Last Month Today November 2023 in review

New research challenges traditional views on work-life balance and employee engagement

The claims of offering work-life balance and the quest for peak employee engagement have long been at the forefront of organizational strategies. However, despite decades of efforts and substantial investments, tangible results in these areas remain elusive. Acclaimed leadership strategist, Thinkers50 Radar recipient, and award-winning author Dan Pontefract offers a refreshing perspective on these pressing issues in his new book, “Work-Life Bloom: How to Nurture a Team That Flourishes.”

Derived from Pontefract’s comprehensive Work-Life Assessment research—which spanned 11 countries involving nearly 10,000 employees—the book presents compelling insights, including:

  • Only 41% of all employees are blooming in work and life; this figure shrinks to a mere 26% for non-leaders.
  • While 61% of senior leaders feel valued at their place of work, only 42% of non-leaders share this sentiment.
  • A significant 82% of all employees view their well-being as important, yet a disheartening 41% believe their employer genuinely supports them in this endeavor.

The traditional work-life balance and employee engagement paradigms are not just outdated but counterproductive. Pontefract’s “Work-Life Bloom” framework champions a more holistic, nuanced approach that recognizes and caters to the diverse needs and aspirations of the modern workforce. The book intricately dissects four unique work-life personas – renewal, budding, stunted, and blooming – each highlighting different facets of people’s work-life dynamic. It offers leaders a roadmap to better support their teams. Employees’ work-life cycles are ever-evolving, making constant engagement a myth. Thus, there is no chance for an entire team to be “engaged” simultaneously.

Employers’ perceptions of employee engagement may not match reality

Nearly 4 in 10 employers (38%) increased the importance of career wellbeing in 2023, according to Gallagher’s 2023 Career Wellbeing Report. Even though this marked a 5-point year-over-year increase, career wellbeing was the least emphasized wellbeing initiative, falling behind employees’ emotional (74%), financial (49%) and physical (47%) wellbeing.

“When employers provide their employees with clearly defined career trajectories, their workforces are more engaged, retention rates climb and, most importantly, business outcomes improve,” said William F. Ziebell, CEO of Gallagher’s Employee Benefits & HR Consulting Division. “While this is common knowledge for decision makers, just 4 in 10 (43%) provide their employees with support in developing and pursuing a career path. That means there’s significant room for improvement. The purpose of this study is to help employers optimize their investment in career wellbeing through employee engagement and communication strategies.”

The Gallagher study found that more than half of employers agreed (49%) or strongly agreed (9%) their employees were highly engaged. But it is possible employer perceptions don’t accurately reflect employees’ feelings because just half of employers (51%) have conducted an in-depth employee engagement survey over the past two years.

“Employers that commit to employee engagement and communication strategies, measure their effectiveness and adjust accordingly earn an advantage over the competition,” Ziebell said. “That’s because employees tend to give as much as they get.”

Estonia targets 100% renewable energy by 2030, showcasing green initiatives at COP28

As the Conference of the Parties (COP) 28 convenes in Dubai, Estonia stands ready to lead the charge in forging a sustainable future. The Estonian delegation arrives at this pivotal climate conference with a resounding commitment to illuminate the pathway towards a sustainable society. Through an unwavering dedication to exchange ideas and innovative solutions, Estonia aims to propel ambitious goals set forth by the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas of Estonia reaffirmed the nation’s strong dedication to climate action, asserting, “Estonia has significantly cut its CO2 emissions by 57% since reclaiming independence in 1991.” This aligns with Estonia’s collective ambitions within the European Union. She also highlighted Estonia’s commitment to achieving climate neutrality by 2050, with plans to phase out fossil fuel-based energy production by 2040. Notably, presently a third of Estonia’s electricity is sourced from renewables, set to reach 100% by 2030.

Prime Minister Kallas emphasised the importance of the twin transition, merging digital and e-solutions to achieve climate objectives. Estonia’s digital expertise and open business landscape position the country as an ideal hub for innovative greentech solutions. Many of these solutions will be showcased at COP28 in Dubai, underscoring Estonia’s role as a pioneer in this domain.

Digital Domain dives into finance industry with generative AI

The Taipei International Financial Expo 2023 unfolded grandly at Taipei World Trade Center 1, where Digital Domain announced exciting news by unveiling its development of “Generative AI in Financial Services.” This groundbreaking initiative involves upgrading virtual entities through the integration of AI technology and forging close collaborations with major financial giants such as CTBC Bank and Taishin International Bank.

Digital Domain’s CEO, Daniel Seah, has previously shared insights into how AI technology will revolutionize various sectors, bringing about transformative changes to the world. Digital Domain advocates for the symbiosis of technology and art, dedicating itself to the development of practical patented technologies across the fields of art, entertainment, and science. In addition to these ventures, in the expansion of business models, Digital Domain has stepped into the finance industry. Teaming up with Taishin International Bank, they created “Virtual Teller Rose & Sunny,” incorporating AI semantic recognition technology along with large language model. The virtual teller Rose displayed in the expo area can instantly respond to various inquiries related to consumer benefits and credit cards, providing personalized services.

In addition to the virtual teller, Digital Domain has also crafted different personas of “AI Assistants” for CTBC Bank. These assistants offer services related to financial management and credit card consultations. The intelligent assistants integrate the bank’s product knowledge base and provide personalized investment advice, savings strategies, and more based on customer account history. With human-like expressions, interactions, smiles, and gestures, the AI assistants aim to make the user experience feel less like interacting with a cold machine.


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