alec levenson

Talent Management

Work Redesign Pilot Evaluation for Large Consumer Products Company

  • Accomplishments: Measured the behavioral and productivity impacts of a work design change that created new roles and interdependent teams in customer-facing settings.
  • Key insights: Before-and-after measurement of customer impacts, and linkage to both internal group dynamics and change management effectiveness.

Global Intergenerational Management for Multinational Professional Services Firm 

  • Accomplishments: Most comprehensive scientific evaluation of the drivers of retention and engagement for the new versus older generations of workers.  Data collected from over 40,000 people in 19 countries worldwide.
  • Key insight: Separating myth versus reality for how organizations need to change to adapt to the new generation, how the new generation needs to adapt to the world of work, and which management practices are going to have the biggest impact.

Talent Management Optimization for Multinational Company’s Operation in China

  • Accomplishments: Assessed hiring profile for key frontline talent roles, and the career development and talent management systems needed to improve retention, motivation and productivity. The company used the results to restructure recruiting, training and development.
  • Key insight: How to tradeoff building capability for profitability today versus market share and strategic success in the long run in a rapidly expanding emerging market.

Human Capital Value for Large Multinational Professional Services Firm

  • Accomplishments: Identified labor market return to skills developed on the job. Identified job design elements driving motivation, productivity and turnover for critical talent pools. Company used the results to change the work system and lower turnover.
  • Longitudinal component: Repeated the study design seven years later to measure changes in the factors driving motivation and engagement for the Millennial Generation versus Generation X.
  • Key insights: The monetary and career development value which professional employees and their managers derive from a job. The role of job factors versus compensation as drivers of retention. Management techniques and processes for managing the new generation of workers.

Role Optimization 

  • Accomplishments: Assessed role design and business unit structure for multiple layers of management for third largest pineapple plantation in the world.
  • Key insight: How to structure roles, responsibilities, competencies and organizational processes to increase efficiency of decision making and organizational effectiveness.

Compensation Pilot Evaluation for Large Multinational

  • Accomplishments: Designed measurement framework to evaluate new sales compensation program, identifying the drivers of and barriers to increased sales. Company used the results to optimize the compensation program and evaluate whether to institutionalize it.
  • Key insights: Deep understanding of the role of compensation in driving behavior that is aligned with the company’s strategic objectives.

High Performance Teams for Multinational Professional Services Firm

  • Accomplishments: Identified levers with greatest impact for improving business unit effectiveness. Company used the results to optimize team performance.
  • Key insights: Organization and job design choices can have very different impacts on business unit, client and employee outcomes. Interdependencies between business unit, client and individual factors can amplify the importance of policies and processes designed to improve performance.

Maximizing Route Sales Effectiveness for Multinational Foods Company

  • Accomplishments: Identified job components that contributed differentially to the bottom line, which the company used to redesign the role, better target customer segments, improve performance, and increase compensation.
  • Key insights: Deep understanding of the drivers of performance and motivation in a frontline role that is critical for the organization’s success.

Career Paths of Temp Workers for a Leading Temporary Staffing Agency

  • Sponsored by Russell Sage Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation
  • Accomplishments: Company used the results to improve career paths for temps. Results also used to evaluate public policy implications of national growth in temp employment.
  • Key insights: The roles that temporary workers play vis-à-vis non-temporary workers in firms’ human capital strategies.
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Organization Design & Effectiveness

Measuring the Impact of an Operating System Model Change for Global Company

  • Accomplishments: Measured the extent of process and cultural change in a large global company that changed its operating model away from decentralized decision making, including introducing stronger central functions and centers of excellence
  • Key insight: Using behavioral and business measurements to evaluate the bottom line impact of an operating model change.

Work Redesign Pilot Evaluation for Large Consumer Products Company

  • Accomplishments: Measured the behavioral and productivity impacts of a work design change that created new roles and interdependent teams in customer-facing settings.
  • Key insights: Before-and-after measurement of customer impacts, and linkage to both internal group dynamics and change management effectiveness.

Customer Teams Optimization for Large Consumer Products Organization

  • Accomplishments: Designed organization diagnosis framework to evaluate the organization design for division-spanning sales teams that serve the company’s largest customers. The company used the results to restructure the teams and their support systems to improve performance.
  • Key insight: Ways to optimize customer-facing teams that are embedded in matrix structure that crosses divisions.

Merger Integration Evaluation for Chinese Engineering Firm 

  • Accomplishments: Evaluated merger that created company subsidiary.
  • Key insight: Identified areas for improvement in management practices and talent management.

Decision Making Optimization for Global Pharmaceuticals Company

  • Accomplishments: Designed organization diagnosis framework to evaluate the structure of decision making and decision rights throughout the organization and across all functions and divisions globally. The company used the results to clarify roles and responsibilities, realign decision making processes, and improve two-way communication throughout the corporate structure.
  • Key insight: How to achieve the right balance between top-down vs. bottom-up and center-led vs. geographically dispersed decision making.

How Companies Achieve Success in Times of Adversity for Global Management Consulting Firm

  • Accomplishments: Identified organizational structures and processes that companies adopt in good times that enable them to weather both macroeconomic and industry tough times.
  • Key insights: How companies translate strategy into decisions about restructuring, growing and/or eliminating work and lines of business that enable corporate survival and growth in difficult economic environments.

Human Capital Analytics

Global Intergenerational Management for Multinational Professional Services Firm

  • Accomplishments: Most comprehensive scientific evaluation of the drivers of retention and engagement for the new versus older generations of workers.  Data collected from over 40,000 people in 19 countries worldwide.
  • Key insight: Separating myth versus reality for how organizations need to change to adapt to the new generation, how the new generation needs to adapt to the world of work, and which management practices are going to have the biggest impact

Work Redesign Pilot Evaluation for Large Consumer Products Company

  • Accomplishments: Measured the behavioral and productivity impacts of a work design change that created new roles and interdependent teams in customer-facing settings.
  • Key insights: Before-and-after measurement of customer impacts, and linkage to both internal group dynamics and change management effectiveness.

Measuring the Business Impact of Executive Coaching 

  • Accomplishments: Developed model for measuring and improving the business impact of executive coaching.
  • Key insights: Executives’ contribution to business performance often depends on the unique application of their own skills in combination with the actions of people on their team and throughout the organization.

Category Management Optimization for Multinational Food and Beverage Corporation

  • Accomplishments: Designed organization diagnosis framework to evaluate the job and organization design for roles that provide key analytic support for sales.
  • Key insights: The value that functional support roles play in driving bottom line performance, and paths to maximizing that value.

Compensation Pilot Evaluation for a Large Food Products Organization

  • Accomplishments: Designed measurement framework to evaluate new sales compensation program, identifying the drivers of and barriers to increased sales. Company used the results to optimize the compensation program and evaluate whether to institutionalize it.
  • Key insights: Deep understanding of the role of compensation in driving behavior that is aligned with the company’s strategic objectives.

Helped Design and Train Human Capital Analytics Group for a Large Canadian Financial Institution

  • Accomplishments: Consulted on the design, mission and processes of new analytics group focused on employee behaviors. Designed measurement models for analysts and provided coaching on their implementation and interpretation.
  • Key insights: Organizations’ ability to fully capitalize on their employees’ data often requires the building of significant analytical capabilities both internally and externally.

Linking Managerial Competencies to the Bottom Line for a Large Food Products Organization

  • Accomplishments: Created measurements to demonstrate bottom-line impact of managerial competency system. Company used the results to validate the design of the competency system.
  • Key insights: Managerial competency systems that evaluate, develop and reward specific skills that are essential for organizational performance and effectiveness can contribute directly to the bottom line.

ROI of Investing in Basic Skills 

  • Sponsored by National Institute for Literacy
  • Accomplishments: Analyzed company-funded basic skills remedial training programs to determine the ROI of companies filling in gaps left by the primary and secondary education systems. Results used to challenge conventional buy vs. build approach to managing basic skills in companies’ human capital strategies.
  • Key insights: Companies can capture the ROI from investing in workers’ basic skills by paying close attention to how the services are designed and delivered, and to their employees’ career development needs.

 

Global Work and Emerging Markets

Measuring the Impact of an Operating System Model Change for Global Company

  • Accomplishments: Measured the extent of process and cultural change in a large global company that changed its operating model away from decentralized decision making, including introducing stronger central functions and centers of excellence
  • Key insight: Using behavioral and business measurements to evaluate the bottom line impact of an operating model change.

Decision Making Optimization for Global Pharmaceuticals Company

  • Accomplishments:  Designed organization diagnosis framework to evaluate the structure of decision making and decision rights throughout the organization and across all functions and divisions globally. The company used the results to clarify roles and responsibilities, realign decision making processes, and improve two-way communication throughout the corporate structure.
  • Key insightHow to achieve the right balance between top-down vs. bottom-up and center-led vs. geographically dispersed decision making.

Talent Management Optimization for Multinational Company’s Operation in China

  • Accomplishments: Assessed hiring profile for key frontline talent roles, and the career development and talent management systems needed to improve retention, motivation and productivity. The company used the results to restructure recruiting, training and development.
  • Key insight: How to tradeoff building capability for profitability today versus market share and strategic success in the long run in a rapidly expanding emerging market.

Role Optimization for Indonesian Conglomerate

  • Accomplishments: Assessed role design and business unit structure for multiple layers of management for third largest pineapple plantation in the world.
  • Key insight: How to structure roles, responsibilities, competencies and organizational processes to increase efficiency of decision making and organizational effectiveness.

Global Intergenerational Management for Multinational Professional Services Firm 

  • Accomplishments: Most comprehensive scientific evaluation of the drivers of retention and engagement for the new versus older generations of workers.  Data collected from over 40,000 people in 19 countries worldwide.
  • Key insight: Separating myth versus reality for how organizations need to change to adapt to the new generation, how the new generation needs to adapt to the world of work, and which management practices are going to have the biggest impact.

Merger Integration Evaluation for Chinese Engineering Firm

  • Accomplishments: Evaluated merger that created a subsidiary.
  • Key insight: Identified areas for improvement in management practices and talent management.

Productivity of Globally Distributed Software Development for Fortune 200 Technology Company

  • Sponsored by Sloan Foundation
  • Accomplishments: Company used the results to evaluate cost-benefits of moving software development to lower cost labor markets worldwide.
  • Key insights: Salary costs comparisons alone are insufficient to manage the ROI of spreading work around the globe. The costs and benefits of differentiating and integrating work across time and space are just as important and may dominate labor cost differences.

Speaking

Alec Levenson regularly makes presentations and leads executive education workshops. He has trained professionals from a broad range of Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies in human capital analytics. Below is a selection of Alec’s events.


RECENT EVENTS

Workshop – Analytics and Design for High Performance

San Jose (hosted by Flex)
Jan 17-19, 2018 (two days total: started at noon on 1/17 and ended at 1pm on 1/19)
with Alec Levenson (Senior Research Scientist, CEO) and Alexis Fink (General Manager, Talent Intelligence Analytics, Intel)
Analytics and Design for High Performance Workshop Agenda

This program addressed two major trends in companies today: the rapid growth and evolution of analytics, and the ever-increasing emphasis on organizational performance.

Analytics has exploded in recent years. On the customer side, social media, product digitization, location services, AI, the Internet of Things and more are creating a true revolution and fundamental organizational change. On the employee side, the rapid growth in workforce analytics expertise promises to deliver new insight into the drivers of motivation and productivity. Yet the depth of insights on people and talent has fallen far short of potential.

Rather than lead with analytics, we need to increase the depth of insights on people and talent by focusing on the right problems to solve and the right tools needed to solve them, including critical fundamental skills like high performance work design.

In this workshop, Alec Levenson and Alexis Fink showed how to use analytics and work design tools to improve job, team and organizational performance.

Workshop – Strategic HR Analytics Workshop, San Francisco, California

May 10-12, 2017. Featured speaker.

HR analytics is at a crossroads today. We have at our fingertips access to the most powerful computers, the largest databases on organizational processes, and ever-expanding information on consumer behavior and the way commerce is conducted worldwide. The number of HR analytics articles, surveys and events proliferates while the depth of insights aren’t keeping pace. Organizations struggle as much as ever to achieve strategic objectives while HR strives to make effective decisions when dealing with tight budgets and competing business priorities.

Alexis Fink and I led a learning program on May 10-12 in San Francisco on Strategic Analytics that provided tools and skill building to close the gaps. We showed how to use analytics to make better strategic decisions and be a stronger business partner and leader. Participants learned how to:

  • Bring together the business and HR to effectively identify and solve systematic talent and business challenges
  • Analyze and decide when to focus on improving current HR practice, and when to rethink how everything fits together to support the business
  • Determine whether you can rely on the data you have at hand in your HR systems to make strategic decisions, or go out and collect different information
  • Identity where to find additional sources of data where needed
  • Forge your own path when benchmarks would lead you astray
  • Integrate analytics and influencing to get results

Specific examples from the participants’ current business, human capital and analytics challenges were used throughout the workshop to demonstrate how to apply the Strategic Analytics approach, and determine what to do and what not to do. Whether you are a business leader, HR professional, or analyst, the workshop helped participants make better business and human capital decisions, and direct the analytics conducted in your organization for more actionable insights.

Alexis and I jointly led the workshop, combining our 35 plus years of working and consulting with organizations on how to optimize integrated talent management systems, total rewards, leadership and talent development, competency systems, HR and predictive analytics, strategic workforce planning, spans of control, team dynamics, organizational design, and matrix-based decision making processes.

The workshop provides participants with models and a process for conducting analytics that support improved organizational effectiveness and strategy execution. It incorporates the enterprise approach used by senior business leaders, and the human capital approach used by HR and frontline managers, which are usually applied separately and fail to find the root causes of organizational problems. The workshop shows how to integrate them for a comprehensive, systems approach to diagnosing the sources of strategy execution failure. The insights have direct implications for enterprise investment that can be used to inform annual planning and budgeting decisions.

Individuals and teams interested in using data and analytics to improve organization effectiveness and strategy execution should consider attending future iterations of this workshop. It is appropriate for HR professionals, analytics experts, function and unit leaders, line managers, and others involved with diagnosing and improving organizational effectiveness and strategy execution.

 

Workshop – Strategic Analytics: Leverage Analytics to Improve Business Results and Organization Effectiveness

bullseye
Los Angeles, May 17-19, 2016 (two days total: starts at 1 pm on 5/17 and ends around lunchtime on 5/19)

with Alec Levenson (Senior Research Scientist, CEO) and guest speaker Bernard Bedon (Vice President, HR, Amgen). Hosted by Capital Group.

HR analytics and business analytics are at a crossroads today. We have at our fingertips access to the most powerful computers, the largest databases on organizational processes, and ever-expanding information on consumer behavior and the way commerce is conducted worldwide. Yet organizations struggle as much as ever to achieve strategic objectives and improve organizational effectiveness.

Whether you are a business leader, HR professional, or analyst, the workshop will help you make better business and human capital decisions, and direct the analytics conducted in your organization for more actionable insights. The workshop includes specific guidance on what to do and what not to do. 

 

Workshop – Organization Effectiveness Analytics: Leverage Analytics to Improve Strategy Execution

January 27-29, 2015 (two days total: starts at 1 pm on 1/27 and ends around lunchtime on 1/29)

Leverage analytics to improve insights and impact. Organizations are most effective when they successfully execute the business strategy and accomplish the business objectives, yet strategy execution is a fundamental weakness across all industries. Leaders struggle with execution and organization effectiveness in most cases because there are insufficient analytics to diagnose where improvements need to be made.


Webinars, Webcasts and Radio

Tucana People Analytics Podcast

May 1, 2017. Alec is interviewed on the Tucana People Analytics Podcast. Listen to the podcast here (courtesy TPAP).

Talent10X

(Scroll down to click on the link to listen.) Alec discusses the impact of teams and high-performance work design.

Radio Interview – KGNU’s “It’s the Economy” program

January 14, 2016. Alec is interviewed by KGNU’s Claudia Cragg about millennials and his new book, What Millennials Want from Work (2016). LISTEN to the entire interview here (courtesy KGNU).

Strategic Analytics

December 1, 2015. This webinar aligned with Alec Levenson’s new book, Strategic Analytics: Advancing Strategy Execution and Organizational Effectiveness. He took a dive into some of the themes in the book and answered questions from participants. Watch a replay of the webinar here.

The New Frontier of Analytics: Going Beyond Data and ROI

December 2, 2014, 9-10 am (PT). HR and human capital analytics in organizations today are providing more and more insights into patterns of employee behavior and talent management that previously seemed “hidden” in data that hadn’t been fully analyzed. Yet the growing number of data-based facts that are emerging about what takes place in organizations falls short of what is needed to maximize strategy execution and organization effectiveness…. Click to learn more.


Speaking Engagements

Corporate Research Forum, London, UK

November 7, 2017. Keynote speaker on HR analytics.

Corporate Research Forum, Paris, France

November 9, 2017. Keynote speaker on HR analytics.

People Analytics World, London, UK

April 25-26, 2017. Keynote speaker.

HRPS New Jersey

March 2, 2017. Keynote speaker at the event.

Society of Consulting Psychology Conference, Seattle, Washington

February 10, 2017. Alec and Jennifer Deal delivered a keynote address on “What Millennials Want From Work.”

CHO Group, Phoenix, Arizona

October 26, 2016. Alec Levenson discussed “What Millennials Want From Work: How to Maximize Engagement in Today’s Workforce.”

ATD Webcast

October 25, 2016. Alec spoke on “Maximizing the Value of Talent Management.”

SHRM Thought Leaders Retreat, Seattle, Washington

September 26, 2016. Alec spoke at the retreat on “Using Workforce Analytics for Competitive Advantage.”

HR Executive Summit, Shanghai, China

June 2-4, 2016.  Alec made a keynote speech and led a workshop on Strategic Analytics at this summit.

G100 Talent Consortium, New York City

April 14, 2016. Alec and  Jennifer Deal spoke about their new book, What Millennials Want From Work.

People Analytics Conference, Minneapolis

March 24, 2016. Alec presented a keynote address on Strategic People Analytics.

Deploying Strategic Analytics to Maximize HR’s Impact

Presenter at NYHRPS, New York, March 16, 2016. Alec Levenson presented a new, unified way of addressing both business and HR challenges, using integrated analytics. His framework can be used to address any pressing business or talent issue to improve strategy execution and organizational effectiveness, and does not require a degree in advanced statistics to implement. Designed for both generalists and analysts, the framework has been successfully applied to unearth solutions to challenging business performance across a wide range of industries and business contexts.

Using Strategic Analytics to Maximize Workforce Engagement and the Bottom Line

Speaker at the WorldAtWork Future of Work Forum, New Orleans, March 8, 2016. L Alec Levenson introduced  a step-by-step approach for structuring analytics to get to strategic insight with minimum effort. 

Learning Analytics for Impact

vSession presenter at ATD Forum, October 2015.

Building Your HR Strategy and Decision Making to Improve Performance 

SHRM Workforce Strategies Conference keynote speaker, San Diego, September 2015. 

Integrating Business and Human Capital Analytics for Strategic Insights

Featured speaker at CHO Group, Seattle, May 27, 2015.  Alec Levenson presented a comprehensive approach to conducting enterprise and human capital analytics in an integrated way to maximize both organizational capability and bottom line impact. 

Tying Together Human Capital Analytics and Business Strategy Execution to Truly Impact the Entire Enterprise

Keynote address at TMA Human Capital Analytics Summit, Miami, February 23, 2015. In order to be truly strategic in our impact on the organization, we need a comprehensive understanding of the effectiveness of evidence based decision-making and the role that human capital analytics plays relative to other HR programs and the business initiatives. Systems diagnosis coupled with human capital analysis provide the right framework for understanding what levers HR can pull that contribute to the bottom line, and where it needs to be integrated with other efforts for maximum impact.

Using Social Media Platforms to Promote Innovation and Better Product Marketing Decisions

Keynote address at TMA Marketing and Sales Analytics Summit, Miami, February 24, 2015. As part of a larger study on organizational innovation and new technologies, Alec will hone in on how leading companies are using social media platforms with their marketing and strategy leaders to drive innovation. He will highlight examples of engagement with both external and internal stakeholders to broaden the data available for making the right marketing decisions in product design, prototyping and delivery.

 


Videos

Mistakes working with workforce analytics data]

Advice to HR professionals on working with analytics.

Alec Levenson discusses using analytics strategically in HR.

Alec Levenson speaks on integrating business strategy analytics and human capital analytics.

Alec Levenson discusses practical workforce planning through human capital analytics and organizational effectiveness.

Everyone is doing employee surveys, but how does employee engagement relate to the goals of the organization?

Alec Levenson talks about surveys and survey fatigue.

This video series is from Bellevue University’s Human Capital Lab presentation that Alec Levenson gave on Measuring and Increasing the Impact of Learning and Organizational Development.


A Selection of Executive Education Programs, Speaking Engagements, and Webinars

Topics:

  • Organization Design and Talent Strategies for Emerging Markets
  • Leadership Development in Pacific Rim Firms
  • The Promise and Realities of Emerging Markets
  • Global Talent Management for Japanese Companies in Developed and Emerging Markets
  • Managing the Millennials
  • Achieving High Performance through Organization Design
  • Strategic HR Transformation & Future of HR
  • Targeted Analytics: Improving Organizational and Talent Decisions
  • Strategy Execution and Investment Analytics
  • HR Analytics and Strategic Thinking
  • The Promise of Big Data for HR: Old Wine and New Frontiers
  • Using HR Analytics for Modeling and Making Sense of Compensation
  • Workforce Planning: Strategic Analytics
  • Maximizing the Return on Your Survey and Analytics Work
  • Workforce Sensing and Analytics
  • Aligning Strategic Metrics to the Overall Business Goals
  • Using Change Management and Measurement to Make an Impact
  • Maximizing the Return on Your Survey and Measurement Work

Sample Audiences:

  • UPS Global HR Meeting
  • McKesson
  • SK (Korea) HR Development Program
  • Exelon
  • Gilead
  • DIRECTV Global HR Meeting
  • Microsoft Global HR Meeting
  • Boeing
  • EQUATE Petrochemical (Kuwait)
  • Dow Chemical
  • Center for Effective Organizations Sponsors Meeting
  • Singapore Public Service Division
  • Sinopec Nanjing Engineering Inc.
  • American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai
  • Academy of Management
  • REITI Japanese Personnel Management Symposium
  • Society of Labor Economists
  • Nanjing University Business School
  • International Association of Chinese Management Research
  • Bay Area Executive Development Network
  • The Conference Board
  • Talent Management Alliance
  • IQPC
  • i4CP
  • Human Capital Institute

Employee Surveys That Work

Employee Surveys That Work
A Practical Guide to Effective Surveys

Surveys C8 (Page 1)

Poorly-designed employee surveys frustrate participants, analysts, and executives and can end up doing more harm than good. Employee Surveys That Work offers sensible, practical ways to make them more accurate, effective and actionable.

Presenting new insights on the challenges and benefits of employee surveys, Alec Levenson counters a number of unhelpful but common practices. He provides specific advice for ensuring that the purpose and desired outcomes of surveys are clear, the questions are designed to provide the most relevant and accurate data, and the reporting and results are actionable.

He also looks at a wealth of specific issues, such as the best benchmarking practices, the benefits of multivariate modeling for analyzing results, linking survey data with performance data, how best to measure employee engagement, using survey data to drive change, the pros and cons of respondent anonymity, and much more.

You can purchase Employee Surveys that Work at Amazon.

Everyone is doing employee surveys, but how does employee engagement relate to the goals of the organization?

Alec Levenson talks about surveys and survey fatigue.


Endorsements

Employee Surveys that Work should be required reading for any practitioner who is responsible for ensuring their business gets a good return on their survey investment. In his book, Levenson expertly cuts through the marketplace chatter on engagement surveys, sweeping aside the hype (chapter 2 alone is worth the price of admission!) and providing practical, actionable guidance on how to design, administer, interpret and act on results from organizational surveys. Before you sign your next survey contract with a consulting firm, you have to read this book.
– Tim Hickey, Director HR Strategy and Organization Effectiveness, Exelon

An ongoing and deep understanding of your workforce is indispensable to successful talent management strategies. Alec Levenson cuts through survey hype with practical insights and advice for making the most from employee surveys and managing rather than simply measuring employee engagement.
– Per Scott, Vice President Human Resources, Royal Bank of Canada

At a time when employee surveys tantalize the HR leader with improving engagement, Dr. Levenson convincingly reminds us of the axiom – correlation does not imply causation. A must read for those looking for actionable insight, not simply lots of data.
– Dianne Reece, Region Mgr. Organizational Development & Training, FMC Technologies

Before your organization embarks on another employee survey, read Dr. Levenson’s book.  Your results will be more accurate and actionable.
– Kara Schillaci, Director, Organizational Management & Development, PepsiCo

From survey design to actionable analysis, Employee Surveys That Work is exactly the resource I would recommend to anyone launching an employee measurement strategy. Alec Levenson’s book can help whether you’re just getting started, taking your surveys to the next level, or looking to extract more value from your data analysis.
– Caroline Leach, Vice President, Communications, DIRECTV

Publications

Books

New! What Millennials Want from Work: How to Maximize Engagement in Today’s Workforce

WhatMillennialsWant_cover

Millennials are the future of your business. How can managers and leaders of organizations better engage them to gain a competitive advantage?

Millennials have been burdened with a reputation as spoiled, lazy, and entitled, but the reality behind the stereotype is far richer and more complex. Who are Millennials and what do they really want?

This essential book explains who Millennials really are, and offers practical advice to help those who manage, lead, and work with Millennials to improve teamwork, increase productivity, strengthen organizational culture, and build a robust talent pipeline.

Based on fieldwork and survey data from global research on more than 25,000 Millennials and 29,000 older workers in 22 countries, this book paints a comprehensive, scientifically accurate picture of what really motivates Millennials around the world.

Learn how to get the most from Millennials by:

  • Improving workplace flexibility—because Millennials don’t separate life and work
  • Providing adequate support and feedback—because Millennials like to learn and grow
  • Coaching, not micromanaging—because Millennials value autonomy
  • Designing competitive salary structures—because Millennials know what’s up
  • Providing opportunities to contribute to society—because Millennials care about doing good

Millennials want a satisfying job that pays well, coworkers they like and trust, advancement opportunities, and the occasional pat on the back. Who doesn’t want those things? READ MORE

ORDER What Millennials Want from Work: How to Maximize Engagement in Today’s Workforce at Amazon.


Strategic Analytics coverStrategic Analytics: Advancing Strategy Execution and Organizational Effectiveness

More than ever, data drives decisions in organizations—and we have more data, and more ways to analyze it, than ever. Yet strategic initiatives continue to fail as often as they did when computers ran on punch cards. Economist and research scientist Alec Levenson says we need a new approach. 

The problem, Levenson says, is that the business people who devise the strategies and the human resources people who get employees to implement them use completely different analytics. Business analytics can determine if operational priorities aren’t being achieved but can’t explain why. HR analytics reveal potentially helpful policy and process improvements but can’t identify which would have the greatest strategic impact.  READ MORE

ORDER Strategic Analytics: Advancing Strategy Execution and Organizational Effectiveness at Amazon.

Alec Levenson discusses using analytics strategically in HR.

“No brief commentary such as mine could possibly do full justice to the value of the information, insights, and counsel that Alec Levenson provides”
Bob Morris, Blogging on Business, reviewing Strategic Analytics


Employee Surveys That WorkEmployee Surveys That Work: A Practical Guide to Effective Surveys

Poorly-designed employee surveys frustrate participants, analysts, and executives and can end up doing more harm than good. Employee Surveys That Work offers sensible, practical ways to make them more accurate, effective and actionable. READ MORE

PURCHASE Employee Surveys that Work at Amazon.

Everyone is doing employee surveys, but how does employee engagement relate to the goals of the organization?

Alec Levenson talks about surveys and survey fatigue.


Millennials Play the Long Game

by Jennifer J. Deal and Alec Levenson

October 5, 2015

Around the time the millennial generation started flooding the workforce, alarms were sounded. Managers were told to be wary of these 20-something new hires, who were likely to jump ship at the first whiff of something better. More recently, however, studies have started to dispel the myth of the itinerant millennial. Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, the website FiveThirtyEight.com has shown that millennials change jobs less frequently than gen Xers did at the same age. Read the entire article at strategy + business.


Stanford1DVD – Managing Millennials: Getting the Most Out of On-Boarding, Managing and Retaining Millennials

Alec’s DVD, Managing Millennials: Getting the Most Out of On-Boarding, Managing and Retaining Millennials, is now available for purchase from Stanford Press. Click to see an excerpt from this DVD.

Managing millennials is becoming an increasingly important topic for organizations. In this talk, Alec Levenson distills the results of his research into the latest generation of employees entering the workforce. Are the millennials really as different as they’ve been described? How can employers better understand them? Alec offers some important insights from his research.


view from CEOThe View from CEO – Employee Engagement Does Not Cause Performance

Read Alec Levenson’s thoughts on the relationship between firm performance and employee engagement, and why the relationship may not be as straightforward as it may seem.


 The Promise of Big Data for HR

People & Strategy, 2014

The move toward “big data” has enabled companies to making large advances in understanding their customers and markets. Now we hear many people advocate for “big data” for HR. How much is hype versus reality? Where are the insights going to be? In this article I review recent big data developments and map out the likely paths for HR.


Organization Design and Talent Strategies for Emerging Markets

Organizational Dynamics, 2014

Organizations have always wrestled with the most effective ways to expand internationally. Today the greatest opportunities for growth lie in the large emerging markets of China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and other medium to large size developing countries (Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, Vietnam, Philippines, Egypt, Nigeria, etc.). The lessons previously learned about working cross-culturally apply equally well to these markets. Yet the challenges of succeeding in these markets are unique compared with the conditions a generation ago, when companies expanded into North America and Europe. Today’s emerging market economies are at earlier stages of economic development, their scale is larger, and the global business environment is much more dynamic.

In this article I address the challenges multinational companies (MNCs) face when trying to succeed in these markets, paying attention to issues of business strategy, organization design and talent strategy. I take as the starting point Bartlett and Ghoshal’s transnational strategy and discuss the implications of applying it in a large emerging markets context. The discussion draws lessons from recent market developments in these economies, and the experiences of companies operating there, including action research projects I have conducted in China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa.


Learning Analytics That Maximize Individual and Organizational Performance

ASTD Handbook: The Definitive Reference for Training & Development, Second Edition, 2014

This chapter covers analytics for evaluating the impact of training and development (T&D). There is a literature on measuring T&D impact, starting with Kirkpatrick’s classic model and ROI calculations promoted by Phillips and others. I take a different approach, using analytics of T&D to inform not just program measurement, but also program design and implementation.
The approach can be used to improve T&D impact even when direct measurement is impractical.

I recommend a systems approach which recognizes that T&D is only one of a wide range of ways that HR and OD impact organizational effectiveness. T&D is most effective when program designers evaluate the applicability of the entire HR and OD toolkit in any situation, not just T&D on its own merits. Doing so leads to approaches that use T&D where most appropriate, whether as a standalone activity or as part of a larger set of programs of which T&D is one
component.

A fundamental goal of T&D analytics is understanding how to improve and maximize T&D’s impact. Traditional models in the field can fall short of this goal by focusing solely on measuring the T&D program as designed; they do not consider other approaches that may enhance T&D when used as part of a coordinated approach, or which may yield a better return as
an alternative to T&D. To provide maximum actionable insights, the analytic approach should address whether and how the program design supports business impact.


Using Targeted Analytics to Improve Talent Decisions

People & Strategy, 2011

Despite the apparent progress in recent years, there still is much uncertainty regarding how best to design, apply and integrate analytics into the daily workings of the HR function. The challenge lies in understanding what analytics to apply where, and the time and resources needed to achieve true insights. This article discusses the variety of analytics and skills that can be used to achieve business insights related to HR and talent. Case study examples illustrate the importance of matching the analytic method to the issue under study.


Rethinking Retention Strategies: Work-Life Versus Deferred Compensation in a Total Rewards Strategy

WorldatWork Journal, 2010

This deep examination of the careers and aspirations of the current and former employees of PricewaterhouseCoopers is an example of the power of independent, rigorous research to drive change in a large organization. The findings demonstrated the need for a much more integrated approach to retaining mid-level professionals. Whereas before many managers and partners had simplified the turnover problem to a compensation issue, the data allowed firm and HR leaders to make the case for making broader changes to address job assignments, careers and work-life balance in the firm. Partners saw the need to address work-life balance and career growth and committed themselves to serious changes in the culture and staffing practices at PwC.

The case also demonstrates the importance of taking a broad view of total rewards that includes aspects of the job beyond compensation and benefits. The nature of the work itself, and what that means for professional development, work-life balance and career success can exert equally strong, if not stronger, influences on motivation and retention of employees, including those with the highest productivity and potential. Carefully constructed and rigorously implemented analyses that measure the importance of competing factors — both compensation-related and non-compensation-related — can reveal where the real ROI lies that supports lasting and effective change.


Using Human Capital Measurement to Drive Productivity

HR Magazine, 2009

In 2005 Frito-Lay’s senior executive team faced a challenge with their Route Sales Representatives (RSRs). The company was achieving sales and profitability targets. But high turnover and low productivity among the RSRs had made the task of meeting those targets progressively harder over time. Tired of having to resort to “cheerleading” to meet each quarter’s numbers, line managers and human resource professionals came together in an effort to see if they could identify solutions that could provide bottom-line results that were both cost effective and sustainable. However, they immediately ran into a brick wall: What was the cause of the low productivity and morale issues?

To find the answers, members of Frito-Lay’s HR team, in partnership with researchers at the Center for Effective Organizations, launched a study of the drivers of attraction, retention, motivation and productivity for the RSRs. The analysis produced actionable results that Frito-Lay used to improve job performance and business results.

This case is an example of targeted, focused use of data. This case demonstrates the importance of problem focused use of measurement and analysis, including creating custom measures that are not necessarily to be used as ongoing reporting metrics.

The takeaway for HR professionals in other organizations is the importance of tailoring measures to fit the issue being addressed. The “right” human-capital measurement tools cannot necessarily be found in turnkey software solutions.

More importantly, the job-design analysis capability that Frito-Lay HR professionals used to help design and carry out the analysis is in short supply in the HR functions of many organizations. Building job-design capabilities into the HR toolkit offers potentially high return on investment for any organization looking to improve the efficacy of its human-capital management.


Measuring and Maximizing the Impact of Executive Coaching

Consulting Psychology Journal, 2009

This article addresses the conceptual and methodological issues involved in measuring the business impact of executive coaching. A framework is introduced for identifying the business impacts of coaching. An application of the framework is presented using exploratory study data from 12 matched coach-coachee pairs showing varying degrees of impact of the coaching on business-related outcomes. The primary conclusion is that the degree of business impact likely is related to complexity of the executive’s role, and to the relationship between the organizational environment and individual performance. The implication is that coordinating executive coaching with other leadership development, performance improvement, and rewards initiatives should increase business impact.


Millennials and the World of Work: An Economist’s Perspective

Journal of Business and Psychology, 2010

This article uses an economic approach to address whether and how the Millennial generation is significantly different from its predecessors. Particular attention is paid to the normal life cycle stages through which all generations pass, and the implications for forecasting how the Millennials’ relationship with the world of work will evolve. A second key issue is the extremely large differences in economic opportunity that exist among the members of each generation, and which have increased for more recent generations, particularly those with lower levels of education. Other key issues include the rise in international competition for jobs, and the rising cost of a college education. These factors together imply that simple stereotypes about Millennials taking a privileged view of the world of work may be simplistic at best, and likely are significantly off target.


Talent Management: Challenges of Building Cross-Functional Capability in High Performance Work Systems Environments

Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 2012

Occupational dissimilarity is a measure of the overlap in education, skills and experience across two disciplines. Though occupational dissimilarity is not directly addressed in the organization design, careers, and other literatures, it plays an important role in organizational effectiveness. Specifically, integrating tasks when occupations are dissimilar is quite difficult, which can hinder successful strategy execution.When two or more dissimilar functions play key roles in the value-creation process (for example, R&D and sales), the risks to organizational effectiveness are particularly acute. In these cases there are no natural tendencies for individuals to develop cross-functional skills, and traditional integration approaches typically include only formal mechanisms such as general manager development and cross-functional teams. Organizations should more actively focus on ways to foster cross-functional skills at the individual contributor level, not just general manager level, in such cases. Examples from logistics, consumer product analytics, and services procurement/business process outsourcing are addressed. Implications for organizations operating in emerging markets with large consumer markets but underdeveloped talent markets are also explored.

Bio

ALEC LEVENSON is an Economist and Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California.

His action research and consulting work with companies optimize job and organization performance and HR systems through the application of organization design, job design, human capital analytics and strategic talent management.

Four areas of primary focus include

  1. Talent management practices for the new generation of workers and world of work
  2. Organization design and effectiveness
  3. Human capital analytics to improve decisions around talent and work design
  4. Organizational and talent strategies for global work & emerging markets

Alec’s work with companies combines the best elements of scientific research and practical, actionable knowledge that companies can use to improve performance. He draws from the disciplines of economics, strategy, organization behavior, and industrial-organizational psychology to tackle complex talent and organizational challenges that defy easy solutions.  His recommendations focus on the actions organizations should take to make lasting improvements in critical areas.

He has trained Human Resource professionals from a broad range of Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies in the application of human capital analytics.

Alec’s research has been featured in numerous academic and business publications, and in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, CNN, Associated Press, U.S. News and World Report, National Public Radio, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Marketplace, Fox News, and many other news outlets. Alec has received research grants from the Sloan Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, U.S. National Science Foundation, China National Science Foundation, and National Institute for Literacy. He is on the editorial boards of Human Resource Management and Small Business Economics.

He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from Princeton University, specializing in Labor Economics and Development Economics, and his B.A. in Economics and Chinese language (double major) from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Download a copy of Alec Levenson’s C.V.