Employee Performance

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Goodbye Structure; Hello Accountability

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  • Read Time: 7 min 

Companies will be able to operate as true digital organizations only when they learn how to respond quickly to unanticipated opportunities and threats. But instead of restructuring to increase agility, some organizations are assigning accountabilities for specific business outcomes to small teams or individual problem owners. Tackling new objectives is then built around individual flexibility, market-based resource allocation, experimental mindsets, and coaching rather than managing.

If You Cut Employees Some Slack, Will They Innovate?

Giving people time and resources to pursue innovation projects can produce extraordinary outcomes — but only if you match your “slack strategy” to employee type. The authors found that different types of employees respond in different ways to slack innovation programs; that different kinds of slack resources are better suited to certain types of employees than others; and that different kinds of slack innovation programs produce different kinds of innovation.

Could AI Be the Cure for Workplace Gender Inequality?

Artificial intelligence is beginning to replace many of the workplace roles that men dominate. The parts of those jobs that will have staying power are those that rely more heavily on emotional intelligence, abilities such as empathy, persuasion, and inspiration — skills in which women typically excel. In the AI economy, men won’t be as successful as women unless they embrace these differentiator skills.

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I Come to Praise the Annual Performance Conversation, Not Further Bury It

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

As many experts have noted, the annual performance review is rife with faults. It emphasizes what has already happened rather than shaping what is yet to come. It can feel punitive or at least judgmental. It is reductive and, in some cases, forces ridiculous formulaic comparisons between employees. It fails to emphasize the kind of timely feedback that can make a real difference in performance. And yet I have just scheduled year-end performance conversations with each of my direct reports.

A Data-Driven Approach to Identifying Future Leaders

Many executives believe they are good at identifying leadership talent. However, when asked how they make their decisions, they often cite intuition or “gut” instincts. Social science research, on the other hand, suggests that individuals are often prone to cognitive biases in such decisions. Rather than just relying on the subjective opinions of executives, some companies are using assessment tools to identify high-potential talent.

The Missing Piece in Employee Development

In recent years, organizations have begun to prioritize processes for improving future performance over evaluating employees’ past efforts. Yearly development objectives and annual reviews are being replaced by real-time feedback delivered directly by line managers. Although this shift holds much promise, it risks bumping up against some hard realities — namely, the ability of line managers to help employees develop. In reality, many managers aren’t confident they can change employee behavior.

How Digital Media Will Bring Out Our Best Selves in the Workplace

Tomorrow’s most productive individuals will have more and better digital versions of themselves. The vision: Individuals will be able to utilize customized software and digital tools to improve their performance and productivity, with these digital versions of themselves able to significantly outperform their average self. In this world, AI will stand for “Augmented Introspection” as well as “Artificial Intelligence.”

Your Digital Talent Needs May Not Be What You Think They Are

In the quest for digital talent, many employers are falling prey to common misconceptions. One assumption is that advanced technical skills are the most valuable asset, but “soft” skills such as communication and collaboration are just as (if not more) important. And many of the skills, technical or otherwise, that companies seek may be better obtained in current staff by fostering collaborative learning — which may also improve employee retention.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Lil Larkie.

Procedural Versus Strategic Approaches to Social Media

Is your company’s social media team grounded in the culture of your organization? Younger employees often have a procedural understanding of social media tools but need strategic vision, argues Boston College’s Jerry Kane. The most effective social media initiatives may be partnerships between younger employees experimenting with social media technologies while more experienced employees harness their enthusiasm and ideas to give them strategic direction.

Image courtesy of Flickr user pixbymaia.

What You Wear Can Influence How You Perform

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  • Read Time: 2 min 

New research suggests that clothing can have an effect on our behavior if that clothing has a symbolic meaning and if we have the physical experience of wearing the clothes. Researchers at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University call this “enclothed cognition.”

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Learning from innovation

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  • Read Time: 1 min 

New research offers insights into the factors that affect how much an organization learns from its innovation activities.

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