Yes, your butt looks big in those jeans

Strategy & Solution

Yes, your butt looks big in those jeans

For those of you out there fortunate enough to have been in a committed relationship for a while, you’ve either had or asked your better half for some feedback. The rest of us have undoubtedly seen this situation unfold through friends or television shows. You’re good to go, all dressed up and suddenly there it is: “Honey, do these jeans make my butt look big?”
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For those of you out there fortunate enough to have been in a committed relationship for a while, you’ve either had or asked your better half for some feedback. The rest of us have undoubtedly seen this situation unfold through friends or television shows. You’re good to go, all dressed up and suddenly there it is: “Honey, do these jeans make my butt look big?”

What happens next is usually comparable to what happens when a waiter presents you your wine at a restaurant. They do their little wine dance and ask who’s going to evaluate this exquisite drink of the gods. I’ve happily taken part in this charade, put on my most grown-up looking face and tasted like there was no tomorrow to reply with what was set in stone before our little wine-tasting-tango: Yes, it’s the best wine in the universe.

When faced with this fashion evaluation, most men go into the same kind of autopilot, stick to protocol and preserve the potential for a good night. You can never be sure with women, or at least I can never be sure, but generally accepted answers in this scenario are: “No”, “No, you look beautiful” or “Of course not!”. I assume women are mostly fishing for a little compliment, and if you have the opportunity to make a woman a little bit happier you should jump at the chance to do so.

But, and it’s a big but, what if her butt did look bigger?

Ray Dalio is not most men. Despite mister Dalio’s (very) impressive resumé, I had never heard of him until my colleague Arne gave me a brief introduction to his out of the ordinary way of managing and perspective on how to run a successful business/life. Not your average run of the mill person to say the least. He’s the founder of one of the world’s largest investment firms (Bridgewater Associates), and has been named in numerous “most influential”-lists. He credits a large part of his success to his management policy, which lead me to write this piece.

Described by the man himself as “the secret sauce” to success, he uses radical transparency and radical truth to create an idea meritocracy. An idea is evaluated based on its merit, a merit that has to be earned and will be tested through rigorous discussion and disagreements. Independent thinkers are encouraged to disagree, and it’s this thoughtful disagreement that leads to the power of understanding. This allows for the best ideas to surface. Now, this all sounds good but how does this translate to the floor?

Bridgewater’s company culture is controversial: All meetings and conversations get recorded and can be reviewed internally by everyone. Employees are assessed during and after interactions, and group assessments of everyone are visible. People are given ratings and are analyzed using algorithms to learn the why and the how of people’s perspective. Individual strengths and weaknesses are identified and teams are put together based on the best possible collaboration. This kind of workplace harnesses the power of group decision-making, which only lets the best solutions and approaches prevail.

At a recent TED-talk we were pulled behind the curtain by Dalio, who shared an email he received from an employee after a meeting to showcase his radical transparency policy.

Director of portfolio strategy Jim Haskel doesn’t mince his words in this post-meeting email, but instead, he speaks his mind and doesn’t filter. Now, this email truly turns into something valuably because of what’s said after the feedback. The gray part focuses on improvement and possible ways to prevent this from happening again in the future and opens the door for a dialogue.

In an idea meritocracy, the best idea(s) is what matters. So how do they judge an idea’s merit? An internal feedback tool, called “the Dot Collector”, helps assess the workforce. Feedback is given based on certain attributes, and get a rating on a 1-10 scale. An algorithm behind this tool then collects the data around a person.

And this is where it really gets interesting. Decisions are not made through a simple majority. Depending on the matter at hand certain attributes are considered more important than others. For instance, a filter for “believability” is added. The tool allows to see which people have high scores on attributes such as high-level thinking or common sense, and points them out as the most-believable employees. Their opinions are weighted higher than others, and if the minority consists out of a lot of this kind of employees their answer can still win out.

Or in Dalio’s words:

This process allows us to make decisions not based on democracy, not based on autocracy but based on algorithms that take people’s believability into consideration.

At INTUO we encourage a feedback culture, as long as it’s constructive and focuses on personal development which as a result betters the company. Meaningful work and meaningful relationships, through radical truth and radical transparency sounds great and Bridgewater’s reaping the benefits as we speak. However, I’m not sure how I would feel in this kind of culture, and Dalio himself has admitted not everyone makes it through the initial 18 months, the time it takes to get used to this company culture.

On a 1-10 scale, with 1 being no transparency and 10 being full disclosure I’d rate Bridgewater a solid 9,99. Getting back to our main question, Dalio did mention that this policy pertains to the important stuff. In his words: “You don’t have to tell someone their baby is ugly, or that their bald spot is growing.” In my opinion, Dalio’s household would become jeans-free and a more flattering dress would be going on Ray’s date. Because isn’t that better in the long run?

Either way, it’s obvious that being a 1 on our scale isn’t helping anyone. That doesn’t mean we should all strive towards being a 10. No two companies are the same and I firmly believe each of them has a unique sweet spot. Identifying that sweet spot might require some help, and we’d love to help get you there.

Any ideas, pointers or feedback? Let’s try this whole radical transparency thing on for size, get in touch and don’t pull any punches!

(Oh, and it’s blatantly clear that when it comes to women I’m completely clueless and that they remain the world’s greatest mystery. Any assumptions that were made are just that, assumptions. Feel free to provide me with some new insights!)

Update!

The ROI of engaged VS non-engaged teams: A case study

Client Stories

The ROI of engaged VS non-engaged teams: A case study

Every two to four years Gallup conducts a research that pools multiple studies - aka “The Mother of All Research” ; ). This assessment confirmed the well-established connection between employee engagement and performance outcome*. We recently celebrated the one-year customer anniversary (“Intuoversary” - patent pending) with one of our clients. As a gift, they shared their analysis of their team engagement in comparison with team target effectiveness with us.
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Every two to four years Gallup conducts a research that pools multiple studies - aka “The Mother of All Research”. This assessment confirmed the well-established connection between employee engagement and performance outcome*. We recently celebrated the one-year customer anniversary (“Intuoversary” - patent pending) with one of our clients. As a gift, they shared their analysis of their team engagement in comparison with team target effectiveness with us.

The Use Case

Alright, let’s not keep you on the edge of your seat! Ready? Here we go:

Meet one of our many sweet customers - we’ll call them Company Awesome for the sake of this use case. Company Awesome is a digital agency, founded in 2013, with a turnover of €3.6 million, an annual employee growth rate of 219% and it currently employs 53 awesome (obviously!) individuals. Company Awesome consists out of 11 teams, of which 9 have clear billable targets. The engagement data (in the infographic below) of these 9 teams allows us to have a representative look into the impact of the team engagement levels on performance, and whether these teams manage to hit their targets.

The engagement levels of the teams of Company Awesome were established through INTUO’s engagement tool, in which the tool pulses 5 anonymous engagement questions to all employees.

The results

The infographic clearly indicates that all billables are on average 90% linked with employee engagement. One the one hand, when the team’s engagement is over 70%, it is likely to exceed its target by 4%. On the other hand, once the engagement levels drop under 70%, the risk of not hitting its targets increases. These results are no coincidence, and it was apparent to the management team of Company Awesome that focussing on increasing team engagement had to be an absolute priority.

The actions taken

Our engagement data did not only help them in analyzing their performance levels, but also allowed Company Awesome to assess the situation and make decisions based on low/high engagement levels. In the case of some of the low engaged teams, they were able to identify leadership as a main source of disengagement, and took relevant measures of coaching managers or even changing leadership.

How engagement can make or break your growth (or even a company)

Before you start thinking “Oh well, I’m in carpenting. I am no digital agency”. The effects of engagement are not industry-biased. It is found that the strong correlations between engagement and performance are highly consistent across different organizations from diverse industries and regions of the world.

As aforementioned, Gallup found that - besides hitting targets - there are a total of nine performance outcomes that are affected by good or bad employee engagement levels.

  • Customer ratings
  • Profitability
  • Productivity
  • Turnover (for high turnover and low turnover organizations)
  • Safety Incidents
  • Shrinkage (theft)
  • Absenteeism
  • Patient safety incidents
  • Quality (defects)

The disparity between the top and bottom quartile in employee engagement is fascinating, as top outperform bottom quartile work units with 22% in profitability, and 10% on customer ratings. The top quartile work units have lower safety incidents (48%), quality defects (41%), absenteeism (37%) and employee turnover.

I believe the research and our case study speak for itself. Employee engagement has a great impact on any business, in any industry - ignoring it is no longer an option in these rapidly changing markets. Measuring team engagement, and taking the appropriate actions are crucial steps in growing any company. It’s quite simple really: Be passionate about maximizing your company’s engagement and you’ll reap the benefits on so many levels. Happy employees sell better, give better customer support, care more about the company values. Happy employees don’t want to go looking for another job, and want to help their colleagues succeed.

Retention in professional staffing

Strategy & Solution

Retention in professional staffing

It’s a common trend in the professional staffing business. After spending a lot of energy in hiring and training consultants, they decide to quit after one, two or (if you’re lucky) three years because they feel less engaged and less connected to your firm on the way. Sounds familiar? Read on to find out how you can boost those engagement levels!
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It’s a common trend in the professional staffing business. After spending a lot of energy in hiring and training consultants, they decide to quit after one, two or (if you’re lucky) three years because they feel less engaged and less connected to your firm on the way. Sounds familiar? Read on to find out how you can boost those engagement levels!

The crowded talent fishing pool

Losing employees at a high rate is extremely costly, especially since recruiting them is a challenge. Nowadays, clients require people with specific skill sets, which means that you often find yourself fishing in the same talent pool as all your competitors. But fishing is a time-consuming activity, and you want to focus more on servicing your clients, matching interesting projects to your consultants, and helping them reach their personal goals (assuming you’re juggling these four balls simultaneously).

This last factor is crucial. More and more people want to be regularly coached on their strengths and weaknesses, and look for a company that supports them in reaching their personal goals. Think about your Employee Value Proposition (EVP): why does a consultant want to work for you, instead of working for one of your clients directly? It’s less and less about compensation, and more and more about investing in their personal development. They chose your staffing company because you offer specialized trainings. They chose you because you have a kick-ass client portfolio. They chose you, because they want the flexibility to work on temporary projects in which they can apply their expertise.

Because of these reasons, coaching is so important. And I don’t mean the “Oh hey, it’s time for our mid-year follow-up meeting again”-type of coaching. I mean the type of coaching in which you sit together more regularly and have a short but high-quality conversation about somebody’s personal development goals. By offering your ear and taking actions on the spot, you make consultants more connected and engaged to your company.

In a study conducted by Consultancy.nl and Berenschot, the lack of Career Development Opportunities was picked by most consultants as their main motivation for leaving. (Source: “Consulting HR Market Report 2013”)

Most account managers are handling an increasing amount of consultants. The challenge? Coach more without cutting time on recruiting and business development activities. The trick? Digitalization. Make smart technology work for you!

Thank God for Tech!

INTUO's tool helps managers with their time management and consultants in reaching their development goals:

  1. Personalized growth paths, and increasing the quality of the conversation
  2. Offering a continuous learning environment
  3. Keeping track of engagement levels at all times

INTUO supports a stronger, and more dynamic company culture, in which people can thrive. Just see how it played out at Planet Talent. With our tool, we help you in creating an even stronger EVP, and beat the competition with an engaged and trained army of consultants that adapts more quickly to the market. Immediate results, which will blow your retention rates through the roof!

Interested in how we would work for your company? Let’s connect!

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Hello, I’m Ziyao, a Singapore Management University student. I'm 22, and always like to explore.


It was an impulsive decision to take on this internship. Being an Asian, having an internship in a European country is something out of my comfort zone. I had little to expect before I came to Ghent, other than those ridiculous assumptions I made about them speaking Dutch all the time and not being able to understand my Singapore accent.

How did it turn out?

It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life!

(If not I wouldn’t be spending my time writing this whole experience right)

I am not exactly the most outgoing person and warm-up time can get annoyingly long sometimes, but these Belgians (and one Dutch guy) at INTUO welcomed me with their warmest smiles and most energetic fist bumps. It made adjusting to a completely new environment a lot easier.

Living in a foreign country is never easy, especially for a girl known for her power to destroy things. I’ve encountered so many problems in the short span of 3 months as if it would win me an Olympic medal – laptop breakdown, phone screen cracked, getting chased out of my rented apartment, falling from my bike because the wheels were stuck in the tram rail… But my INTUO colleagues patiently helped me with every single one of my problems, of course after they laughed hard at the ridiculous incidents I got myself into each day, evidently from the nickname I’ve gotten – Princess Zizi.

When I realized that I am using Sander’s (the awesome awesome marketing guy) bicycle, cooking with the pans Florence and Orphe (my guuurlfriendz) brought all the way from their homes in Lokeren and Brussels, the idea of family emerged in my mind. It surprised me. Okay let’s not get too sentimental before we even talk about the internship itself alright!

It is never about simply having fun; it is about having fun doing the work you enjoy doing. As a talent management platform that aims to make employees happy and engaged at work, INTUO practices what it preaches.

Using the platform, I set my own objectives that I wish to accomplish in three months. I am free to voice out my opinions on the current practices and come up with the new initiatives of which I can take full ownership. It was really heartwarming when Jorn (my lovely CMO) encouraged me to write my first blog post and publish it on the company's website after my first week, when he pushed me to finish the campaign I am heading so that I can see the fruits of my labour before I complete my internship.

Every Friday the Marketing team will have our marketing sprint, during which we share with the team our accomplishments during the week and set tasks for the following week. Weekly company meeting is what I enjoy the most every week. Each team will share their progress, achievements, and challenges. We celebrate every success, big or small, and are genuinely happy for others. We give praises to someone who helped, guided or inspired us during the week, and end off the short and sweet meeting with a 'cheers' (of course with the famous Belgian beer) to the weekend.

It might be this Asian girl having eyes that spot beauty in everything, but I choose to believe it is the beautiful people that made her heart so full. It is not that intern-as-a-free-labour or just-be-the-coffee-girl kind of internship; it is one that nurtures and challenges me to always thrive for the better.

Internships are always small chapters of our lives. As I am heading back to my hectic Singaporean university student life, I am really grateful to be bringing along with me all the memories made in this beautiful city of Belgium -- challenging and being challenged, learning something new every day, taking full ownership of whatever I do, and most importantly, meeting really really awesome people (one of which is visiting me in Singapore next year! How cool is that!)

It has been a beautiful encounter, with my less-known self, and of course, with INTUO.

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.

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.

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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 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 ;-)

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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!

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