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McKinsey Organization Blog

Short and snackable insights on topics related to people, talent management, organizational performance, purpose, agility, culture, change management, people analytics, leadership, and merger management from our experienced leaders at the forefront of today’s trends.

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Why investing in company location still matters

Companies in small and midsized cities have traditionally struggled to develop a talent strategy that not only attracts strong employees but retains them as well. Having such a strategy in place has become increasingly important, as competition for talent remains hot, and businesses are feeling the heat more than ever. But there is an opportunity for things to change—one that particularly benefits companies in less urban locales. Workplace requirements have completely shifted in ...

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Bolder recruitment efforts can benefit organizations

Our recent study found that work experience accounts for at least half of the average person’s accumulated human capital—the potential within each person, as well as the collective knowledge, attributes, skills, work experience, and health of the workforce. Such work experience is accumulated through the work itself, learning and development programs, and bold job changes. In fact, our research found that the key to career advancement is mobility, including changing roles more ...

Your office needs a purpose

As pandemic restrictions subside, people rush back to the experiences they missed most: learning something new, making time for self-care, cheering for the home team, or visiting friends and family.  And yet, many workplaces remain empty. Why? The answer lies in purpose. Places designed for entertainment, hospitality, and connection have clearly defined purposes that align with life goals and the desire for personal fulfillment. There’s a clear “why” behind their ...

The limits of RACI—and a better way to make decisions

Making and executing decisions is the lifeblood of organizations. The faster a company can enact high-quality choices, the more value it delivers. Yet, a recent study found 80 percent of organizations report struggles with decision making. Many organizations attempt to clarify decision rights using RACI, which stands for the four roles stakeholders play: responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed. However, we’ve found RACI often makes things worse. Below, we outline four major ...

Returning to the office can be a choice, not a challenge

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the daily decision about where and how to work wasn’t complicated for most. Workers commuted to an office, sat in assigned seats near direct colleagues, and held big meetings in Conference Room A. Our relationship with work and the office has been irrevocably disrupted. The vast majority of employees want flexible work—a preference even more universal among traditionally underrepresented groups, such as employees with disabilities, Black employees, and ...

How to lead in a hybrid environment

As the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs and flows, its impact on the working world appears permanent. Our research suggests that expectations around in-office work have changed. While 99 percent of executives expected employees to spend more than 80 percent of their time in the physical office before COVID-19, that perspective is now shared by a mere 10 percent. Simultaneously, an April 2021 survey found that 29 percent of employees would consider switching employers if their company went back ...

The science behind transformations: Maximizing value during implementation

In our latest global survey, fewer than one in three respondents said their company’s transformation was successful. This low success rate hasn’t budged in over a decade. What separates successful transformations from the rest? Our analysis confirmed that there is still no silver bullet. The single biggest differentiator is the amount of effort put into the transformation—measured by the number of recommended actions taken throughout a transformation’s life cycle. ...

Using skill gap assessments to help future-proof your organization

To help organizations thrive, especially in times of disruption, HR departments need a granular, up-to-date understanding of employees’ skills and skill gaps. This deep understanding can enable an organization to conduct strategic workforce planning, recruit and retain the right talent, offer useful and engaging training, and create compelling employee development expectations and career paths. Organizations that realign HR processes to match skill needs can boost employee engagement by ...

Three steps to supercharge DE&I capability building

Inclusion is a business imperative. In fact, employees who feel very included are nearly three times more likely to feel excited by and committed to their organizations. However, building an inclusive culture doesn’t happen overnight. Organizations should avoid the most common shortcomings of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) training and focus on these three steps to create an effective capability-building program. Step #1: Prioritize specific, observable behaviors that improve ...

Three types of modern flexibility today’s workers demand

The mass transition to remote work in March 2020 upended long-held norms surrounding where work can be done. However, true flexibility is much bigger than the freedom to work remotely, and many organizations still miss the mark. An updated policy on remote work is insufficient to address the needs of the post-pandemic workforce. Companies’ narrow views on the issue are pushing people out of their current jobs and even out of the workforce entirely. It is time for organizations to ...

Don’t train your employees on DE&I. Build their capabilities.

The past two years have seen an unmatched level of organizational commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). Organizations stand to benefit tremendously by unlocking more inclusive workforce behaviors. Our research found 51 percent of employees who recently quit their job cited a lack of belonging at work as a critical reason for leaving. Employees from underrepresented identities were even more likely to cite this reason. As organizations diversify their workforce, ...

Money can’t buy your employees’ loyalty

The pandemic has drastically impacted what employees expect of their work experience and what organizations must deliver so they want to stay. Managing job satisfaction and even employee engagement are no longer sufficient. Traditional incentives, such as raises and bonuses, are table stakes. Organizations must evolve their paradigm by focusing on a holistic employee experience that puts equal emphasis on growth, engagement, and well-being. These three factors are essential, because their ...

Designing the workplace of tomorrow: lessons from life sciences

When COVID-19 prompted abrupt, large-scale remote working, the shift launched a global debate about the purpose of the office. With the rise of new ways and places to work, business leaders now face a once-in-a-century opportunity to completely reinvent the workplace—and increase productivity as a result. Leaders in the life sciences industry have long experimented with workplace design to promote innovation and collaboration and to accelerate novel drug and therapy development. Their ...

Socio-emotional ties: A secret ingredient to success

The COVID-19 pandemic has led employees to step back and re-evaluate their organization, career, and relationship to work itself. Instead of traditional, more transactional retention tactics (e.g., compensation), employees now seek a more personalized, flexible, and human experience on the job, including stronger relationships with leaders, colleagues, and teams. While online, technology-supported communication has skyrocketed during the pandemic, we’ve simultaneously lost in-person ...

The science behind transformations: Protecting value from day one

Transformation success is the exception, not the rule. Our latest global survey confirms this stubborn reality: Less than one third of respondents said their companies' transformations have been successful. Yet, even successful transformations often leave significant value on the table—33 percent of the maximum financial benefit, on average. Nearly one half of value loss occurs early in the transformation, during the target setting and planning phases. The good news is that our ...