The future of work. A topic that dominates the corporate agenda, headlines global conferences, and makes the biggest global think-tanks, such as the ILO or the OECD, set up working groups, with the participation of the brightest minds of policy and the business world to respond effectively and understand better the challenges that come with it. Are machines and AI going take all our work away? Is Amazon going to deliver our orders with the latest drone technology to our doors soon? Will 5G going to be available on our smartphones in the next year?
Questions, we all want answered.
One thing is certain: innovation and technology are changing the way we work and live in a rapid pace. Even the most obvious things, such as waking up in the morning or getting a ride midtown, have all completely got new meaning over the last couple of years.
Are employers caring for the mental wellbeing of their employees? If not, perhaps it’s time to reconsider well-being programmes and extending them from yoga classes and smoothie bars. Latest reports from the UK and Germany show, that the majority of sickness absence in organisations are motivated by psychological or mental health issues, rather than physical sickness. A 2017 study in Germany by the AOK, the federation of social security secretariats, has shown that out of 12.5 million employees that took a sick-leave following a life-event, 79% had to take time off work due to mental health and emotional problems. In the UK a staggering 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year.
Photo: John Stepper
A podcast interview with John Stepper
How to give everyone in the company a voice and allow their expertise to be sought by other colleagues? In this blog post we are bringing you an exciting podcast conversation with John Stepper, creator of the Working Out Loud movement. This is a special episode for Europe’s biggest HR event of the year, the Zukunft Personal Europe 2018, where John will be one of the key-note speakers.
“Working Out Loud is an approach leading to the purposeful discovery of opportunities. Its combined elements are like superpower. A lot of people don’t know that they have it, or not comfortable using it.”
You can listen to the conversation on iTunes, Acast and other podcasting apps. What follows here are excerpts from our conversation with John, edited for length and clarity.
Photo: negative space
In an e-mail to his Tesla employees sent in April this year, CEO Elon Musk instructed colleagues to “walk out of meetings if you are not adding any value”. He goes on to say, that it is not rude to walk out of a meeting, rather it is rude to stay and waste somebody else’s time. He is not the only mogul introducing policies to help employees navigate the modern world of work with an intention to increase productivity. Jeff Bezos of amazon has introduced the “weirdest meeting culture you will ever encounter” and ended PowerPoint presentations, and now requires the employee to prepare a 6-page narrative memo, a sort of story-telling, which meeting participants spend 30 minutes reading and taking in at the beginning of the meeting – in silence.
Photo: spring Messe Management GmbH
With the warmer weather the conference season is also upon us. If you are like us, you are also looking forward to the events of the HRM conference calendar of 2018. Where is the most useful place to learn about the latest HR industry trends, get inspired by opinion leaders and network with like-minded professionals? The Zukunft Personal events, of course! On this blog we talk a lot about Zukunft Personal Europe, the international flagship conference and expo of the Messe Management events, but did you know that the organiser team pulls together several other top HR gatherings as well?
Photo: Peter Porst – Zukunft Personal
To cater to the ever changing needs of their attendees, HR events, just as much as other meetings are constantly pressured to broaden their spectrum of topics covered and pump up the volume on everything they do from conference design to participant engagement strategies. The same trends that are shaping the world of work, like digitalisation, globalisation, demographic trends among others, are also influencing how HR conferences can best deliver on their promise to educate, inform and inspire visitors.
Foto: Gary Kildare
Before his much awaited presentation at Europe’s largest HR gathering, we interviewed Gary Kildare, Chief HR Officer at IBM Europe, for our interview series with the keynote speakers at the 2017 edition of Zukunft Personal.
One of the key secrets to IBM’s long-term success can be found in the company’s ability to constantly reinvent itself, to continually transform and to search for strategic technologies that enhance human labour. It is a 106-year-old journey that now takes IBM to its present top position in the Artificial Intelligence and cognitive computing market designed to support, inspire and lead current generations. Gary Kildare has spent much of his professional career with IBM as an HR leader and I was pleased to speak with him about AI, the history of HR, Germany’s AI talent shortage and many more.
Photo: Thorben Albrecht
A podcast interview with Thorben Albrecht
In a one of a kind process, the German Federal government involved its 80 million citizens in co-creating the future of work. The process, which started in late 2014, involved experts, citizens, business, trade unions and artists, and culminated in a policy White paper at the end of 2016. Taking us into the details of Arbeiten 4.0, or Work 4.0 is Thorben Albrecht, Permanent State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Germany.
Anyone who followed the process since the beginning, perhaps at the annual Zukunft Personal HR exhibition in Cologne, where the Ministry and the stakeholders regularly presented the progress of the Work 4.0 dialogue, surely gets a sense of the forward-looking and innovative nature of this initiative. Perhaps one of the key aspects worth mentioning is the underlying motivating factor, namely not to let technological change shape the way people work and live, but to be more in control of these changes and trends, and find out first how do people want to live and work, and then ensure that technological change is an enabler for that.
From fruit-baskets to corporate yoga classes, meditation rooms to mindful emails and meetings, the offer for wellbeing initiatives is growing exponentially. As HR professionals are bombarded by sales e-mails and calls with an overwhelming number of apps, fitness and health trackers, coaching and mindfulness training, concierge services and ergonomics, it is increasingly difficult to make the right choices, and use the scarce resources in the best possible way to maximise the benefit for employees.
As there are still a couple of months before the Zukunft Personal 3 days event in Köln, there are a lot of things you can do to be prepared, to make sure you make the most out of the presentations and the exhibition, by understanding your organisation’s needs first, so when you arrive in Köln, you will know what to look for.
Elon Musk famously said: “If something is important enough you should try, even if the probable outcome is failure.” In today’s VUCA world, there are hardly any guarantees anymore. Just as Whatsapp and other messaging services have bitten out billions from large established Telecom companies’ revenues, established businesses and sure-fire branches are under threat every day. If it’s not the curly haired guys in a garage, it may be an advertising fiasco, a new regulation, changing technologies, and even ageing population.