Top Trends 2017 – Human Capital

Leaders of the most successful companies always say that they consider their employees their biggest asset, but not only do they say it they talk their walk and actually back it up with real actions.

The most successful companies stay on top of the latest techniques to identify talent, they develop their people and they ensure that all are aligned from reception to the board room.

So what are the top trends happening in the people space in 2017

1.      Multigenerational workforce

In 2017 we will have both a younger and older workforce at the same time. The mighty millennials (who get more talk time than anyone I know right now) will take on critical positions in many companies while a surprising number of baby boomers will not retire at the traditional age and will continue in the workforce either because they want to or they still need an income.

2.      Diversity

 We can expect (and hope some more) for more women and minority groups in the workforce at all levels in 2017. Still not enough but we can expect more. The global nature of business and the ease of mobility will lead companies to employ more immigrants and make the work environment more flexible for working mums for example (about time companies…just saying!) With this in mind companies need to have a REAL COMPANY CULTURE (not one they just talk about) but one that lives and breathes and values the contributions of all of the different cultures and diverse people

3.      Technology

This is a topic in itself as especially within the Procurement field the term Cognitive Procurement is hotter than toast right now! In all business’ technology, has enabled us to collect more data but now we are also addressing

Predictive – What will happen

Prescriptive – What to do to influence what will happen in your favour

The current state of machine learning enables machines to learn themselves. Therefore automation is now entering more complex areas and with this it will of course have an impact on the job market. Most kids in schools now will enter into the workforce in a job that doesn’t exist right now…..scary thought I know!

TED talk – How we are teaching computers to understand pictures

4.      Social Engagement

Many years ago (when I was at school) you were expected to spend your career in one or maybe two companies, today is a very different scene. Young people expect to change companies and even careers multiple times. In 2017 not just millennials, although they are culprits of this, will seek engagement and flexibility from their employers – if it is not given they will not stay – no questions asked…..they are out the door. Employers seem to know that this happens and talk about it all the time in the board room and HR departments but how many really back it up and do something about it? I can tell you who – the most successful companies around you!

Netflix is known as one of the great success stories of the last 2 decades, launched in 1998 they now have 3500 employees and generate $7billion a year from 81million subscribers worldwide.

So what is the key to its success?

Netflix Culture Deck

In the famous “Netflix Culture deck” Netflix leaders explain that traditional logic for rules and the short term benefits of reducing mistakes. BUT the deck then goes on to suggest that over time a process focussed culture drives out the high performing employees that the company should be aiming to keep. When the market shifts quickly (errr hello 2017) due to new technology, competitors, disruptors or business models, those companies who are rule driven cannot keep up and they lose customers to competitors who can adapt (one word – UBER!) In such an environment, slow moving rule orientated companies can literally disappear…

Netflix sums up its culture and its competitive advantage in one slide:


Instead of endless rules and processes Netflix instead focus on just two things:



We have a lot to learn from companies such as these, most of us have cottoned on that we need to hire the right people, but not many have worked out what to do with them when they get them and how to motivate, engage and inspire them!

5.      Organisational design

In 2017 many companies will work to eliminate the traditional top down hierarchical models, business will continue to become flatter and even more democratic. Networks of highly interactive teams is a trend that will accelerate in 2017 and I strongly recommend we get ready as to compete in this new era we will need great team mates and we will need to understand how to communicate and work together more than ever.

6.      Employee Experience

In a surge to motivate those restless employees’ executives will have to pay greater attention to the employee experience, companies will re-examine the physical, emotional and technical environment in which people work.

Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace

7.      HR Technology

 I don’t know how many times I have heard the phrase Human Remains for HR….frustrating right! Well move over 2016 as this is HR’s year to show their true strategic value in an organisation. Successful HR teams are introducing user friendly technologies that are sustainable and will let their employees better manage their benefits online as well as smart apps that will help them make decisions. HR technology of 2017 will be responsive, social, easy and integrated and will certainly help with the engagement issues of the past.

8.      Learning and Development

Whilst those (poor) millennials are again being blamed for not staying long in a company they still (whilst they are on the payroll at least) want to learn. Development is the MAIN reason people leave any role, if they are not being challenged and developed or learning something new…they look for another challenge elsewhere. Leading companies are successful because they create sophisticated learning ecosystems to give their workforce pathways to provide learning any place at any time.

Coachable moments – every day

9.      Workforce management

Most companies today obsess over analysing business processes and employee procedures, to compete better in 2017 companies will fine tune business processes and enhance productivity at all levels. Metrics for almost every work function are readily available and an operational mindset will lead top performers to produce optimal results.

10.      People Analytics

In 2017 Predictive talent models will help HR departments to recruit and promote the right individuals into the right roles, hence HR will show their true value this year. It is possible now to know how a new hire will behave once they are in a role, how quickly they will adapt to the new environment and how to motivate and inspire them to become a top performer….and that is possible before they walk in on day 1! For more info on how this is possible contact: to talk tactics!

EQ, IQ and Attitude – The Three Magic Ingredients

Article originally published in In-Procurement Magazine (UK), December 2016

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have an unlimited amount of success in both their personal and professional lives and even more than that everyone seems to “like” them!? Could it be that the X factor really does exist or is it that they possess high emotional intelligence? There have been many debates on the subject of EQ and I am hearing it more and more when I talk to procurement professionals looking for talent for their organisations, technical skills and IQ are a given….now everyone MUST HAVE EQ – Emotional Intelligence Which leads me to my questions “What is EQ and where do we get some?” According to the experts (Psychology Today): “Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.” This usually involves:

  • Emotional awareness, which includes the ability to identify your own emotions as well as those of others;
  • The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks such as problem solving;
  • The ability to manage your emotions, such as being able to calm down when you’re upset.

So why is this important in Procurement or any role for that matter? As research is beginning to suggest intelligence (IQ) is more of an advantage when things are going well, but not necessarily as beneficial when we find ourselves swimming upstream without a paddle and more primal/emotional attributes are needed.

As Travis Bradberry reports in Quartz “Common sense would suggest that having ability, like being smart, inspires confidence. EQ, IQ and Attitude – The Three Magic Ingredients EQ, IQ and Attitude… The Three Magic Ingredients It does, but only while the going is easy” Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ. Dweck found that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed. People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.

So in this world of constant change…is EQ the new IQ? A 40 year study of University of California at Berkeley doctorate -degree holders, found that person’s EI was four times more likely than their IQ to predict who would achieve success in their field of work. So do we all need to jump onto the bandwagon and get on an EI course? Well not necessarily, I think before we all jump the gun we need to embrace technical ability and IQ and then if we are looking at hiring someone new or offering someone a promotion look first at if the role requires EQ, there is no point hiring an EQ guru to sit in an office and never interact with the outside world! Also we need to be very careful as said by John Mayer, University of New Hampshire psychologist, “people with different goals and personalities will express emotional intelligence differently. For example achievement focused people will use EI to get ahead, relationship focused people will use it to maintain and improve relationships” So let’s think about what qualities people with a high EQ share?

  • They are not perfect – being a perfectionist can get in the way of achieving goals, they can be constantly looking for the perfect answer, perfect numbers, perfect person when this really doesnt exist. They learn to move on and let goif a mistake is made they adapt and learn from it.
  • They understand work / life balance – we all know that looking after yourself and not putting unnecessary stress on ourselves will improve our health and wellbeing but few of us actually do it. People with high EQ take a break , they know how to disconnect from the world when needed because less unnecessary stress means more success.
  • They embrace change – this to me is one of the most important factors in todays ever changing world. The business world has never changed at such rapid speed and Procurement will be left behind if such change is not embraced. Dont be afraid, Procurement should be the chameleons of the office ready to adapt in any given situation.
  • They are empathetic – Psychologist Daniel Goleman, suggests empathy is one of the five components of emotional intelligence. In fact, being able to relate to others, show compassion, and take the time to help someone are all crucial components of EI. Additionally, being empathic makes people with EI curious about other people and and leads them to ask lots of questions whenever they meet someone new. Is this not Procurements role in an organisation to help the business and ask lots of questions?
  • They know their strengths and weaknesses – They know what they are good at and what they are not so good at,but instead of accepting this they leverage their strengths and weaknesses by working with the right people in the right situations.
  • They are selfstarters –being ambitious and hard working right from the get go from a young age are all signs of high EQ
  • They can let go – they dont dwell on the past, they are too busy creating the opportunities of tomorrow. There are countless highly successful people who have failed, Oprah Winfrey, Henry Ford, Walt Disney to name a few have all been knocked back, but instead of feeling helpless and searching for answers they let go and bounced back. Failure can be the biggest success you ever have! Dont hold grudges, dont dwell on the negative both only cause you more stress and block your vision of the future.
  • Focus on the positives – This seems obvious but we have all sat in meetings when someone keeps harping on about the past mistake, issues, complaining about negative situations rather than focusing their energy on how to solve the problem, what do you have control over?
  • They dont get easily distracted – they have the ability to pay attention to the task at hand and prioritise, they dont get distracted by a random email.
  • They set boundaries – people with a high EQ usually are very compassionate so they seem like a pushover BUT they actually very politely set boundaries and expectations, if not they will soon burn out, so they learn how to say nonicely!

So what can you do to improve your EQ? This is a question I dont get asked enough- which to me means we are not self-aware enough to realise we need to ask the question! In summary in order to build some of the above traits there are 3 key ingredients for success which I believe also come down to attitude, to improve EQ :

BE PASSIONATE what you lack in IQ you can certainly make up for in passion. Empowered people are relentless they never give up on their passions. There will always be a smarter person than you but they may not have your motivation and drive, passion is what drives people to excellence. Passion is also infectious, try sitting in a room with someone who is passionate about what they are talking about and try to not get excited….they have a way of drawing you in.

STOP BEING THE VICTIM stop complaining about the issues, stop dwelling on the past, in order to be successful, you need to be willing to fail hard and then bounce right back.

GO THE EXTRA MILE – take action, focus your energy, be flexible in your approach and go that one step further to help, push your limits. If you arent getting a little bit better each day, then youre most likely getting a little worse—and what kind of life is that?