Harvard Business Review Special Issues Fall 2019

Harvard Business Review OnPoint makes it fast and easy to put HBR’s ideas to work. Handpicked by HBR’s editors to bring readers the most relevant ideas and insight on a single business topic, these collections include full-text articles, summaries of key points, and suggestions for further reading, plus content selected from hbr.org.

United States
Harvard Business School Publishing

in this issue

2 min
winning the war for talent

Your organization’s success has never been more dependent on people—those with the technical and leadership skills to carry you into the future. How will you compete? Companies are rushing to reinvent their talent management to become more responsive and flexible. In “HR Goes Agile,” Peter Cappelli and Anna Tavis describe where we’re seeing the biggest changes, such as performance appraisals, which many companies now conduct on a project basis rather than on an annual cycle. HR’s growing investment in data and analytics also means that at many companies these changes are being measured and honed in real time. But beware the limits of what your data can tell you, especially about diversity, Facebook’s Maxine Williams reminds us in “Numbers Take Us Only So Far.” In a hot talent market, recruiting the…

19 min
hr goes agile

AGILE ISN’T JUST for tech anymore. It’s been working its way into other areas and functions, from product development to manufacturing to marketing—and now it’s transforming how organizations hire, develop, and manage their people. You could say HR is going “agile lite,” applying the general principles without adopting all the tools and protocols from the tech world. It’s a move away from a rules- and planning-based approach toward a simpler and faster model driven by feedback from participants. This new paradigm has really taken off in the area of performance management. (In a 2017 Deloitte survey, 79% of global executives rated agile performance management as a high organizational priority.) But other HR processes are starting to change too. In many companies that’s happening gradually, almost organically, as a spillover from IT, where…

1 min
why intuit’s transition to agile almost stalled out

The financial services division at Intuit began shifting to agile in 2009—but four years went by before that became standard operating procedure across the company. What took so long? Leaders started with a “waterfall” approach to change management, because that’s what they knew best. It didn’t work. Spotty support from middle management, part-time commitments to the team leading the transformation, scarce administrative resources, and an extended planning cycle all put a big drag on the rollout. Before agile could gain traction throughout the organization, the transition team needed to take an agile approach to becoming agile and managing the change. Looking back, Joumana Youssef, one of Intuit’s strategic-change leaders, identifies several critical discoveries that changed the course—and the speed—of the transformation: • Focus on early adopters. Don’t waste time trying to convert naysayers. •…

5 min
one bank’s agile team experiment

WHEN WEB AND mobile technologies disrupted the banking industry, consumers became more and more aware of what they could do for themselves. They quickly embraced what Ralph Hamers, CEO of the global banking group ING, calls “banking on the go.” By 2014 about 40% of all interactions with ING retail customers were coming in through mobile apps. (Now the figure is closer to 60%—and branch visits and calls to contact centers have dropped below 1%.)Even then mobile customers expected easy access to up-to-date information whenever and wherever they logged in. For instance, someone who started a loan transaction during the train ride home from work wanted to be able to continue it on a desktop that night. “Our customers were spending most of their online time on platforms like Facebook and…

1 min
tribes, squads, and chapters

Tribe A collection of squads focused on the same domain—for instance, private banking or mortgage services Tribe lead Establishes priorities, allocates budgets, and coordinates with other tribes to ensure knowledge sharing Chapter The members of a given discipline, such as UX or data analytics; they develop expertise and knowledge across squads Product owner Squad member (but not leader); coordinates squad activities and sets priorities Squad A self-steering, crossfunctional group of nine or fewer people charged with meeting a specific customer need; either disbands when that need has been addressed or turns to a new one Chapter lead Oversees coaching and performance management; responsible for tracking and sharing best practices Agile coach Works with individuals and squads on collaboration and iterative problem solving…

15 min
reinventing performance management

AT DELOITTE we’re redesigning our performance management system. This may not surprise you. Like many other companies, we realize that our current process for evaluating the work of our people—and then training them, promoting them, and paying them accordingly—is increasingly out of step with our objectives. In a public survey Deloitte conducted recently, more than half the executives questioned (58%) believe that their current performance manage ment approach drives neither employee engagement nor high performance. They, and we, are in need of something nimbler, real-time, and more individualized—something squarely focused on fueling performance in the future rather than assessing it in the past. What might surprise you, however, is what we’ll include in Deloitte’s new system and what we won’t. It will have no cascading objectives, no once-a-year reviews, and no 360-degreefeedback…