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Business and Science

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Back in high school, we were asked to choose which subjects we were interested in, and based upon that decision we were deciding our life’s path. Regardless of how such decisions are dangerous to make at such a young age (and that’s a totally different topic that we can tackle later), we got the impression that subjects are not interlinked. Whoever chose math had no idea that their future work could be in the biology industry, trying to visualize and analyze biological data, hence, he/she will need background knowledge in biology. A person, who chose to become a doctor/physician had no idea that physics and math are a vital component in statistical analysis of epidemiological data. A person who chose arts could be assigned to write articles about health and nutrition. And so on.

Business and science are highly interlinked, and being a scientist or a researcher does not mean that you’ll be stuck in the laboratory all day and night, disconnected from people. Here are some skills every scientist and individual working in the health industry, should keep in mind:

First: Know Your Market

When starting your scientific job, whether you are the CEO or a researcher, you need to select your market properly. Many scientists, in their enthusiasm about their field of interest, they decide to start their own lab or maybe buy a share in their favorite scientific company. Only when their business starts to lose, they notice that they have forgotten the most essential part of science and business, PEOPLE. When thinking about people, you should put into consideration all the different levels you may face, when advertising your product.

Let’s say you’ve decided to start your own laboratory which tests for genetic diseases, in a country that provides its residents and citizens with a good health system and insurance. You then know that you will only get a certain level of visitors, for example, educated and self-sufficient people. In other words, don’t expect people to pay for a service that might be cheaper somewhere else. Another thing to keep in mind is the level of education of your customers, as it plays an important role. In the above case of the genetics lab, you’ll have to survey your future customers, regarding their knowledge of genetic diseases.

Second: Address Your Market

After knowing your market, and its diversity, you need to address each group of people, according to their interests and education. Hence, you can’t start talking about genetic mutations, and their implications, to a community of people that have no idea what a gene is.

If you want people to truly benefit from your services, then raise awareness using interactive techniques. For instance, hold conferences for physicians and scientists, plan fun activities for children and their parents, advertise your laboratory through TV, social media and banners, organize large annual or biannual events.

This step will last with you till the end. Never stop advertising for your services. Bottom line: Don’t be mysterious, let people know who you are and build your own brand name.

Third: Use the Magic Word

Discounts are your key when wanting to attract customers. As mentioned previously, people will not pay for something that is free or cheaper and of high quality somewhere else.

Fourth: Quality Work

You can attract as much people as ants to honey, but they will not come back again if your service is of low quality. You should register to well-known quality systems such as ISO, CDC, CAP (the last two in case of medical laboratory fields) in order to gain the trust of your market. Your work should be specific, with a good turn-around-time, and cheap. Try to be the first, and people will not mind paying extra money for a high quality service; that’s how you make your profit.

Fifth: Upgrade

Always keep in mind that people love what’s new and shiny. Update your knowledge and upgrade your services, add new tests, and train your scientists to interpret the results effectively.

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On the individual level, as a scientist, you definitely need to learn some business skills. First, learn how to “sell” yourself. Show people and industries how talented you are, what skills you’ve acquired and what your future plans are. Never be shy to talk about yourself, otherwise no one will really know who you are, and you won’t be able to get that grant you’ve been waiting for. Second, it’s really important to learn how to communicate effectively. Communication is vital when working in groups, especially if you are working in a research group. Be ready to tell the world your work, and to “market” it. After all, you’ve worked hard to reach those results, now show people how your work benefits them.

Bottom line, as a scientist you are working hard to make this world better and people healthier. So don’t hesitate to show the world your work.

By: Dr. Sara Abdelghany

Photography: Mohamed Sherif El Dib

Instagram: @mohamedeldib

EDITORS: Sarah Shalaby & Nada Adel Sobhi

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Building an Agile Culture: The only way Forward

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Written By: Hanane Benkhallouk

The coronavirus has already rewritten the future of business. With the spread of the pandemic not slowing down any time soon, business leaders find themselves scrambling to find solutions to a host of problems, from bottlenecks in the supply chain to miscommunication between departments.

The outbreak of the coronavirus demands that business owners respond quickly to the growing number of challenges by using the latest technologies and out of the box strategies for sustainable business operations. Keeping that in mind, here are some useful tips for businesses that are building an agile culture to adapt to the new normal in business.

Design Data for Informational Hierarchy

Information is an important component of any business process. Since employees are no longer operating in-house, the chances of miscommunication are two-fold. To avoid that, business leaders need to design information based on informational hierarchy and the channels that are going to be used. This will result in better clarity and a higher level of transparency.

As a business leader, you need to be aware of the information that is being sent to various subgroups within an organization and how they will process that information. This is crucial when it comes to getting a solution that’s beneficial for all parties involved. Efficient business leaders are those who are able to deliver the right information by utilizing the right set of tools at the right time.

It is important to note as a business leader that you should never operate on assumptions or under the illusion that your decisions or intentions are clear to the management and the employees. This is why it is important that business leaders use a human-centric approach by considering how information is consumed and by avoiding ways that will foster misinformation in the ranks.

In the future, business owners will have to create an information hierarchy for the effective transmission of the desired information. Business leaders have to be careful when delivering information. The information needs to be clear and actionable and followed by the required details to avoid any panic or confusion.

Sending long-winded emails is the perfect example of what not to do and will only lead to further confusion or panic. During these stressful times, it is important for business leaders not to just focus on what your staff cannot do, but rather, empower them by informing them on what they can do during this pandemic.

Governments are showing how this can be done by sharing daily updates with its citizens as the pandemic evolves. By understanding how their audience would react to the information, governments have been careful not to spread panic. Similarly, businesses need to employ such transparency to build trust in their employees and stakeholders.

Rewards and Incentives

Rewards and incentives have been an effective way of building an agile culture in the workplace. But, the recent outbreak and the regulations that have come along with it makes it difficult for companies to adhere to their traditional methods of rewarding their employees. Measures such as social distancing mean that businesses are no longer operating with in-house employees, which makes rewarding deserving employees even harder.

The first challenge is that employees find it harder to feel the tangible rewards for their contributions. This may result in many employees thinking that their efforts do not make an impact, or their behavioral change of following social distancing has not made a difference. Since we as humans do not react well to delayed gratification, when someone who has stayed isolated in their homes and doesn’t see a change in the numbers of infected, that can significantly decrease their motivation.

It is up to companies to encourage their employees by building reward structures according to the new changes. In this way, a reward structure can be an effective tool that can be used to incentivize employees during this time of social isolation. The rewards that you use can be intrinsic or extrinsic, but in putting such a system in place, you can make a positive change in the dynamics of the ecosystems in which your employees operate.

When it comes to the type of reward or incentive that organizations can use while building an agile culture, businesses can use gamification or monetization, or use social rewards to incentivize their employees even during this time of working remotely. All of these types of rewards can be utilized as a response to the recent coronavirus outbreak to make employees feel a sense of appreciation even without any physical contact and while following social distancing requirements.

Staying Connected

While working on problem-solving during the coronavirus outbreak can be difficult, it still remains an essential component of a business. Although social distancing has made it difficult for management and colleagues to stay connected while working remotely, staying connected is key for business success.

Staying connected, in this case, is having the tools to communicate efficiently with a workforce regardless of geographical constraints. While there are many companies that are privy to using various technologies to stay connected with their workforce on the ground, in a post coronavirus working environment, more companies will need to adapt to these changes.

It is important for business owners to use creativity and empathy when it comes to addressing the issues of staying connected during social distancing, mainly because the decisions that are made today can have long-term implications for the company. While it might not be easy to make some unpopular decisions, it is crucial for business leaders to use a human centric approach towards maintaining streamlined communication between their employees and all other stakeholders during these circumstances.

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LA CULTURA DIGITALE AZIENDALE E I SUOI LEADER CORAGGIOSI. LA SOCIETA’ DI MARKETING DIGITALE ITALIANA “DERAWEB” COME ESEMPIO DI ECCELLENZA NELLA GESTIONE DELLE RISORSE UMANE

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INTERVIEWER: Cinzia Nitti

HR Revolution: Ciao Fabio, grazie per aver accettato la nostra intervista e per quanto vorrai condividere con noi. Cominciamo: chi è Fabio De Lucia?

Fabio De Lucia: Ciao e grazie per questa intervista. Sono nato il 21 marzo del 1986 e il percorso accademico mi ha qualificato come perito commerciale con il massimo dei voti. Dopo la maturità e coerentemente con il mio approccio pratico alla vita, trovavo inefficace continuare a studiare per qualcosa di “non-tangibile”, quindi sono partito per Parigi e una volta rientrato, ho trovato impiego presso un’agenzia viaggi nel 2005. Ho iniziato a interessarmi a piani di sviluppo per implementare e migliorare i prodotti offerti. Credevo in quello che facevo ma, non trovando riscontro positivo da parte del mio titolare, ho rassegnato le dimissioni. All’epoca conoscevo già il mio caro amico e colui che sarebbe diventato il mio socio, Andrea (Dettole), il quale lavorava nel settore utilities nel nord Italia. Unendo le nostre conoscenze e competenze, nel 2008 abbiamo avviato Sundera, azienda di vendita servizi Business To Business (o B2B) e assistenza nel campo delle utilities: mi occupavo principalmente dei piani di sviluppo commerciale.

HR Revolution: Come nasce la web agency Deraweb e quale la sua mission?

Fabio De Lucia: Dall’esperienza positiva pregressa, nel 2016 abbiamo deciso di fondare con Andrea la società di marketing digitale Deraweb, brand partner della primogenita Sundera. L’impreparazione dei titolari di partita IVA in fatto di marketing e digitalizzazione dei prodotti aziendali – riscontrata a livello nazionale – è stato il fattore chiave che ha dato vita a Deraweb. La nostra azienda ha l’obiettivo di fornire strumenti efficaci per lo sviluppo aziendale in prospettiva di promozione digitale. In quattro anni il nostro pacchetto clienti è cresciuto in tutta Italia e su piano internazionale, acquisendo 600 clienti e con proiezione di raggiungere quota mille entro fine anno. La famiglia Deraweb conta oggi 15 dipendenti e 20 consulenti.

HR Revolution: Le Risorse Umane sono le componenti-chiave per il successo imprenditoriale. Il COVID-19 ha inevitabilmente imposto un cambiamento degli equilibri nella gestione aziendale. Come avete affrontato la sfida in fatto di nuovi assetti, ripianificazione e gestione del personale?

Fabio De Lucia: Il nostro metodo operativo prevede la maggior parte del lavoro da remoto. Gli strumenti digitali dunque, si sono confermati lo strumento indispensabile nel nostro lavoro; la pandemia è stata un elemento positivo in fatto di consolidamento di Deraweb. Si è trattato di un periodo di transizione per tutti. Nonostante uno stop forzato per alcuni e il crollo degli incassi nel mese di marzo, i nostri dipendenti si sono messi a completa disposizione dell’azienda, dei clienti, contribuendo in modo non indifferente alla buona riuscita degli intenti. Ci sono stati tutti vicini. Sono stati bravi e vanno tutti elogiati per questo.

HR Revolution: Cultura Digitale Aziendale: la risoluzione di problemi attraverso l’utilizzo di strumenti digitali si è rivelata un elemento vincente nella gestione del pacchetto-clienti durante la crisi pandemica?

Fabio De Lucia: Da titolari di azienda, nel supporto ai clienti e per una gestione ottimale dei servizi offerti, abbiamo deciso di operare in modo differente rispetto ai concorrenti. Abbiamo fornito gli strumenti necessari alla “sopravvivenza pandemica” con metodo studiato e mirato, soprattutto gratuito. In che modo? Creando manuali, guide strategiche “BUSINESS WORKOUT”, webinar e consulenze gratuite a disposizione dei clienti per evitare il fenomeno dell’inazione. Non a caso, il feedback è stato assolutamente positivo: abbiamo rafforzato il rapporto di reciprocità e fiducia con i nostri clienti, premiando inoltre coloro i quali hanno rispettato le scadenze in un periodo tanto complesso, fornendo un’estensione gratuita di un mese del servizio. Quest’approccio ci ha permesso di registrare risultati esponenzialmente più alti nel nostro ambito, a dispetto delle previsioni che la condizione economica generale avrebbe imposto.

HR Revolution: Spesso si pone l’accento sulla fidelizzazione del cliente, sottovalutando che la riuscita di un progetto o l’acquisizione di un contratto, derivi da un’ottima commistione di professionalità ed energie di un gruppo omogeneo e coeso. Dicci di più del tuo team. Sono importanti la Diversità e l’Inclusione in Deraweb e perché?

Fabio De Lucia: Assolutamente sì, per noi Diversità e Inclusione sono importanti. E rendono Deraweb un ambiente stimolante: il clima aziendale assume il giusto equilibrio tra competenze, rispetto delle qualità di ognuno e dimensione umana. Abbiamo messo in atto un modello di leadership che ispira gli altri e invoglia a migliorarsi. Dal consulente commerciale al servizio clienti, ai tecnici grafici, addetti marketing, comunicazione e social media, l’elemento della formazione continua inoltre, ha permesso di stabilire la gestione dei progetti in cui, senza più necessità di definizione esplicita, ogni membro del gruppo conosce esattamente il suo ruolo all’interno del processo. 

C’è fiducia e stima reciproca, spirito di sacrificio e altrettanta collaborazione. Da parte nostra c’è attenzione alle proposte di ognuno. Il mio lavoro mi ha dato modo di visitare tante aziende e conoscere altre realtà, ma qui da noi c’è un clima diverso, un clima che piace e che permette di lavorare secondo un equilibrio che dimostra quanto i nostri ragazzi siano “allineati”: in Deraweb proprio non riesce ad arrivare qualcuno che non abbia i nostri stessi valori.

HR Revolution: La Parità di Genere è un obiettivo di rilievo in una realtà aziendale. Definiresti l’equilibrio di genere parte integrante del vostro successo?

Fabio De Lucia: Sì, le donne nella nostra azienda sono un valore aggiunto e particolarmente apprezzate. Hanno un approccio naturalmente diverso all’ascolto del cliente e alla gestione di una richiesta. Sempre attente ai dettagli, precise, sicuramente meno impulsive in fatto creativo rispetto agli uomini. È una scelta aziendale mirata, quella di impostare gruppi di lavoro misti: sono la sintesi perfetta che genera stabilità. In Italia si parla troppo poco di Parità di Genere sul posto di lavoro, noi invece siamo ben felici di dare possibilità di crescita e carriera alle nostre dipendenti, mamme incluse! Sono tutte ben accolte, troviamo che siano una risorsa irrinunciabile e grande indice di maturità nel nostro team. Da sempre puntiamo su piani di sviluppo aziendale assolutamente paritari; la famiglia Deraweb è un gruppo eterogeneo che ha fatto anche di questo equilibrio un punto di forza. 

Grazie Fabio per averci aperto le porte di Deraweb e condiviso con HR Revolution Middle East, l’esempio positivo di una realtà aziendale solida che ha fatto delle Risorse Umane il suo motivo di orgoglio!

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Transforming into Human Centric Organizations

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Written By: Hanane Benkhallouk

With the recent outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are finally realizing the importance of building human centric organizations. But, this can be easier said than done since every business involves several moving parts which all have to function perfectly to move forward with everyday business processes.

They say “necessity is the mother of invention,” in which case, being inventive is something that is sorely needed now more than ever, considering how companies are forced to work around the coronavirus pandemic.

It needs to be said that the success of any company in this new normal is going to be measured not only by its numbers but by the way in which a company adapts to ease the human experience during a time of crisis. This is what makes building a human centric organization more relevant as we go through these difficult times.

Needless to say, the decisions that business leaders make during the coronavirus outbreak will have a long-term impact on the health and financial well-being of not only the business itself, but its stakeholders, and more importantly, its people.

In a world where there is no sign of a cure for this pandemic, basic human needs have to be kept front and center while businesses adapt and change to these new circumstances. Keeping that in mind, here are some of the best practices that businesses can use when it comes to building human centric organizations.

Recognize the Needs and Goals of the People You’re Working With

It is important to understand that everybody has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of us have been affected by the pandemic in the same way. Business leaders need to start to understand the needs of the customers, stakeholders and their workforce, and work on ways in which the organization can fulfill each of them. This can only be achieved when one takes a human centric approach while responding to changes in business processes and other areas caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

For instance, schools and other educational institutions have closed their doors and are promoting homeschooling for the safety of their students. This seems like an obvious choice considering the devastating impact of the coronavirus outbreak in recent months.

But, many schools failed to take into account that there are many students who don’t just rely on their schools not just to get an education, but also for the safe environment that schools and colleges provide. For instance, some students can’t afford to travel home or do not have safe homes to return to.

As a business leader, it is important to consider all implications of the decisions you make, especially at a time of crisis, such as the coronavirus outbreak. Only business leaders who recognize and take proactive steps towards human centric solutions will prevent their decisions from creating more problems for the organization.

We are seeing this play out in many businesses across various niches, while some businesses have been quick to adapt to the new work from home lifestyle to make it easier on their employees, others have been struggling to cope with this new challenge.

Evaluate Current Customer/Employee Experience

Customers are an important part of any business offering a product or service, but so too are its staff. The first step that needs to be taken while building human centric organizations is to understand the scope interactions, both between customer and business, and the communication within the various departments of an organization. What are these interactions? Who is involved in these interactions? Where and why do they take place? Are there any physical or digital bottlenecks that need to be improved?

Working on a way to build a more human centric organization without taking into account these crucial questions will only create gaps in the customer and employee experience with a business. Since most businesses have gone digital following the outbreak of the coronavirus, any gap in the digital communication between the business and its employees or customers can result in a feeling of helplessness, or worse, misinformation, which can have further negative consequences.

Prototyping and Testing

While trying out new and innovative solutions in these testing times could feel frivolous, the goal should be to validate your idea(s), whether it’s adopting a new digital tool or adding or subtracting processes to streamline everyday business affairs. It is important to note that this testing does not have to be perfect. And while getting people to adapt to a certain need is hard enough as it is, leave alone asking them to adapt to the new digital normal, it is important to test solutions using service design methods that will give you quick insights on any cracks in the system. Not being afraid of prototyping and testing will allow businesses to deliver appropriate solutions while maintaining their new social distancing measures.

Ending Note

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has forced business leaders to make quick decisions and solve problems under new and unfamiliar circumstances. With conditions that are constantly shifting, the need for building human centric organizations for long-term sustainability is being felt now more than ever. In short, businesses regardless of the industry or niche have to put people at the heart of their business and the decision making process.

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