May 19, 2020

Can we design our jobs better than our boss?

anna smith
2 min
Can we design our jobs better than our boss?

New research looks across the international evidence base - from an initial pool of over 4,000 studies - to reveal which practical actions in the workplace are effective for improving wellbeing and performance - and which are not.  

Studies have shown that job type or industry sector are not necessarily defining factors of what makes a good job. Instead, things like how secure it is; our social connections; on-the-job learning opportunities; supportive organisations; and clear responsibilities are just some of the elements seen by employees as more important. When we move into a role with none, or fewer, of these elements, our life satisfaction drops. Even when we move out of unemployment and into work, how big an impact this has on our wellbeing depends on the quality of the job.

The new research, carried out by researchers at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Business School as part of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, reviewed studies of the practical actions organisations can take to maximise their chances of designing high quality jobs.

Only 28% of us in the UK are highly satisfied with our jobs. Which means that more than seven in 10 of us are not. Our happiest days are the weekends. And yet, estimates suggest that an adult in work would spend an average of 57% of our waking hours working.

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing recommends that policy-makers create incentives for employers to develop high quality work, as well as guidance on how to do so. They point to the Management Standards for Work-Related Stress issued by the Health and Safety Executive, and suggest adapting them to include the evidence-based actions outlined in the review.

Nancy Hey, director of the The What Works Centre says: “The evidence shows us that getting employees involved in designing their own job means listening to their needs, supporting their development and training them where appropriate. Organisations need to look at how embedded wellbeing is in their DNA, not only within one department or champion. We want to see more discussion in workplaces about what a quality job looks like in that company.”

Professor Kevin Daniels, who leads the team that completed the review, says “We’ve known for a long time what a good quality job looks like and the benefits good quality work has for wellbeing, mental health, physical health and productivity. Our review adds to the evidence on what a good job quality is by pointing to some promising actions on how organisations can enhance the quality of work, wellbeing and performance.”
 

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

CMO
Kyndryl
IBM
Leadership
Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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