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By Gabriel Andrade, Partner, Egon Zehnder and Per Lagerstrom, Chief Executive Officer, SQN


Are workplace productivity and joy incompatible? It often seems that way. For much of modern history, organizations have operated under the assumption that there’s a tradeoff between efficiency and happiness—and that that equation is simply the cost of doing business. “That’s why,” some joke, “they call it work.”

The rise of big data, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics has led to an explosion in the type of information available to organizations. Yet current approaches designed to boost performance by changing behaviors and mindsets have barely shifted in 50 years. Lean has transformed manufacturing; agile has upended software. Human Resources is still waiting for its revolution. 

Indeed, much of the progress in human resources has stagnated. There are far too many disconnected metrics and processes, most operating independently of each other and almost none of which are linked to behavior change. From surveys to personality tests, these disparate offerings don’t perform well; collectively, they have an 80% failure rate.

The “productivity gap” between being in a state of flow while at work and the far more typical sense of fatigue and frustration damages companies—and millennial and Gen Z employees in particular, who increasingly expect to work in an environment where they can feel both appreciated and challenged. As a result, both younger generations, many of whom see work as a place to thrive with purpose rather than a place to toil, and experienced leaders, who no longer wish to push a rock up a hill in perpetuity, are opting out.

We reject today’s outdated, expensive, pointless approach.

At SQN, we believe in boosting profitability by activating human potential.

At Egon Zehnder, we believe in transforming the world through great leadership. It is only through better leaders that we can build a better world.

Although we all intuitively link a positive culture to beneficial business outcomes, SQN is the first to have cracked the code on actually measuring the impact of culture on the bottom line. In today’s environment of constant disruption and increasing complexity, the ability to measure this at scale is a major competitive advantage.

Together, we offer a new and inclusive way forward: a monumental shift in how we think about human performance. We are building both high-performing and truly human business environments. We believe that business outcomes surge when the people inside them are understood, motivated and accountable to themselves, their teams and their organizations. And we believe that a combination of state-of-the-art technology and a human-centered view of the workplace can both enhance happiness and spur better and faster performance.

At Egon Zehnder, we believe in transforming the world through great leadership. It is only through better leaders that we can build a better world.

On May 28, 2019, SQN and Egon Zehnder announced a partnership designed to build and support SQN’s revolutionary, AI-enabled approach to boosting joy and performance in the workplace. The SQN Living Analytics approach, featuring the SQN Flow Operating System ™, combines high technology and high-touch humanity. Our AI-driven insights allow us to engage the entire organization, including individuals, teams and leaders, and unite them in the common goal of a better, more productive, and more inspiring workplace. 

Flow OS begins with a bespoke diagnostic – a DNA-like mapping of an organization’s ideal behaviors -- and then leverages technology to build a unique roadmap to help the organization and its leaders become their best selves. It measures a company’s unique Performance Signature—its ideal personality -- and then, using neural networks, identifies the clusters of individual and collective mindsets needed to close the gap between the real and the ideal.

Finally, SQN uses advanced behavioral science to help organizations, leaders, teams and individuals build new pathways that eliminate ingrained habits and change the culture for the benefit of all. The approach fills the void between drudgery and fulfilment that so many employees and executives feel deep in their bones –- and drives productivity with the help of technological “nudges” that incentivize positive change and accountability for leaders and employees. Flow OS is secure, privacy-protected, and measurable with an average positive impact of 20% on productivity. Flow OS  is not an app; instead, it is a behavioral operating system for approaching organizational change in a way that creates, rather than destroys, happiness at work and that allows individuals to follow a customized development plan.

We invite you to get to know SQN at www.sqn.world and become part of our movement to build both high-performing and truly human business environments.

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