gain experience

Getting hands-on experience from a more experienced team member is a simple way to learn about an organization’s history and culture. Guided experiences are perfect for transferring those skills that require a more practical approach, such as auto mechanics. 

Promoting the use of virtual simulations 

Organizations have upped the game, and they’re now using augmented reality and 3D animations to train their employees. This modern technology confers plenty of rewards to the employees and the owners as well. Augmented reality and other impressive technology tools promote the transfer of knowledge within an organization. 

Keeping track of results

Use knowledge management tools to assess the signs of progress, if any, of your knowledge transfer plans. Tools such as Pipedrive and Hubspot allow you to track your performance progress by setting up benchmarks. As you grow and evolve, make sure you regularly assess your organization’s knowledge transfer practices and their effectiveness.  

Benefits of Knowledge Transfer 

Knowledge transfer systems facilitate the capturing and eventual dissemination of key knowledge across your business. Employees obtain better access to the saved information as the system streamlines communication in an organization. These practices boost confidence and productivity in employees. Knowledge transfer systems enable faster decision-making. 

In Conclusion

Investing in a knowledge transfer system is a must for businesses. This system helps automate and streamline capturing, saving, and analyzing information surrounding your organization’s culture and systems.

Effective knowledge transfer builds stronger, happier, and healthier organizations. Creating a robust knowledge-sharing culture involves several key steps, such as identifying and collecting information, capturing and saving knowledge, transferring and sharing the information, and applying that knowledge. 

Organizations are also required to regularly assess the applied knowledge-sharing measures to weed out any redundancies.

If you realize a particular approach isn’t delivering the expected results–for example, your social media strategy–immediately revise your plans.

Avoid waiting to the last minute to replace your experienced workers if they’re about to retire or complete their tenures. Be smart and develop a knowledge-sharing culture of duplicating skills within your organization today. 

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.

business

Should Companies Rush Headlong into Permanent Remote Work?

New research from Stanford shows 42% of US workers are working from home full-time. After a successful transition for COVID-19, more and more tech companies are allowing their employees to work remotely for the foreseeable future. Twitter recently announced that most of their employees may continue working remotely as long as they want to. And 4,000 Nationwide Insurance employees recently became permanent telecommuters.

The benefits of an all-remote workforce are considerable and fairly easy to measure. But are we losing something equally important by ditching the office and in-person work?

The four benefits of all-remote work

When real estate startup Culdesac announced they were giving up their San Francisco headquarters, co-founder Ryan Johnson tweeted: “Remote work is going great for us.” Google, Facebook, and Zillow recently told their employees that they could continue to work from home until 2021. Google recently abandoned more than two million square feet of planned office space. “Our bias against working from home has been completely exploded,” Dan Spaulding, Zillow’s chief people officer, said. Zillow is “not seeing any discernible drop in productivity.”

Here are four reasons companies are ditching their offices for all-remote workforces.

1. Offices are expensive

According to commercial real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield, companies have been pushing more workers into less office space for years. Packing everyone in came at the cost of minimizing distractions, which is consistently the top driver of employees’ ability to focus on their work.

Not only that, but until there’s an effective treatment and/or vaccine, these uber-dense offices aren’t going to cut it. Spacious offices with thermometers, hand-sanitizer stations, phone sanitizer stations, new HVAC systems, touchless systems, and more they need to be safe are going to cost even more.

As we enter a COVID-led recession, Kate Lister, president of consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics, predicts that investors are going to insist that firms cut costs. Letting go of office space accomplishes this without cutting headcount.

2. Offices are distracting

Going all-remote not only saves companies money on office space, but also can lead to fewer distractions and more focus for workers.

A few stats:

–The average company sees a 10% to 43% increase in productivity after going all-remote.

–In a recent survey, 54% of workers said their productivity had improved since working from home full-time.

–64% of workers said their work quality has improved.

3. Commutes are terrible

Americans spend 30 billion hours commuting every year. Long commutes are one of the main reasons workers say they want to work from home. Research shows longer commutes are associated with obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, back and neck pain, divorce, depression, death, political disengagement, poverty, absenteeism, lower productivity, and even pregnancy complications. Long commutes also exacerbate pollution and climate change.

4. Talent is distributed

Firms that hire remotely can access far more talent and may be able to offer lower salaries. Currently, Facebook is paying employees based on their geography’s cost of living. It may also make it easier for teams to meet their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals. For example, it’s easier to employ people with disabilities when you don’t have to worry about office accessibility. Companies with greater gender diversity are 15% more likely to be high performers, according to one study. Companies with greater ethnic diversity are 35% more likely.

Drawbacks to all-remote

Remote work isn’t without its drawbacks, including loneliness and boredom. In addition, we found that many workers are having more meetings and working longer hours after going remote. There’s evidence that full-time remote workers have a harder time problem solving and being creative than their in-office peers. Many contend that it’s easy to overlook the value of the spontaneous ideas and networking that in-person coworking facilitates.

“Many companies are jumping into ‘remote-first’ too head-on,” said Can Duruk, Product Manager and co-writer of The Margins newsletter. “Once people burn through the accrued social capital you will see productivity drop as relationships decay, new hires not gelling well, etc.”

Futurists have long predicted that as telecommuting became technically feasible, firms and workers would abandon high-cost cities. Research shows that physical co-location is still valuable enough to justify the rents.

One interesting criticism of all-remote teams is that trust and social capital are hard to establish and maintain over distance. As trust and social capital are measurably associated with higher performance, will we see performance dip as they erode?

“We are operating under the assumption things won’t deteriorate and we are making these sweeping changes without much data,” Can said.

More broadly, some fear that widespread adoption of the all-remote model will finally lead to the long-predicted de-urbanization. A move away from large cities would have negative impacts on the environment. Urbanites use less electricity, drive less, and spend about $200-$400 less on electricity each year compared with suburban dwellers.

Plus, people who live in cities have more access to health care, employment, and education.

Alternative models to all-on-site and all-remote work

Workers tend to be happiest and most productive when they have the freedom to live where they want and choose how to organize their time.

This is in line with a Gallup poll showing that just 40% of Americans who are currently working from home are excited to go back to working in their office full-time. Nearly 60% would prefer to work remotely “as much as possible” going forward.

Within a couple of years, Kate Lister from Global Workforce Analytics predicts that 30% of workers will work from home a few days per week.

“I’m partial to what Stripe is doing,” Can from The Margins said. “Treat remote as a hub to position it to succeed, ensure people are available in the same time zone. Seems gradual enough to be low-risk, discrete enough to measure and tangible enough to support.”

The major downside to the split-office model happens when some workers are working from home full-time. Those workers are going to have a different experience than workers who come into the office, even occasionally. Remote workers may have trouble establishing relationships, getting put on the right projects, and getting promoted.

“It’s important that we are conscious of this situation if we want our high performers, wherever they may be, to be recognized for their excellent work,” writes CIO Contributor Dan Mangot. “Similarly, we need to make sure that those who are struggling, get the support they need so they can continue to be valuable members of our organizations.”

Going forward

While the benefits of going all-in on remote work are considerable, it’s also worth considering the drawbacks. For many workers and many companies, a staggered or split-office approach may work best.

To learn how to transition some workers back into office work, check out 6 tips for transitioning into a split office setup.

fear

How to Take Fear Out of the Workplace During COVID-19

Fear. Uncertainty. A growing sense of panic every time the president delivers a national address about the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus.

Chatter around the workplace these days is filled with questions like: Will I get sick? Will I have a job tomorrow? Can I afford to pay my rent?

What can you do when you’re facing fear in the workplace? The good news is that you can turn to four key principles: transparency, financial discipline, trust and respect for people, and a forward-focused approachIf you want to take fear out of the workplace, consider the following steps:

Embrace transparency. “Open-book management” is the idea that everyone inside your organization will be taught to understand the numbers that drive its success. Many growing business owners can be reluctant to share the truth about the financials inside their business. But they don’t realize the kind of risks they take on by doing so. They take on the burden of keeping the business alive — solo. In many cases, CEOs and owners are forced to shut the doors of the business to the shock of their associates, who are then left to wonder if they could have done something to contribute to a different outcome.

That’s why it’s amazing what happens when you have the courage to share the news — good and bad — with your people. Treat them like adults. Get their attention directed toward what they can do to help — versus panicking. Plus, the more eyes you have on a problem, the more ideas you’ll have to solve it. It’s an automatic check-and-balance on the security of your business.

Discuss your cash position. It’s been frustrating over the past few years as we’ve watched startup companies under the guidance of universities, incubators, and even investors embrace the idea that the only way they could grow was to take on debt. Some of you may find yourselves in an over-leveraged position, but that can also be an opportunity to engage your workforce and tell them the truth about the situation. If you do find yourself in trouble, ask your associates for ideas about how they can contribute to cutting costs — and increasing cash flow to the point where you can actually cover your debt obligations. You’ll be amazed at what can happen when you teach your people the rules of the game.

Protect jobs. Attracting talent and retaining it can be tough. We don’t have a future without people. In the not-too-distant past, executives sometimes became idols when downsizing jobs became the new mantra, laying off people at a time they needed those jobs the most. Something similar could happen today. Difficult times can convince companies to resort to layoffs to survive. But it is wise to think differently. Whoever has the most talented workforce will dominate their markets as soon as 2021. The time to get your organization ready for the next upturn is today — not when it’s already arrived. By then, it may be too late.

Get ready for the upturn. As bad and as uncertain as things look today, here’s a secret: it’s actually harder to get a company ready to take advantage of an upturn than it is to prepare for a downturn. Downturns can actually be opportunities to fix things inside your business that you can’t afford to invest the time and resources in when the economy is booming. While it might seem counter-intuitive, the current down market comes as a kind of short-term relief.

It’s giving us a chance to catch up — to make investments in our people and facilities — and to prepare ourselves to capitalize on the economic uptick that we expect to hit in late-2020, early-2021. By then, our workforce should be more stable and productive — and ready to take full advantage of the available opportunities. They have every incentive to do so, because, as owners of the business, they have a true stake in the outcome.

We know how painful things are today. But there’s no reason you can’t also dare to be successful. And learning how to build a culture based on transparency, financial discipline, trust and respect for people, and a forward-focused outlook, is a great place to start removing the fear that’s pervading your workplace.

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Rich Armstrong (www.greatgame.com) is the president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and co-author, with Steve Baker, of GET IN THE GAME: How To Create Rapid Financial Results And Lasting Cultural Change. This book is the how-to application of Jack Stack’s 1992 bestseller, The Great Game of Business. Armstrong and Baker co-authored the update of Stack’s book in The Great Game of Business – 20th Anniversary Edition. Armstrong has nearly 30 years of experience in improving business performance and employee engagement through the practice of open-book management and employee ownership.

Steve Baker (www.greatgame.com) is the vice president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and is a top-rated, sought-after speaker and coach on the subjects of open-book management, strategy, and execution, leadership, and employee engagement. Baker is a career marketing and branding professional and an award-winning artist.