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Top 11 Predictions That We See Impacting HR and Talent For 2017 – Prediction 3


Research Report Bersin by Deloitte


Real-time feedback, pulse surveys, text and narrative analytics, and network analytics tools will become mainstream in 2017

Prediction 3: Real-Time Feedback and Analytics Will Explode in Maturity

This leads me to my third prediction. Driven by the need to understand and improve engagement, and the continuous need to measure and improve employee productivity, real time feedback and analytics will explode.

The feedback tools market (see Figure 5) is now more than $300 million in size and growing at more than 100 percent annually.21 Most major HR software tools are now embedding pulse survey tools, activity streams, and other techniques for feedback.

Most new performance management tools are including these features as well. Let me give you a few examples.

  • A large healthcare provider (more than 300 hospitals around the U.S.) has just replaced its annual engagement survey with a weekly pulse survey (one question per week). The senior vice president of HR told me, “… they are amazed at what information, issues, and new ideas have surfaced.” The company is already delivering weekly dashboards directly to line managers and is now looking to add similar feedback tool to patients at the bedside.
  • A large airline is adopting pulse surveys across its entire employee base (from customer service agents to baggage handlers), and for the first time deliveringengagement and feedback dashboards to line managers. Not only is this central to the company’s new customer focus, it is likely to be used for performance management, leadership development, and even customer service.
  • A fast-growing marketing software company (3,000-plus employees) sends pulse surveys to its entire sales team every week. The senior vice president of sales told me, “… I can tell Friday night from the feedback survey exactly who is going to perform well the following week and who needs extra coaching.”
  • A large educational institution going through downsizing used a rapid feedback tool to gain immediate feedback from employees after a layoff was announced. The CEO and HR leaders discovered some problems with the program within 24 hours; the next day, the company was able to respond and modify the program to better meet the needs of employeesNot only are dozens of exciting new vendors selling pulse survey tools with analytics backends, but these tools are becoming smarter and smarter. Several of the vendors have real-time analytics (you can see groups that are unhappy in real-time), text analytics engines (all open feedback questions can be analyzed and grouped by topic), and built-in action plans.The exciting thing about the feedback market22 is that it goes far beyond measures of employee engagement. The new world of performance management (discussed later in this report) is now built on “always feedback.” Tools like Slack, Outlook, and Gmail now have plugins to give people feedback. New feedback apps are being used to rate meetings, benefits, and even new product announcements.

    For 2017, I think it is critical for companies to build a strategy to automate and instrument your entire range of employee experiences—and develop what I like to think of as a “feedback architecture.”

Figure 7- Enterprise Feedback Architecture - Sources by Bersin by Deloitte, 2016.


2017 is the time for you to build a plan and roadmap for feedback systems (and tools) throughout your employee lifecycle.


Every part of your employee experience (from candidates looking for a job; new hires going through onboarding; employees at work on a daily basis; and performance checkins, reviews, and exit surveys) all bring together information you need to understand your entire “employee experience” (discussed later in this report). While none of the HR vendors in the market can cover this entire range of applications as yet, it is coming soon. So, 2017 is the time for you to build a plan and roadmap for feedback systems (and tools) throughout your employee lifecycle.

Growth of People Analytics

As real-time feedback data grows in volume, and your company focuses more heavily on issues like culture, engagement, and external brand, your analytics team needs to keep up. CulturePath, for example (a Deloitte tool that helps companies to diagnose their business culture), produces data at an individual team level that can be matched directly with engagement, turnover, and other metrics. You will need an analytics team to bring all of this together.

We have been studying HR and talent analytics for a decade now and, this year, the improvement in maturity is striking.

Figure 8- People Analytics Maturity Grwos - Sources by Bersin by Deloitte, 2016.

This shift means more than simply becoming better at statistics and data management. I believe in 2017 we will see analytics move from a niche group in HR to an important operational business function.

Here is why. As all of this data becomes available, the people analytics team becomes central to almost everything we do in management, leadership, and HR. Every program designed, every incentive rolled out, and every structural change or organizational challenge faced should be informed by data. So, in 2017, we should stop thinking of “people analytics” as a team of statisticians producing reports and retention models—this team is now becoming a general purpose data and consulting group to the entire company. Here are a few examples.

  • A major manufacturer can now predict unplanned absences, and has adjusted the pace of performance reviews and other management practices to directly reduce absence at key times of the year.
  • A large energy company has reinvented its leadership model by studying the pattern of high performers in Asia to find that the career trajectory and academic background they use in the U.S. no longer applies.
  • A fast-growing telecommunications company in India now uses real-time dashboards to measure candidate flow, candidate quality, and time to productivity for all of its hiring in more than 100 different sales and business locations.
  • Several banks now use proprietary risk analytics models to identify communication patterns, and potential threats of compliance risk and fraud, based on patterns of communication and past history.
  • A large consulting company (Deloitte) instrumented its employees in a series of cities to determine ways to design conference rooms, windows, and work environments to help to optimize productivity and employee happiness.
  • A major services company now gives its employees a mobile app that recommends what office, location, and parking spot they should take to optimize their work environment, based on their preferences.
  • Another services company now gives its employee a “nudge” app that monitors their travel, time billed, and miles flown to help them to cut down on excess stress and overwork, without alarming their managers.
  • A food service company analyzed its highest retention customers, and found that the behaviors of the highest-performing teams do not focus on sales or service, but rather on safety and accident avoidance.
  • An energy utility found that an accident it incurred could have been predicted if the company had more carefully used text analytics to monitor employee feedback in emails and surveys over the prior years.

As you can see, the realm of people analytics has moved far beyond “engagement analysis and retention modeling” to business analytics—to understand what we know about our people that can help us to improve performance, reduce risk, or cut cost.

As part of this maturing of people analytics, we see other changes in 2017. These will be further explored in our upcoming new People Analytics Maturity Model23.

  • Analytics skills are now available to HR, but most companies struggle to find people who can interpret data, visualize data, and define real interventions that take advantage of data.
  • Analytics teams are becoming more “federated” within the organization, so business partners and line managers can now gain the demonstrated benefits of analytics through prebuilt dashboards that measure what matters (which has been determined in advance through modeling).
  • HR tools and platforms are becoming better at consolidating and analyzing data, but most analytics projects are still done by hand.
  • Data management continues to plague most large companies, despite the wave of investment in new cloud systems. A focus on data governance, security, and a sound data dictionary are more important than ever.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is now becoming commonplace, so it is no longer necessary to just “model a problem”—many software tools now “prescribe or recommend” solutions. One vendor, HireVue, for example, can view interview videos, and determine when someone is likely to be lying, exaggerating, or perhaps is just not a cultural fit. Its reliability is good enough that major companies are now replacing dozens of interviews with such AI / analytics tools.


Other Predictions:

Prediction 1: Organizational Design Will Be Challenged Everywhere
Prediction 2: Culture and Engagement Will Remain Top Priorities
Prediction 4: A New Generation of Performance Management Tools Will Emerge
Prediction 5: A Focus on “Human Performance” and Wellbeing Will Become a Critical Part of HR, Talent, and Leadership 
Prediction 6: Focus on Employee Experience Will Overcome Process Design in HR
Prediction 7: Digital HR and Learning Will Help Us to Reinvent L&D and HR Systems
Prediction 8: The Leadership Market Will Start a Steady Process of Reinvention
Prediction 9: Diversity, Inclusion, and Unconscious Bias Will Become a Top Priority
Prediction 10: The L&D Function Will Continue to Struggle
Prediction 11: The Future of Work Is Here and HR Is in the Hot Seat


  • Global Human Capital Trends 2016: The new organization—Different by design, Deloitte Development LLC and Deloitte University Press, 2016,
  • This information is based on our ongoing research on the topic of employee engagement.
  • Feedback Is The Killer App: A New Market and Management Model Emerges,” / Josh Bersin, August 26, 2015,
  • This information is based on our current research on the topic of people analytics, the report for which is due to be published in 2017.
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Top 11 Predictions That We See Impacting HR and Talent For 2017 – Prediction 2


Research Report Bersin by Deloitte


The topics of culture and engagement will continue to be top priorities, and we can now measure them closely.

Prediction 2: Culture and Engagement Will Remain Top Priorities

In 2017, the topics of culture and engagement will remain top of mind for business and HR leaders around the world; I suggest that the challenge of managing culture will become even harder. If you do not believe me, let me show you some data.

Figure 2 charts the frequency of Google searches on “workplace culture.” You can see that, since the 2008 recession, people have been curious about it more and more each year.

Figure 2- Growth in the importance of Workplace Culture - Source by Bersin by Deloitte, 2016.


The Deloitte Human Capital Trends11 research shows that 86 percent of business leaders rate “culture” as one of the more urgent talent issues, yet only 14 percent understand what the “right culture” really is. The problem is not one of “talking about culture”; for 2017, it is time to carefully define your culture, measure it, and find where and how it may be misaligned.

This problem is increasing in urgency. Our latest research on Millennials12 (about one-half of the workforce now) shows that two-thirds of Millennials now state their organization’s “purpose” is the reason they choose an employer. Similar data shows that baby boomers feel the same way. Only 27 percent of Millennials believe a company’s purpose is to make money (down from 35 percent in 2013), while the remainder believe the focus should be on stakeholders and impact.

What exactly is organizational culture? Quite simply, it is the reward systems and implicit behavior that takes place when nobody is looking. In other words, your culture drives all forms of optional and discretionary behavior. Do your employees spend more time with clients? On quality? On safety? On compliance? On cost-cutting? Or perhaps on improving their own careers? Each of these microdecisions we make during the day are driven by the implicit reward systems, examples, and messages conveyed by culture. When “bad” things happen (i.e., misalignment, fraud, unethical behavior, etc.), there is usually a cultural problem underneath.



Study after study have shown that companies with a strong sense of purpose and a clearly defined set of cultural values outperform their peers.

(One study13 found, for example, that “toxic employees” (those who commit fraud or crime) are contagious. People who work on the same floor as they do exhibit similar behaviors. This shows how powerful and possibly dangerous culture can be.)

Part of culture is defining a purpose for your organization. Study after study have shown that companies with a strong sense of purpose and a clearly defined set of cultural values outperform their peers. Our newest research (Bersin by Deloitte High-Impact Leadership14) proves that companies with a leadership culture are nine times more likely to be good at identifying and developing leaders than those lacking a leadership culture.

Many reasons for this trend exist, but I suggest there are three big causes you cannot ignore.

  1. Your culture is now transparent. Thanks to websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, employees are regularly talking about your company’s culture in a public way. When customers or employees are upset, people find out about it. So your culture has become an integral part of your brand which, in turn, impacts your ability to hire, the type of people who come to work for you, and the brand you convey to customers. A large airline, for example, is now implementing a pulse survey tool designed to assess all of its employees (from flight attendants to baggage handlers) on its new cultural values. A large, well-known technology company has created a culture manifesto, which forms a complete redesign of the company and its job roles. Manufacturers that suffer product defects are reacting faster than ever; companies are raising wages; all over the world, we see businesses reacting to the need to build a focused and aligned culture through business decisions that mean serious investment and focus.
  2.  Culture brings teams together. As your company operates more and more like a network of teams (regardless of what your organizational chart looks like), culture is what brings it all together. Why would a team share its findings with another versus compete for glory? Why would a team loan an expert to another versus hoard experts for themselves? Why would a team focus on customers versus internal promotion? All these behaviors are cultural—and should be reinforced through a strong set of cultural values.If you look at the published best places to work and highest-performing companies on the S&P 500, you commonly find companies with a strong, well-branded culture. Quicken Loans, for example, ranked as one of the best places to work and a company that is continuously disrupting the mortgage loan market, has an entire book designed for culture, called the ISM’s of Quicken Loans15. This cartoon book is filled with examples, stories, and customer behaviors that the company considers its sacrosanct culture. Such a transparent and open environment can only happen when people feel authentic, included, and respected. All of these qualities come from a strong, reinforced, and well-documented culture. Even if your culture is one of “up or out” and “make your numbers or die,” communicating it clearly should bring clarity and freedom to people—and help your managers understand their roles in pushing forward the organization.
  3. Culture creates innovation. When a company has a clearly defined culture (whatever that may be), it offers employees a sense of security and freedom— they know what to expect. Consider a conversation we had with the vice president of talent at a large automobile company. This auto manufacturer studied the most effective innovations over the last decade (and also the biggest failures) and found that the one predictable dimension of the teams which succeeded was that those teams were the most connected people in the organization. In other words, today’s organizations cannot succeed in silos—so people who “fit the culture” and feel comfortable communicating throughout the company also tend to be most effective as individuals.


As a whole, the entire workforce (from Boomers to Millennials) is becoming more demanding than ever— pushing the topic of culture to ever higher levels of priority.

By the way, the challenges of managing culture are getting harder. Not only is culture a major issue when companies grow or merge, but Millennials are now becoming even more demanding. Our research shows that this enormous cohort of workers is now having children, demanding more work-life balance, and expecting to be rewarded for their leadership roles. (Forty-one percent of Millennials now have four or more direct reports; most refuse to adopt the “incumbent style” of the existing CEO simply because he / she is there). Only one-third of Millennials believe they are being truly used to their full potential at work and 41 percent now say that their work performance is impacted by the company’s family assistance benefits. As a whole, the entire workforce (from Boomers to Millennials) is becoming more demanding than ever—pushing the topic of culture to ever higher levels of priority.16 

In 2017, we believe it will be urgent for you as an HR leader to work with your CEO and top business executives to define your culture (in a small set of cultural values), then identify tools to measure the culture in every possible way. You can now measure culture through tools like Deloitte CulturePath and others, which focus on an organizational view of culture.

What about the Topic of Engagement?

Employee engagement, which is an individual employee’s reaction to your work culture, is more of a challenge than ever. Hundreds of studies have shown that highly engaged employees are more productive, deliver better customer service, are more innovative, and are more likely to stay at your organization. In today’s dynamic, always-on world of work, how do we keep engagement high?

Our research17 shows that this is a complex problem, and one that warrants close attention and lots of monitoring. Figure 3 identifies 20 key drivers of engagement today. You have to think about all of them—and monitor and listen for feedback to stay vigilant of problems.

Figure 3- Bersin by Deloitte Simply Irresistible Model - Source by Bersin by Deloitte, 2016.

Generally speaking, this problem is not getting better. Figure 4, compiled from Glassdoor data (would you recommend your company as a place to work), shows almost no change from the last three years. So, while many companies focus on the issue of engagement, it remains a challenge for all but the “best” companies in the world.

Figure 4- Engagement Is Critical to Success - Source by Bersin by Deloitte, 2016.

If this is a priority for the coming year, what can we learn from the companies on the right of Figure 4? Well, after analyzing this data for many months, we found that no particular dimension predicts high-engagement companies—they are not small or large, not in a particular industry, or of a particular age.

What is unique about these companies on the right is their leadership. These companies place “employees first”—and their leaders and managers think hard every day about what they can do to make their employees more productive and rewarded at work.

The biggest trend in 2017 is not that engagement is an issue—but rather how we are dealing with it. Today, like never before, companies are adopting “always-on” listening tools to monitor engagement. These include pulse surveys, exit interviews, stay interviews, and open anonymous networking tools. Leaders are sharing feedback after every major company change and they are conducting open meetings to encourage people to speak up.

My research shows that most employees feel “committed” to their companies— and they all have opinions, feedback, and gripes for you to hear. If you give the organization the right “listening culture,” then you can unleash this information and drive up engagement.

For 2017, an entire industry of new feedback tools has been created. We predict that most companies will likely adopt or experiment with these tools, usually with amazingly positive effects. Figure 5 gives a sample listing of some of the vendors in these feedback tool categories.

Figure 5- Feedback Tools - Source by Bersin by Deloitte, 2016.

As you build a “feedback-rich culture,” you not only enhance engagement but your entire performance management process can become better. Modern performance management (which I discuss later) is built on regular and continuous feedback— and new feedback tools are now becoming embedded into most HR platforms, performance management systems, and real-time analytics systems.

Where Are We Today?

We know people are making progress on this; in 2016, our research18 showed slow but steady growth in maturity.

When asked how well companies are adapting their management practices to the demands of the modern, multigenerational workforce, we saw a slow but steady improvement (see Figure 6).19

Figure 6- How Well Companies Are Adapting to the multigenerational Workforce by Bersin by Deloitte, 2016.

When asked “how frequently do you measure your employee’s engagement,” we found progress, but still plenty of work to do. Sixty-four percent of companies measure engagement once per year, 11 percent once per quarter, and 7 percent more frequently than once per quarter—but 18 percent never measure engagement at all, so the market still has a way to go. (Surprisingly, only 4 percent of companies measure social media to understand their employees’ sentiment, a number which is far too low.)20


Other Prediction:

Prediction 1: Organizational Design Will Be Challenged Everywhere
Prediction 3: Real-Time Feedback and Analytics Will Explode in Maturity
Prediction 4: A New Generation of Performance Management Tools Will Emerge
Prediction 5: A Focus on “Human Performance” and Wellbeing Will Become a Critical Part of HR, Talent, and Leadership 
Prediction 6: Focus on Employee Experience Will Overcome Process Design in HR
Prediction 7: Digital HR and Learning Will Help Us to Reinvent L&D and HR Systems
Prediction 8: The Leadership Market Will Start a Steady Process of Reinvention
Prediction 9: Diversity, Inclusion, and Unconscious Bias Will Become a Top Priority
Prediction 10: The L&D Function Will Continue to Struggle
Prediction 11: The Future of Work Is Here and HR Is in the Hot Seat


  • Bersin by Deloitte High-Impact Leadership research, 2016.
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Top 11 Predictions That We See Impacting HR and Talent For 2017 – Prediction 1


Research Report Bersin by Deloitte


Organization design, including structure, roles, talent mobility, and the role of leadership, must become flexible and adaptive—changing many elements of HR.


Prediction 1: Organizational Design Will Be Challenged Everywhere

The first prediction for 2017 is one I seem to talk about with every company—we need to rethink the way our organizations are designed. For more than 100 years, companies have been set up for scalable efficiency. We build functional teams that run product design, engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing, finance—all with a focus on scale. How can we ship more products per dollar, gain more leads per advertisement, and achieve more sales per salesperson?

Today, in the world of rapidly changing markets, and digital products and services, the traditional concept of “scale” and “efficiency” no longer applies. Thanks to the cloud and the Internet, barriers to entry have been lowered. You cannot “keep your market” just because you are big or efficient—someone else will likely reinvent it before your eyes, and then his / her company may disrupt yours in only a few years.

As John Hagel, director of Deloitte LLP’s Center for the Edge in Deloitte stated,

Today, the key to organizational success is not “scalable efficiency,” but “scalable learning.” You, as an organization, must be able to experiment, put prototype products in front of customers, rapidly learn from your competitors, and stay ahead of your marketplace, industry, and technology trends. This means your whole organization has to focus on customer-centric learning, experimentation, and time to market.6

The solution is often easy to understand, but hard to implement. We should break our functional groups into teams—teams focused on product releases, customers, markets, or geographies. These teams should be smaller, flatter, and more empowered—and leaders should focus on hands-on leadership, not leadership from behind a desk.

Figure 1- Network of Teams Source by Bersin by Deloitte, 2016.




We should break our functional groups into teams—teams that are smaller, flatter, and more empowered—and leaders should focus on hands-on leadership, not leadership from behind a desk.


Cisco studied its organizational structure and found that the company already has more than 20,000 teams, with people sitting on many teams at the same time. This is true in nearly every company; we just have to design for it.

In 2017, companies will discuss and struggle with this mightily, and I suggest some of the changes should include:

  • Formally creating small team structures (Jeff Bezos7 famously stated, “… if the team needs more than two pizzas for lunch, it’s too big.”)
  • Radically reducing the number of job levels to incent people to strive for results and learning, not just promotions, as they move from job to job
  • Changing reward systems to reward team success, not just individual success
  • Redesigning goal management, so that goals can be updated quarterly, not annually, and goals are transparent and shared publicly
  • Promoting young professionals into leadership early, so they can rapidly contribute to team success
  • Teaching managers to manage “projects” not “people” (WL Gore)
  • Providing “career coaches” and “sponsors” instead of “managers” to help people to grow
  • Creating always-on learning, and a culture of exploration and discussion to enable continuous invention
  • Sponsoring hackathons and other collaborative development programs to let people at all levels contribute
  • Implementing information systems that deliver real-time dashboards and reports, so that all teams can operate with the same insights and perspectives

The books Team of Teams8, The Silo Effect9, and Reinventing Organizations10 describe how organizations will be structured in the future. These books, which I recommend you read, give examples of companies that outperformed their larger peers by keeping teams small, communicating vigorously between teams, and using shared culture to bring people together (see Prediction 2).

I also want to reinforce one more point—the old-fashioned concept of “organizational design” is going away. The redesign of your organization does not mean doing a spans and layers analysis; it means looking at the way work gets done, studying the organizational networks you have (using organizational network analysis), and then designing work to support cross-functional success. In most cases, it means making teams smaller, creating more open office spaces, creating new cross-team roles, and often changing functional leadership.

Case in Point: Organization Restructure

One large IT department found that its current functional structure (e.g., application design, infrastructure, security, client service, etc.) had created silos of people who could not be shared among projects. Managers were “hoarding” their teams—and preventing people from being promoted or moved, primarily to protect their positions. Also, leaders considered their jobs sacrosanct because they had “paid their dues,” so to speak, and would not move into new roles.

The CIO, who was facing dozens of new projects that cut across functional teams, totally redesigned the function. Hundreds of people were promoted into team leadership roles; many vice presidents were demoted to team leadership roles; and many technical experts suddenly had teams built around them.

While the redesign was challenging, within only a few months many of the younger, more ambitious leaders rose to the occasion; several of the senior vice presidents resigned; and the CIO found the organization was more engaged, excited, and productive than ever. He realized that no spans-and-layers project would ever have solved this problem—and now is excited to see an agile, “digital” organization emerge, one with more leaders, more empowerment, and much faster time to market.


Other Predictions:

Prediction 2: Culture and Engagement Will Remain Top Priorities
Prediction 3: Real-Time Feedback and Analytics Will Explode in Maturity
Prediction 4: A New Generation of Performance Management Tools Will Emerge
Prediction 5: A Focus on “Human Performance” and Wellbeing Will Become a Critical Part of HR, Talent, and Leadership 
Prediction 6: Focus on Employee Experience Will Overcome Process Design in HR
Prediction 7: Digital HR and Learning Will Help Us to Reinvent L&D and HR Systems
Prediction 8: The Leadership Market Will Start a Steady Process of Reinvention
Prediction 9: Diversity, Inclusion, and Unconscious Bias Will Become a Top Priority
Prediction 10: The L&D Function Will Continue to Struggle
Prediction 11: The Future of Work Is Here and HR Is in the Hot Seat


  • Based on conversations with Bersin by Deloitte.
  • Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, General Stanley McChrystal / Portfolio, 2015.
  • The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down, by Gillian Tett / Simon & Schuster, 2016.
  • Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness, by Federic Laloux / Nelson Parker, 2014.
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Tips For Women On How To Ignite Their Impact in the Workplace


Authour: TACY BYHAM, PH.D.

It will still be 170 years until women achieve economic parity on a global scale, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap Report.

Despite such incredible progress, there’s no doubt that the glass ceiling is still intact. According to a study by Catalyst, women comprise 53 percent of entry-level workers, but at each level of leadership, there are fewer and fewer women. Women make up only 40 percent of managers, 35 percent of directors and 19 percent of C-suite members. And the portion of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 is only about 5 percent and has hovered around that number for several years.

At the same time, the business case for women in leadership has never been stronger. DDI’s 2015 Global Leadership Forecast found that companies whose leadership is at least 30 percent women are 12 times more likely to be in the top 20 percent of financial performers. In the same study, however, women cited a lack of opportunities to lead teams and gain global leadership experience as a significant factor holding them back.

Here are four lessons that can help women ignite their impact in the workplace and put themselves on the path to leadership:

1. Think of confidence as a key leadership skill.

Many people point to the gender gap in leadership as a product of a skills gap. For instance, they often assume that men are better at skills such as negotiating or delegating, while they associate women with skills such as communication and planning. In DDI’s assessments of thousands of leaders, however, it is clear that there is no significant skills gap between men and women leaders, save one: confidence. While there is no evidence that men actually outperform women as leaders, they consistently rate themselves as more effective leaders than their peers. Furthermore, the confidence gap between men and women grows larger as men and women advance to higher levels of leadership.

A lack of confidence can have long-lasting consequences. While men put themselves forward for new challenges, jobs and projects, women may hold back, waiting to be recognized for their hard work. Instead, women need to begin thinking about building their confidence in the same way they focus on building other key leadership skills. In many cases, participating in formal leadership development programs helps to give women confidence that they have the skills to lead.

2. Fail forward.

In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Tara Sophia Mohr (author and creator of the Playing Big Facilitators Training Program) examined the reasons why men and women chose not to apply for jobs for which they were not 100-percent qualified. For both sexes, the top reason was that applicants didn’t want to waste their time if they probably weren’t going to get the job. But notably, the second most common response for women was that they didn’t want to put themselves out there if they were likely to fail.

Failure plays an important role in innovation and leads to real breakthroughs. It’s not about failure; it’s about learning. Women cannot be afraid to fail but should focus on “failing forward.” The key to “failing forward” is seeking and accepting feedback from failures to ensure that they turn into positive lessons to guide future success.

3. Declare yourself early and often.

In her study, Mohr also uncovered that 15 percent of women did not apply for jobs for which they didn’t check off every qualification because they were simply following the guidelines about who should apply. As conscientious rule followers, women often miss the point that merely following the rules is not enough to win the day. While many women wait for opportunities to come to them as a reward for their hard work, men are more likely to position themselves for higher leadership positions.

While everyone needs to declare their readiness for the next step, women often miss the cues about when and how often to remind people of what they can do now and what they want to do in the future. For women, this declarative conversation carries real weight. While they may be struggling to keep their head above water, women need to periodically step away from the fray and declare their readiness as a future leader.

4. Rethink mentorship.

Finding a good mentor is like winning the lottery. Mentors can help women build their network, improve their leadership skills and find new opportunities. But according to the study “Women as Mentors: Does She or Doesn’t She?”, 63 percent of women have never had a mentor. Unfortunately, many women also responded they were too afraid to ask. For example, one female executive said, “It’s like walking up to someone and asking them to be your friend, and no one does that.” Overwhelmingly, however, women leaders reported that they would mentor more if they were only asked.

One way to build more mentorship relationships is to look for micromentors, who give feedback about specific projects or stretch assignments. Micromentors are less about guiding your overall career and more about finding an expert who can help you now. Don’t limit yourself to just women; male mentors also play an important role. Focusing on building a network of micromentors gives you a great excuse to expand your network without feeling like you’re asking someone to “go steady” with you forever.

Because of the small number of women in top leadership positions, it often seems that women are under the microscope. To avoid such intense scrutiny, many women feel that they must be so prepared for the job that it will be impossible to fail. But the ultimate result is that they wait too long to put themselves forward for leadership. Instead, women must have the confidence that they will be able to learn on the job. Admittedly, learning on the job takes courage, but the risks are worth it.

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Training Evaluation

The first action required after any training program is to ascertain if the training met stated objectives. Every training program must have stated objectives before the training. One major purpose of identifying training objectives is to determine the exact knowledge that will be acquired from the training and if properly design, it would contain elements to be measured with clear specifics.

Therefore, the training objectives must be measured against set objectives as post training evaluation to determine if the training actually met the objectives. Did the participants acquire the knowledge? Will they be able to apply the knowledge on their job? Can they also transfer the knowledge? Did the training increase their knowledge?

Get and Use Feedback

Getting feedback is very essential in training as it is a way of measuring success in training. You can do this individually but must importantly ensure that it is immediate. Also, periodic feedback like three to six months interval after a specific training is a good step. This periodic feedback is majorly to know how the training has influenced that particular area of their job and how they are applying the knowledge in their job. Both immediate evaluation and periodic one can be conducted in two ways depending on the structure and time schedules of the organization-

a: Through Individual Conversation and

b: Give them evaluation form to fill.

Questions to ask in any form of evaluating could be, “do you understand what was said at the training?” “Do you still have any specific question in respect to the training?” “How have you been applying the knowledge?”, “Are you experiencing any challenge in applying what you learnt”?

“Do you think the training enhanced your performance?

Quick Application

Avoid wasting of time with employees in applying their newly acquired knowledge. This re-enforces the knowledge and it makes the trained employees realized that, the training was not just a jamboree event rather, one that is critically directed to their performance. One of the ways of doing this is to immediately assign them a task that requires the use of the knowledge acquired, this will go a long way in reinforcing the knowledge for constant usage when needed in achieving excellent delivery.

Beyond The Brain

Several researches by the Ivy Leagues have concluded that Emotional Quotient is more important than Intelligent Quotient. Part of what was established is the fact that 85% of our time is spent on relational activities and only 15 % is spent on technical activities. This means, if we lack the skill of Emotional Intelligence, we have up to 85% chance of not achieving the set goal. It becomes very imperative that achieving training objectives is to ensure that all trainings does not only centered on technical knowledge but also take much cognizance of emotional and relational competencies associated with the technical competencies. The training must get to the head through the heart because everything we do as human is all about feelings.

Pause Factory; the leading training company in Nigeria has mastered the art of soaking any training in emotional intelligence competencies, they deploy Coaching Methodologies and deep self reflective elements in their training which results in Positive Change. Training must not be allowed to continue to be a jamboree, business owners are complaining because they can't see positive change from the trainings.

To conclude, it is vital to note that successful organizations today are those who understand the value of training and use it effectively and efficiently. Most time it is not really about the fund, but knowing what really works partnering with the right training company.

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Emotional Intelligence as a Tool For Taking Your Business to the Next Level


Author Kofoworola Ayodeji for She Lead Africa culled from Bella naija


Emotional Intelligence is the magic wand for your business. If you’re passionate about starting a business that will be highly successful, or trying hard to take your existing business to the next level, then you have to read this.

Various works of research have shown that we need more than knowledge or high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) to really succeed in life; mores, at running a business.

As an entrepreneur, it is important to attend business school, read wide, have a firm grip of your industry, and know what works and what does not. But even more important is having a high Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ). And this is because business in its entirety is all about people; whether you deal in products or services, you’re dealing with people.

Emotional Intelligence has to do with understanding our feelings and those of others. It is that “thing” which determines how we make personal decisions, respond to emotions, interact with people, and sail through social intricacies.

How do you offer the best service possible to your clients when you don’t understand how they feel? Despite what many believe, this form of intelligence comprises a set of skills that can be learned and applied every day.

Let’s take a look at some of these recipes for success.

You need to have emotional self-control
To understand people, it’s important to understand yourself first. You have to have control over your own emotions —the way you react to issues or situations— if you hope to keep your clients, and add many new ones.

Having emotional self-control means you can respond to negative situations rationally rather than emotionally. Don’t forget that people enjoy doing business with someone that is emotionally stable. And that means a lot for the growth of your enterprise.

To have emotional self-control, you have to be aware of your emotions from time to time. For example, the presence of negative emotions like anger, anxiety, pessimism, sadness can weigh you down and take a drastic turn on your business.

But once you’re aware of them, what triggers them, and how they affect you, then they can be put in check over time. I mean you can manage them as much as possible. I know this can be challenging at first, things would always get better with time.

In essence, to move ahead in your business —and even your career— you must stay motivated. And to stay motivated, you have to have control over your emotions.

Adopt listening as a skill
Running a business has everything to do with managing relationships. Yet it is practically impossible to manage relationships without getting to know the concerns or perspectives of others.

The window to the heart of your prospective or existing customers is active listening. Let them tell you what and how they feel about your product or service with a lot of assurance that you care.

Listening goes beyond just hearing someone else. It’s a skill that could be used to set your business —and indeed your life— on the path of great success. From your business partners and investors to clients and staff, you should pay adequate attention to whatever ideas or suggestions they put across to you.

Whether you approve of their ideas or not, make sure to listen with rapt attention and nod in acknowledgement. Why is this essential? People enjoy doing business with someone they like, one who listens to them, their complaints as well as their feedback.

Many business owners are too busy chasing profit without considering the magical power of active listening. They’ve forgotten that when they listen effectively to their customers, they would get more insight into how people view their products or services. And this in some way would hint them as to what and what should be done to make their businesses perform better.

Never underrate the power of listening; it could make a lot of difference in your business.

Showing empathy is the way to go
As an entrepreneur, it’s not enough to listen to those you’re transacting business with, showing care is essential. Think of your customers as yourself. Put yourself in their shoes. Be on the same page as your clients. Ask yourself: if I were the consumer of this product or service, how satisfied would I be?

It’s good to let your business be that ‘person’ whom people are endeared to and are willing to be with no matter what because she cares.

Showing empathy means looking into customers’ complaints with as much urgency as genuineness. It also means sincerely putting your customers first as far as the delivery of your service is concerned.

Emotional Intelligence is the magic wand for your business
Beyond being intelligent and strategic, beyond having a vast knowledge about running a business, there remains a great secret of success that can help you lead effectively in your industry and that’s Emotional Intelligence.

Although some are born with a high level of this form of intelligence, it can be learned. Once you take control of your emotions, use listening as an important skill and show great empathy for your clients, you’re already adopting Emotional Intelligence as a powerful tool to take your business to the next level.

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The truth about leadership is that we are all leaders. The common and simplified definition which is mostly acceptable to everybody irrespective of their field is that, a leader is a person that has an influence over people.

If you are manager, you are a leader, because you have much influence over your subordinate. If you are a subordinate, you have an influence over your supervisor technically; because your performance is an issue to him or her and most time they dissipate time and effort to ensuring you meet certain expectation. Your position demands that they act on you. That is an influence!  In fact most managers that are emotionally unstable are at the mercy of their subordinate, since the latter can determine the mood-joy or sadness, his or her line manager should be at a particular time, with a deliberate actions. It could be deliberately submitting report late or failing to meet a target.

Our aim is to ensure that your influential leading is positive, since we all have influence. Therefore, having positive influence over those around us becomes a goal to achieve, as research has showed that, organizations where employees see themselves as a positive influencers are more productive and achieve peak performance in their day- to-day activities and also the employee that see themselves leading right get to the zenith of their career faster than those who don’t.

These are THREE steps to becoming positive influencer as an employee.


The starting point of becoming a positive influencer as an employee is empathy. Empathy is the ability to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions or experience of others. Empathy is more sensitive than sympathy. This is the ability to situate yourself in others shoes. It means asking yourself questions like, how will you feel as a manager if a subordinate delay this vital report that management is basing their decision on? How will you feel, if nobody is ready to put you through certain task? How will you feel if you are the employer and somebody is not performing right in their job? Will my company get better than the competitors, if I am working at this level of performance? Empathy shows your level of deep care for both the people and organization.


You must be ready to do more than you are paid for. Employees that withdraw their best because achieving outstanding result is all about going the extra mile which they believe is not paid for will always have negative influence on people around them and mostly to their manager, because their job will always have an aroma of imperfection. Being known as the goal-getter is about having a positive influence in the organization. When tasks are difficult and require best brain, and you are called to solve it, then you are leading right. Such Employees grow faster in the hierarchy of leadership because they give in their best to solve problems.  Remember, if you are willing to do more than you are paid to do, eventually, you will be paid to do more than you do.

Be Proactive

Do not be reactive to situations. The ability to be proactive provides a clear advantage in the workplace and most managers expect subordinates to demonstrate a proactive mentality. You must be proactive. Being proactive is all about developing the ability to anticipate solutions before the problem surface.  The most valuable employees are the ones who are proactive. By definition, this means they control situations by making things to happen rather than waiting to respond after things happen. People who are proactive don’t sit around waiting for answers to appear; they stand up and find the answers. They don’t wait for someone to hand them an instruction manual; they’re resourceful. They take charge of what need to be done before been called. It means having the ability to take full responsibility while others are seeking for whom to blame.


Authored: Ifade Olusegun

HR Business Development, Simeon’s Pivot Resources


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