Where Employee Surveys on Burnout and Engagement Go Wrong - 14 December 2017
To tackle employee burnout, companies need to assess just how burned out their staff members are-and why. Many organizations conduct surveys to gain this sort of insight, but serious flaws in how those surveys are designed often lead to bad results. Well-intentioned leaders, following an inaccurate roadmap of where the problems lie, end up wasting time, energy, and resources on the wrong things. For example, they may ask people if overwork is an issue and then try to reduce the load, when the real problem is more psychological. A seminal paper in the Journal of Vocational Behavior defines burnout as 'a reaction to chronic occupational stress' characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and a 'lack of professional efficacy (i.e., the tendency to evaluate one's work negatively).' So it's multifaceted.

If You Aspire to Be a Great Leader, Be Present - 13 December 2017
Some years ago, we worked with a director of a multinational pharma company who’d been receiving poor grades for engagement and leadership effectiveness. Although he tried to change, nothing seemed to work. As his frustration grew, he started tracking the time he spent with each of his direct reports — and every time he received bad feedback, he pulled out his data and exclaimed, ”But look how much time I spend with everyone!”

The Real Reasons Companies Are So Focused on the Short Term - 13 December 2017
dec17-13-637552554-MirageC MirageC/Getty Images This has been a remarkable year for the markets.  The S&P and the Dow indexes are up 18% and 19%, respectively.  But this run-up isn't based on solid business foundations.  Quarterly profits have only increased 5% since 2012, but investors' valuations of those profits (as measured by earnings per share) has increased 59% over the same period. What's behind the disconnect?  Some argue that profits are stagnant because of short-termism-that decades of focusing on current profits over long-run innovativeness has resulted, now, in companies that are hollowed out. Indeed, a study by Rachelle Sampson and Yuan Shi found that company short-termism is negatively correlated with innovativeness, measured as RQ ('research quotient,' a measure of the return on R&D investments). Investors punish companies with a short-term orientation by applying higher discount rates to them, which increases the cost of capital for those co

How Machine Learning Can Help Identify Cyber Vulnerabilities - 13 December 2017
People are undoubtedly your company’s most valuable asset. But if you ask cybersecurity experts if they share that sentiment, most would tell you that people are your biggest liability.

Case Study: Should a Hotel Giant Eliminate Some Brands and Refocus? - 13 December 2017
The business-casual dress code had Troy Freeman stumped. As the longtime CEO of Otto Hotels & Resorts, now the second-largest lodging company in the world, he’d packed for hundreds of work trips before, but suits were his go-to. Without them as an option, he was having a much harder time.

What It Takes to Become a Great Product Manager - 13 December 2017
Because I teach a course on Product Management at Harvard Business School, I am routinely asked “what is the role of a Product Manager?” The role of a Product Manager (PM) is often referred to as the “CEO of the Product.” I disagree because, as Martin Eriksson points out, “Product managers simply don’t have any direct authority over most of the things needed to make their products successful – from user and data research through design and development to marketing, sales, and support”. PMs are not the CEO of product and their roles vary widely depending on a number of factors. So, what should you consider if you’re thinking of pursuing a PM role?

How Technology Tests Our Trust - 12 December 2017
Rachel Botsman, the author of Who Can You Trust?, talks about how trust works, whether in relation to robots, companies, or other people. Technology, she says, speeds up the development of trust and can help us decide who to trust. But when it comes to making those decisions, we shouldn’t leave our devices to their own devices.

Driving Performance and Profitability in the Service Sector - 12 December 2017
The service sector is a large and growing part of our economy. But a lot of service businesses are managed according to old ideas imported from more traditional industries, says Ryan Buell, UPS Foundation Associate Professor of Service Management at Harvard Business School (HBS). In today's rapidly changing service sector, a new set of frameworks is required to build a robust and competitive service business, says Buell. 'Service jobs have a reputation for not being great jobs-and, in many cases, I think it's a well-earned reputation. But it shouldn't be that way,' says Buell. 'Service is the business of people helping people, and when employees lack the capability, motivation, and license to perform, there's no hope they'll deliver excellent service to customers. Buell is faculty chair of the HBS Executive Education program, Achieving Breakthrough Service, which explores how service leaders can create distinctive and sustainable service organizations that 'turn cust

There's a Gender Gap in Internet Usage. Closing It Would Open Up Opportunities for Everyone - 12 December 2017
We have all heard about a gap when it comes to participation of women in the tech industry. Facebook, Google, and Apple have 17%, 19% and 23% women in their technology staffs, respectively. Multiple surveys, such as the “The Elephant in the Valley,” have documented systematic discrimination against women. And there’s a continuous barrage of news stories regarding the challenges that women face across a raft of iconic Silicon Valley firms. No more than a quarter of U.S. computing and mathematical jobs are held by women, consistent with the data that around 26% of the STEM workforce in developed countries is female. In developing countries, those differences are even greater.

What Workers and Companies Should Know About the Republican Tax Bills - 11 December 2017
The House and Senate have passed somewhat different versions of major legislation to restructure the federal income tax. A House-Senate conference committee still needs to reconcile the two bills, with the goal of finishing before Christmas. Both bills would significantly overhaul the corporate income tax, increase the federal budget deficit, and disproportionately benefit upper-income taxpayers. And the bills include many provisions that are poorly understood and may have unintended consequences.

Why the WTO Should Constrain the Power of China's State-Owned Enterprises - 11 December 2017
The Trump Administration has a chance to start working with 164 other countries to create “rules of the road” to stop China building national champions with government funding. Such state-owned enterprises or state-supported industries (SOEs) — think steel, aluminum and solar panels — have flooded global markets, depressed prices, and literally shut down hundreds of U.S. solar-panel startups.

How to Be More Productive Without Burning Out - 11 December 2017
Like many of my classmates, shortly after college, I joined the ranks of a top strategy and management consulting firm. I knew I was signing up for long hours, but the reality of that didn’t really sink until a few months in, when I asked for a vacation day to go to a friend’s wedding. My request was granted, sort of. My wife handled the long drive to the wedding, while I spent my “day off” in the passenger’s seat working furiously on my laptop, with occasional stops at cafes to recharge my computer and send emails via the free wifi. This pace continued for months – even on national holidays, I holed up in my apartment to work — and I began to wonder how long I could continue.

Better Cybersecurity Starts with Fixing Your Employees' Bad Habits - 11 December 2017
Cybercrime is here to stay, and it’s costing American firms a lot of money. The average annualized cost of cybercrime for global companies has increased nearly 62% since 2013, from $7.2 million to $11.7 million. And these are just the average direct costs. Target, which experienced a massive data breach in 2013, reported that the total cost of the breach exceeded $200 million. Verizon, which recently purchased Yahoo, may have snagged a $350 million discount because of three large-scale Yahoo data breaches that occurred in recent years. Given these costs, what can companies do?

How to Talk About Sexual Harassment with Your Coworkers - 11 December 2017
If the topic of sexual harassment hasn’t come up in your office – either on Slack, in conversations over lunch, or by the watercooler — I’d be surprised. With the ongoing #metoo campaign and the almost daily headlines about men accused of harassing their coworkers, this subject is top of mind for many of us. But these conversations are tricky. You may be — understandably — nervous about how to handle the subject if (when) it comes up. So is it better to steer clear altogether? Or can you have a thoughtful, productive discussion? And when you do engage, how do you respond to someone who says something you find insensitive or offensive?

How to Improve the Engagement and Retention of Young Hourly Workers - 6 December 2017
What would you do if the majority of your entry-level, hourly workforce was planning to leave in less than a year? More than half of the 1,200 young people working in entry-level jobs we surveyed said that was their plan — and less than a quarter felt highly satisfied with their job. That’s expensive for business. Turnover can cost up to 200% of an employee’s annual salary, depending on the role. In industries like retail, customer service, and hospitality, entry-level turnover alone costs billions of dollars each year, based on voluntary turnover rates and annual replacement costs. Meanwhile, employee disengagement results in higher absenteeism, more accidents, lower business profitability, worse customer service, and a lower share price.

The Future Economy Project: Advice from Sustainability Experts - 6 December 2017
Harvard Business Review interviewed the CEOs and other business leaders who signed up to the Future Economy Project, our initiative spotlighting businesses’ sustainability agendas. We then virtually convened the project’s advisers for a roundtable discussion about what they viewed as the major issues raised in the interviews, and their own counsel for executives wishing to create long-term value through a sustainable business agenda. The discussion with Michael Toffel and Rebecca Henderson of Harvard Business School, Tensie Whelan of NYU’s Stern School of Business, and Andrew Winston of Winston Eco-Strategies has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Productivity Tips for People Who Hate Productivity Tips - 6 December 2017
“Traditional approaches to staying focused don’t work for me.” “I know what I should do to be more productive, but I just don’t do it.” I hear sentences like these repeatedly from coaching clients. Many have read articles and books — and have even been trained in productivity methods — but still find staying focused to be an uphill battle. Why do people who know a lot about what helps people focus still struggle to focus? Through my work, I’ve identified several reasons, as well as strategies that may help you gain control.

Should You Share Your Feelings During a Work Fight? - 6 December 2017
When a disagreement gets heated with a colleague, it’s normal to feel all sorts of emotions: disappointment, anger, frustration. But should you express those emotions? Or try to keep them close to your chest? Will it help if you tell your colleague that they’ve made you mad? Should they know how upset you are?

How a Fast-Growing Startup Built Its Sales Team for Long-Term Success - 4 December 2017
It’s common for leaders of sales teams to focus almost exclusively on short-term tactics and current operations while failing to think and act in a way that supports the longer-term needs of their businesses — and it’s hard to fault them. Sales teams must meet the immediate needs of their customers, respond issue by issue and account by account, and meet quarterly goals. As one sales manager noted, “In this job, if you don’t survive the short term, you don’t need to worry about the long term.”

You Can't Secure 100% of Your Data 100% of the Time - 4 December 2017
Over three billion credentials were reported stolen last year. This means that cybercriminals possess usernames and passwords for more than three billion online accounts. And that's not just social media accounts; it's bank accounts, retailer gift card accounts with cash and credit cards attached, airline loyalty accounts with years of accumulated frequent flyer points, and other accounts with real value. This statistic is alarming, but in fact it significantly understates the scope of the threat. Because of a form of attack called credential stuffing, tens of billions of other accounts are also at risk. Here's how that attack works. Because most people have many online accounts (a recent estimate put it at 191 per person on average) they regularly reuse passwords across those accounts.

A Tax Plan that Hurts Education Will Hurt U.S. Competitiveness - 1 December 2017
My father is brilliant, but he grew up in a family forced to supplement what little they could earn with subsistence farming in rural Indiana. He graduated from high school two years early, at the top of his class, because he needed a paycheck to help support the family. He never went to college. His parents didn’t think it was unimportant—they just couldn’t afford it.

How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation - 1 December 2017
It’s hard not to get worked up emotionally when you’re in a tense conversation. After all, a disagreement can feel like a threat. You’re afraid you’re going to have to give up something — your point of view, the way you’re used to doing something, the notion that you’re right, or maybe even power – and your body therefore ramps up for a fight by triggering the sympathetic nervous system. This is a natural response, but the problem is that our bodies and minds aren’t particularly good at discerning between the threats presented by not getting your way on the project plan and, say, being chased down by a bear. Your heart rate and breathing rate spike, your muscles tighten, the blood in your body moves away from your organs, and you’re likely to feel uncomfortable.

CFOs Don't Worry Enough About Cyber Risk - 1 December 2017
Every executive team and board of directors is asking themselves the same question in regard to their cyber risk right now: what can we do differently to avoid being the next Equifax, Yahoo! or Target, and protect our shareholder value? The answer involves radically reframing one of the mainstays of the C-suite - the role of the CFO. It's no longer adequate or acceptable for CFOs to simply focus on managing the financial risks of a company. In this new era, we need to team up with our CISOs to address the cyber exposure gap, the exposed surface between known threats that are addressed and those that aren't, either because security tools are inadequate or threats are flying under the radar. The wider the gap, the greater the risk of incidents that can cost millions of dollars in cleanup, lost business, and declining stock value. CFOs at the most risk-aware companies are applying these strategies. Partner with your CISO.

Startups That Seek to 'Disrupt' Get More Funding Than Those That Seek to 'Build' - 24 November 2017
Since its HBR debut in 1995, the concept of disruptive innovation-the process by which a smaller company with limited resources is able to launch a product or service that displaces established competitors-has been extensively incorporated into startup vernacular. Entrepreneurs often use a version of the phrase when launching products, raising funds, unveiling strategies, hiring teams, and engaging partners. Yet we do not know much about how entrepreneurs are integrating the concept into their identities and what consequences this has for their startups. Research has previously shown that 'entrepreneurial identity,' or how one defines and identifies with his or her entrepreneurial role, affects a startup's ability to amass key resources. So we aimed to characterize entrepreneurs' identities according to whether or not they referred to themselves and their startups using the language of disruption, and then we looked at how this affected their ability to attrac

4 Ways to Get Honest, Critical Feedback from Your Employees - 23 November 2017
I recently observed a town hall meeting where a new leader had just been promoted to run his division.  In his introductory remarks, many - including me - were struck by his declaration, 'One of the things you'll find is that I'm very self-aware and open to feedback.' Even from the side of the room, I could see the eye rolling. Over my 30-year career working with leaders, I've heard many declare such self-enlightenment. But telling people you're self-aware doesn't mean you are. And while we know that higher self-awareness leads to better team performance, unfortunately, research suggests that most people aren't very self-aware at work. After the leader's speech, I introduced myself and asked him with curiosity, 'So what have you done to become so self-aware and open to feedback?' Proudly, he responded, 'I make it a priority to get a 360 feedback review every year.'

How Bold Corporate Climate Change Goals Deteriorate Over Time - 22 November 2017
One response to today’s climate crisis has been a belief that markets and corporate innovation will provide the solution. As business tycoon Richard Branson has proclaimed in 2012, “our only option to stop climate change is for industry to make money from it.” So while businesses are major contributors to escalating greenhouse gas emissions, they are also presented as offering innovative ways to decarbonize our economies. But how much faith can we place in business to save us from climate change?


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