Blog 7 | CEO’s about their response to the new normal

By News, Retail

Through an exchange of letters, Marjon Kaper (CEO ANWB Reizen) and Erik-Jan Mares (CEO Zeeman) provide answers to four questions posed by Bram Gilliam and Jasper van Rijn (IG&H Retail), focusing on how they address and institutionalize the challenges and changes they are facing as a result of the corona crisis.

During one of his first press conferences on the corona crisis, Mark Rutte emphasized the measures introduced in our country were of unprecedent scale. All of a sudden, our main concern was focused on feeling safe, whether at work, in shopping streets or on holiday, something we never experienced before. Safety currently comes in the form of a 1.5-meter society. A society in which we always keep our distance and a travel ban applies to many countries. At the same time, the need for personal contact and interaction is bigger than ever, in order to motivate employees and retain customers. It feels like a contradiction and creates a challenge for organizations to add social value to their offerings. It does not only require adjustments in communication towards customers, on the shop floor and within the supply chain, but it also requires adjustments in the organization itself.

1.5-meter economy
Today, we are aware that the measures stabilizing the spread of the coronavirus will have a structural impact on our society. The Dutch government asked all branches to provide action plans on how to rebound business, while guaranteeing safety of customers and employees. A strict entry policy, clear store routing and high tolerance in rebooking of travel plans are examples of the rebound plans in your branches. Personally, it makes me wonder what the 1.5-meter economy does with the people behind these plans. I can imagine it takes various approaches and requires scaling up at different paces for every single business unit, from head office employees to front line staff and travel guides. This brings a high level of complexity.

What actions did you take to make your employees feel safe and secure?  

Erik-Jan Mares
This question takes me back to March 13th, the day that the coronavirus reached our country and things changed. Up to then, Zeeman only experienced some delayed inbound shipments from China, but from that point onward it became clear the virus was going to have a much bigger impact. To make things more complex, Zeeman is operating in seven different countries, all reacting differently.

The most important thing we did was communicate frequently to keep our teams informed and simply to show that we care. ‘We can imagine how you feel, that you are scared or uncertain and that you wonder why your store is open or not‘ – these are all examples of topics we wanted to talk about. We mostly worked with videos to get across a more personal message. Next to that, I personally visited 19 stores (1 in each of our Dutch regions) in the first three days of the lockdown to show our support and to really understand what was going on. An intensive, but very rewarding thing to do.

Afterwards, people felt a little more confident and at ease. In this crisis, safety and business continuity seem to be on opposing sides. This brings up a discussion which you can move away from or directly address and we tried to do the latter one.

Marjon Kaper
What a strange situation we are in, right? Who could have imagined that the entire organization (in our case over 300 colleagues) would work from home for more than two months? After Mark Rutte announced that we “should stay at home as much as possible”, we quickly arranged that all our colleagues, including the ANWB Reizen customer contact center, could work from home. In the first weeks, there was a lot of work to be done. As ANWB Reizen, we are active in tour operating, camping and leisure activities (a day out, walking and cycling in the Netherlands) and we run ANWB Golf. In a short time, we had to cancel all organized trips and activities, inform our customers and repatriate 2000 travelers from all over the world. All this was achieved from the attics, kitchen tables, or living rooms of our colleagues.

This experience made me realize that you do not have to be physically together to get things done, and that there are endless possibilities to work remote. I believe that leadership and creating trust are always important, but the physical distance created by this crisis poses the real challenge. In times like these it is more important than ever to be transparent and approachable. We try to create continuous insights into how we are doing as a company and emphasize that we are part of the larger ANWB, which is a healthy organization with healthy financial buffers. Also, we have continuous and open contact with the works council, having constructive discussions on a weekly basis. We regularly communicate to our people through vlogs and blogs and next week we will be meeting with senior management to catch up on the latest details. We have a great way to enable all levels of the organization to speak up on what is on their mind, through our internal social platform “ANWB talks”. The platform offers the opportunity to discuss and share all kinds of topics. This can be a specific group, in terms of interest, but also top down. We encourage colleagues to respond and interact here.  

Now, it seems that we can meet each other again soon, in person. We prepared a plan in which approximately half of the employees can come to the office, considering the 1.5-meter distance. We aim to maintain the efficiency that working from home has brought us, reducing travel time and traffic jams as much as possible. The office is increasingly becoming a place where you want to be, every now and then, especially to meet your colleagues, but not a place where you must be present every day to sit behind your desk at 8.30.


Leadership
Managing and supporting employees has become top priority in organizations due to the corona crisis. Organization leaders are called upon to lead organizations through the crisis. This requires a delicate balance between masculine (a directive and decisive approach) and feminine (focusing on connection and intuition) leadership styles. On the one hand, leaders must project calmness and control to remove uncertainty of employees. On the other hand, inspiration and trust must be projected to keep employees motivated and confident. We see examples of organizations doing their utmost best to inform and involve employees. For example, CEOs who take the time to share thoughts and developments with their organization through weekly of even daily video messages. Moreover, we see decisions being made fast and decisively, for example in expanding e-commerce capacity.

In your opinion, what are the key leadership traits you rely on in times of crisis?

Erik-Jan Mares
My preferred leadership style is to give trust and responsibility to the team. However, in times of crisis, I temporarily switch to a more directive and decisive style. The management team participated in a training last year, making the team well-prepared for this switch in style when the crisis hit our country. Still, we discussed as a team how to allow for fast decision-making and consciously decided that this would centre around very few persons only. I think the whole team appreciated this discussion, including myself.

One example is on the communication we discussed earlier. I had a clear view of how I wanted to bring that forward, in what tone of voice and with clear focus on empathy, which I guaranteed by personally staying on top this. Currently, the responsibility is fully back with the team. So, if you ask me, the most important leadership quality required during a crisis is decisiveness, hand in hand with keeping the human dimension (‘menselijke maat’)

Next to that, leading by example is a practice I strongly believe in. You do not know what goes on in the minds of others, if you have not experienced it yourself. Creating visibility, showing that you care and starting a conversation. In this way the store visits I talked about earlier are very important for me as they provided a real opportunity to be in touch with so many people.

Marjon Kaper
In general, I do not think there is a big difference between leadership during a crisis or leadership during “ordinary” times. As a leader, I believe it is always important to indicate the direction in which the organization is going, that you make quick decisions and communicate them, as well as being approachable and accessible to your colleagues. The current situation does present additional challenges to the leaders of the organization. For example, communicating with the right tone or remaining visible and approachable, as mentioned above, are more challenging from a (physical) distance, when everyone is working remotely. As management, we write blogs and record weekly video messages for our colleagues. We also try to pay special attention to the social aspects of working, for example by organizing digital drinks. Fortunately, we are not unique in this and we see many organizations around us who do this.


Culture 
“Only a crisis produces real change”, economist Milton Friedman once said. Changes, which typically take years, are now gaining momentum. These changes become visible in many areas. There is an increasing demand in home delivery, children are following online classes and elderly know how to use digital channels. A similar movement is shaking up organizations. A digital working environment is slowly becoming the new normal, possibly bringing structural benefits. New partnerships arise, deeper as well as wider into the supply chain. These changes seem to be accelerated by employees showing a greater amount of decisiveness and focus. In my opinion, the challenge is to institutionalize the positive side of these changes to unlock a structural, more efficient way of working.

Could you describe how the Corona crisis changed the culture within your organization and how you attempt to institutionalize the positive aspects?

Erik-Jan Mares
The culture of Zeeman focuses on frugality (‘zuinig’), on genuine care of people, resources and society. We are a family business with a high level of involvement, acting differently and being a little bit headstrong (‘eigenzinnig’).

At the start of the crisis, the way of working at Zeeman changed drastically. It used to be slightly old-fashioned: for instance working from home was not done commonly. Currently – and I believe that this will continue after the crisis – attending a meeting at Zeeman is possible regardless of your workplace.

Next to a new way of working, the ability to focus on a few things only enormously increased. We have always been a very lean organisation with the ability to act quickly. However – now more than ever – our focus is on ‘getting things done’. We switched from thorough and deliberate decision making, to fast, less comprehensive, but still thoughtful decision making. Herein, the key is to focus. Prioritize and focus on the three things that matter most. An example is the application we use to share the videos I referred to earlier. Within a week, we launched this application, an introduction which usually takes much more time. How to preserve these changes in the future is ‘the million-dollar question’, since the list of possible projects is already growing. Leadership can help in prioritizing and serving as an example. However, the main question is whether the organisation is ready and whether people are capable and willing to internalize this way of working.

Marjon Kaper
We definitely see acceleration in digitization. Some processes digitized at an accelerated pace during the past weeks and it is fantastic to see how skillful we have become with organizing digital meetings. A cultural change I observed, is that remote working has increased the need for trust that you must have in your people. I sincerely hope that the amount of traffic jams in the Netherlands will reduce, as a result of increased amount of trust and responsibility we give to our employees in deciding how, when and where to work. Now, the corona crisis reinforces that trust, even among managers who might have found this difficult in the past. I hope we can continue to assume that people are motivated to work to the best of their abilities. Ideally, we would only come to the office because we think it is valuable for certain activities or meetings, and not as a habit.

I also see positive changes in our way of working. We are in the middle of a transition of our internal organization and are merging a number of business components. Since January 1st, colleagues have taken up their new positions and we see that people are getting to know each other quicker and seek cooperation more easily since the crisis requires us to do so, for example in repatriating customers. The crisis is disastrous for our business, but it is an accelerator for our transition.

The big question remains, how do we hold on to these positive effects? Personally, I intend to never schedule a meeting again for which people require to be stuck in traffic; from now on I will always take that into account. I understand that this will be challenging, but in my opinion, this requires leading by example and persevere.


Social impact
While physical distance between people is greater than ever, social connection is intensifying. People look out after each other more. Spontaneous support initiatives for neighbors or local entrepreneurs arise and additional gratitude to healthcare staff is shown. Moreover, grocery shopping is no longer a daily activity, but a fulfillment of primary needs. The corona crisis puts society under a microscope, resulting in enlarged focus on the societal role of organizations. A study done by Nielsen, tracking changes in consumer behavior caused by corona, also indicates this. It shows consumers have an increased interest in the supply chain, demand increased transparency and prefer buying more local. Changes like this evoke reflection and ask organizations to think about what they truly want to represent. I am curious to what extent you reconsider your positioning in order to (re)connect to the changing world.

Does this crisis affect the role you want to fulfill in society and your company’s purpose? 

Erik-Jan Mares
Prior to the Corona crisis, Zeeman already had a clear vision of its purpose and role in society. Our way of working, with its human dimension, is who we are and what is being reinforced by the crisis. The paradox of balancing between people’s health/safety and business continuity is a topic we already discussed at Zeeman. When the government decided to keep the Dutch stores open, we felt the obligation to continue offering our products, while guaranteeing safety for employees and customers.

Another example is our CSR policy. We were already investigating how to reuse materials and increase local sourcing. From a CSR perspective, it makes no sense to circulate goods by sending them back to China to recycle. As a result, we need local facilities that can do this close by. The crisis confirms that the things we started are more valid than ever.

To be honest, the crisis is an opportunity for Zeeman to strengthen its position. We mainly focus on slow fashion, basic products that have a permanent rather than a seasonal profile and are offered at discount rates. The amount of people interested in slow fashion with great value for money might only rise as a result of the crisis.

All in all, I believe that our companies purpose together with the mentality of our people is going to make us emerge even stronger out of this crisis.

Marjon Kaper
The purpose and mission of ANWB is to let its members go out or get on the road, carefree and with great pleasure. By carefree, we mean for travelers, as well as with the least possible impact on the environment. For this reason, we compensate for CO2 emissions of all trips that members and customers make with us through ANWB Reizen. Obviously, this is not enough yet. We strive for further sustainability of the tourism sector. This was already our vision and it is strengthened by the current crisis. We do expect consumers to be more critical of travel organizations, airlines and hotel chains after the crisis, but we do not consider adjustments to our purpose necessary.

With special thanks to Marjon Kaper and Erik-Jan Mares,

Bram Gilliam
Director at IG&H
E: bram.gilliam@igh.com T: 0622564054

Jasper van Rijn
Partner at IG&H
E: jasper.vanrijn@igh.com T: 0653376760

Authors:
Myrthe van Hoek (myrthe.vanhoek@igh.com); Marijn Reiff (marijn.reiff@igh.com)

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Unique Patient Evacuation Coordination management tool build with OutSystems Technology

By Health, News, Technology

IG&H, a partner of OutSystems with offices in the Netherlands and Portugal is coordinating the National Coordination Centre for Patient Evacuation (LCPS). The aim of LCPS is to spread the workload and care capacities across hospitals as effectively as possible. Therefor they needed to manage the available resources in each hospital and coordinate all patient transport movements across hospitals in real-time.

To avoid a possible catastrophic scenario, a management tool needed to be built very fast and with high standards of quality.

PECC was built with OutSystems by IG&H and became up and running in less than 2 weeks. This new centralized tool replaced shared files and whiteboards that were being used before. The result was impressive, not only did it improve the effectiveness of all staff involved, but is also created a new set of capabilities (i.e. auditing and reporting). The adoption by the users was almost instantaneous and the feedback that started to reach the Development Team was great.

The PECC application covers 119 hospitals in the Netherlands and Germany. PECC provides real-time overview dashboards and other web pages that manage the process of each patient’s transport movement. These include the workflow of identifying the criticality of each case, then finding the best hospital and managing the specific transport according to the situation of the patient. These decisions are based on 90+ different input fields, that lead to the most favorable solution.

Following the success of PECC, LCPS identified one other urgent necessity that could be tackled with Low Code, the result is the COVID19 NL-DE Kooperation Webportal and a tool managing the allocation and distribution of mission critical equipment like ventilators and IV-pumps called MedOps. The Kooperation portal has been built with OutSystems and is a web application portal that manages the availability of German hospitals to receive Dutch ICU-patients. Dashboards and web pages deliver the information that the application receives directly from the hospitals and transform it in a way that immediately shows the users the most useful information quickly and if needed that information can be drilled down to the required level of detail.

This solution was only possible due to the contributions of OutSystems by providing the necessary infrastructure, deep expertise and support, the Dutch Ministry of Health and the Dutch Army that helped defining the solution process, and by IG&H Health sector knowledge.

Contact
Nuno Pacheco
E: nuno.pacheco@igh.com

Why is the Corona crisis similar to the introduction of the iPad and what can companies learn from it?

By News, Organizational transformation

The current Corona crisis leaves many businesses in a lot of uncertainty about the future. Many companies face a significant decrease in turnover. Interestingly, this shows similarities with the introduction of the iPad in 2010. Do you want to know these similarities? Read about why your organisation hato anticipate today, and about our three most important learnings. 

When the iPad was introduced in 2010, a publishing company predicted that the introduction of the iPad would cause a 70% sales decrease in hard copy magazines and subscriptions by 2020The online world was hardly existing back then and nobody knew how this would pan out. The magazine publisher had a decade to find a solution but was not sure about which direction to takeIn the current Corona crisis, many companies don’t know either: many of the short-term emergency measures will become the new normal, but which ones?   

Studies and empirical research describe the situation of these companies as complex. It is important to understand that complexity makes it impossible to predict patterns of the futureThe normal way of strategy forming is therefore not effective and organisations should seek alternative ways.  

The answer lies in conducting many safe fail experiments within a shared set of rules (boundaries). Safe fail literally means that it is “safe to fail”there are little resources invested and that it is easy to kill the experiment when not successful. When successful, the organisation should of course be able to scale up quickly. What we see in many organisations is that experiments are the opposite, they are just the first step of a giant roll out. The publisher in this case started a series of experiments in several countries on web fora, digital magazines, interaction with readers, and more things that we find common nowadays. It is an example of successfully adapting to new opportunities.  

So, start today with our three important learnings from this case: 

1) Accept uncertainty: When you accept the complexity, you accept that there is no cause and effect relationship visible upfront. Therefore, regular strategy forming processes do not work.

2) Set a clear purpose of your organisation and define rules for experimentingBe clear on the company’s purpose. For example, the purpose of the publishing company was to remain customer relevant in off- and online contentWe advise you to define specific rules (called boundaries in complexity theory) within which your company can start to experiment. Examples of these rules are

  • Experiments should always create customer value
  • Experiments should start small and develop quickly to a larger scale
  • Experiments should be bold with ambitious goals that innovate the sector  

3) Start bottom up experimentsStart experimenting within your organisationInvolve employees that are in day to day contact with customers, trust them with coming up with the right ideasCreate multidisciplinary teams to boost creativity and enable quick roll outs. Managers should delegate maximum authority to experiment teams in order to maximise productivity and ownership. Additionally, this enables managers to focus on staying connected, communication, and providing perspective. Read more about this in our recent blog on leadership.   

The theory of these learnings is the easy part, putting them into practice is hard. Keep in mind that you should never waste a good crisis, maybe your experiment teams will discover the next breakthrough innovation in your sector! 

 Are you triggered about the impact of complexity on your organisation and do you want to create momentum to get a head start? We are more than ready to help you explore new opportunities! On our websitewe will share more blogs, hand-outs and other materials related to the current Corona situation. 

Contact
Boy Knoef
E: boy.knoef@igh.com

Become a true Data Driven Organization

By Banking, Data science, News

In Commercial Banking it is increasingly important that business processes are digital, data driven and can leverage AI. In the current times of unexpected change we see this magnified. IG&H data scientists observe that organizations who already transformed their processes now truly benefit.

Commercial banks are confronted with a sudden wave of SME client requests, changed risk drivers and changes in risk profiles. Banks want to help and need to figure out what (temporary) policy changes would be meaningful for clients. And also, what the impact of specific changes would be on the bank’s business.

Those who have already transformed their processes are now able to handle this situation much faster and more confidently. Their business processes are already more efficient and more consistent. And in the current time of crisis they also prove to be much more Scalable, Transparent, and Adaptable and they offer more options for looking forward in a smart way.

Scalable
Digital, data driven business processes with a high rate of straight-through-processing and where decisions are made (partly) by AI decision models, require much less human effort. Therefore, they can deal more easily with peaks in workload, especially in times when human capacity may be limited.

This benefit can only fully materialize when there are no bottlenecks in other parts with a crucial dependency. This stresses the fact that individual point solutions are not the way to go. The effective way is a transformation to become a true Data Driven Organization in People, Process, Data and Technology.

Transparent
Monitoring the impact of the current situation on the client experience, on process performance metrics and on KPIs is much more accurate and near real-time in a data driven process. This facilitates communication and coordination throughout the organization and allows management to take more effective actions.

For example: Dashboards can quickly be shared to observe what is really happening. Such as which teams have the highest workload increase. Or where clients’ payment behavior is most impacted.  Analytics can be used to signal early warning indicators such as trends and significant deviations.

Adaptable
AI decision models and business rules can be configured easily to effectuate policy changes like (temporary) higher risk thresholds, lowering the weight of specific risk drivers, higher or lower maximum values, etcetera.

For example: It can be easier to change a few parameters in a risk review decision model, than it is to communicate such changes to whole departments of specialists and coach them to quickly and consistently execute these.

Smart forward looking
Finally, AI decision models can be used to ‘test out’ different scenarios and evaluate very fast the likely effects on individual loans and on portfolio level.

For example: Changing the values of specific risk variables along the lines of different scenarios and observing the predicted effects, is being used to zoom in on those clients who likely require first attention.

AI models can be a very powerful tool to provide insight in likely future outcomes. A data scientist and business specialist who understand how the underlying machine learning works and on what data it was trained can provide a range of quick scan insights within a very short turnaround time.

IG&H’s data scientists and banking consultants continue to work with clients (especially now) to transform commercial banking organizations to remain competitive and benefit from being a true Data Driven Organization.

Would you like to talk about what you can do while your processes are not yet as digital and data driven as you would like? How you can best take the first step? Or how you can leverage your first progress and truly turn the corner to transform into a Data Driven organization? We are ready to help you explore and make data work! Just drop me a note!

Mando Rotman
Manager Data Science IG&H
E: mando.rotman@igh.com

Leadership during crisis: Work together to weather the storm

By News, Organizational transformation

From the local bakery to the multinational corporation, the corona crisis requests strong leadership at all levels. Leaders have the important task to navigate their organisation and employees, and therefore society, through these difficult times. Question remains: how to approach this kind of responsibility? We have identified three best practices for effective leadership during a time of crisis.

#1 Show empathy and remain connected
Employees are your main priority as a leader. Therefore, it is essential to show empathy and compassion for the personal and professional challenges employees currently face. Acknowledge the complexity of the situation and emphasize that you are in this together. This requires special attention by being supportive and showing appreciation towards your employees. Recognition can be sparked by contacting your employees regularly. Ask them how they are doing, how they feel about their workload and how their needs can be addressed. By setting an example, employees will start to check-in with each other as well, which will foster team spirit. During the check-ins, it is paramount for leaders to stress the importance of a healthy work-life balance. Additionally, you should encourage your employees to take time to relax to stay physically, socially and mentally in good condition.

#2 Communicate frequently and transparently
Besides showing empathy and remaining connected, these uncertain times call for clear and transparent communication. Take a fixed moment every week in which you provide transparency about the impact of the crisis and the outlook after the crisis. Clarity sparks confidence and creates a sense of security among employees. Make sure, just like our prime minister, to emphasize that you will constantly adapt to the latest insights as not everything can already be foreseen. It is important to be cautious with regards of the terminology you use in your communication, as words have a big impact on sentiment. It is recommended to emphasize on solidarity (by using words like ‘we’ and ‘together’) and faith (by using words like ‘collective flexibility, ‘our future’ and ‘your power’).

#3 Provide future perspective
Apart from the challenges we are currently facing, the coronavirus outbreak also provides ample opportunity. It is for a good reason that the Chinese sign of crisis is similar to the sign of opportunity. Translating this to leadership means addressing risks is equally important to addressing opportunities. Take time to reflect: What can our organisation learn from this situation, is it time to change directions? This helps to provide a realistic but positive future perspective to your employees. Creating perspective will increase trust among your employees and will rekindle motivation to contribute to this collective (renewed) goal. Challenge employees to explore creative ways to turn the apparent challenges into opportunities. To make those ideas work, ensure a dedicated approach: identify critical success factors, make sure to accelerate fast and evaluate continuously. Besides, daily check-ins with the team will foster collaboration. Read more information about how to design this in a digital environment. By enabling employees with enough space, time and mandate to make it work and by focussing on (small) achievements, collective energy will increase, which is necessary combating the corona crisis.

Would you like to talk about working in a digital environment within your organization or use the momentum to get a head start? We are more than ready to help you explore new opportunities! On our website we will share more blogs, hand-outs and other materials related to efficiently working from home.

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New trend? 3 reasons why you need a Chief Remote Officer

By News, Organizational transformation

No warm welcome at the reception, no extensive lunch and no energetic high five with that one special colleague. Offices are abandoned. World’s largest home working experiment has begun. Suddenly, coerced by coronavirus pandemic, employees and management have to find their way in digital collaboration. But how do you make sure that working remotely does not come at the cost of productivity? A plea for a Chief Remote Officer.

We believe that the circumstances ask for a new role: a Chief Remote Officer. Like the CEO, COO or CFO, the Chief Remote Officer will be essential in creating the best possible outcome for the organization during these challenging times. We have identified at least three aspects to be part of the duties of your already indispensable colleague:

#1 The Chief Remote Officer fosters productivity
World’s largest home working experiment offers an infinite amount of opportunities, but it can also be challenging. It is, of course, important to remain connected with your colleagues. But conference calls can be quite exhausting. Therefore, it may be difficult to provide enough room for everyone to share his or her opinion during this situation. How do you make sure that virtual meetings are as productive as possible? And how do you make sure that everyone, while discussing the content, stays on the same energy level? The Chief Remote Officer helps to foster productivity by introducing energizers and work methods to experiment with.

#2 The Chief Remote Officer connects colleagues
It is important, especially now, to connect with the people around us, even if it is only digitally. Ask yourself the question: who do you send an invitation for a virtual coffee to ask how they really feel? In the Organization Transformation team, we find it important that successes are celebrated, and that productivity and motivation are being rewarded. Showing appreciation helps to remain connected. For example, surprise that one special colleague by sending a compliment card. Our Chief Remote Officer has already designed one for you. Let us know which compliment cards we can send your way.

#3 The Chief Remote Officer strengthens employability
Alongside fostering productivity and connecting colleagues, the Chief Remote Officer also explores how to strengthen employability within the organization. This ensures that employees can work from home in optimal conditions. As employer, you are responsible for a healthy workplace, whether employees work at the office or from home. The Chief Remote Officer gives advice on, for example, how to create an ergonomic home workplace. He or she also provides tips on how to stay physically, mentally and socially healthy during, and after, your workday. Above all, the Chief Remote Officer contributes to your happiness by making working from home more efficient and enjoyable.

The Chief Remote Officer is aware of how employees experience working from home and advises management on the matter, taking into account the human side as well. The Chief Remote Officer helps to strengthen connections among peers, but also between employees and supervisors.

Would you like to talk about working in a digital environment within your organization or use the momentum to get a head start? We are more than ready to help you explore new opportunities! On our website we will share more blogs, hand-outs and other materials related to efficiently working from home.

Ways to remain connected with your employees during the Coronavirus outbreak

By News, Organizational transformation

The Coronavirus outbreak has a firm grasp on organisations. Now that people are working from home, as an employer you may feel that you are losing connection with your employees. Working remotely can be challenging as it requires a certain level of self-discipline. Also, it can be difficult for employees to still feel involved with the organisation which may be detrimental for their productivity. How can you, as an employer, improve productivity and maintain strong relationships with your employees? 

 Working from home requires employees to adopt new behaviour and a shift to a new way of working. As the Organisational Transformation team at IG&H, we approach behavioural change from the perspective of the ABC-model. The ABC-model found its origin in cognitive behavioural therapy. The model helps to analyse and influence behaviour. In this model, A stands for antecedents; anything that triggers behaviour, B stands for behaviour and beliefs and C stands for consequences. According to the ABC-model, focusing on antecedents and/or consequences is pivotal to changing the behaviour of people. In fact, behavioural change can be accelerated even more by focusing on positive consequences.

Knowing this, as an employer you can focus on antecedents to make sure that your employees can function optimally while working from home. For example, by facilitating an ergonomic workplace (e.g. providing desk chairs or additional computer screens). Additionally, they can reward employees for positive behaviour. This can be done by giving compliments or sending thank you cards when employees set an example by combining hard work with their private life.

Besides creating the right preconditions and rewarding good behaviour with positive consequences, we have some additional practical tips to stay connected with your employees:

  1. Stay in contact frequently: it is of utter importance to stay in contact frequently with your employees and to make sure they have the feeling of being involved. Communicating frequently through online meetings and digital stand-ups, helps to assure that you are connected to your employees and to know what they are up to. This can be established by using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype and Google Hangout.
  2. Be available: make sure to be available when your employees need you. It is easy to drop by when you are in office, but for some employees it may be difficult to break down the digital barrier. Encourage employees to reach out when they have questions. It can be helpful to host digital one-to-one conversations with employees.
  3. Address needs: especially during these unprecedented times it is important to address the needs of your employees. Ask employees whether they feel enough support from the organisation and whether they feel involved. There are plenty of digital options to facilitate this, for example through online surveys and feedback forms.

Would you like to learn more about digital collaboration? How to make working from home more efficient and fun for you and your colleagues? Or would you like to get more information on the requirements for setting up a home office? Please read the first part of our Online Best Practices.

Would you like to talk about working in a digital environment or use the unprecedented times to get a head start? We would like to help you explore new opportunities!

 

 

IG&H is involved in setting up and running the National Coordination Centre for Patient Evacuation (LCPS)

By Announcement, Healthcare, News

Due to the crisis, the workload of patient care across the Netherlands needs to be spread as effectively as possible. We are proud to announce that we have been asked to help with this very challenging, but also important task by the Ministry of Health and the Dutch Network for Emergency Care (LNAZ). This means we will set up and coordinate the National Coordination Centre for Patient Evacuation. The Team, led by Bas Leerink and Bart ter Horst has succeeded in making the system operational in 5 days.

More information about this can be found here: www.lcps.nu

How Retailers can rebound from the Corona crisis | 2) Fight now to take advantage later

By News, Retail

Five imperatives for retailers as they battle the Corona crisis, addressing most immediate challenges that simultaneously strengthen their future position.

It has been two weeks since the Corona outbreak has derailed the Netherlands through unprecedented measures to limit the spread. The Dutch government uses a ‘flatten the curve’ approach to fight the virus. Measures like social distancing, working from home and closure of restaurants are starting to have a stabilizing effect on the outbreak according to RIVM. Meanwhile, these measures are shaking up retail like never before.

The virus has major implications for every retailer. Both different immediate actions and preparation to rebound must be undertaken. We listed five immediate imperatives for retailers in their battle against Corona, that simultaneously strengthen their future position.

1) Use data to re-establish critical business performance

The Corona virus creates uncertainty. Uncertainty about the speed at which the virus spreads, about regulations that might be imposed, and about how long the current situation will last. For retailers, a key immediate challenge is how to deal with uncertainty in demand patterns. Customers show different and sometimes irrational behaviour. They are buying online instead of in stores due to contamination fear, they are hoarding in supermarkets out of fear for a total lock down and they are buying products to cook, sport and entertain themselves at home, since restaurants and sport clubs are closed.

In the meantime, retailers have switched to crisis mode and focus mainly on business continuity, trying to re-establish control. Decisions (e.g. around inventory) have to be made fast and are sometimes made based on business intuition or rule of thumb, rather than data driven. However, especially in these times it is of immediate importance to step up fact-based decision making. Step one is to establish access and structure to all available data (from the massive number of sources most retailers have) and turn this into sound business intelligence and relevant insight. With the level of uncertainty higher than ever, new well-structured insights are the only way to re-establish control. For retailers who do not yet have their data management and business intelligence capabilities in place, this is the time to rapidly set it up. A crash team can improve predictability of changing demand patterns step-by-step, even within few weeks. Such a team should include data science & IT and closely collaborate with buying & merchandising, and channels. Rapid roll-out of real time dashboards can facilitate decision making within critical retail processes such as online customer engagement, promotion management, supply chain planning and store merchandising.

2) Deepen customer understanding to rebound to the new reality

ING bank investigated the changes in Dutch card transactions. Their research shows a decrease in the number of transactions with 24% on March 20th this year, compared to a similar day last year. Toy stores, supermarkets and DIY see an uplift in the number of transactions (+10%; +5%; +2%), where all other retail segments show a decline, including restaurants & bars and clothing stores (-81%; -72%). This emphasizes that customer behaviour is radically changing, possibly structurally. Retailers must develop insight in demand changes to understand the new reality. Not having a grip on customer needs hurts everywhere in the business, from customer contact to product availability and prioritization of projects. For some changes, like the increase of online shopping, it is likely they will last not only during the crisis but also long after. However, other changes in demand will stay erratic and are dependent on the developments and measures the virus will bring us. In preparing for the rebound, retailers must not only respond to these customer demand changes but even outpace competitors in adjusting to the new reality. Time to find new growth opportunities.

The key to customer insight is understanding customer behaviour and identifying disruptive shifts in the customer journey. With customer insight comes the possibility to segment and develop tailored solutions. Think for example of a differentiated service for elderly people, where it is possible for them to chat or call with staff to place orders, instead of placing them online. At the same time, it helps control buying behaviour of your customers towards targeted outcomes. For example, a supermarket in Denmark came up with a pricing trick to stop the hoarding of hand sanitizers by pricing the second bottle of sanitizer 25 times as high as the first one.

To adjust the supply chain to the new normal, developing predictive analytics based on customer demand patterns is key. Since demand is erratic, only point of sale data is not a good parameter for future demand. Instead, predictive analytics reflecting new demand patterns are needed to adequately adjust buying plans, intake orders, stock management policies and allocation rules. Intensive cooperation between store planners, replenishment planners, category managers and purchasers, together with these data and analytics, makes it possible to prepare for the rebound.

3) Scale e-commerce by leveraging store network and investment in logistics capacity

Changes in demand as well as governmental measures have major implications on the utilization of retailer infrastructures. Food retailers suffer from an overburden of their distribution centres and reach their logistical as well as their technical maximum capacity for e-commerce. Conversely, various non-food retailers are closing their stores to protect their staff and customers’ health or because of a dramatic decline of traffic. Both situations ask for creativity and flexibility in the deployment of existing infrastructures.

Most non-food retailers face (a period of) further underutilized store infrastructure. To stay relevant to customers, focus shifts from offline to online sales. Not an easy task when stores used to be the main channel. If retailers succeed in having customers find their way to their website and shop online, they face a next challenge in scaling their logistics. A solution in this case might be to use the store network as customer fulfilment centres, so called ‘dark stores’. This relieves the existing logistics network. Alternatively, retailers can be creative and think about helping others. As does fashion giant H&M, who is offering up its supply chain to help hospitals reduce their medical supply shortages, by producing protective medical equipment. Moreover, food retailers reaching their maximum capacities for e-commerce, should try to leverage their store network to provide immediate capacity relief.

In parallel, this is the moment to develop a plan how to scale-up structurally and mature a true omni-channel proposition. Whilst today’s e-commerce hyper growth is driven by Corona regulations, it will likely turn out to be a structural accelerator of shifting demand from offline to online. This provides new growth opportunities for which online pure players are at pole position, just as SARS boosted Alibaba in 2003. Capturing these opportunities requires swift action (a topic we will discuss in our next blogpost). This can involve immediate decisions to prepare investment in mechanisation and capacity, in omni-channel IT integration and where possible leverage suppliers in the network.

4) Turn Corona crisis way of working into structurally more efficiency and responsiveness

Due to the Corona outbreak related governmental measures, people are working from home as much as possible. This requires virtual team collaboration with distributed team members, which was new to many of us. Meanwhile, a lot of retailers are already used to digital collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams to work together from a distance. It starts to demonstrate core retail processes can be operated with greater efficiency, by fewer and less long meetings with only the minimum amount of people involved.

As a result, we see some immediate implications for retailers. Most retailers by now have re-prioritized and shortened the often very long list of projects that hostage the organization. Now it is time to establish a separate digital project innovation workstream, focused on a very small set of active projects. Think of 5 to 10 for the entire business. As there is an immediate need to deliver these projects within days or weeks rather than months or years, a digital factory has to be established. A combination of low-code software and data analytics is very well suited to cut through these project lead-times and deliver business relief quickly.

Moreover, in running the day to day business, we see an opportunity to use the Corona crisis to overcome traditional HQ functional silo’s and make a structural shift to virtual teams. Through digital collaboration, operating with suppliers in a well-integrated way (and directly on board) is finally possible as well. Making this work requires new dashboards to be created instantly whilst establishing a (new) well-working workflow for core processes like assortment changes, promotion processes and supply-chain planning and replenishment.

5) Last but not least, put people first and keep communicating

With Corona still not at its peak, the health situation of staff is a growing concern. Most obvious, it is important to facilitate frontline staff who are constantly in contact with a lot of different customers, and to optimally protect them against the contamination hazard. Next to that, pressure is high on staff working in the supply chain, with absenteeism expected to increase over the near term. Even at headquarters, where employee tasks seem to be more easily executed from home, concerns are high; if not about one’s own safety then about the safety of others. Day-by-day new insights arise, making it an uncertain time for all of us which should not be underestimated.

A lot of retailers are already taking actions to protect, inform and involve their people. Only if necessary, people work from the office where teams are mostly being split up in several work shifts to prevent spreading of the virus between them. Furthermore, CEO’s provide daily communication about the most recent developments and decisions made. Finally, in a growing number of cases, non-food shops are voluntarily closed to protect their staff. At some retailers, we see rigorous and detailed staff contingency planning to ensure continuity of all aspects of the business. All examples of difficult decisions or time investments to make, but ones that will not be forgotten.

Putting people first is the right thing to do, now more than ever. Customers will remember decisions companies make during this crisis and the effort they put in to deliver goods and services to the best of their possibilities. Being seen to put people first and communicate frequently will create a positive relationship between companies and their customers as well their employees, with long-lasting benefits after the crisis.

Interested in the implications of above imperatives in your organization? Please let us know!

 

Robert Spieker
Partner at IG&H
E: robert.spieker@igh.com T: +31622791962

Maarten Vaessen
Partner at IG&H
E: maarten.vaessen@igh.com T: +31653571666

Author:  Myrthe van Hoek (myrthe.vanhoek@igh.com)

 

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Banks take societal role

By Banking, News

From crisis to opportunity
Even though the Corona crisis brings along huge challenges, it also offers the opportunity for banks to act in accordance with their purpose and take a societal role. This way, lost confidence of clients can be regainedAnd in addition, client loyalty can be increased by truly listening to clients’ needs and concernsBy combining fast decision making and execution power, banks can – especially now –  differentiate and position themselves as the partner in good and in bad times. The question remains: how? 

Banks take responsibility
The Corona virus has impacted the Dutch economy enormously within a short period of time. Big events are being cancelled, ‘social distancing’ is already the word of the year and both small, medium and large enterprises are forced to close their doors. As a consequence, many organisations are worried about their financial situation, also because most issued loans were based on growth, not taking this crisis into account.  

Immediately after the start of this crisis, many Dutch banks have acted upon their societal responsibility. Good JobBanks offer a great variety of support measures, such as extension of credit standards and deferral of interest and instalments, to support clients through these difficult timesBank employees are working overtime to answer questions of clients experiencing liquidity problems due to the Corona virus. While banks were part of the problem during the credit crisisthey are now playing a crucial role in the solution, thanks to strong capitalization and liquidity buffers. 

A challenging promise
While banks are well positioned to support entrepreneurs due to their strong capital position, mass demand of SMmight lead to huge operational challenges. Banks already find themselves in need of capacity for large compliance projects, like KYC and CDD, wherefore managing this crisis and the expected mass demand for deferral interest and instalments will only increase this need. All in all, this might lead to huge operational pressure. 

Making impact, now and in the future
During this crisis period, the operational execution and adaptability of banks are being testedFirst of all, the banks need to demonstrate to what degree they are able to support entrepreneurs efficiently. Secondlythis shows the ability of a bank to offer a solution for this crisis and at the same time keep the daily-operations up and running. For banks to actually position themselves as a partner in good and in bad times, it is necessary to deploy people, data and technologyMature use of digitalization and data-driven processes are crucial to efficiently handle applications. Doing this, banks are able to decrease their operational pressure and increase the delivered client valueThis way, banks can deliver their promise to support clients in need, today and in the future! 

In the following blog we will discuss the pre-conditions for successful crisis management.  

 Joppe Smit
Director at IG&H
E: joppe.smit@igh.com T: +31620352438 

Authors
Bas de Jong (bas.dejong@igh.com); Laura Hendriks (laura.hendriks@igh.com); Marijn Schneider (marijn.schneider@igh.com) 

 

IG&H starts series of blogs for banks in the Corona crisis
The banking industry takes societal role in the Corona crisis! In a series of blogs we will explain the lessons Corona teaches us and the opportunities this crisis gives us as the banking industry. The notion that the corona virus is impacting every bank, is a given. The virus puts huge pressure on the industry resulting in a great amount of questions and uncertainties. What is the effect of this crisis for our clients and employees? What can we do to make sure we can scale up after this crisis? What will the market look like after the crisis and how can we continue business like before the crisis? This first blog focuses on the impact of the Corona virus for commercial clients. 

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