Here are the top news stories in talent & organization from this week.

Davos 2018 to be chaired by women-only leadership

For the first time in the 47-year history of the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, the elite event will be chaired entirely by women, USA Today has reported. The seven co-chairs of the conference are as follows: International Monetary Fund’s managing director Christine Lagarde; IBM CEO Ginni Rometty; Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway; Sharan Burrow, general-secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation; Fabiola Gianotti, director-general, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN); Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE; and Chetna Sinha, founder of the Mann Deshi Bank, which provides microfinance to women in India. The gathering, which started in 1971, brings together more than 3,000 leaders in business, government and the media to discuss and solve the world’s most intractable problems. The theme for this year’s conference (set to begin Jan. 23) is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.”

The power of workforce diversity

“Diversity in the workplace is increasing, which gives organizations greater access to talent. It also generates a more inclusive corporate culture that mirrors the society in which we live,” writes Meghan M. Biro in this TalentCulture blog post. Among the trends she identifies are how companies are recruiting with diversity in mind and how corporate policies are improving as a result of the hires. However, “an unfortunate exception to the diversity trend is occurring in C-level positions,” Biro notes. She provides four steps to create a corporate culture more conducive to workplace diversity: 1. Implement workplace diversity initiatives (i.e., mentoring, career development, supplier diversity). 2. Embrace other points of view (actively seek advice, opinions and ideas from all). 3. Create diversity-friendly policies (flex time, telecommuting, acknowledgment of cultural traditions and holidays). 4. Strive to change diversity in the C-suite (recruit with advancement potential in mind). “We still have a long way to go,” Biro writes.

The future of work in 2018

The future of work in 2018 and beyond will depend on “how we can integrate the variety of workforces that are spread over a milieu of virtual and video connections, while leveraging their collective intellectual property and agile capacity to win business and increase revenues,” argues Paul Dodd in this WilsonHCG opinion piece. He highlights the growing appetite for decentralized and flexible workforces: “remote workers comprise 18 percent of the U.S. workforce with this expected to rise to as high as 30 percent by 2025.” Dodd believes the new ways of working can ultimately lead to more collaboration, but “redesigning the way we work continues to be a top priority as companies strive to embrace Agile methodologies to compete in 2020 and beyond.” While Agile methodology has taught companies to move fast in small, self-organizing teams; make the decision-making process clear; hire great people; and push people to stretch themselves, Dodd cautions that “the downside of the expanded talent pool is a challenged culture which, combined with a plethora of contract workers, can dramatically impact what a company looks and feels like as we rush towards 2020.”

How to build a dream team

“Many of today’s organizations are built around cross-functional teams that involve people from a variety of specialties, and having three key characteristics will increase the likelihood of their success,” writes Alex Moore for ATD. Moore draws from the recent report from the Human Capital Institute titled, “The Three I’s in Effective Teams.” Intention calls for building teams by considering the diverse skills and abilities and implementing well-defined roles and responsibilities. Interaction requires cultivating team mindsets by modeling positive team dynamics through training. Influence means developing people who can set examples for positive team behaviors, both internally and externally. “Getting these teams to succeed can be difficult, though. When a team lacks a clear purpose, effective leadership, or individuals with strong people skills, its work often suffers,” Moore writes.

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