Bosses Are Winning The Battle To Get Workers Back To The Office

In the ongoing battle between bosses and workers over returning to the office, recent data shows ... [+] getty

In the ongoing battle between bosses and workers over returning to the office, recent data shows more people are trudging back to the workplace. In the first week following Labor Day, office usage in 10 major metro areas neared 50% of 2020’s pre-pandemic attendance, reports Kastle Systems, a key-card property management company that tracks entries into office buildings.

There were more workers in the office last week than there have been since the pandemic started. However, in-office attendance is still lower than what it was before the virus outbreak. The in-office numbers may be low since Kastle’s data doesn’t include many of the city’s biggest real estate owners, including large law firms, banks, financial services and Wall Street firms.

Separately, the Partnership for New York City, a business industry trade group, surveyed more than 160 major Manhattan office employers between August 29 and September 12 to take the pulse of how many employees returned to the office or are still working remotely. Results indicate that 49% of Manhattan office workers are currently at the workplace on an average weekday—up from 38% in April.

Under 10% of employees are in the office five days a week. The number of fully remote workers fell from 28% in April to 16% as of mid-September. Train ridership is another indicator reflecting a return-to-office pickup after Labor Day. Many companies used the long weekend as the last gasp of freedom before ordering their employees back to headquarters.

After the long holiday weekend, 200,000 passengers rode the Long Island Rail Road into Manhattan. The number of riders was the highest level since March 2020. Commuters from Westchester and surrounding suburbs riding the Metro-North Railroad in the City hit a high point compared to the pandemic period with 174,900 riders. Additionally, New York City public transit data showed an increase in returning workers with subway ridership, having 3.7 million riders for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

The Partnership for New York City predicts that there will ultimately be a tipping point when the majority return to office. According to the Partnership’s analysis, 54% of workers will ultimately return to an office setting by January 2023. Even the tech industry, which has been the most resistant to going back to an office, is nearing the tipping point. Currently, average daily office attendance by tech professionals is at 47%, and that number is expected to increase to 50% by January.

Shifting Power Dynamics

There is a power dynamic shift taking place between the employee and employer. Throughout 2021 and early this year, workers were in high demand. Desperately needing staff as the economy reopened, companies catered to the workers. Seemingly overnight, the mood dramatically changed. As inflation raged, wreaking havoc on the economy, along with other geopolitical and macro events, thousands of people were downsized, hiring freezes put in place and job offers rescinded.

Americans now find themselves in a period of austerity. As this plays out, the dynamics between employees and employers will dramatically change. Companies will start clamping down and wielding their power, and the first order of business will be the return to office. A study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that supervisors have “negative perceptions” of the work-from-home trend and said they’d prefer their staff to operate from an office setting.rity

The managers who responded to the survey were brutally honest. Nearly 70% replied that remote workers are “more easily replaceable than onsite workers.” About 62% contend that “full-time remote work is detrimental to employees’ career objectives and 72% say they would prefer all of their subordinates to be working in the office.”

The Hybrid Model

The dominant style of work is the hybrid model, promoted by tech companies, which calls for people to work from the office two or three days out of the week and the rest of the time from home—or wherever they so choose. However, while tech leadership offered fully remote and hybrid options, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google scooped up commercial real estate after prices plummeted, due to the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The companies are making a bold contrarian bet that Manhattan will bounce back and there will still be a need for people to work in offices. Facebook leased enough space in New York City to triple the amount of people that can work in the city. Apple, which has been in New York for at least a decade, plans to expand its footprint there. Google and Amazon are snatching up space in the city more than any other place in the United States.

Amazon recently paid about $1 billion to acquire the Lord & Taylor flagship building in Midtown Manhattan from WeWork. Collectively, the tech behemoths can accommodate over 20,000 workers. In hindsight, it looks like the tech giants were hedging their bets by offering flexible options, while scooping up real estate in case they needed to change their work style.

The Showdown: Workers Will Continue To Push For Remote Work Options

You will likely soon see a showdown. Many surveys over the last year or so show that employees adamantly responded that they would rather quit than commute back to an office. People have grown accustomed to a better work-life balance by being at home. They appreciate the autonomy and freedom that comes with the flexibility of choice. Their productivity and hours spent working are above reproach.

Runaway inflation has driven the costs of commuting into big cities. The prices of fuel, automobile maintenance, food, business clothing and other necessities will eat into their paycheck, which is already depressed, due to inflation, making the money worth less than it was only six months ago. The long, exhausting, soul-sucking and expensive commute, along with random acts of terrifying violence, is keeping workers from returning to their offices.

In the ongoing tug-of-war battle over companies pushing people to come back into major cities, such as Manhattan, business executives conveniently gloss over these real issues and pretend they don’t exist. If you are commuting into the Big Apple from one of the boroughs, Westchester, Long Island, the suburbs of Connecticut or New Jersey, your commute can easily take two-plus hours door-to-door roundtrip.

The timing is generous, as it doesn’t include the daily frustrations of train delays, constant work being done on the tracks and mechanical issues with the bus where everyone needs to get off and is left stranded on the side of the road until another bus can pick them up. When you come home, you’re tired and burned out.

You also have to worry about your physical safety. New York City can be a dangerous place. According to data from the New York City Police Department, “crime increased by 34.2% in April 2022,” compared to the same period last year. There has been a “43.5% increase in grand larceny” and “burglaries also increased by 39.4%,” compared to last year, which was high to begin with. In April alone, there were 1,261 robberies, 2,044 felony assaults, 3,867 instances of grand larceny and 105 shootings. These represent the reported acts, and the number of unreported incidents is likely much higher.

The most recent data from the New York City Police Department showed an overall increase in crime during August 2022 by 26% compared with August 2021, 38% increase in robbery, 34.7% increase in grand larceny and a 31.1% rise in burglary.

Rationale For Businesses To Promote In-Office Work

David Solomon, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, epitomized Wall Street’s view of not being in the office, saying remote work is an “aberration.” Wall Street banks are the most ardent proponents of getting people into the office. It’s reasonable that the leadership feels this way. The securities industry is highly regulated. They need to consider money laundering, insider trading, ponzi schemes, churning client accounts for higher commissions and other inappropriate activities. If all the bankers, brokers and traders are under one roof, it’s easier for the compliance, legal, risk, audit and regulatory personnel to keep tabs on them.

There is another rationale at play too. In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams has been a strong proponent of businesses getting their employees back into the office. As crime and violence escalated in the Big Apple, as there were fewer people around, Adams contends that with commuters coming back, there will be safety in numbers.

There is also an economic reason. If commuters from New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut suburbs won’t return, the ecosystem of restaurants, mom-and-pop shops, retail stores, nail salons, gyms and other small businesses will likely fail. This would cause job losses, empty streets, invite more crime and deter both workers and potential tourists from coming into New York City.

The Benefits Of Returning To An Office

Starting a new job is stressful. It’s even harder when you’re doing it remotely. If you’re just beginning to build a career, working remotely may serve as a roadblock to your future success. After over two years of being at home, you most likely lost touch with some or all of your social contacts. If you remain remote, you run the risk of feeling isolated and it will be difficult to cultivate a group of like-minded people.

For young adults, going to the office has positive social benefits. You will meet new people, make friends and build a network of alliances that could help you throughout your career. There are a host of benefits to being at the office. You can find mentors to help navigate your career. There will be serendipitous meetings in the hallways, cafeteria, elevator and bathrooms. These impromptu interactions add up over time. It makes your work life better—or at least more tolerable—by having cohorts that share the same experiences.

Source: Bosses Are Winning The Battle To Get Workers Back To The Office

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To Recognize Risks Earlier, Invest in Analytics

You’ve probably heard business leaders justify their flat-footedness in a crisis by claiming that every organization is flying blind in times of deep uncertainty. But in fact some leaders know precisely where they’re going. They understand what’s required to chart a course through market turbulence, and they’ve built organizations with keen situational awareness.

When it comes to developing the ability to figure out where things are heading and respond nimbly to a changing environment, nothing is more important than analytics. Unfortunately, in recent years analytics (also known as data mining or business intelligence) has become the unloved stepchild of data sciences, overshadowed by machine learning and statistics. Those two disciplines layer mathematical sophistication on top of a foundation of human intuition, creating an appealing illusion of objectivity and deft steering. Ironically, of the three, analytics is the most essential competency for navigating crises.

Solutions based on AI and machine learning hum along well during stable times but fall apart when disaster strikes. These technologies automate tasks by extracting patterns from data and turning them into instructions. Such models can quickly become obsolete when the inputs to the system change. Analytics, in contrast, alerts you when the rules of the game are changing. Without that kind of a warning, automation solutions can quickly go off the rails, leaving you exposed to exogenous shocks.

Statistics has a similar shortcoming during a crisis. Statisticians help decision-makers get rigorous answers. But what if they’re asking the wrong questions? While statistical skills are required to test hypotheses, analysts have the acumen to come up with the right hypotheses in the first place. To attempt statistics without analytics, you’d need great confidence in your assumptions—the kind of confidence that’s foolhardy when a crisis pulls the rug out from under you.

Analysts thrive in ambiguity. Their talent is exploration, which makes them particularly good at foreseeing and responding to crises. By searching internal and external data sources for critical information, analysts keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on. They scan the horizon for trends and formulate questions about what’s behind them. Their job is to inspire executives with thought-provoking yet qualified possibilities. Once the highest-priority hypotheses have been short-listed by leaders, then it’s time to call in a statistician to pressure-test them and separate true insights from red herrings.

During good times, leading organizations build analytics capabilities to strengthen their ability to innovate. Analysts’ ability to find clues to such things as shifting consumer tastes can help firms take advantage of opportunities before less-savvy competitors do. When the going gets tough, however, what looked like a nice-to-have innovation booster turns into a must-have safety net. To be sure, some events are impossible to see in advance—the true black swans—but addressing their fallout is a game best played with open eyes.

Unfortunately, it’s very hard to cobble together a mature analytics department on short notice. The technical skills that allow analysts to guzzle data with lightning speed merely increase the mass of information they encounter. Spotting a gem in it takes something more. Without domain knowledge, business acumen, and strong intuition about the practical value of discoveries—as well as the communication skills to convey them to decision-makers effectively—analysts will struggle to be useful. It takes time for them to learn to judge what’s important in addition to what’s interesting. You can’t expect them to be an instant solution to charting a course through your latest crisis. Instead, see them as an investment in your future nimbleness.

It also takes time to secure access to the promising data sources analysts need. Ideally, business leaders won’t wait for a big disruption to begin building relationships with data vendors, industry partners, and data collection specialists. Bear in mind that in the face of an extreme shock, your historical data sources may become obsolete. If your understanding of the past fails to give you a useful window on tomorrow’s world—perhaps because a pandemic has changed everything—it doesn’t matter how good your information was yesterday. You need new information. After the 2008 financial crash, for example, banks around the world recognized that there might be an advantage to analyzing nontraditional signals of creditworthiness, such as data from supermarket loyalty cards, but not all players were equally positioned to get access to them.

Additionally, your internal data stores may require special processing before analysts can mine them, so it’s worth thinking about hiring supporting data engineers. If analytics is the discipline of making data useful, then data engineering is the discipline of making data usable; it provides behind-the-scenes infrastructure that makes machine logs and colossal data stores compatible with analytics tool kits.

When I began speaking at conferences about the importance of analytics, I found that convincing an audience of its value was the easy part. The mood changed when I explained the catch: Analytics is a time investment. You can’t count on getting something useful out of every foray into a data set. To succeed at exploration, your organization needs a culture of no-strings-attached analytics. As the leader, you are responsible for setting the scope (which data sources should be looked at) and the time frame (“You have two weeks to explore this database”). Then you must ensure that analysts aren’t punished for coming back empty-handed.

During an extreme shock, your historical data sources may become obsolete. Then it doesn’t matter how good your information was yesterday. You need new information.

Once business leaders accept that analytics represents an investment that may not immediately pay off, I hit the next stumbling block: the perception that only a large and technologically sophisticated company such as Alphabet can afford it. This is nonsense. In my experience you’re more likely to find analytics thriving in start-ups than at well-established behemoths.

Start-ups naturally invest in analytics as they try to navigate a new market, with several generalists taking on a share of the exploratory work. Then as the venture grows, the culture changes. Workers are trusted less and made more accountable for return on their efforts, and overzealous management stifles opportunities for analytics to thrive. Analysts hired into this culture rarely get to enjoy the most interesting part of their work—exploration—and instead serve as human search engines and dashboard janitors. Many quit out of frustration as their potential is squandered.

Creating a culture where analytics flourishes takes thoughtful leadership. As organizations grow toward incumbency, only the most visionary will have the courage to nurture a true analytics department and make sure that business leaders have access to it and are influenced by it. Industries that have been burned by a previous crisis — banking is a good example — are especially likely to invest in analytics and apply it to risk management.

Becoming a leader in analytics takes a commitment to trust your analysts and give them space to do their work. Their job, after all, will be to reveal threats that you never even imagined should be on your radar. That sort of work can’t be managed with a stopwatch and a checklist.

Crises such as a pandemic—when no one has the answers, and uncertainty is high—remind us of the importance of asking the right questions. Analytics gives firms an edge in learning and adapting. When the world is suddenly upended, those who can learn the fastest are best positioned to succeed. Smart companies will invest in analytics today to get ahead of whatever is coming tomorrow.

By: Cassie Kozyrkov

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RedRisks

👀 OVERVIEW: On the 3rd June 2020, I presented a live event on Risk Management Fundamentals. This video is an extract of the “Risk Identification” presentation. Due to demand, a future live event rerun is planned and if this appeals to you, please subscribe to the weekly newsletter on the website and I can keep you posted. 🖥 WEBSITE / POST: https://www.redrisks.com/risk-managem… 📧 SUBSCRIBE to my free WEEKLY newsletter: https://www.redrisks.com 🙏 ABOUT THIS YOUTUBE CHANNEL (“RedRisks”): https://youtu.be/AsXUaIACQrA 🔔 PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND SUPPORT THIS YOUTUBE CHANNEL: If you liked this video, please give me a thumbs up (or a thumbs down – they’re all important). 👪 CONNECT WITH ME: Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonnigopal/

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How People Analytics Can Help You Change Process, Culture, and Strategy

It seems like every business is struggling with the concept of transformation. Large incumbents are trying to keep pace with digital upstarts., and even digital native companies born as disruptors know that they need to transform. Take Uber: at only eight years old, it’s already upended the business model of taxis. Now it’s trying to move from a software platform to a robotics lab to build self-driving cars.

And while the number of initiatives that fall under the umbrella of “transformation” is so broad that it can seem meaningless, this breadth is actually one of the defining characteristic that differentiates transformation from ordinary change. A transformation is a whole portfolio of change initiatives that together form an integrated program.

And so a transformation is a system of systems, all made up of the most complex system of all — people. For this reason, organizational transformation is uniquely suited to the analysis, prediction, and experimental research approach of the people analytics field.

People analytics — defined as the use of data about human behavior, relationships and traits to make business decisions — helps to replace decision making based on anecdotal experience, hierarchy and risk avoidance with higher-quality decisions based on data analysis, prediction, and experimental research. In working with several dozen Fortune 500 companies with Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics division, we’ve observed companies using people analytics in three main ways to help understand and drive their transformation efforts.

In core functional or process transformation initiatives — which are often driven by digitization — we’ve seen examples of people analytics being used to measure activities and find embedded expertise. In one example, a people analytics team at a global CPG company was enlisted to help optimize a financial process that took place monthly in every country subsidiary around the world. The diversity of local accounting rules precluded perfect standardization, and the geographic dispersion of the teams made it hard for the transformation group to gather information the way they normally would — in conversation.

In core functional or process transformation initiatives — which are often driven by digitization — we’ve seen examples of people analytics being used to measure activities and find embedded expertise. In one example, a people analytics team at a global CPG company was enlisted to help optimize a financial process that took place monthly in every country subsidiary around the world. The diversity of local accounting rules precluded perfect standardization, and the geographic dispersion of the teams made it hard for the transformation group to gather information the way they normally would — in conversation.

So instead of starting with discovery conversations, people analytics data was used to baseline the time spent on the process in every country, and to map the networks of the people involved. They discovered that one country was 16% percent more efficient than the average of the rest of the countries: they got the same results in 71 fewer person-hours per month and with 40 fewer people involved each month.

The people analytics team was surprised — as was finance team in that country, which had no reason to benchmark themselves against other countries and had no idea that they were such a bright spot. The transformation office approached the country finance leaders with their findings and made them partners in process improvement for the rest of the subsidiaries.

It’s unlikely the CPG company would have been able to recognize and replicate these bright spots if they had undertaken transformation with a top-down approach. And, perhaps more importantly, it involved and engaged the people on the ground who had unwittingly discovered a better way of doing things.

In bottoms-up cultural transformation initiatives, the how things are done is equally or more important than what is done. Feedback loops and other methods of data-driven storytelling are our favorite way that people analytics makes culture transformation happen. Often times, facts can change the conversation from tired head-nodding to curiosity. One people analytics team in an engineering company was struggling to help develop the company’s managers, for example. Managers often perpetuated a “sink or swim” culture that didn’t fit the company’s aspirations to be an inclusive, humane workplace.

The data analysis found that teams whose managers spent at least 16 minutes of one-on-one time with each direct per week had 30% percent more engaged direct reports than the average manager, who spent just 9 minutes per week with directs. When they brought that data-driven story to the front lines, suddenly a platitude was transformed into a useful benchmark that got the attention of managers. In this way, data storytelling is a lightweight way to build trust among stakeholders and bring behavioral science to culture transformation.

Top-down strategic transformation is often made necessary by market and technology factors outside the company, but here people analytics is a critical factor for execution. A people analytics team can serve as an instrument panel of sorts to track resources, boundaries, capacity, time use, networks, skill sets, performance, and mindsets that can help pinpoint where change is possible and can measure what happens when you try it.

One people analytics team at a financial services company was trying to help the CEO manage growth while he worked to instill a new culture in which departments would be asked to run leaner and more competitive in the market – “scrappy” and “hungry” were terms that often came up. As the transformation accelerated, teams were asked to do more with less, generate more data, and make decisions faster. Amid this, department leaders began to hear anecdotes about burnout and change fatigue and questioned whether the pace was sustainable.

To address this, the people analytics team provided their CEO with a dashboard showing the number of hours that knowledge workers were active for in different teams. When an entire team is over-utilized, he knows they can’t handle more change, while under- or unevenly utilized teams might be more receptive. He can also slice the dashboard by tenure, to learn whether recent hires have been effectively onboarded before approving new hire requests to absorb extra work.

As organizations increasingly look to data to help them in their transformation efforts, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t just mean having more data or better charts. It’s about mastering the organizational muscle of using data to make better decisions; to hypothesize, experiment, measure and adapt. It’s not easy. But through careful collection and analysis of the right data, a major transformation can be a little less daunting – and hopefully a little more successful.

By: Chantrelle Nielsen & Natalie McCullough

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AIHR – Academy to Innovate HR

What is People Analytics and how is it different from HR Analytics, Workforce Analytics, or Talent Analytics? What has made it so popular all of a sudden and why should you be excited about it? What is the ROI of People Analytics? These are the questions that will be answered in this video!

For more, related information, check out our HR analytics + digital human resources management courses and certification programs: 🎓 Learn everything you need to drive data-driven decision-making in HR (certificate program) 💥 https://bit.ly/3c6UQN8 🎓 Get the skills you need to use technology to make HR more effective (certificate program) 💻 https://bit.ly/2VjsdGm Have a greater strategic impact with data as an HR Business Partner 🎯 https://bit.ly/2vZou6a

Can’t decide? You can access all our courses and certificate programs with our full academy license 👩‍🎓 https://bit.ly/2w4k9P1 👋👋 P.S. Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest HR Analytics developments! https://www.linkedin.com/school/aihr/

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4 Hard Truths About Why Your Key Team Members Quit

A while back we talked about the real reasons why you weren’t hiring new employees, and shared the hard truths behind why you might be hesitant to find and hire new talent despite a need for help. Today, I wanted to share a little more hard truth- this time surrounding the reasons why your employees quit. As a business owner, you may have an idea of why you have turnover, but it generally boils down to four main categories.

1. Lack of Recognition

One of the main reasons that employees look for another position has to do with lack of recognition from management. They think “I have been busting my hump for these people for the last ten years and I haven’t had a raise in three and all they ever do is give praise to Julie and I have done twice as much as Julie….etc” Really taking the time to celebrate victories with your employees and recognize their hard work goes a long way to keeping them happy in their current position. And it’s important to think outside of the “employee of the month” box and really get to the heart of recognizing hard work and talent on your team.
Hiring Tip: If your job opening has growth opportunities make sure to list that in the listing. A lot of job seekers are looking for this specifically and will help you stand out amongst the crowd.

2. Lack of Growth

Does the position have the opportunity for promotion? Employees that have no promotion opportunities, are already at the top of their pay grade and have no coaching or mentorship opportunities available to them are the most likely to leave to look for something else. Depending on your company, you may not be able to offer up a promotion in the traditional sense but mentoring or coaching your key team members to grow in their field can go a long way to keeping them interested and engaged.

Hiring Tip: Instead of hiring for a project manager right out of the gate consider hiring for a project manager level 1 or level 2, allowing the candidate room to be promoted over time.

3. Lack of Management

We have all heard the phrase, “people don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.” And this is very true. If they aren’t getting recognition, training or advancement opportunities it’s usually because of a manager. You want to make sure that your managers know what they’re doing and value their team and are doing all those things that are important to be able to keep those people.

4.Money

Everyone has economic needs and it’s important to pay your employees fairly. This should be a given. But when we talk about money and compensation it really comes down to two things.

  1. Are you being fair? Are you paying the person what they are worth to the company?
  2. Are you being respectful? Are you paying them what the market values their skill set at?

We can’t all compete to pay the highest wage, but you can make sure that you are being fair and respectful of your employees and their economic needs.

Hiring Tip: It’s also important to note here that often times when an employee comes to you asking for more money, what they really mean is that they want more independence, autonomy or growth opportunities. Those things can often be achieved with a larger salary, but there are other ways to make an employee feel appreciated without offering up more money. So if you are paying a fair wage, it might be a good idea to look at other factors that are at play here.

David Finkel Author, ‘The Freedom Formula: How to Succeed in Business Without Sacrificing Your Family, Health, or Life’

Source: 4 Hard Truths About Why Your Key Team Members Quit

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What To do When Your Network Marketing Team Members Quit ***Download my Guide to Generating Business & Sales Online here: http://www.tanyaaliza.com/40download In this episode, I share my best network marketing training tips on how to get past the frustration and disappointment that can linger on when someone quits your network marketing team. What’s your initial reaction when someone in your team decides to quit your network marketing team? Do you turn around and say, “Have you gone mad?!”  Or do you wish them well and mean it? Despite your best efforts to coach and support team members, there will always be some that leave. Everyone has their own theory on why people quit network marketing, but generally, people quit things all the time. They quit their job, their marriage, college, their dreams and every industry imaginable. It’s a fact of life and it’s inevitable. However, for most people, this kind of event shakes them up and leaves them feeling frustrated and disappointed. It may have already happened to you, and it’ll most certainly happen to all network marketers. So, if you’re stuck on an emotional roller coaster every time someone in your network marketing team decides to take a hiatus, then this network marketing training is for you. In this episode, I’ll be sharing some tools and strategies I use that will help you prepare for this type of situation and not allow it to detract you or prevent you from growing your business ****Download the FREE Resource mentioned in this video – My Guide to Generating Business, Leads and Sales Online – http://www.tanyaaliza.com/40download ———Connect With Tanya———— Tanya Aliza on Social Media: http://www.tanyaaliza.com http://www.facebook.com/tanyaaliza http://instagram.com/tanyaaliza http://twitter.com/tanyaaliza Share this video – https://youtu.be/6yUaFH23DC0 About this video: In this episode I share with you some of my Network Marketing Team training tips so that you know what to do if you have a teammate quit or cancel. In this network marketing training I also share so network marketing tips so you can understand why people quit. I hope you find this one of your most best network marketing training.

Why Your Managers Should Become Opportunity Managers

To successfully recruit, hire, train, retain and build the capacity of Opportunity Youth, organizations need a strong corps of frontline managers who have unique skills to successfully supervise, support and develop these young adults. We call these managers “Opportunity Managers”.

Opportunity Managers build strong working relationships with their team members. They are kind and empathetic, set clear (and high) expectations, and create an inclusive culture with high levels of support. These leaders are also strong at the day-to-day tactics of people management including coaching, giving and receiving positive and constructive feedback, communicating effectively with their team, and creating an environment where entry-level employees can grow over time. Given the skills that Opportunity Managers possess, it is no surprise that these managers frequently have a profound impact on the lives and the careers of the young adults that they supervise.

Becoming an “Opportunity Manager”

At Grads of Life, we believe that strong managers are “made”, not “born”. Skills such as relationship-building and effective communication are skills that can be learned. We have developed the Opportunity Manager Training (OMT). The OMT is an engaging, relevant, and actionable online training to help frontline managers learn to effectively supervise and support their team. The training is 100% online, self-paced, and contains actionable modules that frontline managers can begin using immediately.

One such module highlights the impact that a frontline manager had on one of her team members.

The Return on Investment

Kelly’s experience is a powerful example of how skilled managers can help their team. Research shows that when frontline team members – especially Opportunity Youth – feel supported, the business thrives. In 2007, The GAP created the This Way Ahead Initiative to recruit and train Opportunity Youth to work in its stores. The initiative has expanded over time because participants stayed with GAP twice as long as their peers and have higher employee engagement scores. Given the high cost of turnover and low employee engagement scores, it makes business sense to engage with new ways to improve on retention and engagement metrics.

Having frontline managers who effectively manage diverse teams also benefits the managers themselves. McKinsey surveyed frontline managers and found that over 80% of them are unhappy with their performance. The study found that the majority of managers surveyed are not engaged in “high value” practices such as coaching their team members, a practice that ultimately improves the performance of the organization. As managers become more effective in their work, and as their team members become more productive, these managers will likely enjoy their work more. This pattern can lead to a virtuous cycle.

When strong managers support their team, their team members have greater workplace engagement and higher performance rates. When team members perform better, not only does your business grow but you now have a pipeline of committed, high-performing individuals who can grow your business and grow with your business. It’s a win-win-win.


Learn more about our Opportunity Manager Training, and how Grads of Life can help your organization grow your frontline talent.

Philip Price is the Product Management Lead at Grads of Life. He designs, builds and develops online programs and face-to-face trainings to help workplaces become more inclusive and effective. This past year, Philip designed and built the Opportunity Manager Training, an innovative program designed to help frontline managers more effectively supervise and support diverse young adults in the workplace. Prior to joining Grads of Life, Philip designed and developed online training programs for frontline healthcare workers and built leadership development programs for managers at Fortune 1000 companies.

Philip is an educator at heart. He is committed to serving young people who have not traditionally been served well. He has led schools in Philadelphia, PA and Providence, RI and has worked with young people as a teacher and outdoor educator in Providence RI, New York City, Florida and South Africa.

Philip holds an MBA from American University, and MA from Columbia University Teachers College and a BA from Brown University. He lives in Philadelphia with his family.

Source: Why Your Managers Should Become Opportunity Managers

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