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Leveraging the Benefits of an Aging Workforce

Older man baking

Successful balancing of declining physical abilities with increasing knowledge and experience leads to higher reports of job satisfaction among older workers, in addition to increasing areas in which older workers can benefit the workforce (Zacher, Kooij, & Bejer, 2018). Acknowledgment of this balance is crucial to the fostering of an inclusive and cohesive workforce.

What is Agile? A New Technique Companies Are Using to Stay Competitive

Woman putting sticky notes on wall for team to see

Many companies, particularly those in the technology sector, have turned toward Agile as a potential solution. In a 2011 study of over 200 IT and business executives, it was found that Agile had a positive, significant correlation with firm performance.

Designing the Face of Tomorrow's Corporate Boards: Gender Diversity and Default Decisions

Board Room

Women constitute 47% of the labor force and 52% of management and professional positions. Yet women comprise just 21% of corporate board seats. This dearth of women on corporate boards exists despite what appear to be strong efforts to the contrary. In 2009, the Security and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) ruled that publicly traded companies need to disclose how diversity factors into the selection process for directors. Moreover, a pair of surveys in 2012 showed that 75% of U.S.-based publicly traded companies had instituted diversity policies, and 80% believed that diversity in the boardroom created shareholder value. It seems that diversity policies and the belief in the importance of diversity is not enough.

What is the Ideal Robot Teammate's Personality?

Two tiny blockhead robots

What kind of robot would you want for a teammate? A recent theoretical paper argued that robot personality will influence individuals' and teams' motivation. To better understand robot personality, we must first briefly describe personality traits in humans.

Bringing an Ethic of Care to Organizations

Boss Giving Thumbs Up

The Ethic of Care (EoC) rests upon the belief that “an awareness of the connection between people gives rise to a recognition of responsibility for one another, a perception of the need for response” (Gilligan, 1982). In essence, the EoC perspective emphasizes the importance of interpersonal relationships and the needs of others in moral reasoning and moral decision-making. Previous studies have found that care and compassion in the workplace can enhance commitment to the organization (Lilius, Kanov, Dutton, Worline, & Maitlis, 2012), workplace self-esteem (McAllister & Bigley, 2002), and resilience (Waldman, Carmeli, & Halevi, 2011), and reduce work-based anxiety (Kahn, 2001). For organizations hoping to increase sustainability efforts (e.g., WeWork’s new meatless initiative), establishing a corporate culture founded on an EoC may help employee adherence to initiatives.

Automating Fashion

An open laptop with fashion designs displayed.

Although automation and robotics has long impacted manufacturing jobs, with recent technological advances, even more traditional office jobs are feeling the change. A New York Times article by Noam Schieber discusses the role automation is playing in the fashion industry. For example, the tasks of a fashion buyer, which typically require intuition about changes in the tastes and preferences of customers in order to predict future fashion trends, are beginning to be supplemented, if not replaced, by artificial intelligence. Machine learning has enabled artificial intelligence algorithms to extract profile information about customers, ranging from the items they put in their wishlists to their search histories or occupations, to make better predictions about which items to stock and recommend. Traditionally fashion buyers work in large groups and each buyer focuses on a specific style of clothing, monitoring the possible changes in trends and customer preferences. With the aid of artificial intelligence, a small group of buyers, or even a sole individual, can handle the job. 

Primed for Success

Four employees in business attire cheering.

How can we enhance goal setting and increase performance? Prime the mind with effort. Priming is the process of using a stimulus to subconsciously activate stored knowledge and psychological processes. As an example, if you were to read the following sentence “The fire truck ran through the intersection, ignoring the stop sign” and then were asked to think of a color, any color, you would most likely think of red. At a neuronal and cognitive level, our minds hold networks of interconnected ideas, and activating one node in the network, primes the other nodes for activation. We can capitalize upon this to improve performance.

Nudging Retirement Savings Among Older Workers

Grandparents and their grandchildren.

It is never too late to save for retirement. With the Baby Boomer generation rapidly approaching retirement age, it is imperative to promote healthy retirement planning.

Although we know that saving for retirement is important, voluntary retirement savings plans are often underutilized. Changing saving habits can be challenging - especially among older employees. Standard interventions that aim to increase retirement savings often focus on the importance of being able to compound the value of savings over many years. This type of intervention often leaves older employees with diminished motivation to increase saving for retirement due to the limited number of years they have remaining to contribute to their savings plan. Older workers may also be harder to influence with interventions because they have had comparatively more opportunities to develop and adhere to personal retirement savings strategies. 

Emotions During Employment Gaps

Jumping over cliff

In the modern economy, with the rise of automation and gig work, employment gaps are common. These gaps may be voluntary (i.e. caretaking for new children or aging parents/grandparents, spouse relocation, etc.), or involuntary (i.e. downsizing and termination). No matter the nature, employment gaps signify considerable interruptions in career paths, and carry with them significant emotional strain. A recent article (Dust et al., 2018) published in Journal of Organizational Behavior provides compelling evidence for one factor that can help navigate the complications and stress associated with employment gaps: emotional intelligence.

Did You Google It? Enterprise Social Media Enhances Autonomous Learning

Two people learning to code

It has become expected by both employers and employees that jobs will require continued learning over the course of one’s career; enterprise social media is one method that companies can use to facilitate learning.

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