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Social collaboration and the asynchronous workplace

March 20, 2012 15:30 by Ann Pace

(From ITworld.com) -- Whether your company is a small shop of just a few intensely hard-working pros or a large venture with hundreds of workers, good communication is critical to your success. And by "good communication," I mean communication that works. With the right collaboration tools and a little operational discipline, you can overcome any communications challenge and get your teams in sync.

When I started my career back in the olden days of the 20th Century, the workplace was largely synchronous. For the most part, everyone showed up at more or less the same time, worked in the same office together, went to the same meetings, ate lunch at 12:30, and gathered around the same water cooler when they felt like taking a break. Communication wasn't always of the highest quality, but there was plenty of it and if you missed something, somebody was always right there to fill you in.

By contrast, today's workplace (mine and, probably, yours too) is fairly asynchronous. Many of us work remotely or from the road a good deal of the time. Everyone's juggling multiple complex projects, making it difficult to sync up schedules enough for live, real-time meetings. And when we do manage to line up a meeting, many of us have no choice but to attend by phone, introducing additional communications challenges that can reduce the clarity of the message. (I take a hefty portion of my meetings by phone, and far too many of them while driving a car, walking through an airport, or in an otherwise distracted state.) In this asynchronous workplace, where it's increasingly difficult to get all of our key players focused on the same task at the same time, social collaboration tools are essential to good communication.

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10 Reasons the Human Capital Zeitgeist Is Emerging

March 20, 2012 15:30 by Ann Pace

(From Forbes) -- The race for skilled talent is picking up speed and could have long-term implications in the job market. A Human Capital Zeitgeist, is emerging as companies big and small are getting smacked with the realization that talent management is SO critical to competing in a volatile marketplace, they might actually have to throw a bit more respect at the “human” in the human capital equation.

This socio-cultural shift must address the work-life merge and worker satisfaction, like never before. Imagine a new workforce era ruled by a culture where human capital is cherished, instead of demoralized and asked to do more –for less of a paycheck.

Recent studies speak volumes. Despite what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke described as “an uneven and modest recovery.” Fully engaged skilled employees are fast becoming a desperately needed commodity, even in a climate of high unemployment as I wrote in my recent Forbes post last month C-Suite Beware: This Could be the Year of the Employee Backlash.

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Video Games Are Tomorrow's Answer To Executive Training

March 15, 2012 14:30 by Ann Pace

(From Fast Company) -- Playing video games is often viewed as a sedentary or slothful activity. But as educators, thought leaders and the world’s largest corporations secretly know, gaming is also potentially the best thing to happen to management training since the advent of company off-sites and career workshops. With the world’s largest firms quickly turning to principles of “gamification” to educate new recruits, be forewarned: Blistered thumbs may be a signature hallmark of tomorrow’s most successful executives.

Credit conceptual frameworks and gameplay elements that inherently teach players how to manage limited resources, respond to stressful simulations and problem-solve in real-time within a variety of both plausible and fantasy contexts. Even traditional titles found on GameStop’s shelves teach kids basic everyday management skills, claims Ian Bogost, associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and founder of software maker Persuasive Games. “Look at World of Warcraft: You’ve got 11-year-olds who are learning to delegate responsibility, promote teamwork and steer groups of people toward a common goal.”

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Widening Skills Gap Threatens Employers' Ability to Compete

March 15, 2012 14:30 by Ann Pace

(From PRNewswire) -- Ironic as it may be, despite record-high unemployment and the perception of a surplus of talent, human resources (HR) professionals may be forced to choose from limited quantities of high-skilled workers, a new Deloitte study shows. Moreover, the widening skills gap may put the country's ability to compete globally in a vulnerable position.

The 2012 Top Five Total Rewards Survey from Deloitte and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS) reveals talent as the most significant challenge to organizations over the next three years. One quarter of all survey respondents expressed concerns about talent, particularly the shortage, motivating and retaining talent -- a substantial increase over 16 percent last year. Talent shortage concerns are highest among insurance and professional services firms.

"The survey exposes a widening gap between the dwindling supply of skilled workers in America and the growing demands of the modern workplace," said David Lusk, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and author of the report. "A key challenge ahead for employers will be working to help close this skills gap to maintain a competitive edge in the global marketplace."

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Talent Management When the Old Outnumber the Young

March 15, 2012 14:30 by Ann Pace

(From HBR Blog Network) -- The population used to be shaped like a pyramid: lots of young people, a medium number of middle aged, and a few old folks. But the demographic geometry has changed radically in just the last few decades in many parts of the world — and will shift further over the decades ahead in still others. We now have diamond- or rectangular-shaped populations in many countries and will at some point have inverted pyramids — the old will outnumber the young.

The United Nations' most recent study on demographic trends confirms these changes and puts to rest any assumption that the pyramid-shape will return. The former ratio of old-to-young already no longer exists in many countries and, much of the world will soon follow. Yet many of our talent management practices today are derived from this old idea.

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8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees

March 13, 2012 13:00 by Ann Pace

(From LinkedIn) -- Great employees are reliable, dependable, proactive, diligent, great leaders and great followers... they possess a wide range of easily-defined—but hard to find—qualities.
 
A few hit the next level. Some employees are remarkable, possessing qualities that may not appear on performance appraisals but nonetheless make a major impact on performance.
 
Here are eight qualities of remarkable employees:
 
1. They ignore job descriptions. The smaller the company, the more important it is that employees can think on their feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities, and do whatever it takes, regardless of role or position, to get things done.
 
When a key customer's project is in jeopardy, remarkable employees know without being told there's a problem and jump in without being asked—even if it's not their job.
 
2. They’re eccentric. The best employees are often a little different: quirky, sometimes irreverent, even delighted to be unusual. They seem slightly odd, but in a really good way. Unusual personalities shake things up, make work more fun, and transform a plain-vanilla group into a team with flair and flavor.
 
People who aren't afraid to be different naturally stretch boundaries and challenge the status quo, and they often come up with the best ideas.

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5 Ways Young Professionals Want to Be Led

March 13, 2012 13:00 by Ann Pace

(From Forbes) -- Recently, my organization facilitated a roundtable session with fifteen young professionals. Their main concern was how to advance in a multi-generational workplace. Several of these young professionals felt that they didn’t belong or fit in their workplace; they were uncertain about who to trust and didn’t respect the manner in which they were being led. These young professionals were eager to learn the best ways their generation could take control, influence their workplace culture and start performing at the highest levels. They wanted to get noticed, create impact and at the same time discover how to start generating more income and accelerate their advancement.

This three hour roundtable was intense, but we successfully identified what these young professionals were really looking for: how to most effectively teach their baby boomer bosses how they seek to be led. As one young professional said, “if my boss understands how I am wired to work, I will not only teach the organization’s old guard how to lead my generation, but my performance will help contribute to the organization’s success. I will make them more relevant.” This confident perspective changed the conversation and helped to define the following top five ways young professionals want to be led by their baby boomer bosses.

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The Business Impact of Talent Intelligence

March 8, 2012 12:00 by Ann Pace

(From marketwire) -- Taleo Corporation, a global leader of SaaS-based Talent Management solutions, in conjunction with partner Human Capital Institute (HCI), today released a research report on the economics of Talent Intelligence. The report, based on an extensive survey of more than 600 global organizations, examines the far-reaching economic impact of talent intelligence, identifying connections between its use and overall corporate performance. The report reveals the companies that best satisfy the demands of their leaders are those that place heightened importance on and provide greater visibility into workforce data, delivered in a way that empowers managers to make more informed, rapid business decisions. Talent Intelligence remains a key differentiator in today's hyper-competitive world where the human capital of an organization is its principle engine of production.

As the global economy continues its slow recovery and organizations grapple with an uncertain business climate, the ability to define current and future talent needs and vulnerabilities is essential to success. Companies on the leading edge today are using Talent Intelligence in combination with other business information to drive critical decisions. They are leveraging Talent Intelligence technologies to provide historical, current, and predictive views of the workforce and its direct impact on business operations.

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Talent grab: How top companies are managing Africa’s skills shortage

March 6, 2012 12:00 by Ann Pace

(From howwemadeitinafrica.com) -- Africa has a significant shortage of management and specialised skills. It is estimated there will be a 75% increase in the use of expatriate staff over the next three years, and the strategic use of these resources will be a critical success factor to help establish and grow business across Africa.

“Foreign direct investment (FDI), and the projected increase in FDI into Africa, will mop up talent … The demand for talent in Africa is going to outstrip supply … As a result of the higher demand for talent, the price of talent is going to go up, and it is going to continue to go up … for as long as there is a skills shortage,” said Ray Harraway, Tax Human Capital Director at Ernst & Young Africa, at the recent E&Y Strategic Growth Forum in Cape Town.
 
During a session called ‘Addressing the human capital challenge: talent management & mobility’, human resources (HR) professionals from IBM, E&Y and Standard Bank shared some insights into how they manage their workforce across the continent.

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Strengths-Based Goal Setting

March 6, 2012 12:00 by Ann Pace

(From Gallup Management Journal) -- Whether the economy is good or bad, most organizations are constantly looking for ways to increase productivity. For managers who are looking to do more with less, a key first step is for them to know their employees individually. This helps managers position workers for success, motivate them, and keep them focused on actions that are essential for the continued health of the organization.

But it's difficult for managers to do any of this if they are not attuned to the strengths of the people on their team. And it's just as difficult for workers to use their strengths if their managers don't understand, appreciate, or maximize those strengths.

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