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

Change management needs to reinforce continuity

According to  a new research report published in the Academy of Management, one important reason why employees resist change is because they view it as a threat to their sense of continuity of organizational identity. “Employees identify with and care for their organizations. People fear that after the change, the organization will no longer be the organization they value and identify with—and the higher the uncertainty surrounding the change, the more they anticipate such threats to the organizational identity they hold dear,” wrote the researchers in a Harvard Business Review article. They believe that effective change leadership must emphasize continuity and how the core values of the organization will be preserved. “In overcoming resistance to change and building support for change, leaders need to communicate an appealing vision of change in combination with a vision of continuity. Unless they are able to assure people that what defines the organization’s identity—what makes us who we are—will be preserved despite the changes, leaders may have to brace themselves for a wave of resistance,” they write.

How to engage the millennial workforce

In this Oracle blog post, Lauren Antone argues that there is a disconnect between millennials and their workplace, in spite of organizations’ employee-engagement efforts. She cites three key statistics: 1. Only 33 percent of employees report being engaged at work. 2. A majority (70 percent) of employees are dissatisfied with future opportunities within their organization. 3. Nine in 10 millennials left their employer the last time they changed jobs. Antone then outlines what millennials really want and how to engage them. “Millennials highly value a job that will accelerate professional and career development,” she writes. “Perhaps it’s the stage of our lives that we are in, but this can be a big miss for organizations that are not prepared to show us what’s next.” When it comes to management, millennials prefer coaching to other methods. “My best managers have always taken the time to understand my personal goals and worked with me to align them with the business objectives, resulting in greater motivation and productivity,” Antone writes. Besides collaborative goal setting, she also underscores the importance of feedback to millennials. “We are the digital natives, and as such, we are used to getting instant feedback at the touch of a button in order to learn and grow,” she concludes. 

Execution is key to great leadership

“Great leaders are able to drive their ideas through the organization. It makes no difference if the organization employs 50 people or 5,000, or if the organization is a government or the Allied powers. The test, the measurement of leadership is the same: It’s about getting things done,” writes Samuel Bacharach in this Inc. blog post. He believes there are four common denominators to great leaders when successfully executing their ideas: 1. They anticipate where others are coming from and can temper resistance appropriately. 2. They mobilize coalitions of likeminded individuals. 3. They negotiate the buy-in for their ideas with a bit of give-and-take along the way. 4. They sustain momentum even when an idea that once showed promise limps along.

What design thinking can do for L&D

While cloud-based learning and development (L&D) offers great potential to employers, those benefits are not yet materializing because employees are not engaging with the digital learning, according to Armin Hopp. In this guest blog for The Record, Hopp explains how design thinking can help improve learning delivery. “Design thinking is user-centric, emanating from the user experience (UX) discipline. The goal is to get inside the user’s head, understanding everything from how the user logs in to start with, through to how relevant, engaging—and navigable—the user is finding the learning content,” he writes. Hopp says smart learning systems can predict what will interest and engage each person using artificial intelligence software. The software also analyzes each employee’s response to learning, the speed at which they learn and how successfully they are assimilating new concepts. That analysis forms the basis of algorithms that can customize learning delivery to suit each person, leading to more active learning experiences that stick. “The user-centered approach of design thinking, starting with a deep empathy with each user, their needs and pain points, will drive individual learning experiences that achieve the desired results and meet organizational goals,” he writes.

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