Category: Work and Employment

The odd man out may make for a better team

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 9 days ago

Understanding dispersed team dynamics is a timely consideration, as non-traditional teams are becoming more and more commonplace. Corporations are cutting down on real estate costs, offering employees more flexible work models, and investing in expertise located anywhere and everywhere around the world, resulting in geographically dispersed collaborations. While collocated teams (every team member working on the same site) may have the advantage over dispersed teams in many respects, studies show that more thoughtful configuration of dispersed teams may actually give them the upper hand.

“Within dispersed teams, there is first and foremost a mutual knowledge problem,” says JoAnne Yates, Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management, who teaches in the new, upcoming Executive Education program, Communication and Persuasion in the Digital Age. “When you’re collocated in the same building, you are aware of what your team members know and do not know. And you understand context. When working across distances, this is not necessarily true, and there are all kinds of failures that can come from that. You may not, for example, understand delays in communication. When you don’t get a response right away and you’re expecting one, you make all kinds of assumptions, and most are disparaging about the other party. Then perhaps you find out there was a holiday—like Patriot’s Day, which occurs only in Massachusetts. It’s important to have ways of understanding the specific context your colleagues are working in and of establishing trust and common ground.”

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It’s time to rethink wages

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 months and 14 days ago

For the last year or so, there’s been a significant amount of news coverage around the wages paid to low-income earners, such as those working at fast food outlets and in retail stores. There have been public protests, calls for boycotts, and legislation to raise the minimum wage in some states.

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Sucked into the email spiral? C’est la vie!

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 4 months and 7 days ago

Last month, a new, legally binding labor agreement that requires French employers to make sure staff "disconnect" outside of working hours was all some of us could talk about—whether out of disbelief or pure envy. Media outlets around the world ran wild with this news, declaring that the home of the 35-hour workweek limit had now banned checking work email after 6:00 p.m. Those of us who feel chained to our email inbox immediately fantasized about sipping Sancerre at an outdoor café at 6:01 p.m., effectively barred from all electronic communication with clients, colleagues, and employers.

Many of those media outlets have since issued amendments to their previous reports, having learned that the agreement, signed on April 1st by unions and employers in the high-tech and consulting field, covers only an estimated 250,000 autonomous employees whose contracts are based on days worked, not hours, and thus for whom the country’s famous 35-hour limit does not apply. The agreement does refer to an obligation to disconnect communications tools, but only after an employee has worked a 13-hour day—not at any particular time of day.

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Should you apply for that job?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 4 months and 23 days ago

Job seekers often limit themselves to looking outside of their company for a new position. But there are a number of factors that point out that job seekers should also consider looking within their own organizations for a new role.

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Changing the role of human resources

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 5 months and 21 days ago

Google “HR” and “seat at the table” and you’ll find articles from nearly ten years ago lamenting why the human resources function does not have such a seat—in other words, it has little voice in the executive suite. Part of the reason may be how HR practitioners view themselves. The 2013 State of Talent Managers Report from New Talent Management Network found that “the modest and siloed career ambitions among those in HR suggests that we must either meaningfully shift how we grow HR talent or become comfortable having marginal impact…[as a result] talent leaders will likely develop more myopic and less strategic solutions.”

There is great potential if companies can change how they view HR—and how HR views itself. Commenting on President Obama’s plans to improve the economy by strengthening the manufacturing sector, Tom Kochan, Professor of Work and Employment Research and Engineering Systems at MIT Sloan, told HR Executive Online, “One of the most important factors in [the manufacturing industry’s] success is HR.”

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Are we creating a new class of workers?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 5 months and 25 days ago

The workforce is generally made up of two types of workers: blue-collar workers, mostly working for an hourly wage, and white-collar workers who tend to be salaried. But some trends in the overall labor market indicate we might be creating another class of worker. These new workers are part of the “Gig Economy,” which seems to be crossing—or in some cases, blurring—the lines between the blue-collar worker and the white-collar worker.

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