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Everyone needs more of this one skill

Change is constant, unpredictable, necessary, and extremely difficult all at once. For many people, constant change at work—ongoing transformation, different ways of working, demand for new skills—is a significant cause of chronic stress. According to the World Health Organization, even before COVID-19, the global stress epidemic was costing the world at least $1 trillion annually just in measurable areas like absenteeism, and likely much more in innovation and creativity—two ...

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The future of work: Managing three risks of the hybrid workplace

With the gradual reopening of nations around the world, organizations have been evaluating post-pandemic working models and the physical return to work. The COVID-19 crisis forced many organizations, particularly those largely composed of knowledge workers, to shift to a remote model. Although there is much excitement over restoring some level of in-person interaction in the workplace, 68 percent of organizations do not yet have a clearly articulated vision or plan in place. As ...

Four ways communications can engage employees on the return to workplace journey

In addition to its impact on lives and livelihoods, COVID-19 disrupted our sense of place. Familiar out-and-about spaces—stores, restaurants, places of worship, gyms, schools, and offices—made themselves comfortable in our homes. As we shopped online and ordered delivery, gathered around laptops for religious services and yoga sessions, and turned our dining rooms into classrooms, the line between work and home all but dissolved. As we reimagine what’s next, we are also ...

The future of work: Three steps toward an inclusive workplace

Amid a social reckoning over the past year, we’ve seen a meaningful shift in organizations’ attention to racial justice and equity, including real commitments and investments in doing better. Leaders are asking both tough and important questions for the future of work, including whether their organization is genuinely accepting of all people and if their company ensures equal access to opportunities throughout the talent lifecycle. However, the COVID-19 crisis risks wiping out years ...

Making work meaningful from the C-suite to the frontline

It’s no secret that meaningful work matters. Research has found that when employees find their work to be meaningful, their performance improves by 33 percent, they are 75 percent more committed to their organization, and are 49 percent less likely to leave. Moreover, over the past 30 years, Americans have identified meaningful work as the most important aspect of a job—ahead of income, job security, and the number of hours worked. Despite its importance, a recent academic article ...

The future of the workplace: Embracing change and fostering connectivity

COVID-19 has changed the workplace as we have known it. While the physical space still exists, the overall idea of what a workplace is and what it is for needs to be reimagined. Organizations must deliberately address the changes wrought by the pandemic and the rapid pace of technological investment to enable remote and flexible work. In particular, organizations must take three key actions. Embrace the hybrid model. The post-pandemic outcome is clear: a hybrid work model in which part of ...

Rethinking total rewards for the post-COVID era

As organizations navigate performance management amid the COVID-19 crisis, a key part of their strategy should be to revise total rewards to reflect changes to both financial and non-financial incentives. Non-financial rewards will become increasingly significant as organizations seek to retain talent with flexibility in a post-COVID workplace. Total rewards have also taken on increasing importance given the cultural context and conversation around equity. The current disruption provides a ...

The future of the workforce: Investing in talent to prepare for uncertainty

The workforce emerging from the pandemic is different than the one that entered it. While the composition of workforces may have changed, the most significant shifts are occurring in how organizations approach the talent they have, the talent they need, and the expectations their talent has of them. Having previously looked at the future of work, let’s explore these three workforce elements and what they mean for organizations moving forward. The talent they have: Talent and ...

Inclusive workplaces focus on management practices that matter, not fluff

Most companies define inclusion too narrowly and thus address it too narrowly as well. Over the past three years, we've broadened our perspective on how to create truly inclusive workplaces and inspired the development of a modern and revolutionary inclusion model. The model includes 17 practices (i.e., frequency of desired behaviors) and six outcomes (i.e., perceptions of effectiveness) that form the backbone of the inclusion assessment, a well-validated survey that makes it easier to turn ...

Promoting psychological safety starts with developing leaders

Organizations that instill psychological safety are more likely to innovate quickly, unlock the benefits of diversity, and adapt well to change—all of which have grown in importance during the COVID-19 crisis. In a professional climate that promotes psychological safety, employees feel comfortable asking for help, sharing suggestions informally, or challenging the status quo without fear of negative social consequences. Our recent research suggests how organizations can foster such an ...

The future of work: Understanding what’s temporary and what’s transformative

COVID-19 has accelerated changes to the nature of work. It is important, however, to recognize that the two major questions organizations must articulate remain the same as before the pandemic: “How do we make money?” and “How is the work done?” What has changed are the ways in which organizations can and should answer these questions. Our research and client work point to three key areas that organizations must clearly evaluate as they seek not only to emerge from the ...

Survey fatigue? Blame the leader, not the question

This is a Golden Age for employee surveys. The assessment industry is dramatically growing, creating more options than ever, while new tech-enabled assets and increased accessibility make surveys easier than ever to deploy. This comes on top of a shift towards prioritizing employee listening—particularly in light of COVID-19. Yet, we often hear from clients that their people suffer from survey fatigue, leading to a hesitancy to deploy diagnostics. While survey fatigue is real and deserves ...

The future of work: Balancing three symbiotic elements

People have struggled to predict the future of work since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Concerns that machines would replace humans in time became worries about robots and artificial intelligence (AI). But until the pandemic, few companies had effectively considered the issue in depth. Doing so now promises to open up a slew of opportunities for organizations to better deliver on their value proposition to all stakeholders, build competitive talent competencies, and adapt to the ...

Three mindset shifts to become a data-rich platform for growth

Organizations that build data-rich technology platforms reap substantial benefits. They can accelerate innovation by launching new products and services based on insights gleaned from data and create personalized customer experiences that keep people coming back for more. In these organizations, data doesn’t just show what is happening in the business; data becomes the business. This is one key to success in an increasingly “winner takes all” economy, where our research ...

Grief, loss, burnout: Navigating a new emotional landscape at work

People have had to navigate an all-new emotional landscape amid the COVID-19 crisis. As we look with hope to the post-pandemic recovery, leaders must continue to address complex and uncomfortable topics such as grief, loss, and burnout that many employees will still experience for a long time to come. In extracts from a McKinsey Talks Talent podcast episode—“Grief, loss, burnout: Talking about complex feelings at work”—Bryan Hancock and Bill Schaninger discuss what they ...