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Firms think they can hire Millennials as an alternative to digital skills training

Firms think they can hire Millennials as an alternative to digital skills training 0

digital skillsA large number of businesses in the UK aren’t investing enough in bridging their own digital skills gap and instead assuming that they can fix things and improve their productivity simply by employing younger ‘digital natives’ who just know all that sort of stuff anyway. That is the key finding of a new report from Barcays, which claims that companies are knowingly starving themselves of funding for key digital skills training despite understanding how that impacts their productivity. The report claims that firms on average invest just £109 per employee on digital skills training and are planning to increase that by just 19 percent over the next five years. They do this despite the fact that nearly half (47 percent) concede new tech skills would improve productivity. Instead 40 percent assume they can buy in the skills they need in the form of Millennials because they don’t trust older workers to pick up digital skills as quickly, if at all.

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Third of workers over 50 will retire later than planned, but not all reluctantly

Third of workers over 50 will retire later than planned, but not all reluctantly 0

older-workers-in-demand-810x540A third of people aged over 50 who are employed in the private sector are now planning to retire later than they previously thought according to Aviva’s latest Working Lives report. A lack of pension savings (46 percent) is the primary reason for people to postpone their retirement plans, and the amount that would be available through the state pension (32 percent) was also an issue. Not all the reasons given for working longer were negative though, with one in five (21 percent) of those expecting to work longer doing so because they feel they still have a lot to offer their employer. A similar proportion (20 percent) said that job satisfaction has encouraged them to put off retirement. Levels of job satisfaction were highest amongst those aged over 65, with a large majority (86 percent) of private sector workers in that age group saying they enjoy their work, compared with just 57 percent of those aged 18-64.

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The nine workplace trends every organisation must learn to address

The nine workplace trends every organisation must learn to address 0

Workplace trendsThe latest company to set out its vision of workplace trends is food services provider Sodexo. The company’s 2016 Workplace Trends Report suggests there are nine key areas that managers should address, each linked by the common theme of striking the right balance between the organisation’s commercial objectives and the needs of its stakeholders. The report is a detailed meta-analysis based on primary research, client feedback and research from academics, trade associations and FM providers. The report covers the most talked about themes in workplace design and management including wellness, work-life balance, diversity, green building and workforce engagement. The authors acknowledge the challenge firms face in striking the balance between these complex and conflicting demands and call for an ‘holistic’ approach to resolve them (which may suggest they have as much of an idea about the right answers as anybody else).

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Government talks a good game on technology, then fails to deliver

Government talks a good game on technology, then fails to deliver 0

Darts missLast week, the UK Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock delivered a speech to the Institute of Directors, outlining details of the government’s Cyber First programme which aims to develop the skills needed to address the security threats posed by the digital revoluution. The speech was full of the usual stuff about the ‘interconnected world’. It even suggested at one point that the UK has ‘one of the most digitally advanced governments in the world’. Recent developments would suggest that this is slightly wide of the mark, to put it mildly. According to a February report from the regulator Ofcom, the UK’s broadband infrastructure continues to lag behind other countries, held back by BT’s characteristically inept and self-serving monopoly of cable infrastructure. Now the government has confirmed it scrapped its flagship mobile infrastructure project which set out to reduce the number of ‘not spots’ in the country.

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Full employment drive can help over a million more UK over-50s into work

Full employment drive can help over a million more UK over-50s into work 0

hands-heroThe UK government should find ways to encourage more than one million more over-50 into work by the end of this parliament, claims the Resolution Foundation think tank. The call comes ahead of a final report this week following a nine-month investigation into the issue full employment. The Chancellor announced a commitment to full employment in last year’s Summer Budget, with the government committing to report annually on progress towards this objective. The Foundation says that support for the over 50s, particularly to keep them from leaving the labour force, should be at the heart of the government’s strategy. Older people have contributed the fastest jobs growth of any age group over the last decade, leaving employment rates for workers aged 50-64 and 65+ are at record highs. The Foundation says that previous progress shows this group can and should be at the centre of plans for realising full employment.

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Three workplace performance indicators that may make or break you 0

Want to find out how your business is performing? Setting and analysing performance indicators for your company is the best way to forecast and get on track with your business goals. Creating Key Performance Indicators will help you measure your company’s success. While choosing the right KPIs relies upon a good understanding of what is important to the organisation and its workplace , the question is what to focus on? Performance measurement is not just related to collecting data associated with a predefined performance objective or standard. It has to be considered as an overall management system involving prevention and detection in order to meet clients expectations of the service or product you’re offering. Many companies have different methods regarding performance measurement, so how you measure performance says a lot about your company’s objectives and will decide whether they make or break you.

There are two common types of performance indicators: financial and customer focused.

Financial indicators are the most commonly used metrics for performance including: revenue growth rate, net profit, return on investment, among others. In terms of employee performance these are often quantified using output related measurements. These can be useful for growing your company’s finances but companies that focus solely on profit related indicators often face an innovation problem.

A focus on financial goals can put pressure on managers to focus on short term profitability over creativity. Financial indicators also don’t provide a full picture of a company’s performance. Rather than taking risks on new ideas, these companies can become known for creating ‘one hit wonders’ that sell and repackaging past successes. Eventually, quality and customer satisfaction can become compromised and employee motivation drops.

Microsoft learned this lesson at the expense of its top spot in the tech world. Originally a leader in cutting edge technology, after 2000 it began slipping in the rankings against companies like Google and Apple with its inability to keep up with new trends. As these companies began producing paradigm shifting products like the iPhone and Google Maps, Microsoft continued to survive off of its updated versions of Windows Office. Financial indicators demonstrated the company’s shift in popularity but not the contributing factors.

Internally, Microsoft had taken a cut throat approach to performance management called stack ranking. In this system employees were ranked according to their performance, with the top being put in line for promotions and the bottom 5-10% being shown the door. Rather than boosting productivity, this system merely increased competition and discouraged teamwork. Ultimately, instead of being encouraged to collaborate on new ideas, employees had to focus on gaining favor to survive.

Customer success indicators are increasingly seen as the most important performance metric. Some of the main customer centred KPIs include: conversion rate, customer retention, Net Promoter Score (NPS), etc. Due to differing objectives, companies that focus on customer centred indicators focus more on gaining a loyal customer base by producing great quality products, utilizing different marketing techniques and emphasizing a strong customer support service.

CaptureAn example of this is Riot Games’ ‘Free To Play’ games which helped them to gain a loyal customer base by allowing gamers to play some of their best games for free online. Zappos’ customer service is famous for providing unsatisfied customers with gifts and free shoes to improve their customer experience. Creating a customer service culture is an essential part of their business strategy and the focus of CEO Tony Hsieh’s book Delivering Happiness.

However, for companies that don’t take off straight away, the money and time put into each product can lead to slower profit generation and financial instability. Furthermore, while customer satisfaction is an extremely important key to success, what customers ultimately want are state-of-the-art products. Though customer focused indicators can help you build a loyal client base, they do not necessarily solve a company’s innovation problems.

Companies should use a combination of both financial and customer focused indicators but there is a third key measurement which is essential to meeting your company’s goals.

Why employee centered indicators are so important

More and more companies are beginning to realize the importance of employee centered metrics. These types of indicators include: employee engagement, satisfaction and turnover.

Studies show that higher employee engagement is linked to higher customer satisfaction. When employees are happy at work and believe in their product/company this comes across to customers. Gallup revealed that companies with high employee engagement levels outperformed companies with lower levels of engagement in customer ratings by 10%.

Engaged employees take less sick days. A study by Workplace Research Foundation found that engaged employees take an average of 2.69 sick days annually compared to disengaged employees who take an average of 6.19 days. Most important, they’re motivated to achieve more. Gallup’s study also showed that engaged companies outperform others in productivity by 21% and profitability by 22%.

In fact, the treatment of employees is also an important factor for consumers. Deloitte’s 2015 study on millennials revealed that this generation considers the treatment of employees as the top characteristic of industry leaders, even over profit generation and impact on overall society. Furthermore, “While they believe the pursuit of profit is important, that pursuit needs to be accompanied by a sense of purpose, by efforts to create innovative products or services and, above all, by consideration of individuals as employees and members of society.”

Companies that have employee centered strategies are also more likely to foster innovative environments that promote autonomy and employee ownership. Atlassian became famous for its ‘Shipit’ days during which it actually encourages employees to drop their work and spend twenty-four hours on a creative project of their choice. Allowing employees the freedom to try out new ideas sounds like a great financial risk but it turned out to have great returns. The projects developed during these sessions have resulted in some of the company’s most profit generating products. Atlassian not only dominates Australia’s tech industry, it has also been named the best company to work for the past two years in a row.

More and more companies have started focusing on an employee first strategy: In an interview with Inc. Virgin Atlantic CEO Richard Branson disclosed that the company puts staff first, customers second and stakeholders third. He explains, “If the person who works at your company is not appreciated, they are not going to do things with a smile.” Southwest Airlines, the company consistently reaching the top 10 in employee and customer satisfaction surveys, follows the same ideology. The company does this by motivating employees through its company values and creating an environment that regularly recognizes employees for going above and beyond.

Southwest Airlines follows the same strategy. Founder Herb Kelleher posited, “A motivated employee treats the customer well. A customer is happy so they’ll keep coming back, which pleases the shareholder. It’s just the way it works… They can buy all the physical things. The things you can’t buy are dedication, devotion, loyalty—the feeling that you are participating in a crusade.”

Belief in a corporate wellness narrative is more important than action

Belief in a corporate wellness narrative is more important than action 0

Millais_Boyhood_of_RaleighThe complexities of wellness at work are laid bare in a new report from the US based pressure group Global Wellness Institute. The most eye-catching conclusion from The Future of Wellness at Work study is that it’s not actual wellness programmes that do most to boost worker health and productivity, but whether employees identify that company as ‘caring’. The report claims that ‘unwellness’ now costs the US around $2.2 trillion each year, equivalent to 12 percent of GDP.  The report is published alongside a white paper which lays out the findings from a survey of American employees. Unlocking the Power of Company Caring gauges how employees feel about their work culture and wellness programmes. The main finding of the two reports is that to understand what has the most powerful impact on employee wellness ‘you must look well beyond the wellness programme’ itself. Instead, the pivotal factor is whether an employee identifies their company as caring about their health and wellness.

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High demand in Dubai office market continues to sustain rents

High demand in Dubai office market continues to sustain rents 0

Dubai-Perfect-City1-230x200Office rents in Dubai’s main markets have remained strong as a result of continued high demand from both international and domestic occupiers, reports Cluttons, but despite a sustained demand, occupiers remain cost conscious and budget driven in the face of a softening global economic backdrop. Landlords, by contrast appear to be slow to react to a cooling market, with many reluctant to move on asking prices and others demonstrating a lack of flexibility for lease terms at renewal. The emerging gulf between market reality and landlords’ expectations is a concern, says Faisal Durrani, Cluttons’ head of research, “particularly for a market that is now starting to show signs of maturity.” The analysis of the performance of 22 submarkets across the city in the first quarter of the year reveals that 13 submarkets witnessed no change in starting rents in 2015, seven experienced notable increases and the remaining two lower limit rents decreased over the 12 months of 2015.

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‘Ghosting’ employers + Office buildings still relevant + Millennial engagement

‘Ghosting’ employers + Office buildings still relevant + Millennial engagement 0

Insight_twitter_logo_2In this week’s Insight Newsletter; Darren Bilsborough on why office location is as important as design; Mark Eltringham says ‘ghosting’ an employer in the manner of the Spanish civil servant who hadn’t turned up to work for six years, is more common than you’d think; how office design is in the beauty of the beholder and why the office property market continues to thrive, despite rumours of its demise. A new report finds dysfunction at the heart of the public sector workplace; the government largely ignores the self-employed; younger workers are more engaged than the middle aged; RIBA consults on the future of its HQ; and many UK commercial buildings are failing to meet energy standards. Download the latest issue of Work&Place and access an Insight Briefing produced in partnership with Connection, which looks at agile working in the public sector. Visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

HR managers must innovate to stay relevant in the evolving workplace

HR managers must innovate to stay relevant in the evolving workplace 0

HR innovation requiredAs the workplace moves from the traditional 9-5 model, management needs to adapt accordingly. Facilities managers are already being forced to think outside the box, and now human resources and line managers must do the same. The latest CIPD/Workday HR Outlook leaders’ survey spells out the challenge; that new ways of working and operating is an increasing reality for organisations. Yet while there is general agreement about overall strategic priorities it seems to be less clear to the wider business world how HR professionals will contribute to achieving these. Despite nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of HR leaders saying that their current people strategy will help the organisation achieve its future priorities, just a quarter (26 percent) of other business leaders agree. The CIPD recommends that the profession must look at ways in which it can innovate itself in order to stay relevant and more visibly demonstrate its ‘enabling role’ as the workplace evolves.

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Number of smart cities worldwide jumps 40 percent in past two years

Number of smart cities worldwide jumps 40 percent in past two years 0

SmartCities_Icon_SBAccording to a new report from Navigant Research, the total number of identified smart city projects worldwide has grown from 170 in the third quarter of 2013 to 235 today. The report examines the current state of global smart city development, covering the related aspects of the smart energy, smart water, smart transportation, smart buildings, and smart governments sectors, segmented by region. The authors of the report claim that, as the benefits of smart cities become clearer, the number of projects and partnerships supporting the cause is rapidly increasing. In the last few years, city leaders, central government ministries, and technology and service suppliers have announced a range of new smart city initiatives, incentives, and product and service offerings, while more cities are moving from one specific technology interest to a broader range of solutions that have multiple applications.

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Three quarters of Millennials will change jobs over the next five years

Three quarters of Millennials will change jobs over the next five years 0

Third of Millennials more engaged by contributing to company vision than a high salaryIt must be the time of year but we are suddenly awash with surveys and reports suggesting that pretty much everybody in the UK is about to change their jobs. Following our report earlier in the week that suggests older workers are perfectly prepared to just give up on work completely, it was inevitable that we were about to hear something from those pesky Millennials. Sure enough, along comes a report from Deloitte that suggests that nearly three quarters of Millennials plans to leave their jobs over the next five years. Millennials and their employers: Can this relationship be saved? found that the UK has a higher than average percentage of Millennials planning to change jobs in the next five years, with the average in developed economies standing at 61 percent. Worldwide, forty-four percent of Millennials say, if given the choice, they expect to leave their current employers in the next two years.

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