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Latest Trends in Managing Sustainability in the Corporate Environment

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An understanding of global business trends is essential these days. Changing international market structures and integrations can affect decision-making and strategies in the corporate environment.

New trends are percolating at the grassroots level. The role of trends may influence larger organizations over the coming years. Nowadays, adapting to new ways of working and workplaces is no longer a challenge for innovators and early adopters. Innovations in working style and work setup quickly become mainstream and rudimentary for most companies. Get ready to embrace these new approaches, or you may find that most other organizations already got it and moved on. 

As suggested by Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman, ”Let us just consider climate change as the root of the whole problem lies in the carbon-dominated industry. To change it may give a strong impetus to the research and development of carbon-free energy resources and may open an era of new technological development.”

New trends come with several driving forces, such as the integration of corporate, economic liberalization, free trade, transfer of technology, corporate financial flows, and transnational companies. 

All trends are affected by technology and vice-versa. Technological developments are and will be affected by social, economic, and marketing trends. 

The rate of change in work and the workplace is shifting into a much higher gear. Today, work is conducted across an increasingly broad range of settings, geographies, and time frames propelled by four major trends. These trends can impact how sustainability is managed and the fulfillment of a sustainable corporate environment:

Image Source: Md Ahbabur Rahman

The availability of enabling technologies and social collaboration tools. Technologies for collaborating with co-workers continue to become cheaper, easier to use, and ubiquitous. They are already being combined and synthesized into platforms that feature a wide range of tools to collaborate asynchronously and synchronously.

On the other hand, it becomes more difficult for workers to stay engaged and connected as they are more dispersed physically. So planners need to link conscious workplace strategies with social technologies and work policies to encourage socialization.

The shortage of knowledge workers. There will be a shortage of younger knowledge workers in the coming years. The Baby Boomer generation retires and younger workers take their place. Organizations will have to compete for workers who are more comfortable with and seek flexible work and alternative workplaces. 

As for the solution, there’s a need for cultural change. The hardest part of changing the workplace is not the physical environment or technology but changing the people. 

Knowledge workers are the core of an organization. They possess a high level of creativity and productivity. These workers are described as people who “think for a living.” Knowledge workers invent new products. They create and develop ideas and strategies rather than doing manual labor. 

To sustain knowledge workers, they should be given platforms where they can nurture ideas and create. Also, knowledge workers need to have a working environment where voices and opinions can be shared during the planning process. 

Knowledge workers are technology-dependent. So keeping up with the trends is a must for them. Allow them the choice of when, where, and how they are comfortable working. Let knowledge workers choose what working style and setup is beneficial as learning and growing are valuable for them while working.

The demand for more work flexibility. Workers will demand more work flexibility—the ability to decide how they should define and tackle specific problems and tasks and when and where work is done. 

To develop a solution, corporations can adopt new workplace practices. With workers increasingly scattered geographically, work practices need to adapt because it is no longer possible to communicate casually with a distributed work team. Leaders need to formalize good work practices for the team.

The World Economic Forum predicts that we are on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution. Technological, socioeconomic, and demographic shifts are transforming the way we work. These shifts have made flexibility important in the way individuals, teams, and organizations work. 

There are many ways to incorporate flexibility into the corporate environment. These are the ability of employees to include the opportunity to change their working hours, work remotely, learn new software, and take on new roles. Flexibility also concerns employers as they need to assess strategy quickly according to the working style and personal needs of their employees. 

Some companies are switching to a hybrid work setup. This means that employees will report to the office on specific days and work from home for the rest of the weeks. This system comes with challenges and inconveniences, such as communication issues, coordination in terms of schedule, and the availability of resources in both types of workstations.

Some companies are also configuring the office layout in response to the hybrid work setup. One of the drawbacks is not everyone will have their own desks in the office anymore. This change means that employees may encounter problems with accessing and moving the resources they need for work or making sure they have a spot each time they return to the office. 

Before making any modifications to how work is done,  organizations should establish a system that will harmonize the time, tasks, and resources of employees. It would help ensure that everyone’s goals are aligned and the workplace remains a happy and productive environment.  

Pressure for more sustainable organizations and workstyles. Perhaps the 800-pound gorilla is the push for organizations to drastically reduce their carbon footprint, whether through regulations or market-driven incentives and disincentives. 

Organizations will have to examine all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, in relation to how, where, and when people work. Group locations, building efficiencies, commute patterns, and air travel practices must be observed. 

Employees have different workstyles also. Some feel comfortable when working independently, and some are more productive when collaborating. Some employees are emotionally aware and create supportive work environments. Some are ideal and detailed-oriented workers.

Edelman Data x Intelligence, an independent research firm, conducted a survey among 31,092 full-time employed and self-employed workers across 31 markets between January 12, 2021 and January 25, 2021.

In 2021, some employees were given the freedom to choose where and when they work. While 67% of employees chose in-person work collaboration, 73% of 31,092 full-time and self-employed people decided to stay at home and continue to work remotely. 

Sixty-six percent (66%) of leaders considered redesigning their office spaces to accommodate employees. The same study shows that leaders faced challenges and implemented changes just to give the best of both worlds to their employees. 

If you would like to improve your knowledge in corporate sustainability,  explore these sustainability-related publications:  Sustainability ReportingThe Health, Safety, Security and Environment KPI DictionaryThe KPI Dictionary Volume I: Functional Areas, and The Resources KPI Dictionary.

Employee Turnover and Retention: The Impact of Various Talent Management Practices

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The Great Resignation was among the top headlines in 2021. It highlighted the significance of employee retention. Even though most businesses are aware that the expense of replacing employees is substantial, management is still not putting enough emphasis on retaining their personnel. The possibility is that the failure occurred due to a lack of serious effort or an inability to implement retention effectively. In any case, knowing the interrelationship between turnover, talent management, and retention is critical for HR decision-makers. 

The Global Business and Organizational Excellence journal published their research done in 2021 to investigate talent management practices as a strategic technique for employee retention, to control employee turnover intentions, and to analyze how talent management practices affect employee retention and turnover intentions. This article will go over each of the sub-objectives, hypotheses, and associated outcomes, and then draw conclusions.

Before diving into the study, it may be worth taking into account the employed research method. The proposed hypotheses are tested using a quantitative method-multiple linear regression. The samples used are 236 responses from Indian IT companies. 

The following  are the four sub-objectives that influenced the research on retention intentions:

  1. Recruitment and selection

    The first hypothesis is framed in terms of the impact of recruitment and selection on employee retention: “The higher the degree of satisfaction with the recruitment and selection process, the higher the rate of employee retention.” The result shows that it has a positive effect on employee retention intentions, but was not statistically significant. This means that the recruitment and selection process can affect employee retention intentions, but is not as significant as other practices discussed later.

  2. Performance and career management

    The second hypothesis states that “Employee performance and career management positively affect turnover and retention intentions.” This means that employees who have opportunities for development and career progression are more likely to stay in the company for a longer period of time and feel happier and more loyal to their employers.

  3. Teamwork and management support

    The research’s third hypothesis is that “Teamwork and management support positively affect employee retention intentions.” This proposition is also statistically supported by the result, meaning that teamwork and management support increases employee retention intentions. The result showed that teamwork and management support increases an employee’s retention intentions. Employees that work as a team form bonds and trust with one another, which can help in employee retention.

  4. Salary and compensation

    Last but not least, the fourth hypothesis of the research is that “There is a significant positive association between salary and compensation and employee turnover and retention intentions.” The test revealed that the positive relationship between compensation and retention intentions was approved and statistically significant. Moreover, salary and compensation emerged as the most important factors for employee retention, which is also in line with other research.

In summary, the result of the research highlights the importance of talent management practices on talent retention. The talent retention process starts from recruitment, then the company’s performance management system and team support would provide a comfortable environment for employees to grow and progress their careers. Salary and other forms of compensation are important to attract and retain talent, as salary is one of the primary motives for employment.

These talent management practices each contribute in their own way, but when executed collectively, you may not need to find new talents as frequently as you usually do.

Building Blocks for Launching a Successful Business

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Startups have become the lifeblood of many nations and the cornerstone of many economies. In fact, startups are a source of new jobs across the globe and bring the markets new innovative ideas and solutions. Moreover, they boost competition in markets by developing new and similar products which benefit the consumers. Despite the increasing trend of self-employment in many countries, many fail to stay in business as it is not an easy process to develop a successful one. Consequently, this article aims to give a brief of the key building blocks for starting a successful business.

  1. Self-Assessment

    The first thing an entrepreneur should start with is self-assessment. Before launching your business, you need to realize whether you have what is needed for your business. Start by listing the advantages and disadvantages of having your own business. And you need to compare between being an entrepreneur and full-time/part-time employed (in case this is your current situation) given your current circumstances (ie. marital status, financial situation). There are a lot of personality tests that could help you in assessing and knowing yourself. Answering the below questions accurately and honestly may help in making your decision:

    – Why do I want to launch a business?

    – Specifically, what type of business do I want to launch?

    – Why do I believe I can make this kind of business work?

    – Why do I believe this kind of business is sustainable?

    – Do I have the needed educational level, skills, and experience to succeed in this field? If not, can I attain these skills and competencies before starting my business? How?

    – What is my true aim and/or the objective I hope to attain with this business?

    – What is the financial objective I am pursuing to attain?

    – If I will need financing, do I have enough resources and credit for the startup?

    – What are my strengths and weaknesses?

    – What is the state of my physical, mental and emotional health, and stamina?

    – Do I have the required skills and knowledge to manage the daily operations of a business?

    – Am I up to date with the latest technology necessary to be competitive in this industry?

    – What sacrifices and risks am I willing to take to be successful?

    – Will I be able to maintain a work-life balance? How?

    Figure 1 below shows some advantages and disadvantages that you could consider as suggested by Gregory and Patricia Kishel in their 2005 study, How to start, run and stay in business:

    Figure 1: Source: ResearchGate

  2. Market Understanding

    This stage does not refer to extensive market research but rather to the start of exploring the industry/market in which you want to launch your business, especially if you don’t have a clear and solid business idea. This phase suggests networking and connecting with different people or stakeholders to have a clear view of how things are going in the industry. At the same time, this will give you a chance to build on your current network as well as gain tips and recommendations for getting your business started. This could be done through several means such as scheduling meetings with owners in the same field or attending conferences and events.

  3. The Start-up Canvas

    This canvas is one of the techniques that entrepreneurs could use to sketch their initial ideas for their business idea. The start-up canvas includes the components shown below.

    Figure 2: Source: Upmetrics

  4. Extensive Market Research

    When you reach this stage, it means that you have decided to go on with your business and do more extensive research to better understand your business. There are two types of research: secondary or desk research, and primary research.

    You might want to start first by doing desk research and checking documents such as reports, articles, and press releases to give you some insights into your industry. Then, you can conduct a market research study or focus group to get more specific insights from the market. In this case, you can consult a market research agency to conduct the study.

    In Figure 3 below, Michigan Small Business Development Center suggests a checklist  of market research information:

  5. Cost/Financial Analysis

    This part is concerned with estimating your costs to launch your business. According to the Michigan Small Business Development Center, the following contribute to the reason as to why many startups fail before they launch their business or soon after launching it:

    – An inadequate estimate of the real cost of starting what you are planning to

    – Unrealistic anticipation about resources you might hit into; grants, tax incentives, and startup loans are uncommon, competitive, and difficult to acquire

    – Miscalculations about how quickly you will start making money; for instance, some businesses may take a few years to start making a profit, so you need to make sure that you will be able to cover your company costs during those years.

    Consequently, it is necessary to consider some of the financial analysis tools which many entrepreneurs miss, such as the payback period (refers to the amount of time it takes to recover the cost of investment), internal rate of return, cash flow, profit margin, gross margin, and markup and breakeven analysis. These techniques will permit entrepreneurs to plan their financials ahead of launching their business and avoid financial failure.

  6. Sources of Finance

    In this phase, you will have to consider the means for financing your business. There are several sources of finance such as your personal investment (ie. your own money and assets), bank loans, venture capital, business incubators, angels, or grants. You need to take into consideration several factors when deciding on the sources of finance, such as the nature of your business and business size. Some entrepreneurs may decide to continue their full-time/part-time job and work on their businesses slowly to finance themselves while launching their businesses.

  7. Human Resources

    This stage helps you to estimate how many employees you need to hire when you launch your business. Which departments do you need to start with? You do not want to hire less or more than what you need. Moreover, you need to consider several factors before hiring your employees, such as the employment labor law, taxes and social insurance exempted from employees’ salaries, and health and safety measures.

  8. Business Plan

    The previous stages will allow you to have enough data to conduct an accurate business plan which describes the objectives and goals of your business. This also studies your business idea from financial, operational, and marketing perspectives. In your business plan, you have to fill in the following components: general business information, market analysis (competitive analysis, industry analysis, segmentation analysis, marketing/sales plan), management and operations matters (human resources, operations plan, research, and development plan), cost structure, and financials.

  9. Legal Formation of a Business

    When deciding to launch your business, it is important to know the procedures and regulations to legally form your business. First, you need to choose the type of business you are going for. This is based on the country you are establishing your startup in. Based on this, you will be able to identify your tax implications and company registration procedures. It is advisable to do this with a specialized lawyer to guide you through the process.

In conclusion, launching your business is a hectic and risky process that you need to think of very carefully. Take your time whenever you work on any of the building blocks and decide whether you are capable of moving on to the next stage or not. Remember you do not have to start big; you can start small and expand over time. Several startups have started small and now they are some of the most successful startups such as Khan Academy, Udemy, and Slack.

The Great Resignation and the Requirement of a Data-driven Approach from HR

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Image Source: Nick Staal | Unsplash

During the past few months, there have been rampant talks regarding the Great Resignation spree, especially in the US and many European countries. Several theories have been put forward on why this phenomenon is happening, such as people wanting their own way of thinking, having freedom from a salaried culture, searching avenues to serve the community based on one’s own value system, and enjoying life leisurely without being shackled. Initial reports in media viewed pay and compensation as an important issue for this turnover, however, it was analyzed later on that pay-related issues was not figuring even on the top ten important reasons for this movement.

Factors contributing employees to leave

If it is not the pay and compensation, then what exactly is driving this phenomenon? According to a study done by MIT, the top five reasons why people resign from their jobs are as follows:

  • Culture: Employees are more comfortable in organizations where diversity, equity, and inclusion are being promoted. Reversely, employees felt an aversion towards experiences of disrespect and unethical behavior within the company.
  • Perceived job threats: Due to the prolonged situation brought by the pandemic, the financial position of an organization may be in the red. As such, employees feel that they could get laid off from their job; as a precautionary measure, they start searching for new jobs.
  • Too much focus on the idea of “innovation”: Currently, there is a focus on innovation and digital acceleration such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. While employees in an organization talk positively about innovation, they also realize that it is hard to innovate which eventually causes burnout. 
  • Performance recognition: During the pandemic, most employees started working from home. Under this environment, it is difficult to distinguish high-performing employees from the rest, ultimately leading to common minimum recognition and rewards instead of logically differentiated ones. 
  • Response to COVID-19:The response and tackling of the COVID-19 situation by an organization is greatly linked to the confidence and loyalty of their employees.

What approaches can be adopted

Organizations, particularly Human Resources (HR), must take a data-driven approach to tackle this issue, first by determining not just the quantum of people quitting but by finding who exactly has more turnover risk to the company. Of course, approaches will vary from organization to organization, however, there are a few basic steps involved. 

First, by quantifying the problem wherein the attrition rate is calculated, it should be analyzed at a granular level. This analysis should show information such as the category of people leaving in terms of function, age, gender, position, experience, or the number of years in the organization. One can use analysis to identify how much of turnover is coming from voluntary resignations and involuntary resignations. 

As a next step, the impact of attrition on the key business matrix can be evaluated, including the cost of resignations. This analysis will help in identifying the root cause of the problem and segment of people to be focused on for retention strategy. There could be some obvious reasons such as compensation, promotions, pay increases, rewards, recognition, and training opportunities. 

However, to identify softer issues such as trends and blind spots, it needs detailed employees’ feedback and one-to-one interaction. Here, a data-based HR approach is important since it can capture an employee’s mindset and convert it into meaningful analysis. After this step, companies can create highly customized programs for segments of people and identify specific factors to be corrected. The idea is to take care of factors that highly correlate to the attrition rate. 

Conclusion

Data-driven strategy for addressing high retention rates is difficult and resource-consuming. On top of that, doing it right is a real challenge since poorly done analysis may lead to wrong corrective actions. Nevertheless, it is worth following a data-driven strategy, especially when you want to implement a targeted retention policy. As a result, organizations can attract talent, reduce talent acquisition costs, and can develop an engaged and motivated workforce contributing from the bottom to the top line.

The Importance of Customer Relationship Management

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Customer relationship management (CRM) is a process-oriented approach to the organization’s relationship with its customers. It is an organized effort to identify, understand, anticipate, and meet the customer’s needs to maximize customer lifetime value (CLV). The importance of CRM has increased over the years due to the advent of new technologies that have made it easier for customers to communicate with brands. 

With the advancement of technology, CRM has become more important than ever before. This article will help you understand why CRM is such a vital part of any business strategy.

Why CRM is vital to a business

One of the reasons why CRM is so important is because it helps a business understand what they want from their customers. The goal of CRM is to meet customer needs and expectations. To do that, you must know what those needs and expectations are. Understanding your customers will help you better communicate with them. For example, if you have the ability to tell your customers when an item is back in stock or when a new catalog is available, they’ll be more likely to buy it.

CRM also helps businesses identify potential problems before they happen. If you’re able to notice that something about your customer interaction isn’t up to snuff before it escalates into a major issue, then you can address the problem before it becomes worse. This will make your customers happy and help retain them for longer periods of time.

A CRM system can also help develop strategies for things like retention campaigns. Without detailed information about your customers, like their order frequency or total spending amount over time, you may not realize that certain customers should be sent a loyalty offer but aren’t receiving one due to a lack of knowledge on your part. This could result in less spending by that customer and lower lifetime value than expected, which costs the business a loss of income in both the short-term and long-term.

Why CRM is important to the customer

First, CRM is all about the customer, which is why it’s important to the customer. Your company will be more successful if you can identify and satisfy your customers’ needs. You want to provide your customers with the best customer service possible. When they’re happy, they’ll buy from you again, which will result in increased sales for your business. 

Second, CRM improves business performance at every level of the organization. This means that employees are happier because they know their work is appreciated. The customers will also appreciate the improvements made because their needs are better fulfilled. This results in cost savings for your business since you’ll spend less money on unhappy customers who no longer avail of your products or services.

Third, CRM makes your company more competitive by providing a wider range of products and services to meet the varied needs of its customers. This way, no matter how many competitors come into your market space or what type of products they offer, there’s always something for everyone in your product line-up.

Fourth, CRM helps businesses better understand their competition by analyzing data on where they are across all aspects of marketing, including social media advertising campaigns and website traffic data. And finally, CRM provides an accurate measurement of CLV so that organizations can tailor their efforts accordingly. It helps them figure out how much time and money should be put into each individual customer to maximize future profits.

Benefits of CRM

It is important to have an organized customer database so you can better understand your customers and their needs. Some of the benefits of CRM include:

  • Tracking your sales and marketing efforts and measuring ROI
  • Improving customer retention by providing better service and personalized offers
  • Identifying the most valuable customers
  • Segmenting customers into groups that require different kinds of attention or treatment
  • Making essential decisions about your business strategy with the data collected through CRM 

Conclusion

A CRM strategy is an investment. It takes time and effort to set up and it will continue to take time and effort to maintain. However, if you can do this, you can reap the benefits of a CRM strategy. These benefits will depend on your business. 

No matter how your strategy is structured, the most important benefit will be increased customer loyalty. You can never be 100% sure that customers will come back, but if you have a CRM strategy in place, you will know how to retain customers and build relationships with them. With the right software and execution, you may see a return on that investment in as little as three months.

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