We never lose the feeling of back-to-school time, do we? Even if you don’t have kids or your kids have already graduated, we seem programmed to feel that urge to focus more on achievement in late August. Of course, in the Jewish calendar, the new year starts in the fall. So, now is a time for renewal.

The need might feel a little greater this fall. After a third pandemic summer there’s still uncertainty. And earlier this year, Gallup released study that shows employee engagement has dropped for the first time in 10 years. While the number actively unengaged employees increased a bit.

To the implications of this engagement drop, Jim Harter of Gallup wrote: “Gallup found that during the first half of 2020, half of employees strongly agreed that they felt well prepared to do their job. This figure has since declined by seven percentage points. During a second year of fluid and unpredictable change, managers have continuously adjusted roles and resource needs. Many teams have new, or fewer, team members. Reestablishing role clarity has to be an ongoing ritual, leveraging each person’s strengths in the process.”

Our prescription? Employee development, including business simulations.

Investing in individual and team development goes a long way in today’s workplace – where showing workers a career path forward is valued as much as salary. And business simulations are proven tools for learning by doing, without any risk to the company.

Simulations get individuals engaged with each other through a fun, interactive competition. This gives you a laboratory view of how individuals interact, who needs some help and who might your next leaders be.

One more recommendation: PressTime.

We utilize a raft of good simulations, but we’ve found that PressTime simulation emerged as an ideal option for remote, virtual learning over the last couple years. This also showed us how robust it is for international groups who can’t afford to gather people from around the globe in one place. PressTime is well suited for a video conference, and it’s always been computer based.

Jamesson Solutions has seen excellent results with recent team building and leadership development engagements with time-pressed international companies. Reviews have been strong.

The gist of PressTime is a scenario in which participants are managers in the second largest manufacturer of a successful long-established B2B product in an industry that’s about to undergo a significant and challenging technological change: printing.

Within the simulation’s narrative comes daunting news: the competitor is already selling the new technology at the old price and the deadline to catch up is much shorter than they thought.

Players must pull a team together to bring new technology to market, fast. And if they can’t bring the new product to market within 20 weeks, they’re out of business.

Yes, the imaginary company is in printing, but PressTime gets its name from the unrelenting timeline and unforgiving deadline. It’s suitable for use in pretty much any organization – from companies on the cutting edge of new technologies to legacy manufacturers.

It’s also in touch with current realities of demands being placed on cross functional teams to do something they’ve never done before. Nobody has enough time to get things done, just like in the real world.

Truly, it’s a simulation of how things are.

The results we’ve seen with PressTime include better teamwork, emergent leadership, improved communication skills and sharper problem solving.

So, if your organization is ready to get in the back-to-school mode for better engagement and a more successful fiscal year, look at simulations, especially PressTime.

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