Performance through people: Transforming human capital into competitive advantage

A dual focus on developing people and managing them well gives a select group of companies a long-term performance edge.

Bill Schaninger

When people claim they have survey fatigue, they’re not tired of you asking them. They’re upset about you not doing anything with it.

Bill Schaninger

Through most of the last three and a half, four decades, we’ve changed our approach to developmental experiences throughout childhood. In large part, it was to reward kids for their participation in order to avoid the disappointment of perceived failure. My point is we’ve raised two generations of folks who believe that participation and the collective is the end result. I think we’re seeing things … [ Read more ]

Stave Off Attrition with an Internal Talent Marketplace

Is your best talent hiding in plain sight? An internal talent marketplace helps match existing employees to open roles—in novel and sometimes unexpected ways.

Losing from day one: Why even successful transformations fall short

Our latest transformations research confirms that success remains elusive and reliant on a holistic approach. Yet some actions are especially predictive of realizing the financial benefits at stake.

Tera Allas, Bill Schaninger

Even though most business schools, executive training courses, and leadership programs espouse servant leadership, few bosses manage to fully commit to it. Perhaps that’s no surprise. In most organizations, the average manager has neither the incentives nor the skills to focus on employee happiness. Consider how most businesses make promotion decisions: people who get ahead tend to be either current high performers or those who … [ Read more ]

Tera Allas, Bill Schaninger

In many ways, there is only one question any manager need ask: How do I make my team members’ lives easier—physically, cognitively, and emotionally?

Tera Allas, Bill Schaninger

It stands to reason that managers would play a crucial role in their employees’ workplace happiness. The wealth of literature on what makes for a good workplace highlights two aspects that line managers directly control: good work organization—that is, providing workers with the context, guidance, tools, and autonomy to minimize frustration and make their jobs meaningful—and psychological safety, which is the absence of interpersonal fear … [ Read more ]

The Boss Factor: Making the World a Better Place Through Workplace Relationships

Businesses looking to make an external social contribution should, paradoxically, look inside: improving workers’ job satisfaction could be the single most important thing they do.

Arne Gast, Pablo Illanes, Nina Probst, Bill Schaninger, Bruce Simpson

It’s difficult to solve, simultaneously, for the interests of employees, communities, suppliers, the environment, customers, and shareholders. Tensions and trade-offs abound as we strive to align our business and societal goals; to integrate that identity into the heart of our organizations; and to deliver on our purpose, including its measurement, management, and communication.

Bill Schaninger

Historically, we’ve been disproportionately focused on the value of the cascade, the leader, change leaders. They’re still all very important. But, increasingly, as we are a workforce comprised of a generation that has a lot of their actions that are digitally based, we’ve had to come to grips with the idea that influencers and opinion leaders and people in the social network, their role modeling … [ Read more ]

Scott Keller, Bill Schaninger

Many workplaces are characterized by competing agendas and conflict (no alignment on direction), by politics and bureaucracy (low quality of execution), and by the corrosive idea that work is “just a job” (a low sense of renewal). These aren’t just unhealthy for companies that want to deliver sustainable bottom-line results—they are unhealthy for the human soul. […] Healthy organizations, by contrast, unleash our potential and … [ Read more ]

Scott Keller, Bill Schaninger

Performance is what an enterprise does to deliver improved financial and operational results for its stakeholders. Companies evaluate their performance through financial and operational metrics such as net operating profit, returns on capital employed, total shareholder returns, net operating costs, and stock turn (and the relevant equivalents in not-for-profit and service industries). By contrast, health describes how effectively people work together to pursue a common … [ Read more ]

Bill Schaninger

We’ve seen one of the interesting challenges is around performance management and a sense of who’s actually successful. How do we know how well they’re doing? When you can count widgets sold or airplane engines sold, you get it. You can look at margin and things like that. But for these more complicated roles, you say, “Well, who’s good?” You get some really squishy answers … [ Read more ]

Bill Schaninger

We make decisions every day about who we hire, how we deploy them, what teams we put them in, what we have them working on. Then we sit in judgment of their performances. Every one of those decisions can be made better with data. Not all those decisions are equally important, so you don’t have to bring it to bear in all of them, but … [ Read more ]

A Better Way to Lead Large-Scale Change

In Beyond Performance 2.0 (John Wiley & Sons, 2019), McKinsey senior partners Scott Keller and Bill Schaninger draw on their 40-plus years of combined experience, and on the most comprehensive research effort of its kind, to provide a practical and proven “how to” guide for leading successful large-scale change. This article, drawn from the book’s opening chapter, provides an overview of this approach and explains … [ Read more ]

Why You Should Apply Analytics to Your People Strategy

Bringing advanced computing power and analytics capabilities to bear on people decisions in an organization is crucial to driving lasting and effective change.

Bryan Hancock, Bill Schaninger

We found through our research […] what drives perceived fairness in the performance-management process. One of the drivers of fairness is that you understand how what you’re working on fits in the bigger picture. […] The second driver of fairness is that there’s an ongoing component. “My manager has an ongoing conversation with me about how I’m doing, so I’m not surprised. I know what … [ Read more ]

The Fairness Factor in Performance Management

Many systems are under stress because employees harbor doubts that the core elements are equitable. A few practical steps can change that.

The Four Building Blocks of Change

Four key actions influence employee mind-sets and behavior. Here’s why they matter.