Transparency 4.0- Why AI in the Workplace Will Force Us to Tell the Truth

Are we ready for AI and robotics in the workplace? First, we need to be more aware of its presence and power in general, and then we probably need a major adjustment in our natural survival instinct to shade the truth when it suits us. We may be heading into the Workplace 4.0, but we’re still thinking in terms of us and that. But that has a binary relationship to facts: either it happened or it didn’t. It’s one aspect of the transformation we need to prepare ourselves for a lot more; we’re going to have to tell the truth.

I was considering this as I self-checked out of a big box store the other day. In front of me was a man wearing a Fitbit who was busy multitasking. He was coaching his kid on his smartphone on how to use Alexa, and without paying attention, he double-scanned a bottle of milk. When the clerk came over to cancel the transaction, the man claims he didn’t swipe it twice. “The scanner says you did,” the clerk said.

While we’re nearing the functional tipping point in using AI and automation, are we ready for the honesty shift? Recently, a fitness tracker and Alexa were involved in solving murders, surely an unintended consequence — at least from a consumer standpoint. A Connecticut woman’s fitness tracker gave police the evidence that backed up their hunch about the lying husband. He said they were struggling with an intruder, but the tracker proved him wrong: it had tracked her on that fatal day walking around the house. A man in Arkansas mistakenly asked Alexa some very incriminating questions about cleaning blood off an object after committing murder in a drunken rage. Alexa doesn’t just listen; she gathers the data. And the data doesn’t forget or lie.

The point is the devices are smarter than we think. They are designed not to lie — so while we can, let’s get better at telling them the truth. This is where the workforce is going to have to adapt the most. We’re going to have to get used to being honest, or we may lose our jobs in more ways than one.

According to McKinsey Global’s recent report, some 60% of occupations and 30% of tasks could be handed over to robots. The kinds of jobs we’ll likely see automation taking over from humans will be those that entail physical tasks in structured, predictable environments — such as manufacturing, retail, hospitality, and food service as well as those involving data collection and processing. Of some 2,000 job tasks we do globally, McKinsey found that nearly half — about $16 trillion in wages worth—could be automated using technology that already exists.

That probably means that certain single-skill jobs are going to go out the virtual window. It also may mean we will finally start to appreciate the other skills we tend to have, our soft skills — our social perceptiveness, empathy, and communication. We’re need to start understanding the value of natural intelligence differently. Same as we want organic produce, we may post job descriptions that specifically require “NI” versus “AI.” But certain ways we operate will be incompatible. The more interdependent we are with cognitive machines, the more exposed we are.  AI and robotics may free us to be “more human” in our jobs, and enable us to flex our soft skills more frequently, but it’s not going to give an inch where we live.

The new workplace is going to shift the concept of transparency to reality, whether we want it to or not. And this may change our work culture in ways we don’t yet understand, forcing some interesting management approaches.

Let’s think about this. Not only do organizations need to reconsider how they design jobs, structure work, and strategize for the future, they also should have a transparency policy that understands we’re only human.

Photo Credit: jillpostema Flickr via Compfight cc

This article was first published on fowmedia.

Focus On A Forward-Thinking Company Culture

Everyone looks for some magic formula on how to succeed at work, but to be honest, it’s not all that complicated.

I remember my boss once asked me, “How are companies like Facebook and Google so successful? What do they do that we’re not doing?”

I answered right away with, “They have laser-sharp focus, are driven to achieve a goal by a very clear mission, and never deviate from that goal.”

I honestly believe that’s the secret to a successful office. Everything else, such as hiring and organizational structure, kind of falls into place if you’re focused on that vision. When companies hire someone, they look to see if that person shares that same vision. If an employee has an idea for a new feature for the platform, he or she first checks to see if it helps reach that goal.

Here are a five things that I think help separate successful offices from unsuccessful ones.

1. Following Agile Methodologies

This is an important one. After working in a traditional company that followed a “waterfall” approach, I can see that the agile way of working is just smarter. Instead of planning endlessly and guessing how long things will take, work and adjust in real time.


The biggest issue I’ve seen is resistance of adoption by certain people (usually management), possibly because it’s so new to them and so hard to comprehend. Like the saying goes: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

I’m not sure how else to explain it to managers who are against agile, other than it just make more sense for the real world.

It’s impossible to plan properly for anything in life, even outside of work, so why not start working, and then readjust as necessary?

2. Learning How To Say No

This goes back to what I was saying in the beginning. In order to stay laser-focused, you have to be willing to say no more than you say yes. This is something that every office needs to succeed.

If you want to be successful at what you do, you have to make sure that you’re doing only what’s required to achieve those goals. Sometimes it will be hard to say no, but it’s necessary.

Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features” — Steve Jobs

3. Being Transparent

Transparency is another common characteristic of successful companies. When you stop to think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Opening up to your employees, and being transparent about what you and the rest of the company are doing is a guaranteed way to make them think that you trust them and care about them.

Doing something as simple as using employee pulse surveys to get both qualitative and quantitative feedback can help with transparency. It will provide weekly, monthly, and quarterly advice to help your organization understand its employees.

My favorite example of this is a company called Hubspot. Its known for its radical transparency, and I’m confident that’s a huge reason for its success. HubSpot shares pretty much everything its legally allowed to with all of its employees on an internal “wiki.”

4. Embracing Change

It’s important not to get stuck in your ways of doing things. This is true for simple, internal processes, and even your entire business model.

Don’t be afraid to pivot to achieve success. Companies are more innovative than ever, and competition is fiercer than ever. If (more like when) the time comes, be ready to adapt.

Using a tool to monitor competitors will help you keep an eye on what they’re doing, and how to react.

Also, customers’ needs will change over time as well. It’s important not to become complacent, and to make sure you are always satisfying them. You should be talking to your customers frequently to ask them what they want, what they don’t like about what you currently do, etc.

There are lots of ways to do this, and there are lots of incredible tools out there, but nothing beats a good old phone call.

5. Relaxing at Work

This can be a tough one to master, especially because balance is so critical. We don’t want to be too relaxed that no work is being done, but we don’t want to be too stressed that our work suffers.

But learning how to relax can be one of the most important things for having a successful office. Again, this kind of relates to the first thing I mentioned about being focused on that long-term vision, because you shouldn’t be so stressed or so anxious to finish a task. If it needs to be done that quickly, then you’re probably not thinking long term enough.

If you ever want to shake things up at the office and want to create a cool atmosphere, try using unique team-building activities to make your office’s company culture thrive.

How Are You Bettering Your Company Culture?

Is your company focusing on its culture? What are some tips and tricks that you may have to offer to improve another company’s culture?

About the Author: Jeffrey Fermin is one of the founders of Officevibe. With a goal of solving some of the major problems that still exist in the modern day workplace, he uses his knowledge to help organizations increase employee engagement.

photo credit: FastLizard4 via photopin cc

What Will Millennial Managers Expect from HR?

The challenges of recruiting and retaining Millennials have been well-documented. They’re demanding. If they don’t find meaning in their work, they’ll go someplace else. They expect flexibility in how they do their job. To hear many recruiters, managers and HR professionals tell it, Millennials are an exceptionally challenging generation of employees.

Now they’re becoming managers, and that could pose new challenges to HR organizations that have already struggled with Gen Y’s approach to work. For example, citing a study by EY, USAToday says that Millennial managers are often seen as entitled and don’t score well as team players.

Whether you like their approach or not, “Millennials as managers won’t be that much different from Millennials as workers,” Josh Bersin, Principal at Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting, LLP, told me. He notes that Millennials have different values and work experiences than their predecessors, which they’ll bring to their roles as managers.

For example, Millennials expect organizations to be transparent. The idea that budgets, salaries, diversity data and similar information should be restricted isn’t going to play well among the generation that grew up with Facebook. “Millennials are pushing organizations hard to be transparent about a lot of things that were kept secret before,” Bersin says. As managers, they’ll be in a position to press directly on HR to provide access to more information.

Expect to hear more demands for flexibility, too. Whether it’s the hours they’re in the office or how they approach a particular problem, Millennials tend to seek the solutions that work for them. HR, which often acts as a steward for carefully crafted policies and procedures, will be pushed to accommodate new approaches to any number of management issues.

“Millennial managers are not going to do something the way it’s always been done just because it’s always been done that way — especially if it doesn’t make sense to them,” writes Brad Karsh in his book Manager 3.0: A Millennial’s Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management.

And if you haven’t yet begun re-thinking how you conduct performance reviews, you may want to consider what your Gen Y managers think about a traditional, checklist-style approach. Already, many organizations making their appraisals focus less on critiquing and more on coaching. That fits with Millennials’ expectations of a more open, communicative work environment.

Though their approach to work is different, Millennials will face the same challenges as other managers in leading their teams and meeting their goals. To support them, HR will have to be flexible, responsive and collaborative. Millennials are growing up, but, as Bersin notes, they’re not going to suddenly change their behavior just because they’ve gotten a management job.

Mark Feffer has written, edited and produced hundreds of articles on careers, personal finance and technology. His work has appeared on and as well as on other top sites. He is currently writing for, the top local resource for job seekers, employers and recruiters in New Hampshire.

photo credit: KDL Photography | Lookin photo credit: roland via photopin cc

#TChat Recap: The ROI Of Workplace Transparency

The ROI Of Workplace Transparency

There’s never a dull moment when you’re involved in the World of Work. Especially, when we’re talking about being transparent. But what is transparency? Or at least, what does it mean to work for an organization that has workplace transparency? This week, our #TChat Community took a deep social dive into the realm of workplace transparency. We were joined by Kim Peters, CEO of Great Rated!, from Great Place to Work®, who is an expert in the online recruitment industry and a passionate professional when it comes to building better employment brands. We were fortunate enough to learn that building better workplace transparency isn’t just about building a better ROI, it’s about creating a great place for employees to work at. It sounds simple enough, but ultimately it’s a global challenge that organizations face on a daily-basis.
To have workplace transparency, is to provide employees with clarity, which means they have a crystal clear understanding of what your organization is about. Our guest host Kim Peters understands that:

Yes, it is good for business. Period. Employees crave social recognition and they expect it. Organizations are only organic and alive when they see their people as real and valuable assets to their business. They have to learn how to communicate this. You can’t expect employees to automatically jump in and know what’s going on from the beginning. Leadership has to be able to realize that:

  Communication equals transparency, and transparency equals communication. Keep people informed and involved. Start by communicating with them what the organization is about, and why they matter to it. Better organizational logistics and operations doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not something you can express mail and have it delivered the following morning. Organizations need to remember that their:

Employees want to work for employers that are honest and give feedback. There’s a million ways we can say it and just a few ways that we can show it. People have to be honest if they expect to have workplace transparency, because ROI is something employers crave and only achieve when they’ve been crystal clear about what they expect from their employees. A happy workforce is what leads to better productivity. All the dots begin to connect when this happens. Felix Nater knows that:

This is the ROI organizations crave for, but few actually know how to achieve. The path to better ROI has to go down the road of better transparency first. Employees need to know what’s expected of them and that they are being involved in the organization’s vision. People want to create meaningful work. Let employees know that they matter by keeping them informed and involved. Workplace transparency has to come natural, it has to be organic, and this only happens when organizations invest in getting to know their employees. From top to bottom, we must build workplace transparency with communication, collaboration, empowerment, and trust. And we can’t cut corners on either one.

Want To See The #TChat Replay?


Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guest:  Kim Peters, CEO Great Rated! from Great Place to Work®, who is an expert in the online recruitment industry and a passionate professional when it comes to building better employment brands. 

#TChat Events: Empowering HR and the Hiring Process

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Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the engagement experience?

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Save The Date: Wednesday, September 24th!

Join us next week, as we talk about The ROI of Workplace Transparency during #TChat Events. The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!


photo credi: Sebastiaan ter Burg via IM Creator cc