Managing People

When employees retreat from corporate volunteering

Support for employee volunteering is a corporate social responsibility activity that signals commitment to social values and citizenship. It is also a strategic initiative that helps companies recruit new talent. Indeed, both researchers and practitioners argue that companies that facilitate their employees’ volunteering are viewed more favourably by job candidates and are therefore more likely to attract talent, especially young […]

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    Companies look at job candidates’ previous experience, but does it predict anything?

Companies look at job candidates’ previous experience, but does it predict anything?

The use of job experience in hiring decisions is ubiquitous. For example, a recent analysis of online job ads showed that over 80 per cent of the ads stated that experience was required or preferred, even for many entry-level jobs. Examples of the types of experience organisations require or prefer include years of work experience, number of previous jobs […]

When employees are ideological misfits

There have been many recent examples when personal politics has collided with professional workspaces. In November of 2016, Geoff Lewis, a partner at Founders Fund (a venture capital firm founded by Peter Thiel), penned a blistering critique of reality TV culture and the rise of Donald Trump. This article was posted just as Thiel, one of Trump’s highest-profile Silicon […]

Why boredom might not be a bad thing after all

“I am bored!” “This piece of work is so boring.” Many of us at work are familiar with these sentiments expressed by colleagues at work. Indeed, some companies like Google Singapore and Zappos have gone out of their way to let their employees have fun at work. Benefits associated with fun at work include greater job satisfaction, engagement, and […]

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    The office networks of people who are thinking of quitting their job

The office networks of people who are thinking of quitting their job

Numerous studies have shown that people with large networks who have many friends and work relationships are less likely to quit their job than people who only have small work-related networks. But do people who think of quitting their job change their networks at work? Do they change the people they go to for advice or seek out for […]

How organisations discriminate during recruitment

“I have worked with many recruitment agencies. In fact, some people asked for what in French is called a BBR; it’s a code to say a “Bleu-Blanc-Rouge” – the colours of our national flag. It was to tell the recruitment agency ‘I am a racist company but I do not want it to appear as such so I use […]

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    Diversity networks in organisations: are they really (net)working for equality?

Diversity networks in organisations: are they really (net)working for equality?

In recent years, the use of diversity networks in organisations has increased tremendously. Diversity networks, also referred to as ‘employee resource groups’ or ‘affinity networks’, are initiated to inform, support and advance employees with similar social identities. In many organisations, diversity networks are part of a larger diversity management agenda and an increasingly popular practice to promote equality, diversity […]

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    Between a person-focused rhetoric and the harsh realities of people management

Between a person-focused rhetoric and the harsh realities of people management

Human resource management (HRM), both in practice and as taught in business schools, appears to display a gap between its soft person-focused rhetoric and the harsh realities of people management. While ‘good’ people management is likely to contribute to organisational performance, HRM has also been called out on occasion for promoting untested assumptions and fads, lacking a solid evidence […]

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    Our inherent vulnerability and dependence on others in the workplace

Our inherent vulnerability and dependence on others in the workplace

“It is hard to see for an outsider that you become friends with these people—business friends. You trust them and their work. You have an interest in what they’re doing outside of business” (An interviewee quoted in Uzzi, 1997)

As members of organisations, human beings remain inherently vulnerable, facing threats and obstacles stemming from uncertainty, information asymmetries, and even potentially […]

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    Pay transparency: policymakers love it, but employees not so much

Pay transparency: policymakers love it, but employees not so much

On average, women still earn less money than men in most developed countries around the world according to the OECD. In the US and UK, for example, women are paid between 82 and 85 cents for every dollar a man earns. As a potential remedy to this issue, many legislators and organisations have begun to adopt pay transparency policies. […]

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    Misfit: what do you do when you can’t be yourself at work?

Misfit: what do you do when you can’t be yourself at work?

The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.  —   Steve Jobs
Most of us, like Steve Jobs, have come […]

Single and no kids? Who is work-life balance for?

Work-life balance has been a hot topic for organisations and HR practitioners for many years – linked to range of individual and organisational benefits. The shift from the terms ‘family-friendly’ and ‘work-family balance’ to the more inclusive ‘work-life balance’ around 2000 indicated a shift in rhetoric that all employees, regardless of domestic situation, deserved a suitable balance between the […]

The ethical downside of hiring based on internal referrals

Increasingly, organizations are turning to referral-based methods to hire new employees (i.e. “recommend a friend/acquaintance”). In fact, these practices are estimated to account for up to 50 per cent of new hires and some organizations pay up to $20,000 to people referring someone they know for a job. The practice itself is relatively simple – it consists of a hiring manager […]

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    Being the boss is not always good: power taints how we interact with others

Being the boss is not always good: power taints how we interact with others

Lord Acton’s quote that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” probably conforms to most of our experiences with powerful people. People who feel powerful tend to be self-focused, less empathetic, a little more rude or pushy, and just generally difficult to deal with. While most people generally understand that power makes others more difficult to deal with, one […]

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    What power does to you – the psychological consequences of power

What power does to you – the psychological consequences of power

We often blame the behaviours of those who have power and abuse it on the individual and his or her personality. That is, we make what psychologists call a dispositional attribution. But there is more to individual and personality differences when it comes to understanding the behaviour of those in power. In fact, what is often occulted are the […]

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    Mismanaged souls: why does employee engagement remain stubbornly low?

Mismanaged souls: why does employee engagement remain stubbornly low?

You would have to have been in solitary confinement in a particularly remote location during recent years not to be aware of the tidal-wave of interest there has been in employee engagement. High levels of engagement have been associated with a host of important benefits to both employers in terms of raised performance and productivity, and for employees in […]

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    A managerial orthodoxy dominates organisational life since the Thatcher/Reagan era

A managerial orthodoxy dominates organisational life since the Thatcher/Reagan era

As organisation consultants, we have met many people, in many different fields, who are bewildered and oppressed by the apparent insanity of much of what goes on in large organisations. There are seemingly endless reorganisations and restructurings. Leaders seem to feel bound to disturb people and organisations. People are sometimes not sure what unit they are part of, or […]

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    Nilofer Merchant: Ideas can now spread and scale through networks, rather than hierarchies

Nilofer Merchant: Ideas can now spread and scale through networks, rather than hierarchies

As a former executive at Apple and Autodesk, and consultant for a number of other Silicon Valley companies, Nilofer Merchant has a pretty good idea of how to move things forward in the business world. One key ingredient, if you ask her, is collaboration. How to get people to collaborate, and companies to value collective work more than hierarchy, […]

Is race a taboo topic in the workplace?

Helen feels uncomfortable chatting to Sasha, her work colleague, beyond exchanging pleasantries.  She is concerned that she might say the wrong thing and cause offence to Sasha, who is black, and so she avoids spending time with her even though she likes her. Sasha is aware that Helen is awkward around her, but she’s unsure why, and she also […]

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    When firms break promises, employees may ‘pay it forward’ to colleagues and clients

When firms break promises, employees may ‘pay it forward’ to colleagues and clients

When organisations break their promises to their employees, who suffers the consequences and why? Intuition, and indeed research, tells us that those who are harmed seek to redress the balance by harming their perpetrator, with this being either one’s organisation or one’s boss, for example. However, in a three-study design within the medical field, our research finds this to […]