Back to McKinsey Organization Blog

The 10 must-read McKinsey Organization Blog posts of 2021

These blog posts, all published in 2021, proved especially helpful for organizations during the second year of the pandemic.
Bill Schaninger

Designs and manages large-scale organizational transformations, strengthening business performance through enhanced culture, values, leadership, and talent systems

Health. Family and friends. Meaning and purpose. During the second year of the pandemic, we renewed our focus on what’s truly important. Organizational priorities also shifted, and the most-read posts of the year on the McKinsey Organization Blog reflect these changes.

Whether grappling with the future of work, creating a more inclusive culture, or inspiring and developing people, leaders sought guidance to navigate recovery and the new expectations of employees and customers. The following posts proved especially helpful for organizations in 2021.

Talent and performance management

  • Are you building employee capabilities across these four critical areas?
    By Alexander DiLeonardo, Taylor Lauricella, Laura Pineault, and Bill Schaninger
    In today’s competitive environment, it’s not enough to focus capability building solely on developing job-level skills. Leaders can drive higher value and impact by building individual capabilities across these four quadrants.
  • Unlocking the true value of effective feedback conversations
    By Sabrin Chowdhury, Bryan Hancock, and Owain Williams
    Much of the fairness of a performance-management process rests on managers’ ability to coach effectively. Unlocking the true value of effective feedback conversations lies in equipping managers with the right tools to help them build their own capabilities.

The future of work

  • The future of work: Balancing three symbiotic elements
    By Bill Schaninger and Kartik Sharma
    To adequately prepare for the future of work, organizations need to fully understand the nature of work they do, who is needed to perform that work, and where that work is done. Getting this right will determine the winners in the post-pandemic world.
  • The future of work: Seizing the opportunities of the new normal
    By Marino Mugayar-Baldocchi, Bill Schaninger, and Kartik Sharma
    To succeed in the future of work, the time for change is now. Organizations must seize this moment to transform ambiguity into opportunity across the three broad areas of work, workforce, and workplace.
  • The future of work: Managing three risks of the hybrid workplace
    By Marino Mugayar-Baldocchi, Bill Schaninger, and Kartik Sharma
    As organizations evaluate post-pandemic working models for the future of work, these three risk areas deserve careful attention.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Leadership and purpose

  • How to reenergize your organization to overcome pandemic fatigue
    By Aaron De Smet, Laura Tegelberg, Rob Theunissen, and Tiffany Vogel
    Amid pandemic fatigue, companies are waking up to the need for greater compassion to unleash the full potential of their people. These five actions have shown to be effective in reenergizing organizations.
  • Running on all five sources: Actions leaders can take to create more meaningful work
    By Timothy Bromley, Taylor Lauricella, and Bill Schaninger
    When people view their work as meaningful, performance improves significantly. Knowing about the five sources of meaning is a great start, but the real magic occurs when leaders begin to embed them into how the work gets done.
  • Build your organizational identity
    By Alexander DiLeonardo, Nikola Jurisic, and Bill Schaninger
    Creating a coherent and complete identity can help organizations thrive amid uncertainty. The three elements of purpose, value, and culture can help organizations thrive long term.

We are grateful for the opportunity to support our readers and their organizations in 2021, and we aspire to remain a source of inspiration and impactful advice in the year ahead.

Learn more about our People & Organizational Performance Practice