This interview is part of a new series on Workology that features an HR Technology company, its founder and its features. For this post, we’re talking to Josh Christopherson, CEO of iCÜE Technology and Achieve Today, two learning companies that integrate coaching with technology in classrooms and offices. Josh has been featured in Entrepreneur, Training Magazine, Modern Professional and more.
At both companies, Josh focuses on sales management, marketing, and business direction. He oversaw the creation, build-out, and design of Achieve Today’s education platform and structure as well as its creative direction. With many thousands of members, it continues to grow rapidly and has evolved into the main hub of Achieve Today education. He also led the technical development and sales strategy for iCUE Technology.
His expertise is culture and increasing sales by creating loyal sales teams who are passionate about growing company culture and engagement from within. As a visionary thinker, he loves to fix things that are broken and make complexity simple while delivering strong bottom-line results. Josh believes anything is possible when you combine passionate people, a common goal, intense focus, and hard work.
5 Questions With Josh Christopherson, CEO of iCÜE Technology
Q: What are the biggest shifts that you’ve seen in 2021 as we work to recover from a global pandemic that impacted our workplaces so significantly?
“There seems to be a fairly wide disparity between executives and employees as to how working from home has impacted productivity. In one study, 43% of executives indicated that their company had been forced to delay major launches, campaigns or initiatives as a result of employees working from home and collaborating virtually. Among managers who had concerns with employees working from home, 86% ranked productivity as the top concern. 40% of employees, on the other hand, said that working from home actually made them more productive.
So the question arises: Why is there such a disparity? Is it because employees just want to stay home and are trying to justify it? Do managers just want to be able to monitor their employees more closely throughout the day? Whatever the case may be, it seems widely accepted that employees expect to be able to work from home at least some of the time moving forward and are willing to leave their jobs if not accommodated, or not take jobs at all.”
Q: What is the biggest challenge employers are facing when adapting to a fully remote or hybrid workplace?
“As offices reopen, it is important for managers to recognize that many of their employees have experienced the conveniences of working from home for more than a year. Employee mindset has changed over that time, and teams need to embrace new tools and new hybrid work models in order to bring back company culture and collaboration.
Managers need to be in touch with their employees’ challenges with moving back into the office. Some may face childcare struggles or schedule conflicts, while others may be feeling anxiety about face-to-face interaction after over a year of working from home. There are tools to help if communicating with employees about these challenges is challenging.
In times of transition and friction, maintaining good communications with your employees and giving them the space to express their work-related concerns is more important than ever. Employers who fail to address these issues will face higher rates of burnout among their employees, who will then leave for an employer who takes better care of them.”
Q: How can employers ensure that both remote and in-office staff have equal access to learning and development opportunities?
“As a manager, it’s important to shift from the old ways of “watching and managing” to using technology to fill in the gaps.
Tools that help bring people together and grow culture remotely will be critical as businesses large and small adapt to this new environment. Employee education and skills training is one area where remote technology needs to be adopted in order to meet the same quality standards as in-person learning. Technology can combine training tools with AI-powered coaching and progress reporting to help managers. This will help replace some of what is missing from the work experience when employees are out of the office while still allowing them to experience the conveniences that come with working from home. When managers embrace new tools, managers also embrace that their employees are going to spend some of the work week at home.”
Q: Employees working remotely often feel disengaged and left out. How does iCÜE Technology help solve that problem?
“Teams need to embrace new tools and new hybrid work models in order to bring back company culture and collaboration.
iCUE Technology’s AI was created and taught to work with employees to deliver onboarding, ongoing training content, remove limiting beliefs and improve happiness by training the individual on a personal level. Engagement and use is the key issue for most learning and development platforms. Many employees don’t use solutions designed to train and collaborate. We built our system to learn what the employee does and then reach out to them via text just like a coach or coworker and suggest training classes or collaboration opportunities. It’s built to prompt action.
Collaboration is one of the biggest missing components of work from home models. Solutions like Slack and Zoom are opportunities to help, but our software takes all these tools and brings them together in a more personal environment, and then motivates and rewards action.”
Q: How does artificial intelligence (AI) facilitate learning and development with iCÜE Technology?
“iCUE Technology’s software has solved the motivation issue that companies face by getting learners to want to engage. Our software and virtual coach suggest classes and courses based on the individual. It learns what they need and want, and then serves it to them in easy bite size micro courses. The beauty of the community is that it allows the employer to push needed content and training, but also blend it with classes designed to help the employee outside of work as well in their lives. It creates a trusted environment, all with a community that allows for collaboration. We have seen interaction increase in companies by over 85% overnight, just by launching this software in their organizations.”