Is a Robot Going to Take Your Job?

Is a Robot Going to Take Your Job?

I recently wrote a blog about re-skilling the workforce to prepare for technology, which got some traction amongst readers.  This is an extremely popular topic lately, due to the nature of the changing work economy and the proliferation of technology in all aspects of our lives.

Companies are turning to technology, robots, apps and kiosks to streamline their service, automate simple tasks, save money and increase profits.  Technology can be a great option for organizations to improve their processes and procedures; however, it is important that leaders consider all the implications that technology can have.  And it is important for individuals to consider what they should be doing to re-skill and grow to make themselves irreplaceable.

Answer this question honestly, would you rather interact with a computer/robot, or a friendly, caring, human being who can personalize your service?  Please take note, the friendly, caring and personalized part are extremely important to this question, because not all human beings are going to deliver the service interactions that their colleagues and customers desire.  That is why as a leader it is critical that you focus on re-skilling your talent with soft-skills such as authenticity, friendliness, fun, and hospitality, that 1. A robot cannot duplicate and 2. Makes them the most desirable to interact with.

I’ll give you a scenario to consider.  Have you ever been at a grocery checkout and noticed that the line for the self-checkout was shortest?   But once you proceeded to check out, you had trouble with the scanner, an “unidentified object” in the bagging area and your points card wouldn’t scan properly.  This has happened to me on many occasions, and I’ve noticed the customers around me who chose the human cashier have typically gotten out much faster.

Technology can be great in some circumstances, but often, organizations are trying to implement technology in place of humans to reduce costs at the expense of the best service.

In a recent interview with Quartz, Bill Gates floated the idea of the government taxing robots which replace human workers to potentially slow automation and fund other types of employment for humans (Quartz, 2017).  Right now, robot automation is primarily effecting front-line roles such as customer service agents, phone center reps, warehouse workers, and probably drivers in the future.  Re-directing some of the funds in some sort of tax would still net a profit for those companies changing to robot automation, but it would also support the re-skilling or re-focusing of the humans being displaced by robots.

What do you think of a robot tax?  Could it work to slow down automation and help re-skill workers into new jobs?  Share in the comments below!

Check out my latest book The Seven Personalization Principles to find out more about how you can re-skill yourself and your employees with 7 soft-skills focused on personalization that will make you irreplaceable, not matter what job you’re in.

Prescriptions for Personalization

Prescriptions for Personalization

In our age of fast-growing technology, personalization has become one element that will humanize your customer service and differentiate yourself from other people and organizations.  When it comes to service (both internal and external) people want fast, friendly, hassle-free experiences.  They want those authentic human-to-human interactions that they can’t get from a robot, app or kiosk.

There are two things to focus on if you want to protect your job from technology:

  1. Re-skill your workforce to continuously stay ahead of the technology curve (read more here).
  2. Provide personalized experiences to your customers that will make them stay longer, buy, more, and positively refer others.

Here are 7 prescriptions to continuously have fast, friendly, hassle-free, personalized service interactions:

  1. Be Authentic. Are you real and genuine in everything you do? Authentic people speak the truth and communicate openly with their colleagues.
  2. Be Hospitable. Do you make your colleagues and customers feel welcome at every touch point? Start with a positive attitude.
  3. Be Empathetic. Can you understand and share the feelings of another human being? When you have empathy for your colleagues and customers, you are better able to make decisions that are fair for both parties.
  4. Be Committed. Are you willing to do whatever it takes, no matter what? Being committed means living your values each and every day, even when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient.
  5. Be Competent. Do you have the skills and ability to excel in your role? Being competent means you are enabled with the learning and skills to do your job well and solve your customer’s problems.
  6. Be Friendly. Friendliness is learned at a young age. Being nice and friendly to your colleagues and customers can create decades of loyalty.
  7. Be Fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Having fun at work can de-escalate stressful situations and make interactions with colleagues and customers much more fulfilling.

What are some of the ways that you personalize your internal and external service interactions?

To read more about these principles, check out The Seven Personalization Principles: Learn the Principles to Thrive in These Disruptive Times.

What Engaged Employees Do Differently

What Engaged Employees Do Differently

The concept of Employee Engagement has become increasingly propagated in our culture, and yet with many companies it is built on empty promises and a lack of substance.

To be effective, employee engagement should focus on enabling and motivating talent with both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that are personalized for each individual employee.  When you get it right, employee engagement can create decades of loyalty, increased productivity and exceptional customer experiences. 

Here are the top things that your engaged employees will do differently:

  • They seek ongoing feedback.
  • They want to continuously grow their skills and competencies.
  • They seek out opportunities to further develop within the organization.
  • They communicate openly and authentically with their leaders and colleagues.
  • They look for ways to improve processes and share that with senior leadership.
  • They exceed goals and expectations.
  • They refers others (as both colleagues and customers).

Your employees want to be co-creators in their engagement and development. The above are some of the ways to identify those highly engaged employees in your organization.

If you’re employees aren’t exhibiting most of the characteristics above, you should stop and examine how you can adjust your employee engagement program to better foster a culture of engagement.  If your employees aren’t exhibiting ALL of the characteristics above, you should think about how you can use your engagement program to personalize engagement for each individual to sustain high performance in all these areas.

Get in touch if you’d like to see a demonstration of GES’ Global Engagement Solutions, which 98% of learners complete with significant measurable results.

Re-skilling the Workforce to Prepare for Technology

Re-skilling the Workforce to Prepare for Technology

No matter what you do, no matter who you do it for, no matter how much you get paid, robots and technology are going to affect your job again and again.

Technology impacts every aspect of our lives. It can make our lives better and more efficient – from computers doing complicated calculations, to being able to skype with a loved one from afar, to ordering your favourite meal delivery without having to make a phone call (and much, much more).

Conversely, technology can have a negative impact on our relationships and ability to connect with other humans meaningfully, impacting our privacy, and disrupting the workforce by making some jobs obsolete.

That is why it is critical for leaders and independent contributors to focus on re-skilling their workforce to stay ahead of the technology curve.  Technology is fast and always developing and growing, so it’s important that your workforce is always learning, re-skilling and innovating to remain relevant.

One way you can do this interpersonally is with personalized service interactions.  Technology has raised our expectations of service – setting a precedent of being able to access everything within arm’s reach.  But more and more people are craving personalized interactions that only humans can provide.  When you personalize your service interactions, you provide an experience no robot can provide.

Another way to stay ahead of the technology curve is to make innovation a core principle of your organization.  It helps to revisit your goals and mission regularly (not just once a year), this way you can assess what is going on in your industry, locally, globally and pivot to stay at the top of your professional game.

Lastly, protect your job from technology and robots by committing to ongoing personal and professional development.  Network with other leaders, read about what is going on with the economy, and keep up to date with the trends in your industry.  This will allow you to assess where you need to update your knowledge and what areas to focus on with regards to learning and development when re-skilling your workforce.

If you want to read more about how to remain relevant in the age of technology, check out The Seven Personalization Principles: Learn the skills to thrive in these disruptive times.

HUMvsROB

Click here to download the image above: Humans vs Robots

How Competence Affects Your Employee Engagement Levels

How Competence Affects Your Employee Engagement Levels

OfficeVibe has released a report that shows The Global & Real-Time State of Employee Engagement.  They found that organizations are not helping their employees enough to learn and grow.  In fact, 53% of employees say they haven’t improved their skills significantly in the past year (OfficeVibe, 2016).

This is a huge problem for organizations because learning and development is one of the key drivers of employee engagement.  If your employees are not given the opportunity to continuously improve their skills to make themselves more marketable (now and in the future), one of two things will happen: 1. their engagement levels will drop (or remain low), and they will give mediocre performance or 2. they will leave you for someone who will invest in their future and development.  Both options have dire consequences for your organization.

Why do employees want learning opportunities?  When you provide your employees with learning they feel acknowledged and they feel connected to your company’s growth and vision.  When you invest in your employees, they will want to invest their motivation and energy back in to your organization.  This sense of purpose motivates them to feel part of something bigger than themselves.

Plus, when you invest in your employees’ skills and competencies, they will be able to provide better service internally with their colleagues and externally with your customers, both of which improve your bottom line with increased productivity, loyalty, and sales.

To find out what your lack of employee engagement is truly costing your company, get your free personalized report here.

If you’re ready to start investing in your employee’s learning and development, get a quick 15-minute demo of our global learning solutions that seen incredible results.

Learning Results

The Top 4 Things Your Employees Want from Their Learning Program

The Top 4 Things Your Employees Want from Their Learning Program

When it comes to designing your learning and development program, you want to make sure that it’s designed to effectively engage and motivate your employees to use it.

Here are 4 things learners consistently tell us they want in a Learning and Development program:

  1. To learn in their own language from someone they can relate to. Employees want their learning in their language, not subtitled or voiced over, with culturally relevant examples.  Although your global company serves one umbrella mission and has unified values, learning scenarios, customer problems and internal processes may be different depending on global location.  It is important for learning to take this into consideration to have the best engagement outcomes for all global employees.
  1. Quick. Not Boring. Your employees are busy.  They don’t want to waste time with long, boring, irrelevant content. For them to be highly engaged with your learning program they want their information in short, succinct, bite-sized doses.  This is easier for them to process, practice, and makes for better retention rates, so that they can apply their learning to real-life scenarios. Additionally, when you layer in that short, succinct content over time, repeated and reinforced, I promise you will have significant, measurable learning results.
  1. Content when they want it, where they want it.  To piggy back on the short, succinct delivery, learners want their content in a format that is flexible and convenient for them.  In our fast paced connected world, it is critical for your learning program to be mobile capable, so that your employees can learn in time and on demand, when and where it’s suitable for them.
  1. Skills that they will actually use. Learners want skills that will help them succeed and grow in their current positions. They want skills and competencies that make them more marketable.  To make learning actionable the learner must practice, drill and rehearse in a safe environment, and commit to following up and reinforcing those principles.  You need to spend 10x the amount of time, energy and resources on follow up and reinforce of your learning principles as you do designing and delivering them.

Find out more about GES’s global, mobile Learning Solutions which layer skills and competencies in bite-sized doses over time with a focus on action planning and reinforcing the learning principles.  Here’s a quick preview of our learning design below. Contact us for a 10-minute demo to see the learning in action.

GES Learning Design

3 Ways to Engage and Motivate Your Part Time and Seasonal Workers

3 Ways to Engage and Motivate Your Part Time and Seasonal Workers

Yesterday I talked about how your workforce is increasingly more part-time workers. Read more about that here.

Many of you are relying more and more on part time or seasonal workers to deliver a stellar service experience to your customers. So how do you motivate them when you both know they might only be with you for a short amount of time? Although it might seem counter intuitive, you must invest in your employees, even though they might only be with you for a short time.

Here are 3 ways you can enable and engage your seasonal and part-time workers:

Provide learning and development opportunities. People want skills and opportunities that will make them more marketable now and in the future. When you provide your part-time employees with learning and development opportunities, several affects will happen. You will attract (and then retain) the best talent. You will give them skills to interact more effectively with your customers and provide better service. You will provide alignment with your company’s culture and values. You will teach and motivate them to provide better customer service.

2. Remove obstacles that get in the way of them delivering exceptional service. Many large companies have too many bureaucratic processes and procedures in place that get in the way of their employees delivering exceptional service to their customers. Because many part-time workers are part of the front lines, often they do not feel enabled to go the extra mile to help a customer; however, this can often mean the difference between losing a customer and creating decades of loyalty. Examine your policies and procedures and assure that they are absolutely necessary to function. Remove those that do not serve your higher company mission. Some of the most successful customer service companies place very little rules on their employees (e.g. Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Netflix, Apple, etc.) with very high success and exceptional performance. Plus, when you enable your employees with learning and development (as mentioned above), you set them up to understand your company values and deliver service with those values in mind.

3. Recognize and reward them for exceptional performance. Every employee wants to be recognized for their work and treated uniquely. To motivate employees to continuous levels of high performance you should have an employee engagement recognition program in place. The most successful recognition programs are customized and personalized so that your employees get the rewards and recognition they want, at every touch point. During the holidays, and in December specifically, many people have split focus – thinking about everything they must get done, tired and distracted from holiday parties – and their energy starts to wane. That is why it is critical to motivate them (and especially seasonal workers) with incentives, rewards and recognition to continuously keep their eye on the prize – making your customers happy!

For more information on how to engage your part-time talent check out our book Leading From the Front Line: Learn How To Create Exceptional Experiences on Amazon or learn about our Employee Engagement Programs here.

Think your Workforce is Full Time? Think again.

Think your Workforce is Full Time? Think again.

Today’s workforce is becoming increasingly more part time.  What I mean by part time is not necessarily the number of hours per week an employee works, but more their tenure at your company.  Today’s generation entering the workforce views jobs as opportunities to gather a portfolio of experiences, moving from organization to organization to acquire different skills, sometimes by choice and sometimes by necessity. This part time economy and part time workforce presents both unique opportunities and unique challenges for organizations and their leaders.

As a business leader, you are probably relying more and more on part time or seasonal workers to deliver a stellar service experience to your customers.  So how do you motivate them when you both know they might only be with you for a short amount of time?    Although it might seem counter intuitive, you must invest in your employees, even though they might only be with you for a short time.  This is the key to enabling and engaging them to create an exceptional experience for your customers.  And remember, one terrible customer experience can ruin decades of loyalty, so it is critical that you give your employees the tools to serve your customers, even if they will only be with you for a short time.

Tomorrow I will share with you 3 ways you can enable and engage your seasonal and part-time workers.  Stay tuned!

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