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

Citi report: Empowering women key to economic growth

A new study from Citigroup Inc. has found that improving gender equality could significantly boost growth in advanced economies in the near future, Bloomberg reports this week. The main barriers keeping women from work include the burden of unpaid care work, gender discrimination and violence, lack of legal protection and reduced access to financial services, according to Citi researchers. Policy changes could add as much as 20 percent to OECD growth, the study found. “It’s about the sheer scope for growth – 6 percent is what we arrived at for advanced economies, for emerging market countries it’s even higher. So why aren’t we going for it?” said Tina Fordham, Citi’s chief global political analyst, in an interview with Bloomberg. Women’s average labor-force participation rate in OECD countries lags that of men by 64 percent to 80 percent, the report found. 

How Gen X can get ahead in the workforce

“Gen X’ers are the least studied and least frequently talked about generation. Unlike boomers, we don’t command respect and attention, and unlike millennials, we don’t demand it,” writes Robin Camarote in this Inc.com blog post. As the generation stuck in the middle between baby boomers and millennials, she argues that gen X employees need a mindset shift to save their careers. Here are her top recommendations to her fellow gen X’ers: Don’t wait around to be noticed for the good work you do; don’t cling to the notion of time spent at a pay grade or level; grow your professional network; be more open-minded toward emerging social platforms; don’t dismiss existing racial biases within your organization or industry. “Failing to take action and change with the times will limit your professional future. Our younger colleagues are redefining what’s needed to be successful, and we have to pay attention – or risk becoming obsolete,” Camarote warns.

Insurance skills shortage in the UK 

The Telegraph has compiled a list of challenges that brokers in the United Kingdom will face in 2018, and has highlighted the skills shortage as one of the top concerns. According to a study by the Chartered Insurance Institute, 81 percent of brokers report a shortage of technical skills in the industry, up from 59 percent in 2015. “Brokers that find a commercial benefit in having well-qualified employees will need to invest in training and supporting wider industry initiatives to increase the take-up of professional learning and qualifications,” notes The Telegraph. Other challenges include potential post-Brexit problems accessing and trading with European markets; increased demand for specialization; digital disruption caused by automation; and cyber security. “Insurance brokers are facing significant challenges, but their ability to overcome changing market dynamics is unquestioned. To remain successful the ability to evolve their services, business models and client relationships will continue to be key,” the article notes.

HR’s love/hate relationship with metrics

“Metrics add structure to the way HR teams work and help guide their decision-making. They also provide a means of measuring success, which is not as easily defined for people performance as it is for more financial performance,” writes Andy Campbell in this guest blog for Oracle. But the metrics most commonly used “no longer reflect the best interests of the business or its employees.” He argues that HR needs a metrics makeover, in which a clear link is established between each metric and its impact on both employees and the business. Campbell recommends linking talent strategies to the broader business objectives of the organization. “Metrics don’t need to be contentious, but if businesses continue to work in silos with individual departments chasing different and sometimes contradictory objectives they will keep running into the same issues,” he writes. “Progress today demands a more strategic and aligned approach to metrics, and this begins with a better understanding of how people and processes come together in the organization.”

CEOs, it’s time to think like founders

The list of leading global companies included the likes of General Electric, ExxonMobil and Walmart in 2001, and now is comprised of Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon. “They are for the most part young firms led by founders and their teams, bold leaders who continually prioritize new growth over efficiencies to their core businesses,” according to David Kidder and John Geraci. In their essay for Harvard Business Review, the authors say that to generate new growth, CEOs must stop thinking of themselves as chief managers and start thinking of themselves as refounders. “Refounders are leaders who, despite not having started the company, think with the mindset of a founder,” they write. “They do not focus their energies on incremental growth through endless optimization, but instead look to leverage their company’s assets to build new offerings, move into new markets, and create next-generation solutions.”

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