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Mathias Linnemann, den 18/7 - 2018

Agile at scale: How to implement agile throughout the organization

 

Agile at scale – you hear it all the time. But how do you actually do it? Agile methods have been adopted by business leaders all over the world. This development started in IT departments, but have spread into functions such as product development, procurement, and HR. Scaling up agile is the number one key to thriving in the digital age, according to a report by McKinsey. Read more about this in this blogpost.

 

However, agile at scale is still a challenge for many organisations. A recent Deloitte survey showed that while 94 percent of the respondents reported that “agility and collaboration” were high priorities to their organization’s success, only 6 percent said they were “highly agile today.”

 

Business leaders struggle with some important questions. What if a large-scale company is implementing agile across dozens, several hundreds, or even thousand units? Is this possible? How do you ensure that you’re doing is actually working? And how do you ensure a good organizational culture?

 

For anyone who is not familiar with agile yet, here’s a short review. Agile teams are best suited to innovation, according to Harvard Business Review. Agile teams are small and multidisciplinary. When they are confronted with a large, complex problem, they break it into smaller pieces and come up with solutions to each component. This happens through rapidly refining the company’s products or services through a feedback loop from customers.

 

Agile teams value adapting to changes, rather than sticking to a specific plan. When implemented successfully, they create higher team productivity and morale, faster time to market, higher quality, and lower risk than traditional approaches achieve, according to a study by Harvard Business Review.

 

How to make your organization agile at scale


In today’s dynamic and ever-changing business environment, it’s not hard to make a case for why a fast-moving, adaptive agile company is highly desirable. But turning this ideal into reality can seem daunting.

 

But don’t worry. We’ve collected the best research out there on how to successfully implement agile at scale.

 

Harvard Business Review has studied the “agile at scale” of hundreds of companies, including both SMVs and large companies, such as Spotify and Netflix. Spotify and Netflix are companies that were born agile and have become more so with time, while a company like Amazon is transitioning from a traditional enterprise to an agile one.

 

Findings from Harvard Business Review and McKinsey show that agile at scale creates great benefits. Agile organizations are high-performers in terms of long-term superior financial and operational performance, they are better at responding to market trends, and their employees are more motivated and better aligned around the company’s strategy and values.

 

However, agile should be implemented to smaller and greater extents in the different departments of the organization. For example, IT benefits greatly from agile, while routine operations such as plant maintenance, purchasing, and accounting benefit less, according to Harvard Business Review. Once you go agile at scale though, you can’t just leave parts of the company undone. If the newly agile units are constantly met by bureaucracy or lack of cooperation, problems and poor performance will arise from organizational friction.

 

Changes are necessary to ensure that the functions that don’t operate as agile as others support the ones that do.

 

It all starts with the leaders


Agile teams work differently from traditional teams. They are largely self-governing. Leaders tell them where to innovate, but not how. They work in close collaboration with customers. This reduces layers of control and approval, and frees the teams to work more innovatively. Team members are also more motivated by this form of management, according to the study by Harvard Business Review.

 

If leaders aren’t agile themselves, they may try to scale up agile through top-down plans and directives. This approach doesn’t work. Rather, leaders should see the different parts of the organization as their customers – people with different needs, competencies, and desires – and give them more control. Agile leaders define priorities and opportunities to improve those customers’ experiences and increase their success. They help solve problems and remove hurdles rather than delegate work.

 

Create a taxonomy of teams and sequence the transition.

According to Harvard Business Review, companies that have successfully become agile begin by creating a full taxonomy of opportunities. This is similar to how agile teams create a backlog of work to be done in the future. Organizations that scale up agile successfully usually do the same, by breaking their organization into several team-components. Usually, these three taxonomies:

 

 

  • Customer Experience Teams:  Customer Experience Teams look at all the components that could affect customer decisions, behaviors, and satisfaction.
  • Business Process Teams: The Business Process teams look at the relationships between these experiences and important business processes. The goal is to reduce overlaps between responsibilities and increase collaboration between process teams and customer experience teams.
  • Technology systems teams: Technology Systems Teams look at developing technology systems to improve the processes that will support customer experience teams.

 

 

Large scale companies break down their organization into an even bigger number of small teams. Then, they start integrating these taxonomies into the organization. Leaders start setting priorities and schedule initiatives. They consider multiple different criterias, such as strategic importance, budgets, labor capability and capacity, ROI, risk levels, and interdependencies among teams.

 

They have to create a balance, so that the pain-point felt by customers and employees on the one hand and the organization’s capabilities and constraints on the other is viable, according to Harvard Business Review. This is crucial for determining the pace for how many teams the organization can make agile simultaneously.

 

You might think this process seems complex. Not only does the process of actually implementing several agile seem daunting, but most leaders also fear the resistance of their employees. Most people don’t like change and will fiercely defend the status quo. But the value of creating taxonomies is that it aligns people on the vision of being on a transformational journey, and it also breaks down the process into small steps that can be paused, accelerated, or discarded at any time. Once leaders have identified the teams, they look at the sorts of people needed to staff them. They ask: Do we have those people?

 

If those people are not already in the staff, they can be hired through traditional means, or by tapping into the liquid labor force to hire independent professionals to do the job. When the task at hand is project and time dependent, this makes more sense. For HR leaders, this means looking at the hiring process as being about access to the best talent, not ownership. Read more about agile HR in this blogpost. Luckily, there’s plenty of qualified fish in the sea. The freelance-worker segment is the largest growing segment the EU, read about it in here.

 

Whatever the pace your company’s agile transformation happens in, results should begin showing up quickly, according to Harvard Business Review. While the financial side can take a while, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, argues that Amazon is experiencing positive changes in customer behavior and team problem solving skills are worth the wait.

 

If you still feel like the process to agile at scale is daunting, we’ve compiled a checklist from Harvard Business Review on how to do it.

 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my company focused on seeing this as a major business opportunity with a lot at stake?
  • Is the agile at scale transition supported by senior executives who will address challenges and drive the company’s adoption?
  • Is my company ready to take responsibility for specific outcomes?
  • Do we believe that teams can work autonomously, by being guided by executives and being properly resourced?
  • Do we have the right people who are passionate about this opportunity? If not, can we find them by tapping into the liquid labor force?
  • Are we committed to applying agile values, principles, and practices?
  • Are we empowered to collaborate closely with customers?
  • Do we have the ability to create rapid prototypes and fast feedback loops?

 

If your answer to all of these questions was yes, you’re good to go. If not, start working your way down the list.


Good luck from the Worksome team.


Christina Petersen, den 11/7 - 2018

Millennials are driven by purpose, not economics. What does this mean for HR?

 

The traditional way of thinking of recruitment and retainment is being challenged by changes in the labor market. In the next five years, 45 percent of workers in Europe will be self-employed, either completely or in combination with another job, according to the IDC. According to Gallup, Millennials are the generation who – by far – changes jobs the most. These young workers are driven by purpose. Not economics.

In 2015, Millennials surpassed generation X as the largest generational cohort in the labor force, according to Pew Resarch. In fact, Millennials are now the largest living generation, beating the baby boomers.


According to Gallup, 21 percent of Millennials reported to switch jobs within the past year, compared to only 7 percent of gen X and other non-Millennials. 60 percent of Millennials are currently open to a new job opportunity. This makes them the generation who are by far the most likely to look for other job options.

Why?

According to a study by the World Economic Forum, Millennials are driven by purpose over economics. They want to make a difference with their career. They are focused on personal development, they are not attracted by the traditional 9-to-5, or being married to one particular employer. They are attracted by feeling inspired at their work.


What does this mean for HR professionals?


First and foremost, it has great implications for some of the “core” HR disciplines, such as Employer Branding and recruitment – how to attract talent and incentive structures and Performance Management – how to retain talent. This means that HR is changing. Recruitment is to a greater extent about having access to the best talent, not about owning it, as Millennials are job hoppers. It’s about seeing HR as a sourcing method to gaining access to the very best competencies on a time and project specific basis. Read more about this trend in this blogpost.


Secondly, it means that HR professionals need to think differently about how they attract these fluid workers and how they manage their performance. According to
Harvard Business Review, HR is now all about building satisfaction, engagement, and inspiration for their workers.


Retention will come from purpose, not from economics. Proactive and business oriented HR professionals must take this into consideration when building the incentive programmes for the organization in the future. In some companies, employee reward programs are solely focused on economics. The norm is to provide the employees with a great bonus once a year, hoping that this fuels greater productivity, loyalty, and overall happiness. Unfortunately, this can have the effect of decreasing engagement by turning everything into a quid pro quo, according to
Harvard Business Review.

On the contrary, employees who feel like their work makes a different in the world are more likely to feel fulfilled and promote their company to others, according to Harvard Business Review. Their studies have shown that engaged employees are almost three times more productive than those who are dissatisfied. Just imagine if you could triple your current staffs productivity, just by making them more engaged.


If people are faced with irrelevant meetings, tiring approval processes, and micro-management, they are likely to be dissatisfied, less engaged, and less inspired – despite the bonuses ahead.


Where we work, with whom we work, and how we work are as important in defining our workplace experience, as the formal processes that define the work’s content.

  • Where we work: A study from Steelcase shows that employees who have control over where and how they work are 88 percent more engaged at work. Work space can be seen as part of the HR agenda to extend the company’s culture and engage employees in different ways.
  • With whom we work: One likely factor to improve employee happiness is feeling that you’re part of an extraordinary team, that you’re learning and growing, and that you can make a real difference, according to Harvard Business Review’s study. Feeling a sense of community is crucial for people’s happiness at work. Forward-looking HR professionals can benefit from planning for a blended workforce and address issues such as; how do you onboard and integrate fluid workers?

  • How we work: The most essential factor, according to Harvard Business Review, it the feeling that you derive meaning and purpose from the company’s mission. This is twofold: It’s both about feeling inner-purpose. “I’m learning new skills here that will further my career”, and it’s about outer-purpose: “My work is making this world a bit better.”

When first beginning their journey, most companies have a deep sense of purpose and mission, which attracts and inspires employees throughout the company. Unfortunately, companies can tend lose this sense of mission when organization ages, according to Harvard Business Review. At that point, some companies converge to the goal of making money to keep stakeholders happy, not exactly an inspiring goal to the employees.


The key is to connect the employee’s mission to the company’s overall purpose. It’s about focusing on creating an employee experience that will seem valuable to them so they get that sense of fulfillment. If they don’t find it, they are likely to be will be less engaged. They won’t promote your company to others, let alone get back to it at a later point. The future of successful HR management is about accepting that how we find, recruit, and retain workers is changing and take the opportunities that lie in these changes. Recruitment is not about ownership, but about access. And retainment is not about economic reward programs alone, but about building purpose into the employee experience, while accepting that people work for same employer for shorter periods than ever.

Follow these rules and you’ll give your company a competitive edge.

To learn more about this topic follow Worksome on Linkedin and Facebook


Christina Petersen, den 10/7 - 2018

Why coworking spaces are both for freelancers and companies

Coworking spaces have become more popular for freelancers and companies alike in recent years. In 2005 there was one coworking space in the US. In 2013, there were over 3.000, according to the Freelance Union study. This trend is replicating itself around the globe. Coworking spaces provide a space for shared learning, social interactions, and greater innovation – for both companies and freelancers.

 

We take a look at why.

 

The growth of the freelance economy


The rise in coworking spaces is in part fuelled by the rise of freelancers. In 2017, 57.3 million people in the US freelanced, equivalent to 36 percent of the American workforce, according to a study by Upwork. In Europe, 45 percent of workers will be self employed in the next 5 years, either completely or in combination with another job, according to IDC.

 

This trend is particularly prevalent among Millennials, who value the freedom offered by flexible schedules and locations. A study by the World Economic Forum shows that Millennials value purpose over economics. Their career is not just a paycheck, but also a lifestyle and a passion. That’s why an increasing number of them choose to work as freelancers in different locations and at different times than the usual. 47 percent of working Millennials freelance, which is a higher rate than any other generation, according to a study from Upwork.

 

This trend is enabling the rise of coworking spaces, bringing together all types of professionals, regardless of their profession and experiences.

 

There’s great benefit of using coworking spaces. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, freelancers in coworking spaces see an increase in productivity and happiness. They experience greater autonomy, greater structure, and a chance to change their daily routine. Most importantly, perhaps, coworking spaces offer freelancers the opportunity to connect and form a community.

 

But the coworking space trend is not just prevalent in the freelance economy. Companies are also using them now to make the workplace more favorable to their employees.

Coworking spaces foster innovation for established companies


In an effort to create an attractive work environment for the increasingly fluid workforce, companies are reinventing the work experience. The goal is to foster an organizational culture that is innovative and fosters collaboration. Many big companies aim to attract and retain employees with an entrepreneurial mindset, by offering them the chance to be part of a wider community, according to the Financial Times.

 

This development is part of an organizational change towards accommodating the flexible work structures seen in the labor market. Flexible employment structures feed into flexible workplace structures. For HR professionals, it’s a way to extend the company’s culture and engage employees in new ways.

 

We already see this development among established companies. A recent Q3 occupier survey by the CBRE indicated that 44 percent of US companies are already using some type of flexible open office solution. Data from the survey shows that leaders expect their usage and demand for coworking spaces to increase over the next few years.

 

Tech giants like Verizon, IBM, and Microsoft are already testing coworking spaces to support innovation and idea exchanges. Microsoft made headlines at the end of 2016 with their decision to shift 30 percent of their employees in their sales department in New York to coworking spaces.

 

For years researchers from Harvard Business Review studied how employees thrive in coworking spaces and found that people thrive at 6 on a 7-point scale. This is higher than employees who work in regular offices. Another study by Harvard Business Review found that working among people doing different jobs can actually enhance employees’ sense of identity. Coworking spaces provide employees with the opportunity to frequently help and spare with others, which gives them a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

 

What matters, though, is that people who cowork have substantial autonomy and can be themselves at work, according to the studies. As a result, employees feel more committed to their companies. They are more likely to work for the company again, even if they are job-hoppers. They are also more likely to bring their best effort forward bring new and ideas to the office… Even if that office is the corporate headquarters.

 

 


Christina Petersen, den 3/7 - 2018

Agile HR: Recruiting is about access, not ownership

Agile HR is just as important as being agile in IT. Why? According to a report by McKinsey, integrating agility holistically in all departments, across all units, and in the way you look at resources, such as labor, is crucial if you want to thrive in today’s marketplace. Read more about it in this blogpost. This also accounts for HR.

 

Traditional HR: Ownership-focused


However, right now the traditional view on HR is that it’s all about job requisition and retainment. The job requisition process looks something like this: The job description and role qualification is specified, formulated, and shared across recruitment platforms. Once the candidates are found, they’re invited to interviews, and then passed on to hiring managers who make the final decision. This process takes 42 days on average, according to the Human Capital Benchmarking Report from 2016. After that, it takes 8 months for a new employee to reach full productivity, according to a study from Harvard Business Review.

 

If you’re an employer, this gives you approximately 9,5 months before your new-hire is at a satisfactory level. Many HR leaders recognize that this process is inefficient, but argue that the process should be viewed as a long-term investment in retaining employees’ skills within the organization. Unfortunately, that’s the wrong way to look at it, taking into consideration all the game changers we are currently experiencing in the labor market

 

Here’s why.

 

Technological developments are disrupting the traditional labor market. Automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics are becoming a more and more integrated part of our daily lives. This trend is dismantling the traditional employment, and creating a more disrupted workforce, focused on shorter and more flexible employments. According to the IDC, in the next five years, 45 percent of workers in Europe will be self employed, either completely or in combination with another job. This trend is already prevalent in the EU, where the freelance segment is the largest growing segment, according to EFIP.

 

This trend combined with the fact that almost 33 percent of new hires look for a new job within the first 6 months on the job, makes traditional retainment-thinking unsustainable. Combine that with the fact that 23 percent of new employees leave the company before their first anniversary, according to numbers from Harvard Business Review.

 

Agile HR: Acces-focused


Instead, HR leaders must think of recruitment and retainment as an agile process, consisting of dynamic elements that can be adapted quickly to new challenges and opportunities. In today’s world, HR is about accessing the best talent, not about owning them. How do you do this?

 

You tap into the market trends, and start thinking about how your company can benefit from the rise in the liquid workforce. For example, your company might need a software programmer for a new elaborate feature on the website. Or, your company may be in demand of someone who can take care of the graphical design of a new campaign. Or, it may need a professional text-writer to do an e-book on an industry-specific topic.

 

All of these problems are time and project specific, and can be solved efficiently by hiring a qualified freelancer to do the job. This allows your company to scale up and down on staff according to its business’ needs.

 

Agile HR is about adapting the hiring model to today’s market – not about discarding the traditional full-time employment. It’s about looking at your business’ needs and identifying how they could be solved most efficiently and with the greatest value-add.

 

But agile HR is not just about looking at resources. It’s also about how it mobilizes itself. Agile HR departments organize themselves into small, cross-functional teams that mobilize quickly, are flexible, and able to adapt to changes quickly. Big annual plans act as constraints rather than enablers. Comparing output of work to a plan that is no longer viable is pointless and an outdated method. Rather, agile HR departments focus is on how they contribute value to the company and the end user in the most efficient way.

 

There’s a true benefit to being agile in HR. Research from McKinsey shows that agile organizations have a 70 percent chance of being the top performers in terms of organizational health, the best indicator of long-term performance. Further, such companies also gain greater customer centricity, faster time to market, higher revenue growth, lower costs, and a more engaged workforce.

 

30 percent of European enterprises will in the next five years move from traditional talent sourcing strategies and models towards digital and task-oriented approaches, integrating online communities and platforms to acquire skills and temporary staff, according to IDC. The front-runners in agile HR will also be the ones who are most likely to stay competitive over the long run.

 

Is agile HR part of your company’s strategy?

 

 


Mathias Linnemann, den 27/6 - 2018

Agile At Work: Why Organizations Should Integrate Agile Holistically

What does your organization need to survive in today’s marketplace? The short answer: To be agile. In every aspect of your organization. Across all units. Even in the way you think about resources, like labor. This is the message from a report by McKinsey that looks into what it takes to not only survive, but thrive, in today’s business world.
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Why?
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Because technological developments are disrupting every area of business. As a business executive, you’re required to adapt to these technological innovations, act on your feet, and be able to change direction overnight. To thrive in today’s marketplace, organizations need to exhibit agility and adaptability to stay competitive.

 

Agile At Work: Why Organizations Should Integrate Agile Holistically


The most common misconception about agile is that it’s only a phenomena of the IT department. According to research by Harvard Business Review, most managers believe their organizations practice “agile”. However, when digging a bit deeper, most of this agility was with the software engineers. Indeed, if you’re a CIO, you’ve most likely adopted agile SAFe practices and abandoned the old Waterfall methods.

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But if you’re a HR leader or a Corporate Procurement executive, there’s a fair chance you haven’t, according to the Harvard Business Review study. There’s little mention of “agile in HR” or “agile in procurement”. But agility is not just an IT phenomena – every aspect of organizations needs to be agile to survive in today’s ever-changing business environment, according to McKinsey.

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Let’s look at corporate procurement. Do not dismiss it as merely a cost-cutting mechanism – it’s a vital area for agility. Instead of focusing on the most cost-effective way of saving money on the reparation process of old machines, think of it in an agile way: Are there any new innovations you could tap into to cut costs over time that would also make you more efficient and increase productivity?

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Or, when you’re sourcing for a programmer for a time-specific software programming project, instead of spending money on a long hiring process for a full-time employee, why not tap into the liquid workforce and hire a specialized freelancer to take care of the job? You’d take an agile approach to sourcing for ressources. There’s plenty of qualified fish in the sea. The freelance-worker segment is the largest growing segment the EU, read about it in this blogpost.

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You might say: The way we do business is working just fine – even without integrating agile holistically. According to
McKinsey, there’s a fair chance you’re stuck in an old paradigm. Read along to make sure your business is prepared for the future.

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The Industrial Paradigm – Organizations Managed Like Machines


In the old industrial paradigm, managing businesses was equivalent to running a machine. The creator of this thinking was Henry Ford. A revolutionary of his time and a true entrepreneur. Ford was only one of many small car manufacturers in 1910, but a decade later, Ford Motors had a 60 percent market share of the new car market globally. Ford managed to reduce assembly time per vehicle from 12 hours to 90 minutes, made vehicles affordable by reducing prices considerably, while also paying employees competitive salaries.

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Ford’s management style optimized labor productivity and kicked off an era of efficiency. Businesses were hierarchical and specialized. For decades, companies adopted this model, and ran their businesses like machines. Focused on being the most efficient. The most productive. Gaining the most market share.

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These goals are no less important in today’s new business paradigm. But managing your business like a machine is ineffective, and it will make you a laggard in today’s world. Today, you need to think of your business as a living, breathing organism.

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The New Paradigm – Organizations Managed Like Organisms


Technological developments, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, big data, and internet of things, are now disrupting the old way of thinking about business management. It’s disrupting industries, economies and societies at large.

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McKinsey
characterizes these developments with four megatrends:

  • Quickly evolving environment
    In today’s business environment, anything can happen faster than you know it. And as a business leader, you have to adapt. If you’re a retailer of clothes, the time spent from when a collection hits the runway to when it arrives in stores needs to be minimized. Fast-fashion-manufacturing is of the essence, because next week a different trend might be of demand. Business today is all about adaptability.
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  • Constant introduction of disruptive technology
    New technologies are disrupting established businesses, automization is replacing manual labor, and entire industries are facing the challenge of how to reinvent themselves using these new technological innovations. Today’s businesses have to work with, not against, new technologies.
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  • Accelerating digitization and democratization of information
    The increased volume, transparency, and distribution of information requires organizations to quickly engage in multidimensional communication across both online and offline platforms, engage with customers, partners, and colleagues, and handle public scrutiny, by being quick and agile in their communication.
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  • The new war for talent
    As creative and learning-based tasks become increasingly important, read about this in our blogpost here, businesses need to clearly define their specific value proposition to acquire talent. Millennials are not just driven by economics – they are driven by purpose. They are fluid workers, who value the flexibility to choose their own lives and their own jobs. Don’t think of it as acquiring or retaining people in full-time employment positions – think of it as accessing people according to your businesses needs. On a project-dependent and time-specific basis, allowing you to scale up and down according to your demands in an agile way.

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The trends described above are dramatically changing how businesses and employees work. According to McKinsey, traditional machine organizations who have tried to fit their old model into the new technologically disrupted world have failed. Fewer than 10 percent of the non-financial S&P 500 companies in 1983 remained in the S&P 500 in 2013.

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But how do you make your business agile?


According to McKinsey, truly agile organizations are both stable (resilient, reliable, and efficient) and dynamic (fast, nimble, and adaptive). They are made up of backbone elements that make them stable, but they are complemented by dynamic elements to adapt rapidly to new opportunities and challenges.

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I like to use the analogy of a computer: A computer has a slick, robust, and stable hardware design. But inside, it carries a myriad of dynamic systems and applications – constantly updated and revised according to newest developments.

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Businesses should do the same.

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To survive in the new paradigm, businesses must think of the way they are structuring their organization as consisting of more dynamic elements that can be adapted quickly to new challenges and opportunities. Agile businesses are flexible, mobilize quickly, make it easy and quick to act on its business needs. Just like a living organism would.

Source: McKinsey

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Rita Gunther McGrath, a Columbia Business School professor conducted a
study among 2,300 successful, large US companies that increased their net income by at least 5 percent annually in from 1999 to 2009, to see what these companies had in common. What’s your guess?

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These companies were all stable companies with a robust foundation, but also rapid innovators, who worked agile in every aspect or their organization, and were able adjust their resources according to changes in the environment.

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Agility pays off – Considerably


Research by McKinsey shows that agile organizations have a 70 percent chance of being the top performers in terms of organizational health, the best indicator of long-term performance. Further, such companies also gain greater customer centricity, faster time to market, higher revenue growth, lower costs, and a more engaged workforce.

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You might read this blogpost and think the road to agile is daunting, because you can’t grasp what work needs to be done. Accenture conducted a
research between 1,300 C-suite and senior-level executives in different industries across 16 countries. Its goal was to find out how these companies were practicing agile in dimensions like strategy, organization, marketing, operations and finance. They found that while business leaders recognized the need for agile, there was a gap between awareness and taking action towards integrating it throughout.

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A critical prerequisite for sustaining real change is implementing the behavioral norms required for a successful transformation, according to McKinsey. It is not a matter of making cultural statements or listing company values. It is rather, a matter of instilling the right kinds of behavior for “how we do things around here.”

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The clearer and more widely adopted these sorts of agile behaviors become, the easier it will be to adapt structures, governance, and processes in pursuit of, not surviving, but truly thriving as an agile organization.

 


Mathias Linnemann, den 26/6 - 2018

Worksome’s 8 Best Tips For A Successful Career As A Freelancer

The labor market is changing. Still more and more people choose to work as a freelancer, check out this blog post if you want to know why. But what do you need to know before entering a career as a freelancer? What will make you successful? How do you ensure that you can create a life that unites freedom, flexibility, and independence with great economic freedom?
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Don’t you worry, we got you. Read along for our 8 best tips for freelancing here, and you’ll get a great head start.
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Tip #1: Choose your niche

Instead of trying to solve all of the world’s business issues, choose a niche where you can truly excel. What are you good at? What are your core competencies? Is there a demand for those competencies from today’s business environment? Check out this blogpost to read about the future’s most highly demanded skills. Make sure to choose a niche you’re passionate about, where you have a proven track record and strong qualifications.

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Tip #2: Brand yourself

As a freelancer, you’re your own brand, and it’s your responsibility to sell yourself. You might have plenty of years of experience, but if you don’t know how to communicate them, you might not get booked for any jobs. Spend some time defining what makes you special to companies. How would you brand yourself in one sentence? What’s your main qualifications? How can these help solve clients’ needs? Provide documentation for your answers to these questions by stating your educational background, how many years of working experience you have in your particular field, in which industries, and what skills you’ve gained from those experiences.

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Tip #3: Be professional

Freelancers value being the creators of their own happiness, but with that comes a certain responsibility. Your clients see you as an investment, and therefore it’s critical to act the part. You should always keep your promises, be on time, meet deadlines, solve the problem efficiently, while ensuring high quality, and make sure to communicate clearly and transparently with the client along the way. Be accountable. Be professional. Provide high quality. This will lead to better ratings for you and therefore a better chance of getting hired by the same or other clients in the future.

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Tip #4: Understand the client’s needs

Businesses are living, breathing organisms made up of people like you and I. They have a culture, a vision, and a goal. Make an effort to show the client that you want to get to know them. Spend some time getting to understand the organization, its needs, opportunities, and challenges. Ask questions and listen carefully to the answers, until you have a clear sense of how to structure your assignment. You’ll find that it’s much easier to satisfy the client, if you understand their DNA. In that way, you can provide a service that is tailored specifically to the business’ needs.

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Tip #5: Communicate, communicate, communicate.

I cannot stress this enough. Business relations are like marriages: Bad communication is the root of all evil. You, as a freelancer, have to make sure that you communicate with the client every step of the way. From the initial phase, where you get an overview of the task at hand and ask clarifying questions, to the problem-solving phase, where you ask for sparring if needed and keep the client updated on your progress, to the final phase, where you present your findings or provide the finished product. Most clients are pleased to feel like you’ve held their hand along the way. This minimizes misconceptions, saves you time, and provides you with a happy customer. Who doesn’t like that?

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Tip #6: Develop your skills continuously

Businesses’ challenges are constantly changing, new technologies are constantly entering the market, and demand for new skills is constantly on a rise. Therefore, you as a freelancer need to keep yourself educated on the newest trends and develop your skills accordingly, so that they are up-to-date with market demand. There’s plenty of good online resources to dig into, reports, videos, and tutorials, but you can start here by reading about the most highly sought-after competencies of the future.

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Tip #7: Foster long-term relationships

I’d like to use the analogy of marriage again, because as a freelancer you need to look at your business relationships, not as cold transactions, but as real human interactions. It’s people who will hire you. It’s people who will pay you. It’s people who will recommend you to others or hire you again. Act professionally throughout your interaction, establish the client’s expectations, and over-perform a little. If you do this and follow all of the steps above, you have a bright career ahead of you.

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Tip #8: Practicalities are boring, but well, practical…

The freedom, flexibility, and self-determination of being a freelancer comes with the need to gain a hold of all of the practical stuff too. Do yourself the favor to get an overview over tax rules, health insurance, and pension to make sure you’ve considered how you want to live your life – also in this aspect.

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Happy freelancing!

 


Mathias Linnemann, den 21/6 - 2018

Hvad er fremtidens mest efterspurgte kompetencer?

Medmindre du har boet på en bounty ø i Caribien uden internetforbindelse de seneste år, ved du, at den teknologiske udvikling er i gang med at forandre den måde, vi arbejder på. Maskinen har overtaget mange manuelle arbejdsopgaver. Naboens plæneklipper er skiftet ud med en robot, og du kan bede din telefon fortælle dig om vejret. Om lidt kan dit ur fortælle dig, om du har fået nok vand at drikke, og dit barnebarn kommer højst sandsynligt ikke til at skulle køre bil selv..
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Det er en tendens, der fortsætter. Der er automatiseringspotentiale i over 700 jobtyper på tværs af industrier, uddannelsesniveauer og løngrupper. Det vurderer rapporter fra McKinsey og OECD. Men udviklingen er allerede nu i fuld gang. I flere industrier eksisterede de mest efterspurgte kompetencer i dag ikke for ti eller endda fem år siden. Det siger noget om, hvor hurtigt udviklingen foregår. Det fortæller World Economic Forum i deres Future og Jobs rapport. Faktisk vil 65 procent af de børn, der starter i folkeskole i dag ende med at have jobs, der endnu ikke eksisterer i dag.
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Det stiller krav til os som mennesker. For når så mange jobs kan automatiseres, er det vigtigt at uddanne sig – hele livet – så ens skills matcher tidens tendenser. Fremtidens arbejde er vidensarbejdet, der særligt centrerer sig om at kunne tænke adaptivt, kreativt og innovativt.

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McKinsey har i denne undersøgelse set på, hvad der vil være de mest efterspurgte kompetencer i fremtiden. Med udgangspunkt i undersøgelsen, guider vi dig i denne blog post til, hvilke skills du bør fokusere på – hvad end du er virksomhed og vil have de rette kompetencer til at drive din forretning frem, eller hvis du er freelancer, og vil fremme din karriere.

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Fremtidens mest efterspurgte kompetencer:
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  • Teknologiske IT-kompetencer
    Det er ikke slående, at IT-kompetencer indenfor softwareudvikling, programmering, web og apps vil være de mest efterspurgte kompetencer i fremtiden. Indtil år 2030 vil den tid, der bruges på avancerede teknologiske kompetencer stige med 50 procent i USA og 41 procent i Europa. McKinsey forudser størst efterspørgsel på avancerede IT og programmeringsfærdigheder, som kan stige med hele 90 procent fra nu til 2030. Samtidig vil der være efterspørgsel efter IT-projektledere, der kan lede virksomheder gennem IT-transformationer. Så har du færdigheder indenfor softwareudvikling, programmering, eller kunstig intelligens? Så er der arbejde til dig.

 

  • Basale Digitale Skills
    Bare rolig – hvis du ikke er en haj til avanceret teknologi, og aldrig har siddet i backloggen af et styresystem, er der også et job til dig. Basale digitale skills vil nemlig også efterspørges. Faktisk vil det være den næst-hurtigst voksende kategori med 69 procent i USA og 65 procent i Europa indtil 2030. Så forstår du dig f.eks. på online marketing, og hvordan du kan skabe en online content strategi på tværs af digitale platforme og måle effekten af den, er du i høj kurs. Eller er du en skarp grafisk design, der mestrer alt fra at designe virksomheders ansigt udadtil, til online kampagner, til den bedste brugeroplevelse, så er du også sikret et job i fremtiden.

 

  • Sociale og Emotionelle Kompetencer
    Maskiner er endnu langt fra at mestre basale, menneskelige færdigheder som social og emotionel intelligens. Mellem nu og 2030 vil efterspørgslen efter sociale og emotionelle skills vækste med 26 procent i USA og 22 procent i Europa, og det er på tværs af industrier, ifølge McKinsey. Empati og kommunikative evner er vigtige både internt os mennesker imellem og i ekstern kommunikation. For hvordan leverer virksomheder interessant, relevant og to-the-point indhold i én samlet tone-of-voice med differentieret indhold på tværs af kanaler tilpasset målgruppen? Hvis du kan svaret på det spørgsmål, har du dig et job i fremtiden.

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  • Kognitive Færdigheder & Management Skills
    Der vil være efterspørgsel på kognitive egenskaber, som at kunne tænke kreativt, kritisk, tage svære beslutning og bearbejde kompleks information. McKinsey vurderer, at denne kompetence vil vokse fra nu til 2030 med 19 procent i USA og 14 procent i Europa. Evnen til at lede folk og motivere andre vil også gro. Særligt vil der være efterspørgsel på ledere, der forstår at innovere og som tør tænke ud af boksen for at sikre virksomhedens konkurrencedygtighed. Er det dig, så vil der være nok at se til fremover.

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  • Ingeniør- og Arkitektarbejde
    Selvom du måske er blevet helt i tvivl om, om du vil komme til at bo i en virtuel virkelighed efter at have læst denne blogpost, så kan jeg berolige dig med, at du stadig vil leve fysisk i den virkelig verden. I fysiske boliger. Stigende befolkningsvækst kombineret med øget urbanisering betyder nemlig, at der skal bygges endnu mere i fremtiden. Og samtidig tænkes nye tanker om, hvordan vi får plads til os alle. Det viser en rapport fra World Economic Forum.

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Hvordan skal virksomheder tilpasse sig denne udvikling?

For at udnytte den teknologiske udvikling til dens fulde potentiale, skal virksomheder omlægge deres virksomhedsstrukturer og deres rekrutterings- og ansættelsesprocesser. Denne ændring vil kræve et nyt fokus på det talent, de allerede har i deres medarbejderstab – og det talent de, kan finde eksternt. Flere og flere arbejdsopgaver vil varetages af kompetente freelancere, ifølge McKinsey. Her forventer 61 procent af virksomhederne i McKinsey undersøgelsen, at hyre flere midlertidige medarbejdere i fremtiden. Det tillader virksomheder at arbejde mere agilt og løse arbejdsopgaver mere fleksibelt – med de bedste kompetencer.

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Læs mere i denne blogpost om, hvorfor fremtiden er freelance.


Mathias Linnemann, den 14/6 - 2018

Skal du være lønmodtager eller freelancer i fremtiden?

Den teknologiske udvikling forandrer i øjeblikket alle etablerede industrier, og tvinger virksomhedsledere til at tænke anderledes. Men hvordan vil eksponentiel teknologisk vækst, automatisering og kunstig intelligens påvirke den måde, vi arbejder på i fremtiden?


Det vil ændre arbejdsmarkedet, så flere af de gængse jobs, vi kender i dag, vil blive automatiseret. En robot kommer til at scanne varerne i supermarkedet, førerløse biler vil køre os fra sted til sted, og en robot vil bestemme, hvor meget kvæget på markerne skal have at spise og hvornår.


Som konsekvens vil der indenfor de kommende fem år ske større forandringer på arbejdsmarkedet, end vi har set i de sidste 50 – 100 år. En tredjedel af alle de jobs, vi kender til i dag – næsten 900.000 danske jobs – vil forsvinde indenfor de næste 20 år. Det viser en rapport fra Tænketanken CeveaDet er med til at opløse den traditionelle fuldtidsansættelse. Og det betyder, at arbejdsmarkedet går mere i retning af deregulering med flere løse, korte og fleksible ansættelsesformer.


I 2030 kan antallet af permanente fuldtidsansættelser i USA falde til kun 9 procent af arbejdsstyrken – det laveste antal nogensinde. Det spår PwC i en ny rapport, der kigger på potentielle fremtidsscenarier. Her tror 60 procent af de adspurgte, at kun få mennesker vil være ansat på almindelige langtidskontrakter i fremtiden.


I stedet vil folk arbejde projektbaseret på forskelligartede arbejdsopgaver, og hoppe fra det ene projekt til det andet. Digitale platforme kommer i fremtiden til at være dem, der matcher arbejdstagere med arbejdsgivere og kompetencer med efterspørgsel.

 

Men udviklingen fra fastansat til freelancer eller allerede i fuld gang

I USA er freelancearbejdsstyrkens vækst eksploderet, og har overskredet den samlede amerikanske arbejdsstyrkes vækst med 300 procent siden 2014. I 2017 freelancede 57,3 millioner amerikanere, hvilket svarer til ca. 36 procent af hele den amerikanske arbejdsstyrke. Hvis denne vækst fortsætter, vil størstedelen af amerikanerne være freelancere i 2027. Det viser en ny undersøgelse fra Upwork.


Samme tendens gør sig gældende i Europa. EU’s medlemslande har samlet set oplevet en vækst i antallet af freelancere på 45 procent fra 2004 – 2013. Tager man højde for at finanskrisen nedlagde 7 millioner jobs i denne periode, er tallet slående. Dermed er freelancesegmentet det hurtigst voksende segment på hele EU’s arbejdsmarked, ifølge tal fra EFIP.


I Danmark er antallet af selvstændige steget fra 108.100 i 2010 til 144.600 i 2013 – en stigning på knap 34 procent, ifølge tal fra Eurostat. Det betyder en overgang fra at tænke i fastansættelser til at tænke i løse ansættelser. Tendensen ses allerede i mange kreative brancher, hvor der er langt sundere økonomi i at hyre dygtige freelancere, som arbejder projektbaseret frem for faste medarbejdere. På den måde kan virksomheden lynhurtigt skalere op og ned efter behov.


Fælles for dem, der vælger den traditionelle fastansættelse fra til fordel for den mere fleksible tilknytning til arbejdsmarkedet er, at de får mere fleksibilitet og en oplevelse af at have mere indflydelse på egne arbejdsvilkår. Vi spurgte for kort tid siden freelancekonsulenter i Worksomes freelance undersøgelse, om de er interesseret i et lønmodtagerjob igen, hvor næsten 70 procent svarede, at de allerhelst kun ville arbejde som freelancere. 30 procent svarede, at de vil arbejde freelance i kombination med fastansættelse.  

Hvorfor er et liv som freelancer ønskværdigt?

De fleste vægter den øgede frihed og fleksibilitet, mere tid med familien og større variation i arbejdsopgaverne. Men en helt særlig fordel er, at et liv som freelancer fjerner alt omkringliggende støj, og tillader dig at fokusere fuldt ud på dine færdigheder. 60% af de adspurgte i Worksomes freelance undersøgelse svarede, at de i høj eller meget høj grad kunne bruge deres kompetencer bedre som freelancekonsulent end som fastansat.

 

Den projektbaserede arbejdsform er også ideel for virksomheder. En stor del virksomheder i dag oplever, at de ikke har de rette kompetencer i deres medarbejderstab til at gennemføre forretningskritiske projekter. Det kan de få, hvis de bliver mere agile i deres måde at ansatte på.


Så – skal du være freelancer eller lønmodtager i fremtiden?


Lyt med til 
denne podcast episode med fremtidsforsker Louise Fredbo Nielsen – “Lønmodtageren er STENDØD”, som også beskæftiger sig med emnet i dybden.

 

 


Mathias Linnemann, den 8/3 - 2018

Mathias Linnemann, den 8/3 - 2018