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Short and snackable insights on talent management, organizational design, agility, culture, change management, HR analytics and technology, leadership, and merger management from our experienced partners at the forefront of today’s trends.

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Individual performance management in the COVID-19 world

It is no surprise that employee stress and anxiety are hitting all-time highs amid the pandemic. Ongoing uncertainty coupled with complex family needs and potential financial strain presents a unique challenge for everyone. Recent research from SHRM highlights that work-related concerns have left more than 40 percent of employees feeling burned out. Upcoming year-end performance appraisals are a potential crucible for these concerns. Indeed, some organizations have decided to skip the ...

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Zoning in and out of stress

Vlad, an ambitious young executive, moved to Singapore for a new role. Although he felt exhausted after his last challenging project, he was eager for the new challenge and wanted to hit the ground running. Vlad worked long hours and increasingly neglected himself. He skipped meals, stopped exercising, and failed to get enough sleep. He powered through the holidays instead of taking time to recover. Eventually, his body decided enough was enough: Vlad suffered a severe panic attack and had to ...

Real-world lessons to jumpstart an agile culture shift

A growing number of organizations are embracing agility to improve delivery, increase speed, and enhance customer and employee experience. However, when starting an agile transformation, our research shows that the people dimension—culture especially—is the most difficult to get right. The following lessons from organizations that have successfully made this shift can give others a head start on their own transformation journeys. Define the from–tos Each organization ...

Strategic talent management for the post-pandemic world

In the COVID-19 era, chief HR officers (CHROs) are playing a central role in how companies reimagine personnel practices to build organizational resilience and drive value. There is no shortage of new responsibilities, from fostering connectivity early in the pandemic to developing and implementing plans for the return to offices. Additionally, the COVID-19 crisis is now accelerating preexisting talent management trends in the CHRO playbook. By acting in five such areas, CHROs can craft a strong ...

When one size doesn’t fit all: How to make change personal

Successfully transforming an organization continues to be one of the greatest challenges facing leaders, as it requires changing the behaviors and underlying mindsets of a critical mass of people. Behavioral-science research shows that there are four levers to driving change: role modeling, fostering understanding and conviction, reinforcing with formal mechanisms, and building confidence and skills. Together, these are known as the influence model. A change-management plan that uses ...

Foster individual purpose within your organization

In stressful times, it’s understandable to fixate on hard-nosed business priorities at the expense of more intangible considerations. But getting your people to contemplate their “purpose in life” is crucial. Individual purpose can be thought of as an overarching sense of what matters in our lives. While what people find meaningful tends to evolve over time, it can shift relatively quickly, particularly in response to life-changing events. People with a strong sense of purpose ...

Reskilling in the age of COVID: There’s no better time than the present

Even before the current crisis, changing technologies and ways of working were disrupting jobs and the skills employees need to do them. In 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that as many as 375 million workers would have to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030 because of automation and artificial intelligence. In a recent McKinsey Global Survey, 87% of executives said they were experiencing skill gaps—but less than half of respondents had a clear sense of ...

Quarterly Business Review: How to extract benefits beyond transparency

In previous research, our colleagues have outlined the importance for agile organizations to create both stable and dynamic practices. A periodic business review, prioritization of different activities, and alignment across organizational units (frequently called tribes) are often together referred to as Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs). QBRs can be the cornerstone of an effective agile organization, linking overall strategic direction to agile organizational units and team-level backlogs. When ...

Unleashing sustainable speed in a post-COVID world: Reshape talent

In parts one and two of this series on what organizations can learn from the pace at which many companies had to operate as the pandemic unfolded, we reviewed the first six actions that can help unleash sustainable speed. In this final post of the series, we address the last three actions—all aiming to reshape talent to get tomorrow’s leadership team operational today and to build the workforce capabilities of the future: 7. Field tomorrow’s leaders today: One of the ...

Unleashing sustainable speed in a post-COVID world: Reimagine structure

In the first blog post in this series, we discussed how many organizations were forced to accelerate numerous approaches to business (serving customers, working with vendors, collaborating with colleagues) due to the eruption of the coronavirus pandemic. While many companies may have been uncomfortable with having to stretch extensively in such a short period of time, the results indicate that this faster, more agile way of working should become the new normal. Based on numerous case ...

Reimagine decision making to improve speed and quality

In our pre-pandemic research, we discussed three characteristics that lead to better, faster decision making: high-quality debate, well-understood processes and a culture of empowerment. Our research also identified three facilitating actions: making decisions at the right level, aligning decisions with corporate strategy and committing to execution. Then, during the pandemic, we saw organizations making decisions faster than ever. As the world progresses into the next normal, companies must ...

Unleashing sustainable speed in a post-COVID world: Rethink ways of working

The pandemic has forced many businesses to navigate crisis conditions in new and unprecedented ways. When COVID-19 erupted, many companies realized that business-as-usual approaches to serving customers, working with suppliers and collaborating with colleagues—or just getting anything done—would no longer work. They were forced to increase the speed at which they did everything, from decision-making and productivity to utilizing technology in new ways to accelerating innovation. The ...

Communicating with employees during re-entry

As organizations plan for re-entry and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders have an opportunity to engage and strengthen overall connections with employees. Recognizing and addressing the core human emotions of grief, loss, and anxiety in the workplace offer a chance to rebuild organizational health, productivity, and talent retention. Clear and inspiring communication is central to re-entry success. In addition to moving decisively on strategic changes, leaders must help rattled ...

Fitter, flatter, faster: How unstructuring your organization can unlock massive value

The majority of organizations still use a hierarchical model, where each role is carefully documented and cemented through a system of boxes and lines. In this paradigm, accountability gets buried in the depth of complex organizational structures. With businesses and government agencies alike facing unprecedented disruption, having the flexibility and speed to quickly make decisions and get work done has never been more important. Digging out from under the many management layers and ...

Four considerations for helix success beyond structure (part three)

The helix organization model, which we explored in part one and part two of this blog series, separates people-leadership tasks from day-to-day business leadership, helping organizations strike a better balance by reducing complexity and increasing flexibility, encouraging faster decision-making, and empowering employees to act. In order to make this model a success, changes beyond the structure need to be made. The following recommendations help ensure that an organization is set up ...