The Lead: Luxury Rail Revival, Expiring Safety Programs, GDPR

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Luxury Rail Revival

Whether it’s the ability to slow down and take in beautiful vistas or simply the nostalgia, travelers have been seeking out high-end rail travel. Features like WiFi, air conditioning, and elegantly decorated interiors create a wonderful onboard experience for passengers on the Belmond Royal Scotsman, Belmond Andean Explorer, the Eastern and Orient Express, and other luxury trains. Japan’s Train Suite Shiki-Shima even has a front observation car with a conductor’s-view and deluxe suites that include fireplaces. Co-founder of the Luxury Train Club Simon Pielow reports that their revenue has been growing by 50% year over year since his business launched in 2013.

Our View: Excellence in customer experience yields higher revenues due to greater customer retention and lower expenses such as lower acquisition costs. To become a leader in customer experience, organizations must assign one person as the customer experience leader in their organization with measureable and clear responsibility that is enterprise-wide and cross-divisional. The role of Chief Customer Officer has been growing for several years now as they are often best equipped to implement strategic customer-centric optimization. Further Reading

Expiring Safety Programs at Apparel Factories

Some of the safety programs that were put in place after an apparel factory collapse that killed 1,134 people in Bangladesh are expiring at the end of this year. The Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University’s Stern School of Business created a report addressing this issue and detailing the call to action for an international task force. In order to make all of Bangladesh’s factories safer, several international organizations and Bangladeshi stakeholders must work together and all contribute the money, time, and energy needed to remediate the remaining dangerous conditions.

Our View: Safety training must keep pace with technological advancements, and world-class safety cultures are created when business leaders integrate safety into their organizations. Microlearning is a new training technique that can be used as an approach to safety training where the training is more readily available in shortened and focused amounts, and it has the power to significantly improve the safety of working environments for employees. The most effective microlearning modules are multimedia. While most safety manuals and training materials are still in print, the shift to digital makes safety resources more accessible and cost-effective. Further Reading

Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation

The European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016, setting new rules for how companies manage and share personal data. The GDPR will give companies a new set of rules for sharing data online that go into effect on May 25th, 2018, and it will be affecting every online service due to the global nature of the internet. The GDPR is setting a higher bar for obtaining personal data with significant fines for violations, and it explicitly extends to companies based outside the EU.

Our View: New technologies are transforming the way information is gathered, stored, and processed at an increasingly rapid pace, and businesses must take a pragmatic approach to adjusting their policies and practices to ensure compliance. Complying with privacy laws around the world and protecting user data are leadership issues. Keeping up with thought leaders around the globe on data privacy is key to understanding how countries, companies, and individuals define and protect personal data. Further Reading

Amazon and Best Buy Team Up to Sell Smart TVs

Amazon and Best Buy announced a partnership to sell smart televisions in Best Buy brick-and-mortar stores and online this summer. The televisions will be branded “Fire TVs” after the name Amazon uses for its streaming set-top boxes, and the TVs will offer streaming services from Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, HBO, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, and live broadcast and cable networks.

Our View: Retailers that adopt a blended omnichannel strategy allow their customers to shop in the way that best fits them whether it’s in store, online, or mobile. Combining a brick-and-mortar and online retail strategy through a “single lens” is perfect for customers who increasingly want the availability of both the ease of online shopping and the tactile experience of physical stores. Further Reading

Companies Offering More Health and Wellness Services 24/7

Health and wellness benefits that are easily accessible are important to today’s global workforce. According to a recent analysis conducted by WorldatWork with underwriting support from Korn Ferry, a list of health and wellness programs saw a significant increase in prevalence year-over-year. For example, the percentage of companies offering telemedicine services has increased from 49 percent to 73 percent.

Our View: Corporate wellness is top of mind for employers across the globe as they are understanding the importance of investing in health promotion and doing so while following the right procedures. Physician and CEO of Intervent International, Dr. Neil F. Gordon, explains that “unprecedented interest is being focused on wellness, not only in corporate settings but also in daily medical practice. As physician practices and healthcare systems embrace the concept of wellness, there will be an increased need for corporate wellness vendors to integrate their services and systems with those of physicians/healthcare systems, including integration with electronic medical records. There will also be an increased need for corporate wellness programs to ensure that their services are evidence-based and conducted in accordance with reputable national/international clinical guidelines, and to document their outcomes in peer-reviewed medical journals.” Further Reading

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