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BEWARE THE MILLENNIAL MARCH: ORGANISATIONS MUST MEET YOUNG PARENTS’ WORKPLACE NEEDS – OR RISK FAILURE

Talking Talent’s new digital coaching experience will help businesses engage and retain millennial staff

 

Organisations are about to be hit with a problem that could impact their very survival. Millennials, a generation leading the charge for a fairer society, and soon to make up 35% of the global workforce, have grown up during the recession. They choose value over loyalty, which has filtered down to their work habits. They constantly get approached for – and change – jobs, in a bid for more money and a better work/life balance. Nearly half of millennials plan to leave a job within two years, and – rightly – believe that business’ priorities should include enhancing employees’ lives and careers. Many are now in mid-senior level management positions and are becoming parents themselves. They want to be supported by their employers, but businesses are currently ill-equipped to deal with their parental leave, or to keep them engaged throughout it.

 

In recognition of this, Talking Talent, the global coaching consultancy leading the inclusivity and gender diversity agenda, is today releasing Talking Talent Online: a digital coaching platform that enables employers to support parents-to-be throughout their parental leave. It does so at three crucial stages: preparing for leave, preparing for return, and recently returned – supporting parents through a crucial transition to establish and maintain a sustainable and rewarding work-life balance. The digital coaching support helps businesses keep new parents and their managers engaged and successful during all stages of parental transitions ultimately boosting performance, talent attraction and retention.

 

The first offering of its kind, Talking Talent’s digital platform makes working parent coaching economical and scalable – as well as for working parents of all ages. It provides users with access to specialist coaches, 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday, even whilst on leave, and includes a guided checklist for each stage, as well as downloadable templates. It also assesses users’ ongoing confidence levels, automatically offering extra help when needed. The release follows successful trials by several blue-chip organisations.

 

The need for millennials to receive this level of organisational support is backed up by the demands of parents of this age range, particularly when compared to other generations. Talking Talent research has found that more than one in five (21%) parents aged 25-34 want the ability to take Shared Parental Leave (SPL), compared to only 13% of parents aged 35-44. Younger parents also think that making SPL more attractive to fathers is key for mothers to progress in their careers: one-in-three people under 35 believe this, compared to less than one-in-five over-35s.

 

They are also a generation welcoming professional help. Three-fifths (63%) of 25-34-year olds, compared to a quarter (25%) of those aged 45–54, would value receiving specialist coaching on managing the transition to becoming a working parent. That’s because they worry that juggling work and kids will hold back their career – a feeling becoming more pronounced with each successive generation. Only one in 10 (10%) 45-54-year olds strongly agree that their careers slowed down after having kids. Amongst the 25-34-year olds, 29% strongly agree. With 18-24-year olds, more than one in three (36%) strongly agree.

 

The employers that ignore the needs of their staff – and fail to retain them as a result – will pay heftily for this: the average fee for replacing a departing staff member stands at £30,614.

 

Chris Parke, Founder and CEO of Talking Talent, comments: “Younger parents, particularly millennials, are less torn than their predecessors when it comes to the double duties involved in being a working parent: they are less willing to absorb the sacrifices that were once believed necessary to have both children and a career. We’ve created Talking Talent Online to enable organisations to equip millennials – as well as all of their working parent employees – with parental leave support, as part of a blended coaching experience. With a growing proportion of millennials making up the average workforce, forward-thinking leaders must provide adequate support now – or face failing to retain employees.”

 

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CUSTOMER CARE TODAY WILL BUILD RESILIENCE FOR FUTURE CRISES

Cathal McGloin, CEO of ServisBOT writes, “The COVID-19 pandemic has created major spikes in calls to financial sector helplines dealing with customers who are concerned about temporary business closures, or seeking information on mortgage holidays and insurance cover.

 

Easing the pressure

With call volumes surging at many contact centres, moving customers from a voice to a text-based channel and encouraging some of them to self-serve via your website or mobile app helps to reduce pressure on contact centre agents. A call-deflection solution doesn’t have to be complex, costly or time-intensive, but it can be extremely effective in managing additional call volumes more cost-effectively, while still providing your customers the information that they need to allay their concerns.

If customers are able to interact with a chatbot initially and this resolves their immediate queries, this can significantly reduce call volumes and the business can still enable the bot to handover to a customer service agent for customers that require further assistance.

 

Setting up a Chatbot in 48 hours

Whether your interactive voice response (IVR) is based on legacy technology or is a modern cloud-based solution, it’s possible to deflect customers from an inbound voice channel to a messaging channel. We know, because we have done this for a client who considered this impossible with their legacy on-premise IVR system. Spinning up a solution took just 2 days and allowed them to successfully deflect calls, automate the response, and still offer customers a path to live chat.

 

Employing a Chatbot as a Call Deflection Solution

Financial services businesses can launch a very simple bot. The bot can be as simple as just pointing a customer to the COVID-19 FAQ page or it can be an extension of an existing customer service bot that offers multiple capabilities. On day one it may just be used to quickly assess queries and handover to a live agent. However, by gathering the training phrases from customer chats, the bot can be made progressively smarter and add capabilities, so that it can be trained over the course of  a week to start automating your customer service

After a week the bot can start automating to become more self-sufficient and take more of the burden from your customer service agents, allowing them to handle more complex customer issues.

Using a chatbot opens up a whole new path to automation.  Once customers start to engage with your intelligent virtual agent, the bot can handle simple requests, direct them to the relevant information on your website, or help them transact in a self-service manner. All of this can happen without the need for them to engage with an agent unless they specifically request this, or the bot escalates the request to an agent. It can even be integrated with your live chat systems so that the bot works in parallel with live agents when needed.

 

Future proofing

During crisis periods, when interactions with concerned customers need to be handled well, call deflection using a chatbot or virtual agent takes the pressure off contact centre agents. It also introduces an automation path that can help customers around the clock.

Once your chatbot has been trained to respond to common customer queries round the clock and reduce the pressure on your contact centre staff, your employees can focus on providing the best care for your customers who urgently need to speak to them. Introducing virtual assistants sends a clear message to your customers that they are your priority and increases the resilience of your business against future emergencies.

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NEW IVALUA STUDY SHOWS TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGES ARE HINDERING PROCUREMENT TEAMS FROM ACHIEVING BUSINESS OBJECTIVES

Lack of system integrations and actionable insights are stopping organisations from accurately measuring performance

 

Ivalua, a leading provider of global spend management cloud solutions, has announced the latest findings of a worldwide study of supply chain, procurement and finance business leaders on Effective Procurement Performance Measurement. The study revealed the challenges procurement teams face when it comes to achieving business objectives and the wide and growing gap in performance between advanced and less mature teams.

 

The research, conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Ivalua, found that procurement teams are increasingly being measured by non-cost KPIs such as revenue opportunities being created, payment performance (e.g. on time payments) and spend visibility. However, a lack of data integration between systems (44%), lack of relevant insights (40%) and insights not being made available at the right point in the process (39%) are preventing organisations from accurately measuring progress against business objectives. This is because organisations continue to face challenges when it comes to harnessing technology in procurement, with existing systems not being fit for purpose (36%), poor data quality reducing trust in information (36%) and staff having inaccurate expectations of what technology can do (34%).

 

The research went on to reveal that more digitally “advanced” procurement departments are far exceeding “beginner” procurement departments that are less digitally mature in the range of KPIs they track, how frequently they measure success and the levels of planned technology investments. Key findings include:

  • 97% of advanced procurement departments say procurement strategy is well aligned with overall business strategy versus only 14% of beginners.
  • 51% of advanced procurement departments measure performance weekly or biweekly, versus only 26% of beginners.
  • Only 16% of beginners proactively monitor suppliers’ contracts for expiration and risk, versus 94% of advanced – this is critical for helping organisations manage today’s global supply chain challenges, such as the Coranavirus outbreak.

 

“In order for procurement teams to achieve their growing list of objectives and become strategic enablers for their organisations it’s clear they need to overcome a number of technology challenges” said David Khuat-Duy, Corporate CEO of Ivalua. “As we can see from more digitally advanced procurement departments, technology adoption has helped them to align with business objectives, actively measure performance and add value in areas such as risk management. Their investments and approach to leveraging technology is building a competitive advantage.”

 

According to the study, the amount organisations are spending on procurement technology has been rising and expected to accelerate. In the past 12 months, 46% of organisations increased spending by 5-10%. In the next 12 months, 39% plan to increase spending by 5-10%, while a further 43% plan to increasing spending by 10% or more. Procurement leaders are also looking to fully digitise procurement processes (40%), becoming the preferred customers of strategic suppliers (40%), implementing new software for sourcing/procurement (38%) and improving reporting and insights (38%) to help achieve objectives.

 

“It’s encouraging to see organisations investing more in technology, which will help procurement become a key strategic enabler that goes beyond cost reduction to build a competitive advantage,” added Khuat-Duy. “Increasing adoption of technology will allow procurement teams to gain complete visibility into all suppliers and spend. This will open up further opportunities for procurement to help identify revenue opportunities, track risk and improve sustainability, helping to contribute towards wider procurement and business objectives.”

 

Download the full study here.

 

*The February 2020 study was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Ivalua and is based on a survey of 409 finance, procurement and supply chains decision makers throughout North America and Europe, as well as several in depth interviews.

 

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