Executive Summaries on Current HR Topics (ILRHR 6640)

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The following reports were prepared by students of ILRHR 6640: HR Online Research and Reporting Methods for Executive Decision-Making in cooperation with HR executives at Cornell’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies-sponsoring companies. CAHRS sponsors submitted questions about current HR issues that they were facing and the students then did comprehensive research on the topic in question using a large number of free and library-purchased resources otherwise not available to the general public. The students then prepared an executive summary of no more than two pages that addressed the specific needs of the company in question. These reports were then shared with the HR executives that had requested the research in order for the companies to benefit from the findings that the students had compiled.

The executive summaries shared below are the same as the ones submitted back to the CAHRS sponsors, except any reference to the company requesting the research has been redacted.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 264
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    What Post-Pandemic Practices Should be Implemented Given the Increase of Hybrid Workplaces?
    Preziosa, Anne; Okuda, Akira (2022-12)
    A McKinsey report shows that a majority of employees state that remote work has either increased or not affected their productivity compared to pre-pandemic. Furthermore, a PricewaterhouseCoopers’ U.S. Remote Work Survey found that 83% of employers reported the shift to remote work to be successful for their organization, and positive outcomes of such transition include reducing operating expenses and increasing employee satisfaction. Technology companies (e.g., Slack) are primarily composed of knowledge workers and plan to allow employees to work fully remote. However, companies requiring in-person work, including sales roles and other essential workers allow less work flexibility. Therefore, the nature of a job plays a large role on employees’ ability to work remotely. With a large remote workforce, robust technology systems and effective leadership are needed to operate and manage these employees, along with proper measurement tools.
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    What Kinds of Recognition and Benefits Attract, Retain and Develop Employees?
    Preziosa, Anne; Hociota, Beatrice (2022-12)
    We all want to feel recognized for what we do. Whether that is at home or in the workplace, we want to feel that what we are doing contributes to something beyond ourselves and we want to be recognized for it. In the workplace, employee recognition refers to the practice of acknowledging employees’ contribution, whether that is for great success on a major project or completing small tasks excellently. It matters because it emphasizes what an employee has done, showcases a goal achieved, and reinforces behaviors. Recognition can come in a monetary form, but non-monetary forms can be just as powerful. A greater focus will be placed on this latter form of recognition in this summary. It is crucial to make a big deal out of what employees are doing.
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    What is the Impact of Connection in-person on Productivity in Remote Work Environments?
    Hociota, Beatrice; Kushwawa, Martina (2022-12)
    The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how people work and think about work. A survey conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2022, showcased that 58% of job holders in the U.S. say they can work remotely part time. Moreover, the survey found that 87% of Americans are willing to work flexibly (both remote and in person) if given the opportunity. However, challenges are introduced in a fully remote work environment. Ideally, the goal of the research was to provide practical data around how often fully remote employees needed to be brought in person for trainings, conferences, and seminars to reduce the sense of loneliness. Further, the original question was to identify for how long those in-person times would keep employees from having feelings of loneliness once back in a remote environment. Due to limitations on available research of such a new topic, this question become a challenging one. There was little to no concrete data on how much in-person time is needed to remove loneliness for remote employees. As such, this executive summary will discuss the implications of how a sense of belongingness and inclusion within a general remote work environment can affect productivity, and if research shows there is a need for in-person connection. Lastly, the summary will cover some best practices to handle these challenges.
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    What has been the Impact of Hybrid and Remote Work on Productivity in Professional Roles?
    Miller, Daniel (2022-12)
    While some methods exist for measuring knowledge worker (KW) productivity, none are universally accepted. In general, most research suggests that the KW should be included in efforts to decide how to measure productivity as they have the best understanding of tasks they perform, relative importance, and potential metrics that assess performance. In addition, the most common challenge for rendering the KW productive is an appropriate handling of workload in general. In particular, the administrative workload, multitasking, and task switching have accounted for 20% to 40% loss in potential productivity. Therefore, keeping the KW focused on the tasks that matter most while ensuring that both the business and the KW understand what success looks like is paramount to strong business performance.
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    What Employee Value Propositions can US Manufacturing Firms use to Retain and Engage Millennial Engineers?
    Miller, Daniel; Mishra, Sneha (2022-12)
    Key talent challenges in the manufacturing industry center on increasingly more job vacancies than hires (85% more vacancies than hires as of September 2021), increasing job turnover rates (40% in 2021), and a retiring workforce (25% of workforce as of December 2021 is 55 or older). Additionally, there is a declining interest in working in manufacturing among millennials and Gen Z talent. [3]At this rate, it is anticipated that US manufacturing will have 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030 unless the industry develops a value proposition for employees like it does for its customers.
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    What do HR Professionals need to know to Support Employee Well-Being in a Post-COVID World?
    Hociota, Beatrice; Firouzian, Farshad (2022-12)
    A 2020 study by Willis said that 92 percent of employees reported an increased level of anxiety due to the pandemic, often caused by challenges in balancing work and home obligations. To support employees, a company should first understand what they need through creating a culture of open communication. Next, it should develop programs and interventions that meet employees’ mental health needs. Third, the company should ensure that the structure of the workplace is accommodating to employees needs through increased flexibility. Last, a company must track its impact through effective measures of progress. This executive summary equips business leaders and HR professionals with the tools to support employees.
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    What can Organizations do to Create an Environment that Supports and Retains Neurodiverse Employees?
    Preziosa, Anne; Hill, Skyler (2022-12)
    Neurodiverse individuals are currently one of the most underemployed minority groups: in the United States, general unemployment for neurodiverse individuals is 30-40%, while up to 85% of people on the autism spectrum are unemployed. An increasing number of organizations are zooming in on this issue and aiming to intentionally support, engage, and retain neurodiverse individuals through the implementation of programs, cultures, and environments. However, a vast majority of these efforts are still in their infancy and their effectiveness is largely unknown. This whitepaper seeks to address how employers can most effectively include their neurodiverse employees in the modern workplace through the examination of current academic and business research; neurodiversity and disability theory; and case studies.
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    What are Attributes of Organizations that have Created Successful Learning on the Job?
    Kushwawa, Martina; Akira, Okuda (2022-12)
    With the constant and rapid change in the workplace, it is important for companies to invest in the development of their employees to learn and gain different skill sets to use. According to an article written by Tauber et al. for Harvard Business Publishing, about 54% of the workforce will require significant upskilling and reskilling within the next five years. This means more than half the workforce will require some sort of training and learning to keep up with the changing job market. However, many employees are “unaware of their companies' learning opportunities and have taken upon independent learning activities to fill in the gap for themselves”. For example, when surveyed, 65% of employees stated they used websites such as YouTube or Harvard Business Review to learn something for their job, and only 37% of employees utilize their company’s learning system or portal. A big challenge for many organizations’ learning and development (L&D) teams is finding the right conditions for learning in which learning is “embedded into the flow of work to make skill development part of everyday routines”. This executive summary will discuss the attributes and activities that create a successful learning culture where learning takes place on the job.
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    What Practices do Global Organizations in the US do to Ensure Global Inclusion?
    Miller, Daniel; Okuda, Akira (2022-12)
    Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) measures vary from company to company but maturity models and frameworks can offer simple yet powerful tools for road mapping organizational changes in complex, global organizations. While there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, we can present theories and high-level practices which can serve as guidelines when investigating issues and designing global DEIB programs.
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    How do Modern Business Practices Introduce Barriers to Hiring and Retaining "Hidden Workers"?
    Hill, Skyler (2022-10)
    Within America’s increasingly competitive talent pool lies a large, underutilized, and greatly unsupported population: “hidden workers.” These are individuals who are willing and able to work but possess one or more barriers that contradict with employers’ profiles of a “viable” candidate, therefore struggling to find full-time employment. (More information on potential barriers can be found in Appendix 1.) The term “hidden workers” encompasses a broad range of individual circumstances but can be generalized into a few categories: older workers; caregivers of children or elders; the formerly incarcerated or recovered substance users; those with physical or mental health issues; military veterans who lack civilian licenses or certifications; and immigrants or refugees who lack regional language skills. Though these workers may seem unfavorable from a more traditional recruiting perspective, organizations which actively hire hidden workers are less likely to face talent shortages and more likely to close skills gaps, proving that supporting them is both a strong moral objective and a strong business case. This executive summary seeks to identify key ways in which hidden workers are disproportionately challenged by modern business practices, highlighting how employers may actively work to mitigate the adverse effects of said practices while supporting hidden workers throughout the hiring, re-entering, and retention processes.
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    Best Practices to Create a Feedback-Friendly Culture
    Firouzian, Farshad; Hill, Skyler (2022-12)
    During the early and mid-2010s, early adopters (such as Kelly Services, Adobe, Deloitte, and PwC) abandoned annual performance management methodologies in favor of continuous feedback systems. This was largely done to move away from feedback which punishes employees based on past performance and towards ongoing developmental feedback. Now, approximately 70% of multinational companies are using or moving towards a similar model. Not only does this signify a huge change in performance management, but it also exemplifies how regular feedback is becoming more and more common in the workplace. It is now critical that managers and employees understand how to give and receive feedback on a daily basis in order to remain effective and content. In this whitepaper, we aim to address this skill need by recommending methodologies and practices for giving and receiving feedback and highlighting key aspects of feedback-friendly organizational cultures.
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    Best Practices in Mentorship
    Firouzian, Farshad; Mishra, Sneha (2022-10-01)
    Corporate mentorship, in most academic literature, is regarded as a developmental partnership between a mentor and a mentee (or protégé) that can engage and fulfill the psychosocial and career support needs of both the mentor and the mentee. Recent Gartner findings suggest that over a 5-year time horizon, mentees and mentors alike are able to experience significant benefits in salary, promotion, and engagement when compared with non-participants. Recent findings suggest that mentorship and sponsorship can also play a significant role in fostering inclusive workplaces and advancing DE&I objectives. Though formal mentoring programs have led to increases in representation of minorities by up to 24% in senior leadership roles, they alone are insufficient in advancing equity of opportunities among the workforce.
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    Best Practices for Employee Retention Within Two Years for New STEM Hires
    Kushwawa, Martina; Mishra, Sneha (2022-12)
    According to a survey conducted by DigitalOcean, about “64% of software developers with less than a year of experience have left their jobs between 2020-2021”. Additionally, 32% of software developers with 1-5 years of experience have left their jobs. These resignations have impacted organizations significantly in terms of retainment and recruitment. According to a survey done by Salesforce’s MuleSoft, “93% of organizations have said [these resignations] have made it more difficult for their IT teams to retain skilled developers and 86% say it has become more difficult to recruit them in the last two years”. The demand for software developers and engineers has been constantly rising with the technological revolution of the 21st century; however, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for these employees with organizations making digital transformation a priority. While there is a high demand for software engineers and developers, organizations also face high attrition rates for these employees. This executive summary will explore best practices for employee retention within the first two-years specifically for software engineering/STEM new hires.
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    How Has the Hourly Workforce Changed in the Post-COVID Environment?
    Sun, Kathy; Grinwald, Kyle (CAHRS, 2021)
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    Best Strategies for Organizations to Communicate Change
    RIngle, Kayla; Zamora, Silvia (CAHRS, 2021)