Talent Management

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The New Role for Managers in Workplace Learning

  • Read Time: 4 min 

A recent survey found that managers do not as a rule encourage or enable employee learning. In the evolving skill-centered economy, that needs to change — but many companies simply have no process in place to support re-skilling and upskilling. Simply imposing an education plan for employees isn’t enough. Managers also need to support, encourage, offer feedback, and lead by example if employees are to gain needed skills that will benefit the company long term.

12 Essential Leadership Insights

  • Read Time: 3 min 

Leading teams and organizations today means honing strategic and digital skills, hiring and mentoring diverse employees, and being agile and adaptive in the face of constant change. With this collection of MIT Sloan Management Review articles, readers will benefit from decades of research from academics and practitioners on the skills, processes, and frameworks that can help managers lead through times of uncertainty, change, and disruption.

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Why Sports Is a Great Proving Ground for Management Ideas

  • Read Time: 6 min 

Because of its sharp focus on measurable outcomes, the study of sports analytics brings many of the most critical issues in management into high relief. Through the lens of sports, there is a great deal to learn about leadership, performance management, decision-making, innovation, and, most of all, managing with data. MIT SMR’s sports analytics podcast, Counterpoints, is a great entry point to the playing field of data-driven management practice.

New Frontiers in Re-skilling and Upskilling

Everyone at some point will have to spend time either reskilling (learning new skills for a new position) or upskilling (learning current tasks more deeply). Embracing this idea requires an individual sense of agency, but corporations also have to step up. There are promising pilots underway: Some companies are figuring out how to engage on this issue, to the advantage of both individuals and the businesses themselves.

Closing the Gender Gap Is Good for Business

While the corporate world has made progress in advancing women’s careers in leadership roles, there is a long way to go to achieve workplace gender equality. By supporting women’s career development and advancing them into managerial positions, a company’s customers, teams, and bottom line will benefit.

Imaginary Time Travel as a Leadership Tool

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

Leaders can help employees manage immediate problems by harnessing the human capacity to think beyond the moment and recognize that “this too shall pass.” Psychological tools such as temporal distancing help ease the sting of current troubles. And the tool of “failure premortems” can help people identify dangerous risks and delusions in new projects by imagining they’re in the future looking back at why a project failed.

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Let Your Mind Wander

Leisure time does two important jobs for us. Recharging is the obvious one. But it can also heighten our powers of creativity, given the cognitive benefits associated with letting our minds wander — and that gives us an edge over AI in the battle for jobs. Kellogg professor Adam Waytz makes this research-based argument in “Leisure Is Our Killer App,” the lead article in MIT SMR’s package on talent in a digital age. Check it out, along with the other pieces, in the fall issue of the magazine.

A New Era for Culture, Change, and Leadership

Renowned social psychologist Edgar Schein and his colleagues defined how we thought about organizations and leadership in the 1950s. But in the digital era, Schein — working with his son, Silicon Valley executive Peter Schein — has developed a new perspective, one that advocates combining culture, change, and leadership into an integrated process, rather than viewing them as three separate topics of importance.

NFL Pass Blocking Is Even More Important Than You Think

Though the QB gets most of the spotlight, a new analysis from ESPN shows that every NFL team lives and dies by the skills and teamwork of players at the tackle, guard, and center positions in the offensive line. Counterpoints looks at the burgeoning field of O-Line analytics with ESPN’s Seth Walder.

Does AI-Flavored Feedback Require a Human Touch?

With customized and continuous data-driven feedback becoming a new normal, managers are revisiting the role they should play in delivering, facilitating, and curating face-to-face employee feedback. Does direct managerial involvement complement or compete with data-determined performance reviews?

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Leisure Is Our Killer App

How can we avoid being automated out of our jobs? When recommending areas for development, experts tend to focus on two broad classes of skills that distinguish people from machines: sociability and variability. But homing in on those areas can lead to burnout, leaving us even more vulnerable to obsolescence. Leisure can mitigate these effects. Beyond reducing burnout, leisure is a uniquely human activity that robots cannot perform, and it might actually make us better thinkers and workers.

Second-Grade Soccer Superstars

Elite soccer is a multibillion-dollar business, and top clubs are constantly looking for the next promising young player that they can develop into a superstar. Youth academies are one way for clubs to do this, but they have to find the players with potential before they can work with them. Counterpoints talks with Chelsea Football Club’s head of research and innovation, Ben Smith, who is on an analytics-driven hunt for star material.

Buyer Beware! MLB Free Agents Underperform Their Contracts

What happens when a free-agent player with a hot hand and great stats gets signed to a big, long-term contract, only to perform at a mediocre level? Counterpoints examines the problem of “shirking” in professional sports by looking at the data with Richard Paulsen, who presented his paper, “New Evidence in the Study of Shirking in Major League Baseball,” at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

The Plight of the Graying Tech Worker

High-skilled immigration is dramatically transforming the tech sector in the United States. U.S. tech workers over age 40 have good reasons to be concerned. In addition to competing with greater numbers of skilled foreign workers, older tech workers are now also more likely than younger workers to lose their jobs when technical work moves overseas.

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