22 July 2015

Women are capable of extraordinary things and can become an integral part of the technology industry

Picture for blog 1I recently had the privilege to attend a number of women in technology events in London, where the topic of debate was how to rebalance the gender difference within technology businesses.  The first was hosted by Baroness Martha Lane Fox who is a truly inspirational woman leading the way on this topic. I also had the honour to attend an event hosted by Melissa Di Donato, VP at Salesforce with some incredible guest speakers such as Emily Lawson, HR Director at Morrison’s. It was truly inspiring along with being incredibly frustrating to know that we have some real challenges to overcome this imbalance. However, I do believe the time is ripe for women in technology, and I think the news we’ll see in the future is going to be a whole lot better than what we have been seeing in the past.

According to Martha Lane Fox a staggering 98% of internet coding is programmed by men and only 14% of technology jobs are filled by women. It’s a pretty damming statistic and one that needs to be evened out, but how is this going to happen given the current challenges women face in technology?

I am part of this 14% - so I can say with confidence that working in the digital tech economy is one of the most exciting, fast-moving and challenging places to be at the moment. However, the main task for me is how we get the next generation of career women to realise this and how can we progress our careers up to the C-suite?

Here's another pretty poor statistic: According to Emily Lawson only 12% of women hold executive roles within the UK. It’s a known fact that companies that have women sitting on the executive board tend to have a 60% increase in profitability. If that's not compelling enough to review the gender balance and make proactive change I don’t know what is!! It’s a fact that ‘you can't be what you can't see'.

However, we just don’t have enough women applying for these roles and even fewer young girls studying science, technology or programming in secondary school. There is a fundamental need to address this at school age. Let's face it, when it comes to girls, our industry has a PR problem. This is not just an issue we are facing in the UK, but a global problem that needs tackling. Tech is for whatever reason, not appealing to enough young women as a career opportunity. We know it’s not boring or that it means you are destined to sit in a dark room coding your life away. We also know that you don't need to be amazing at maths or have a passion for science. It’s also about creativity and ideas and this is something that doesn't get coverage within the tech world. Women matter for the strength of product design. Facebook would have been far more evolved from day one than having a ‘like or not’ feature had it not been based on men liking women at university!

Roughly 50% of the population are female; this means 50% of the working population should be female too. We need to look at this demographic and start to change the way we operate. According to Emily Lawson, group HR Director at Morrison's and previously a Partner at McKinsey there are five areas where a shift is needed given the shortage of talent in technology.

1. Hiring - Significant work is needed on the hiring process when coming across women without tech degrees. By taking the bias off our hiring we would inevitable see more women being recruited. 

2.  Promotion - Women need to get themselves out there and be proud of their successes. Find what works in an organisation and keep doing it. Setting targets when doing promotions will help.

3.  Assignment - Women tend not to get the tough jobs because we think they might not be up for it. They are up for it!

4.  Evaluation - Women don't receive the same evaluations and then they leave (50% of your female workforce will leave to go to competitors)

5.  Culture - Women are twice as likely to leave if they don’t like the culture.

No matter how small a change you make, you need to make it. One key initiative that is proven to deliver results is around mentorship and sponsorship. Women need to mentor men to ensure men gain a better understanding of women at work and ultimately this will make them better in many facets of their lives. Yet women need to have engagement from men in leadership roles. They need to move from a mentorship relationship with men to a sponsorship one. Only 17% of women in the UK have a sponsor and 74% of men have them. Internal sponsors are critical to getting you recognised on reputation and merit and help support getting you promoted. Sponsors will (or should) stick their neck out for you. Through increased mentorship/sponsorship and by actively trying to create conditions in which enterprising women thrive, we can ensure that future generations of aspiring females in tech have the support they need to achieve similar success. Quite simply we must send the elevator back down.

Leadership needs both men and women. I am certainly not a women's right activist and honestly before I started to engage in this topic I felt it was far too 'right on' for my liking. I do however passionately believe that the different traits in both men and women are an essential mix that any organisation needs. It’s just getting the balance correct.

The continued convergence of technology with human resources and marketing will inevitable bring with it a rise of women within the tech industry but let’s be honest, we need more women in senior positions to give us all the aspirations we need to take ourselves further.

15 July 2015

Improving employee retention - 5 tips on how Onboarding could help

LUM_514_Onboarding_LinkedIn_v034Most people start a new job full of excitement and energy about what lies ahead. That’s how you want new hires to feel as they start their employment with you and to continue to feel as their career progresses in the following months.

However, it all falls down pretty quickly for a lot of people - nearly one in three new employees leave before their first year of employment is up, according to a report from Saratoga and Global Best Practices. Think of all those recruitment costs, those training costs, the time and energy invested by line managers and colleagues getting the new starters up to speed. As an organisation, you may not have even started reaping the rewards of your investments before the employee has gone elsewhere.

Some attrition is inevitable, but what can you do to ensure your organisation is not one of those that loses a third of its new workforce each year?

There are 5 essential tips:

 1.     Commit to Onboarding and know that it’s a journey, and not a static process.

Done right, onboarding can slash your attrition and keep your high performers working for you rather than running off to the competition.  Start from what you are trying to achieve with your onboarding programme and finish with what can help you do it easier and more effectively. Consider investing in good onboarding technology that allows you to do all of the below.

 2.     Consider starting the journey as soon as offer is accepted.

Onboarding is shown to significantly reduce attrition rates. For the uninitiated, onboarding is the process of integrating new employees into an organisation. Best practice onboarding starts as soon as a candidate accepts their job offer (it is also known as pre-boarding when it starts this early) and continues right on through their first year of employment.

 3.     Include a mix of activities in Onboarding: Tasks, Forms, Socialisation.

Good onboarding will cover essential admin activities such as simple task completion and form management; making sure that all the relevant HR/Payroll information is in place before day one has even started. You should also think about socialising newbies into your organisation; helping them to understand the culture and values of your business, undertake some basic training, beginning to form relationships with other co-workers will all help your new starter feel part of the team.

When people are well inducted into a new role it helps them to settle quickly, feel engaged and confident about their career prospects within an organisation. This all significantly reduces the likelihood of them leaving the company. Develop personalised onboarding for each type of new hire. Consider not only brand new hires, but internal moves and hires coming from a newly acquired company. A good onboarding solution can help you deliver the personalised approach with multiple new hire portals and the right content at the right time.

 4.     Check in with your new hire often.

There’s no point leaving it until three months or six months in to check that newbies are happy – chances are it's too late by then and they are already casting their net elsewhere. If they are still there at all that is! According to research by talent management experts, Bersin by Deloitte, twenty two per cent of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days of employment. A whopping 4% of employees don’t even make it past day one.

That’s why it is so important to engage with employees before they have even set foot in the door. Make them feel welcomed and wanted. One way to tackle the onboarding challenge is to think about creating an onboarding portal. By taking this approach, the portal would showcase your company’s culture and values. Use it to engage with new starters, to show them what is happening in the company, why they want to work for you and why, mostly importantly, that they would want to continue working for your organisation.

 5.     Get everything ready for Day 1 in advance.

There is nothing worse than turning up on your first day and feeling that your new employer is not ready for you. Make sure everything has been arranged and set up prior to their first day so that they can get down to business rather than wasting time. With good onboarding, people know what to expect and what the company expects of them. Strategic onboarding factors in training, assignments and networking events at regular intervals in the first year. It’s proven that if you start investing in new employees straight away, then they are much more likely to stick around. They can see that there will be plenty of career development and opportunities to progress. It’s what everyone wants.

If you needed any further convincing, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that turnover costs can be 50-150% of the annual salary for a job. This fact coupled with the five reasons outlined above is all pretty compelling reasons to take onboarding seriously.


If you’ re interested in learning more about Onboarding… Then why not visit our 'Onboarding Resource Library' for more information about how technology could help you.


06 July 2015

Get up close with your learners for better design

Stethoscope_croppedHow do you research the target audience before starting on development of a piece of bespoke learning content? Chances are, what comes to mind is a series of SME workshops, followed by hours at the desktop.

At Lumesse we like to do things differently. Just as we believe in the value of really getting to know our clients’ businesses, we also take any opportunity we can to get up close and personal with their learners. It is this depth of research that takes a course from valuable to valued, and creates a bespoke learning experience that connects with and engages the learner to make an impact on how they work. Recently we had the chance to get face to face with learners when working on a sales product learning project for one of our valued clients, a global healthcare company. I’d like to tell you about that experience – about how it influenced the shape of the final design, moving us towards a more ‘gamified’ (if that’s a word!) approach – and then give 5 tips for researching your learning project.

 Trade show visit: a window on the learners’ world

We’ve worked with this particular client for a while now, creating training pieces for their medical products. For this latest project we are creating sales training to enable their sales guys to talk knowledgably about some complicated technical and clinical material.

As part of our ongoing work with them, the Lumesse design team was invited to attend an international medical specialty congress in London. We knew we could get all the clinical details we needed from the project from our existing SMEs, but attending this event would allow us to meet and talk to the people who would form the audience for the learning – our client’s sales and marketing people. We wanted to know where they work, how they think … who they are.

Researching the sales situation

We started by having a look around the conference and seeing what the competition was up to, and the messages they were putting out. Visiting our client’s stand, we then got a demonstration and hands-on time with some of the products we are working with. This was also a great opportunity to hear what the sales people talk about with stand visitors, and to get a feel for the product itself, rather than just reading about it in studies. We also got to see some of the buyers of the product; the people our learners have to inform, serve and convince in their sales interactions.

We then sat down with some of the client’s sales and marketing people to chat about training and sales. We got inside what they would want to see, what they think is important to know, and how they like to learn. We also shared a small demo of some of the content we had developed already, and asked for their honest feedback on it.

After taking advantage of the complimentary coffee on the stand (delicious!) the core project team from Lumesse and the client company sat down and had an informal chat about our findings. This quickly morphed into a brainstorm session with fresh ideas from all sides.

Gamifying the learning

The result of our trip was a new approach to the learning, which would reflect the environment we had seen and the experience of selling the products. We found that our learners are a competitive bunch – so we decided to increase the amount of gaming and competitive elements in the training.

 Gamifying our planned scenario content, we turned it into a series of levels, each of which the learner had to complete before unlocking the next. Starting with a ‘trade show’ level, where the learner has to answer customer questions, they then proceed to a ‘presentation’ level, where they build their own pitch to give to a customer. Any misstep along the way means they don’t earn enough points to proceed and have to try again. Finally they are asked to video themselves giving a presentation and enter it into a competition to see who is the best.

Five tips for researching your learning project

I think this example serves to show really well how face-to-face learner research and close collaboration between design team and client team can feed directly into a better programme design.

Reflecting on this experience – and others where I’ve had the opportunity to do in-depth learner research – I’ve come up with five tips that you can apply more generally.

  1. Meet the learner. As learning designers, we’re often given a description of our learners in terms of a high-level breakdown of age, gender, education (and whether or not they like e-Learning). But by actually meeting them you can find out what they like, dislike and what they’ve experienced already.
  2. Get out there. Seeing where the learner works, and observing the working situation within which the knowledge she gains from the learning will be applied, gives you a real context for the learning. The realistic scenarios, environments and activities you can create as a result will connect with the learner a lot more than generic multiple choice questions.
  3. Share your thinking. Learning designs are often shared with stakeholders and SMEs, who then interpret what they think the learner will like. Why not share that thinking with the learner directly? If possible give them a demo to play with. If they hate it, or just don’t get it, then you need to think again. If they love it, ask what they love about it and do more of that.
  4. Ask early. Focus groups or testing groups are often invited to get involved at a later stage of the project, but it’s rare for the schedule and budget to include major rework at that stage. Why ask a learner what they think if you’re not going to do anything about it? Getting the learner involved early – before the money is spent – lets them shape the learning as it develops, not just tweak it before it’s launched.
  5. Test objectives. Performance and learning objectives are usually developed by the project stakeholders, SMEs and learning designers. “We want our learners to do X so we need to teach them Y”. Why not ask the learner, “What do you need to be able to do X?” Perhaps they don’t need to learn Y but need to practice Z!


Source: Get up close with your learners for better design – Lumesse Learning

03 July 2015

A diverse and inclusive workforce is critical for success

So why are people nervous when talking about gender diversity?

Break-the-glass-ceilingPeople who have read my previous blog, about diversity and inclusion, will already know that we should embrace the fact that all employees are different. So although managing diversity in the workplace is not just about reaching targets based on gender, age, nationality and physical ability - which are in some countries mandatory - it still helps. Now that we live in the 21st century, if you see that your company is not doing the best they can, you should be able to raise any topic, including the role of women within the company, without anyone rolling their eyes.

So what is it that gets people nervous about gender diversity?

When I mentioned that I was intending to write a blog on the topic of gender diversity and that there is still a lot to gain, I noticed some people weren’t sure about it and even became defensive. Some people made the assumption that I, as a woman, could not write objectively on this topic. Why, in this day and age, are there still reservations from many people against women who express their ambitions?

Maybe they are right about my objectivity but maybe objectivity is exactly what’s needed. There are so many studies around this topic, so why are we still talking about it? In my opinion this is not just an issue for HR, or a woman in HR, it’s an issue for everybody. So let me share some stories about some of the issues I face on a daily basis with the facts to back me up.

In studies, such as this report by Forbes titled ‘Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce’ we can see that a diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and background is crucial to innovation and the development of new ideas. Whilst male managers are seen as having an edge in strategic visioning, and strong technical skills, female managers are seen as being stronger in inclusive team leadership, flexibility and adaptability to change. It’s well proven that greater diversity in decision-making produces better outcomes. For businesses, better decisions mean stronger growth!

Luckily women now have choices in most countries, but it seems there is still a lot to gain in changing the mindset of men and women. The fact is that men and women are different and always will be, but also that all women are individual, with different aspirations in life and work. When talking to different generations of women, it’s clear that aspirations are not the same. The key is to provide the opportunities as well as a supportive environment.

Social norms affect women’s work by dictating the way they spend their time and undervaluing their potential. Housework, child-rearing, and elderly care are often considered primarily to be women’s responsibility (even though men are doing more housework than their fathers’ generation (Gender & Society)). Nearly 4 in 10 people globally agree that, when jobs are scarce, men should have more right to jobs than women (World Bank).

And maybe I’m naïve, or maybe it’s my education at home, but I would never expect that this was still part of my generation’s mindset or even the mindset of my parent’s generation. I therefore was very shocked when my partner recently told me about a conversation that he had with his friends; they told him that they would not let their partner be away from home so often. Here we are, an emancipated couple with - so we thought - emancipated Generation Y friends, and hearing this made me once again realise that what’s normal to me might not be for others in the same generation.

Globally, women’s labour force participation (ages 15-64) is little over half of women that have jobs, compared with almost four-fifths of men. Over the last two decades, this has stagnated, declining from 57% to 55% (World bank) but also globally, the number of women graduates finding employment as a percentage of their male counterparts is surprisingly low and this percentage is further watered down later in their careers by childbirth and motherhood (Grant Thornton IBR 2014).

About five years ago, Lumesse hired me as HR Manager WEMEA (Western Europe, Middle East and Africa), overseeing eight countries. At the time, I received some comments that I should not take a job like this in this time of my life. What struck me the most was that, when males commented on this, it was more subliminal when compared to the females – who would say it straight and out loud. Evidence shows that having women in the workforce is beneficial to the company’s efficiency, so why can’t organisations make sure that, in a certain period of a women’s life, you can be flexible around the individual’s employment conditions.

The COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, has publically acknowledged that we are far from gender equality. Sheryl also wrote a book titled, ‘Lean in Women, Work, and the Will to Lead’, in which she shares her personal stories, uses supporting research to shine a light on gender differences, and offers practical advice to help women in achieving their goals. With her examples she explains that, both men and women need to acknowledge that we are different and, since they are embedded in our culture, pay attention to these differences! In 2013 she launched ‘Lean In’, a non-profit organisation with the aim to change the trajectory of women in the workplace and create a better world for everybody. Did you know that only 4.6% of the S&P 500 companies has a female CEO and women only hold 19% of board seats, when almost half (45%) of the total workforce are women (Catalyst).

The fact is that not all women (nor all men) want a top management position, but some absolutely do. Between 2007 and 2014, the proportion of senior business roles held by women globally has remained constant at 24% (Grant Thornton IBR 2014). If we are not able to change the mindset of traditional thinking, we still have a very long way to go. We will not see these numbers go up if companies (but also people) are not looking for solutions to make this happen and create a different mindset. I also wrote before about a woman who had a management position, but was pushed out of the company because she got children. See my blog “When does HR start acting like a Business Partner”.

The fact is that when the CEO of a company is a woman, the participation of women in the management team is significant higher then when the CEO is a man (Intermediair). And not just because of positive discrimination, but because they see it’s important for the business to have diversity in the management team. The difference is that a male CEO often sees this topic as a positive publicity but a women-CEO as an important part of the management. So it’s nice words against actions.

ILO analysis of 83 countries revealed that women in paid work earn, on average, between 10 and 30 percent less than men - even in the same job role. These figures show us that, even when the efforts of the past have resulted in improvement, we still need to address this topic in order to increase the participation and career opportunities for women. The research reveals what is possible when organisations take alternative strategies and implement unique actions.

Most of all the above studies say the same thing: There is not a quick fix or process you can put in place; you need to have a thorough plan of approach and the CEO needs to be the driver. Research by Mercer confirms that you need to have more than a diversity and inclusion policy; you need to understand women’s unique career, health and financial management across their professional lifecycle and determine the most effective ways to meet them. The research reveals what is possible when organisations take different strategies and unique actions.

22 June 2015

How effective Onboarding can help you build employee engagement

LUM_514_Onboarding_twitter_posts_v02A common English idiom is “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” however, we all know that first impressions count. And they certainly count when someone starts a new job. The first impression that a new recruit forms of you as an employer is the one that might stick, so make sure it’s a good one. Remember, employees that are engaged from the outset are much more likely to stay engaged and recommend your organisation to others. It’s a lot harder to turn around a disengaged employee once that initial assessment has been made!

A good onboarding program builds on the first impressions you created

So what is Onboarding? Onboarding is the name given to the process of getting new recruits started in an organisation. It refers to the initial introductions, the allocation of equipment and their first steps towards productivity. A first class onboarding process can make all the difference for new hires... and the best onboarding begins at the point when a job offer is accepted and continues throughout the first year of employment. Some organisations implement ‘Pre-boarding’ by starting the engagement process before the first day, by sharing induction schedules and company overviews so that new-hires can quickly begin to feel part of the team.

Disengagement can set in before day one on the job. Nurture your new hires from the moment they say yes to the job.

Pre-boarding is critical, particularly if there is a long time lapse between the candidate accepting a job and the actual start date. A surprising number of people become disengaged before day one and don’t even turn up. In a recent Medical Daily article – ‘I Hate My Job, Say 70% Of US Employees’ – the author mentions a Gallup survey which revealed that less than a third of U.S. employees were engaged with their jobs in 2014. To make sure you don’t lose an accepted candidate to the competition or to a counter offer from their current employer once news of their departure is known, it is essential that you keep in touch. Keeping the lines of communication open and letting them know how excited you as an organisation are to have them joining is critical to fending off last minute changes of heart. This is particularly important when recruiting high quality candidates or those for executive or specialised roles, as demand for these individuals will test their commitment.

You have a year to take the steps to engage and keep an employee or see them go.

Onboarding is proven to make a huge difference to how engaged employees feel in that all important first year. According to the business research organisation, Aberdeen Group, 90% of businesses say that employees make the decision whether or not to stay in an organisation within the first year.

Technology can help you to personalise each new hire experience.

When planning your onboarding process, it is essential that you tailor the programme so that it is relevant and meaningful to the individual. For example, preparations for engagement with a senior exec will be different to that of an entry-level candidate. Through the use of technology, you can develop personalised and mobile-optimised onboarding portals which allow you to ensure that candidates feel ready to join your organisation and excited at the prospect of this next stage in their career.

So what type of information do these portals typically contain? Aberdeen Group’s Talent Acquisition 2014 report found that 80% of companies provide new hire forms in advance of employment, 79% introduce new hires to go to people within the company, 80% provide information on company norms and values, and 65% provide peer and networking opportunities. Having all the necessary forms and tasks completed in advance can help new hires to start engaging with their surroundings and the job in hand from the get go. It also frees up line managers to get people settled in to the job itself, rather than chasing IT departments or HR. The visibility and automation of all these processes helps employees to feel engaged from the outset.

Onboarding is still new to 2/3 of companies. You can easily build a competitive advantage and the time is now.

Despite all of this, the Aberdeen group says only 32% of companies have formal onboarding initiatives in place. And only 37% of companies extend their onboarding beyond the first month of employment. Don’t be on one of those.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Onboarding process and how you can use it to drive tangible ROI, please join our webinar ‘Onboarding for Success’ on 30 June at 1pm BST.

19 June 2015

The Candidate Experience….aim for advocacy, not satisfaction!

Candidate ExperienceAs an ex-recruiter, HR professional and customer success manager, “Customer Experience” and “Candidate Experience” are interrelated topics which are close to my heart. Everyone knows that a bad interaction with a customer has a ripple effect, as not only will that customer not come back, they’ll tell their friends and family not to come back either. Replace ‘customer’ with ‘candidate’ and it is clear that not handling the candidate relationship well is damaging to a company’s brand.

The application, interview and offer process has the potential to influence candidates and future customers. Companies who care about their brand see candidates as customers and treat them like they are. Regardless of if they hire the candidate or not, they ensure the candidate experience is a great one! 

Before thinking about what makes a candidate experience great, it’s important to ensure the basics are right: A simple mantra is ‘treat everyone like you want to be treated’. Candidates rightly expect things like acknowledgement of their applications and where they stand in the process; even if it means they’ve been eliminated from it. So reject unsuitable candidates quickly at each stage of the recruitment process to avoid them feeling like they’ve fallen into a black hole. This is not “best practice”, it is just common courtesy, but failing to get these basics right will create critics. 

Candidate satisfaction is one thing, but the nirvana of candidate experience is advocacy. That means that not only are employees and candidates happy with the organisation, but rather that they’d be happy to recommend the company to someone else. At Lumesse, we use net promoter scores to measure customer experience and you can think about the candidate experience in the same way!

So, there’s only one big question to ask candidates: On a scale of 0 to 10 how likely is it you would recommend us to somebody else? 0 being the worst score and 10 the best.

  • Any candidate who gives a score of 9 or 10 is a promoter or ’advocate’;
  • If a candidate gives a score of 7 or 8, they are regarded as passive and as having no positive impact on your employer brand;
  • Any candidate who scores you from 0 to 6 is classed as a detractor or ’critic’;
  • Your net promoter score equals the number of promoters minus the number of detractors.

To aim for the nirvana of candidate experience, firstly, you need to collect data from all candidates who apply for a job, no matter how far they get in the process. Then analyse the data and use NPS to set a benchmark for how well you’re doing. 

So what makes the difference to customers and candidates alike? From my experience, keeping in regular contact is more than just good business practice. Even if there is little to say, it is the simple gesture of making the phone call that counts. After any face to face interactions, offer the opportunity for feedback. Give it verbally and offer some time for an unsuccessful candidate to call. All interactions need to be timely and accurate, not misleading or vague. To get promoter scores of 9 and 10, you have to send applicants and candidates away with a ‘wow factor’, something they didn’t expect. Some feedback, advice and support that might help them to be successful next time or perhaps simply a touch of kindness! It is the small things that can often make the biggest difference!

15 June 2015

The power of feedback – are we pulling when we should be pushing?

The power of feedbackIn most businesses today, in one way or another, we work with customer surveys. In train stations, hospitals, stores and (of course) online, we are frequently faced with a request to evaluate the experience, the product and the service we have received. The simple smiley-faces which ask you to make a statement before you leave, the call-back after you hang up, or the never-ending online-survey you (foolishly) agreed to complete. Stop and tally how many of these you encounter in just one week when going about your usual business. Sooner or later we stop and say ‘no more, I don’t have the time,’ so maybe the four buttons are all we should ever face our clients with?

Some companies promise gifts or the chance of winning something if you partake; large survey companies selling data sometimes offer points that can be exchanged for goods or given to charity. There is of course the chance that we are getting tired of selling or giving away our opinion on everything from the security check at the airport to the apothecary on the corner.

And from all that data we draw conclusions about what to do to improve.

Here in Denmark they just announced the date for the next election: now is the time for the voters to give feedback to the last government in charge. Most western countries take pride in their democracy and the right for everyone to vote, but not everyone exercises that right. In the UK the turnout hit rock bottom in 2001 with only 59% of the population casting their vote, a number that has since been increasing but not yet catching up to the Scandinavian voters; the Danes top that list with 87% participation in the last election. If we don’t give feedback, how will we know if we are heading in the right direction? Some countries have deemed this so important, voting is compulsory.

Personally I’m quite excited – I’ve been living in Sweden all my life as a Danish citizen, but I moved to Copenhagen in September. So, at the age of 52, I will be voting for parliament for the first time in my life!

Grass root voting is one way of showing what is important to you, where providing your practical feedback makes a difference. Buy only organic food or don’t buy products from countries that don’t respect human rights. I may seem futile but the power of belief has given results and changed the world more than once; it’s a feedback that has effect. Strongest of all is positive feedback. Anybody who has ever done any serious training of animals knows that the way to get reliable behavioural changes is to give positive affirmation. And after all, aren’t we animals too?

People, who get praised, come back for more.

So how are you praising your customers? In what way are you giving encouraging, constructive critique to your co‑workers? When did you last show your appreciation for a colleague’s positive presence at work? Can you actually ever praise your children too much? Think about how much you stand to gain by giving praise when it’s not demanded but given freely; think about the results you could achieve. When pulling, information doesn’t help you reach your goals, try pushing your appreciation and see the effects!

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