Teamwork: Lessons from Apple, Yahoo and LinkedIn

Learn valuable lessons on teamwork from leading companies such as Apple, Yahoo and LinkedIn!

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Effective teamwork: The key to success and growth

Effective teamwork is the secret behind the growth and success of the most successful companies in the world. Teamwork is an incredibly important ingredient of the ‘successful business’ recipe.

Take companies such as Apple, Yahoo and LinkedIn for example. All of these companies are well aware of the importance of teamwork. They work hard to promote teamwork and encourage collaboration among their employees.

What can we learn from these crazy successful companies and how they view and foster teamwork?

Lessons on teamwork from Apple, Yahoo and LinkedIn

Here are some valuable lessons on teamwork from Apple, Yahoo and LinkedIn:

Lesson #1: Highlight the importance of teamwork

“Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.”

– Steve Jobs, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Apple

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”

– Reid Hoffman, Co-founder and former executive chairman of LinkedIn

Key takeaway: Make teamwork one of your key companies values and continually work on promoting it.

Lesson #2: Teamwork starts at the top

“There is tremendous teamwork at the top of the company which filters down the teamwork through out of the company.”

– Steve Jobs, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Apple

Key takeaway: Teamwork starts at the top and filters down through every layer of your company. If you want your employees to foster team collaboration, model it form top.

Lesson #3: Trust is the key

“Teamwork is dependent on trusting the other folks to come through with their part without watching them all the time.”

– Steve Jobs, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Apple

Key takeaway: Hire the best people and trust them to do their job. Team members will hold each other accountable.

Lesson #4: Teamwork leads to innovation

“When you need to innovate, you need collaboration.”

– Marissa Mayer, Former president and chief executive officer of Yahoo!

Key takeaway: If you want to find a new, creative solution for a certain problem, bring (different) people together. Diversity leads to innovation.

Lesson #5: Teamwork is a process

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

– Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

Key takeaway: Teamwork is a continuous process. Team members must learn how to successfully communicate and work together.  

➡️ If you’re looking for more great tips on managing employees, check out our Short Leaderships Tips for Managers!

 

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Engaging Executives: HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives: HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives

When experts talk about employee engagement, most people imagine lower-level employees and middle managers. These workers have minimal authority over their daily tasks, they are the least job-secure, and they tend to receive the lowest pay and worst benefits packages, meaning they are most likely to be disengaged from their work. As a result, the web is filled with engagement solutions to keep lower-level employees around.

Yet, while HR professionals devote the bulk of their energy to engaging this portion of the workforce, executives are suffering. Though they have greater responsibility and greater remuneration for their efforts, executives can still disengage from their work, lowering their productivity, and endangering the entire business – including those workers at lower levels. However, the engagement solutions that work for lower-level employees rarely apply to higher-level business leaders. Therefore, HR professionals need an entirely different strategy for executive engagement.

Understanding Executives

HR typically doesn’t pay much attention to executives for a couple reasons:

  1. Executives already earn high salaries, and they generally have more control over their schedules and tasks. Therefore, the monetary rewards and engagement strategies HR is most familiar with don’t work.
  2. Most HR reps can’t relate to executives.

Most HR professionals have more in common with low-level employees than upper-echelon executives. Most HR reps earn respectable salaries and average benefits; they complete daily tasks that have little bearing on the greater goals and direction of the company; and only the CHRO and similar top-tier HR workers ever interact with executives. Thus, few members of HR comprehend the lifestyle and struggles of working in the higher levels of an organization.

The first step to engaging executives is understanding executives. It is important to consider that although executives might boast different responsibilities, they are still human. As such, they experience stress and concern for their jobs, their subordinates’ jobs, and their families’ well-being. Further, executives have interests and hobbies, they consume media, and they take pleasure in small joys like the rest of us. Remembering this, HR reps should find it easier to empathize with higher-level workers.

It might also be useful to know what executives discuss with one another – which is not nearly as disparate from the lower-levels as HR reps might expect. Alongside infrequent discussions about business direction and organization design, executives lament their full schedules and intrusive meetings, gossip and chat about mutual acquaintances and people within the organization, and generally talk about what work needs to be done. A savvy HR professional will note that their discussions are nearly identical to those of lower-level workers.

HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives

Aside from their wealth and authority, executives aren’t terribly different than anyone else within a business. Therefore, HR reps only need to determine what motivates individual executives to develop effective engagement tactics for the upper echelon. Some common higher-level motivators are:

  • Need. Executives have finely honed talents, and they want to know their talents are integral for business success.
  • Passion. Like everyone else, executives want to like what they do.
  • Chemistry. Workplace culture is important; even executives want to like the people they work with.
  • Challenge. Executives tend to be competitive. If a job isn’t challenging enough, most will disengage.

It isn’t difficult to develop engagement programs around executives knowing how simple and common their needs and wants truly are. To stimulate their need motivation, HR reps can institute a “thank your boss” day, where higher-level employees receive executive gifts. To improve chemistry around the office, HR can organize team-building exercises that are mandatory for the C-suite.

Another useful tactic for engaging executives is to connect them more closely with their subordinates. While some high-level managers are naturally proficient at seeking out and befriending low-level employees, most executives maintain a boundary between themselves and the grunts. HR should strive to coach executives in their behavior toward lower levels, revealing their blind spots when it comes to leadership methods and results. HR should lead by example, placing people first and exemplifying how executives should interact with other members of the organization.

If necessary, HR should encourage executives to enroll in leadership training courses; just because they’ve reached the higher levels doesn’t mean they can’t acquire new skills and knowledge. If an organization invests in its people, its people will invest in the business – even executives understand the value of that.

About the Author:

Tiffany Rowe

Tiffany Rowe is a leader in marketing authority, she assists Seek Visibility and our clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.


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How to Build a Data Science Team

Businesses today need to do more than merely acknowledge big data. They need to embrace data and analytics and make them an integral part of their company. Of course, this will require building a quality team of data scientists to handle the data and analytics for the company. Choosing the right members for the team can be difficult, mainly because the field is so new and many companies are still trying to learn exactly what a good data scientist should offer. Putting together an entire team has the potential to be more difficult. The following information should help to make the process easier.

The Right People

What roles need to be filled for a data science team? You will need to have data scientists who can work on large datasets and who understand the theory behind the science. They should also be capable of developing predictive models. Data engineers and data software developers are important, too. They need to understand architecture, infrastructure, and distributed programming.

Some of the other roles to fill in a data science team include the data solutions architect, data platform administrator, full-stack developer, and designer. Those companies that have teams focusing on building data products will also likely want to have a product manager on the team. If you have a team that has a lot of skill but that is low on real world experience, you may also want to have a project manager on the team. They can help to keep the team on the right track.

The Right Processes

When it comes to the processes, the key thing to remember with data science is agility. The team needs the ability to access and watch data in real time. It is important to do more than just measure the data. The team needs to take the data and understand how it can affect different areas of the company and help those areas implement positive changes. They should not be handcuffed to a slow and tedious process, as this will limit effectiveness. Ideally, the team will have a good working relationship with heads of other departments, so they work together in agile multi-disciplinary teams to make the best use of the data gathered.

The Platform

When building a data science team, it is also important to consider the platform your company is using for the process. A range of options are available including Hadoop and Spark. Hadoop is the market leader when it comes to big data technology, and it is an essential skill for all professionals who get into the field. When it comes to real-time processing, Spark is becoming increasingly important. It is a good idea to have all the big data team members skilled with Spark, too.

If you have people on the team that do not have these skills and that do not know how to use the various platforms, it is important they learn. Certification courses can be a great option for teaching the additional skills needed, and to get everyone on the team on the same page.

Some of the other platforms to consider include the Google Cloud Platform, and business analytics using Excel. Understanding the fundamentals of these systems can provide a good overall foundation for the team members.

Take Your Time

When you are creating a data science team for the company, you do not want to rush and choose the wrong people and platforms or not have quality processes in place. Take your time to create a team that will provide your company with the quality and professionalism it needs.

About the Author:

Ronald van Loon has joined as an Advisory Board Member for its Big Data training category. Named by Onalytica as one of the top three most influential personalities of Big Data in 2016, Ronald will contribute his expertise towards the rapid growth of Simplilearn’s popular Big Data & Analytics category.


Source: How to Build a Data Science Team | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

How Managers Can Use Feedback to Become Great Leaders

How Managers Can Use Feedback to Become Great Leaders

Written by Steffen Maier, Co-Founder of Impraise.

Electric Light

360-degree feedback can bring up a whole host of areas for improvement and help establish goals to be worked towards. Developing based on feedback is important for anyone, regardless of their position, experience level or objectives: managers are no exception.

We explain how the feedback managers receive can establish specific leadership training plans to help improve skills, performance and daily practices. This can help both inexperienced or first-time managers and those just looking to take their leadership skills to the next level and improve how they lead their team.

Upward feedback & where to go with it

Gaining feedback on daily practices, performance and skill sets can be an incredibly useful process. 360-feedback encompasses upward feedback from your team members, helping you to gain perspective from those who work closely with you. Hearing the views of those who work with you every day and have an acute awareness of your leadership style is a great chance to take a step back and re-evaluate. But, of course, once the feedback has been given, the process doesn’t end there. Using feedback for leadership training means that managers are able to work on the specific things that would improve both their leadership qualities and general interactions with their team on both a daily and a long-term basis.

Keep your team!

It’s often said that people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. If there are multiple issues within a work environment but people generally like their manager, and are satisfied with how they’re being led, they’re less likely to leave their position. Ensuring that managers are not only listening to but acting on the feedback which they receive from their team makes it clear that the team’s views are valued, and means that managers will be able to use the feedback given to communicate with and work more effectively with their team. Managers will be on the road to improvement, and team members will feel both valued and more satisfied, be less likely to leave their position and begin to work more effectively with their managers.

Engagement & team spirit

After the leadership training has taken place, it’s likely that team morale will increase, communication will improve and employee engagement will be on the rise. It’s not just managers that will improve from leadership training either. Research from the Journal of Business Strategies found that leaders who were able to impact the long-term cohesion of their teams could account for more than 25% of the team’s overall performance. Effective leaders will keep their team communicating well and keep engagement levels up by giving them useful and motivating feedback, and making the organization a positive and impactful place to work.

Using Impraise, it’s never been easier for managers to develop. Feedback comes in the form of both real-time updates and reviews where questions can be tailored to find out exactly what skills or traits can be improved. Once feedback is received, it’s collated into an automatic report identifying exactly which skills and practices require focus. Now it’s time for improvement: continuous feedback that carries on long after the review process gives team members the opportunity to continue the conversation and provide real-time feedback on their manager’s ongoing development.

Summary:

  • Using upward feedback for manager training means team members know their input is valued
  • Successful leaders interact with employees in a way that significantly increases employee engagement and performance
  • Employees communicate better as a team as a result of more effective management
  • Good leadership training based on team feedback will lowers turnover rates

About the Author:

Steffen Maier

Steffen Maier is co-founder of Impraise a web-based and mobile solution for actionable, timely feedback at work. Based in New York and Amsterdam, Impraise turns tedious annual performance reviews into an easy process by enabling users to give and receive valuable feedback in real-time and when it’s most helpful. The tool includes an extensive analytics platform to analyze key strengths and predict talent gaps and coaching needs.


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The HR function is in the middle of a process which will change it forever

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The New Way of Working (NWoW) is rising and the reasons behind this are in the latest trends in HR: Autonomy, Accountability, Flexibility and ICT.

Most companies are following or are planning to follow this trend, and for good reasons! But before speaking about the benefits, it is better to understand what this trends mean with some examples.

When we talk about autonomy we refer to the proliferation of small independent teams as well as virtual teams. Accountability refers to the empowerment of all the employees, while flexibility is well represented by telecommuting and home-working. ICT obviously concerns all the new tools that information technology offers to help us get work done.

NWoW is all that, but why should the HR implement it? The answer is because this holistic approach results in a better performance than each single trend considered; that is autonomy, accountability, flexibility and ICT are more effective if implemented all together.

So let’s talk about benefits, real advantages, something that make NWoW worth in the eyes of the executives.

Here are the three benefits in our opinion:

  • better productivity: because employees work more and better when they evaluated for the results they achieve, and not just for the time that they spend in the office;
  • more innovation: because if employees are more engaged at work they will feel more involved and go the extra mile to find new ideas
  • more attractive: for the best talents on the market, the future generation (aka Millennials) will be asking jobs which offers this features, so NWoW is the key to attract the best employee of tomorrow.

The road to NWoW is paved also with some challenges to overcome:

  • loss of social links: remote work can reduce the relationships between the employees;
  • less collaboration: open spaces can make collaboration more difficult;
  • individualisation: can occur if the employees are obsessed with their goals;
  • silo mentality: when thinking of silo mentality people will most of the time think of a lack communication between departments, yet it is not that simple and it requires an in depth analysis.

Silo Mentality

Silo mentality is a mind-set present when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. This type of mentality will reduce efficiency in the overall operation, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.

Traditionally organizational structures were set up with silos to enable specialization towards a specific activity. In the 20th century this method was successful because managers focused on their efforts and rarely had to take in consideration the organization’s other activities. This is no longer applicable nor efficient in today’s ever-changing, fast-moving and information craving workplaces.

Organizations need to get away from the silo mentality because coordination across departments is where opportunities to create efficiency, change, and innovation lie.

But how could it be prevented, not just once but in a systematic way?

First and foremost, it’s to the management and leaders to generate cross-silos efficiency by addressing contextual issues at the heart of the organization. All collaborators will need to have a common goal to advance in the same direction. Once the management is set on the right track, they still need to find a way to engage and motivate the teams towards the goals.

Secondly, it is necessary to find a coherent and systematic solution to reach out to the departments and be able to select the people that need to meet each other. Chances are that the silo mentality will dissipate as more people doing a variety of jobs with different mind-sets start to understand each other’s mutual reality.

Solutions

To complete the overview on the current situation I am going to describe what the companies are currently doing, the usual solutions, to break the silo mentality.

The three main solutions which most companies are putting in place are: team building activities, enterprise social networks and company’s dinners.

All these solutions have proven to be reliable for many years, but it is finally time to expose their limits: they are gathering always the same usual attendees, they are very hard to organize and manage because too many people are involved, and often people tend to regroup with their team without having any contacts with the other colleagues. Furthermore, these current solutions fall short as far as participation rate and employees’ engagement are concerned, and at the end of the day Silo mentality will be still an issue.

So the question is: how to go beyond these limits and, at the same time, drive high participation rates and employees’ engagement? Well, the answer is “frequent micro-events”, that is events which are repeated several times in a given time frame and with a small number of attendees.

In this manner the HR manager can improve cross-silo contacts, get high participation rate and solid employees engagement.

Admin Costs

Yet organising these kind of events might be quite difficult for large companies, with hundreds or thousands of employees. The HR will be overwhelmed by the number of variables involved to plan the events… and handling the last minute cancellations might be even worse. They need the right tool to help them complete this task.

Woobe for instance, is a tool that will give HR a the possibility to organize long-term and specifically designed small-group events over large groups of individuals.

It is an effective, long-term and scalable solution that can design inter- or intra-department campaigns with different objectives and separate goals. With only few clicks, and in less than 5 minutes, the HR will create a campaign. Woobe will send automatic invitations to employees, according to their calendar availabilities and the criteria defined, such as department, age, seniority, etc. What Woobe is not is “yet another tool” for the employees: they will receive invitations in their regular “outlook” calendar.

With Woobe, a company can easily and economically organize micro events to break down the silo mentality, initiate a sense of cohesion and a corporate spirit that will drive success.

If you want to share this article the reference to Marco Pastore and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

People you hire will be pivotal in shaping business culture and maintaining success!

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Today our guest is Mr. Sabby Gill, Executive Vice President (EVP) International at Epicor Software.

Sabby Gill brings more than 20 years of international sales, operations and enterprise software industry experience to Epicor. In his role, Gill is responsible for operations including sales and professional services with a focus on accelerating company growth throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).

Prior to Epicor, Gill was Senior Vice President of International Sales for IGT. He has also held executive management roles with leading technology companies including HP, CA Technologies, Oracle, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), and DEC.

The interview is hosted by Alexey Mitkin, Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The HR Tech Weekly® Online Media Co.

  1. In your recent article you have told us about how as companies grow and expand, there is a tendency for employees to be disengaged in the workplace due to heavier workloads, pressures, and deadlines. You explained how investing in the right technology can help companies manage this growth. What other drivers can you point to for ensuring employee satisfaction, engagement and wellbeing?

As your business grows you need your team to be strong, so the people you hire will be pivotal in shaping its culture and maintaining its success. Ensuring that your employees are happy and fully engaged is also vital. Take for example a traditional business that acquires smaller, nimble entrepreneurial entities to gain a competitive advantage but find the newly acquired talent assets that the company paid highly for start leaving the company. This is a common mistake made by many companies that are growing through acquisition but failing to consider the wellbeing of, and engage effectively with the organisation’s new employees.

Another important aspect for companies to consider is the influx of Millennials in the workplace. I would argue that it’s even more paramount for organisations of all types and sizes to create workplace environments that nurture the free-thinker and their entrepreneurial spirit. But where do organisations start? To begin, they need to understand the characteristics of entrepreneurial teams and what motivates them. You can almost forget about traditional incentive plans; when dealing with entrepreneurial types, “challenge” trumps traditional notions of compensation/rewards, because if the work environment isn’t challenging enough, they are likely to leave. They need to understand what the entrepreneur works for (and what they live for): The vision, the dream, the challenge – it’s their oxygen. To fully engage, entrepreneurs must buy into the vision.

As companies grow and with it create entrepreneurial teams, larger organisations may need to rethink placing talent in the constraints of the traditional hierarchical structure. These teams may be more effective when they are free to look at projects holistically: to craft a vision and define how problems will be solved. Remove as much process, structure, and bureaucracy as is feasible; as they prefer working without walls, and that includes traditional “job description” boundaries. 

  1. What do you expect from HR Managers delivering to the change management initiatives?

Employee ‘buy-in’ is the cornerstone of any change initiative and the onus often falls on HR to manage this process. Changing business processes can have an impact on employees’ familiar work routines whether or not they are directly involved in the project, so this process must be managed for the entire workforce. Employees need to be gradually introduced to new processes and job roles over a period of time so that they can accept and familiarize themselves with these developments. Neglecting this aspect or putting it off until later on in the project may result in organisational resistance to the new system, even to the point of operational risk. 

  1. Do you observe any distinctions when people from different industries, functions, and maybe regions, implement new software? For instance, what scares HR professionals more comparing with other business roles?

Change is never easy and most people are averse to change – this is true regardless of culture, industry and job function! HR’s challenge, given where it sits in an organisation, as opposed to other business roles, is helping employees, navigate and embrace any changes made in the organisation. 

  1. What are the core advantages Epicor®Human Capital Management delivers to HR and business when their demands and expectations grow toward self-service, engagement, micro-learning, and people analytics solutions? 

Today’s economy needs HR to adopt a more proactive and strategic role. To add to this, managers and employees are demanding direct access to human resource (HR) systems and information. Epicor Human Capital Management (HCM), delivers this and more, helping HR departments better manage a dispersed workforce, improve human resource processes, and make HR an integral part of an organisation’s strategic planning.

Epicor HCM is an intuitive, functional, and adaptable HCM solution that helps HR departments to spend more time managing talent than data. With Epicor HCM, HR teams have the ideal tool to manage their organisation’s most valuable resource—the workforce, who are pivotal maintaining a company’s success.

Epicor HCM automates everything related to HR in a single software system, enabling the organisation to track, manage, and analyse all data for the employees, from application to retirement. Through automated workflow, Epicor HCM allows organisations to improve efficiency. With powerful reporting and analytical tools, HR teams can gain a complete picture of the company’s workforce to enable better strategic planning.

  1. What technological trends will influence ERP and particularly HCM vendors in the nearest future, in your opinion?

The Cloud has without a shadow of a doubt been one of the biggest drivers of change in our industry. Organisations across the globe are beginning to realise the benefits of moving to the cloud, specifically:

  • Compelling connectivity — the ability to collaborate in real-time across remote sites, mobile employees, and trading partners
  • Enhanced operational efficiency — seamless operations, unparalleled scalability and flexibility, upgrade management, and business continuity
  • Improved security — higher level of security, network monitoring, and disaster prevention
  • Smart economics — the opportunity to achieve lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and positively affect the bottom line
  • Better resource allocation – improved ability to focus resources on core business activities and applications

These benefits are magnified when it comes to HCM because HCM has always been viewed as a non-critical, labour intensive function. By moving HCM applications to the cloud, organisations can make sure their HR teams focus on more business critical activities, reduce operational costs, and, most importantly, stay connected with an increasingly mobile workforce. 

  1. You have proven C-level experience in business development and managing people within global technological companies in EMEA, Asia Pacific and Latin America. What do you recommend to managers who strive to build their careers at the international markets?

My number one recommendation for managers is to be understanding and respectful of the various cultural differences. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to dealing with people across markets. What works in the US might not be the right tactic for China, but sadly too many C-level executives take this for granted.

Secondly, “Be as good as your word – do what you say you’re going to do.” The idea of following through on commitments and being held accountable for your plans and actions is vital. It helps build trust and comfort with the people you deal with knowing that you bring credibility and will ensure that things get done. You want to be that person who others can rely on. People buy from people and your future is in the hands of what they say and what they do. When you enter a relationship, which is what we do when we implement ERP solutions, you need to care about the job you, and everyone else, does for that customer. Everything reflects on the promise you make to your customers, partners, investors and employees. Whichever way you look at it, their emotions, personal ambitions, etc., all play a part in the business at hand.

Thirdly, be an advocate of change and look for excellence in everything you do. Do not dither. C-level positions demand, as well as offer, respect. People expect answers and directions from those in these positions in a timely and articulate manner. Think about a driver of a high-performance car; with a professional driver behind the wheel you can obtain strong performance and look to break lap records. However if you put a novice behind the wheel, you will struggle to get the same results. You need to grow into the expert that people want to rely on to drive the business forwards.

Finally, I would say, continue “to reflect”. What I mean by this is always take a step back when you find yourself in a difficult or complex situation and reassess what it is that you are trying to achieve. Too many times we get fixated on finer details and can’t see the forest for the trees. Taking a step back can help us see the wider picture and realign our focus.


If you want to share this interview the reference to Sabby Gill and The HR Tech Weekly® blog is is obligatory.