Every two weeks we bring you opinion, news and research on Employee Engagement, Leadership and Organisational Performance, along with some thoughts on practical workplace applications.

Editorial: Who needs project managers when you have AI?

The headline above caught my eye this morning. The article quoted James Parnell, who said, “Key project management skills such as communication, leadership and common sense are still far beyond the capabilities of robots. However, AI … … could ultimately increase productivity and speed up the decision making of crucial business decisions.”

It is of course true that AI (and other technologies) can help with project management. However, if productivity is going to improve, more is needed than project management. Just as much work must be done on change management, to ensure the project (which always involves change) will be adopted and implemented by every stakeholder.

We humans crave certainty and autonomy; in uncertain and turbulent times we seek ways to find at least some level of it, to minimise stress and gain a sense of being in some degree of control. AI and automation may help smooth some of the practicalities of project management, but let us not make the mistake of thinking it can replace human interaction when it comes to helping people get on board with change.

Steve Short – Emenex

Expecting staff loyalty during Brexit?  Think again

Employee engagement, behaviour and productivity could all suffer as UK businesses endure a disruptive, divisive Brexit process, argues Gartner’s Brian Kropp. And it will become more difficult to retain highly valued workers, he says.

With so much uncertainty over Brexit persisting, it’s no wonder that businesses feel forced to rapidly accelerate their no-deal planning.

However, within such plans, employers may be failing to predict how their workforce will respond to this significant disruption. Many operate on the assumption that their employees will loyally knuckle down during times of confusion and disruption, in order to protect the business and their jobs. The evidence claims Kropp, suggests this is far from being the case.

While executives are occupied by the need to mitigate external pressures, levels of employee engagement -for a variety of reasons – will come under considerable pressure.

Valuable reading for HR from Personnel Today

Incredibly unpopular advice for CEOs leading change: Slow down

Another day, another change.  Such is a day in the life of every CEO and senior executive.  Change can be good.  It is often needed, and in many cases, long overdue.  The question is not whether to change, but how, and how often.

By now, there isn’t a CEO out there who hasn’t heard the oft-cited statistic that 70% of change initiatives fail. It’s no secret that leading change is difficult, and the reasons are many: People prefer the status quo, the case for change wasn’t well articulated; the communications plan was insufficient and uninspiring, and the list goes on.

But companies today change on a much more frequent basis, and experts predict that continued external forces (technology, competitive disruptors, demographic changes) will only increase the pressure on companies to adapt.

This piece from Forbes argues for slowing down change, supported by increased employee trust, and addressing resistance early in the process.

Firms prioritising employee experience and total reward packages to attract talent, says survey

Growing numbers of employers are prioritising employee experience as a way to improve engagement, recruitment and retention, a survey of businesses has found.

More than half of UK employers surveyed said they now actively defined and measured their employee value proposition (EVP) – a benchmark of the value employees receive from their role, encompassing financial and non-financial reward, culture, development opportunities and more.

Research carried out by professional services firm Aon in its Benefits and Trends Survey 2019 showed a 35 per cent increase in the proportion of employers who currently had a clear EVP.

Of more than 200 employers surveyed by AON, 65 per cent said a defined EVP had a positive impact on employee engagement, while a significant number of employers said it has a positive impact on retention (63 per cent) and recruitment (70 per cent).  The full story from People Management here.

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