- Research Feature
- Read Time: 29 min
As health care costs continue to skyrocket, companies must aggressively seek ways to work with employees and providers to reduce costs, while improving quality.
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Many companies have struggled to design IT systems, databases and content repositories that provide their employees with easily accessible and relevant information. The authors urge organizations to emulate the strategies of Google, eBay and Amazon.com, whose core competence is based upon making it easy for customers to find what they want — quickly, accurately and usefully.
Thus far, researchers and managers alike have a very limited understanding of what makes knowledge workers tick. But by manipulating two key leverage points, companies can begin to shift the balance from art toward science.
Executives know they need to develop their company’s next leaders, but many are disillusioned by all the once-promising fads that have come and gone. Some, however, have discovered how an approach that’s as old as Homer can be one of the most effective means of developing high-potential managers.
In times of adversity, many organizations miss the opportunity to rethink their business model to optimize their positioning for the recovery ahead. Recessionary economies may not require re-engineering or moving noncore competencies outside the organization for greater efficiency. Oxman suggests four critical ways to prepare for economic recovery.
Forget capital; it‘s relatively easy to obtain. The scarce, sought-after strategic resource is expertise, which comes in the form of employees. With people in ascendancy over capital, say the authors, it is time to recall what a company actually is: a social institution designed to engage people in the achievement of a valuable and meaningful purpose.
Commitment and competence are embedded in how each employee thinks about and does his or her work and in how a company is organized to accomplish work. This intellectual capital is, according to the author, a firm’s only appreciable asset. He outlines three ways to build employee commitment and five tools for increasing competence in a firm, site, business and plant.
Are managers today less loyal to their companies? If so, can companies counter this trend? To retain loyal managers, companies must nurture an apolitical culture that places high priority on meeting career needs.
Making an explicit link between people’s personal needs and business goals can be a catalyst for changing work practices. In the end, both the company and the employees benefit.
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