These Four Things Lead to Team Success

Whether you seek to create meaningful change within your organization, or you’re resolved to get an “A” on a group assignment, you’ll need the help and support of strong and committed team members. How can you set up your team for success? Read on to learn the critical environmental conditions for high-performance teaming.

talent management

Fashion Forward Talent Management

How do luxury brands excel at talent management? If you’re anything like me, the words “luxury” and “brands” likely conjure up images of couture clothing. Maybe you think of models, or stiletto heels? A Harvard Business Review article by Shipilov and Godart (2015) outlines how the world’s most influential luxury groups have more than just an eye for design; they also have an eye for talent.


Future of Human Resources

The Future of Human Resources: Create Value

To understand the future of human resources, one must first know its past. HR emerged during the industrial revolution when there was a need to manage employees and overcome organizational challenges such as high turnover and low productivity. As a result of these human capital issues, scientific management began as a way to address organizational inefficiencies and it introduced job analysis to management practices.


Role of HR

The Role of HR as a Strategic Partner: Forming the G3

What is the role of HR in the modern workplace? The world of work has changed a great deal over the last few decades, but there is one truth that continues to stand the test of time; people are a firm’s greatest asset. Human capital, or the knowledge and collective intelligence inherent in a company’s workforce, can be a businesses’ strongest competitive advantage, and also its greatest source of risk. It is incumbent upon CEOs and CHROs, or Chief Human Resources Officers, to work together to manage their firm’s people assets, and to unlock the potential in every employee. The authors of the current article suggest that organizational decision making can be enhanced through open dialogue and discussion among the “G3” or the CEO, the CFO, and the CHRO.



The Future of HR: Bringing Human Resources into the 21st Century

What is the future of HR? A new article in Harvard Business Review (Cappelli, 2015) discusses some of the ways that HR can shed its bad reputation and prove itself a strategic business partner:



Manager Personality Can Lead to Organization-Wide Performance

Is personality related to job performance? This classic I-O psychology question is still debated today, and thanks to the latest research, clearer answers are emerging. A new study (Oh, Kim, & Iddekinge, 2015) shows that the manager personality is related to important organization-wide outcomes. This finding has clear implications for selection of organizational leaders.


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Recruitment Tips: Highlight Person-Organization Fit

One way organizations can make recruitment more successful is by stressing person-organization fit. Person-organization fit is a term that I-O psychologists use to describe how compatible employees are with the organizations that employ them. If an organization and a specific employee share values or ideas of how work ought to be done, or if they fulfill each other’s work-related needs, then we might say that there is a high degree of person-organization fit. It’s easy to imagine some of the ways that this would be beneficial to the organization, and past research has indeed supported this idea. New research (Swider, Zimmerman, & Barrick, 2015) took a novel approach by measuring how the perception of person-organization fit fluctuates over time, specifically during the recruitment process.



Work Overload and Job Demands Lead to Lower Professional Standards

Work overload and job demands have been infamously related to many workplace problems, for both employees and employers. However, most research views work overload as something that builds over time, perhaps weeks, months, or years, and can lead to harmful effects that are measured over the long-term. New research (Dai, Milkman, Hofmann, & Staats, 2015) clearly shows that work overload is something that can accumulate over the course of a single workday, and have immediate harmful effects.


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Generational Differences in the Workplace: Careers Aren’t What They Used to Be

With the plethora of stories in the media about generational differences in the workplace, a new study provides evidence about what these generational changes may mean for employers. Given the demise of the traditional career path, employees’ career patterns have shifted over time. The current study (Lyons, Schweitzer, & Ng, 2015) analyzed data from the four generations currently in the workforce to provide a greater understanding of shifting career patterns, and how different generations are handling some of the changes that modern employees experience.


Human Resource Practices Influence How Employees Spend their Time at Work

Human resource practices are important, and so is the way in which employees choose to spend their time at work. Both undoubtedly impact organizational productivity and effectiveness. New research (Boon, Belschak, Den Hartog, & Pijnenburg, 2014) explores the ways that an organization’s human resource management (HRM) practices influence the time employees spend on certain tasks, as well as the effects on absenteeism.


Age-Inclusive HR Practices Lead to Improved Organizational Outcomes

Age-Inclusive HR Practices Lead to Improved Organizational Outcomes

Most industrialized countries are facing challenges posed by aging populations. Correspondingly, companies have to manage and engage a more age-diverse workforce than ever before. Sometimes, employees from three or even four different generations may work in the same company. Boehm, Kunze, and Bruch (2014) examined the effects of age-inclusive HR practices on organizational outcomes and found promising results.


Restrictive Work Policies: Gaining Employee Buy-In

In this day and age, many managers are finding themselves in the tough position of enforcing restrictive work policies on their employees. For example, a company may no longer allow vacation days to be taken during a busy week or on specific days of the week. This can be a tough position. Getting employee buy-in on restrictive work policies can prove quite challenging. Yet, the manager has to enforce what is best for the company, while at the same time keeping the employees content with their job. So, when enforcing a restrictive policy is necessary, how can managers simultaneously keep their employees happy?


Implementing Creative Ideas at Work

Creativity is an interesting thing. It tends to strike people differently at different times. For me, I am most creative in the air; generally while enjoying my micro-pretzels from Delta.

But creativity is completely useless unless you can make your ideas a reality. In my job, I am lucky that I have a cool boss who lets me bring my weird, atypical ideas to life. (I’m also hoping I get props from my boss for calling her “cool” in print.)


Good Stats Make Us Uncomfortable (IO Psychology)

Topic: Organizational Performance, Statistics, Strategic HR
Publication: Harvard Business Review (OCT 2012)
Article: The True Measures of Success
Authors: M. J. Mauboussin
Reviewed By: Megan Leasher

Down2In striving for profitability, companies often rely on key indicators of organizational performance.  Common indicators like sales growth, customer loyalty, and earnings per share often guide strategy decisions and resource allocation.  But sometimes key indicators may not be that “key” after all.  They may have little or no true connection to profitability.


Inviting the Inquiry of Science into Strategic Planning (IO Psychology)

Topic: Business Strategy, Creativity, Strategic HR
Publication: Harvard Business Review (SEPT 2012)
Article: Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy
Authors: A. G. Lafley, R. L. Martin, J. W. Rivkin, and N. Siggelkow
Reviewed By: Megan Leasher

Strategic planners sit down once a year.  They pride themselves on their scientific rigor in how they analyze and shoot down every idea they generate.  They then proceed with a less-than-stellar, not-so-innovative idea, and they wonder why the organization doesn’t swoon with delight?  Lafley and colleagues (2012) assert that a key component of science is missing in these proceedings: the inquiry.  They argue that the scientific method must first begin with the brainstorming of novel hypotheses, then proceed into the design and testing of these hypotheses.  The authors detail a series of steps that incorporate the inquiry of science into strategic planning to achieve a more creative, successful, and efficient direction.


Improve service climate to retain customers and increase profitability

Topic: Organizational Performance, Strategic HR
Publication: Human Resource Management (MAY/JUNE 2011)
Article: The service climate-firm performance chain: The role of customer retention
Authors: Towler, A., Lezotte, D. V., & Burke, M. J.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

When an organization wants to improve customer retention and therefore its profitability, it will often turn to marketing. But could HR provide another option? In this study, Towler, Lezotte, and Burke (2011) tested a model of the way in which service climate (conceptualized and measured by concern for employees and concern for customers) affects profitability.


Is Bureaucracy Bad for Creativity? That Depends on You

Topic: Creativity, Strategic HR, Teams
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: How does bureaucracy impact individual creativity? A cross-level investigation of team contextual influences on goal orientation-creativity relationships
Authors: Giles Hirst, Daan Van Knippenberg, Chin-Hui Chen, & Claudia A. Sacramento
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

Bureaucracy and creativity. They might seem like mortal enemies—we often think of red tape and paper work as the killer of creative thinking—but it doesn’t have to be! Really, it depends on your employees. When we talk about goal orientation (why people do what they do), we usually take about three types of people. First, you have your learning-oriented workers. These are the ones who do what they do for sheer enjoyment of the work. They are intrinsically motivated. Second, you have your performance-prove-oriented employees. These workers want to show you how good they are. Third and finally, you have your performance-avoid workers. These are your risk-adverse employees—the rule followers. They all respond to bureaucracy differently, particularly when it comes to creativity.


Increase generic human capital to increase unit-specific human capital

Topic: Organizational Performance, Talent Management, Strategic HR
Publication: Academy of Management Journal (APR 2011)
Article: Acquiring and developing human capital in service contexts: The interconnectedness of human capital resources
Authors: Ployhart, R. E., Van Iddekinge, C. H., & MacKenzie, W. I.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

It is widely acknowledged that human capital is important, but does it matter whether the capital is generic (transferable to other organizations) or unit-specific (valuable to that particular work unit and not to others)? In this article, Ployhart, Van Iddekinge, and MacKenzie (2011) assessed both generic and unit-specific human capital in a large fast-food organization. They created and tested a model for how the two kinds of human capital relate to each other and to performance and effectiveness outcomes.


Do you care about human capital? You should!

Topic: Organizational Performance, Talent Management, Strategic HR
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2011)
Article: Does human capital matter? A meta-analysis of the relationship between human capital and firm performance
Authors: Crook, T. R., Todd, S. Y., Combs, J. G., Woehr, D. J., & Ketchen, D. J.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

It is often assumed that human capital is related to organizational performance, but the research literature provides mixed support for that assumption. In this article, the authors conducted a meta-analysis of 66 studies to clarify the seemingly contradictory research on the relationship between human capital and firm performance.


Building successful and sustainable HR interventions

Topic: Change Management, Strategic HR
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (JUN 2011)
Article: HR interventions that go viral
Authors: Yost, P. R., McLellan, J. R., Ecker, D. L., Chang, G. C., Hereford, J. M., Roenicke, C. C., Town, J. B., & Winberg, Y. L.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Why do some HR interventions fail while others succeed? In this article, Yost et al. (2011) attempt to answer that question by using three different methods: a literature review, a case study, and interviews with senior I/O and HR professionals. The authors provided a case study of a successful HR intervention. They noted five important characteristics of the intervention:


As with Fine Wines, Motivation Matures with Age

Topic: Motivation, Strategic HR
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (JAN 2011)
Article: Age and work-related motives: Results of a meta-analysis
Authors: D.T. Kooij, A.H. De Lange, P.G. Jansen, R. Kanfer, J.S. Dikkers
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

You’ve most likely read the following headline, “The US workforce is aging.” Whether organizations like it or not this change is coming and with it comes the possibility of skilled labor shortages and “brain drain”. To prevent this, companies have often turned to offering financial or other economic incentives to persuade employees to stay on.Does this work? What job qualities motivate a maturing employee?


Creativity at Work…Through Increased Workplace Structure?

Topic: Creativity, Strategic HR, Stress
Publication: Human Resource Management (NOV/DEC 2010)
Article: Does Structuring of Human Resource Management Process Enhance Employee Creativity? The Mediating Role of Psychological Availability
Authors: G. Binyamin, A. Carmeli
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood

The environment of the modern workplace is increasingly becoming more dynamic and unstable leading employees to perceive high levels of work-related stress. To battle this increased uncertainty in the external environment and provide a sense of stability to employees, organizations are looking internally at the way human resources processes are designed. Structuring of HRM processes consists of 7 essential dimensions: strategic alignment with organizational goals, managerial engagement, employee job functions structured and evaluated based on a job analysis, clarity of HRM policies and evaluation criteria, planning, flexibility, and internal consistency or synergy of all processes. Structuring HR around these 7 dimensions was shown to help alleviate employee stress perceptions by decreasing feelings of uncertainty.  


How talent analytics – and I/O psychologists – can help organizations succeed

Topic: Business Strategy, Strategic HR, Talent Management
Publication: Harvard Business Review (OCT 2010)
Article: Competing on talent analytics
Authors: T. H. Davenport, J. Harris, J. Shapiro
Reviewed By: Liz Brashier

How many times have you made a “people” decision based on gut instinct? Whether it’s deciding which department needs attention, selecting a customer population to target, or trying to determine our organization’s overall health, Davenport, Harris, and Shapiro (2010) encourage us to make these critical talent decisions based on analytics rather than “going with a gut instinct.” In an article rife with illustrations of organizations that effectively use analytics to save money, increase profits, and retain the best talent, the authors give us six types of analytics to use when addressing talent issues:


Evidence-Based Management: One Small Step for You, One Giant Leap for the Profession

Topic: Strategic HR
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: A Sticky, Leveraging, and Scalable Strategy for High-quality Connections between Organizational Practice and Science
Author: D. M. Rousseau
Reviewed By: Sarah Teague

Have you ever participated in an EBM Collaboration? I’ll give you a hint… you’re participating right now! The term Evidence-Based Management (EBM) Collaboration refers to an effort to better inform practice with empirical findings and also to make stronger connections within our field; essentially bridging the gap between science and practice. A call from Rousseau (2007) lays out a framework for the potential tasks associated with such an effort and proposes specific benefits that our field might reap.


Talent Management – Book Announcement

Topic: Leadership, Strategic HR
Publication: Strategy-driven talent management: A leadership imperative
Authors: Rob Silzer, Ben E. Dowell (Editors)Strategy-Driven Talent
Management: A Leadership Imperative Effective

Talent management can have a profound impact on organizational success. Therefore, the ability to identify, develop, and manage talent is key to the healthy functioning of any organization. Rob Silzer and Ben Dowell offer a comprehensive guide to the talent management process that could prove to be valuable tool for human resource practitioners and industrial-organizational psychologists alike.


Understanding the Links Between HR Strategy and Business Outcomes – Book Review

Topic: Book Reviews, Strategic HR, Measurement
Book TitleInvesting in what matters: linking employees to business outcomes
Authors: Scott Mondore, Ph.D. and Shane Douthitt, Ph.D.

In SHRM’s recently published the book, “Investing in What Matters,” Scott Mondore, Ph.D. and Shane Douthitt, Ph.D. offer a process to understand the links between HR strategy  and business outcomes.  Below is Dr. Mondore’s overview of the book.

Organizations collect vast amounts of data from operations to people, but rarely do organizations bring this data together to discover how these data relate to each other. In addition, current economic conditions are demanding deep budget cuts—leaving HR departments with few tools to figure out where to cut and where to invest. “Investing in What Matters” provides HR leaders with a straightforward process of six steps, that they can immediately implement, to allow them to create an HR strategy that is business-focused and based on expected ROI. With these steps, HR leaders will learn how to discover key business outcomes, show the link between HR data (training, surveys, competencies etc) to those business outcomes, execute programs that have an expected ROI and create a culture of measurement, analysis and adjustment going forward.


The Worker Bee: Committed or Alienated?

Topic: Employee SatisfactionStrategic HR 
Publication: Research and Practice in Human Resource Management
Article: HRM: A Contributor to Employee Alienation.
Author: G.R. Tonks, L.G. Nelson
Featured by: Sarah Bowen

Alienated employees are typified by powerlessness, purposelessness, loneliness and self-estrangement. But what causes these symptoms of alienation? Has Human Resource Management (HRM) contributed to the increase in alienated, less-committed employees? Tonks and Nelson suggest multiple variables play a role in the increased existence of alienation in the workplace. Commitment to an organization declines when a company downsizes or implements a hiring freeze. Sometimes implementing cost-reducing technology can generate lower levels of employee commitment.


Which Way at the Intersection of Work and Home?

Topic:  Strategic HRWork-Life Balance
Publication: Research and Practice in Human Resource Management
Article:Satisfaction and Perceived Productivity when Professionals Work From Home.
Blogger: Sarah Bowen

Working from home (WFH) is a clear alternative to the 9-to-5 lifestyle, but what conditions are necessary in order to achieve both satisfaction and productivity when working from home?


A more personal “length of service award” makes a difference

Topic: Motivation, RewardsStrategic HR,
Publication: HR Magazine
ArticleLength-of-Service Awards Becoming More Personal.
Author: R.R. Hastings
Featured by: Sarah Bowen

Length-of-service awards (the small gold pin or certificate at the bottom of your junk drawer) can be truly rewarding when managed in the proper way. However, when carelessness is evident in such gestures, employees do not feel valued. So, how can we make these gestures count?


Parents More Likely to Get By With a Little Help from…

Topic: Strategic HR, Work-Life Balance
Publication: Research and Practice in Human Resource Management
Article: The Influence of Support at Work and Home on Work Family Conflict: Does Gender Make a Difference?
Blogger: Sarah Bowen

A recent study study observed levels of managerial and spousal support in relation to Work-Family  Conflict (WFC). A sample of 185 married Malaysian, Chinese and Indian accountants that had at least one child were surveyed through mailed questionnaires. Gender was specifically examined in order to distinguish the varying roles of WFC between men and women.


Quarter past nine, I’m late again!

Topic: Compensation, MotivationRewardsStrategic HR
Publication: Research and Practice in Human Resource Management
Article: A Mathematical Model to Monitor Late Arrivals at Work
Author: S.A. Oke, T.M. Ezenachkwu
Featured by: Sarah Bowen

In their recent article, Oke and Ezenachukwu embark on an ambitious journey to prove that timeliness is improved through rewards and recognition in the workplace. The authors conduct their research in a beer and soft drink production company to test their model and assumptions. Educational commitments, monotony of work, and poor welfare provisions were three key reasons workers gave as reasons for their tardiness.


Toward an Understanding of the Influences on HR Policies of Multinational Firms

Topic: Strategic HR
Publication: British Journal of Management
Article: Similarity, isomorphism or duality? Recent survey evidence on human resource management policies of multinational corporations.
Author: C. Brewster, G. Wood, M. Brookes
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

Since multinational organizations are becoming more and more common, numerous researchers have set out to understand how multinational corporations set up organization-wide policies. In order to better understand how such policies are determined, Brewster, Wood, and Brookes (2008) surveyed both public and private organizations in over 22 European countries.


Read you like a book: Employee attributes of HR practices

Topic: Job Attitudes, Organizational Performance, Strategic HR
Publication: Personnel Psychology
Article: Employee attributions of the “why” of HR practices: Their effects on employee attitudes and behaviors, and customer satisfaction.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

A recent article by Nishii and colleagues explores how employees’ beliefs about “why” management employs certain HR practices (training, payment, selection, etc.) affect organizational performance.  Although the hypothesized model and subsequent methodology are somewhat complicated, the major research findings are fairly intuitive:

Employees make one of two attributions about why a company performs its HR practices the way it does:


What’s Your HR Policy Type?

Topic: Strategic HR
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Human resource configurations: Investigating fit with the organizational context.
Blogger: James Grand

Some businesses go for broke and pamper their employees from day one, starting with the all-expenses paid recruitment weekend all the way through the Golden Years retirement package, in the hopes that their human capital investment pays out big along the way.  But many others choose a more…shall we say, “conservative” approach, where the goal is to provide just enough incentive to keep a reasonably productive warm body in the chair until the next cheaper one comes along (See: Moneyball).