THINKING FORWARD – Ideas for your work from MIT Sloan School of Management

THINKING+++ FORWARD

Ideas for your work from MIT Sloan School of Management | Office of Communications

+ THREE INSIGHTS FOR THE WEEK September 26 – October 2, 2021

1. The amount of data companies collect about their employees has increased dramatically — thanks to the digitization of work, the proliferation of wearable devices, and pandemic-driven data collection on remote work and vaccination status.

A new research brief from the MIT Center for Information Systems Research urges organizations to use dignity as a guide when collecting data on employees.

Data dignity means making sure data use helps employees to achieve their goals and receive appropriate recognition. Focusing on dignity also improves data management, the researchers found, and allows leaders to reinforce their regard for employees.

Existing data privacy regulations don’t provide the proper guidance for employers using employee data, the researchers write, in part because those regulations don’t address the ethical complexity of an employer/employee relationship.

Companies can take stock of their employee data use by asking:

  • What employee data is in use?
  • Are employees aware of the data being captured, and do they consent to its use?
  • Do employees have options about what data is gathered?
  • Do employees see their own data, and do they benefit from insights derived from it?
  • Do employees understand how and why their data benefits both the organization and them personally?

2. As many employees transition from fully remote to hybrid work environments, organizations that fail to help their people feel a sense of purpose, belonging, and progress will see employee burnout persist or worsen, said workplace emotions expert and author Liz Fosslien.

Writing in MIT Sloan Management Review, Fosslien offered seven specific steps leaders and managers can take to create a healthier work environment for employees:

  • Acknowledge what people are going through.
  • Avoid causing unnecessary anxiety. Ambiguous after-hours emails and sudden requests for meetings can cause chronic stress, a major component of burnout.
  • Set clear goals and celebrate mini milestones.
  • Facilitate connections within your team. Surveys show that employees who feel connected to their colleagues are three times as likely to report that they maintained prepandemic levels of productivity.
  • Don’t micromanage.
  • Create learning opportunities.
  • Keep asking questions — What one thing can I do to better support you? Is anything unclear or blocking your work? How does your workload feel right now? — and take action based on what you hear.

3. As many employees transition from fully remote to hybrid work environments, organizations that fail to help their people feel a sense of purpose, belonging, and progress will see employee burnout persist or worsen, said workplace emotions expert and author Liz Fosslien.

Writing in MIT Sloan Management Review, Fosslien offered seven specific steps leaders and managers can take to create a healthier work environment for employees:

  • Acknowledge what people are going through.
  • Avoid causing unnecessary anxiety. Ambiguous after-hours emails and sudden requests for meetings can cause chronic stress, a major component of burnout.
  • Set clear goals and celebrate mini milestones.
  • Facilitate connections within your team. Surveys show that employees who feel connected to their colleagues are three times as likely to report that they maintained prepandemic levels of productivity.
  • Don’t micromanage.
  • Create learning opportunities.
  • Keep asking questions — What one thing can I do to better support you? Is anything unclear or blocking your work? How does your workload feel right now? — and take action based on what you hear.

Content from the: MIT Sloan Office of Communications Building E90, 9th Floor 1 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02142

Questions and Comments: thinkingforward@mit.edu

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