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The Qualities of an Effective Change Leader in Todays World

The Qualities of an Effective Change Leader in Today’s World

Navigating change is one of the most significant challenges organisations face today. Effective change management is essential for businesses in order to adapt to rapidly evolving market conditions, technologies and customer preferences. Without embracing change, businesses risk becoming obsolete in this competitive landscape. Consequently, adapting to change is not optional but imperative.

Senior leaders must develop the critical skill of leading through change. According to Gallup’s 2021 Work Experience Communication Survey, nearly 7 out of 10 employees experience burnout at least sometimes. This highlights the critical role of change leaders, who can potentially adapt practices to reduce employee stress and foster a healthier work environment.

What Is Change Leadership?

In a 1995 Harvard Business Review article, John P. Kotter said change requires creating a new system and always demands leadership. Therefore, change leadership is about guiding an organisation through significant disruptions, transitions or other transformations. It’s not just about managing the mechanics of change; it’s about inspiring and guiding the organisation’s people through the change.

A successful leader has the required change management skills to lead a group of people, promote cross-functional collaboration and unite teams with a shared vision. Deloitte observed that “Employee experience is a key differentiator in retaining talent”. Change leaders can increase employee engagement by involving them in decision-making and encouraging them to plan and implement changes, thereby enhancing their professional experience and commitment level.

Change Management Vs. Change Leadership

Change management focuses on processes, tools and mechanisms to achieve specific outcomes. In contrast, change leadership is about adding an engine to the whole process to make it go faster and smarter. A change-leading person is all about vision, influence and emotional intelligence. Change leadership means influencing and focusing on change, while change management is the process for achieving change. Without change leadership, employees may not support or understand the organisation’s vision and the process for achieving it may not happen effectively.

Qualities of Successful Change Leaders

1. Visionary Mindset:

Effective change leaders have a clear vision of the future and can communicate this vision. The vision acts as a guiding star, aligning the organisation’s efforts and inspiring stakeholders to commit to the change journey. Organisations with more visionary leadership are more likely to succeed in their transformations.

2. High Emotional Intelligence:

Change often brings uncertainty and resistance. Leaders with high emotional intelligence (EQ) navigate these challenges easily. Their ability to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as empathise with the feelings of others, create a supportive environment that fosters trust and collaboration.

3. Adaptability:

In a landscape characterised by constant change, adaptability is essential. Effective change leaders are flexible and open to new ideas. They can pivot strategies as needed and are unafraid to take calculated risks. Adaptive leadership drives organisational resilience, involving the ability to identify and respond to both external and internal changes.

4. Good Communication Skills:

Transparent and consistent communication is vital during times of change. Leaders must explain the reasons for change, the benefits it can bring, and the roles everyone plays in the transition. Clear communication can significantly boost employee engagement during change initiatives.

5. Effective Listening Skills:

Leaders should be able to explore perspectives and consider them when looking for solutions. This starts with listening. Leaders who listen to their people develop stronger relationships by gaining trust and showing that change is a collective effort.

6. Strategic Thinking:

Strategic thinking means looking beyond immediate tasks to understand the broader implications of change. Influential change leaders align change initiatives with the organisation’s long-term goals, ensuring that each step taken today builds towards a sustainable future.

7. Decisiveness:

During times of change, indecisiveness can paralyse progress. Effective change leaders must make informed decisions swiftly to maintain momentum, reassuring the organisation and keeping the change process on track.

8. Resilience:

Change management often involves setbacks and challenges. Resilient change leaders remain steadfast and optimistic, motivating themselves and their teams. This resilience gives confidence and assurance that obstacles can be overcome together.

9. Accountability and Responsibility:

People respect courage and accountability. Effective change leaders hold themselves responsible for their team’s performance. They may need to make tough decisions, even against dissenting opinions, but doing so with ownership of the consequences demonstrates commitment to the organisation’s best interests and builds trust.

Assessing Own Strengths

Effective change leadership skills do not develop overnight. They require an iterative process of assessing strengths and weaknesses. For CEOs, board members and senior executives, adopting new leadership approaches is essential. Change leadership is a critical trend in the modern world of work.

Change leaders must recognise that guiding people through complex change is not easy. Every kind of change, even positive ones, come with challenges. Therefore, successful change leadership requires resilience to manage setbacks, uncertainty and pressure.

Conclusion

In today’s rapidly evolving world, effective change leadership is essential for organisational success. Leaders who possess qualities such as a visionary mindset, high emotional intelligence, adaptability, strong communication and listening skills, strategic thinking, decisiveness, resilience and accountability can navigate their organisations through significant change. By fostering an environment of trust and collaboration, these leaders can inspire their teams to embrace change and work towards a shared vision, ensuring long-term success and sustainability.

Employment in Italy from Today to 2028: Growth and Challenges

Employment in Italy from Today to 2028: Growth and Challenges

The Italian economy is currently undergoing a period of significant change, influenced by global megatrends and adverse shocks. Key megatrends include the digital transition, the green transition, and demographic changes. Digitalization is revolutionizing business models and production processes, while the green transition, driven by sustainability goals, is transforming sectors such as energy and transportation. Concurrently, an aging population is placing pressure on the labor market and welfare systems.

Complicating this scenario further are the adverse shocks that have impacted Italian and international economic activities over the past three years: the pandemic, the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, and the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These events have led to the worst recession since World War II, followed by a surge in inflation driven by the post-pandemic recovery and rising energy prices. This situation has prompted central banks to raise interest rates, thereby slowing economic growth consolidation and exerting additional pressure on businesses and workers.

The combination of all these factors is redefining the employment landscape, necessitating a strategic response to ensure real, sustainable, and inclusive growth.

Three Employment Scenarios
All these considerations are addressed in the comprehensive Excelsior Report “Forecasts of Employment and Professional Needs in Italy in the Medium Term (2024-2028),” prepared by Unioncamere in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies, which outlines employment forecasts for the coming years across three scenarios: positive, average, and negative. In the best-case scenario, the total employment demand is estimated to be around 3.6 million units, while in the worst-case scenario, it will be about 3.1 million units. This translates to an annual average forecast of 630,000-730,000 jobs.

The resources from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) will play a crucial role in this context. The PNRR aims to stimulate economic growth through investments in infrastructure, digitalization, and environmental sustainability, significantly contributing to job creation and thus increasing the “expansion demand,” which is the demand for new jobs generated by economic growth.

Conversely, the demographic challenge is becoming increasingly impactful on the Italian system. With an aging active population, the need for “replacement demand” is growing, which is the demand for workers needed to replace those retiring. This component is essential for maintaining labor market stability, especially in sectors like healthcare and education, where replacing retiring workers is critical. More generally, to better understand the pressure exerted by the demographic issue on employment needs, it is sufficient to consider that for the five-year period 2024-2028, the “replacement demand” will account for between 80% and 92%, depending on the scenario considered.

Digital and Green: Skills for the Present
At the beginning, we mentioned the megatrends most influencing global economies, directly leading to the skills increasingly required by today’s and tomorrow’s workers. We refer, of course, to digital and green skills, whose growing importance is reflected in medium-term estimates. Between 2024 and 2028, it is projected that digital skills will be required by over 2.1 million workers, representing more than 58% of the total demand in the positive scenario. Skills related to environmental sustainability, on the other hand, will be required to at least an intermediate level by over 2.3 million workers, nearly two-thirds of the total.

Particularly significant in the digital arena will be the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the labor market. Despite uncertainties related to the rapid evolution of this technology, AI is expected to profoundly transform many sectors. To confirm this, a study by the International Monetary Fund estimates that in the future, AI could affect nearly 40% of jobs globally, with a greater impact, up to 60%, in advanced economies. Specifically regarding Italy, the demand for AI-related skills is already increasing, although, using online job postings as a benchmark, there is a noticeable lag compared to other European countries such as Germany, Spain and France.

The Future: Challenges and Opportunities
From the data in the Excelsior Report “Forecasts of Employment and Professional Needs in Italy in the Medium Term (2024-2028),” both the significant challenges of our time and the opportunities they can generate in the labor market are evident.

It is crucial to invest in digital and green skills, promote innovation, and continue the transition toward more sustainable business models. Additionally, it is essential to develop active labor market policies that facilitate the matching of supply and demand, also to reduce the “mismatch” between the skills required by companies and those possessed by workers. Only in this way can Italy successfully face the challenges of our time and ensure an inclusive and dynamic labor market.

Leveraging LinkedIn: The Organizational Benefits of Increased Activity

Leveraging LinkedIn: The Organizational Benefits of Increased Activity

In today’s digitally-driven professional world, LinkedIn stands as the premier platform for career development, networking, and organisational growth. Whether you’re a seasoned executive, a rising leader, or managing a team, leveraging LinkedIn effectively can yield significant benefits for both your career and your organisation. Here’s why you should be more active on LinkedIn and how it can positively impact your professional trajectory and your company’s success.

1. Enhancing Your Professional Brand

Build Your Personal Brand

Being active on LinkedIn allows you to curate and enhance your professional brand. Regularly updating your profile with recent achievements, skills, and endorsements can help you establish a strong online presence. By sharing your insights through posts and articles, you position yourself as a thought leader in your field, gaining recognition and respect from peers and industry leaders alike.

Showcase Your Expertise

LinkedIn provides a platform to showcase your expertise through various content forms; posts, articles, videos, and more. Sharing industry insights, commenting on relevant news, and engaging in professional discussions not only demonstrates your knowledge but also keeps you at the forefront of your industry’s latest trends and developments.

 

2. Expanding Your Network

Connect with Industry Leaders

Active participation on LinkedIn helps you connect with influential leaders and professionals in your industry. Building a diverse and robust network can open doors to new opportunities, collaborations, and partnerships. It’s not just about quantity; cultivating meaningful connections with key players can significantly enhance your professional growth and reputation.

Engage with a Global Audience

LinkedIn’s global reach allows you to engage with professionals from around the world. This international exposure can lead to diverse perspectives, innovative ideas, and potential opportunities that you might not encounter within your local network.

 

3. Supporting Organisational Goals

Attract Top Talent

For organisations, an active LinkedIn presence is crucial for attracting top talent. Leaders who share their company’s vision, culture, and successes on LinkedIn can create a positive employer brand. Potential candidates are more likely to be drawn to organisations that have a strong, active presence on LinkedIn, showcasing an engaged and dynamic workplace.

Enhance Company Visibility

When leaders and employees actively participate on LinkedIn, they collectively amplify the company’s visibility. Sharing company updates, milestones, and thought leadership content helps in building a reputable and recognisable brand. This visibility can attract not only talent but also clients, partners, and investors.

 

4. Leveraging LinkedIn for Market Insights

Stay Informed on Industry Trends

LinkedIn is a treasure trove of industry insights and trends. By following key influencers, companies, and groups relevant to your field, you can stay informed about the latest developments and innovations. This knowledge enables you to make strategic decisions and keep your organisation ahead of the curve.

Competitive Intelligence

Engaging with LinkedIn helps you keep an eye on your competitors. Observing their activities, content, and engagement strategies can provide valuable competitive intelligence. This information can be used to refine your own strategies and identify opportunities for differentiation.

 

5. Boosting Employee Engagement

Encourage Employee Advocacy

Encouraging employees to be active on LinkedIn can significantly boost your company’s reach and reputation. Employee advocacy programs where team members share content about their work and company achievements can create a powerful ripple effect, amplifying your brand’s message.

Foster a Learning Culture

LinkedIn Learning offers a plethora of courses and resources that can benefit employees at all levels. Promoting a culture of continuous learning through LinkedIn can enhance skills, improve job satisfaction, and drive innovation within your organisation.

 

6. Maximising LinkedIn Features

Utilise LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups offer a space for like-minded professionals to discuss industry-specific topics. Joining and participating in these groups can help you build relationships, gain insights, and establish yourself as a knowledgeable contributor in your field.

Optimise LinkedIn Analytics

For organisations, LinkedIn’s analytics tools provide valuable data on engagement and reach. By analysing these metrics, you can refine your content strategy, understand what resonates with your audience, and optimise your posts for maximum impact.

 

Practical Tips for Increasing LinkedIn Activity

 

Practical Tips for Increasing LinkedIn Activity

Consistent Posting

Aim to post regularly; whether it’s sharing an article, commenting on industry news, or updating your status. Consistency is key to maintaining visibility and engagement.

Engaging Content

Share a mix of content types including articles, videos, infographics, and personal stories. Engaging and varied content can attract a wider audience and keep your network interested.

Authentic Interaction

Authenticity is crucial on LinkedIn. Engage genuinely with others by commenting on their posts, congratulating them on their achievements, and offering insightful feedback. Building authentic relationships can lead to more meaningful professional connections.

Profile Optimisation

Ensure your LinkedIn profile is complete and up-to-date. Use a professional photo, write a compelling summary, and highlight key skills and experiences. A well-optimised profile enhances your credibility and appeal.

Leverage Recommendations

Request and give recommendations. Positive endorsements from colleagues and clients can significantly boost your profile’s credibility and attract new opportunities.

 

Being more active on LinkedIn is not just about personal gain; it’s about leveraging a powerful platform to enhance your professional brand, expand your network, support organisational goals, and stay ahead in a competitive market. By integrating these strategies into your LinkedIn activity, you can unlock numerous benefits for both your career and your organisation. Embrace the potential of LinkedIn and watch as it transforms your professional journey and drives your company’s success.

LGBTQ+ Inclusion at Work

LGBTQ+ Inclusion at Work

Diversity and inclusivity are vital aspects of workplace culture that not only improves the lives of people in the organisation but has a strong business case too. However, one area of diversity and inclusion that many organisations are falling behind with is focusing on LGBTQ+ inclusivity at work.

The recent Deloitte Global 2023 LGBT+ Inclusion @ Work report highlights the following findings:

  • One-third of respondents are looking to move to a more LGBT+ inclusive employer, a figure that is even higher for those in an ethnic minority.
  • When it comes to choosing their new employer, what matters most to respondents is seeing a diverse workforce—with this being a deciding factor for nearly seven in 10.
  • Diversity and LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace are particularly important for younger generations. Gen Z and millennial respondents are far more likely than their Gen X counterparts to place an emphasis on diversity and inclusion when seeking a new employer.
  • Being out at work is important for many, yet less than half are out with all colleagues. The majority (six in 10) of respondents believe it is important to be able to be out at work about their sexual orientation.
  • Concerns about being treated differently keep many from being out at work, while other factors, including concern for personal safety, play a role. Nearly two in 10 cite concerns for personal safety.
  • Comfort to be out at work increases with seniority. This is most pronounced when it comes to sexual orientation—just over half (51%) of those in senior roles are comfortable being out at work, compared to just over a third (37%) of junior employees.
  • Non-inclusive behaviours are being experienced at work— and many say they are certain it is a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Four in 10 respondents (42%) have experienced non-inclusive behaviours in a work context and just less than half say they are certain they experienced them as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity, with a further 37% saying they strongly suspect this to be the reason.

These statistics are helping organisations to realise that they need to do more to ensure every employee feels safe, supported, understood and accepted.


Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusion in the Workplace

Review Existing Policies

Before setting out new policies for diversity and inclusion, start by reviewing the existing policies. This review can make sure that language is inclusive, for example, removing gendered language such as ‘mother’ and replacing this with the term parent, guardian, or carer.

As well as reviewing existing policies for gendered language, it is worth reflecting on the policies already in place. Many organisations focus on including policies that serve a large proportion of the workforce. However, this approach can make the minorities in your workforce feel excluded. Consequently, there may be amendments you can make to include those that may feel like they’re in the minority in your organisation.

Another crucial update in your policies is to ensure that discrimination, harassment and anti-inclusive behaviour will not be tolerated. The policy can also stipulate the steps that the organisation will take if there is a breach of policy

Use Inclusivity to Create Community

Networks within your organisation can help to increase employee engagement and retention. When organisations make progressive steps and take bigger steps in promoting allyship, they create a company-wide culture of inclusivity. By creating communities and opportunities for participation, you show that it is something that everyone can enjoy and doesn’t require individuals to ‘out’ themselves to feel included in an LGBTQ+ network.

To grow a community feel within an organisation requires support and inclusion at every level. It can help for leaders (and senior members) to be instrumental in creating aims and responsibilities for building the community.

Education and Regular Training

Many people do not realise the persecution and threats to safety that can affect LGBTQ+ individuals. Whether in or out of the workplace, there are significant risks that LGBTQ+ people face. Creating a compassionate and understanding workforce can help LGTBQ+ employees feel safe at work, but education so that all employees understand the risks that are still present can help to build awareness and allyship.

Having specific inclusivity workshops or language reviews can also be useful to show the commitment to seeking expert and external views. It may also be useful to work with consultants who identify in different groups to ensure the organisation has considered every perspective. It is important not to rely on minoritised employees to be the spokesperson but allow them to share their knowledge if they feel comfortable doing so.

Encouraging conversations and resource sharing can help to build insights and knowledge. This can create a safe space in the organisation for people to raise concerns, be able to ask questions and encourage positive and constructive conversations and ideas on how to increase inclusivity.

Remember that education is not a one-off event for inclusivity; it serves as an ongoing practice.

Make Wellbeing a Priority

Wellbeing can be lower for LGBTQ+ employees. These employees are less likely to say that their work positively impacts their health compared to heterosexual workers. As a result, monitoring wellbeing can be an important aspect of the organisation’s inclusivity work.

Having wellbeing support and training can help all staff who may face stress and anxiety, but it is crucial to ensure your wellbeing offering is appropriate and supportive to many different employee groups.

Create a Style Guide

Language can be powerful in making people feel included or excluded. Organisations can help build inclusivity at every step by creating a guide of inclusive terms that feel on-brand for the organisation. For greater inclusivity, you may want to poll your team on the terms they feel most comfortable with so they feel empowered and included rather than stigmatised or alienated.

Another aspect of the style guide could be the support with pronoun normalisation. Employees that feel comfortable adding their pronouns to email footers and bylines can help to show respect for identity. However, it is important to recognise that this respect runs both ways, and there may be people that do not feel comfortable sharing their pronouns.

Avoid Tokenism

Inclusivity is not just for Pride month, yet some organisations will only focus on LGBTQ+ support during Pride. Employees (and customers) will quickly see the difference between organisations that embody inclusivity and those that only use Pride as a marketing strategy.

Tokenism can be especially damaging to those who feel welcome initially and then realise they may be in harmful environments if the organisation doesn’t have a fully inclusive set-up.

Again, a clear organisational policy which is actively used and adjusted can be the starting point from which year-round inclusivity events and support can flourish.

Bridging the Generation Gaps Practical Tips for Workplace Harmony

Bridging the Generation Gaps: Practical Tips for Workplace Harmony

Today’s workplace frequently sees multiple generations working together, with Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z all now contributing to the workforce. Yet the vast diversity in age and experience present in the modern workplace brings both opportunities and challenges. If the company is to thrive it will be essential to get a grip on managing generational differences in the workplace, in order to create a harmonious and productive work environment.

In this article, we will outline some core practical tips that will help employers working with different generations to achieve this goal.

How to manage different generations in the workplace

1) What is the generation gap?

One of the first steps in bridging the generation gap lies in understanding the different benefits, characteristics and values that each age demographic has to offer.

Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) – Have a strong work ethic, high company loyalty, and prefer in-person communication.

Generation X (born 1965-1980) – Are entrepreneurial, resourceful and adaptable and prioritise independence, flexibility, and a good work-life balance.

Millennials (born 1981-1996) – Tend to seek meaningful work and are tech-savvy, valuing collaboration with colleagues. They usually prefer digital communication methods.

Generation Z (born 1997-2012) – Are digital natives that are used to fast-paced environments and continuous learning. They often value diversity, inclusivity, and social responsibility above status and financial compensation..

Recognizing generational differences in the workplace will allow employers to better tailor their communication and management strategies, so they can best suit the needs of each age group.

2) Encourage Open Communication

Effective communication is pivotal when it comes to bridging the gap between generations. Employers should foster a continuously open dialogue where all employees feel comfortable giving their input and feedback and expressing their ideas and opinions.

Schedule Regular Meetings and Check-Ins – Schedule regular team meetings and one-on-one check-ins with individual employees to enhance good communication between different workplace generations. Employees can use these opportunities to discuss ideas and project updates, provide input, and address any concerns.

Embed Feedback Loops – Implementing effective feedback loops that let employees give and receive constructive feedback helps to encourage continual improvement and nurture mutual understanding.

Utilise Diverse Communication Channels – Employers working with different generations should deploy a variety of communication tools, as this will aid them in managing generational differences in the workplace. While Boomers and Gen X may prefer emails and phone calls for example, Millennials and Gen Z might favour instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp or Slack.

3) Promoting Cross-Generational Collaboration

Aiding collaboration among the different workplace generations helps to foster a sense of unity and will allow employers to better leverage the strengths of each group.

Establish Mentorship Programs – Setting up mentorship programs where more experienced employees share their knowledge with younger colleagues will help in upskilling and boosting mutual respect and understanding.

Encourage Reverse Mentorships – Reverse mentorships are where younger workers mentor older ones, especially in areas like technology and social media. Doing this can help expand perspectives, bridge the digital divide and enhance intergenerational learning.

Create cross-collaborational team projects – Creating cross-functional teams for projects, made up of a mix of different workplace generations, helps promote diversity of perspective and encourages creative solutions.

4) Nurture a Culture of Inclusivity

An inclusive work environment is a space where all employees feel valued and respected – and embedding this organisation wide is key to bridging the generational gap in the workplace.

Offer Diversity and Inclusion Training – It’s important to provide regular training sessions that emphasise the importance of diversity and inclusion, so employees understand and appreciate the unique contributions of their colleagues.

Celebrating Difference – Employers should celebrate the diverse backgrounds and experiences of employees through team-building activities and cultural days or events, as well as recognition programs.

Provide Flexible Work Options – Flexible working arrangements help to manage generational differences at work and cater to the new hybrid workforce. While Boomers and Gen X might prefer the option to telecommute, Millennials and Gen Z may opt for more flexible hours and remote working opportunities.

5) Leverage Technology

Technology has a major part to play in helping to bridging generational differences in communication, as well as in solving generational issues at work. Platforms that facilitate communication, collaboration, and efficiency help connect up employees from across the generation divide.

Adopt User-Friendly Tools – Deploy tech that’s intuitive and easy for all generations to use and provide the necessary training and support to get employees comfortable with their new tools.

Encourage Digital Literacy – Nurture digital literacy by holding regular workshops and training sessions. Doing this is important to help create a generation gap bridge, as older employees may not be as tech-smart as their younger counterparts.

Utilise Collaboration Platforms – Make use of intelligent collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams, Trello, or Asana to streamline project management and communication between a diversity of generations. Tools like these greatly aid in collaboration and help to bridge the gap between different working styles.

6) Build Solid Interpersonal Relationships

The bedrock of a thriving and harmonious workplace lies in strong interpersonal relationships, which make employees feel supported and connected and foster cooperation.

Hold Team-Building Activities – Organising regular team-building and bonding activities helps to promote trust, loyalty and camaraderie. These can include day workshops, trips away, or social or sports events, where colleagues with generational gaps can freely mix.

Host Lunch and Learn Sessions – Informal lunch and learn sessions where employees share their expertise on various topics will aid in bridging generational differences in the workplace. They help foster knowledge sharing and cross generation communication, as well as promote strong workplace relationships.

Create Peer Recognition Programs – Implementing peer recognition programs where employees acknowledge and appreciate each other’s contributions helps to boost morale and encourage a positive work culture.

7) Leadership can help in bridging the generation gap

Leaders play a crucial role in bridging gaps due to s diversity in generations. They should be strong role models and set the tone for the entire organisation, so they effectively impact and influence the workplace culture.

Strive to Lead by Example – It’s vital to demonstrate respect and appreciation for all generations and show a willingness to learn from others and adapt to different working styles.

Nurture a Culture of Continuous Learning – Leaders should encourage continual learning and development and identify opportunities for employees to upskill and reskill, regardless of what age demographic they come from.

Try to Address Conflicts Promptly – Deal with generational issues and conflicts swiftly and fairly by fostering an open dialogue between employees and management. When it comes to finding a solution to the generation gap, it will be vital to respect the perspectives of all employees.

Latest Findings on Employee Engagement: The Implications for Today’s Workplace

Latest Findings on Employee Engagement: The Implications for Today’s Workplace

Employee engagement is key to a thriving workplace and research shows that companies that possess highly engaged teams outperform their rivals in business, across all sectors. Despite this, the Gallup report entitled Annual Employee Engagement in the U.S., World and Best-Practice Organizations has revealed that employee engagement scores have hit an 11-year low annually, with scores dipping the lowest for the Gen Z demographic.

According to the Gallup report, the first four months of 2024 saw employee engagement decreasing by three percentage points from the end of the previous year, to 30%.  This drop means that 4.8 million less employees are now engaged in their work, the lowest figures since 2013.

The most marked decreases were observed in four main groups – Gen Z, millennials, exclusively remote workers and those who work full time on site in the workplace. Gen Z, and full-time on-site workers both displayed a drop of six percentage points, in the first quarter of 2024.  During the pandemic, employee engagement rose, reaching peak levels in 2020, when figures show 36% of workers were “highly engaged” in their positions.

The Gallup survey drew data from a random group of 18,000 adults over the age of 18 and defines employee engagement by measuring levels of worker enthusiasm and involvement. As part of the assessment of engagement levels, the poll asked employees several key questions, including whether they felt they knew what was expected of them, if they felt in sync with their company’s purpose, and if they had opportunities to further their career.

When it comes to aligning with organisational purpose, on-site workers who held roles that could be done remotely displayed the most severe drop – from 38% in 2021 to 32% in the first four months of this year.  Though in the US at least, layoffs have risen and employee quit rates have fallen, this doesn’t seem to have positively impacted engagement rates, bucking the typical trend observed when jobs are scarce. Active disengagement rates, where workers are more than just unenthusiastic about their roles, have remained the same as the last quarter of 2023 for the first four months of this year, at 17%.

Baby boomers are the only ones defying the general pattern, with engagement rates for this sector increasing by two points since 2020, from 34% to 35% – while the percentage of actively disengaged workers in this demographic has also decreased by two points, from 17% to 15%. Engagement rates for Gen X by contrast, have declined by four percentage points, from 35% to 31%, while the percentage of actively disengaged workers in this grouping rose by one point to 18%.

The steepest decrease in engagement though can be seen in the millennial and Gen Z groups, particularly older millennials (born between 1980 and 1988), with the engagement rate for the latter group falling by seven points to 32%. Active disengagement rates for the older millennial demographic also increased – by five percentage points – to 17%.  Younger millennials and Gen z’ers saw a five-point engagement rate decline to 35%, while the percentage of workers who are actively disengaged in these groups rose by one point, from 13% to 14%.

Highly engaged employees consistently display greater levels of retention, wellbeing and productivity, while having lower levels of absenteeism. Gallup’s research poll identified 12 main elements that affect worker engagement levels – and having clarity over what is expected of employees is a major contributory factor.

Despite the importance of this element, across all age groups, the number of workers who feel they know what is expected of them in the workplace has decreased by 4%, since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Feeling cared for by their employers is another crucial factor that feeds into engagement levels – and here the Gen Z and Millennial sectors have seen the biggest decline, of between five and nine percentage points.

These latest research findings will be helpful for employers seeking to counteract these negative trends, as they highlight the current problems the modern, permanently altered post-pandemic workplace has thrown up. By identifying the issues with engagement, employers will know where they need to improve, such as enhancing communication about the organisation’s mission and values, so workers have a purpose and feel connected.

Also, establishing clear expectations as to what employees should deliver and training managers adequately so they are equipped to meet the demands of the new hybrid workforce will be pivotal going forward. Presently 70% of managers surveyed by Gallup’s poll said they felt burned out and were either less engaged or were actively looking for other jobs.

Encouraging employee feedback is also critical to raising engagement levels, so that employers can respond to worker’s needs, ideas and opinions. This is particularly important to the younger generations, who are looking for more than just financial compensation and want roles which give them input and influence.

The research findings also highlight how to meet the needs of the new hybrid workforce, employers must continue to factor in flexibility, another key factor when it comes to engagement levels. Offering the ability to work flexibly to all employees, including those that work permanently on-site will allow the organisation to significantly boost satisfaction levels and therefore raise engagement.

Though the job market is holding firm, layoffs are increasing, while engagement levels in several age sectors are decreasing – and if this is not addressed, now, it will negatively impact the organisation.

Employee engagement is vital and shouldn’t be overlooked, as workers make decisions on behalf of the organisation daily, with the quality of these dependent on how engaged they are. Productivity also increases when employee engagement rises, which directly impacts the bottom line both in the short, medium and long term and the talent shortage presents companies with another thorny challenge, as they must work out how to attract and keep the best executives.

Increasing engagement levels will help employers mitigate the levels of detachment many employees, particularly younger people, are currently feeling in their roles. In turn, this will boost loyalty, as highly engaged employees are more likely to see a future at their current workplace, enabling employers to retain more top talent – which will be crucial to the organisation’s ability to survive and thrive long-term.

 

 

Why Inclusive Leadership is Crucial for Success 3

Why Inclusive Leadership is Crucial for Success

In today’s rapidly evolving work environment, inclusive leadership is more than just a buzzword—it’s a vital element for organisational success and employee wellbeing. An inclusive leader creates a culture where all employees feel valued, respected and empowered to bring their authentic selves to work. This approach not only fosters a more engaged and productive workforce but also drives innovation and growth. Here’s why inclusive leadership is crucial and how you can step up to become an inclusive leader.

 

The Importance of Inclusive Leadership

 

  1. Fostering Authenticity and Engagement

Inclusive leadership is about creating an environment where individuals feel safe and encouraged to express their true selves without fear of judgment or repercussion. When employees can be their authentic selves at work, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and satisfied. This is particularly important for LGBTQ+ employees who may feel the need to hide their identities due to fear of discrimination. According to a Deloitte report, organisations with inclusive cultures are six times more likely to be innovative and agile, and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes​.

  1. Enhancing Team Performance

A diverse and inclusive workplace brings together varied perspectives and experiences, leading to more innovative solutions and better decision-making. Research by McKinsey & Company shows that companies with diverse executive teams are 39% more likely to have above-average profitability compared to their less diverse counterparts​​. Inclusive leaders who actively seek out and value diverse viewpoints can harness this potential to drive team performance and organisational success.

  1. Reducing Turnover and Increasing Retention

Employees who feel included and valued are less likely to leave their organisations. This is especially true for employees from marginalised groups, such as those who identify as LGBTQ+. A study by Catalyst found that feelings of inclusion are linked to higher job satisfaction, which in turn reduces turnover rates​​. Inclusive leaders who prioritise creating a supportive and equitable work environment can significantly improve employee retention.

  1. Meeting Ethical and Social Expectations

Beyond the business case, there is a growing societal expectation for organisations to act responsibly and ethically. Inclusive leadership is aligned with these values, promoting fairness, respect and equality. Leaders who champion diversity and inclusion not only comply with legal and ethical standards but also enhance their organisation’s reputation and brand image. This is particularly relevant during Pride Month, a time when businesses can visibly support the LGBTQ+ community and reinforce their commitment to inclusivity.

 

How to Step Up as an Inclusive Leader

 

  1. Be Your Authentic Self

Authenticity is at the heart of inclusive leadership. By being your authentic self, you set the tone for your team, demonstrating that it’s safe and acceptable to be genuine. Share your own experiences and challenges, and encourage your team members to do the same. This is especially important for LGBTQ+ employees who may have faced challenges in being open about their identities. Authenticity fosters trust and openness, which are essential for a supportive and inclusive work environment.

  1. Create Safe Spaces for Open Dialogue

Inclusive leaders facilitate open and honest communication. Encourage team members to share their thoughts, ideas and concerns without fear of retaliation. Regularly hold meetings and discussions focused on diversity and inclusion, and be proactive in addressing any issues that arise. Safe spaces for dialogue help to build a culture of trust and respect.

  1. Educate Yourself and Your Team

Understanding the various aspects of diversity and inclusion is crucial for inclusive leadership. Educate yourself on topics such as unconscious bias, cultural competence and inclusive practices. Provide training and resources for your team to enhance their understanding and commitment to these principles. Continuous learning and development are key to fostering an inclusive workplace.

  1. Actively Seek Diverse Perspectives

Make a conscious effort to include diverse voices in decision-making processes. This means actively seeking out input from team members with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Encourage participation and ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute. Diverse perspectives lead to more well-rounded and effective solutions.

  1. Implement Inclusive Policies and Practices

Policies and practices play a significant role in shaping workplace culture. Review and update your organisation’s policies to ensure they promote inclusivity and equity. This includes everything from hiring practices and promotion criteria to flexible work arrangements and support for employee resource groups. Inclusive policies help to create a level playing field for all employees.

  1. Hold Yourself and Others Accountable

Accountability is critical for sustaining an inclusive culture. Set clear goals and metrics for diversity and inclusion and regularly review progress. Hold yourself and others accountable for meeting these goals. Recognise and reward inclusive behaviours and address any instances of bias or discrimination promptly and effectively.

 

Overcoming Barriers to Authenticity

 

Many employees feel compelled to hide aspects of their identity at work, whether it’s their cultural background, sexual orientation or personal beliefs. This “masking” can lead to stress, reduced engagement, and lower job satisfaction. Inclusive leaders can help overcome these barriers by:

Creating a Culture of Acceptance: Foster an environment where differences are celebrated rather than merely tolerated. Celebrate cultural events and Pride Month, encourage sharing of diverse traditions and highlight the benefits of a diverse workforce.

Providing Support Systems: Establish employee resource groups and mentoring programmes to support underrepresented groups. These networks provide a sense of community and belonging, helping individuals to feel more comfortable and confident at work.

Promoting Work-Life Balance: Respect and accommodate diverse needs and lifestyles. Offer flexible working arrangements and support for personal commitments to help employees balance their professional and personal lives.

Conclusion

Inclusive leadership is essential for creating a workplace where everyone can thrive. By fostering authenticity, encouraging open dialogue, seeking diverse perspectives and implementing inclusive policies, leaders can build a culture of inclusion that drives engagement, innovation and success. Embracing inclusive leadership is not only the right thing to do but also a strategic imperative in today’s diverse and dynamic business environment. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to step up, lead by example and create a workplace where everyone feels valued and empowered to bring their full selves to work.

How to be an LGBTQ+ Ally

The latest news, updates and information from Horton International and the executive search industry.

How to be an LGBTQ+ Ally

Even in 2024, many LGBTQ+ individuals continue to face challenges in the workplace.

A 2022 report by Glaad found that:

  • Seven in ten LGBTQ people in the US report personally experiencing discrimination, up 11% from 2021 and a disturbing increase of 24% from 2020.
  • A majority of transgender and nonbinary people do not feel safe walking in their own neighbourhoods.
  • Need for the Equality Act: 79% of LGBTQ Americans strongly support federal legislative action to protect them.

Along with demoralisation, this can breed workplace hostility. In the UK, a 2021 study from HR association the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) showed LGBTQ+ workers reported higher levels of workplace conflict than heterosexual, cisgender workers in the UK.

Forty percent of LGBTQ+ employees said they had experienced workplace conflict in the past 12 months, compared with just 29% of non-LGBTQ+ employees. Those numbers were even higher for transgender employees. Many of these reported conflicts were never fully resolved: 44% of LGBTQ+ workers said their conflicts had not been resolved at all, and 38% said they had only been partly resolved.

These findings highlight the ongoing need for inclusive workplace policies. Organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of such policies, as demonstrated by the 2023-2024 Corporate Equality Index, which shows that 97% of rated employers include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their non-discrimination policies. Additionally, 94% offer at least one transgender-inclusive healthcare plan.

With many people feeling they have to hide their true identity in the workplace, there is something every colleague can do to help make their workplace a welcoming environment and foster an open and accepting culture.

Allies are action-takers

It is easy to call yourself an ally, but a true ally is someone that takes action. Creating a committee in your organisation that can inspire action across the rest of the business can be really valuable. Taking an active role in events and inclusion practices is not only a direct way to improve the culture of the organisation, but also helps you to learn more about allyship and reducing your own bias.

Add pronouns to email signatures

If you feel comfortable sharing your pronouns, add them to your email signature, Zoom handle, LinkedIn profile and anywhere you network and connect with colleagues and contacts. This shouldn’t be mandatory, as there may be people exploring their identity or prefer their privacy, but it is an important way to help people feel safer when sharing their pronouns.

Elevate Pride networks

From regional to international Pride events and charities, having senior leaders championing and sharing these networks and events means your organisation will have voices that encourage inclusivity and diversity. While it is important to have championing voices in your organisation, do be mindful that you’re doing this to put LGBTQ+ voices first. Stand in solidarity, rather than leading the charge from a place of privilege.

Think about workplace language

Using inclusive language is important as an LGBTQ+ ally. The language you use can dramatically transform whether someone feels part of the conversation or offended.

With your language, it is also important not to make assumptions that could influence what you say. For example, talking about girlfriends or boyfriends may be an assumption you are making, which could prevent that person from opening up or being their true self with you.

Learn without interrogating

Organisational training can be a great way to start by increasing your awareness of the struggles and challenges LGBTQ+ people can face, but there are lots of ways you can increase your knowledge. From understanding the terminology and language to its historical struggles and the challenges that many people still face, increasing your knowledge can be a powerful tool for allyship.

If LGBTQ+ friends share stories, then truly listening and asking respectful questions can mean you develop a deeper understanding. Intrusive questions and assuming these friends will be walking encyclopaedias on all LGBTQ+ issues can put a strain on the friendship and it doesn’t show that you’re willing to do the work yourself to learn more about being a better ally.

Remember, mistakes can happen

As with all learning processes, mistakes can happen. Making an active effort to forgive yourself but also correct any behaviour that may have been offensive or hurtful is an important part of the allyship learning curve.

 

Generative AI and Consumer Behaviour: A New Era of Personalisation and Efficiency

Generative AI and Consumer Behaviour: A New Era of Personalisation and Efficiency

The impact of Generative Artificial Intelligence (generative AI) on consumer trends should not be underestimated. The technology can potentially impact the consumer sector significantly in multiple ways. According to Euromonitor International, in 2023, 72% of consumers used technology to enhance their lives, 42% were happy to engage with voice assistants, and 17% would be comfortable engaging with a bot regarding customer service.

Over the last year or so, generative AI has represented a groundbreaking frontier in technological innovation, with the potential to revolutionise the consumer sector. This technology, which involves machines autonomously creating content, promises personalised experiences, efficient operations, and unprecedented levels of innovation. The potential impact of generative AI on the consumer sector is far-ranging and appears poised to reshape how businesses interact with and cater to their customers.

Personalised Customer Experiences

One of the most profound impacts of generative AI on the consumer sector is the ability to deliver highly personalised customer experiences. By analysing vast datasets, generative AI algorithms can discern individual preferences, enabling businesses to tailor product recommendations, marketing messages, and overall interactions to meet the unique needs of each consumer.

Revolutionising Marketing and Advertising

The traditional approach to marketing and advertising is undergoing a paradigm shift with the integration of generative AI. Dynamic content creation allows businesses to craft highly targeted and adaptive campaigns, ensuring marketing messages resonate with specific audience segments. This approach not only increases the effectiveness of advertising but also fosters more profound connections between brands and consumers.

Innovative Product Design

Generative AI is poised to be a driving force behind innovation in product design. AI expedites the product development lifecycle by assisting in the generation of design concepts and prototypes. This acceleration enables businesses to bring a constant stream of innovative and appealing products to market, meeting the ever-evolving preferences of consumers.

Advanced Virtual Try-On Experiences

Generative AI transforms the consumer’s online shopping experience through advanced virtual try-ons. Whether in the fashion or furniture sectors, consumers can virtually try on products, envisioning how they fit into their lives before making purchase decisions. This technology bridges the gap between the online and physical retail experience, providing a more immersive and informed shopping journey.

Efficient Customer Service

Generative AI is enhancing customer service by powering intelligent chatbots and virtual assistants. These systems, equipped with natural language processing capabilities, can quickly and accurately understand and respond to customer inquiries. Businesses benefit from more efficient customer support processes, while consumers enjoy a seamless and responsive interaction.

Content Creation and Curation

Content creation, a vital aspect of consumer engagement, is streamlined through generative AI. Algorithms can generate high-quality content, including social media posts, articles, and product descriptions. This ensures a consistent and engaging online presence and frees up human resources for more strategic tasks.

Interactive Entertainment and Gaming

The entertainment industry is experiencing a transformative shift with the integration of generative AI. From personalised content recommendations on streaming platforms to developing interactive and immersive gaming experiences, AI is reshaping how consumers engage with and enjoy entertainment.

 

“The growing impact of Generative AI in the consumer sector has significant implications for desired talent characteristics, such as:

  1. Technical Proficiency: Talent needs to be well-versed in AI, machine learning, and generative models. Understanding model architectures, training, fine-tuning, and evaluation is crucial.
  2. Creativity and Innovation: As Generative AI becomes more prevalent, creativity is essential to generate novel ideas, and create unique content.
  3. Ethical Awareness: Understanding the ethical implications of AI-generated content is vital. This is especially relevant for the healthcare sector. Talent must consider fairness, bias, and privacy when creating and deploying models.
  4. Collaboration Skills: Working with cross-functional teams (data scientists, designers, marketers) is common. Talent should collaborate effectively and communicate complex AI concepts to non-technical stakeholders.
  5. Adaptability: The field evolves rapidly. Talent needs to stay updated and adapt to changing trends.
  6. Domain Knowledge: Understanding consumer behavior, market dynamics, and industry-specific challenges is crucial and ability to bridge AI expertise with consumer insights.
  7. Communication Skills: Explaining AI-generated content to consumers or clients requires clear communication in a simple, relatable manner.
The above characteristics are essential for professionals navigating the intersection of Generative AI and the consumer industry.”

 

 

 

 

 

Generative AI has enabled an era of personalised recommendations and tailored experiences, revolutionising how consumers engage with products and services. Simultaneously, an escalating awareness of climate and environmental concerns has prompted a paradigm shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly options, emphasising the ethical dimensions of consumer choices.