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Talent Management Column

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Managing the 'Difficult' Employee
A new study finds that about one in five workers have a personality disorder that negatively impacts their career and the workplace. But while the research suggests that such disorders (particularly among women) can have a significant impact on business outcomes, HR leaders should nonetheless tread carefully as they craft a response.
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The Fork in the Road for European HR
Our intrepid columnist reports from the European front of the war for talent, where HR leaders are facing a fork in the road when it comes to developing their talent pipelines. Should HR leaders there embrace an "employability doctrine" -- or should they create a whole new doctrine?
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Are Leaders Made or Born?
Are leaders born? Or can they be made? A new study that looks at the brain waves of various individuals seems to find evidence that charismatic leadership has a physical manifestation in the brain. But it may be possible to teach people how to change their brain activity in ways that may make them more inspirational to others.
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Puzzling Out Union Impact
The furors over the dispute in Wisconsin with public-sector unions and the one between the NFL and its players provide plenty of questions -- and not very many answers. But such situations do offer HR leaders some broad lessons.
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The Future of HR
Two recent studies offer some thoughts on the future of HR. While HR leaders in developing areas are dealing with growing economies and an influx of talent -- leading to new ideas -- many CHROs in "mature" economies, such as the United States, are still focused on tactical, instead of strategic, issues. Is this a tipping point for HR?
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Where are the Jobs?
There are lots of theories as to why unemployment has remained stubbornly high, even as companies are doing better. But this disconnect is hardly unprecedented and the solution clearly lies outside the realms of skills retraining and new-hire subsidies.
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The Reversal of Authority
With many older workers preferring to cut back on their responsibilities and increase their flexibility by taking lower-level positions, many younger supervisors are dealing with the problem of managing older workers. And often they don't do it well. HR leaders might want to take a lesson from the Marines.
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Checking in With the Next Generation
Wharton's annual mid-term exam explores students' view of their last job and the way they were managed. In most cases, management was lacking. Feedback was limited or nonexistent, and bonuses -- instead of resulting in engagement and motivation -- often prompted these high-potential candidates to quit or slack off.
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Enough with the Generation Studies!
An entire industry has grown around the concept that differences exhibited by the younger generations are long-lasting and important for employers to understand and accommodate. But what if the younger generation today is similar in most respects to the younger generations of past years?
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Older Workers and the Job Market
More older individuals are staying in the job market longer -- or trying to get jobs, but they often face discrimination for a variety of stereotypical reasons. If hiring managers and HR leaders tended to think of such workers as "experienced," instead of "old," they might find talented workers who could positively impact their organizations' success.
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Creating a Performance Culture
Low wages and high turnover are common in occupations such as those found in the home-healthcare field, but Alternate Solutions Home Care found a way to counter that situation by creating a culture that focuses on retaining talent. And it paid off in both employee commitment and profits.
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Gambling on the Financial Crisis
HR leaders may find some food for thought in reading details about employee motivations underlying the financial panic that spurred the ongoing recession. And it may be worth asking whether HR should have played a larger role in those organizations before the crisis spun out of control.
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Does Online Instruction Work?
Studies that look at the effectiveness of online training, compared to classroom-based learning, offer some conflicting results. Online training seems to be more effective for older, motivated students, while the classroom works best for younger low-achievers. There are some lessons HR leaders can take away from the findings.
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The Courage to Go it Alone
There are limits to professional norms and best practices. To be successful, each organization must address its employee issues in the context of its own unique setting. And that's one reason HR executives may want to rethink talking about HR as a profession and establishing one set of practices or standards.
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The Promise and Limitations of Social Media
Potential problems with the use of social media include breaking down barriers between an individual's professional and personal lives, the amount of time it requires and the potential for ineffective assistance from an employee's network.
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Is HR Becoming a Profession?
A new study looks at some of the changes in backgrounds and skills of human resource leaders of Fortune 100 companies that took place over the past decade. The results dispute some conventional wisdom surrounding HR and illuminate some interesting findings.
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HR Implications of Healthcare Reform
The recently signed healthcare legislation offers an interesting array of challenges and incentives for employers both big and small. One change is that offering healthcare benefits will no longer be a big source of advantage in recruiting for larger organizations.
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Leadership Lessons from India
Embattled U.S. business leaders may want to take a lesson from CEOs in India, who put shareholder value fourth on their list of priorities. Not only are the Indian companies able to do well while doing good, there is every reason to believe that they have done well precisely because they are doing good.
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