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The Takeaway: A Discussion Guide on the New Models of Work

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​If you were asked to lead a conversation about some of the critical themes in the Fall 2023 issue of People + Strategy journal, what would be the most effective conversation starters to generate actionable insights? Here are the crucial questions at the core of a few key articles in this issue: 

Irreconcilable Differences

David Rock, CEO of the NeuroLeadership Institute


  1. Theory X assumes employees lack intrinsic motivation and need to be monitored closely. Theory Y says employees have intrinsic motivation. While every company (and leader) likely have a mix, which best describes your organization's culture?
  2. During the pandemic, millions had to work from home and were given a greater sense of control and autonomy. How might your policies for issues like return-to-office be designed to allow people to retain those feelings?
  3. There are varying opinions about whether remote work leads to reduced productivity and a less cohesive culture. What efforts has your organization embraced to better separate fact from opinion?
  4. If your company is requiring employees to return to the workplace for part (or all) of the workweek, what rationale are you using to explain the policies to employees?
  5. How are you structuring work that occurs in the office to maximize the quality of employees' face-to-face time?

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'The global work-from-home era produced a massive, unexpected jump in the level of control we felt across just about everything that mattered.'


Generation Why   

Jacqueline M. Welch, CHRO of The New York Times

  1. How many generations are represented in your workforce? What, at a high level, are the effects and implications of that mix on your organization's culture?
  2. What is the average tenure of different populations of your employees? Are your HR policies for recruitment and retention aligned with the expectations of employees?
  3. Given the shortening tenures of many employees, as they are more willing to move between companies, how should your organization think about its approach for developing new leaders?
  4. Given the different profiles of employees, what is the right mix of incentive compensation? Might cash be more attractive to some groups?
  5. Many employees expect their employers to speak out on broader social issues. What is your framework for deciding whether and how to weigh in?

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'Many of the pillars of HR are grounded in fairness and equitable treatment. These laudable principles have become increasingly difficult to put into action as employee populations have become more diverse in many ways.'


Growth Talks

Judith Wiese, chief people and sustainability officer at Siemens AG

  1. Does your company use a traditional performance management system that evaluates targets that were set the previous year? If so, is that system effective, given the rapid pace of changes and disruptions?
  2. What would be the impact of replacing a rating process with regular conversations around the themes of performance, growth and well-being?
  3. Even if that approach doesn't seem like a good fit for your culture, what are some new approaches to align with expectations as part of a more fluid process?
  4. How does your organization signal to employees that it is important for them to be continually learning and developing as an individual and team?
  5. Whatever approach you use, is it focused on outcomes or does it fall into a familiar HR trap of focusing more on process?

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'We've shifted into a new era that requires letting go of classic performance management practices and focusing on something that is more effective and serves the true purpose of what we're trying to achieve.'


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