CAHRS Top 10 December 2020

ILR CAHRS logo1. CAHRS: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – Upskilling Your HR Leaders Virtual Working Group Notes
Summary: A recent CAHRS Working Group revealed three key takeaways for HR professionals leading D&I initiatives at their organizations. First, initiatives must be driven from the top—executives must signal their commitment to them. Second, initiatives require structure to be successfully implemented and followed up on. Third, D&I as values need to be integrated into the day-to-day operations of a company. This summary report covers these takeaways and more.

2. Harvard Business Review: Stop Overengineering People Management
Summary: The recent trend towards “workforce optimization” may in fact destroy some of the progress that HR has made helping organizations become more people-centered, argues HR researcher Peter Cappelli. Trends such as talent-on-demand gig work, variable pay, and artificial intelligence may all be disempowering workers—and what’s worse, hindering business performance. Cappelli urges HR leaders to take a balanced approach: optimization and empowerment can both be drawn on to develop a productive and engaged workforce.

3. Chief Learning Officer: Skills Aren’t Soft or Hard — They’re Durable or Perishable
Summary: The prevailing view that there are “hard” and “soft” skills may be contributing to the skills gaps facing many industries today. A relentless focus on measuring the ROI on training may lead some organizations to overlook the skills needed for a 21st century economy: mindsets, dispositions, and tools that are transferable. What if skills are instead seen as durable or perishable, that while some may be valuable now, only few might matter over the long-term? Check out this article for a fresh take on learning and development.

4. Black Enterprise: Interactive 3D Simulations Helping Execs & Employees Master Uncomfortable Conversations
Summary: Studies have shown that learning through experience increases learning quality up to 75%. Interactive learning boosts engagement by 50% and enhances knowledge retention by more than 20%. The emergence of 3D simulation remote training methods can teach employees how to effectively navigate difficult conversations, while providing this experiential and interactive learning environment. As virtual and interactive training programs are projected to double by 2027, 3D simulations may play an important role for many on-the-job challenges.

5. Make Work Better: Desire Paths Shaping Work’s Evolution
Summary: Desire paths are the worn areas of public space that people create over time because they provide a more direct route than formal paths created. Workplace ‘desire paths’ have emerged as remote work conditions continue to highlight unanticipated challenges. One path has been the need for a digital commute. In the absence of an actual commute where employees could mentally shift themselves from home to work, digital commutes allow employees to block time on their calendars away from both personal and work responsibilities to do the same. In addition to supporting a ‘desire path’ framework for our new way of working, this article also shares ways to make virtual meetings better and help teams identify their unwritten norms. 

CAHRS members: Be sure to sign up for the upcoming CAHRScast on Lessons from the Pandemic on December 11th.

6. CAHRS: Diversity & Inclusion Analytics Virtual Working Group Notes
Summary: Almost every company is seeking to advance their DE&I initiatives while also relying on data analytics to measure the effectiveness of their efforts. Data around D+I have been pivotal in increasing accountability to internal and external stakeholders. However, it is key to not rely on the data alone. Organizations should investigate further to ensure there is alignment between what the data is saying and what employees are experiencing.

7. The Wall Street Journal: Companies Offer Creative Solutions to Worker Burnout During the Pandemic
Summary: Workout burnout is a unique, ugly challenge that is growing as employees recognize that consistent remote work is here to stay for the foreseeable future. It catches employees and managers by surprise and there is no one-size fits all solution. Increased training and a bolstering of benefits offerings are a natural first step, but the best solutions can be simple and low cost.

8.The New York Times: Back to the Office: Tough Call for Workers, and for the Boss
Summary: Amidst the surge in Covid-19 rates, companies are nonetheless having to decide what return-to-work or remote work means for business realities. This article chronicles the back-to-the-office dynamics of a toymaker company that has taken a firm stance: everyone is to come back to the office. The rationale behind this decision should be a familiar one for many companies - the value of in-office collaboration and innovation, especially in designing a tangible product, is too high for long-term remote work. Employee responses about returning range from relief and excitement to fear and reluctance, highlighting that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for returning to the workplace.

For further reading on this topic, take a look at the Bringing Employees Back to the Workplace Working Group Notes.

9. NessLabs: Sustainability over Speed: Adopting Asynchronous Collaboration
Summary: Fatigue from endless Zoom meetings and digital collaboration are a significant contributor to remote work burnout. At the same time, remote work has emphasized the importance of collaboration more than ever before. A key solution here is to learn how to effectively collaborate asynchronously. This article provides a list of best practices to enable teams to successfully adopt asynchronous collaboration. Some of these tactics include documenting everything in a single source of truth for the team, and creating a communication guide so everyone on the team abides by the same guidelines and level of transparency.

10. CAHRS: Remote Work in COVID and Beyond Virtual Working Group Notes 
Summary: In a recent CAHRS Virtual Working Group hosted by Brad Bell, William J. Conaty Professor of Strategic Human Resources and Faculty Director of CAHRS, eight CAHRS partner companies discussed how they’re navigating the realities of the pandemic and remote work. The successful transition to remote work has allowed companies to question their previously held conception that collaboration and innovation can only happen in the workplace. Nonetheless, the challenges of long-term remote work, such as burnout or attrition in culture, are urgent concerns. The CAHRS companies exchanged strategies for addressing these challenges as well as how these “Covid-19 learnings” are impacting their vision for long-term hybrid work.

Be sure to check out our recent CAHRS webcast on the Shifts in HR Practices due to COVID-19.