Why talent management is not for you

INTUO

Why talent management is not for you

The hottest term in the HR world, must be this one: talent management. Type it into every possible search engine and you’ll find all kinds of definitions, tools and strategies. All HR departments are very much aware of it, but it made me wonder: does everyone also fully grasp of what it actually entails?
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The hottest term in the HR world, must be this one: talent management. Type it into every possible search engine and you’ll find all kinds of definitions, tools and strategies. All HR departments are very much aware of it, but it made me wonder: does everyone also fully grasp of what it actually entails?

Let me start off by dissecting the concept. You are considered to be ‘talent’, when the organization you work for, decides you’re a match with the company culture and you have the right competencies to perform well. Consecutively, it’s up to the team leader to ‘manage’ you properly and to make sure you continue to excel at his or her job and (at the very least) meet the initial expectations. So there you go. Talent management, in its most rudimentary linguistic breakdown.

Even though it might seem clear what talent management is, I would very much like to clarify what talent management is not:

  1. Talent management is not about desperately holding on to your employees.

    Organizations have a natural tendency to domesticate people. New employees are trained to do their work in a certain manner and are very easily steered in the direction of the internal status quo (e.g. a specific format to have meetings, tone of voice to customers,..). To some extend, this makes sense. In every company everywhere, there will always be best practices that serve as a guidance for employees.

    Yet, an extreme version of this narrow-minded incentivization of compliance with certain habitual practices, will not motivate your employees to stretch beyond their own capabilities. In the end, I believe it will even make your talent untalented. Employees who get stuck in their roles and the same set of skills, will at some point in time lose certain parts of their motivation, which will just push away your most valued employees.

    Talent management does not mean keeping your talent exactly where they are, not even if they are good at what they are currently doing. It’s about providing your people with the right challenges and the right amount of space to experiment and to explore and expand their talent. The goal of talent management to is is to help the employees you have get ready for the next step, even if that next step is not within your company.

    So if you want to retain your employees, just for the sake of retaining them, talent management is not for you.

  2. Talent management is not just about managing your top talent

    The description of the concept at the beginning of this post I gave you, is quite misleading. The assumption for every hire you make as a company, is that the person is indeed talented for the job he/she is supposed to do.

    I don’t have to tell you that reality can be different at times. Mis-hires happen. A person turns out to lack certain skills he/she claimed to have during interviews, the culture fit was wrongly assumed, or the person him or herself had different expectations of the job or the company. Due to this fact, certain people leave (or have to leave) the company, while others stay doing a ‘good enough’ job and end up being the ‘low performers’ in the organization.

    If you follow the initial definition of talent management, low performers should per definition be ignored, since they are not considered as ‘talent’ anymore. Yet I consider those low performers, as the people who just might need that little extra push or attention to get them to the next level. If you make the effort to invest a little extra time in them, they might even end up being more valuable than they’ve shown so far.

    If you feel that talent management is just about focussing on the top performers in your company and only keeping them engaged, talent management is not for you.

  3. Talent management is more than implementing a software

    As stated before, if you look up ‘talent management’, you will very quickly bump into talent management software as well.

    From what I've picked up from people in our head space, it's a recurring assumption of many companies that talent management revolves around implementing the right tool and that this will do the trick. I can tell from my own experience that companies often invest a lot of time (and money) in new tools and stop there. And it literally stops there, because this approach turns out to fail.

    Often it’s forgotten that before you implement a tool, a mind-set needs to be implemented first. If you force terms like 'feedback' and 'agile goal setting' onto your employees, you’re setting the tool (and frankly your team) up for failure. People need to see value in giving (and receiving) feedback. First give people to know-how of setting objectives and teach them need the right skills to do so. Once you’ve established this, a talent management tool is ideal in supporting your organization.

    So if you believe that talent management can be covered just by purchasing talent management software, then talent management is not for you.

However, if talent management does seem something for you, or you have your own idea what talent management is (not), get in touch!

"Self-knowledge" is NOT always the beginning of wisdom .

INTUO

"Self-knowledge" is NOT always the beginning of wisdom .

About three years ago my family and I were invited to my cousin’s wedding. It was a rural dinner party taking place in a beautiful big hall. I was sitting next to my little brother, someone with one of the kindest hearts and great work ethics, whose level of self-esteem at the time, was definitely not at its highest...
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About three years ago my family and I were invited to my cousin’s wedding. It was a rural dinner party taking place in a beautiful big hall. At the table were my brothers, cousins, and friends of the newlyweds.

I was sitting next to my little brother, someone with one of the kindest hearts and great work ethics, whose level of self-esteem at the time, was definitely not at its highest… He had just failed to finish another of his 4 first years of different bachelor degrees and was practically forced to go and work in a factory.

I think we’d all have some confidence issues… Wouldn’t you?

During the dinner, me and my little brother had a discussion about what he wanted to do instead of working at the factory. He ruled out numerous options considering his presumed incapabilities, wiping them off the table using the expression: “Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom.”

It pissed me off.

So because you don’t like Broccoli today, you never will?

Because that girl said “no” to your face, you can’t flirt? You’ll be single for the rest of your ‘self-knowing’ life, and should rather focus on your ‘flower arranging skills’?

No. I don’t believe Aristotle had “accept your weakness” or “accept defeat” in mind when he wrote down those words.

Instead, I believe that "if you do not know what the problem is, how can you possibly fix it. You must understand something before you can even think about beginning to improve it.”

This expression should not be an excuse to give up on yourself. Instead, the expression is an invitation for feedback in order to identify your working points.

It is ok to put yourself in a vulnerable position, communicate doubt, and request advice.

Your learning curve does not end at graduation!

Today, it is amazing to see how my brother’s self-esteem and positive mindset are improving at a high pace.

He’s performing a job he never even thought he could be doing, in which he’s leading others and iterating on processes. This is what gets him out of bed in the morning every day.

The key to his empowerment lies in gradually believing in himself, triggered by the people around him who do so as well.

My brother’s friend must have suspected there was a hard working, empathic young guy tucked away inside of my brother.

To my brother’s disbelief, this friend decided to offer my brother a chance at his company, filling in his previous role.

Along the way, he guided him on how to improve in certain areas, which has made my brother perform his job well today. On top of that, the recognition my brother has received from his growing impact is boosting his self-esteem.

As a result, his mindset is becoming significantly more positive, energizing and inspiring others along the way. Instead of asking “Why?”, he‘s starting to reply with “Why not?”

Me and my little brother


How YOU can be empowered today:

Talk to people in your close-knit circle. Ask them how you could do things better moving forward.

Only then you will get to know your working points. The points that will be the beginning of your wisdom.

Even though it might not always be easy to hear about your traits that need improvement, be open to any form of feedback. People will appreciate your eagerness to improve and will start believing in you along the way.

From Management to Empowerment

Strategy & Solution

From Management to Empowerment

More and more talents today long for a sense of choice rather than being managed. They need coaching leaders instead of bossy managers. They desire personal growth and challenges within their organization instead of prefabricated tasks. So how do we move from conservative management to progressive empowerment?
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More and more talents today long for a sense of choice rather than being managed. They need coaching leaders instead of bossy managers. They desire personal growth and challenges within their organization instead of prefabricated tasks. So how do we move from conservative management to progressive empowerment?

 


The definition of "Empowerment in the workplace" goes as follows:

The process of granting employees authority and powers through the resources, skills and opportunities they are equipped with.

Empowerment, big thing since when?

In the 21st century, the high-potential talent pool is expanding drastically as quality education is more accessible. At the same time, globalization and the advancement of digital communication tools have both enabled and forced companies to have greater transparency towards employees. People are more aware of how other organizations are valuing their talents and no longer accept the conservative idea of "buying loyalty". This pressurizes employers into nurturing their talents even more to attract, engage and retain them. For employers, offering people the chance to be in charge of their own career is the first step to attracting the right talent.

But that’s not enough.

A lot of the companies that I have been in contact with are doing an excellent job in creating an employer brand and have attracted many talents. However, a majority of them soon realized that people were starting to leave after one or two years because they felt bored, unchallenged or disengaged. The "promised land" just wasn't there. The current world of work needs more managers that can coach and lead by example. By being a guide, rather than an authority, they can teach people how to better contribute their knowledge and skills to the workforce, making them aware of the impact they can have.

Today, good management equals enabling empowerment.

Getting our heads together, both employees and managers.

Why is empowering people important?

  1. Empowerment leads to engagement

    When talents are empowered, they feel a sense of ownership and trust. They are willing to contribute to your strategy and create value for your customers and other stakeholders, for themselves and society. They will see themselves contributing to something bigger and greater. And they will stay longer at your company. There is also a strong correlation between employee engagement and company revenue. According to Gallup, companies can enjoy on average 21% greater profitability from engaged business units in comparison to companies with disengaged employees. (calculate your potential ROI here)
  2. Train your people so that they can leave. Treat your people so that they want to stay.

  3. Empowerment promotes the agility of an organization

    When you are working in a team, you need to combine different skill sets to solve complex problems. Just because you are the leader, doesn't mean you know everything best. Empowering people is about hearing the different voices so that one person will never be the sole decision-maker. Such processes are especially vital for an agile company to adapt to rapidly changing markets. When people are empowered, they will be more open or even brutally honest about the problems they observe or encounter, which forces the company to face the problems directly without any holdbacks. So when something happens in your field of operation, you can respond more quickly and thus progress faster.
  4. Empowerment gives way to greater values

    The new generation sees their careers as a chain of experiences, and being in your organization is only one of them. Empowerment is a way to let them treasure the opportunities and increase the attractiveness of prolonging the experience. They wish to achieve something greater together with the organization. If you do not empower them, you are not giving way to the values they could bring to your organization.

Empowerment at INTUO

It is always about ownership

Team leaders at INTUO have the common consensus that they do not tell their teams what exactly they have to do, but rather what is important for INTUO and what INTUO aims to achieve. It helps them align their personal goals with the company goals. I have always believed in empowering my team so they can create and grow their own careers and share their knowledge with the outside world. Leaders are just there to provide the right guidance and assist them where needed.

One of the biggest realizations that I've had growing the company alongside a fantastic team is that people get their energy to thrive in different ways. Everyone has their idea of "the perfect working flow" and this should be taken into account when installing a work environment. Because an environment that works 100% for one employee but only 20% for others is not the way to go. The latter are very prone to the risk of a burnout in this situation. Empowering employees means giving them the opportunity to co-create an environment and find a balance which allows them to fully commit their energy for about 70% of the time.

Organizations today need to have processes in place to empower people. The processes that INTUO implements include regular sharing of information. We aim for 100% transparency and trust in the company. For example, when there is a problem with a certain project. Even if explaining and communicating the problem to the entire team can be quite tricky and troublesome, we still do it because transparency builds the foundation of trust. It opens the door to more and better input to solve these issues.

Frequent check-ins are a must if you want to find the "empowerment sweet spot" together
How do we empower?

First of all, it is a process. Every individual is different and sometimes they don't know exactly what they want straight away either. Installing the right methods to get the answers together will be key.

  1. Empower the ones that wish to be empowered

    It is very common that in every organization people work for various purposes. Some work for the money, some for comfort, some for accomplishment and some for self-actualization. However, as a leader, you need to identify who are the ones that want to bring the company's vision forward and create an environment where they can discover their own purpose. When they realize that they are part of a great team with a great vision, they'll want to have the means to thrive for sure.
  2. Employees first need to be purpose-aware, before they can be purpose-driven.

  3. Think of your current processes

    How is your company currently functioning? How many interactions and channels are there right now where people can share their concerns and opinions openly, honestly and consistently? If performance evaluations and exchange of feedback are conducted only once every six months, then chances are pretty high there's a lot more to gain from and for your employees.


    Giving and asking your team for continuous feedback is empowering. Listening to their opinions about the company on a regular basis is empowering. Letting certain people take full ownership of a project is empowering. Ask yourself how good of a job your organization is doing in these areas. Also, empowerment is not a one-man show. You might have the best intentions of the world but you will still need a great team of leaders to support the process. Give them the freedom think about how they can share these new values with their team members so they can act on them.

How can INTUO help you with your empowerment?

My team and I truly believe that INTUO can be the technological facilitator for empowerment. What I mean is that we are lowering the barriers for organizations to really connect with their employees on a professional level. Enabling strong communication, creating trust and utilizing purpose as a driver is what we can help with. And this kind of facilitation goes both ways. INTUO prides itself in empowering people to voice and accomplish their goals and ambitions, both inside and outside of the organization. Helping individuals and organizations achieve something greater collectively, is what we aim to do every single day. Teamwork makes the dream work!

If you have any questions or remarks, we like to know them! Contact us straight away. Or give INTUO a try! Together, we'll schedule a demo to show you around.

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How In The Pocket benefits from INTUO

Client Stories

How In The Pocket benefits from INTUO

Jeroen Lemaire is the co-founder and CEO of In The Pocket, which is a Digital Product Studio with the mission of creating the digital products that make people happy and business grow. INTUO is happy to have In The Pocket on board, as they understand very well how feedback and qualitative communication are at the base of great working environment. Here is a short interview with Jeroen Lemaire on how INTUO benefits In The Pocket.
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Jeroen Lemaire is the co-founder and CEO of In The Pocket, which is a Digital Product Studio with the mission of creating the digital products that make people happy and business grow. INTUO is happy to have In The Pocket on board, as they understand very well how feedback and qualitative communication are at the base of great working environment. Here is a short interview with Jeroen Lemaire on how INTUO benefits In The Pocket.

What is In The Pocket and how does it make the world a better place?

In The Pocket is a Digital Product Studio. With a team of 75, mostly engineers and product designers, we create digital products that make people happy, and companies grow.

Could you please introduce yourself and what your role within In The Pocket is?

I’m co-founder and CEO of In The Pocket. After studying philosophy and spending some years in the entertainment industry, I decided to pursue my passion for digital and found In The Pocket, together with Louis Jonckheere and Pieterjan Bouten.

Jeroen Lemaire

Challenges before INTUO

How is your organization structured?

Teams are the cornerstones of our organization. We have multidisciplinary and autonomous teams that can carry a digital product from business goal to release.

What were you trying to achieve before INTUO?

We evolved our functional talks and a formal evaluation program to a continuous feedback culture.

What was the challenge of doing so?

Scaling feedback in the company, while keeping everyone in sync with the mission and values of the company turned out to be a “tough nut to crack.”

What were the consequences of not using a tool such as INTUO?

We stayed with the old program, and 1-to-1 feedback conversations were organized ad hoc, without being formally structured and monitored by the Talent-team.

Teams are In The Pocket's cornerstone.

INTUO's benefits

How does INTUO benefit the organization strategically?

It helps us to implement a continuous feedback cycle in all teams, through which our talent management gains agility, and our people get more control over their career.

In what way does INTUO stand out from its competitors?

INTUO gets the basics right and stays away from the complexity of many traditional tools, which makes a complex process simple and fun.

Building a company, or building a sense of purpose for employees?

Strategy & Solution

Building a company, or building a sense of purpose for employees?

More than ever, we hear questions and complaints like "why am I working" or "I don't feel happy working for my company." It is especially prominent among the millennials who hold on to the dreams of becoming something bigger than themselves. They do not want to work for a company that they do not have the sense of self in, that they have to drag themselves to every morning.
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More than ever, we hear questions and complaints like "why am I working" or "I don't feel happy working for my company." It is especially prominent among the millennials who hold on to the dreams of becoming something bigger than themselves. They do not want to work for a company that they do not have the sense of self in, that they have to drag themselves to every morning.

In the recently viral-going Harvard Commencement Speech 2017, Chairman and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg said these. And it gave so many of us a hit in a face with the dazzling word - purpose.

Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Purpose is what creates happiness.

Purpose is the reason why we exist, in society, in organizations, in the ever-fast-changing world we live in now.

So what exactly is the purpose that Millennials desire in the workplace?

  1. Something bigger and greater

  2. Millennials want to change the world for the greater. But the problem is, a lot of them have little to know about what their organizations are trying to accomplish and how they fit into the big picture. An employee should first be purpose-aware before he can be purpose-driven. Research has shown that employees tend to work harder, stay more engaged and make more responsible decisions when they understand their jobs' bigger purpose. Hence, companies should continuously create opportunities for the employees to discover purpose so that they can explore ways to start changing the world around them.

    "The challenge for our generation is to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose," said Mark Zuckerberg. Same applies to companies in this generation - to create an environment where every employee discovers, recognizes and pursues their purposes in the organization. Organizations that focus beyond profits and instill a culture of purpose are more likely to find long-term success.

    "The challenge for our generation is to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose."
  3. Going further, together

  4. Now that the employees are aware of their individual goals, it is important to align them with the company's vision. There is one crucial question that millennials always ask - how long do I see myself staying at this company?

    Facebook has the vision of empowering people, enabling sharing and connecting the world. Google has the vision to provide access to the world’s information in one click. Ambitious as these vision statements may sound, they give the employees a goal far more than what their individual jobs can achieve. It is exciting, isn't it?

    If working for an organization that enables the employees to achieve their personal goals, while at the same time immersing themselves in an environment that they can make an impact collectively with their coworkers, they are more likely to stay longer. The sense of self and satisfaction will keep propelling them forward. Retention will no longer be a concern for a lot of companies if they can ignite the desire in the employees to stay and achieve the long-term goals of their companies.

  5. Always growing

  6. T. Harv Eker, the author of the book 'Secrets of the Millionaire Mind' once said:

    If you are not growing, you are dying.

    Threatening it might sound, it is the hard truth in the working world today. Opportunity to learn and grow is rated as the most important factor that millennials look for when applying for a job.

    While the goal of growth is universal, the path to it is not always so. Managers should focus more on the individual strengths of their employees, and implement talent development plans that are tailored to different types of employees. Millennials want to challenge and be challenged; they want to learn as many new things as possible because life gets boring when it is all about the routine and the mundane. Therefore, creating opportunities outside of their job functions and always providing them with constructive feedback would keep them engaged and nurture their growth.

  7. hide

Millennials are undeniably the future of the companies; hence, employers can never neglect the impacts they are able to make within the organizations. Apart from the high proportion of the workforce they make up of, millennials are undoubtedly influential. Hence, employers have to embrace the fact and adapt to their needs, so that they can influence other co-workers when they are fueled by passion and purpose.

It is never about only using the employees to grow the company; it is also about tapping into the company's resources to grow the individuals. As much as they want to paint their future, they need the right macro-environment to grow in. They need not only the purpose they define for themselves, but also purpose greater than what they can imagine.

Build a future-proof company with, and for your employees!

Recently I was asked to give the closing keynote presentation for recruiters and HR managers at the biggest Graduation Fair in Belgium. The message I wanted to transmit to them was that "digital disruption will be overcome by companies with the best people, not the best technology". And that HR managers really need to realize that they hold a (mega) crucial role in the digital transformation of those -winning or losing- companies.

I was truly amazed by the great feedback, so I decided to share my vision with you. I'm looking forward to reading your opinion as well. So don't hold back and hit me up in the comments to discuss this topic more thoroughly!

The 5 E's every HR manager should know.

  1. Enlighten yourself

  2. Digital success, whether it's your entire digital transformation or 'just' setting up your social media governance starts with a wake up call. It's 2017: customer service agents are being replaced by chat bots, masons are becoming obsolete by the adoption of technology like SAM and Elon Musk just launched a company to link our brains with computers.

    It's time to wake up, right?

    Everybody in your company should feel this urgency. You need to create a shared by all belief that change is coming and a clear vision of how you see yourself within 5 years from now. As an HR-manager you should have a feeling of how (differently) Human Resources will look like in 2022.

    Once you know this to-be situation, you need to set up an actionable plan: your transformation strategy. I can only hope that your company has this already, or is working on it. In this case: take a look at it, translate it to your department and realize how big of an impact HR will have in the coming years.

    In short, enlighten yourself with the question: "How will we move forward from 2017 to 2022? And how will I, as an HR manager, contribute to this?"

  3. Engage everyone

  4. One of the key principals in digital transformation is to move from a "digital department", where an exclusive club of marketers has the privilege to play with Facebook to an integrated way of using technology to reach your business goals - and become a digital organization.

    Communication is super important to do so, according to me.

    That's why you should create a digital culture, where "drive", "ambition" & "challenges" are fundamental and print this on a paper leaflet. That's right: paper!

    It's proven: writing down an ambition gives you more chance to reach your goals and handing out your "digital manifesto" to all your colleagues makes you all speak the same language and fight for the same cause.But it does not stop there, internally. Be proud of what you are doing today. Show your actions, accomplishments, and failures to the outside world. Instead of walking the talk, we should talk the walk a bit more.

    Create a culture where everyone is feeling the heat in a positive way, where everyone speaks the same language and works to reach the same objectives. Engage every single soul, top-down and bottom-up, because like Peter Drucker once stated: Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

  5. Educate the company

  6. Companies lack digital expertise. There I said it.

    As an HR manager, it is your responsibility to educate yourself, upgrade your traditional colleagues and hire new digital natives.

    You need to know that "social recruiting" is more than blasting the same InMail via LinkedIn over and over again. When was the last time you've set up a content funnel to attract digital talent? ;-)

    Because you will need those new people, with "digital" running through their veins. And with digital, I don't mean 20-year-olds with an Instagram account. I mean the marketing automation queen of 41, that already transformed herself into the new era. It's not an age thing!

    At last, you'll need to transform your traditional colleagues (from all positions within the company). It's your opportunity to make sure that they stay relevant the coming years. That they can pivot into a new function when robotics take over their traditional job right now.

    You can help them by hosting "internal digital labs", where they can discover new things like Bitcoin or Artificial Intelligence, or by setting up "reverse mentoring", where traditionals and digitals teach each other new skills.

    Inspire, educate and activate your colleagues every day. And you'll see that magic will happen.

  7. Encourage trial & error

  8. And you should even take it up a notch. When activating your coworkers you should encourage them to try.

    In their own digital manifesto, Facebook says that "The quick shall inherit the Earth. Those who ship quickly, improve quickly."

    Install a mindset where people test, try and experiment fast and fail cheap. Not for the sake of it but to learn from it.

    Move from maximum validation to minimum viability. Because anybody can have your next "one billion dollar idea."

  9. Empower radically

  10. And that's why you should empower people who want to change the company for the better. Don't numb their enthusiasm but use their light to ignite a bonfire of "goesting" (wanting to do stuff) throughout your company.

    Remember Steven Sasson, the guy who invented the digital camera?

    He worked for Kodak at the time and was so kind to share his innovation with his bosses. They made him hide it, in fear of disruption.

    Instead of empowering Steven and driving radical disruption themselves, they've made a huge mistake and contain internal innovation - ultimately resulting in a fatal backlash.

    Look for the people who have entrepreneurial tendencies and give them a prominent role in your governance.

    AccorHotels even created a 'shadow comex' of 13 younger, digital natives to counter every decision being made by the 'traditional comex'. Just to make sure they don't miss out on opportunities and make the drivers of tomorrow feel empowered.

    If you don't create the thing that kills you, somebody else surely will. Or as Pierre Nanterme (CEO, Accenture) clearly says: "digital is the main reason half of the companies of the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000."

    Let this be your wake up call. If you were waiting for a sign, this is it ;-)

  11. test

HR as a key driver for Digital Transformation

Realizing all the above will be a challenge but following these guiding principles will create a thriving environment to overcome disruption within the coming five years.

To wrap things up, every HR manager should remember the following 5 E's:

  • Enlighten yourself
  • Engage everyone
  • Educate the company
  • Encourage trial & error
  • Empower your people

First published on Nick's LinkedIn profile!

Lead like a boss

Strategy & Solution

Lead like a boss

The business world is saturated with people walking around with fancy titles and labels. Often ‘boss’ and ‘leader’ are considered to be synonyms, yet a lot of blogposts out there scream the opposite. So are these words indeed interchangeable? Or is one of them always better than the other? 
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The business world is saturated with people walking around with fancy titles and labels. Often "boss" and "leader" are considered to be synonyms, yet a lot of blogposts out there scream otherwise. So are these words indeed interchangeable? Or is one of them always better than the other?

Let’s have a look at their official definitions, straight out of the dictionary.

Boss [Baws, Bos]: (noun) a person who makes decisions, exercises authority and dominates.

Leader [Lee-der]: (noun) a person who guides and directs.

The conclusion you can draw from their definitions, is that they are anything but similar, if not opposites. The only thing they have in common, is the fact that they are both nouns, (among 700.000 other words in the English language).

So what are the differences?

You can already hear it in the connotation of both words. Boss carries a more negative tone than Leader. When people think of a boss, they imagine someone in an overpriced suit, sitting in a master chair at his wooden desk in an office, separated from his workforce, who is feared by everyone. On the other hand, when envisioning a leader, you think of a person that is sharing his ideas with his team members in brainstorm sessions and who does a tour of the office on a daily basis to assess the wellbeing of all employees.

Cold hard tyrant vs helpful super(hero)visor?

But apart from these stereotypical mental pictures we’re carrying around, there are some genuine differences in what being a boss or being a leader entails.

When people look at a few of these differences, they draw rapid conclusions: 'A boss is the cold hard tyrant and a leader is the person everybody wants as a supervisor'. So, what is the message here? Don’t be a boss, be a leader?

Context, context and context

Unfortunately, it’s not that black and white. Being a leader isn’t always better than being a boss. A boss is easily seen as the evildoer by the people who are in direct contact with him. They experience a boss as authoritarian and relentless, while people on a distance might consider his behavior to be honest, effective and righteous. Bottomline is: it all comes down to context. Below are some very recognizable situations that highlight the importance of the circumstances of a situation.

Context 1: Decision making with a firm deadline

There is a strict deadline to rectify a big communication mistake with one of your biggest customers. If you don't respond to the troublesome situation before the end of the workday, you will not only lose that customer, but this customer could possibly spread the word about the bad experience they've encountered with you as a company.

I think you would agree that it would not be constructive to plan a team meeting and host a brainstorm session where everyone gets to bring up ideas. Right now, it’s time to act fast thus it’s up to the person in charge to make a decision, based on the information and knowledge there is at hand. Involving the whole team here to work out an action plan would mean losing too much time. Due to the high stakes and the time pressure, it's better that the person in charge cuts the cord and takes on a boss position.

Context 2: Moral damage control

Due to some errors in thorough follow-up, the sales team lost a big opportunity. The loss of this deal has a big impact, not just financially, but also morally.

You, as a sales manager in charge of the team were stunned by this news. Realistically, you have two options to cope with the situation at hand. The first option is to blame the members of your team, stamp around with an "I told you so"-attitude and take away responsibilities and maybe even bonuses of the whole team. When you look at this situation objectively, you could realize that this would have no positive effect on anything or anyone. So instead, you could organize a workshop with all the team to discuss new possible ways of approaching the sales cycle, so future mistakes can be avoided. Acting like a leader, where you join in on responsibility, is the right option here.

Context 3: The riddle called autonomy

You're a new manager at a company, responsible for a team of 15 people. As you've been reading up on the latest trends in the business world, you are aware of the importance of autonomy you give to your team members. As a leader, you decide you want to give that autonomy to your team members. In your first team meeting, you communicate the idea of autonomy and more precisely, the possibility for the team members to work remote. This announcement is welcomed by the team members with a standing ovation, yet the boss inside you adds an important condition. You stress the fact that this new privilege will only remain in place if the results are there and that this can only work if there is mutual trust in the team.

As a true leader, you gave autonomy to your team and you created an atmosphere of trust. At the same time as a boss, you remained strict and emphasized the importance of the results and the expected level of productivity.

Wrap up

The simple conclusion is that there will always be the notion of context. There is no superior version of a manager. Not as a boss, nor as leader. Depending on the situation, one of both will be more beneficial. It comes down to being decisive when it matters and adapting your behavior and attitude depending on the situation you’re in.

Autonomy vs Money in the battle for retention

Strategy & Solution

Autonomy vs Money in the battle for retention

Assuming this isn't your first read on employee motivation or rewarding, you might have a certain preassumption of how this article will go down. You expect to get some examples on the ineffectiveness of throwing money at people, then comes the pleading for a revolution in the world of work, only to conclude with a couple of actions to turn just about anyone into a self-regulating powerhouse. If only it were that straightforward in real life, right?
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Assuming this isn't your first read on employee motivation or rewarding, you might have a certain preassumption of how this article will go down. You expect to get some examples on the ineffectiveness of throwing money at people, then comes the pleading for a revolution in the world of work, only to conclude with a couple of actions to turn just about anyone into a self-regulating powerhouse. If only it were that straightforward in real life, right?

This article, however, is not an advertisement for more autonomy just because it's very trendy, nor a guideline on how it should be implemented. It is a comparison between two major incentives that could make or break the deal for both potential future employees as well as current ones. Money vs autonomy.

All in favor for hard earned cash

Let's take a look at the advantages of a reasonable earning:

  1. Living is expensive

    You make more guilt-free decisions and worry less if you don't have to take out your calculator before each purchase.
  2. Less envy when others succeed

    Seeing other people making progress while you are struggling to come by can be very frustrating.
  3. Money is mental/physical assurance and stability

    Having a bit of a reserve to deal with misfortune sounds logical to most but is a challenge for many.
  4. More resources for opportunities and possibilities

    Undertaking something in unknown territory isn't alway cheap, especially in the beginning. Even though the outcome may be very profitable.

Well well. Those advantages don't seem too shabby if you ask me. So why would a hard-working employee NOT be motivated by this?

The truth is of course, that a lot of employees ARE motivated by this. And rightly so. Fair compensation is still the gateway by choice for many to establish a comfortable and somewhat carefree life. In a world where the general buying power has decreased and where stress and burnouts reign supreme, reasonable wealth is most certainly welcome.

Even with a sufficient income, it is perfectly possible to be satisfied with work without much autonomy. Not every job or type of person requires the freedom and room for self-exploration.

Humans don't want freedom, just a fair master.

Purely mechanical jobs or roles with a lot of variation can be very appealing without an abundance of choice. The same goes for people who are somewhat frightened by the responsibility that comes with freedom. A comfortable environment, good colleagues, and a reasonable commute might be way more valuable to them.

When unhappiness can't be bribed off

Good employers know that decent work deserves an honest compensation. They want to keep their valuable workforce satisfied after all. But what if you start to feel that people are dropping off, despite their competitive salaries?

Now before we bring the autonomy factor into this, note that this could be the cause of any number of reasons. Because for most, before you can claim that paycheck at the end of each month, there are approximately 160 hours that need to be filled in first. During that time only a couple of things need to go wrong in order to experience some dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction that can eventually lead to an increase in turnover.

Take the issue of money off the table first.

It goes without saying that different causes need different fixes. Some will be obvious, some very subtle. If they appear unclear, calling in the help of a digital barometer can allow you to find out where and how you can improve certain areas. Whether it's about the physical demands, the recognition for their work, or the relationship with their coworkers... They can all influence the incentive to stay at a job.

So yes, money is important. Pay not enough and people won't even start to wonder how they can improve things for themselves. They'll want more cash or they'll find it elsewhere. That's just reality.
Though if people feel they do get paid enough, but still have the tendency to be unsatisfied or to leave, then throwing more money at that problem will very rarely fix it. That's when it's time to look to the next level. What about their other needs? And in this case, what about their freedom?

Autonomy as a game changer

As said before, allowing more autonomy certainly isn't the only area to invest in if you want to increase the working experience. But it is one of the biggest game changers because it can be used as a very effective incentive to attract and retain your highly valued employees.

The advantages of more autonomy
  1. Employees have more control over their own destiny

    more commitment and engagement ("perception" of choice)
  2. Energy management (vs time management)

    Sometimes you're not feeling it, and other times you're practically a freight train. Exploit the latter by optimizing your own working routine.
  3. Experiencing a lot less stress

    There's a strong decrease in stressors we can't control, which are more harmful in comparison to those we can manage.
  4. More room for opportunities and possibilities

    What's the use of coming up with bright ideas when you're missing the time and freedom to explore them?
  5. A more purpose-driven approach to work

    The sense of responsibility makes a person think more about the WHY of the job, which engages him/her even more. More on this gem later!

Try to propose one or more of these as possibilities to your employees in a "how would you feel if you..." kind of manner. If you're noticing a sudden peak in attention and dialogue, chances are high they would really thrive with a little more autonomy. They might feel they'd be more productive in the comfort of their own home sometimes or come up with new processes to update existing ones, maybe start a project on the side to create new opportunities... Some employers are even experimenting with close to total freedom. Whatever change your employees feel would be a benefit to their work(-life balance) or the company, it's up to you as a manager to create the opportunity for them to alter their current working experience for the better.

You will need structure though

Autonomy has a lot to do with freedom, but there most definitely is a need for structure and a certain degree of follow-up to ensure that everything is still moving forward. Employees still have to reach their individual objectives and results. The same goes for team and company goals.
Schedule frequent check-ins with your team members. They are a perfect way to make sure that the operational changes still benefit everyone involved.

When autonomy really shines

Both money and autonomy are very much aimed at being beneficial for the employee. But where autonomy as an incentive truly takes the cake, is on the advantages for the employer. Because, unlike during the olden days, the loyalty that he or she expects in return can no longer be bought. That privilege is almost completely in autonomy's camp now, as it is the kindling that ignites the true fire that keeps your organization lit, namely purpose.

The power of having a purpose

For a long time, employers have had the habit of imposing not only the WHAT but also the HOW of the job on their employees. But people starting to ask themselves more and more, "Why?" A question that hasn't gone unnoticed by countless of organizations the last couple of years.

More than ever before, people are looking for meaning in what they do.

And while this "revolution" might have started with the increasing amount of millennials on the workforce, it is not a trend specifically tailored to their generation. Sure, Millennials may have experienced it faster and accepted it sooner as the new "normal", but it is something that definitely speaks to all kinds of age groups.

Autonomy's role in this is two-fold. Allow more freedom in HOW people are going about their job, and they'll start to wonder about the WHY. Once they have a grasp of why their contribution is important, it is up to the employer to really fuel that feeling by acknowledging their impact. This will ultimately spur the employee engagement that so many companies are looking for, making autonomy a real game-changer.

Employers, behold your main takeaways!

By now it should be pretty clear that a combination of the two will most likely be the recipe for success. In what amount either have to be added to the mixture depends entirely on the nature of the organization, the kind of person you're dealing with and the role they have within the company.

Money + Autonomy = Perfect Job?


  1. Don't underpay your hard-working employees. Putting together a great team is hard enough as is. Take the issue of money off the table first if you can. 
  2. The window in which money is effective as a motivator or incentive keeps getting narrower. Spending more on wages while retention keeps dropping is something you want to avoid at all costs. (pun intended)
  3. Unlike a few decades ago, people now have the option to think about the purpose, the WHY, of their job and it influences the way they define the best way to do the WHAT and the HOW. Be open for feedback on that part and explore ways to allow more autonomy for your current workforce. If done well, the engagement in return will not only increase retention but also productivity.
  4. Attract new talent by making clear that they'll not only have competitive wages but also a real choice in how they can fill in their role and reach their goals.
  5. Autonomy is only one of many aspects that can drive performance and job satisfaction, but it is a very significant one. It's important to keep communicating back and forward and evaluate the change in performance level so other opportunities to improve the working experience can be explored.
  6. If your actions are applied to the right people in the right way, you can expect an increase in job satisfaction, higher employee engagement, and a lower turnover rate.

Say hello to our new little logo!

INTUO

Say hello to our new little logo!

Maybe you caught our "big launch" live on Facebook, or have noticed that our email signatures are a bit different, but INTUO is sporting a slightly different outfit as of recently. R.I.P. blue booklet, you served us well. Welcome new logo, we promise you a bright and ambitious future!
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Maybe you caught our "big launch" live on Facebook, or have noticed that our email signatures are a bit different, but INTUO is sporting a slightly different outfit as of recently. R.I.P. blue booklet, you served us well. Welcome new logo, we promise you a bright and ambitious future!

Ch-ch-ch-chaaangeees

Why the need for change? Simple, the old logo just didn't represent our vision and mission well enough anymore. In a relatively short amount of time, INTUO has evolved from "just" a high-end Learning Management Platform to a full-fledged Talent Management Platform. A platform (and company) which is still very committed to facilitating onboarding and distributing knowledge, for sure.

But our purpose has grown bigger, better, and bolder. For a while now, we have been dedicating the most of our waking hours to facilitating the implementation of a more future-proof and employee-centric mindset in organizations.

So while our little "book" icon did still embody our belief in proper education and knowledge-sharing, it just didn't cover all the bases any longer.

From old to new

The old logo just didn't cover all the bases anymore.

Nice things take time

Comparable to the process of introducing a new mindset in a company, the design of a new logo doesn't happen overnight. It takes time, good communication, experimentation, and the commitment to accomplish exactly what you set out to do.

Fortunately, our designer, Jeroen van Eerden, couldn't agree more on that one.

Take one glance at his Behance showcase on our logo, and you'll notice right away that we had a bunch of iterations to decide on (these aren't even all of them). Some we liked at first but grew indifferent to as time went on. Others weren't quite what we were looking for, but with a small adjustment, they became contenders again.

Quite the batch of iterations

In the end, we were able to nail the design together. It was a perfect blend of us thoroughly communicating what we were after, and Jeroen knowing how to translate our feedback into action.

Core values through graphic design?

There's a good reason why a lot of companies invest a considerable amount of time and resources in the creation of their branding. A great logo should be a visual and sentimental representation of your core values and mission. The colors, the typography, the flow of curves or the degree of the angles... It's a very subtle way to express the identity of your company and its people.

Let's go over a couple of key "features" of the new INTUO logo

  1. Blue

    The one thing we have kept intact is the use of the color blue. Blue is the color of trust, loyalty, and stability amongst others. Needless to say that is what we are striving for when we help out companies with our platform and guidance. Trust-based relationships, more company loyalty, and stability through agility.
  2. Round and fluent shape

    Smooth transitions and increased flexibility are what we facilitate for companies, so no rigid forms or crazy angles for us. We also wanted to let the icon feel very much like a button. The sort of button that lets you empower yourself and take control of your own growth path. You have the tools; it's up to you to click that button and take ownership of what you and your company are trying to accomplish...
  3. The text bubble

    ... But to reach those goals you will need some support, and be supportive to others. The best way to improve yourself, and your team, is by asking and giving feedback regularly. It's one of the things we are very adamant about. So to have our logo represent conversation and interaction was a must.
  4. The smile

    This was the final, yet crucial part of the logo. Whatever you need to express, or take in, always be set on a positive outcome. In the end, everyone wants to be truly happy at their job, so you might as well act on it and channel your energy into improving your work environment.

Employer branding

As with a tasty dinner, I'm saving the most important bit for last: The people behind the logo. Few things are more valuable to a company than the loyalty and engagement of their employees. At least, that's the way it ought to be if you want to be competitive in the long run. You want your people to fly your colors with pride, almost as if your company is their favorite soccer team.

Can a neat new logo achieve this? Well, a graphic can only do so much on its own. The rest has to be filled in by your company culture. Sure, you can use the power of marketing to lift your "street-cred" by launching fancy campaigns and whatnot. But in all honesty, if you don't have a company that people actually like working for, sooner or later, your logo will be nothing but a front.

Reservoir INTUO

Reservoir INTUO

So what are the main takeaways here?

  1. First and foremost, treat your people the right way, so they can truly be proud of everything that represents your company.
  2. Secondly, we have a new logo 🤓
Calculate the ROI of a talent management tool

Strategy & Solution

Calculate the ROI of a talent management tool

Creating and sustaining a thriving company culture with the aid of a performance management tool is very trending. But it’s hard to know what you're actually getting out of it. Capturing feedback, detailed performance reporting, aligning individuals and their teams... All are pretty effective, but at what cost? What’s in it for you in terms of concrete numbers? In other words, what’s the ROI (Return On Investment) of your performance management tool?
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Creating and sustaining a thriving company culture with the aid of a performance management tool is very trending. But it’s hard to know what you're actually getting out of it. Capturing feedback, detailed performance reporting, aligning individuals and their teams... All are pretty effective, but at what cost? What’s in it for you in terms of concrete numbers? In other words, what’s the ROI (Return On Investment) of your performance management tool?


Calculate the potential ROI of your own company with our Excel sheet

One of the leading indicators of organizational development and sustainability is the value of the human capital of that company. Plentiful studies have examined the effectiveness of systems and tools when it comes to managing the performance of employees. Gallup has conducted a thorough analysis of several companies that all installed some kind of performance tool or wellness program for their employees.

The ROI calculator explained

Let’s look into an example, shall we?

Let's assume that Company X has 150 employees and generates a yearly revenue of € 14 million. The organization has a pretty healthy a profit margin of 16%, so they generate a yearly profit of € 2.24 million. Thus far the numbers everyone likes.
On average, the cost of absenteeism per day for one employee is around €200 (based on a monthly wage of € 2.300). Let's say that an employee is absent for about six days a year (a modest average). Based on a 230-day work year, and their workforce of 150, the number of absenteeism days per year for Company X mounts up to 900. 900 x € 200 = € 180.000, aka plenty. To paint a more complete picture, we also factor in the standard turnover rate for organizations in Europe, which is averaging at 10%, and add a retention and recruitment cost estimate of € 40.000. A cost that is pretty variable depending on the company, though very real for every company.

So Company X decides to do something about this "lost money" and turns to INTUO's Talent Management Platform for help in this matter. The price of our suite comes down to € 12 per user, per month. If you do the math, you'll total yearly cost of € 21.600. The only cost that is added to this is a one-time onboarding fee of € 4.000. This onboarding track is recommended to guarantee a good adoption of the tool throughout the company.

So how on earth is Company X going to decrease the loss of € 220.000 (+ the turnover costs) with adding another cost of € 25.600, in the form of a performance management tool?


Where the "magic" happens

After implementing any performance tool, a lot changes in this cost framework over the years. The initial year will revolve around the full rollout of the tool. The better the onboarding, faster the new mindset can spread throughout the organization. The second and third year, the culture changes will start to settle in and new habits (revolved around the use of the tool) find their ways into the employees' lives. The benefits and value slowly start to boil up in those initial years and reach their ultimate peak in year four.

The results of the Gallup study speak for themselves. Four years after implementing the program or tool, the median differences between business/work units from the top and bottom-quartile on employee engagement:

  • 41% decrease in absenteeism
  • 21% increase in profit
  • 24% decrease in turnover


  1. Reducing absenteeism

    The reasons for absenteeism can be any number of things; a personal situation at home, performance issue in the workplace or an unhealthy work environment or culture. An engagement platform like INTUO uses non-intrusive ways to monitor these issues and provides information when certain employees get to a worrying state of wellbeing. Having access to this kind of information, team leaders can take measures to avoid certain cases and can result in an overall 41% decrease in absenteeism, according to Gallup. Needless to say, this decrease will translate into a cut of the costs as well. Going back to our example: € 73.800 worth of savings for Company X, in year four.

  2. Productivity through optimization

    To make gains in terms of employee productivity, INTUO provides a set of tools to optimize both individual and team performance. Facilitating coaching with frequent check-ins and improving workflows through feedback are but a couple of things that stimulate productivity. You're never 100% sure that a new employee will thrive in the position he or she starts at. But gradually finding out will eventually put them in the perfect position to unleash hell (in a good way). A natural consequence of streamlining all of these processes is a profit increase for the business in general. For company X in year 4, this equals a profit increase of €470.400.

  3. Turnover decrease

    The best way to improve retention is to increase the engagement and job satisfaction of your employees. Continuous measuring of their "fit" with the company and its values is the perfect way to anticipate when people are likely to leave a company. The data gathered from the monitoring can help managers to act in advance, preventing high turnover costs. When we look at Company X, they are estimated to save up to € 120.000 in turnover costs after four years of using INTUO.

Does it take a bit of effort to implement a new mindset? Certainly. People need time to get accustomed to a more open environment, learn how to give proper feedback, think autonomously about personal improvements... But as you can see, it does pay dividends big time after a while. Company X has invested a total of € 91.300 into INTUO, but in four years they saved a total of € 642.600.
An INTUO implementation also comes with a couple of "side effects" that may increase that number even further. By focusing on an attractive company culture, there's a very real chance you'll attract high potential talent. Or partnerships might sprout thanks to your progressive and future proof way of doing things.

Calculate the ROI for your company!

Intrigued? Curious to find out how much money INTUO can save your company? Hit the button below and receive a straightforward calculator in your mailbox. Fill in your numbers in the Excel sheet, see the effects and don't hesitate to ask me for further explanation or advice!

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