CEO reveals top three challenges for HR leaders

From virtual keynotes to online workshops, NextMapping™ has been busy coaching the leaders of tomorrow

CEO reveals top three challenges for HR leaders

As we navigate the future of work, nothing is certain. The only real way of surviving in this new world of work is through data-driven insights and strategic planning.

One leader who understands this better than most is Cheryl Cran, founder of NextMapping™/ and the CEO of parent company Synthesis at Work Inc.

A renowned, global expert in thought leadership, Cran revealed to HRD the challenges employers are dealing with in these difficult times – and revealed how NextMapping™ can help.

“NextMapping™ is an encapsulating term for the future of work,” Cran told HRD.

“So, quite literally, we’re a future of work consultancy. We work with leaders, teams, and organizations helping them look at patterns of the past and present – which in turn allows them to map out the future.”

Cran helps companies understand these patterns in order to thrive in the future. In her recent book - NextMapping™ – Anticipate, Navigate and Create the Future of Work - she outlines a predictive model which allows leaders to pre-empt any potential problems; something which has become incredibly sought after recently.

Since COVID-19, Cran has seen interest in future planning increase. As leaders face more uncertainty than ever before, that need to predict future events has become paramount.

From virtual keynotes to online workshops, NextMapping™ has been busy coaching and consulting the leaders of tomorrow.

Read more: Best Buy CHRO: 'The most difficult challenge I ever faced'

“I would say since COVID-19, our virtual keynotes and virtual coaching side of the business has grown exponentially,” she told HRD.

“A lot of leaders and teams are struggling with keeping their employees engaged whilst also looking out for their overall wellbeing. The pandemic has only heightened the challenges employers were already struggling with.”

And it’s these challenges that bring leaders straight to Cran’s door. Over the years, employers have approached her about a myriad of issues – though there’s three in particular that seem doomed to repeat themselves.

“The first is always how to handle disruption,” Cran told us. “That ability to navigate and pivot with change is an essential skill for senior leadership.

“Secondly, it’s attracting and retaining talented people - especially now that most workers are remote. How do you how do you retain a virtual employee through all this disruption? How do you engage all of your people?

“And then the third challenge is digital transformation. Now that we're remote, how do we leverage the technology to increase the effectiveness of our teams?

“Overall, I would say those are the three that have been constantly amplified in the last six months since COVID-19 really kicked in.”

The pandemic has given leaders a real push to switch up their priorities. Since COVID-19, leaders have come to appreciate skills such as agility and adaptability as necessary – not simply a ‘nice to have’.

Read more: Playboy's CPO: 'We have a strict 'no a******s' policy'

For Cran, she believes the future will call for a more hybrid approach to management.

“I've been saying this for years actually - that leaders need to  have future of work skills that include an advanced ability to empathize, an advanced level of emotional intelligence, an advanced level of critical thinking, and advanced ability to leverage teams to work together more effectively.

“In the office environment, I still find it a lot of organizations are quite hierarchical. What COVID-19 has done is speed up the democratization of the workplace - levelling out that power.”

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