Does your business have “interaction workers”in your HR/Talent Acquisition Team?

If not, what is it potentially costing you?

When I read the article linked below, originally published by Holger Reisinger on April 12th on Jabra’s “New Ways of Working” company blog, it really struck a cord with me. In particular,  relating to all those “interaction workers”, involved in the business critical front end activities looking to engage with and attract new, key talent into your business now or in the future. Holger acknowledged McKinsey & Company for introducing the term “interaction workers” 20 years ago and he defines these workers as “those employees who have an outsized impact on the success of our organizations.”

Over the years I have had the absolute pleasure of working with a number of Life Sciences HR and Talent Acquisition professionals who definitely are “interaction workers”. They are committed to building long term relationships with stakeholders both internally and externally, be they executive management, line management, peers, candidates, recruitment partners, software developers /providers, universities etc. These individuals are knowledgeable, strong communicators and generally are comfortable and confident in what they do and do not know. Where you have these people in your organisation, my advice would be to make sure you recognise, value and nurture them  – their impact to your company, brand reputation and attractiveness to potential employees should not be underestimated.

On the flip side, if you do not have any interaction workers representing your company, culture and values to the market and potential candidates, could this in part explain why you are not attracting the talent you wish? When the competition for great people is so high, is this a risk you are prepared to take or is it time to invest in attracting an interaction worker to your TA team?

Following is the original article

Forget MVPs. Our Organizations Need More MVEs (Most Valuable Employees)


By Holger Reisinger

The question is as old as business itself: How do we differentiate our organization from the rest? The answer may lie in understanding and empowering a new class of workers.

APRIL 12_Jabra NWoW blog - Forget MVPs._IMAGE

I had an interesting experience several months ago at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

As I looked out at all the amazing new devices and technologies on display, I couldn’t help but sense a sameness to many of them. In a fast-moving industry like electronics, a company’s product idea or enhancement is quickly copied by others.

That holds true for many industries, in fact. Whether it’s a product or service, new ideas and innovations spread like wildfire. Automakers routinely incorporate each other’s designs and technologies. Airlines copy each other’s frequent flier programs. Investment products are noticeably similar across companies.

I began thinking about how organizations can compete effectively when their offerings are so easily replicated. How do they set themselves apart from the pack?

The solution, to me, lies in the quality of their workers.

I know it’s a cliché. Every organization says “Our employees are what make us special.” So I’ll qualify it with this: one group of employees in particular.

Behold the Interaction Worker

The differentiating factor for organizations today is our “interaction workers” – those employees who have an outsized impact on the success of our organizations. To give credit where it’s due, McKinsey & Company introduced the term 20 years ago when it identified and began studying this class of employee.

Interaction workers are knowledge workers whose jobs are highly complex, requiring them to make decisions – often quickly – based on deep knowledge, judgment, instinct, and experience. Their tasks are non-routine and not guided by an instruction manual or rule book. To be effective, they work closely with other employees, prospects, customers, clients, and suppliers, often through phone conversations, problem solving, reporting, conferences and the like.

You’ll find interaction workers throughout your organization. They’re the marketing managers, executives, sales professionals, customer service representatives, and others whose work sets your organization apart and provides a vital competitive advantage.

Their skill level and the difficulty replacing them make them different from other types of workers. These include transactional workers, who perform routine knowledge work, such as clerical duties, accounting, IT, auditing, and more, and transformational workers, who perform the mostly manual work of transforming raw materials into finished goods. The latter two types of knowledge workers are ones that companies have spent the past two decades eliminating by streamlining processes, automating routine activities and outsourcing.

These Employees DO Make You Special!

Interaction workers are vital to our organizations because they bring a uniquely human element to their work. Their jobs can’t easily be copied or replicated, outsourced or automated. You can’t automate the brains behind a well-thought-out marketing campaign, copy the go-the-extra-mile efforts of a great customer service representative, or replicate the timing of a perfectly executed financial transaction.

These workers are true value creators for our organizations – both in the financial and intangible sense. They are the ones who attract customers, generate new product ideas, solve problems, and keep customers satisfied – all of which are activities that competitors should struggle to emulate.

Like it or not, we live in an age in which products and services are rapidly imitated and commoditized. The best way to differentiate ourselves is by identifying, understanding, and appreciating our interaction workers, empowering them and bringing more into our organizations.


What does digitial technology mean for our healthcare?

This week saw a number of great speakers, panel discussions and product presentations at the Wearable Technology Show 2016 in London. Whilst we are hearing and seeing more about Digital Technology, how could it change healthcare as we know it today?

For me, the following article by Dr Roger Henderson, encapsulates (no pun intended) the direction we are moving in at a pace. Exciting times ahead and the requirements for new knowledge, skills and collaborative working practices is here already. Is your business resourced to deliver in this new world?

Not everyone may have noticed, but we are living in a period of revolution — and it eclipses the industrial one of the 18th century by a factor of about ten. Technology is evolving at breakneck speed and what is happening right now is likely to be obsolete by the next decade. Think back 20 years and you can see what I mean — I was carrying a radio telephone on home visits that was the size of a car battery and writing all my notes on paper in longhand in 1996. Today all my work is web-based and health technology has finally caught up with the explosion in processing power available on a microchip.

Digital technology in healthcare is the new buzzword. But what does this actually mean in practice? Well, there are a handful of examples which show the brave new world that medicine is being steered into.

The smartphone. Perhaps the most obvious example. The computing power in our pockets could put man back on the moon. Two thirds of us use smartphones to access the internet, and thousands of health apps are downloaded every day. However, their potential has still not really been tapped, and in the coming years we will see them being increasingly used as patients demand easier access to medical care services via their smartphones. This will typically be in arranging appointments, ordering prescriptions or talking to their GP via video consultations. With the current political drive towards a full-time, seven-day, routine NHS availability, remote appointments will become increasingly common via phones, tablets and computers (for instance, here).

Networked medical devices. There are currently four main categories in use, all relying on quality wireless networks to function effectively. These include wearable external medical devices (such as portable insulin pumps) that communicate wirelessly with central hubs; consumer health-based products such as Fitbits that use Bluetooth to communicate with personal devices; internally embedded devices (such as pacemakers) that ‘speak’ wirelessly to doctors, and stationary medical devices such as home-care cardiac monitoring for bed-bound patients. Their usage remains in its infancy but is likely to expand dramatically.

Smart pills. With up to half of all medication prescribed to people with long-term conditions not being taken as recommended, technology is now available to help promote better compliance and treatment adherence. ‘Sensor pills’ are a good example. Micro-technology now means that sensors can be swallowed in pill form, which — when dissolved in the stomach — are activated. Data is then transmitted to a wearable patch on the outside of the body and on to a smartphone app, enabling both clinician and patient to see how good compliance is.

One drug delivery system currently under development (which sounds like it is off the set of Star Trek but in reality is almost ready for use) aims to use an implantable device containing tiny, sealable drug reservoirs that open when triggered by a small electric current controlled by an embedded microchip. Doses of drugs could be released automatically for a decade from a single chip — think contraception or psychiatric drugs and you can see the potential here.

Genome sequencing. This is the motherlode. As we further advance genome (DNA) sequencing we bring a better understanding of not only how disease affects different individuals, but also how that individual may respond to certain drug treatments (pharmacogenomics). On the back of this, potentially curative treatment for illnesses such as cancer or inherited conditions becomes a possibility and, although this is probably at least a decade away, we can reasonably look forward to our children having access to individualised treatments linked to their genome in the future. The cost of sequencing a single person’s genome continues to rapidly fall to a point where cost is not the major factor in its use.

In theory, all would seem lovely and shiny in the digital health world, where doctors can improve the accuracy and usefulness of information gathered on a patient’s health, where new ways of predicting and treating illness are appearing and where we can change both where and how healthcare is delivered.

However, the NHS is notoriously slow to adapt to technology (hospital letters are still sent to me by fax rather than email). Unless the benefits are dispensed universally, then access to digital healthcare services will be subject to a postcode lottery, with all the frustration and unfairness that this brings with it.

The NHS also shows little evidence of being able to deal with the huge volume of health information that new technologies generate, and until it does so, the prospect of using available real-world technology to improve the health of my patients remains frustratingly just out of reach. And it’s there, waiting for us.

How Big Data Is Transforming Medicine


Original article by Bernard Marr for

When we visit our doctor or go into hospital, we have faith in the knowledge that the healthcare professionals involved are treating us according to proven scientific methods, otherwise known as evidence-based medicine (EBM). This means they’re prescribing drugs or selecting treatment methods that have proven successful in clinical research.

Although the term ‘evidence-based medicine’ only dates back to the early 1990s, the concept itself is much older. Controlled trials were routinely being conducted as early as the 1940s, and clinical knowledge and expertise was already being disseminated in medical journals and textbooks long before that. (In fact, the oldest medical journal still running today, The New England Journal of Medicine, was founded in 1812. Even older, the first official clinical trial was conducted in 1747, into the treatment of scurvy in sailors.)

Clinical trials and studies are all about conducting research into disease and conditions, and the various treatment methods that may ease symptoms or eradicate the illness altogether—they explore which treatments work best for which illnesses and in which groups of patient. All around the world, EBM is the established standard for the provision of healthcare. But, in the age of big data, that might be about to change.

Clinical trials work by testing new treatments in small groups at first, looking at how well the treatment works and to identify any side effects. If a trial proves promising, it is expanded to include larger groups of people. Often the trial will include comparing the new treatment to other treatments by separating patients into different groups, each trialing a different treatment. This is usually done by a process called randomization, where patients are assigned to the various groups randomly.

 In order to safeguard participants and improve reliability, clinical trials have to meet rigorous scientific standards. However, that’s not to say there is no risk of methodological flaws, or that the small-ish populations used in clinical trials always generalize well outside of a particular study. This is where big data can help. By mining the world of practice-based clinical data—i.e. actual patient records—for information on who has what condition and what treatments are working, we could learn a lot about the way we care for individuals.

9 Facts You Didn’t Know About Wearable Technology

The tech industry is buzzing about wearable technology, but how big will this trend really be? Here are nine things you should know.

Even though wearable technology is still in its infancy, many people have already formed strong opinions about it. Some believe that wearables will be just as important as mobile devices, while others think the devices are a solution waiting for a problem. But wearable technology is growing, no matter what side of the fence you end up on, and it’ll likely become a part of your life very soon.

Check out these nine facts about wearable tech on The Motley Fool:

World Cancer Day 2016

I am sure we have all been affected by cancer – whether through family or friends – and so, on World Cancer Day 2016, it’s great to see that cancer rate deaths in the UK have fallen by almost 10% over the last 10 years.

There is still a lot to be done, however wonderful the lives saved. Thank you to all the amazing people who dedicate their lives to researching and developing new treatments, raising awareness and supporting cancer patients, not just today but every day. We at Macdonald Lewis Associates feel very proud to be part of an industry that does such amazing work.

Check out these links to learn more:

The Cancer Research UK London Winter Run 2016

Whilst colder and wetter than she would have liked, Susan was delighted to spend Sunday morning indulging three of her passions by being one of the participants in the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run: running; time with friends; and raising awareness and funds for life saving research into cancer.


Money raised by the London Winter Run will advance research which is helping
more men, women and children across the UK survive cancer.

Clive Sanders, head of events at Cancer Research UK, said:

Around 345,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year – that is more than 940 people every day. Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of the progress that has seen survival rates double in the last forty years. We couldn’t have made that progress without the generosity and dedication of our supporters and we’re incredibly grateful to the thousands of runners who took to the chilly streets of London for the Winter Run and raised vital funds to help beat cancer.

Passion, Fun, Priorities: How I Have Avoided Work-Life Balance Burnout

This is a great article from Richard Branson, for LinkedIn. Whilst the Virgin Founder has had many years – and the benefit of a hugely successful business empire – to perfect his belief in “Passion, Fun, Priorities”, it’s a great mantra…