4 Ways Technology Is Changing the Way You Work

Technology is changing work forever. Here are a few examples of companies who are adapting.

While there is plenty to be cautious about with technology, most would agree that technology enriches life more than it depletes life.

As long as the benefits outweigh the harm, humans will continue to embrace technology.

Today, technology is being embraced at break-neck speeds. For example, the dockless scooter-share company, Bird, operates in 120 cities, has over two million unique riders, and recently surpassed 11.5 million rides in just 18 months.

As technology gets embraced faster and faster, it’s not only changing the way we live but also the way we work.

4 Ways Technology Is Changing the Way You Work

1. Company Structure

Labor is no longer centralized. The modern workforce is global and distributed.

Example: The ice cream company, Halo Top, grew from $230,000 in 2013 to more than $100 million in 2018 without a company office. All 75 full-time employees work remotely and use the chat app, Slack, to communicate.

2. Information Structure

Information is no longer centralized. People are informed and empowered.

Example: The note-taking software company, Evernote, allows any employee to teach anything. At the Evernote Academy, employees have taught classes ranging from managing others and navigating conflict to lock-picking and Lego-building.

3. Leadership Approach

Influence is no longer centralized. A network approach is replacing hierarchy.

Example: General Motors is going beyond the organizational chart by using social capital to provide a more realistic picture of how employees work with each other, how new ideas are discovered, and decisions are made. According to Michael J. Arena, Chief Talent Officer at GM, "The social connections that happen deeper inside the organization that may not resemble the formal organizational chart enhance speed, agility, and innovation.” 

4. Roles and Responsibilities

Skill is no longer centralized. Artificial intelligence and robotics will force re-skilling.

Example: At SoftWear Automation they are using robots to make clothing. Their “sewbots” can produce 1,142 t-shirts in 8 hours which is the work of 17 humans without any human intervention. 

Expect these work elements and others to continue changing as Generation Z begins to enter the workforce.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies' #1 asset, their people.

Would you like insights like these shared at your organization? Sync Learning Experiences helps companies big and small deliver training via LMS courses, live workshops (in-person and virtual), and custom L&D solutions. Click here to get in touch with our team.

5 Tips to Be a Better Inclusive Leader

Anyone serious about leading inclusively, should consider these five behaviors.

Beyond the positive bottom-line impacts of diversity and inclusion, Celeste Warren, VP of Human Resources and Global Diversity and Inclusion at Merck, believes “there is an awakening” happening as it relates to how organizations should approach diversity and inclusion.

Employees don’t leave what’s happening inside their families and communities at the doorstep of work. Organizations and leaders have to understand and be prepared to engage workers in what once was considered too personal or touchy topics. 

“We can’t expect people to just turn it off when they come into the work environment,” says Warren in my recent interview with her where she shared five tips for leading inclusively.

5 Tips to Be a Better Inclusive Leader

1. Develop a listening and empathetic ear

“[Leaders must] create an environment where they open their doors and listen,” says Warren. "They don’t have to have all the answers because that would be highly improbable but a listening and empathetic ear can help create an environment where employees are more productive and engaged."

2. Understand the varying generational definitions of diversity

Baby Boomers and Generation X tend to define diversity along the traditional lines of gender, race, and ethnicity. However, Millennials and Generation Z tend to define diversity more multi-layered ways. "Generation Z thinks more diversely because they’ve been surrounded by diverse, global perspectives through social media and other technology,” says Warren.

The emerging generations also view diversity and inclusion as fundamental to the way a company does business, more so than previous generations. In fact, 53 percent of Millennials would leave their current organization for a more inclusive one and 30 percent have left an organization for a more inclusive one.

3. Embody these inclusive characteristics

According to Warren, there are five characteristics inclusive leaders need to embody.

  1. Collaborative
  2. Great listeners
  3. High yearning to learn
  4. Perceptive and self-aware of potential unconscious bias that may hinder decision-making
  5. Bring the best out of themselves and others
(Read this for six questions that reveal if you are an inclusive leader.)

4. Know when not to have the answer

"An inclusive leader knows when to have the answers and when to let the team figure it out,” says Warren. “If the answer is ‘no’, leaders should provide the context and encourage employees to come back [to the leader] in the future."

Inclusive leaders must be self-aware enough to know when they don’t have the answer and they have to be perceptive enough to know who on the team might have a similar working style or background that might be better equipped to address the issue.

5. Nurture creativity and innovation

"Create strong group dynamics and an environment where people feel energized, empowered, and engaged to speak their minds,” says Warren. "An inclusive leader should have the ability to unleash the creativity of their team, achieve predetermined objectives, and see the larger opportunities that exist for the team and organization."

Listen to my full interview with Celeste Warren here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies' #1 asset, their people.

Would you like insights like these shared at your organization? Sync Learning Experiences helps companies big and small deliver training via LMS courses, live workshops (in-person and virtual), and custom L&D solutions. Click here to get in touch with our team.

This Question Helps Chick-fil-A Select the Best Franchisees Since 1967 Chick-fil-A Has Asked This Question When Hiring Leaders

When hiring, ask this question to create greater clarity and certainty. It’s been serving Chick-fil-A well for 52 years.

Customers are flocking to Chick-fil-A for the food and service. Chick-fil-A is Americas favorite fast-food restaurant

Leaders are flocking to Chick-fil-A for the opportunity. Chick-fil-A makes more per restaurant than any other fast-food restaurant in the U.S. 

In fact, 80,000 people applied for 100 Chick-fil-A operator opportunities last year.

With so many people clamoring to be a part of Chick-fil-A, how does Chick-fil-A find the right people to represent the iconic brand, extend the extraordinary “second-mile” customer service, and lead their front-line workforce?

Chick-fil-A asks one powerful question. It’s the same question that Chick-fil-A founder, Truett Cathy, first asked in 1967 when considering potential operators.

“Would I want my kids working for this person?"

When looking for the next restaurant operator, this is the number one question in the mind of the Chick-fil-A leadership team.

This question answers hundreds of other potential questions that may linger in the mind of a hiring manager.

Many of Chick-fil-A’s competitors first question of a potential franchisee has to do with their access to large sums of capital. This transactional approach mirrors what customers experience inside those restaurants. These fast-food restaurants are assuming the building block of business is capital.

When Truett Cathy searched for franchisees or operators, he was more interested in human capital. Truett thought capital was fairly easy to come by, but the more scarce resource was talent and motivation. 

By asking “Would I want my kids working for this person?” Chick-fil-A tries to discover if the person has the talent to attract the right people onto the team and if they had the motivation to want to develop those people.

By asking this simple yet profound question for 52 years, Chick-fil-A has created the environment where they want their kids to work in and hired the people they want their kids to work for. At Chick-fil-A headquarters, known as the Support Center, 85 percent of employeeskids are working in their restaurants or at the Support Center.

Ask this question of your next hire to gain deeper clarity and certainty.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies' #1 asset, their people.

Would you like insights like these shared at your organization? Sync Learning Experiences helps companies big and small deliver training via LMS courses, live workshops (in-person and virtual), and custom L&D solutions. Click here to get in touch with our team.

Employee Potential Is Limited When Managers Neglect This

Instill pride, elevate performance, and secure loyalty by extending this to your Generation Z employees.

"When in my past was I recognized for a skill or talent?"

Over ten years ago, I asked myself that simple question in an attempt to discover my calling in life.

Upon reflecting on that question, two different moments came to mind where I was recognized for my public speaking ability. That marked the start of my journey to become a professional speaker. Today I’m an internationally recognized keynote speaker on the topic of generations and the future of work and speak to thousands of people every year.

 This transformational moment in my life would not have been possible without recognition from others.

Recognition can become a defining moment. It was for me. 

Recognition can shine light on irrefutable and one-of-a-kind strengths. It did for me.

However, recognition is an afterthought in most organizations. It’s robotic, impersonal, and ultimately falls flat among employees which completely defeats the purpose of providing recognition in the first place.

 ow many defining moments didn’t happen because managers were too busy, distracted, or didn’t think the result or individual was worthy of recognition?

How much employee potential is being capped by managers unwilling to take the time to deliver recognition?

 In my recent article, This Has Been a Top Employee Motivator for over 46 Years, I highlighted the magnitude that recognition holds in the eyes of all employees, but particularly for Generation Z. Here are a few ideas on how managers can improve their employee recognition.

8 Ways to Improve Employee Recognition for Generation Z

1. Recognize in Real-Time

The sooner a human behavior (good or bad) is addressed, the more likely that behavior will be corrected (for bad behavior) or repeated (for good behavior). Integrating processes that enable peers and managers to recognize teammates in real-time will help reinforce the appropriate behaviors and/or results. Examples include Slack integrations where teammates can send e-gift cards directly to each other or software platforms like 15five.com or Blueboard.com can assist with providing streamlined recognition.

2. Recognize Company Values

What gets celebrated defines culture. Adding the necessary context around recognition can reinforce the company culture. Tie the recognition to the company’s strategy so that the values and company culture can be reinforced with every recognition.

3. Recognize with Creativity

Trade programmatic recognition for personal and memorable. For example, use a pair of high-end headphones to recognize an employee who demonstrated quality listening skills to a customer. Or use a single-serve coffee machine to recognize an employee who customized a solution for an individual client. Make the recognition desirable and a symbol of the behavior to be reinforced.

4. Recognize Visibly and Widely

Use the company blog, vlog, newsletter, podcast, or team meeting to recognize Gen Z. Make the people doing great things visible for everyone else to see and emulate.

5. Recognize Specifically

Be specific about what the Gen Z employee did to receive the recognition and why that behavior or result is important. For example, “Ella, you continually make your colleagues and clients feel valued with your positivity, friendliness, and enthusiasm, so we would like to [insert reward] because that type of positivity is what clients appreciate.”

6. Recognize in Every Direction

Recognition received from peers can be more meaningful for Gen Z because it’s often their peers who have a better understanding of the work that they are doing. Create environments where peer recognition can occur.

7. Recognize What’s Ignored

Many skills and milestones go unnoticed by managers leaving employees wanting more and teams feeling hollow. Recognition—done right—is one of the simplest ways to instill pride in others.
Identify new milestones worthy of recognition such as:

      • First direct report promoted
      • Tenth team presentation delivered
      • Fifth employee mentored
      • Third job candidate referred
      • One million dollars of revenue earned
      • Fifth volunteer event completed
      • Second emerging leadership conference attended
      • First course completed as an instructor

8. Recognize Using Better Rewards

Here are a few uncommon ideas of how to better recognize Generation Z...

      • Grant special access to a leader inside the organization
      • Sponsor their ticket to a conference of their choice
      • Write them (or their parents) a handwritten note
      • Grant the chance to appear on the company blog, podcast, YouTube channel, etc.
      • Offer tickets to an exclusive event
      • Make a donation to a charity of their choice
      • Grant flexibility in how, when, or where they work


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies' #1 asset, their people.

Would you like insights like these shared at your organization? Sync Learning Experiences helps companies big and small deliver training via LMS courses, live workshops (in-person and virtual), and custom L&D solutions. Click here to get in touch with our team.

Hand Gen Z a Manual Can Opener and This Is What Happens

Become aware of your assumptions and improve your communication with Generation Z (or across generations).

Your view influences what you do.

A recent interaction with Generation Z made me realize how hindering assumptions can be.

My wife and I recently threw a first birthday party for our youngest son. We had a Gen Z family friend help us with preparing the food for the party.

The Gen Zer was asked to prepare a portion of a dish that required capers. She was quickly handed a can of capers along with a manual can opener and my wife and I went back to busily preparing the other dishes.

A few minutes passed and we noticed there was no progress on the Gen Zer's dish. A quick glance at the Gen Zer revealed the culprit. 

She was watching a video on her phone. 

She wasn’t procrastinating, quite the opposite, she was learning.

She was watching a YouTube tutorial on how to use a manual can opener.

Our view was that everyone knew how to use our kitchen tools. The can opener represented our assumption that everyone knew how to use one. Also contributing to the miscommunication was our busyness and focus on the task and not the person.

In today’s fast-paced world, assumptions can be crippling. The cost of a few additional minutes to prepare a dish for a birthday party isn’t a big deal, but some things that we nonchalantly hand to Gen Z could have bigger consequences.  What if the can opener that we handed Gen Z was social media, a smartphone, a car, or a business? In those cases, Gen Z’s ignorance coupled with their resourcefulness and DIY-ness has the potential to harm themselves and others.
In my line of work as a speaker and trainer on Gen Z, I see organizations hand Gen Z various "can openers" in the form of Excel, CRMs, training, workplace etiquette, dress code, etc. and all too often it results in expectations not being met and frustration ensues.

Left unchecked and our long-held assumptions have the capacity to hinder the effectiveness and performance of the emerging generations at work.

Can openers represent opportunities to step into Gen Z’s world to get to know them better, build a relationship, and instill the appropriate behavior. Even if the goal (or assumption) is to figure it out on your own, guidelines and guardrails can empower the individual to safely or more effectively engage, fail, and learn.

It’s easy to forget or not realize that 62 percent of Gen Z doesn’t remember a time before the Great Recession, none of them were old enough to process the events of 9/11, and all of them are younger than Google.

Gen Z are a different generation with different skills, experiences, perspectives, and views.

With more and more varying expectations, experiences in the workforce, take the time to challenge assumptions and over communicate expectations. Gen Z will be better for it.

Don’t let your assumptions get the best of you and Gen Z.

What can openers are you handing over to Gen Z?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies' #1 asset, their people.

Would you like insights like these shared at your organization? Sync Learning Experiences helps companies big and small deliver training via LMS courses, live workshops (in-person and virtual), and custom L&D solutions. Click here to get in touch with our team.

Achieve Better Work-Life Balance to Unlock These 4 Benefits

The benefits of work-life balance include more productive, creative, and loyal employees.

Only 53 percent of workers say their employer values work-life balance, and only 43 percent say their employers offer programs and policies that allow for flexibility, according to a 2016 survey from the American Psychological Association.

 Yet, nearly half of American workers would forgo the corner-office job and a high salary to gain more flexibility in their schedules. And Millennials value work-life balance higher than all other job characteristics such as job progression, use of technology, and a sense of meaning at work.

4 Benefits of Achieving Better Work-Life Balance

1. Enhances health.

Achieving a fluid balance between work and life can improve physical, mental, and social health. Some studies have correlated taking time off from work with a reduction in health issues like coronary heart disease. Authors of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, John Tierney and Ron Baumeister, state that midday breaks can replenish an employee’s willpower and improve judgment and decision-making in the afternoon. Removing oneself from work also allows for more time to invest in social relationships—with a spouse, kids, friends, family, and so on.

2. Increases productivity. 

Research shows that employees who take time off are more productive. Removing oneself from work, via a workout or nap for example, can recharge the brain to face the day’s remaining challenges. In the Harvard Business Review article “The Productivity Paradox: How Sony Pictures Gets More Out of People by Demanding Less,” Tony Schwartz wrote, “Human beings perform best and are most productive when they alternate between periods of intense focus and intermittent renewal.”

3. Boosts creativity.

In 1974, Art Fry invented the iconic Post-it Note during his “15 percent time,” a company program at 3M that allowed employees to use a portion of their paid workday to pursue their own passion projects. This type of program has since been adopted by companies like Google and Hewlett-Packard, who see how creativity unburdened from day-to-day work can lead to massive breakthroughs.

4. Improves retention.

Employees (especially Millennials) who are able to easily manage work and nonwork-related responsibilities because they have some measure of control over their work schedules are likely to experience higher job satisfaction. Employees who have the margin and control to deal with pressures and responsibilities at home are likely to be more present while at work, happier employees, and less inclined to leave the company.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies' #1 asset, their people.

Would you like insights like these shared at your organization? Sync Learning Experiences helps companies big and small deliver training via LMS courses, live workshops (in-person and virtual), and custom L&D solutions. Click here to get in touch with our team.