There’s a case against diversity in the workplace—but the alternative is even scarier — Evan Apfelbaum

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Evan Apfelbaum

From Quartz

Companies promote diversity in the workplace as a moral imperative with “bottom line benefits.” But research on the value of diversity is mixed. Some studies have found diverse teams—meaning workgroups comprised of employees of different races, genders, and backgrounds—promote creativity, nurture critical thinking, and tend to make better, more thoughtful decisions because they consider a wider range of perspectives. Other studies indicate diverse teams fuel interpersonal conflicts, reduce cohesion, and slow the pace of learning.

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How LinkedIn has changed the game in job searches (and how to use it) – Bryn Panee Burkhart

Bryn Panee Burkhart, Associate Director, Alumni Career Development

Social media has become an integral component in the recruiting and hiring strategy of all types of firms, from startups to multinational corporations. In particular, LinkedIn offers robust corporate recruiting tools, giving firms sophisticated means of combing through LinkedIn profiles to find talent, a solid job board that shows users their connections to hiring firms, and company pages that build strong corporate brands.

LinkedIn’s biggest source of revenue is from corporations who purchase its corporate hiring solutions.  Out of the Fortune 100 companies, 85 now use LinkedIn for recruiting.  There are over 200 million members on LinkedIn, and the site claims that a new member joins every two seconds. The fastest growing demographic on LinkedIn is students. LinkedIn is a formidable tool for both recruiters and job seekers, and in the Career Development Office we are actively teaching our students how to leverage LinkedIn. Some key tenants include: Read More »

Advice for middle managers (and for those who manage them) — Paul Osterman

MIT Sloan Prof. Paul Osterman

MIT Sloan Prof. Paul Osterman

From The Smart Manager (India)

When people talk about middle managers, certain characterizations inevitably come to mind: gray-suited corporate drones bitter about being relegated to the sidelines of corporate power; middling bosses who don’t particularly care for their subordinates; overlooked paper-pushers eager to clock out at the end of the day.

None of these depictions are flattering; none of them are accurate either. According to my latest research, which involved analyzing over thirty years’ worth of employment data and conducting many interviews with mid-level managers and senior leaders across dozens of companies, middle managers are central, indeed crucial, to an organization’s success. My research shows that middle managers are, for the most part, thoughtful, strategically-minded individuals who have a strong commitment to their jobs, are highly engaged with their colleagues, and gain real pleasure from their day-to-day work.

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Unlimited vacation time is better in theory than in practice — Lotte Bailyn

MIT Sloan Prof. Emerita Lotte Bailyn

MIT Sloan Prof. Emerita Lotte Bailyn

From The Atlantic “Quartz”

It is a vivid illustration of our 24/7-work culture that most Americans do not use all of their allotted vacation days. This is especially sad considering the large number of Americans who are not eligible for paid time-off; the US is one of a few countries that lacks a federal law requiring vacation time. Even those employees who do take time off from work are still largely tethered to the office.

Numerous studies have found that time away from the office and more frequent vacations lead to greater productivity, improved job performance, and lower levels of stress. Time off from work gives us an opportunity to rest and recharge, which in turn makes us more creative and resourceful once we’re back on the job. Most of us already know this from personal experience but now there’s data to back it up (paywall).

Tom Kochan: The Workforce

MIT Sloan Prof. Thomas Kochan
Photograph by Stu Rosner

From Harvard Magazine

An interview with Thomas A. Kochan, Bunker professor of management, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and co-director of the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research.

Harvard Magazine: You speak of a fundamental human-capital paradox in the way American employers and workers interact with each other.

Thomas Kochan: American corporations often say human resources are their most important asset. In our national discourse, everyone talks about jobs. Yet as a society we somehow tolerate persistent high unemployment, 30 years of stagnating wages and growing wage inequality, two decades of declining job satisfaction and loss of pension and retirement benefits, and continuous challenges from the consequences of unemployment on family life. If we really valued work and human resources, we would address these problems with the vigor required to solve them. Read More »