Posts tagged ‘Management’

June 7, 2012

Keeping Millenials engaged

Loved this article, posted by a true Millenial, when you look at her own parcours. I personally believe, as already developed on this blog (see Gen Y) that this is not so much true for a specific generation, but for a specific evolution in society, values and place of work in our lives.

Keeping Millennials Engaged at Work

I’m a millennial. Some may think this is my personal dramatic interpretation of how special my generation is, but in reality this has been a major discussion the past few years. If you think Gen Y is a handful, this is just a preview of what is yet to come. The concept of a generation gap isn’t new, but this is not a gap…. it’s a huge freaking divide.

As recent graduates leave university and venture into the workforce, millennials are seen taking over, in and outside of the workplace.  According to Dan Schawbel, there are about 80 million millennials and 76 million boomers in America. Half of all millennials are already in the workforce, and millions are added every year. For some this may seem like an intimidating stat. This is reality. Gen X may not want millennials to take over, but if you want your business to continue to develop, the younger generation has a better understanding of what they want and what the next generation will want.

It’s very likely that you either already have a few Gen Y in your office or will have a bunch in the near future. Here are a few tips to consider if you want them to perform their best and keep them engaged.

 Be flexible

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, even in a tough job market, 23% of recent college graduates wouldn’t take a job where they couldn’t make or take personal phone calls. Companies are becoming more and more flexible with their employees today. Netflix, for example, doesn’t track vacation days… for anyone. If you allow your employees to dress casually, make personal phone calls, and take an occasional day off, they will perform better when they are on the job. They will feel appreciated and valued in the company.

 Let us know how we’re doing

For recent graduates it’s normal to receive feedback on almost everything you do. In school we get marks, comments, and feedback from teachers. Why does this change once we enter the workforce? Millennials have become accustomed to instant gratification or instant communication. In Time, Schwabel writes that 80% of millennials said they want regular feedback from their managers. Everyone wants to know how they’re doing and how they can improve. This will only develop your team in the long run and can take very little time!

Facebook senior exec and Millennial Molly Graham explains how important constant feedback is to help millennials and all coworkers grow. In a presentation at the HR Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas , Graham shared Facebook’s vision for aligning and engaging its Millennial workforce. You can see Molly’s presentation here.

 Transparency and an Open Door

The traditional hierarchical organization of the workplace doesn’t work anymore, especially with Gen Y. Millennials are looking for managers and leader who share almost everything with them. We like to be in the know… Schawbel explains it best: “Parents of millennials talked about everything in front of their children, from finances to sex, so millennials are comfortable with the same approach from businesses and managers.”  Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot shared with us in a previous webinar his company’s “No Door Policy” Open Door Policy. There are literally no doors in the office which allows everyone to feel like and equal part of the team.

 It’s Not Just About the Money

While most of use would like a well-paying job, giving recognition doesn’t always have to be about more money. According to a recent Forbes article, half of the millennials surveyed said money wasn’t important. Obviously money will always be a factor but giving simple public recognition can be a big motivational boost for employees everywhere.

If you foster a great culture and provide millennials with what they are used to, they will be productive and produce good results. Gen Ys in the workforce may seem young, but if you are selling or marketing a product targeted at younger people, millennials know what they want most. It may appear that we are demanding as a generation— but the only reason for all these needs is that we perform better in a comfortable and recognizable environment is necessary. As the world transforms, so the does the workplace. It’s important for organizations to be agile and ready to adapt to whatever comes next.

Alanah Throop

Alanah Throop is a student at the University of Toronto working towards a degree in Political Science and English. Alanah was previously a full time member of the Rypple Marketing team before returning to finish school last fall. Now, she is focusing on student life as well as a few part-time experiences including Rypple and a Children’s Program to help kids get the self-care skills they deserve.

April 5, 2012

Conduct an informal 360°

In this short video from HBR, Scott Edinger, founder of Edinger Consulting Group, explains how to get the feedback you need to develop your leadership skills.

The questions all are excellent questions to ask your self and/or to use in formal meetings with senior managers who are in charge of mentoring you or evaluating your skills, but I personally find them hard to use in an informal context with direct reports. Good to have them in mind to drive specific development conversations with HR talent management specialists though.
March 9, 2012

How can you build a positive workplace.

I am a true believer of the principles explained by Shawn Achor in this month’s HBR.

Can work wonders with simple ideas. Start by changing one daily habit…

In July 2010 Burt’s Bees, a personal-care products company, was undergoing enormous change as it began a global expansion into 19 new countries. In this kind of high-pressure situation, many leaders pester their deputies with frequent meetings or flood their in-boxes with urgent demands. In doing so, managers jack up everyone’s anxiety level, which activates the portion of the brain that processes threats—the amygdala—and steals resources from the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for effective problem solving.

Burt’s Bees’s then-CEO, John Replogle, took a different tack. Each day, he’d send out an e-mail praising a team member for work related to the global rollout. He’d interrupt his own presentations on the launch to remind his managers to talk with their teams about the company’s values. He asked me to facilitate a three-hour session with employees on happiness in the midst of the expansion effort. As one member of the senior team told me a year later, Replogle’s emphasis on fostering positive leadership kept his managers engaged and cohesive as they successfully made the transition to a global company.

That outcome shouldn’t surprise us. Research shows that when people work with a positive mind-set, performance on nearly every level—productivity, creativity, engagement—improves. Yet happiness is perhaps the most misunderstood driver of performance. For one, most people believe that success precedes happiness. “Once I get a promotion, I’ll be happy,” they think. Or, “Once I hit my sales target, I’ll feel great.” But because success is a moving target—as soon as you hit your target, you raise it again—the happiness that results from success is fleeting.

In fact, it works the other way around: People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenge. I call this the “happiness advantage”—every business outcome shows improvement when the brain is positive. I’ve observed this effect in my role as a researcher and lecturer in 48 countries on the connection between employee happiness and success. And I’m not alone: In a meta-analysis of 225 academic studies, researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky, Laura King, and Ed Diener found strong evidence of directional causality between life satisfaction and successful business outcomes.

Another common misconception is that our genetics, our environment, or a combination of the two determines how happy we are. To be sure, both factors have an impact. But one’s general sense of well-being is surprisingly malleable. The habits you cultivate, the way you interact with coworkers, how you think about stress—all these can be managed to increase your happiness and your chances of success.

Develop New Habits

Training your brain to be positive is not so different from training your muscles at the gym. Recent research on neuroplasticity—the ability of the brain to change even in adulthood—reveals that as you develop new habits, you rewire the brain.

Engaging in one brief positive exercise every day for as little as three weeks can have a lasting impact, my research suggests. For instance, in December 2008, just before the worst tax season in decades, I worked with tax managers at KPMG in New York and New Jersey to see if I could help them become happier. (I am an optimistic person, clearly.) I asked them to choose one of five activities that correlate with positive change:

  • Jot down three things they were grateful for.
  • Write a positive message to someone in their social support network.
  • Meditate at their desk for two minutes.
  • Exercise for 10 minutes.
  • Take two minutes to describe in a journal the most meaningful experience of the past 24 hours.

The participants performed their activity every day for three weeks. Several days after the training concluded, we evaluated both the participants and a control group to determine their general sense of well-being. How engaged were they? Were they depressed? On every metric, the experimental group’s scores were significantly higher than the control group’s. When we tested both groups again, four months later, the experimental group still showed significantly higher scores in optimism and life satisfaction. In fact, participants’ mean score on the life satisfaction scale—a metric widely accepted to be one of the greatest predictors of productivity and happiness at work—moved from 22.96 on a 35-point scale before the training to 27.23 four months later, a significant increase. Just one quick exercise a day kept these tax managers happier for months after the training program had ended. Happiness had become habitual.

January 27, 2012

Le dirigeant de demain? Tout le contraire de celui d’aujourd’hui!

A travers le regard de plus de 4 000 diplômés “grandes écoles”, une étude publiée par le réseau Grandes Ecoles au Féminin dresse un portrait robot de ce que sera le dirigeant de demain. Un chef d’entreprise humaniste, exemplaire, visionnaire… et féminin.

Par Sébastien Pommier pour L’


A quoi ressemblera le dirigeant de demain ? Probablement à Shiva, personnage contradictoire, à la fois dieu destructeur mais créateur d’un monde nouveau. Et dans l’esprit de beaucoup, représentant le multitasking.
“Has been”. En interrogeant 4 200 diplômés de grandes écoles, ” Grandes Ecoles au Féminin ” (GEF) dresse une photographie inédite et surprenante. Le chef d’entreprise loué aujourd’hui pour sa capacité à entretenir un réseau (54%), séducteur et bon orateur (41%), sans renier un certain côté dur pour atteindre ses objectifs (44%), est-il déjà has been ? Oui, à en croire l’étude, puisque dans les qualités attendues du dirigeant de demain, figurent désormais la capacité à savoir piloter et préserver l’intérêt de l’entreprise à long terme (61%), un aspect visionnaire (46%), et une capacité à créer l’innovation (33%) tout en préservant un comportement exemplaire, en interne comme en externe (42%). Bref, le dirigeant de demain serait le reflet inversé du dirigeant actuel…


Extrait de l’étude Grandes Ecoles au Féminin

Sociovision / GEF 5ème étude


Clônage. Pour en finir avec les clichés, ce sont les hommes (81%) et non les femmes (69%) qui placent leur vie privée avant tout. Les femmes sont ainsi davantage enclines à quitter leur entreprise pour progresser dans leur carrière (40% contre 34% pour les hommes). Conséquence, pour 84% des sondés, hommes et femmes donc, ” promouvoir des femmes à des postes de direction serait un bon moyen de faire évoluer dans le bon sens le management “, voire même pour 77% ” d’en finir avec un certains clonage des dirigeants “. Et si l’avenir c’était elles ?

Humanisme. La crise économique, persistante et perturbante, s’est muée en une crise des valeurs. Souvent décrié pour son immobilisme, son conservatisme et son manque d’humanisme, le management se retrouve en première ligne. ” On peut être frappé par l’importance que revêt aujourd’hui la notion de réseau dans le business, reconnait Karine Sanouillet, directrice de la fidélisation au Groupe Casino, et membre du réseau GEF. Et pourtant, c’est la composition même du réseau personnel du dirigeant qui est en évolution. Fini le côté ” grandes écoles corporatistes “, avec Internet le réseau s’humanise. On a envie de se mobiliser pour des causes, des valeurs “, explique cette ancienne HEC de 44 ans. Paradoxe de la crise des valeurs, on ” humanise ” les échanges en se coupant du lien direct. Et on affirme désormais ses positions sur la toile. L’e-réputation comme image du réel.

Mixité. Les sondés demandent donc plus de sens, et une vision à long terme, alors que la crise, stressante, changeante, pousse le dirigeant à une remise en cause quotidienne. Toujours militantes pour une plus grande mixité, notamment dans le top management, les femmes du réseau ” Grandes Ecoles au Féminin ” souhaitaient dans cette étude ” prendre du recul par rapport à la question de la mixité, pour se poser la question de l’accession au pouvoir “, indique Karine Sanouillet. Même si cette question reste leur fer de lance, dans un pays comme la France qui ne compte aucune ” patronne ” dans le CAC 40, il semble qu’il faille en passer par le cadre législatif pour atteindre un équilibre. Les principales intéressées y sont naturellement très favorables, et militent pour l’accélération de la mixité aux postes de top management (88% vs 62% hommes). Priorité numéro une des dirigeantes donc. Et des politiques ?

January 15, 2012

Le CEO, premier DRH de son entreprise?

A la lecture du très intéressant article de Franck La Pinta (Follow @flapinta), Responsable Marketing Web et RH 2.0 sur son site “L’Inde, nouveau terrain d’innovation pour les GRH?”, que je ne pouvais que lire, vu mon intérêt pour ces 3 sujets, il est frappant de constater que l’initiative de faire de l’humain la priorité de ces entreprises innovantes n’est ni l’initiative du marketing, ni des GRH, mais bien des CEO’s, lesquels sont les premiers à avoir un oeil rivé sur les performances de leurs entreprises.


Je crois peu au hasard. Aussi, j’ai dans la même semaine terminé la lecture du livre de Vineet Nayar, Président de HCLT « les employés d’abord, les clients ensuite », et lu une interview de Narayana Murthy, PDG d’Infosys, une autre entreprise IT indienne. Le point commun à ces deux chefs d’entreprise : repenser le modèle traditionnel des entreprises et mettre le collaborateur au premier plan de leurs préoccupations. Pourquoi ces deux exemples se retrouvent en Inde, portés par le PDG, et dans les IT ? Faut-il y voir un nouveau laboratoire d’expérimentation du management ?

Ce que dit Vineet Nayar : Il faut redonner le rôle central aux collaborateurs, notamment ceux créateurs de valeur, (Vineet Nayar parle de « zone de création de valeur”), entendez ceux en contact direct avec les clients. Aujourd’hui, l’organisation, la structure et le management des entreprises est plus souvent un frein qu’un facilitateur à la création de valeur, et à l’épanouissement de ces collaborateurs. Vineet Nayar insiste sur la nécessité de créer des conditions qui favorisent la confiance et la transparence, notamment dans la communication, indispensable pour développer l’engagement et favoriser l’innovation. D’après l’auteur, une hiérarchie pesante, qui concentre les pouvoirs et reste maître de l’information ne peut répondre aux enjeux d’une environnement fluctuant, imprevisible et hyper compétitif.

Ce que dit Narayana Murthy : Ce sont les êtres humains qui font la réussite de l’entreprise et donc, la qualité des logiciels développés est directement liée à la valeur, aux compétences et au bien-être des collaborateurs. L’entreprise doit faire quelque chose pour chacun de ses employés. Je comprends qu’il s’agit de ne pas se concentrer uniquement sur les traditionnels « futurs hauts potentiels » ou autres « talents ». N. Murthy est également très fier de son campus, un centre de formation qui accueille chaque nouveau recruté pendant 6 mois, au cours desquels les nouveaux collaborateurs sont payés :« Au lieu de d’avoir à payer pour étudier, nous les payons pour qu’ils étudient. »

La situation des IT en Inde : Les entreprises de IT sont confrontées à un turn over extrêmement important, favorisé par un fort développement de l’activité (plus de 7% estimés pour 2011). La présence de nombreuses implantations d’entreprises occidentales alimente une tension sur le marché de l’emploi, malgré les 75 000 nouveaux diplômés en IT chaque année, complétés par les centaines de milliers de jeunes ingénieurs (hors IT) qui rejoignent également, pour une large part, les entreprises IT. A noter qu’en deux ans, le nombre de travailleurs étrangers en Inde a augmenté de 200 %. Cette croissance est portée par une volonté forte du gouvernement indien qui a investi des sommes considérable pour développer des infrastructures fonctionnelles, par exemple à Bangalore. Ajoutons à cela un système politique stable et une maîtrise de l’anglais.

Une raison culturelle : La société indienne reste assimilée à la logique des castes. Pourtant, cette organisation est de plus en plus remise en cause, notamment chez les jeunes générations, qui aspirent à davantage de libertés dans leurs choix individuels. Mais cette critique des castes porte également sur son inefficacité en matière de progrès, notamment économique. En échangeant avec de jeunes diplômés indiens, cette remise en cause d’une organisation trop stricte et rigide de la société gagne également l’organisation de l’entreprise. Nos deux PDG répondent ainsi à des attentes nouvelles fortes de la part de leurs jeunes collaborateurs : les GenY sont aussi en Inde !

Quel enseignement pour les RH ? A aucun moment la contribution des RH n’est évoquée dans ces 2 exemples. Cela signifierait que ce nouvel état d’esprit qui souffle sur ces deux entreprises n’est pas à l’initiative des RH, mais uniquement de leurs patrons ? C’est-à-dire des membres de l’entreprise qui, plus que tous autres, ont les yeux rivés sur leurs résultats ? Le bien-être des collaborateurs n’est pas présenté comme une fin en soi (le plus souvent hypocritement il faut bien le reconnaître) mais véritablement comme un préalable indispensable à la réussite de l’entreprise. La valeur du capital humain, que l’on semble redécouvrir à l’aune de la crise, a dans la plupart des entreprises, le plus grand mal à trouver une véritable existence au-delà des discours RH. Pourtant, ces deux exemples tendent à prouver qu’un nouveau modèle associant étroitement (mais avec sincérité et réelle volonté) « efficacité » et « bien-être des collaborateurs » est possible, alors que l’on a encore le plus grand mal à ne pas les opposer : une piste nouvelle pour un vrai marketing RH ?



December 11, 2011

Innovation in the Boardroom – The Time is Now

Innovation.  Corporate Governance.  Two business concepts that are not often used together in the same sentence.  Maybe it is time for Innovation and Corporate Governance to have a ‘Reese’s Moment’ and for boards to ask: ‘Who put the Innovation in my Corporate Governance?”

While products, services and society have been rapidly and dramatically changing, the only changes that have occurred in the boardroom have been driven by legal and regulatory changes.

Boards Resist Change

My impression, which is most likely over-generalized, is that Corporate Boards resist change.  Here’s just one example that I’ve observed:

  • Board Books & Technology – Most organizations rely on providing their board members with materials in advance of the meeting to make sure that board members are informed of the agenda and have time to review and become current on financial and operational reports.  20 years ago, as a Financial Manager with the responsibility of making sure that board members had the information they needed, our team ran copies on 3-hole punched paper, created section dividers, assembled 3-ring binders and shipped them out to board members via over-night delivery.  Fast forward 20 years, despite a number of fantastic ‘on-line’ board room tools, email, intranet and internet options that allow electronic, efficient and less expensive solutions to deliver board materials, the majority of boards that I know  of still prepare and over-night hard copy board books. When I’ve seen organizations try to migrate to electronic board tools, board members create an unbelievable fuss.  Reactions I’ve personally heard: “It’s too hard”, “I can’t remember another password”, “my internet connection isn’t fast enough”, “the files are too large”, “I don’t know how to unzip the file”, “I don’t have a printer at my vacation home”…it goes on.  Seriously.

While this is an amusing anecdote on how boards resist change, there are many more serious examples of how change inside the boardroom has not kept pace with change in business and society.  The lack of change diminishes the board’s ability to provide strategic and valuable insight.

In the November 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review, their Idea Watch: Vision Statement section highlighted an overview of how corporate boards have changed (or not) from 1987 to 2011 based on Spencer Stuart’s, an executive search firm, annual survey of proxy statements of the S&P 500.  Here are a few highlights of who is sitting in corporate board room:

    • In 2011, 37% of boards are comprised of board members with an average age over 64.  In 1987, only 3% of boards had an average age over 64.


    • In 2011, only 15.3% of board members on the top 200 companies are African-American, Hispanic or Asian.


  • In 2011, 16.2% of board members are women.

Conclusion?  Our board rooms remain largely homogenous and are dramatically aging.  These are not the ingredients for change.  One of the key responsibilities of boards is strategic oversight – if the board room does not represent current and diverse thinking, it is improbable that our corporations will be able to successfully compete in today’s ever-changing operating environment.

Impactful Innovation

I’m not an advocate of change for the sake of change; change is beneficial when it strengthens strategy, adds value and improves results.  There are a number of aspects of corporate governance that I believe are ripe for change and can add value to the organizations that they serve:

    • Board Composition – Who’s on your board?  Does your board represent a diversity of backgrounds, experiences and skill sets?  How does your board identify prospective new members?  Do you consider the strategic goals of the organization and the capabilities that will be required to succeed?  Can your board understand your customer base?  Is your board truly ‘independent’ of the organization and the CEO?  Has your board separated the Board Chair role from the CEO role?  What is the structure and role of your Committees?


    • Strategy & Strategic Risk – How is your board engaged in conversations about strategy and strategic risk.  How are new risks identified?  As the business grows (new products, new markets, new delivery methods, new regulations, technology changes, etc.), is the board’s discussion or risk keeping pace with the changes in your business model?


    • Annual Goals, Agendas and Performance – Is your board proactive about setting goals?  How does your board measure its success?  How does your board deal with conflict in the board room?  Is there conflict or are all votes ‘unanimous’?  What does a healthy debate look like in the board room?


    • Succession Planning – Is your board focusing on CEO succession planning?  Board succession planning?  How is the board insuring that the organization is sustainable beyond the current CEO and board?


  • Organizational Reports vs. Boardroom Discussion – Is your board spending the majority of its time listening to operational reports from the organization?  Are the majority of your board agendas devoted to presentation of materials that were provided in the board book?  Are you devoting your board meetings to meaningful strategic discussions?

It is time to start talking about innovation in the board room! This space will be devoted to a series of topics on innovation in the boardroom…including ideas on how to drive value-added changes in corporate governance and address the above questions.  I’d love to hear from you and learn how you’ve driven innovation in the board room…share your innovation!