1. Should Your Organization Have a Work from Home Pledge?

    September 16, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Harry Hertz

    In a recent blog, entitled The New Normal Will Require RE2ST3, I asserted one of the components of the new normal will be long-term work from home (telework). I believe this shift will require all organizations to examine key factors associated with employee engagement. That is the topic of this blog post.

    Background
    Let me share some data and information relevant to our collective experiences over the last few months, as massive rapid shifts to telework occurred.

    Bloomberg Business reported on a study of 3.1 million people at more than 21,000 companies in 16 cities around the globe, comparing workforce behaviors over two eight-week periods one before and one after pandemic shifts to telework:

    • With telework the average workday lasted 48.5 minutes longer
    • The number of meetings increased by 13%
    • The number of meeting attendees increased by 14% (The average length of meeting decreased by 20%.)
    • Internal e-mails increased by 5%
    • The number of e-mails sent “after hours” increased by 8%

    A Bloomberg report on U.S. workers concluded:

    • People were working three additional hours in the U.S. and logging in at odd hours according to VPN data; there was a spike in usage from midnight to 3 a.m.
    • Boundaries between work and life have virtually disappeared
    • Burnt-out employees feel they have less free time than they had when they “wasted” hours commuting and they feel pressure from bosses to prove they are working
    • A survey of 1,001 U.S. employees conducted by Eagle Hill Consulting showed that almost half attributed their mental toll to an increased workload, the challenges of juggling personal and professional lives, and a lack of communication and support from their employer

    Recognizing the shift to remote work as a permanent change, the sports outfitter REI, has recently put its almost completed eight-acre new corporate headquarters on the market. Designed for the outdoor lifestyle the campus included such amenities as a fire pit, a blueberry bog, courtyards with native plants, and al fresco conference rooms. According to REI’s chief customer officer, Ben Steele, “We’re a national organization, and life outdoors looks different in, say, Atlanta than it does in Seattle than it does in Minneapolis or L.A.” REI’s stores are dispersed why shouldn’t the same be true for HQ personnel.

    Recognizing the stress and burn-out of employees, a large tax auditing firm, Withum, decided to give every employee Friday, August 28th off with instructions to disconnect and use the day to reset and recharge.

    Work from Home Pledge
    In late May 2020, cognizant of the strain on employees, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, working with a group of IBMer’s issued an eight-point work from home pledge to and for employees:

    1. I pledge to be family first.
    2. I pledge to support flexibility for personal needs.
    3. I pledge to support “not camera ready” (on video calls) times.
    4. I pledge to be kind.
    5. I pledge to set boundaries and prevent video fatigue.
    6. I pledge to take care of myself.
    7. I pledge to frequently check in on people.
    8. I pledge to be socially connected with my coworkers.

    Your Call to Action
    Your organization and its leaders probably have to address the new reality of some permanent work from home. A workforce pledge may be an option to consider. It may also be appropriate to acknowledge the added stress by having a periodic day to reset and recharge. Whatever you do, the Baldrige Excellence Framework offers some criteria questions that take on new meaning in the “new normal.” Even if you have addressed all the criteria questions in the last year, it may be time to reconsider your answers. Here are some examples of topics to readdress (also proving the benefit of using the Baldrige framework in all situations):

    • From the Organizational Profile, defining your organization’s key characteristics, P.1a(3) on workforce profile
      • Do you have to reconsider employee segmentation?
      • What are new key drivers of employee engagement?
      • What are new health and safety requirements?
    • From the Leadership category
      • How do your senior leaders create an environment for success, including setting culture, two-way communication, and development of future leaders?
      • How do senior leaders create a focus on action, including setting expectations and demonstrating personal accountability?
    • From the Workforce category
      • How do you prepare your workforce for the changing capability and capacity needs?
      • How do you organize and manage at home and on site employees (and volunteers)?
      • How do you support your at home and on site employees with services and appropriate policies?
      • How do you assess workforce engagement?
      • How do you support the personal development of workforce members, manage their career development, and carry out succession planning?

    Some Concluding Reflections
    If a work from home pledge is right for your organization, how will you involve the workforce in its development? If it is not a good fit for your culture, why not? And, the big question, how will you maintain the all-important engagement of your workforce (without burnout)?

    Please let me know how your organization is addressing these questions.


  2. Why “Why” Is the Fundamental Question

    September 9, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Bailey

    I recently listened to a Ted talk by Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, and it caused me to reflect on some key questions in and related to the Baldrige Excellence Framework, as well as leadership in general.

    Questions to Inspire
    The Criteria within the Baldrige Excellence Framework are all about questions—questions to bring about insight, to promote new ways of thinking, to identify gaps in an organization’s performance, and to inspire excellence. Other series of questions can be used to encourage organizations to consider the Baldrige framework. For example, if you are asked by an organization’s senior leaders why they should consider the framework as a means of self-assessment or continuous improvement, you might ask the senior leaders a series of questions (heard from examiners and other Baldrige community leaders):

    • Are you good?
    • Are you getting better?
    • How do you know?

    Or

    • What problem are you trying to solve?
    • What opportunity are you trying to achieve?
    • How are you going to measure that?

    These sets of questions—and the Criteria questions themselves—can lead an organization to paint a fuller picture of their entire business model, from leadership to results, thereby helping them to identify strengths on which to capitalize and opportunities for improvement in which to invest resources.

    But, when it comes to leadership, it’s the question “why” that is the most fundamental of all of the questions. According to the Baldrige framework,

    Although the Criteria focus on key organizational performance results, these results by themselves offer little diagnostic value. For example, if some results are poor or are improving at rates slower than your competitors’ or com­parable organizations’ results, you need to understand why this is so and what you might do to accelerate improvement.

    The World’s Simplest Idea
    In his book and Ted talk, Sinek puts forward what he calls “the world’s simplest idea,” and it all starts with “why.”

    We follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to . . . and it’s those who start with “why” that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them. . . . If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money, but if they believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat, and tears.

    Sinek describes a golden circle with the word “why” in the very center and outer rings of “how” and “what.” In effective marketing materials, the most successful companies don’t start with what they provide or how they provide it, he said; they sell why you need their products.

    “When we communicate from the inside out [looking at the circle with why in the center], we’re talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behavior, and then we allow people to rationalize it with the tangible things we say and do,” he said. “As it turns out, all the great and inspiring leaders and . . . inspired organizations—regardless of their size, regardless of their industry—all think, act, and communicate from the inside out.”

    Sinek explains that people are inspired to buy something, work harder, take initiative, etc., because they believe not what the leader/organization is doing but why it is being done.

    “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. . . . If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe,” he said, citing Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. attracting hundreds of thousands to his famous Lincoln Memorial speech not because he had a plan but because he had a dream. He also tells the story of the Wright brothers, credited with inventing the world’s first successful motor-operated airplane, with no money, formal education, press, or market opportunity; what they had were supporters who believed what they believed.

    Leading by helping others understand your “why” is a much better recipe for success than having money, the right people, and the right market conditions, he said.

    Understand the Why
    The Baldrige framework emphasizes transparency as defined by consistently candid and open communication, accountability, and the sharing of clear and accurate information by leadership and management. According to the framework, the goal is to help employees understand the “why” of what they are doing. Such understanding helps employees feel connected to the organization’s mission, vision, and values. In the case of many organizations—especially nonprofits, health care organizations, and education organizations—an employee’s connection to why the organization does what it does is a workforce driver; employees who believe in the values and what the organization believes in—both an emotional and intellectual connection—will feel more loyalty to that organization.

    “Transparency is a key factor in workforce engagement and allows people to see why actions are being taken and how they can contribute. Transparency and accountability are also important in interactions with customers and other stake­holders, giving them a sense of involvement, engagement, and confidence in your organization,” according to the Baldrige framework.

    In many, many workforce presentations of Baldrige Award winners, I’ve heard about these role-model organizations prioritizing hiring for a match with their cultures and values over skills—attracting people who believe in why the organization does what it does, with values that match the organization’s own values. Here are just a few Blogrige examples: “Building Employee Trust: Tips Validated by the Baldrige Excellence Framework,” “Baldrige is Answer to How to Create the Culture You Need,” “Leadership Practices of Integrated Project Management, Inc.”, “One Way to Carve Your Values—and Culture—in Stone,” and “How Values, Quarterly Coaching Address Clinician Burnout, Improve Engagement.

    Sinek’s view is in alignment with the Baldrige framework. He said the goal for organizations is to “hire people who believe what you believe” and “do business with the people who believe what you believe.” That is how you build loyalty and inspire others.

    “If you do not know why you do what you do, and people respond to why you do what you do, then how will you ever get people to vote for you, or buy something from you, or, more importantly, be loyal and want to be a part of what it is that you do,” Sinek asked.

    Starting with the why, Sinek says, explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others are not. People won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the why behind it, he sums up.

    Do you know why you do what you do? Do your employees understand their why?


  3. Best Practice Report: Artificial Intelligence

    by BPIR.com Limited

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) involves using machines (i.e., computers) to do things that traditionally require human intelligence. This means creating algorithms to classify, analyse, and draw predictions from data. It also involves acting on data, learning from new data, and improving over time. Common AI applications include speech recognition, natural language processing, machine vision (which is similar to voice recognition but enables a computer to see and interpret), and expert systems, i.e., a software application using a database of expert knowledge capable of offering advice to facilitate decision making.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    The Stage
    The term “artificial intelligence” was first coined by John McCarthy in 1956. As one of the founders of AI, he and a group of research scientists started to clarify the role and concept of “thinking machines” at a workshop called the Dartmouth Summer Research Project. McCarthy proposed the workshop “proceed on the basis of the conjecture that every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.”

    Ever since, AI has been evolving and now has an impact on almost every aspect of life. It is seemingly everywhere. It is in your home (in the guise of Siri or Alexa, for example), at the train station, in public spaces (facial recognition technology), when you use your credit card, and anytime you use Google to search the internet. AI is here to stay; so, we might as well embrace it, and try to understand it better.

    There are two main types of AI: machine learning, and deep learning. Machine learning is the ability to process large amounts of data very quickly. In a manufacturing plant, for example, the machinery is hooked up to a complicated network being fed data, functionality, and production. The machine learning algorithm can rapidly analyse data and detect patterns or anomalies, notifying decision makers of non-optimised production levels or preventative maintenance issues. Deep learning is a widely used version of machine learning that involves multiple “brain-like” networks (neural networks), to engage in non-linear reasoning. Banks use it to detect fraud, and Tesla uses it for its self-driving cars. While machine learning is limited once a certain amount of data has been captured, deep learning is far more scalable. Therefore, deep learning models will be far more prolific.

    Businesses today are increasingly reliant on AI to gain an edge in sectors as diverse as banking, manufacturing, retail, health care, security, and farming. Most industry players use AI to identify, make decisions and, in some cases, predict trends and opportunities. One of the biggest advantages of the AI system is speed: it can outdo humans in processing large amounts of data, and present synthesised courses of action to human users. However, it has difficulty completing common-sense tasks, especially those that involve value-driven decisions.

    AI is increasingly affordable and accessible to businesses and the public, and there is a rapidly expanding range of ready-to-use services for all types and sizes of business. The question is, will AI take over jobs and make human input obsolete? Experts are not quite sure how or to what extent these algorithms will automate existing jobs, but they do agree that manual and managerial jobs will both be affected. New jobs, however, will also be created. Finally, the growing sophistication and ubiquity of AI systems has raised many ethical concerns such as bias, fairness, transparency, safety, and accountability. The algorithm, while being able to serve a wide variety of purposes, can never guarantee ethical decision making by a robot. After all, they have been taught by humans.

    1. What is artificial intelligence?
    2. Which organisations have been recognised for excellence in artificial intelligence?
    3. How have organisations reached high levels of excellence in artificial intelligence?
    4. What research has been undertaken into artificial intelligence?
    5. What tools and methods are used to achieve high levels of success in artificial intelligence?
    6. How can artificial intelligence be measured?
    7. What do business leaders say about artificial intelligence?
    8. Conclusion

    Access the report from here. At the bottom of the page is a PDF version of the report for easy reading. If you are a non-member, you will find some of the links in this report do not work. To join BPIR.com and support our research simply click here or to find out more about membership, email membership@bpir.com. BPIR.com publishes a new best practice every month with over 80 available to members.


  4. South African Quality Institutes Quality Education News

    August 4, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    South African Quality Institute (SAQI) http://www.saqi.co.za is the national body that co-ordinates the Quality effort in South Africa. Quality Education News is a quarterly publication issued by the South African Qulaity Institute (SAQI) in the intrest of promoting educational excellence, SAQI publications are excellent source of information to keep up with the latest quality issues in South Africa.

    • During pandemics should there be marks and grades? by Richard Hayward
    • The KISS principle
    • How do we reduce their anxiety, fear and panic?
    • Upsides during lockdowns

    Click here to download this newsletter.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  5. Kudos to My Kolleagues

    by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Harry Hertz

    OK, I took a little poetic license with the second “K” in the title; it looked nice! I can brag about the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) staff (including its leadership) because I am not part of the survey group below; I retired from Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) employment in 2013.

    Employee Engagement
    The federal government conducts an annual survey of all federal employees. The results are in for 2019 and BPEP might well have set the benchmark for the government. I have to apologize because I cannot say that with certainty; all the comparative data I have are averages. (I feel the pain of all Baldrige Excellence Framework users who seek top quartile and top decile comparisons.) The survey had 71 questions. Results are reported by indices that aggregate by topic across survey categories, by overall category responses, and by individual engagement drivers.

    Let me share some results:


    Does it make sense to internalize the Baldrige Excellence Framework and make it the way you work? I would have to reply with a resounding “yes.” The most striking difference among the three groups is that BPEP uses the Baldrige Excellence Framework to guide its operations and decision making. While I can’t speak to the whole federal government, I do know that both NIST and BPEP strive to select the right people with the traits and baseline skills needed to fill their jobs. That might be part of the explanation why both NIST and BPEP exceed government-wide performance.

    Customer Engagement
    There are many studies that demonstrate a correlation between employee engagement and customer engagement. Let me share some customer results for BPEP’s customer engagement. I will first share some recent Net Promoter Scores (for comparison the NPS for Tesla is 97, Starbucks is 77, and USAA is 65):

    • Baldrige Executive Fellows Program 100
      Likelihood to recommend the Baldrige Excellence Framework 86
    • Baldrige Quest for Excellence Conference 59 (93% rated it valuable/very valuable)

    And here are some data from the survey of Baldrige Award applicants (over the life of the Program) on per cent of applicants who agreed that the use of Baldrige improved their:
    outcomes/results 100

    • revenue/market growth 96
    • customer satisfaction/engagement 100
    • workforce satisfaction/engagement/retention 100
    • community support/relationships 91

    Building Employee Engagement
    While there are detailed questions in the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, let me share some basic workforce engagement questions from the Baldrige Excellence Builder, an introductory set of criteria questions. Considering these questions could help your organization achieve results like my colleagues (no k this time) have achieved:

    • How do you recruit, hire, and onboard new workforce members?
    • How do you organize and manage your workforce?
    • How do you determine the key drivers of workforce engagement?
    • How do you foster an organizational culture that is characterized by open communication, high performance, and an engaged workforce?
    • How do you manage career development for your workforce and your future leaders?

    And it all starts with the leadership:

    • How do senior leaders’ personal actions demonstrate their commitment to legal and ethical behavior?
    • How do senior leaders communicate with and engage the entire workforce, key partners, and key customers?
    • How do senior leaders create an environment for success now and in the future?
    • How do senior leaders create a focus on action that will achieve the organization’s mission?

    Finally, let me take the discussion to a “higher plane” and relate the challenges of workforce engagement to some of the Baldrige Core Values:

    Visionary Leadership
    Your organization’s senior leaders should set a vision for the organization, create a customer focus, demonstrate clear and visible organizational values and ethics, and set high expectations for the workforce

    Valuing People
    A successful organization values its workforce members and the other people who have a stake in the organization.

    Societal Contributions
    Your organization’s leaders should stress contributions to the public and the consideration of societal well-being and benefit.

    Ethics and Transparency
    Your organization should stress ethical behavior by all workforce members in all stakeholder transactions and interactions. Senior leaders should be role models of ethical behavior, including transparency.

    Obviously, no organization is perfect in all these considerations, including BPEP. However, honestly addressing them may be your next step toward higher performance. Again, my congrats to the wonderful Baldrige team!