talent management

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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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.

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.