Here are the top news stories in talent & organization from this week.

How HR can help develop leaders

 Successful managers empower successful business outcomes, which is why HR needs to be a driving force in developing leaders. This HR Director article looks at five key ways HR can impact leadership development to drive organizational success. 1. Leadership training and development. HR can take an active role in making sure that managers are effectively trained to be the best leaders they can be, as well as identifying future leaders through mentorship opportunities. 2. Promotion systems. Along with promotions based on technical skills, HR needs to ensure it looks at a potential promotion based on a range of soft skills as well, including communication, conflict resolution and change management. 3. Employee-centric approach. It’s HR’s responsibility to define effective leadership and set clear expectations. 4. Helping managers take a team-based approach. HR can help leaders empower their individual teams by equipping them with processes for coaching, training and mentoring within teams. This also involves helping leaders learn how to identify potential future leaders. 5. Collaboration with senior management. HR needs to identify what leadership roles affect business strategy to ensure expectations are met and processes are followed.

Creating a millennial culture at work

Millennials aren’t problematic, they just need some unconventional approaches to motivate them, argues Scott Wetzel. He explains how his company empowered and provided independence to millennial workers in this Forbes Finance Council op-ed. “The ways in which the company set out to do that included having no set workday hours, no commute to the office required and no assigned tasks,” Wetzel writes. A “no set workday” policy expands the acceptable window of when work can be done and focuses on outcomes delivered. “Many would believe that this results in fewer hours and less work completed, but I have seen the opposite,” he writes. Wetzel also takes issue with companies that do not allow employees to work from home. “Ask yourself why you would trust your employees with your sensitive company information when they are in the office, but you don’t trust them enough to manage their time and get work done,” he writes. His most unconventional strategy is the “no assigned tasks” policy. “Rather than assigning a task to one or two individuals, send an email stating the end goal of the project, and let them decide who takes on each project,” Wetzel writes. “This lies at the heart of what helps a company retain millennial talent.”

Employees optimistic about the future of work

Workers across the globe are happy with their current situations and have a sense of optimism about the future of work, Personnel Today reports. The Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group polled 11,000 ‘middle-skills’ workers in 11 countries and found that more than half (52 percent) of all surveyed were satisfied with their current work situation. Among the most satisfied workers were in Sweden (66 percent) and the US (64 percent). In the UK, 24 percent of the workers reported being very happy with their current situation, with another 37 percent saying they were happy. And while half (46 percent) of the workers globally said they felt a personal responsibility to adapt to changes in the workplace, only 23 percent of the workers in France agreed.

The fallacy of meritocracy

While the focus on diversity of senior leadership and corporate boards intensifies, the fallacy of meritocracy lingers, claims Kimberly Jinnett. “Even as executives across industries assert their good intentions—We would like more diversity in senior leadership—they confirm their bias—But we also have to make sure we get the best people,” she writes in an HR Executive blog post. “The second half of the statement is a cringe-worthy moment for some, a matter-of-fact assertion for others. Its ill-seeming nature may be attributed to what it implies: that seeking talent beyond white males takes us into sub-standard territory. It assumes there are simply not enough qualified women, people of color, or others from diverse backgrounds from which to select potential candidates.” She believes even those who think they are objectively basing decisions on merit often introduce the most bias in their assessments. “The partial cause for this may be attributed to systemic biases that exist outside of the workplace in our communities, culture, and educational system,” Jinnett writes. “These systemic biases reinforce hiring, retention, promotion and pay problems in the workplace.” She acknowledges that her assessment may be a “hard pill to swallow for some,” and advocates for more accountability and transparency. “We should want senior leaders who aren’t afraid of accountability,” Jinnett writes. “They should be able to examine their own potential biases, and hear the viewpoints and perspectives of others.

For more news on diversity in the workforce, see our page here.

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