Category: work


 

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Emphasis the human element of strategy to identify the direction and scope which achieve an advantage in a changing environment through its configuration of resources and competences, has the aim to fulfill stakeholders expectations

“The competitive analysis is a statement of the business strategy and how it relates to the competition.”

The purpose of the competitive analysis is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your market, strategies that will provide you with a distinct advantage, the barriers that can be developed in order to prevent competition from entering your market, and any weaknesses that can be exploited within the product development cycle.

The first step in a competitor analysis is to identify the current and potential competition. As mentioned in the “Market Strategies” chapter, there are essentially two ways you can identify competitors. The first is to look at the market from the customer’s viewpoint and group all your competitors by the degree to which they contend for the buyer’s dollar.

The second method is to group competitors according to their various competitive strategies so you understand what motivates them. Once you have grouped your competitors, you can start to analyze their strategies and identify the areas where they are most vulnerable. This can be done through an examination of your competitors’ weaknesses and strengths.

A competitor’s strengths and weaknesses are usually based on the presence and absence of key assets and skills needed to compete in the market. To determine just what constitutes a key asset or skill within an industry, David A. Aaker in his book, Developing Business Strategies suggests concentrating your efforts in four areas:

1. The reasons behind successful as well as unsuccessful firms

2. Prime customer motivators

3. Major component costs

4. Industry mobility barriers

According to theory, the performance of a company within a market is directly related to the possession of key assets and skills. Therefore, an analysis of strong performers should reveal the causes behind such a successful track record.

This analysis, in conjunction with an examination of unsuccessful companies and the reasons behind their failure, should provide a good idea of just what key assets and skills are needed to be successful within a given industry and market segment. For instance, in the personal-computer operating-system software market, Microsoft reigns supreme with DOS and Windows. It has been able to establish its dominance in this industry because of superior marketing and research as well strategic partnerships with a large majority of the hardware vendors that produce personal computers.

This has allowed DOS and Windows to become the operating environment, maybe not of choice, but of necessity for the majority of personal computers on the market. Microsoft’s primary competitors, Apple and IBM, both have competing operating systems with a great deal of marketing to accompany them; however, both suffer from weaknesses that Microsoft has been able to exploit. Apple’s operating system for its Macintosh line of computers, while superior in many ways to DOS and Windows, is limited to the Macintosh personal computers; therefore, it doesn’t run many of the popular business applications that are readily available to DOS and Windows.

To an extent, IBM’s OS/2 operating system suffers from the same problem. While it will run on all of the personal computers DOS and Windows can run on and even handle Windows applications, the number of programs produced for OS/2 in its native environment is very small. This is the type of detailed analysis you need in analyzing an industry. Through your competitor analysis you will also have to create a marketing strategy that will generate an asset or skill competitors do not have, which will provide you with a distinct and enduring competitive advantage.

Since competitive advantages are developed from key assets and skills, you should sit down and put together a competitive strength grid.

This is a scale that lists all your major competitors or strategic groups based upon their applicable assets and skills and how your own company fits on this scale., strategic management has three major elements: strategic position, strategic choices for the future and strategic in action.

To put together a competitive strength grid, list all the key assets and skills down the left margin of a piece of paper. Along the top, write down two column headers: “weakness” and “strength.” In each asset or skill category, place all the competitors that have weaknesses in that particular category under the weakness column, and all those that have strengths in that specific category in the strength column. After you’ve finished, you’ll be able to determine just where you stand in relation to the other firms competing in your industry.

Once you’ve established the key assets and skills necessary to succeed in this business and have defined your distinct competitive advantage, you need to communicate them in a strategic form that will attract market share as well as defend it.

Competitive strategies usually fall into these five areas:

1.Product

2.Distribution

3.Pricing

4.Promotion

5.Advertising

Many of the factors leading to the formation of a strategy should already have been highlighted in previous sections, specifically in marketing strategies.

Strategies primarily revolve around establishing the point of entry in the product life cycle and an endurable competitive advantage.

As we’ve already discussed, this involves defining the elements that will set your product or service apart from your competitors or strategic groups. You need to establish this competitive advantage clearly so the reader understands not only how you will accomplish your goals, but why your strategy will work.


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Technical and fundamental analysis

The efficient market hypothesis suggests that future share prices cannot be predicted by studying past prices and as we have seen, there is extensive evidence to support this view and the right information in collaborating with your partners.

Despite the evidence, investment strategies based on the study of past share prices, or on the analysis of published information such as annual accounts, are common, and the view held by many financial analysts seems to be therefore that capital markets are inefficient.

Technical analysis involves the use of charts (Chartism) and other methods to predict future shares prices and share price trends, clearly implying that a relationship exists between past and future prices. For technical analysis to lead to abnormal returns on a regular basis, capital markets cannot even be weak form efficient.

Fundamental analysis are public information to calculate a fundamental value for a share and then offer investment advice by comparing the fundamental value with the current market price. It is not possible to make abnomal gains from fundamental analysis if capital markets are semi-strong form efficient, since all publicly available information will already be reflected in share prices.

Both technical and fundamental analysis, by seeking abnormal returns, increase the speed with which share prices absorb new information and reach equilibrium, thereby preventing abnomal returns from being achieved.


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Internal experts and external brought in sessions, that articulate the organisation vision and added insights to new opportunities.

Is your team fully engaged to give their best, day in and day out? In a recent study by TowersWatson, an international HR consulting firm, fewer than 21 percent of employees surveyed described themselves as “highly engaged,” down from 31 percent. 8 percent admitted to being fully disengaged.“
Having only one-fifth of your employees highly engaged is not the hallmark of a “Winning Business.” Other studies show that employee engagement derives from three important factors:

  1. Alignment of the employee with the goals and vision of the company.
  2. Faith of the employee in the competence of management and their commitment to realize the goals and vision.
  3. Trust in their direct supervisor that he or she will support his or her people and help them to succeed.

It has often been said that employees rarely quit companies. Instead, employees quit their managers or supervisors by leaving the company. Mark Herbert, a consultant focused on engagement, says:

“Engagement lives and dies on the front line of your business.”
Increasing positive managerial behavior and reducing negative managerial behavior will go a long way towards improving employee engagement. When your talented employees are engaged, they are able to perform spectacularly and build and improve your winning business. Here are some ways to get managers and supervisors started in focusing on ways to improve engagement (and to be better managers).

1. DON’T get angry

Getting angry is easy. Anyone can do that. But getting angry in the right way in the right amount at the right time, now that is hard.”
Mark Twain

Anger does not belong in your managerial kit bag.

2. DON’T be cold, distant, rude or unfriendly

Especially in difficult times, employees take cues from their immediate supervisors and need to hear from them. As such, your team will judge you by your action, moods, and behaviors, not by your intent.

3. DON’T send mixed messages to your employees so that they never know where you stand

Keep your message simple, focused and prioritized. Too many messages and initiatives just confuse and alienate people.

4. DON’T BS your team

This includes saying things that you don’t believe in. This includes hiding information and just plain lying. By the time each of us is in our early 20′s, we have all developed very well-tuned BS detectors.

5. DON’T act more concerned about your own welfare than anything else
Your success will come through the success of your team. “Self-serving detectors” are also very well-tuned in most employees.

6. DON’T avoid taking responsibility for your actions
You are the boss. As such, you are accountable and the buck stops with you. You are trying to develop accountability throughout your company. So, lead by example.

7. DON’T jump to conclusions without checking your facts first

A few years ago, I watched in horror as a colleague of mine started screaming at an employee of his who had missed an important meeting that morning. After several minutes, the employee responded:

“I apologize and should have contacted you. But, I just got back from the hospital as a relative has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.”

Now here are the dos, which are even more important than the don’ts…

8. DO what you say you are going to do when you are going to do it

There is no better way to communicate the message that you are accountable for your promises and that everyone in your company should be accountable as well.

9. DO be responsive (return phone calls, emails)

As a manager, your team can be considered to be your customer.
You want your sales team to punctually respond back to customer requests, so you should do the same.

10. DO publicly support your people

Your disagreements and disappointment with your employees can be communicated later and in private. Nothing appears so hollow as your attempt to blame your team for failures.

11. DO admit your mistakes …

…and take the blame for failures.

12. DO recognize your team

“You can never underestimate the power of simple recognition for a job well done.”

13. DO ask and listen

“The manager of the future will know how to ask rather than how to tell.”
Peter Drucker

Some of the most dangerous words for a manager to ever say include:

But, you just don’t understand…” “Because I said so…

14. DO smile and laugh

Have some fun. But, be genuine; programmed fun and faked laughter is worse than doing nothing. 
When appropriate, laugh at yourself; it will humanize you.


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Among companies where big data, cloud, mobile, and social technologies are critical parts of the infrastructure, how technologies are, or will soon be? 

Forty-four percent of survey respondents say that mobile is now a critical part of their infrastructure. It’s especially important in some industries—51 percent of the respondents in the utilities and technology sectors indicated that mobile devices and access are critical. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents say that “anywhere access” to corporate apps and data is the biggest benefit to using mobile, followed by increased productivity (53 percent). The two are undoubtedly linked, as mobile access to systems optimizes employee time.

A majority of survey respondents indicate that putting mobile functionality in the hands of employees is now a key requirement, and leading companies are also leveraging the growing ubiquity of smartphones to innovate and drive top-line revenue growth. Management of the Detroit Lions professional football team, for example, is always looking for ways to improve the fan experience. In addition to offering wireless Internet access at Ford Field to Verizon customers and launching a digital raffle for charity on game days, the Lions released a free smartphone application that features exclusive in-stadium game day content, including instant replay from several different camera angles for every play, and concession maps. Eventually, the Lions intend to add other features to the smartphone app, including in-seat concession ordering.

 

“Mobile is a gateway to our fan base,”

says Thomas Horrom, vice president of technology for the Detroit Lions.

 

“Without it, we’re not able to get creative or innovative in our engineered touch points.”

Delta Air Lines is another company that is using mobile technologies to innovate. The airline announced it had begun equipping its 19,000 flight attendants with mobile devices, which have increased incremental revenue from in-flight purchases.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your clients receive excellent service every step of the way.

  1.  Put your customer service policy in writing. These principles should come from you, but every employee should know what the rules are and be ready to live up to them. This doesn’t have to be elaborate. Something as simple as “the customer is always right” can lay the necessary groundwork, although you may want to get more detailed by saying, for instance,any employee is empowered to grant a 10 percent discount to any dissatisfied customer at any time.”
  2.  Establish support systems that give employees clear instructions for gaining and maintaining service superiority. These systems will help you outservice any competitor by giving more to customers and anticipating problems before they arise.
  3.  Develop a measurement of superb customer service. Don’t forget to reward employees who practice it consistently.
  4. Be certain that your passion for customer service runs rampant throughout your company. Employees should see how good service relates to your profits and to their futures with the company.
  5. Be genuinely committed to providing more customer service excellence than anyone else in your industry. This commitment must be so powerful that every one of your customers can sense it.
  6. Share information with people on the front lines.Meet with your employees regularly to talk about improving service. Solicit ideas from employees-they are the ones who are dealing with customers most often.
  7. Act on the knowledge that what customers value most are attention, dependability, promptness and competence. They love being treated as individuals and being referred to by name.

 

The efficient market hypothesis suggests that future share prices cannot be predicted by studying past prices and as we have seen, there is extensive evidence to support this view and the right information in collaborating with your partners. Despite the evidence, investment strategies based on the study of past share prices, or on the analysis of published information such as annual accounts, are common, and the view held by many financial analysts seems to be therefore that capital markets are inefficient.

Technical analysis involves the use of charts (Chartism) and other methods to predict future shares prices and share price trends, clearly implying that a relationship exists between past and future prices. For technical analysis to lead to abnormal returns on a regular basis, capital markets cannot even be weak form efficient.

Fundamental analysis are public information to calculate a fundamental value for a share and then offer investment advice by comparing the fundamental value with the current market price. It is not possible to make abnomal gains from fundamental analysis if capital markets are semi-strong form efficient, since all publicly available information will already be reflected in share prices.

Bolster the growing consensus among academics, consultants, and other industry experts that simply spending more on emerging technologies isn’t enough to boost business outcomes. Instead, companies that both identify which core business capabilities they need to differentiate and make a commitment to transform these core business capabilities with the right digital technology will greatly outperform competitors who don’t.

For example, a new study by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee found that firms with a strong vision and mature processes for digital transformation were more profitable on average, had higher revenues, and achieved a bigger market valuation than competitors without a strong vision.  As with any emerging technology, however, there are significant challenges associated with cloud, mobile, social, and big data initiatives.  The survey suggests that the primary risks preventing their wider adoption are data security issues, lack of interoperability with existing IT systems, and lack of control.

However, executives from leading organizations—several of whom were interviewed for this report— are overcoming those hurdles to achieve top-line and customer-facing business benefits. Strategic options involve the options for strategy in terms of both the directions in which strategy might move and the methods by which strategy might be pursued.

For example, an organisation might have to choose between alternative diversification moves, for example entering into new products and markets. As it diversification moves, it has different methods available to it for example, developing a new product itself or acquiring an organisation already active in the area.



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Drive Digital


How Marketers Can Connect Profit and Purpose

It takes time for a big idea to make its way into business practice. Six years ago, Harvard’s Michael Porter and FSG’s Mark Kramer made the bold statement that shared value —the idea that the purpose of a company is to achieve both shareholder profit and social purpose — 

 

To  reinvent capitalism.

 

They encouraged companies to go beyond CSR (corporate social responsibility) and integrate social impact into companies’ competitive strategy. And, Nathaniel Foote and Russ Eisenstat proposed 

 

“ A better way to manage in the 21st century.

 

They found “higher-ambition” leaders achieved superior performance by doing well and doing good. For the last six years, they have worked with a group of top marketing executives and business leaders in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area from companies large and small. Each year they assess the issues that are most top-of-mind. From digital platforms to customer experience to crisis management, these priorities have been a bellwether for what would soon dominate boardroom discussions and headline business publications.

This year the issue of profit and propose came to the fore, echoing the earlier manifestos. To understand the connections and applications, interviews with over 20 CMOs and CEOs, finding a remarkably similar pattern across a highly diverse set of companies. To find widespread agreement that having great products and services and being a “good corporate citizen” are table stakes in a world of empowered citizens and consumers.

Melissa Waters, CMO of Lyft, says,

Any customer these days is asking for transparency on what a company stands for and why they operate. But you can’t exist just to make the world a better place.

Purpose today goes well beyond corporate social responsibility. According to Alicia Tillman, CMO of SAP,

Purpose can’t be viewed as a department or initiative. It must be woven into a company’s operational fabric. Purpose is a lodestar guiding and inspiring everyone to create economic and societal value together.”

In a sense, purpose is following the path that digital has taken in the enterprise.


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News & Economic Trends

 

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By the end of the century, a third of the workforce will be “knowledge workers”, or people whose productivity is marked by adding value to information, whether as market analyst, writers, or computer programmers.

Peter Druker, the eminent business maven who coined the term “knowledge worker“, points out that such workers’ expertise is highly specialized, and that their productivity depends on their efforts being coordinated as part of an organisational team: writers are not publishers; computer programmers are not software distributors. While people have always worked in tandem, Druker notes that with knowledge work,

” Teams become the work unit rather than the individual himself.”

Perhaps the most rudimental form of organisational team-work is the meeting, that inescapable part of an executive’s office in a boardroom, on a conference call, in someone’s office.

Meetings bodies in the same room are but the most obvious, and at the somewhat antiquated, example of the sense in which work is shared.

Electronic networks, email, teleconferences, work teams, informal networks and the like are emerging as new functional entities in organisations. To the degree that explicit hierarchy as mapped on an organisational chart is the skeleton of an organisation, these human touch points are its central nervous system.

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The total the talents and skills involved, whatever people come together to collaborate, whether it be in an executive planning meeting or as a team-working toward a shared product, there are in a very real sense on which they have been included in a group of IQ.

In maximizing the excellence of a group’s product, the degree to which the members were able to create a state of internal harmony, lets them take the advantage of the full talent of their members.


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Exploring Corporate Strategy

1. Human resource management and global business strategy

Challenges position, choices and action that should be seen as closely related. In practise none has priority over another, this sequence is not meant to suggest that the process of strategic management must follow a neat and tidy path. Indeed, the evidence on how strategic management happens in practice suggest that it usually does not occur in tidy ways.
Elements of strategic management in linear sequence is characterised first by understanding the strategic position, than strategic choices and finally putting strategy in action. Indeed, many texts on the subject to just this. However, in practise, the elements of strategic management do not follow this linear sequence, they are interlinked and feed back on each other.

The inter-connected circles of the above exhibit are designed to emphasise this non-linear nature of strategy.

Corporate social responsibility is among the top challenges. Companies face when expanding into new markets, especially in developing regions.

Business practices that are acceptable locally are frequently at odds with the values of the company and the laws of its regulatory agencies. This creates a tug-of-war between social responsibility and the need to be successful in those markets, which can turn into significant risk.
Guiding corporate strategic decision-making challenge incorporating the human capital opportunities and risks from operating abroad into corporate strategic decision-making workforce opportunities that are marked both by steady improvements through the political machinations that open trade across borders and enable cross-border migrations, and by sudden and often unexpected changes such as the relaxation in relations between the United States and Cuba; conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine; and dramatic swings in oil prices.
The challenge for companies is to remain nimble to take advantage of the opportunities while avoiding the risks. HR’s challenge is to gather, assess and understand all the cultural, labor and market complexities of operating in each market so that the company can predict opportunities and risks, know when to enter or exit a market, and integrate successfully into new local markets.
The success of a company’s global growth hinges on HR integrating the workforce. HR-led teams need to assess the complexities of bringing together workforces with often dissimilar societal and corporate cultures. HR can, for example, identify potential roadblocks early and plan interventions before problems arise. The food facilities management company Sodexo identified a need for diversity and inclusion across its 355,000 employees from North American to China. It developed training programs that resulted in significant numbers of women, youths, people with disabilities and indigenous workers productively joining its workforce across the globe.

2.Making the business case for CSR

The challenge for HR is to gain a detailed understanding of local environments and their accepted business practices. It then needs to establish protocols that are customized for each region and communicate these protocols throughout the organization and across its supply chain.
When local labor laws or practices conflict with the organization’s CSR policies, HR needs to be the voice of the individual and ensure that the company maintains its integrity, even when this goes against the potential economic value.

HR faces the additional challenge of demonstrating to the company how good CSR policies strengthen the brand, increase customer loyalty and boost shareholder value.

3.Balancing corporate and societal cultures while promoting diversity

Some cultural attributes, such as a command-and-control management style, can be modified to fit local cultures, while others, such as integrity and human rights policies, cannot be compromised. HR needs to understand and deal with the complexities, deciding which corporate culture elements can change and which are essential to protecting the organization’s values and ethics. The company cannot change anti-bribery policies, but it may choose to change its dress-down-Fridays rule.

Management may also choose to impose cultural elements, such as giving back to the community consistently across the global organization. The challenge becomes even more complex when dealing with new workers, those engaged through means such as crowdsourcing, as well as remote and temporary workers.

HR also needs to develop programs to assist executives to adapt when they move from the head office to regions with different societal and cultural norms.



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| Identifying and Engaging |

One of the main reasons for this failure rate is that entrepreneurs don’t identify their target demographic correctly. Without clarifying your core customers, selling is ultimately a function of individual, heroic efforts in the field, not a scalable platform for growth.

The following four steps can reverse this downward trend:

 

Assemble and analyze customer data

Every firm should know how customer attributes link to core selling metrics, including profitability, cost of customer acquisition and customer-lifetime value. While this information is often scattered across multiple functions in a company, it’s worth pulling together to establish a common language of customer value across functions.

 

Get the field involved

People in frontline positions hold the best understanding of customer behavior as it relates to the seller’s cost implications and should be involved in reviewing the data gathered. What can they tell us about profitable or unprofitable customer attributes? What else might be driving customer acquisition costs in a segment? What are the implications for the organizational change?

 

Determine who actually generates cash

Implications from deeper understanding of your customers typically involve changes in how you measure sales effectiveness, performance reviews, incentives, product mix, channels and sometimes “addition by subtraction,” or the process of improving performance by not selling to certain types of customers. The costs of serving customers, for example, can vary dramatically for the seller. Some customers require more calls, some buy few large production-efficient order quantities and others may buy more in overall volume but with many just-in-time orders, impacting delivery and other cost-to-serve elements.

Sales people can be dogged optimists in their call patterns, often assuming that “there must be a pony in there somewhere.” Yet by knowing who the customers that generate cash really are, you’re able to clarify the value proposition embedded in a strategy and align resources accordingly.

 

Communicate your criteria

The breadth of potential changes means that communication is critical. Leaders must devote time and effort to discussing the rationale and what they mean for the business. In practice, most companies do not take customer selection seriously until things go sour. However, communicating customer criteria now can contribute to faster decision making and greater profit later.

The marketplace has no responsibility to inform you whether or not your sales people are barking up the wrong tree.

It’s your responsibility as an entrepreneur to think through and clarify your customer selection criteria. Done correctly, it can provide a scalable sales model, focus resources and establish an ongoing process for adapting your criteria in the face of inevitable market changes.


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A case management on collaboration is fixing the problem right at the first time.  So, whats next?

Believe it or not, a full quarter of employees don’t trust their employer, according to a American Association survey of 1,562 U.S. workers. What’s more, the survey also found that only about half believe their employer is open and upfront with them.

This lack of trust is likely due to a lack of transparency in the workplace. Transparent leadership is the key to fostering a culture of trust between leaders and their employees. Employees who are kept in the loop and understand their role in the overarching purpose and goals of the company are, understandably, more likely to put their trust in their employer.

By now, most of us have heard a thing or two about how to achieve and sustain transparency in the workplace. Here are four reasons why that transparency and culture of trust is necessary:

 

Better relationships

Employees don’t just quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. In fact, CareerBuilder survey revealed that 37 percent of the 3,008 employees surveyed were likely to leave their jobs due to a poor opinion about their boss’s performance.

When it comes to building solid workplace relationships, trust takes center stage. Take Unbounce, for example. It took transparency to another level with its “Inside Unbounce” blog, a staff-authored, un-curated window in the organization. Not only does this demonstrate transparency to potential job seekers, customers, etc., it also keeps employees involved and up to date on company happenings, successes and feedback.

 

Better alignment

Employee alignment, for transparency’s sake, means taking a look at the big picture and seeking to understand everyone’s role within it. This is easily done when employers practice transparency in the workplace. Transparent leadership results in employees who understand the company vision and how their efforts help achieve company-wide goals.

Transparency is at the top of HubSpot’s Culture Code. Its internal wiki includes financials (cash balances, burn-rate, profits and losses, etc.), board meeting decks, management meeting decks, “strategic” topics, HubSpot Lore & Mythology — basically anything and everything employees need to stay informed and aligned with the company vision.

 

Better solutions

When leaders are transparent, problems are solved faster. By being open and honest about company problems, employees can help find solutions. And two heads (or however many heads make up the company) are better than one.

Social sharing app Buffer makes company performance public with progress reports on customer support, blog performance, business performance and more. Not only does doing so increase accountability, it also highlights issues and encourages employees to find solutions.

 

Better engagement

A culture that values transparency in the workplace breeds engaged employees. In fact, Harvard Business Review’s employee engagement survey revealed that 70 percent of those surveyed say they’re most engaged when senior leadership continually updates and communicates company strategy.

When it comes to engaging employees, it’s best to be open about company matters. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner fosters an organization built on transparency. He even takes the time to hold bi-weekly meetings, during which he updates employees on company matters and listens to their suggestions.

What do you think? What are some results you’ve experienced from workplace transparency? Please share in the comments section below.


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