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Necessity is the Mother of Invention, Especially in A Pandemic

As most of the world grapples with THE COVID-19 pandemic, it strikes me that a half dozen words from Plato’s Republic, the ancient Greek philosopher’s treatise on ethics and politics, are totally correct and oh-so-timely. “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Said in today’s attention deficit-style, we have a problem and need a solution...now.

By: Gal Rimon, Founder & CEO, Centrical

Necessity is the Mother of Invention, Especially in A Pandemic

As most of the world grapples with THE COVID-19 pandemic, it strikes me that a half dozen words from Plato’s Republic, the ancient Greek philosopher’s treatise on ethics and politics, are totally correct and oh-so-timely.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” Said in today’s attention deficit-style, we have a problem and need a solution…now.

I do not profess to have any expertise on how best to contain an infectious disease. I lead Centrical, a company that sells an employee engagement and performance management platform to large companies in all industry sectors, across all geographies. It’s used by companies like the tech giant Microsoft, Novartis, a top pharmaceutical firm, Unilever, one of the world’s leading consumer packaged good companies, and Teleperformance, a leading provider of customer experience and support services, among others.

These and other companies typically work with us to help align their employees with company goals, and facilitate conversations with managers about targets and performance. In other words, we help them help their employees perform at their best. Our platform does that by blending personalized microlearning with real-time performance and advanced gamification. When deployed at companies’ sites or on a remote basis, for employees working in the field or from home, employee engagement and organizational performance ramps up.

For those employees who’ve been displaced from their workplaces and forced to work from their homes, this sudden shift has created a sense of isolation and no small amount of anxiety brought on, to a degree, by the looming health risk we all face.

In speaking with several of our customers, I am learning that, as Plato said, necessity is the mother of invention. They have global operations, including China, where the new strain of the CoronaVirus looks to have originated.

These companies are using our platform to engage their suddenly-working-from-home employees, to keep them motivated and focused on their work. In addition, our microlearning capability has allowed them to present easy to absorb content that relates to the health emergency; a way to prevent misinformation and gossip impacting the health of employees and, logically, their ability to perform, and contribute to their companies’ business results.

Imagine that instead of an in-the-flow-of-work microlearning session on how to interact with an exasperated customer efficiently and effectively, employees are presented with information on how to lessen the chance of exposure to and/or contracting COVID-19.

A key element of our personalized microlearning capability is its use of a closed loop communications model. We believe more than completing the learning activity, and more than demonstrating comprehension of the training material, it matters most how well employees put it to use in their work. Does it impact their performance? Is there evidence of knowledge gaps? Our platform evaluates that by drawing on data from multiple enterprise sources to determine if retraining to retain – in the form of refreshers or quick quizzes – is called for.

I learned the same approach has been taken to make certain customers’ employees absorbed the provided health information and adapted their work- and lifestyles accordingly. At times like this it is clearly as important, if not more so, to help someone stay healthy than to make another sale in the course of a workday. If they’re healthy today, they can sell tomorrow.

I applaud those Centrical customers who are utilizing our engagement and performance management platform to help their employees be productive and stay healthy in the process.

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