Human Resources

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A Structured Approach to Strategic Decisions

Many decisions about strategy require that senior executives make evaluative judgments on the basis of extensive, complex information. Such work is prone to common errors, but a disciplined, sequential approach can mitigate those errors and improve the quality of both one-off and recurrent decisions in an array of business domains. The process described in this article is easy to learn, involves little additional work, and (within limits) leaves room for intuition.

Rebooting Work for a Digital Era

Until recently, IBM’s performance management system followed a traditional approach that revolved around yearlong cycles, ratings, and annual reviews. This case study explores how, after recognizing that the model was holding back the organization, IBM reimagined its performance management system with a model that favors speed and innovation and cultivates a high-performance culture.

Five Insights From Davos on the Future of Work

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 5 min 

At the 2019 gathering of the World Economic Forum, much of the conversation was about the need for re-skilling and inclusive education, and the ongoing gender gap in the world of technology. Lynda Gratton, a professor of management practice at London Business School, attended the Davos conference as a steward of the World Economic Forum Council on Work, Education and Gender, and shares her insights from the meeting.

Is It Possible to Judge Individual Talent in the NFL?

Football players who seem mediocre in college suddenly flourish as top pro performers, while hot prospects flounder when they reach the NFL. Can teams’ recruiters and coaches accurately identify the key players that will help their team win games based on the players’ past performance? In this episode of Counterpoints, Wharton professor Cade Massey, host of “Wharton Moneyball,” argues that they can’t.

Using Digital Tools to Assess Talent

  • Video | Runtime: 0:59:36

The workforce is changing, with more and more skilled workers electing to work for themselves or become entrepreneurs. As the competition for talent heightens, intuition is no longer adequate to identify and attract — not to mention keep — the best potential employees. In this webinar, ManpowerGroup’s chief talent scientist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic discusses the current workplace dynamic and the innovative methods to solve the talent problem, including digital tools for talent assessment.

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It’s Time to Make Paternity Leave Work

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 8 min 

Longer life spans are the new normal, and many people alive today will live to be 100 years old. How will we use that time? One option: Rather than working full time for decades and then spending our later years with our grandchildren, we could redistribute some of that projected time from our 60s and 70s into our earlier decades and spend more of it with our children. For fathers in particular, this would be a radical life decision.

New Ways to Gauge Talent and Potential

While most organizations still rely on traditional methods such as résumé screenings, job interviews, and psychometric tests to find the right people and match them with the right roles, three new approaches to talent identification are quickly gaining traction. Gamified assessments, digital interviews, and candidate data mining have the potential to make hiring more precise and less biased, as long as they’re used responsibly.

Preparing for the Coming Skill Shifts

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

CEOs worry about ensuring that their companies have the right skills mix to thrive in the age of AI and automation, and they’re smart to be thinking about talent at a strategic level. But the external labor market can do only so much to address the anticipated shifts in demand. So companies should double down on retraining the people they have, with an emphasis on lifelong learning and adaptability.

The 2018 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize

The editors of MIT Sloan Management Review are pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize, awarded annually to the most outstanding MIT SMR article on planned change and organizational development. The 2018 award goes to “The Corporate Implications of Longer Lives,” by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, both professors at London Business School.

The Challenge of Scaling Soft Skills

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 5 min 

We understand a lot about how to develop the “hard skills” of analysis, decision-making, and analytical judgment, but we know a great deal less about the genesis of “soft skills” like empathy, context sensing, collaboration, and creative thinking, which are becoming increasingly valuable in the workplace. Understanding the obstacles to developing these soft skills and then addressing those barriers is crucial for our schools, homes, and workplaces.

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The Time for Retraining Is Now

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 6 min 

None of us know how our technological future will unfold. But whether there will be a net increase or decrease in jobs overall, it’s clear that these will be different jobs, requiring different skill sets. We need to act now to enable current employers and employees to gain the skills they are going to need in the brave world of AI technology.

How Leaders Face the Future of Work

Some leaders have failed to realize that the daily lives of those who work in their organizations will inevitably be transformed over the coming decades. But it’s the responsibility of leaders to create clarity about the future of work. That means being engaged with creating a narrative about the future of jobs, actively championing the learning agenda, and role modeling work flexibility — for instance, by taking paternity leave or working from home.

Rationalizing Yourself Out of a Promotion

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 4 min 

Some women who feel like they won’t “fit” a stereotypical job description will talk themselves out of wanting it. This process of negatively evaluating promotional opportunities is due to a process called “job crafting.” As a result, managers who wish to employ female executives at the highest levels of their organizations should be especially careful of the signals they might be communicating to potential applicants.

The Long Journey to Understanding Intangible Assets

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 5 min 

The “intangible assets” people bring to their jobs are valuable — but challenging to quantify. Understanding the complexities of assets such as a person’s capacity to continue to learn new skills and ability to manage the stress of work and home life can help organizations get a better handle on alternate ways of sustaining employees. Understanding the notion of intangible assets can also help individuals think more concretely about how they allocate their time and energy.

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Who’s Building the Infrastructure for Lifelong Learning?

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Current trends in both human longevity and technological innovation raise the possibility of people living until 100 and working until they are 80. It’s clear that much will have to change — both in how people understand and anticipate the evolving nature of work, and how they then respond. Providing access to lifelong learning demands a complex system involving stakeholders in education, government, and the corporate world.

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 Corporate Implications of Longer Lives

People are living longer and working longer — but few organizations have come to grips with the opportunities and challenges that greater longevity brings. Across the world, people are becoming more conscious of their lengthening working lives — but frustrated by their working context. The authors’ research suggests that while people know they will have to restructure their lives and careers, corporations are unprepared.

‘Moneyball’ for Professors?

While there’s a boom in using analytics for HR decisions, predictive analytics hasn’t yet made substantial inroads in the place of its birth: academia. Tenure decisions for the scholars of computer science, economics, and statistics — the pioneers of quantitative metrics and predictive analytics — are often insulated from these tools. Now research we conducted with Dimitris Bertsimas and Shachar Reichman finds that data-driven models can significantly improve tenure selections and predict future research success.

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