The Psychology of Disenchantment

Justice has always been a major issue among people. Especially in an organisational context, where many employees with different values, interests, and problems have to act in concert, a fair treatment is of huge importance. People who face injustice may become dissatisfied with their job, superior, or organisation and hence turn into a threat for the organisation by showing Counter Work Behaviours (CWBs). This article looks at the perception of injustice at work, and further motivational factors of CWBs.

The Edmund Snowden case has very clearly shown the problem of the‭ ‬Insider Threat:‭ ‬the threat to organisations from people working in‭, ‬or for‭, ‬them‭. ‬It is not only governments and security services that are deeply concerned with the leaking of important secret information dramatically illustrated by Edward Snowden and Chelsea/Bradley Manning‭. ‬The leaking of seriously important information to the wider world can also break commercial organisations‭.‬

Insider Threat is the term most commonly used when referring to current and past employees, associates and contractors who possess sensitive information about an organisation’s internal systems, information, clients and operating procedures. They then sell or utilise their knowledge for an inappropriate or illegal purpose. This misuse of information causes damage to the organisation in the form of financial loss, loss of productivity, damage to reputation or may have some form of legal implication. These individuals may act alone or in concert with others to perpetrate a variety of crimes against the organisation.

But what are the motives of those who commit fraud, theft, who disclose confidential information or who commit sabotage? Are they simply greedy, criminal or pressured from outside for financial gain? Do they start out like this, or do they have such bad experiences in an organisation that they become bad apples?


Counter Work Behaviours

Psychologists have a long list of Counter Work Behaviours (CWBs):

1. Theft (cash or property) and related behaviour (giving away goods or services).

2. Destruction of property (arson, Ludditism).

3. Misuse of information (revealing confidential info, whistle-blowing or falsifying rectords).

4. Misuse of time and resources (wasting time, altering times).

5. Unsafe behaviour (ignoring safety procedures).

6. Poor attendance (unexcused absence).

7. Poor quality work (intentionally slow or sloppy).

8. Alcohol and drug use on the job.

9. Inappropriate verbal actions (arguing with customers, verbal harassment of coworkers).

10. Inappropriate physical action (physically attacking coworkers, sexual harassment).


It is both too common and too easy to blame worker misdeeds and CWBs on the workers themselves, any more than to assert that all accidents are caused by accident-prone individuals. This is not to deny that there are devious criminal types. Investigations into those who have turned on their employer note that they have become seriously disenchanted from being very badly dealt with.

Many studies on those caught doing CWBs show that they were never immoral, devious or criminal types. Rather they were pushed into doing what they did as revenge for perceived maltreatment and injustice.


Poor Management

A great deal of blame can be laid at the feet of poor managers or poor managerial processes. The idea is that transformational leaders who inspire and model satisfaction (engagement) and productivity lead to healthy and happy relationships at work (leader-worker exchange), trust, and adjusted and motivated employees. That is, bad management, just like bad parenting, causes serious long-term problems for all concerned (staff, share-holders, customers etc.).

Below are some of the characteristics of bad managers.

• Arrogance: They’re right and everybody else is wrong.

• Melodrama: They want to be the centre of attention.

• Volatility: Their mood swings create business swings.

• Excessive caution: They cannot make important decisions.

• Habitual distrust: They focus only on the negatives.

• Aloofness: They disengage and disconnect with staff.

• Eccentricity: They think it’s fun to be different just for the sake of it.

• Passive resistance: Their silence is misinterpreted as agreement.

• Perfectionism: They want to get the little things right even if the big things go wrong.

• Eagerness to please: They stress that being popular matters most.


These managers not only alienate staff and lower morale but they can quite easily provoke reprisals in the form of CWBs.

Managers have two main roles. First, they are at the front line in identifyingcounter work behaviours and participating in any or legal actions against the individuals. Second, they have to generate an atmosphere and environment which actively discourages such behaviours. They need to generate engagement (commitment, satisfaction), loyalty and a strong work ethic, not distrust and alienation.

Too often they are blind to what is happening around them; but worse, their actions and own behaviours lead to resentment, which in turn leads to staff becoming disillusioned and vulnerable to CWBs.

People become angry and disappointed when they see others treated unfairly, such as during redundancies, lay-offs, etc. It is enough to see others badly treated for them to seek revenge.

The job of a leader/manager is to select, motivate and direct teams to achieve organisational goals. They need to set SMART goals, give timely and useful feedback, and support staff informationally, emotionally and financially. Good managers support both the organisation and employee goals. Tyrannical, autocratic leaders may only support the organisation (and themselves) and be less concerned with their staff. Poor managers are undisciplined: they flout guidelines and the ‘good psychology’ of management. They belittle and intimidate, threaten and tease, ignore and exclude their staff. This in turn can lead to employee revenge, followed by managerial counter-retaliation, which then escalates into entrenched conflict. This is the ideal breeding ground for the Insider Threat.

It is also important to bear in mind that people become angry and disappointed when they see others treated unfairly, such as during redundancies, lay-offs, etc. That is, people don’t have to always to be themselves the ‘victims’ of injustice. It is enough to see others badly treated for them to seek revenge.

For managers to be fully involved in the process of developing loyalty in an organisation and countering the insider threat, it is necessary to recognise the nature and potential size of the threat as well as the motivations of those committing the CWBs.

All organisations have a distinct corporate culture simply defined as “the way people do things around here.” They have easily observable (particularly to the outsider) implicit and explicit codes of behaviour, that specify what is acceptable, desirable and expected behaviour at work (and often outside it) that gains approval and reward – and that which does not. This culture is often established, maintained and changed by senior managers. Unfortunately, what they say is often not what they do. Many do not see their role in establishing healthy cultures that lead to Organisational Citizenship Behaviours (OCBs), rather than unhealthy cultures that lead to CWBs.

Finally although CWBs have always been around, the ways in which they are expressed have changed with the times. Thus, rapid and widespread developments in technology have lead to what is now called cyberdeviancy: cyberloafing, cyberaggression, workplace blogging and cyber whistle-blowing. As things change, so do the opportunities for, and incidences of, Insider Threats.


Cause and Prevention

Why do insiders leak information, and how can we prevent them? The simple and obvious answer lies in rigorous selection. Don’t let these people join your organisation and then you won’t have any problems. So government departments and the security services take selection very seriously. They screen their applicants very, very thoroughly. They know the cost of getting it wrong.

Yet, of course, some individuals do get through the net. Some attempt to join organisations in order to destroy them. Their aim is to infiltrate and to poison. And there are many well-known case studies, usually of people driven by a powerful political ideology to demonise and ultimately destroy anyone holding opposing opinions. Having penetrated the organisation, these types bide their time, collect information…then strike.

However, as many organisations find when they carry out the all-important and painful review of what went wrong and why, the cause is not necessarily a screening failure. Many whistle-blowers, spies and “enemies within” never start off with a motive to subvert or betray their organisation. Indeed, often precisely the opposite. But they turn sour because of the way they were treated.

The hottest word at work is fair. The feeling that you and others are being unfairly held back while a few succeed can stimulate a great deal of resentment.

It seems there are five reasons for why people go from being engaged to disenchanted; productive to subversive; a friend to an enemy of the organisation.

First, organisational lying/hypocrisy. This is the employee’s perception that what the organisation says about itself in public, and even to its employees, is a pack of lies. The more the organisation tries to capture the moral high ground and come out on ‘the side of the angels,’ the more outraged the astounded and angry insider becomes.

All organisations do PR about their mission, vision, methods, etc. Some trumpet them loudly and frequently. Most talk about integrity and transparency, about customer and employee care, welfare, etc. But for some this is patently not true. It can come as a shock to the staff; and some can’t live the schizophrenic existence of what they see to be a lie.

Second, perceived inequity. The idea that some people in the organisation are treated very differently from others. One law for the rich, another for the poor. The hottest word at work is fair: that people are fairly assessed, promoted and rewarded. And yet, it can seem to some that loyalty, hard work, and productivity have less to do with success than some other attributes such as demography, brown-nosing or particular experiences.

The feeling that you and others are being unfairly held back while a few succeed can stimulate a great deal of resentment.

Third, bullying and mistreatment. The belief that some senior people are callous, uncaring, nasty and manipulative, and that you are a victim. The workplace attracts all types: the demanding perfectionist, the geeky inadequate, the flamboyant self-publicist. This is to be expected and we all have to adapt to the idiosyncrasies and peculiarities of powerful people at work.

But some at the top are bullies and backstabbers. Staff can forgive the occasional emotional outburst and unkind remark, but not chronic, remorseless nastiness aimed specifically at them. Further, some organisations have a management style that is essentially aggressive and Machiavellian. It is then not only the oversensitive type who buckles under the acute and chronic bullying that leads from disenchantment to the need for revenge.

Fourth, distrust. The feeling that the organisation does not even trust its own employees. It may have put in place a number of devious and not-admitted (often electronic monitoring) systems to spy on its own people. Whilst top management may talk about, and demand, loyalty from their staff, it is clear that they do not trust their own employees.

This, of course, is a two-way street. If the organisation lets it be known that it never really and fully trusts me with information, money and materials, why should I ever trust them?

Fifth, broken promises. This is all about expectations not being met. For some, the selection interview and the induction period are where people set your expectations about working for the organisation. They tell you what they stand for, what they expect and how things work.

But all too often an employee does not have his or her expectations clarified. Either supervisors do not know how to conduct, or they fudge, conversations about what the criteria are for promotion, salary increases, etc. Some feel they are personally powerless to bring these about while others use false promises as a sort of motivational technique that backfires.



So, soon the hopeful, bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed, potentially productive and loyal employee becomes disenchanted. Cynicism can set in, along with a drop in morale and productivity. This can take months or years. Some simply leave; others may not have that option and stick it out. For others, there is the possibility of revenge which may involve anything from arson to the exposure of secrets. Few people start out angry with their employer, but a worrying number end up that way through poor management.

Rob Briner: Five things HR should start doing

Following on from his article on things HR should stop doing, here's Rob Briner's suggestions of five things HR should start doing

Previously I suggested five things HR should probably stop doing. So what might be things HR should probably start doing more?

1. Start identifying real problems first and only thenlook for solutions. Consider this: you go trotting off for an appointment with your GP and before you’ve even opened your mouth they thrust a prescription in your hand. Bizarre, right? Why hasn’t the GP tried to find out what’s actually wrong with you before giving you drugs? Now think of any HR practice you currently use, such as engagement surveys, management development, or 360-degree appraisal. My guess is that you adopted that practice without first having good evidence for an important or specific problem that practice aims to fix. If so you were behaving no less strangely than your GP. The first and most important questions should be is there a problem (or clear opportunity) here and what, specifically, is it? Once you are sure you have a specific, well-identified and important problem only then should you start searching for possible solutions.

2. Start thinking in terms of likelihoods and multiple possible solutions. Only crosswords and mathematical equations have definitive and single answers. For everything else there are no perfect or guaranteed solutions. Rather, there are just things you can choose to do that have more or less chance of bringing about the effects you want. And for every real problem you identify there are likely to be several possible and partial solutions. So you need to make a judgement – based on the best available evidence gathered from your organisation, your experience, your stakeholders and published research (also known as evidence-based practice). Remember, you’re not trying to solve a puzzle but do what’s most likely to get you closest to the result you want.

3. Start to build information systems that give you the information you need. There is still a lot of mostly over-hyped excitement about big data and data analytics. But don’t be blinded by statistical science. Start simple. Maybe some organisations need the management information system equivalent of a super-computer, but for most of us relevant, valid and basic spreadsheets with some simple analysis are probably fine. The key is to identify the decisions you need to make and therefore what data you need to help you make them. Where is it? How can you get it? In what form and when is it best for you to get it? You are the only person who has the answers to these questions. Information systems need to be designed around your information needs and, quite often, those needs are straightforward.

4. Start paying more attention to the boring but important stuff. Everybody has seen those silly two-by-two tables that so over-simplify the world they stifle critical thinking and analysis. Well here’s another one. Going left to right the columns are ‘exciting’ and ‘boring’. And the bottom row is labelled ‘trivial’ and the top ‘important’. Of course, we all love the stuff in the exciting-important quadrant. The bad news is that there isn’t much in that box that needs doing and, because it is exciting and important, we’ve probably already done it. We really should take a look in the boring and important box as, like it or not, that’s probably where the action is. My hunch is that doing really effective HR is (probably like doing good stuff in many jobs) not a roller-coaster ride of thrills and is an inherently slow process with few quick fixes. Intervening to shape or develop people’s behaviour takes time – and it may be quite a while before effects are seen.

5. Start to boost your levels of healthy scepticism and become a more critical HR consumer. What’s so great about being sceptical? Well for one thing it’s a lot of fun. Yes people get irritated, and yes they hate you for challenging their cherished beliefs. But, in the end, they always appreciate it. Scepticism is great because it makes you a much better and wiser HR consumer. It fine-tunes your BS detector and alerts you to overblown claims and marketing nonsense. When you hear something like 'employee engagement is the number one driver of organisational performance' your BS detector immediately goes off. Is there really a number one driver of performance? What’s the evidence? We should take all claims about the effectiveness of HR practices with a pinch of salt. And if that isn’t working for you, try a shovelful.

Rob Briner is professor of organisational psychology at Bath University's School of Management

How a “tsunami of change” is shaping the future of HR

While the identity and purpose of HR have sometimes been questioned in the past, the future of HR is currently in the balance as it is currently experiencing a “tsunami of change” like never before, according to an expert in organisational development.

“This time it’s different,” said Ben Whitter, organisation and people development manager for The University of Nottingham in China and CEO of consulting firm Tsunami Leadership.

“There are fundamental shifts taking place in HR. Leading organisations, for example, are quickly moving to people analytics and data-informed HR strategies, which are becoming the essential ingredients of solid HR functions.”

The future of HR is about tuning into how to get the best out of people within the workplace and, as a profession, and he said HR is using data much more widely, carefully and creatively to define, develop and market great workplace experiences and the connected business strategy.

“It’s really all about a much stronger and visible impact on business performance, and progressive HR folks are showing where, how and why people strategy affects the bottom-line in a way traditional HR hasn’t been able to – and its adding massive value,” said Whitter.

Key changes for HR
Employee experience is currently a hot topic for HR (as evidenced by recent developments at Airbnb and Amazon), according to Whitter, who said there is intense attention and debate about the quality of workplaces.

“Some companies are trying to get ahead of the curve by bringing together key internal functions, and not just the typical HR stuff, under the banner of employee experience so that they can be much more focused and connected in ensuring organisational culture drives performance,” he said.

“This shift in expectations of the HR function is also affecting long-standing ‘norms’ within the workplace such as performance management, which has been thrown out of companies like GE, Microsoft, and Accenture.

“It’s still clinging on at companies like Google, but it seems organisations are becoming acutely aware that they need to move to more progressive people operations.”

All this combined means that HR is firmly in the spotlight and has an incredible opportunity to become a core part of the business across sectors in what is becoming a more meaningful economy, he said.

“People are now realising the true potential of HR, and CEOs the world over are looking at their current HR functions with a renewed sense of what could be, while at the same time understanding much more clearly what they’re missing out on by sticking to more traditional HR models.”

Skill sets in the future of HR
The traditional HR career and development path is blurring significantly as organisations are starting to recruit people who have shunned the ‘old’ ways in favour of the new, said Whitter.

“Tesla, for example, wants HR people who absolutely do not believe in the ‘old’ HR. They want ‘HR rockstars’ – people who are fully in tune with the business, but also practitioners who utilise data and know-how effectively within their operations to add significant value,” he said.

“This is about laser-like impact in the right places.”

Those well versed in the development of organisations and businesses are being seen as the key to lead HR functions, according to Whitter.

“This changes the career path completely in that more and more HR leaders are coming from very diverse backgrounds, bringing their unique skillsets into play, which can span across a range of functions, and [this] is decent-size step away from the more traditional career routes the profession has been used to,” he said.

The bottom line is that a wide ranging and diverse CV is becoming much more desirable to potential employers than a traditional, core HR background, according to Whitter.

Other critical elements of new roles involve an integration of skills across marketing, employer branding, training, communications, engagement, PR, and community/partnership roles, and other operational roles, he said.

“This is a very different brand of HR leader and a very different brand of HR.”

Taking the step up
HR leaders can take a number of steps to help develop the capability of their HR function, and Whitter said this starts from “where you are and with what you’ve got”.

“For me this means really going to deep into organisational cultures, getting out into the world, learning from each sector and its people.

“The really great HR people figure out a way to blaze a trail within their existing roles.” Organisations are very unique communities of people to explore, learn from and understand, explained Whitter, who said that in reality the challenges that HR people see may not vary too much, but the solutions usually do.

“What is right in one context rarely translates well in another,” he said.

“Those seeking to move into this new brand of HR leadership role will need to become immersed in the business from the get-go factoring in diverse experiences and cultivating a more progressive profile.

“The employee experience is front and centre within this though and securing a skill-set that includes business, data, people analytics, applied-research techniques, and psychology will become an essential requirement within future HR.”

The biggest, most immediate task for HR functions is to move from traditional HR thinking to employee experience thinking.

“This is critical for HR teams and makes clear HR’s role in partnering with the CEO and top team to lead an organisation’s culture,” said Whitter.

“The implied opportunity within this is that the HR function as a whole can become the consultancy of choice within businesses via an in-context development approach focused on the employee experience.

“This, alongside a more intrapreneurial style, will help HR functions seize the future in a way that breaks this support function mentality that holds the profession back.”

Whitter said the new economy needs leading-edge and progressive HR functions more than ever before, and predicted the new HR will not be a business partner and will not be fighting for a ‘seat at the table’.

“All that will fade away. HR has the opportunity to become so much more – a true business leader, and I challenge all HR professionals to make this so,” he said.

HR vs OD: let there be peace

Effective collaboration between OD and HR is key to optimising a firm’s ability to initiate and sustain high impact change, writes Wayne Brockbank

The remarkable and challenging world of change has been well documented. Sources of change continue to accelerate: radical revolutions in technology, big data analytics, information asymmetries, hyper-competition, uncertainty in capital markets, morphing demographics, geopolitical disruptions, climate irresolution, globalisation, income disparities and emerging market imbalance. In sum, the management of change is a competitive imperative for virtually all market-based institutions.

In the Human Resource Competency Study at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, we have distinguished between two related but conceptually and statistically distinct aspects of change management: initiating change and sustaining change. Of the total impact of change management on business performance, 46 per cent is through initiating change and 54 per cent is through sustaining change. The overall message is that balance of the two is central to successful change.

Initiating change includes:

Sustaining change includes:

  • Ensuring that the right people with the right training are in the right place at the right time to drive change
  • Accounting for change initiatives in performance management, including financial and non-financial incentives
  • Providing the necessary capital and informational resources
  • Communicating the importance of the targeted changes, and
  • Monitoring and learning from the change experience. 

The roles of HR and OD
One challenge that companies face in their change management efforts is the clarification and integration of the respective roles of HR and organisation development (OD) in change management. Historically, OD professionals have tended to be the initiators of change – they identify and drive the momentum of change. They see themselves as the “change managers” who work with the line managers the make change happen, with the focus on initiating change as defined above.  They see themselves as strategic partners who implement team-based change processes. A challenge is that they sometimes see HR as inflexible tactical administrators who are driven by processes that may be obstacles to change.

On the other hand, HR professionals tend to strongly influence the levers for sustaining change as described above. They apply focused discipline in ensuring that the supporting human and organisational infrastructures are in place to sustain the requisite changes. HR professionals may occasionally view their OD colleagues as disruptive, in over their heads, undisciplined and (ironically) insufficiently collaborative.

Unifying HR and OD
But what should unify HR and OD is greater than what separates them. The fundamentals that both must exhibit to be optimally effective are a full understanding of the business strategy, an in-depth sensitivity to external sources of change, and a shared view of the cultural capabilities that both must create for sustainable competitive advantage.

Most important is that they must both understand and appreciate the role that the other plays in change management and work together as partners in change. To do so, HR needs to develop greater OD facilitation and process skills while OD needs to exert greater expertise in ensuring that HR and organisation practices are in place to sustain change. They must work together to provide seamless change management processes that include both initiating and sustaining change initiatives. As they do so, they will optimise the full impact and effectiveness of their firms’ ability to initiate and sustain high impact change.

4 steps to unifying HR and OD

  1. Your HR and OD professionals should meet to develop a comprehensive change management process that includes the above steps in both initiating and sustaining change.
  2. The respective HR and OD professionals should become conversant with and appreciative of their respective roles in change management.
  3. Since both are working towards the shared end of effective change management, they should both have some level of competence in the other’s domain.
  4. They should then co-operatively ensure the seamless implementation of both initiating and sustaining change initiatives.

Top HR Takeaways from Think 2018

Insights into the future of work at the heavy-hitting HR Exchange, intimate Think Tank sessions that challenged and provoked, hands-on access to new HR tech solutions, and fantastic live entertainment all made Think 2018 one for the books. More than 30,000 attendees, including some of the world’s top HR visionaries, gathered in Las Vegas this week to discuss the latest big ideas in talent management, AI, cloud, mobile, security, and more. Here are some of the top HR themes we saw emerge at #Think2018:

Employee experience rules

If there was one common thread throughout almost every HR presentation or discussion, it was that the employee experience is critical. In her keynote, Diane Gherson, IBM’s CHRO, stated: “We have employees that are learning how to operate in a world that is consumer grade.” As HR shifts from global standards to personalization at scale, she said, “one size does not fit all.” This theme was amplified throughout the week, with discussions about how employee experience drives customer experience, examples of how the candidate experience impacts revenue, and an emphasis on the importance of building an experience around career development to retain and grow talent. Jeanne Meister, author and partner at Future Workplace, brought it home with the statement: “Employee experience is not an HR initiative, it’s a business initiative.”

Gary Hill talking about Jeanne Meister presentation at IBM HR Exchange.Andi Britt talking about Tina Marron Partridge presentation at IBM HR Exchange.

Play offense by using AI to empower people

During her keynote address, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty advised companies to go on the offense to win, specifically by leveraging digital platforms, embedding learning in every process, and empowering people with all forms of digital intelligence. While advising attendees to put AI though every process they do at their companies, she called out some of the pervasive places where IBM clients are starting: customer service, risk and compliance, knowledge workers, and HR.

“HR, ironically, to me is one of the greatest processes in a business to start at this,” Ginni stated. “I look at my own HR team and what they’ve done to put cognition in everything. Starting with when a candidate… comes to the website. Because we’re using Watson… we get 3X the applications that any other site out there gets from when people visit it.”

“Predict attrition, predict salary increases, personalize learning,” she continued. “Just last year, just the Watson parts of the improvements in my HR process was over $100 million.”
Dion Hinchcliffe talking about IBM Chairman Ginni Rometty keynote at Think 2018.

In this new era of AI, data is the key to the castle

Richard Hughes, senior vice president and chief of strategy, Human Capital at UnitedHealth Group, shared how his organization brought big data and AI to the talent acquisition process. In a panel on AI and HR transformation, Rich stated, “The future is going to be centered around the employee experience and taking engagement down to the individual level. There is no way we can do that at any scale without applying the best that data science has to offer.” Citing her experience using IBM Watson Recruitment to transform recruiting at H&R Block, Katie Waldo, talent acquisition manager, reiterated the importance of data, emphasizing that “Watson needs data – the right kind of data.”

Quote from Rich Hughes, UnitedHealth Group, at IBM HR Exchange.

Skills, skills, skills

Conversations around skills were almost as prevalent as the importance of the employee experience (and in some ways, inextricably linked). Linda Ginac, CEO of TalentGuard, shared that “95% of CEOs say they don’t have the skills required to compete in their marketplace.” Many presenters highlighted skills shortages driven by the digital age, a need for new types of talent with new skills, and the need for skills and competencies to change as technology changes. Jeanne Meister went so far as to claim that “doing a better job of understanding skills and job roles that impact the business is the next big thing in HR” and asserted the importance of looking at “skills, not schools.”

Narrowing the focus into one specific industry, conversation sparked around the skills shortage in cybersecurity, with Julian Meyrick, VP of Security for IBM Europe, citing that 70% of cybersecurity professionals say that skills shortages negatively impacted their business. One solution is to proactively assess the soft skills required for success in cybersecurity.

Quote from Jim Alvilhiera about sourcing talent for cybersecurity.

AI won’t take our jobs, it will allow us to do our jobs

We’ve all heard the concerns about AI taking our jobs. However, at Think 2018, the message across the board was that AI will allow us to actually do our jobs. With analysts predicting that AI will recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity by 2021, John Sumser, principal at HRExaminer, summed it up well by stating, “The work used to be the software. Today, the work is moving away from your desk, doing things, and creating value.” Katie Waldo from H&R Block reiterated: “AI in talent acquisition is not going to replace the recruiter. It is creating a shift for the recruiter to focus on more value-add activities.” Organizations like EY and BuzzFeed showcased examples of AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants delivering returns for the business and enabling HR professionals to shift their focus from administrative to strategic activities.

Tweet from Nicholas McQuire about EY presentation at Think 2018.

In fact, AI may just make us more human(e)

Resoundingly, the message at Think 2018 was recognition of the immense responsibility we all have as stewards and custodians in this new era of AI. There was also excitement at the opportunity to put the human back in HR. Tina Marron-Partridge, VP, executive partner, and global leader of Talent & Engagement for IBM Global Business Services, summed it up with this simple statement: “AI should help humans flourish, not diminish human value.”

Quote from IBM CHRO Diane Gherson at IBM HR Exchange.IBM HR Exchange panel of John Ferguson, Linda Ginac, Kevin Grossman and Obed D Louissaint.

2018 Workplace Trend: Focus on Filling Internal Skills Gap

The rapid pace of technological evolution has shrunk the life of learned skills and increased the skills gap. With the uprise of the digital world encompassing virtual reality, robotics, software development the internal employee skills expire within short/no duration. The importance to remain relevant to the present work profile is an immediate and top requirement for executives, managers, and employees in 2018. It is a considerable move to invest in the talent management to re-skill or up-skill the present diverse & multi-generation workforce.

Talent developers, here, play a crucial role in bridging the internal skills gap and hence accomplished a place on top management board. They are the architect of an organization’s growth as they recognize the skills gap, create learning content, and hone relevant industry skills.

According to 2018 Workplace Learning Report by LinkedIn that interviewed 1,200 talent developers, 200 executives, 400 people managers and 2,200 employees, 94% of staff members agreed to continue with the present company if it devotes finance, time and efforts in their career development. Overall, 68 percent of surveyed employees favor learning at work. Additionally, 58% of employees prefer opportunities to learn at their own pace and 49% prefer to learn when necessitate. This is an important insight into the current workforce’s attitude.

“As the rate of skills, change accelerates across both old and new roles in all industries, proactive and innovative skill-building and talent management is an urgent issue. What this requires is a [talent development] function that is rapidly becoming more strategic and has a seat at the table—one that employs new kinds of analytical tools to spot talent trends and skills gaps, and provides insights that can help organizations align their business, innovation and talent management strategies to maximize available opportunities to capitalize on transformational trends.” - World Economic Forum

“Laddering up, the age-old pattern of career development is replaced by multi-directional career approach in the lattice world”, advised Cathy BenkoDeloitte Consulting LLP's talent game-changer. The employee can go for sideways or diagonal moves in order to put on competencies, experiences, and relationships.

Internal Skills Gap

It is reasonable to cater skills gap of the present pool of workers who are already aligned with the company culture and working style. This saves time and money compared to the new recruitment process. Moreover, in the automation world, the new employees’ skills will also get obsolete in near time. This calls for another training session with the new bunch of employees. Therefore, the vicious circle of learning & development is the core of a continuous ‘hot skills’ supply and holistic expansion of a company.

Bridging Skills Gap

The LinkedIn report highlights a critical issue in the talent development priorities. The talent professionals put a focus on filling internal skill gap according to the present needs of an organization whereas the company executives expect much more. The top management demands talent managers to identify future industry trends too and design skills curriculum. To unlock modern employee’s potential, it is important for both parties executive & talent manager, to reach a consensus here.

Nevertheless, getting out time for learning is a challenging task for employees, as stated by talent managers. One of the ways to overcome this issue is encouraging digital learning solutions to update the skills. The industry terms like “microlearning” and “just-in-time learning” for the present workforce are in-trend. Talent managers can meet learners on the platforms where employees are available such as emails and messages. The continuous interaction between the teams and managers to recognize skill requirement will fasten the process.