Talent Management

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An Executive Guide to the Winter 2020 Issue

MIT Sloan Management Review’s Winter 2020 issue explores the dilemmas managers face in using blockchain, machine learning, and marketing analytics effectively; strategies to recognize potential threats to your business; the underpinnings of successful organizational transformation; and meeting the emotional and educational needs of your employees.

Learning for a Living

We need to learn at work, but it’s costly and time consuming, and we worry we might be found lacking. What if we can’t pick up the skills we need? Further, most organizations are not as hospitable to learning as their rhetoric suggests. Part of the problem is that we seldom acknowledge that it doesn’t just happen at work — it is work. Employers can better support learning, and individuals can do it more effectively, by understanding that there are two types of learning and that each needs its own space.

A Noble Purpose Alone Won’t Transform Your Company

A noble purpose isn’t enough to create employee engagement within a company. The primary determinant of engagement is the level and quality of interpersonal collaboration. Leaders play a key role in these interactions. Their behaviors can create an environment of trust, imbue work with purpose, and generate positive energy — three conditions that nurture interpersonal collaboration and, in turn, bolster engagement.

Redefining Work for New Value: The Next Opportunity

Investing in job redesign without first planning for and investing in redefining work narrows future outcomes and limits opportunities for both growth and long-term value creation. Understanding the relationship between these two approaches to work is essential to any strategic effort to compete over the long term.

Building Effective Corporate Engagement on LGBTQ Rights

  • Read Time: 7 min 

The corporate sector is becoming increasingly outspoken on LGBTQ rights. As more companies publicize their efforts, pressure is building on others to state their positions as well. Companies that approach LGBTQ issues thoughtfully with policies, culture, and activism can reduce some of the economic risks involved — while affecting public opinion.

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Measuring Emotions in the Digital Age

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Employers have learned that their employees’ emotional states contribute to productivity, sales, and culture. But how do you measure emotions when self-reporting is often inaccurate because respondents either aren’t aware of or don’t want to report their emotions? Facial recognition technologies may hold the answer, but there are significant privacy concerns to be addressed.

The State of AI: Lessons From the Field

  • Video | Runtime: 0:59:36

  • Read Time: 1 min 

The 2019 MIT SMR and BCG Global Research Report Winning With AI looks at why there is a big gap between companies getting value from AI and those that aren’t as well as the cultural and leadership factors that characterize AI pioneers. This webinar summarizes the findings and lessons of the research.

What Does It Mean to Lead?

Are management and leadership entwined in a digital world? Or are they distinct activities, one more important than the other? Can you be closely involved in day-to-day operations, as data-driven tools allow and encourage, without watching and directing employees’ every move? How do you cede top-down control without courting chaos? And how do you eliminate entrenched practices that obstruct change? Experts wrestle with these questions and share their perspectives on how leadership is evolving.

Creating the Symbiotic AI Workforce of the Future

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 7 min 

To effectively implement AI, organizations will need to use human-centered AI processes that motivate and retrain workers, which shifts the focus from automation to collaboration between humans and machines. To test that idea, an experiment was designed to see how human workers might augment an existing AI system and embrace their new roles as AI trainers — resulting in a symbiotic system that enabled humans and AI to each work to their strengths.

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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.

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.

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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

  • Column

  • Column
  • 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.

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.

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