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 co-workers, 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.

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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 company with, and for the future of your company!

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 ;-)

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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.

INTUO is an online talent management platform that supports leaders (and bosses) in the management of their teams. Are you interested in unlocking the ideal manager in yourself or others with the right resources for support? Get in touch!

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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.
The 9 INTUO engagement drivers!

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The 9 INTUO engagement drivers!

When you're going into a job interview, one of the questions they always ask is the following: 'Why do you want to work at our company?'. Legit question of course, it challenges your interest and engagement in and with that company. But then once you're hired, do you ever ask yourself that same question again?
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When you're going into a job interview, one of the questions they always ask is the following: 'Why do you want to work at our company?'. A legit question of course; it challenges your interest and engagement in and with that company. But then once you're hired, do you ever ask yourself that same question again?

Basically every company has its own system in place to get a view on employees' engagement levels, be it in the form of a huge annual survey or via the INTUO way, by means of small, frequent engagement pulses. With INTUO, we focus on a number of drivers that map out the engagement levels within your company. Below you can find those nine engagement drivers with relevant actions you can undertake as a team, but also as a whole company!

Overview

Ambassadorship
Recognition
Personal Growth
Satisfaction
Relationship with Colleagues
Relationship with Managers
Wellness
Happiness
Company Knowledge


Ambassadorship

Ambassadorship shows how proud an employee is that he/she can work for the company. As an employee, you appreciate what the company stands for and you even tell about the core values of the company in your spare time to friends.

Actions on a company level

  • Assign ambassadors (actually give them that title) and let them share stories internally (via newsletter, slack channel, …). Be sure to give them actual responsibility: be it writing some blogs, actively recruit at events or upselling your services to the customer.
  • Do something in co-creation with the employees. Ask them for their input on how you could succeed in your company mission. It’s good for innovation, and it’s good for pride.
  • Create a community!

Actions on a team level

  • Create transparency on how your team efforts are contributing to the company’s purpose & goals. Answer the why question for your team members.
  • Organize a feedback session where people can come up with ideas to help your team & company’s mission. Co-creation is key if you want people to be proud.

Recognition

Recognition is the communication between employees/managers who reward each other for reaching specific goals or gaining high-quality results in the workplace. Recognizing or honoring employees for this level of service is meant to encourage repeat actions.

Actions on a company level

  • Have a performance management process that coaches instead of evaluates. Multiple moments per year to discuss a team member’s effectiveness and motivation can do wonders for your culture. That moment should have the perspective of helping, not judging.
  • In general, you should think about all of your structures, systems, and people and wonder who/what is going to be helping your strategy and who/what will be blocking. Act accordingly by training people, changing structures and updating systems or processes that cannot live up to your future vision.
  • Remove all barriers to give recognition. Implement a feedback tool, create awareness around being positive towards colleagues, have workshops with specialized partners that can teach your teams how to give recognition.

Actions on a team level

  • Give your team members the freedom to own their own projects. It is empowering to feel a sense of pride when they do good work and take personal ownership of results.
  • Start building habits that revolve around saying thank you. Do a Friday evening thank you round with the team, write cards to thank people in the organization (on their birthday for example), have a fun game of ‘high fives’ on your next Christmas party and urge people to do random acts of kindness (without expecting anything in return).

Personal Growth

Personal development at the workplace includes developing talents and potential, building human capital, lifelong learning, ... All to improve the quality of (working)life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations of an employee.

Actions on a company level

  • Provide people with sufficient career perspective. This doesn’t mean creating the typical junior-senior-manager-director career ladder. It can be done differently as well.
  • Record people’s wishes to follow specific training and follow-up! Provide enough in-company training, but ask them to suggest something and then see what’s in demand and how you could get that knowledge inside your company. There are even ways for employees to put part of their paycheck in extra education (through for example dOnus).
  • Create knowledge/expertise groups that get together regularly and share knowledge to each other. It could even be as simple as having a sort of book club where someone does a presentation of some business book. Go wild with this one.

Actions on a team level

  • Before dividing new work or projects to people intuitively, actually, take the time to match people’s talents with the right tasks/responsibilities. Or even better, involve them when assigning new projects or work.
  • Give them a chance to build a network outside of the company. They will come back with new ideas, new skills, and new contacts to contribute more to the success of the company they work for.
  • Keep track of how people in your team want to grow. And don’t think you know, ask!

Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction or job satisfaction is how content or satisfied employees are with their current function and with the company.

Actions on a company level

  • Ease commuting stress by allowing remote work. Provide people with the right tools for remote work such as Slack and Trello.
  • Be fair to everyone! Be transparent about rewarding and compensation. Don’t work with forced rankings. People easily get the feeling of being treated unfairly. Don’t go around with a hidden bag of treasures for your high potentials only. People will pick that up really quickly.
  • Flexible work hours. Don’t require people to be in the office at 9 if they have no customer-facing responsibility at that point in time. Be sure that there’s enough trust in your organization before you go there.

Actions on a team level

  • Ask about working conditions and provide a line of communication for your team members to HR or whoever is in charge of formal working conditions.
  • Try getting to a level of trust where you don’t have to check up on the employee every 10 minutes when they work remotely. Start by trusting them a little more (give them the benefit of the doubt) and remove privileges when the trust was broken. Increasing trust is something that works in both ways, but one person has to start.

Relationship with colleagues

A positive relationship with colleagues increases performance. How do colleagues come along? Are they friends? They appreciate each other and work well together? Can’t they stand each other?

Actions on a company level

  • Focus on similarities instead of differences. Talk about what differentiates you as a group from the rest of the world. Actively look for sameness inside of the company. Try building some fun around that.
  • Work on building a community (see ambassadorship).
  • Introduce gratitude into your company (see recognition).

Actions on a team level

  • One of the best ways to build positive relationships is to make time to learn about people. The next time you are in a meeting, start with small talk. It might not seem like much, but it can actually help lighten up the tone and help you discover things that you have in common with your office mates.
  • Get people so far that they’re comfortable being honest with you by asking regular feedback. That way you’ll eventually get to know yourself by being confronted with positive and negative things. That will make you more effective at your job and more pleasant to work with.
  • Appreciate diversity. It is important to remember that everyone is different. Each person that you work with brings a different attribute to your workplace.

Relationship With Managers

Evaluate the relationship that employees have with their managers. How concerned is a manager with an employee? How does your manager behave towards you? A positive relationship with managers leads to better performance.

Actions on a company level

  • Improve their maturity by buying some good training. Are they, on average, the command-&-control type then work on their ability to ask and give feedback or to coach effectively. They have to learn how to show some vulnerability towards team members. But don’t call it that, because that will scare every single one of them.
  • Have a 360-review where employees get to comment on their manager’s ability anonymously. Don’t just do it once, but do it regularly. That input should, in turn, be used to coach the manager, not to evaluate them.

Actions on a team level

  • Look being a great manager actually boils down to gratitude (say thank you), curiosity (listen) and show real confidence (don’t be scared to ask feedback).
  • If you want, you can start with the basics. Get to know your team outside of work by going for lunch/dinner or even just drinks. Or step it up a little more by going off-site for fun activities.

Wellness

Wellness is generally used to mean a healthy balance of the mind, body, and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being. Well-being can be defined as the condition of an individual or group, for example, their social, economic, psychological, spiritual or medical state.

Actions on a company level

  • Organize company sport-activities: Make a walk or run during lunch, enroll for a sports event nearby, ping-pong tournaments, …
  • Buy an activity tracker and keep a company leaderboard.
  • Encourage people to move (standing desks, signs to encourage taking the stairs, …)

Actions on a team level

  • When having a 1-on-1, do this during a walk.
  • Encourage your people to walk 5 minutes after an hour.

Happiness

Happiness is a state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions going from contentment to intense joy. Happiness leads to a positive work environment that provides motivation and wellness of individuals.

Actions on a company level

  • It’s simpler than you think: Introduce gratitude into your culture. Gratitude and being thankful are the most powerful weapon in generating happiness, fostering creativity and reducing stress.

Actions on a team level

  • Create a team (not just a group of people) and foster good relationships between colleagues. Harvard has proven (multiple times) that having good relationships and a sense of belonging are the most important drivers for happiness.
  • Start showing more gratitude towards team members. Show them appreciation often, not just once a year on the performance review.
  • Have weekly meetings to discuss good news. Most meetings go over what's missing or bad events – switch it up by holding meetings to share the positive news.

Company Knowledge

Company Involvement refers to the impact that an employee feels he/she has on the company's mission, vision, values, strategy, and goals.

Actions on a company level

  • Storytelling is a very effective way (call it a ‘quick win’) to get more knowledge about your company and departments into other people’s heads. Preferably you create simple videos/photo-stories that walk others through a day in the life of an employee. Let the employees write/record it themselves.
  • Often when we ask a company’s management team if they can state the company’s vision/mission/values, they come up with a wide variety of answers. So the first thing you should do is make sure they are simple and agreed upon by everyone. Then, as a next step, make them easily accessible by repeating them as often as possible.
  • Create transparency on everyone’s (and every team’s) responsibilities. So people know what others are doing. Preferably you force people to get together during informal moments, even though they are not in the same department.

Actions on a team level

  • Work on creating a team. Even if your team is working remotely, be sure that they feel like they belong to a team first and to the company second.
  • Make sure you know the purpose/mission/vision/values of your company. And make sure you fully understand (and agree perhaps).
  • Do a session on how your team could do out-of-the-box extras for the company purpose.

Now what are you waiting for? Our engagement module is incredibly user-friendly and is set up in a jiffy. Give it a try so you can put these action points to practice!

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!

Happy to be working, or working to be happy?

INTUO

Happy to be working, or working to be happy?

Although this question seems pretty straightforward, the answer might be crucial to a company’s success as well as an individual’s happiness. Today, more than ever, those two go hand in hand. Are you happy to be working nine-to-five in order to sustain happiness during your five-to-nine, or are you working to be happy during your nine-to-five and five-to-nine?
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Although this question seems pretty straightforward, the answer might be crucial to a company’s success as well as an individual’s happiness. Today, more than ever, those two go hand in hand. Are you happy to be working nine-to-five in order to sustain happiness during your five-to-nine, or are you working to be happy during your nine-to-five and five-to-nine?

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mr. Millennial, but you can call me Siemon. Graduated Law major, former project manager at an animation studio and current business developer at INTUO. So uhh yeah… Law school equals lawyer, you'd think? Not so much. This might have raised an eyebrow or two, depending on who’s reading this. But it’s the direct result of my answer to the question at hand: Am I happy to just be working, or do I want to be working to be happy?

Changing of the guard

I was raised by a generation that was eager to start their career at a company with hopes of finishing there as well. It offered them security about where they were headed and how to get there. The fact that they had a job made them happy, but actually doing the job did not. What exactly that job was, didn’t really factor into it all that much. This soon-to-retire Baby Boomer generation was mostly happy to be working.

If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. As cheesy as it may sound, its core idea is pretty spot on for me. By agreeing to the trade-off that your work is something you have to do in order to be happy when you aren’t working, you’re actually selling yourself short. Settling for a job isn’t helping you nor your employer. Indulge me on this thought experiment:

Let’s say the average person works around 45 years in a lifetime. Working nine-to-five, factoring in traffic and some work related issues arising in your five-to-nine you’ll probably be dedicating around 12 hours a day to your work. For the sake of this exercise, I’m using a five-day work week. So those 12 hours include some work time during your weekend. You’ll probably take some well-deserved vacation so let’s say you’re working eleven months in a year.

12 hours x 5 days x 48 weeks x 45 years = 129.600 hours = 5400 days = 14,8 years

Let it sink in for a bit. If you’re doing a job that isn’t making you happy, then by default it’s making you either unhappy or indifferent. I’m not sure which is worse. Are you really okay making the conscious decision to be unhappy for close to 15 years?

Are you loving your job?

I wasn’t going to allow myself to be unhappy and made the decision to find a job that would allow me to be happy. Career paths are no longer set in stone, and millennials are looking for opportunities where they can do something they love. Their career will be one of choice, rather than desperation. They need more than a job that solely offers a financial incentive. Personal growth, making an impact, feeling respected and appreciated have risen to the top of their wish list. They need a job that checks all those boxes.

Various studies show that this Millennial generation will form 50% of the global workforce by 2020, and CEO's are realizing that attracting and keeping younger workers is probably their biggest challenge. Being aware of this, and actually offering a workplace fit for these high-demanding young potentials are two completely different things. Talent management has long operated in a very rigid structure. Fixed career paths, annual reviews, top-down feedback that are actually instructions in disguise… It’s a whole new world of working, and change won’t happen overnight.

The proof is in the pudding...

Two-way feedback, re-aligning personal and company objectives, continuous coaching and lots more are being demanded and it’s adapt or die for most companies. INTUO’s platform can facilitate that change towards a talent management fit for today’s workforce by streamlining this process in an easy-to-use online tool. A tool that is by no means a quick fix and requires a change in company mindset. To put it briefly, companies are currently in situation A and need to evolve to situation B. We’ve created a vehicle that can help them to get there, but they have to be willing to drive this vehicle in order to get to B as fast and easy as possible.

During my short stay at INTUO so far, I can tell you that they practice what they preach. I’ve received numerous one-on-one coachings, felt respected and appreciated and really feel this environment allows me to be myself and grow into the best version of Mr. Millennial I can be.

I’m working to be happy, are you?

Feedback Templates | Release Note

Product Features

Feedback Templates | Release Note

Sometimes it's hard to come up with the right words when you want to give feedback to someone. A nudge in the right direction is usually all you need, so let us take care of that nudge for you! By introducing Feedback Templates, managers can lead by example by preparing pre-written feedback to adjust to your liking or draw inspiration from.
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Sometimes it's hard to come up with the right words when you want to give feedback to someone. A nudge in the right direction is usually all you need, so let us take care of that nudge for you! By introducing Feedback Templates, managers can lead by example by preparing pre-written feedback to adjust to your liking or draw inspiration from. Use different templates for different situations and your feedback skills will be on point in no time!

Transcript

Florence:

I think a lot of you will agree with me if I say that it’s hard sometimes to come up with the right words when you want to give feedback to someone.

You want to be both specific and thorough. This way, your colleague will have an easier time avoiding mistakes or misunderstandings in the future.

But you don’t want to hurt someone's feelings by accident, so you’ll want to pick your words carefully as well.

As a result, pointing someone in the right direction is not always that simple.

We are fully aware of this, and to help you out, we’ve created Feedback Templates.

Feedback templates are pre-written feedback examples which you can draw inspiration from when you’re helping someone to get better.

As an admin you can make as many templates as you want.

You can create one to use after someone's first sales meeting, or after a project delivery, or just an overall suggestion that certain things need some more work…

...like my ping pong skills

After a while, you’ll get the hang of it and won’t need them as much anymore. That is the goal of the templates.

And who knows, maybe your own feedback-style might become so good, that your managers decide to turn it into a template for other to use.

Thank you for taking the time to watch this INTUO Release Note.

If you have any questions or remarks, please get in touch through the chat intercom on our website, or by email or telephone. Bye!

A great deal has been written in recent years about the perils of automation. With predicted mass unemployment, declining wages, and increasing inequality, clearly we should all be afraid.

By now it’s no longer just the Silicon Valley trend watchers and technoprophets who are apprehensive. In a study that has already racked up several hundred citations, scholars at Oxford University have estimated that no less than 47% of all American jobs and 54% of those in Europe are at a high risk of being usurped by machines. And not in a hundred years or so, but in the next 20. “The only real difference between enthusiasts and skeptics is a time frame,” notes a New York University professor. “But a century from now, nobody will much care about how long it took, only what happened next.”

I admit, we’ve heard it all before. Employees have been worrying about the rising tide of automation for 200 years now, and for 200 years employers have been assuring them that new jobs will naturally materialize to take their place. After all, if you look at the year 1800, some 74% of all Americans were farmers, whereas by 1900 this figure was down to 31%, and by 2000 to a mere 3%. Yet this hasn’t led to mass unemployment. In 1930, the famous economist John Maynard Keynes was predicting that we’d all be working just 15-hour weeks by the year 2030. Yet, since the 1980s, work has only been taking up more of our time, bringing waves of burnouts and stress in its wake.

Meanwhile, the crux of the issue isn’t even being discussed. The real question we should be asking ourselves is: what actually constitutes “work” in this day and age?

What is "work" anyway?

In a 2013 survey of 12,000 professionals by the Harvard Business Review, half said they felt their job had no “meaning and significance,” and an equal number were unable to relate to their company’s mission, while another poll among 230,000 employees in 142 countries showed that only 13% of workers actually like their job. A recent poll among Brits revealed that as many as 37% think they have a job that is utterly useless.

They have, what anthropologist David Graeber refers to as, “bullshit jobs”. On paper, these jobs sound fantastic. And yet there are scores of successful professionals with imposing LinkedIn profiles and impressive salaries who nevertheless go home every evening grumbling that their work serves no purpose.

Let’s get one thing clear though: I’m not talking about the sanitation workers, the teachers, and the nurses of the world. If these people were to go on strike, we'd have an instant state of emergency on our hands. No, I’m talking about the growing armies of consultants, bankers, tax advisors, managers, and others who earn their money in strategic trans-sector peer-to-peer meetings to brainstorm the value-add on co-creation in the network society. Or something to that effect.

So, will there still be enough jobs for everyone a few decades from now? Anybody who fears mass unemployment underestimates capitalism’s extraordinary ability to generate new bullshit jobs. If we want to really reap the rewards of the huge technological advances made in recent decades (and of the advancing robots), then we need to radically rethink our definition of “work.”

The paradox of progress

It starts with an age-old question: what is the meaning of life? Most people would say the meaning of life is to make the world a little more beautiful, or nicer, or more interesting. But how? These days, our main answer to that is: through work.

Our definition of work, however, is incredibly narrow. Only the work that generates money is allowed to count toward GDP. Little wonder, then, that we have organized education around feeding as many people as possible in bite-size flexible parcels into the employment establishment. Yet what happens when a growing proportion of people deemed successful by the measure of our knowledge economy say their work is pointless?

That’s one of the biggest taboos of our times. Our whole system of finding meaning could dissolve like a puff of smoke.

The irony is that technological progress is only exacerbating this crisis. Historically, society has been able to afford more bullshit jobs precisely because our robots kept getting better. As our farms and factories grew more efficient, they accounted for a shrinking share of our economy. And the more productive agriculture and manufacturing became, the fewer people they employed. Call it the paradox of progress: the richer we become, the more room we have to waste our time. It’s like Brad Pitt says in Fight Club: too often, we’re “working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”

The time has come to stop sidestepping the debate and home in on the real issue: what would our economy look like if we were to radically redefine the meaning of “work”? I firmly believe that a universal basic income is the most effective answer to the dilemma of advancing robotization. Not because robots will take over all the purposeful jobs, but because a basic income would give everybody the chance to do work that is meaningful.

Order Rutgers "Utopia for Realists" now

Want to go more in-depth?
Consider buying Rutgers book "Utopia for Realists".

I believe in a future where the value of your work is not determined by the size of your paycheck, but by the amount of happiness you spread and the amount of meaning you give. I believe in a future where the point of education is not to prepare you for another useless job, but for a life well lived. I believe in a future where “jobs are for robots and life is for people.”

And if basic income sounds Utopian to you, then I’d like to remind you that every milestone of civilization – from the end of slavery to democracy to equal rights for men and women – was once a Utopian fantasy too. Or, as Oscar Wilde wrote long ago: “Progress is the realization of Utopias.”

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