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Exit Interview by Patrick Donegan – Newsletter #33

By: Patrick Donegan

For some time, I’ve been looking for one “source” that curates modern takes on HR Tech, perspectives from the people who build it, and its impact on enterprise — something that’s tailor-made by professionals for decision-makers.

I never found it — so I decided to build it.

Every week, I’ll be sharing fresh insights on tech platforms, design, data, and the future of work — straight to your inbox.

My Thoughts

Even with the price of ingredients rising, Chipotle will continue with its decision to raise the average wage to $15 by June. Company CFO Jack Hartung claims this “very bold move” has paid off in staffing retention that’s “as good or better” than it was before the pandemic. 🤔💸🌯 It’s hard to say whether a pay rise will be enough to hold on to staff in the long term, but it’s clear now more than ever how necessary it is for employers. Chipotle’s digital sales are driving growth, and it’s unclear whether this will last. But other food and beverage retailers should taking note.  Paying your workers a fair wage is the bare minimum when it comes to worker retention. ✊💡

Tech Innovation at Work

QR codes are now a staple of the restaurant industry, and even as COVID lifts, they’re not going anywhere. 📱📊🍔 Beyond being an excellent way to avoid physical touch during COVID, QR codes have allowed some restaurants to build a database of their customers’ order histories and contact information. At retail chains, people may soon be presented with personalized offers and incentives marketed within QR code payment systems. Concerns about privacy and data management are real — but there’s no doubt that customers are embracing it. 

Is your company on the wrong end of the acceleration gap? It’s the pace of change driven by new opportunity and the ability of an organization to capitalize on it – whether this means making new hires, digital transformation, or more. 📈🤖🐣 This is a strategic problem with painful results. And it’s growing. Here are a few tips on how to close it from Workday. Some highlights are: 

  • Continuously recalibrate — you will need to move from planning to execution to analysis, and be prepared to restart that cycle with each new opportunity or challenge. 💪📆
  • Break down silos to operate seamlessly in real time.
  • Get the full picture. Unify financial, people, and operational data from across the enterprise and give teams the ability to access and visualize it. This enables every team to make timely, data-driven decisions. 📊😎
  • Rewire your business processes as quickly as needed: enact new workplace policies, increase paid time off, and deliver one-time payments in response to the pandemic or social justice issues within days—not weeks or months.

After a bankruptcy filing during the pandemic, Neiman Marcus is looking to turn things around by making a $500 million investment in digital. 📱💅💳 In June, NMG announced it was acquiring Stylyze, a software company that uses machine learning to make outfit recommendations based on what customers have looked at or purchased. NMG uses Stylyze to operate a platform that helps sales associates create looks for customers — NM Connect. “The fact that Neiman Marcus is investing in digital is great; it is never too late to develop better digital strategies,” says Jane Hali, chief executive of retail investment researchers Jane Hali & Associates. “All of this data needs to be mined to build a relationship with the consumer. Customer preferences can change quickly, and direct-to-consumer relationships can expedite the chance to service those preferences.”

PHOTO:VOGUE BUSINESS

The Library of Congress has been digitizing its archive, and its success could be instructive. 📚👨‍💻🔍 The library, established in 1800, contains about 170 million physical items including ancient texts. The library’s digital collection, which was established in 2016, consists of 410 million unique files representing about 16 petabytes of data. They’re also experimenting with neural networks and other artificially intelligent algorithms to comb through the archives. This could have applications beyond libraries — for Congress, executive agencies, and local governments. 

The Changing Workplace

Here’s a good thing to remember about management: the rule of recognition. 👏🎤🍎  The rule of recognition means your default setting is to focus on what a person does right, and make a point to commend the person for those positive actions, sincerely and specifically. It encourages the person to continue positive behavior, builds psychological safety (another term for trust), and it makes it easier to share constructive criticism. 

Capital One Financial Corp. wants to hire more than 3,000 technologists by year-end, partly as a result of its migration to Amazon. com Inc.’s public cloud. 💸☁️💡 They’re framing this as a selling point for new hires. Capital One is relying on the public cloud more than many other banks do, analysts say. Supposedly, 75% of the new hires will be software engineers and many will specialize in AI. Banks have been slower than other businesses to shift sensitive data to the cloud, citing security concerns and regulatory barriers. 🤖🔑 Brian Foran, senior analyst at Autonomous Research, says: “A lot of banks think the ultimate landing point should be a hybrid approach, with the most sensitive customer information in a private data center and less sensitive information in the cloud.”

PHOTO: WSJ / DREW ANGERER / GETTY IMAGES

All About Data

Companies are becoming more inclusive of the disabled community, but beauty is still lagging behind. According to Proctor & Gamble, only 4% of beauty and personal brands create products that cater to physical disabilities. ✊💅 They’re leaving money on the table — according to Accenture, the total disposable income of consumers with disabilities tops $8 trillion per year in the U.S. alone. 🔥💪👀 Some bigger companies are making an effort, however: 

  • Unilever unveiled the company’s first inclusive product: a deodorant by Rexona designed for people with visual impairment and upper limb disabilities. 
  • L’Oréal has implemented an internal requirement for disabled staff to count for at least 2% of the workforce. 

Online and e-commerce has been a key driver for growth in the past year — and ensuring that digital experiences are accessible will be a key step to benefiting those with physical disabilities and the visually impaired. 

CHART: VOGUE BUSINESS

Creative Strategies just released the results of its study involving 536 developers — most of whom are small business developers making less than $500,000 a year from their apps. 90% of this group make apps exclusively for iOS. 📱🍎🤔  Here are some interesting findings: 

  • They had a 52% satisfaction level with their App Store experience. 
  • Within this 52% of satisfied developers, 12% said they were very satisfied with the App Store, 22% saying satisfied and 18% saying somewhat satisfied.
  • SwiftUIKitXcode, and Testflight all received satisfaction levels higher than 60% with Swift having the highest satisfaction rating at 75%.

Here are few more positive data points for App Store: 

  • 58% of developers agreed with the statement “Apple’s developer tools are innovative and make it easier for me to bring my app ideas to life.” 🔥✨
  • 70% of developers agree that Apple’s developer tools and APIs have gotten better during the time they have been developing apps for Apple platforms.
  • 71% of developers agreed that developing apps for iOS and macOS have gotten easier. 👩‍💻🏄
  • 55% of developers agree their app/business would not exist without the iPhone.
  • 94% of developers said they are “likely” to keep developing apps for Apple’s software platforms. And of that 94%, 66% said they were “very likely” to continue.

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Patrick Donegan

Managing Director

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