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Tag Archives: Use of Technology



A shift in attitude from having a job for life to continuous learning in work can keep the UK workforce relevant and as agile as the changing marketplace

According to an article by Martin Martindale of Raconteur, the UK is in the middle of a skills crisis, with sectors ranging from engineering to hospitality and accounting to customer services, all reporting difficulty in attracting suitable staff, according to a recent survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

Against this backdrop, training and development has become more important than ever, both in developing the skills organisations require now or in the future, and in attracting and retaining talent. Research by recruitment firm Hays found 39 per cent of employees would be willing to sacrifice a job offer if there was no prospect of receiving further training, while 78 per cent described themselves as “ambitious”.

With the skills businesses require also changing – the World Economic Forum estimates 65 per cent of children today will end up in careers that don’t even exist yet – it’s also clear organisations need to update their approach to learning and development.

“Individuals and companies that succeed in the future will be those who adopt the philosophy of lifelong learning,” says Nigel Heap, managing director of Hays UK and Ireland. “Businesses that facilitate the resources, tools and time to support learning will not only have employees who are more engaged, but their business will be better placed to face challenges and remain innovative.”

Having senior leaders and managers back the concept is essential, says John Yates, group director at ILM, a City & Guilds Group business, and director of New Ventures. “At a very basic level, leaders are instrumental to rewarding and recognising efforts made to upskill, and they also need to develop their own skills and be seen to be doing so,” he says. “As a strategic priority, it must also be led from the very top and resourced accordingly.”

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Design thinking is more than just coloured pencils and Post-its. Here’s a primer on how it fits into leadership education.

Design thinking is a problem-solving strategy that encourages the use of imagination, intuition and systemic reasoning to explore new possibilities for solutions. It’s also a lot more fun than a traditional brainstorming session, said Liz Glaser, director of integrated talent management for e-commerce solutions company Pitney Bowes; she teaches design thinking in its Early in Career (EIC) high performers programme.

In these workshops — and in many design thinking courses — participants are likely to find piles of coloured pencils, play dough, toys and white boards covered in colourful drawings, and they are encouraged to use them all for inspiration. “Giving people the ability to be creative is how you find answers,” Glaser explained. “It’s a lot less confining than a traditional learning environment.”

Learn with Toys - Sham Desai, director of telesales and digital linkage at Pitney Bowes, completed the EIC course last year. He said at first, he was surprised by the toys and colouring tools, but he later found them to surprisingly helpful. “A three-day course can be gruelling, but having something simple to play with frees your mind to pay attention,” he explained. He has since applied the philosophy to his own team, providing them with coloured pencils and pads of paper at every meeting. “It helps them stay engaged.”

A lot of the reasoning behind using these seemingly childish tools has to do with giving people permission to work visually and collaboratively without a predefined outcome, said Shelley Evenson, San Francisco-based managing director of organisational evolution at Fjord, a design and innovation consultancy acquired by Accenture www.accenture.com in 2013. “When people are having fun, they think more broadly about solutions, which gets ideas flowing.”

Of course, design thinking is more than just fun and games. It is a scientifically tested approach to problem-solving that brings together three core elements that are critical to innovation: business needs, technological possibilities and the human element, Evenson said. Her team is dedicated to teaching Accenture employees and clients how to master design thinking.

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Job interviews and other business meetings taking place over Skype are becoming increasingly common. You might be able to see one another, but a virtual interview or meeting over the internet is not the same as one face to face and you need to prepare accordingly.

Here are some considerations to help you embrace technology and master a Skype interview.

Dress Professionally
Q. Should you still dress as if you are in a face-to-face interview?

A. Yes – general interview etiquette still applies. The dynamics are different, with body language being the main barrier, so it is vital to make a good impression based on your dress and surroundings.

Don’t be tempted just to dress smartly from the waist-up, assuming that’s all the interviewer will see. As you use Skype more and more you will come across plenty of interview situations where the candidate or the interviewer has had to stand up – that unexpected knock on the door – a mobile phone ringing – situations that can only be dealt with by standing up! Being in formal dress will also help you to feel like it is a formal interview and put you in the right frame of mind.

Pick Your Backdrop Wisely
Q. How much attention will be paid to where you are sitting for the interview?

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