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Tagged ‘Human Resources’


Philip Bouchard

Geoff McDonald on the Importance of Employee Wellbeing

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Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to meet with a new TrustedPeer Expert, Geoff McDonald. Geoff has a unique and well-developed philosophy on how employee wellbeing affects corporate growth, and it was a pleasure to hear his perspective. Here is how our discussion went:

Can you give me a quick download about your career background?

I worked at Unilever for twenty-five years; my most recent role being the Global Vice President of Human Resources for Marketing, Communications, Sustainability and Talent.  At Unilever, my main goal has been to embed our purpose of making sustainable living commonplace into the core of the business, with healthy purposeful employees working to achieve this purpose, and in so doing, grow and deliver profits in a more responsible way. 

How did you become so committed to this goal of purposeful business and the employee wellbeing?

In the last five years with the fall of Enron and other once respectable organizations/institutions and the financial crisis, companies are realizing they need to go back to their roots and think about why they exist beyond profitability. Organizations are looking for a purpose that will drive growth and profits in the future in a more responsible way. Despite the good intentions of capitalism, the system as we know it today has not served us well. Yes, there has been growth, which has been good for many, but it has left too much inequity and has not taken into account the physical and environmental limits of the planet. As a result, our capitalist society is suffering from a crisis of confidence and is fueled by debt. 

Wealth isn’t evenly distributed. As of a few years ago, the top 1 percent of Americans owns 40 percent of wealth in the US. All this points to the lack of a social form of capitalism. A more modern take on capitalism—one that I would like to see—is one that takes into account the physical and environmental limits that we have on this planet, that taxes on consumption rather than income, and that isn’t addicted to short termism and growth. This more modern take on capitalism would also serve a moral purpose, and success would be just as much about the wellbeing of the employees as it is about the organization. 

What is the best way to address this issue?

We need to create more purposeful organizations with wellbeing of employees at the core of these institutions. In so doing we will have to break the stigma around mental health issues by normalizing it. About one in five Americans will experience some mental health condition—the situation is much more common than we think. Therefore, we must ensure that there are ample resources to educate and improve the problem within organizations.

Do you have thoughts on the source of mental health issues?

Oftentimes, the source of anxiety and depression can be factors in the workplace. Simple acts of not giving feedback to employees regarding their performance on a regular basis can be a real source of stress, distress and at its worst, can lead to depression and anxiety. When you combine already-existing stress and demands with technology and the need to cut costs, the pressures are even higher. The New York Times article Why You Hate Work, documents that 87% of people today find their work disappointing, which leads to less productive work. Therefore, the competitive edge in the future might be to ensure that your employees are well in a holistic sense. In order to achieve this complete sense of well-being, we must focus on what The Energy Project calls the four levels of needs: physical (i.e. recharging your body through sleep, etc.), mental (i.e. your ability to focus), emotional (i.e. your level of happiness), and spiritual (i.e. your sense of purpose). 

I hear that you will be meeting with Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of the The Huffington Post, this week. What will this meeting be about?

In her book Thrive, Arianna talks about well being as the third metric of success—so there are some parallels there. For me, the meeting with Arianna is exploratory. I am about to leave Unilever to try and build an institute to make purposeful business more commonplace, so I am excited to hear Arianna’s perspective on where we may find synergies.


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Philip Bouchard

The Future of Training and Development

There is a widespread assumption that the world has somehow reached the peak of natural selection.  Everything has adapted perfectly and the world is in harmony.

Business is the great crucible where evolution is on steroids. One of the most interesting areas to explore is the employer/employee dynamic. After all, with minimal friction in a decent economy, employees can vote with their feet or their wallets, and employers are left carrying some heavy costs.

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I have always felt that training and development were the foundation of employee retention. In researching this, I found that dissatisfaction with career development is one of the top three reasons employees look for alternative career opportunities. And those who receive more training are less likely to quit than those who receive little or no training.  

Typically, training and development is delivered by sending employees to conferences. Unless the conference is an internal one, I view the travel as a nice-to-have. And, the ability to socialize with one’s peers leads to more lateral mobility than an employer would like. Worse yet, the employer is on the hook for the high costs of travel, hotel, conference fees, meals and "entertainment.”

If you really want to retain employees, I recommend employee development through TrustedPeer Expert Sessions. When I read the Session surveys and feedback, the level of enthusiasm for the amount learned is the standout. And, because TrustedPeer Experts are highly qualified in business strategy and tactics, both employees and the company gain from an immediate increase in skill level and value. 

If you agree with me that turnover is expensive, and that the costs of employee training and development - in its current form - are prohibitive, have your organization's HR group take a test-drive with TrustedPeer.

If you’re not 100% satisfied with your 1-hour session, TrustedPeer will refund your money. If you are, buy a 5-pack or a 10-pack and give the gift of professional development to your team.

If you need consulting on Business Development, contact TrustedPeer Expert and CEO Philip Bouchard.

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Philip Bouchard

A Sneak Peek Into the Future of Work with Talent Management Expert Edie L. Goldberg


I had the opportunity to sit down with TrustedPeer Expert Edie Goldberg regarding her speaking engagement at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM’s) Annual Conference in Orlando, FL on June 23.  Here’s what we discussed: 

Philip: Can you share an overview of what you talked about at the #SHRM14 conference?

Edie: My topic was "Transforming Work: Are Your Ready for the Future?" My goal was to help HR leaders understand some of the trends that are dramatically changing the nature of work. In my presentation, I explored this rich topic from many different perspectives. 
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For instance, from the employee’s perspective, there is a move toward a redefinition of what career success means. Today, people define career success differently. They want to be constantly challenged while doing work they’re passionate about, fully utilizing the skills they have developed, and while creating their own sense of work-life balance. 

This redefinition has created a new segment of successful professionals, a segment that Silicon Valley leader Maynard Webb says is characterized by a particular mindset that embraces the self-motivation to become CEOs of their own destiny. 

Philip: Interesting. Is this Webb’s book called Rebooting Work that you’re referencing? 

Edie: Exactly. The book has been a huge influence on my personal approach to work as well. 

Philip: Any other major themes you discussed in your talk?

Edie: Yes, I discussed how we are now operating in the Connected Age, where people are connected 24/7 and able to work from anywhere. I urged HR leaders to rethink the relationship of talent to the organization, because often the best talent they may need to achieve their strategic objectives may be found outside of the walls of the corporation. For instance, we’re beginning to see more contingent workers, even at a senior leadership level. 

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasted that by 2020 40% of the US workforce will be comprised of contingent workers. So what does that mean? It means companies will have to innovate in order to be successful at attracting and keeping this type of modern, successful employee. You’ll also see new business models centered around this phenomenon beginning to emerge. For example, marketplaces for online talent are becoming more prevalent—Elance, oDesk, Guru, and LiveOps are just a few of the more popular marketplaces.

If you need consulting on Talent Management, contact TrustedPeer Expert Edie L. Goldberg.

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Edie Goldberg PhD

Has Your Business Got Talent?

Talent Management is a strategic and deliberate approach to attracting the best people to an organization, managing and retaining them once they are in, and developing their talents as they move through the business. The approach needs to be linked closely to an organization's culture and strategic direction.

In today's competitive business environment, it is increasingly difficult for companies to find ways to outperform their peers.  In the past, reliable processes and execution were the keys to an organization's success.  Today, it is much more about an organization's ability to innovate quickly to meet the changing needs of a fast-paced world. Managing talent is now the key to enjoying a long-term competitive advantage.

The essence of Talent Management is:

  • Harnessing the collective abilities of the right talent for the organization.
  • Motivating that talent to provide their best efforts.
  • Enabling that talent to bring their full capabilities to the workplace.
  • Ensuring the right talent is in the right roles at the right time.

Having a Talent Management strategy that aligns with the business strategy enables the organization to proactively manage its workforce to make certain it is developing or acquiring the talent needed to succeed. 

Talent Management begins with defining the critical knowledge, skills, behaviors and values that drive success in the organization. It organizes human resources programs to attract people who have those skills, then it motivates and enables them to maximize their capabilities. Finally, it develops them for future roles, creating new leaders for the organization.

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