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Quotes on investing in employees

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Defining how and why specific resources—such as training, compensation, and tasks—are converted into opportunities to provide the mechanisms and rationale for a given opportunity marketplace becomes key. Effective opportunity marketplaces require that individual initiative and clearly articulated strategic enterprise priorities align with and reinforce each other. They consequently bring an increase in personal agency and more expansive views of opportunity, from the perspectives of employees and employers alike.

These markets empower workers to evaluate, choose, and act on opportunities; they incent people to better invest in themselves. In turn, opportunity marketplaces can provide an enterprise with actionable data and analytics about which internal opportunities their people value. Successful opportunity marketplaces facilitate a fair exchange that benefits both workers and the organization. The organization as a whole becomes more efficient, valuable, and productive.

Opportunity marketplaces, like any fairly designed market, are about mutual gain. Enhancing worker agency can build value Opportunity marketplaces function properly when workers want to pursue new endeavors and are empowered to succeed. With a strong sense of agency, workers take the initiative to pursue opportunities that they and the organization deem valuable.

Without worker agency, opportunities can go unclaimed or become a source of frustration for workers and the enterprise. What does this look like in practice? Opportunity marketplaces can empower both talented and typical performers, increasing the overall value of human capital and improving value creation in the enterprise. To ensure that these gains advance strategic value creation, our research indicates that leaders from across the organization HR, CEO, CFO, chief strategy officer, and senior business unit leaders link opportunity with strategy, operations, and people.

Leaders forge links between the values the organization espouses and the internal opportunities it supports. Schneider Electric, for example, essentially created an internal gig economy to increase engagement, decrease attrition, and encourage continuous education and mentorship.

With opportunity metadata i. Workers can get more-personalized recommendations about what opportunities are best for them, including training, development, projects, mentoring, and coaching. Opportunity marketplace data could powerfully shape human capital analytics. The ability to track opportunities that excite interest and those that fail to meet expectations lets leaders dig deeper: Are opportunities ignored because they are poorly defined, or because their managers and teams have poor reputations?

Are talented workers more interested in acquiring new skills, new roles, or new challenges? Which experiences, groups, teams, or functions are consistently sought after by the best talent? Depending on market regulation and design, opportunity metadata can link to references, reviews, and relevant performance analytics. Much as digitalization enhances customer choices and opportunities, digitalization can—and should—productively enhance workforce choices and career opportunities.

The agency-opportunity connection A healthy relationship between agency and opportunity is fundamental to any functioning opportunity marketplace. See Figure 6. The horizontal x-axis describes the breadth, depth, and vibrancy of opportunities such as training, education, projects, and jobs. Different organizations will have different opportunity profiles, depending on their competencies, capabilities, strategies, and values.

The desirable upper-right quadrant features workers largely with the freedom, autonomy, and motivation to invest in themselves. They have access to a broad portfolio of opportunities across an organization that clearly understands the motivational and developmental power of opportunity.

These companies take mentoring and coaching as seriously as they take transparency and internal mobility. Empowered workers bid, like consumers, on supplied opportunities that they, and their employers, value. Organizations in this quadrant struggle to attract and retain new talent and fill skills gaps. Performance management is often decoupled from leadership and development sensibilities.

To advance toward the upper-right quadrant, executives accustomed to imposing plans may need to sacrifice control for influence; workers accustomed to compliance-based reviews and rankings are, paradoxically—even perversely—told that they must take greater initiative. Opportunity marketplaces represent true cultural and structural workforce disruption for these organizations.

The lower-right quadrant has workers with little agency but companies with richer and more extensive opportunities. Workers take little initiative or have little motivation to acquire offered opportunities, even if opportunities are plentiful. Top management here prioritizes top-down planning over worker empowerment. Deciding whether to hire from within or recruit new talent is a constant concern and thorny operational trade-off.

To advance, these companies confront the challenge of empowering their people. When we need to branch out and find someone who might have special expertise, we like to try to look internally first and then offer it as an opportunity for somebody to flex that strength. Career options tend to be prescribed paths; the most talented and capable workers tend to look outside for opportunities.

Silos rule. Limited internal mobility and increasing skills gaps lead to higher attrition, especially among high performers. Opportunity scarcity challenges typical workers: Complacency often sets in. Breaking dull routines, rather than seeking out uplifting professional development or increasing personal productivity, becomes a motivator.

Challenges to efficient and effective opportunity marketplaces Companies that create opportunity marketplaces can anticipate certain challenges. An opportunity marketplace empowers employees to invest in themselves, which means that the burden for success lies in part with workers. How, then, should management handle those who are unwilling or unable to take advantage of the opportunities offered? Managing the uninterested or unable Executives accept that not everyone will succeed in all opportunities they pursue.

In response to a talent shortage in its home state of Kentucky, tech startup Interapt began offering workforce training and IT apprenticeships to qualified candidates. Founder and CEO Ankur Gopal notes that even with early vetting and ongoing support, not all participants will complete the program.

No matter how much we set people up for success, we still expect 20 percent of our class to not make it for a life reason, not a performance reason. Research has shown that the passion to make an impact—a significant component of the motivation to learn, connect, and improve—can be either cultivated or significantly squelched by management practices and the work environment.

The fear factor Another challenge is that opportunities related to automation might be viewed with distrust by workers. Some workers fear being replaced by machines, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and robotic process automation. While leaders are aware of these fears, the organizations we spoke with say they view automation as an opportunity to improve the worker experience, not a way to eliminate the job.

They reframe this perceived threat to workers as an opportunity to automate tedious and time-consuming tasks. The message: Automation will free workers to do more creative work. They are increasingly valuable because they help individuals work together to address changing conditions and evolving needs that fall outside the standard processes increasingly handled with automation. Creating an opportunity marketplace in your organization Identifying your starting place is an essential first step toward creating an opportunity marketplace.

Consider developing your own opportunity index 7 to determine the health of opportunity and agency in your organization. Are your workers satisfied with available internal opportunities for job and work assignments, mobility, personal growth, skills development, and promotion? Are your workers satisfied with their ability to act on these available opportunities? Do your processes and culture encourage or discourage opportunity and mobility? Create processes to identify opportunities for your opportunity marketplaces.

Forecast your talent needs and use opportunity-index data to inform what opportunities are created, to whom they are offered, and how. Identify who will manage your opportunity marketplaces, and ensure that your senior team agrees on how these markets are to be governed. Ensure that your organizational culture supports the operation of these markets.

For example, cultivate cultural norms that reward managers for supporting the free flow of talent across the enterprise rather than norms that reward managers for hoarding talent. Address how different workforce demographics value opportunity. Each generation may value a given opportunity in different ways.

So your company better be prepared to give this upcoming generation the stability and opportunity of accessible internal mobility. Some may actually want to extend their careers for the opportunity to gain new skills. Other older workers may want to extend working, but in a modified way, with more flexibility or choice to define what the job looks like.

Demographic factors merit consideration. Conclusion Embracing opportunity marketplaces represents a truly fundamental shift in how most organizations can maximize returns on human capital investment. It recognizes the workforce as a uniquely human resource. It demands a shift in core workforce management practices such as workforce planning and deployment, and performance management and development.

Leaders accustomed to compliance and control should lead through influence and create options for workers—in much the same way that companies attract and create options for customers. With this opportunity approach, organizations and their people are better able to recognize that their mutual success depends on ever-smarter investment in themselves and each other.

The return on investment in this new approach will depend substantially on an understanding of and a focus on the human and technical foundations of opportunity marketplaces: workforce behaviors and expectations, management incentives, data and analytics, machine learning and platforms, and apps. These play a critical role in organizing and refining opportunity, and making it accessible. As machines and algorithms become smarter, the options for productive opportunities are likely to increase.

With the right investments in digital tools, leadership, and culture, opportunity marketplaces become complex and adaptive systems that enable workers across the organization to create more value, impact, and personal meaning. About the research To understand the challenges organizations face managing their workforces as they continue to progress in their digital transformations, MIT Sloan Management Review, in collaboration with Deloitte, conducted its ninth annual survey of nearly 3, business executives, managers, and analysts from organizations around the world.

The survey, conducted in the fall of , captured insights from individuals in countries and 28 industries at organizations of various sizes. More than two-thirds of the respondents were from outside the United States. The sample was drawn from a number of sources, including MIT Sloan Management Review readers, Deloitte Dbriefs webcast subscribers, and other interested parties.

In addition to obtaining the survey results, we interviewed business executives from a number of industries and academia to understand how organizations are investing in their workforces today. These executives and subject-matter specialists bring unique perspectives to the evolving relationship between the organization and worker. In some cases, the executives we spoke with are spearheading novel approaches to workforce investment and the role of the worker in a digital age.

I tell my friends, family, and colleagues that my organization does a good job investing in improving my skills and performance. The answers to these questions were clustered, revealing three statistically significant groups. The group that selected the highest values for each question is labeled Promoters. The majority of respondents in this group selected values from 8 to But, now we do, and the number is 85 percent. That's how many people are dissatisfied with their jobs the world over, according to the " State of the Global Workplace " survey conducted by Gallup poll last year.

Unfortunately the bad news doesn't stop there. The true cost of replacing employees can be twice their base salaries depending on their wage, role and experience. The cost of replacing high performers who often deliver percent more in productivity than their average counterpart can be higher still. In other words, the measures businesses use to engage employees and evaluate their performance are not working, or worse, they're backfiring. Unfortunate, but totally understandable.

There are many reasons that may explain why this trend exists. Some companies either willingly or unwillingly instill not-so-best practices that can make employees not just unhappy but downright dejected. Often companies don't communicate properly. Or, worse, they just assume everyone already knows what they are supposed to do. In a survey of very large companies titled the " Cost of Poor Communications ," it was discovered that poor communication was costing each company tens of millions of dollars.

Many companies do not take employee training seriously. Just having a rulebook rarely suffices to help employees understand the nuances of their job. An IBM study revealed that employees who do not feel they are developing in a company are 12 times more likely to leave it. Many times companies see employee training as an expense rather than investment and end up paying dearly in terms of low productivity and high turnover.

Other companies micromanage like crazy. Nobody likes someone particularly a workplace supervisor hovering over their shoulder all the time. And yet in a report by Career Addict , 79 percent respondents said they were being micromanaged and 69 percent had as a result considered switching companies. Contrary to what managers who micromanage believe, their methods actually motivate employees not to perform and to try and leave the company, while destroying teamwork and creating health problems.

Some managers literally track an employee's every movement. Now, it's one thing to keep a record of productive activities for posterity, and it's another to use employee GPS tracking apps to know when they have exited a vehicle, where they are going after office hours and surveilling their chats. While workplace surveillance is usually carried out in the name of productivity, it often creates even more stress and defeats its purpose.

Too many companies use interns to do the heavy lifting. Many people would rank this practice in the same category as kicking a puppy, but shortchanging interns is a surprisingly common practice in the startup world. Interns are promised nebulous, performance-based incentives including stock options that never materialize to squeeze every last bit of performance out of them for free.

And let us not forget the cynical assertion that interns should really be paying their employers, since the latter is blessing them with knowledge and experience. Dress codes might have made sense 20 years ago, but with freelancing and co-working culture on the rise, many employers including multibillion-dollar brands are giving up the suit and tie entirely and letting employees decide what they want to wear. On the other hand, many employers try clever ways of creating a middle ground -- even where there isn't one.

A Handy Guide on How to Dress. Why you should be investing heavily in your employees. While the issues mentioned and those like them are best avoided, companies need to go above and beyond to find what their employees are looking for and deliver on it. The best companies have always understood this, too. Richard Branson , for instance, famously stated that customers come second, while employees come first.

But there is a much deeper reason to investing in your employees than good feels. Investing in your employees is a great business opportunity. It builds you a solid reputation in the marketplace. All companies want to attract the best possible talent over to their camp. But who in their right of mind would want to work with a company that treats its members as disposable assets? Unless you are the owner of the company, you will want to work for an organization that promotes your own growth and values your opinion.

In fact, millennials today often quit their jobs because of lack of learning and growth opportunities. And since almost all of them are researching companies on sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn before applying, having bad reviews on there won't help you attract resumes.

Happy employees, even happier customers. Engaged employee help you establish better relationship with your customers. Since your employees are the ones who are actually in contact with your customers, how they think and feel is actually a better representation of your company than all your marketing and advertising material ever could be. Image credit: Groovehq. Tempkin Group's Employee Engagement Benchmark Study also shows that companies acing customer experience have one-and-a-half times as many engaged employees as those that are not so good at it.

Employee engagement will foster loyalty. Brand loyalty is all the rage today, with many companies focused on increasing customer lifetime values. But what about your employee lifetime value? Losing your employees can have heavy repercussions in terms retraining time, cost and lost skills. Related: 4 Ways Managers Can Commit to Improving Employee Engagement By putting your employees first, you can help them relate with your organization's goals and find a common ground.

Doing so can engender trust and a feeling of mutual respect between the employer and the employee.

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