Why the Australian Defence Organization Is Recruiting Cyber Analysts on the Autism Spectrum

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Aaron Tilley/Getty Images

It seems like every week brings news of yet another major cybersecurity breach. Evidence suggests that the bad guys are getting smarter and more professional. Nowhere is the problem tougher than in national defense, where sophisticated actors, including nation states, engage in cyberwarfare. A big part of the problem: There simply aren’t enough great cyberdefense analysts to go around.

The Australian Defence Organization (ADO), which consists of  the Australian Defence Force and the civilian Australian Department  of Defence personnel supporting the ADF, has the same escalating challenge. To help address it, ADO has, with the help of some innovative business firms, leapt to the forefront with a new approach to sourcing cybersecurity talent: “Dandelion programs.” They tap non-traditional talent sources — especially people on the autism spectrum who, because of the social difficulties that accompany their disorder, can have trouble getting hired and remain unemployed. As the pioneering Danish firm Specialisterne showed first

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How to Improve the Engagement and Retention of Young Hourly Workers

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VANDAL Photography/Getty Images

What would you do if the majority of your entry-level, hourly workforce was planning to leave in less than a year? More than half of the 1,200 young people working in entry-level jobs we surveyed said that was their plan — and less than a quarter felt highly satisfied with their job. That’s expensive for business. Turnover can cost up to 200% of an employee’s annual salary, depending on the role. In industries like retail, customer service, and hospitality, entry-level turnover alone costs billions of dollars each year, based on voluntary turnover rates and annual replacement costs. Meanwhile, employee disengagement results in higher absenteeism, more accidents, lower business profitability, worse customer service, and a lower share price.

To understand how employers can improve engagement and retention, FSG worked with Hart Research Associates to survey over 1,200 entry-level, hourly workers between the ages of 17 and 24, and

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In the Workplace of the NFL, the Players Hold the Upper Hand

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John Leyba/Getty Images

“We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”

With those emphatic words at an NFL owners meeting in New York on October 18, 2017, Houston Texans owner Robert C. McNair set off a firestorm. His all-pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins skipped practice in protest, and the entire team threatened a walkout that was averted only by a 90-minute team meeting in which head coach Bill O’Brien managed to settle them down. Texans players described McNair’s comments as sickening and horrible.

McNair, the 80-year-old billionaire energy magnate — he’s ranked 186th on the Forbes 400 list, with a net worth of $3.8 billion — is not used to apologizing, but he had to do so on October 27, when ESPN Magazine broke the story. In his “apology,” he asserted that when he said “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” he hadn’t meant “We can’t have the inmates running the

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A Study Used Sensors to Show That Men and Women Are Treated Differently at Work

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Marion Barraud for HBR

Gender equality remains frustratingly elusive. Women are underrepresented in the C-suite, receive lower salaries, and are less likely to receive a critical first promotion to manager than men. Numerous causes have been suggested, but one argument that persists points to differences in men and women’s behavior.

Which raises the question: Do women and men act all that differently? We realized that there’s little to no concrete data on women’s behavior in the office. Previous work has relied on surveys and self-reported assessments — methods of data collecting that are prone to bias. Fortunately, the proliferation of digital communication data and the advancement of sensor technology have enabled us to more precisely measure workplace behavior.

We decided to investigate whether gender differences in behavior drive gender differences in outcomes at one of our client organizations, a large multinational firm, where women were underrepresented in upper management. In

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Case Study: Are Our Customer Liaisons Helping or Hurting?

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Ben Edwards/Getty Images

Amrita Rajesh could tell that the doctor sitting across from her felt uncomfortable. Exit interviews were usually handled by junior managers on the HR team, but Amrita felt that given the high rate of attrition among doctors at Krisna over the past year, it was her responsibility as head of HR to talk to Dr. Vishnu Patel, a respected cardiologist who’d just given his notice.

“Everyone is always very polite in these interviews, but I need your honesty,” Amrita told him.

Dr. Patel shifted in his chair. “There are a host of reasons for my departure, many of which you

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How Office Politics Corrupt the Search for High-Potential Employees

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Garry Gay/Getty Images

Few topics have captivated talent management discussions more intensely than potential. The obsession with predicting who may be a future star or the next top leader has influenced academic research and human resources practices alike. But how good are we at evaluating human potential? The answer is, it’s mixed. On the one hand, science has given us robust tools and powerful theories to quantify the key indicators of future career success, job performance, and leadership effectiveness. On the other hand, in the real world of work, organizational practices lag behind, with 40% of designated “HiPos” — high-potential employees — not doing well in the future and at least one in two leaders disappointing, derailing, or failing to drive high levels of engagement and team performance.

The main reason underlying this bleak state of affairs is that HiPo nominations are contaminated by organizational politics. To be more precise,

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How Office Politics Corrupt the Search for High-Potential Employees

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Garry Gay/Getty Images

Few topics have captivated talent management discussions more intensely than potential. The obsession with predicting who may be a future star or the next top leader has influenced academic research and human resources practices alike. But how good are we at evaluating human potential? The answer is, it’s mixed. On the one hand, science has given us robust tools and powerful theories to quantify the key indicators of future career success, job performance, and leadership effectiveness. On the other hand, in the real world of work, organizational practices lag behind, with 40% of designated “HiPos” — high-potential employees — not doing well in the future and at least one in two leaders disappointing, derailing, or failing to drive high levels of engagement and team performance.

The main reason underlying this bleak state of affairs is that HiPo nominations are contaminated by organizational politics. To be more precise,

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Analytics Training Isn’t Enough to Create a Data-Driven Workforce

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Vincent Tsui for HBR
When it comes to creating a more data-and-analytics-driven workforce, many companies make the mistake of conflating analytics training with data adoption. While training is indeed critical, having an adoption plan in place is even more essential. Any good adoption plan should focus on continual learning. This might include online or recorded refresher sessions; mentors; online resources for questions, feedback, and new ideas; or a certification process. It might even mean rethinking your organization’s structure or core technologies. Based on my experience, here are three ways leaders can shift a company culture from a one-and-done focus on “training” employees in analytics to an “always on” focus on analytics adoption: Form competency centers. At a high level, a competency center is a collection of domain experts who are given a goal to improve agility, foster innovation, establish best practices, provide training (and mentoring), and be a communications engine. These centers should be “owned
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When Coaching Finds That an Executive Isn’t in the Right Role

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In the traditional view of executive coaching, an executive, with her boss’s participation, takes personality assessments, receives 360-degree feedback, and creates and implements a development plan designed to address performance gaps, optimize her contribution, and prepare her for new responsibilities. This approach is based on the fundamental belief that enhancing performance in a role as currently structured, is the best way ahead. However, in some cases, the coaching reveals that the person is in the wrong role. Some people are qualified on paper, but for political, historical, or personality reasons can’t really succeed on a given team or in a particular job. Other people may have many talents and a great track record of past success, but are not thriving in their present role as it is currently defined. When this becomes clear, bosses too often prematurely conclude that they have to fire the person or that the
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When Coaching Finds That an Executive Isn’t in the Right Role

jul17-31-567092167
In the traditional view of executive coaching, an executive, with her boss’s participation, takes personality assessments, receives 360-degree feedback, and creates and implements a development plan designed to address performance gaps, optimize her contribution, and prepare her for new responsibilities. This approach is based on the fundamental belief that enhancing performance in a role as currently structured, is the best way ahead. However, in some cases, the coaching reveals that the person is in the wrong role. Some people are qualified on paper, but for political, historical, or personality reasons can’t really succeed on a given team or in a particular job. Other people may have many talents and a great track record of past success, but are not thriving in their present role as it is currently defined. When this becomes clear, bosses too often prematurely conclude that they have to fire the person or that the
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Nearly Half of Companies Say They Don’t Have the Digital Skills They Need

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The companies that think their employees’ digital IQs are unimportant are probably few and far between. After all, in just one decade the concept of “digital” has changed from a niche skill set to something that’s mandatory for virtually all blue-chip companies. If you don’t feel that your employees’ digital IQs are competitive, you have a major problem on your hands. Unfortunately, for many companies, that’s exactly the situation they find themselves in. On a global basis, companies are losing faith in their digital smarts. In PwC’s 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey, 52% rated their digital IQ as strong. Compare that with 67% and 66% in 2016 and 2015, respectively. The survey, conducted among 2,200 technology executives, identified critical skill gaps such as cybersecurity and privacy. It’s not that employees are getting less tech-savvy; it’s that the market demands more of each and every one of them. The word “digital” used
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AI May Soon Replace Even the Most Elite Consultants

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Amazon’s Alexa just got a new job. In addition to her other 15,000 skills like playing music and telling knock-knock jokes, she can now also answer economic questions for clients of the Swiss global financial services company, UBS Group AG. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), a new partnership between UBS Wealth Management and Amazon allows some of UBS’s European wealth-management clients to ask Alexa certain financial and economic questions. Alexa will then answer their queries with the information provided by UBS’s chief investment office without even having to pick up the phone or visit a website. And this is likely just Alexa’s first step into offering business services. Soon she will probably be booking appointments, analyzing markets, maybe even buying and selling stocks. While the financial services industry has already begun the shift from active management to passive management, artificial intelligence will move the market even further, to management by
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How Royal DSM Is Improving Its Geographic and Gender Diversity

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Jennifer Maravillas for HBR
With the recent spate of firms in the news over sexual harassment allegations and charges of gender bias, it is obvious that an issue many in business had thought was “done” is instead far from finished. Fostering corporate cultures which make half your employees feel somewhere between unengaged and unsafe is becoming risky and unsustainable. A lot of companies are doubling down on efforts to finally “crack” the gender issue. Most companies now have more gender-balanced talent pools, especially at the early-to-mid-career levels, and are looking for ways to make sure progress continues at the mid-to-upper levels. But the ones who really understand the issue see gender balance as not just a numbers game but part of a broader, more strategic cultural shift that includes developing leadership teams representing geographically diffuse markets. These leaders are recognizing that this balance drives the innovation and market understanding they
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The Board Directors You Need for a Digital Transformation

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Photo by Ferdinand Stohr
When the term digital transformation was first bandied about by consultants and business publications, its implications were more about keeping up and catching up than true transformation. Additionally, at first it was only applied to large, traditional organizations struggling, or experimenting, in an increasingly digital economy. But true digital transformation requires so much more. As evidenced by the recent Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods, we’re living in a new world. Early transformation efforts were focused on initiatives: e-commerce, sensors/internet of things, applications, client and customer experience, and so on. Increasingly, our clients are coming to us as they realize that in order for these disparate initiatives to thrive, they need to undergo an end-to-end transformation, the success of which demands dramatic operational, structural, and cultural shifts. We started tracking
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4 Ways Managers Can Be More Inclusive

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Management teams and organizations that prioritize inclusion attract better talent and perform better. Dozens of studies have demonstrated that more-diverse teams make better decisions than less-diverse teams. Many leaders know this but still struggle with making day-to-day work more inclusive. By definition, inclusive leaders embrace the notion that every person counts. If that sounds fairly straightforward, it really isn’t. In bringing this mindset to life, leaders wind up embracing a number of unconventional management practices. They boldly depart from old standbys like credentials-based hiring, command and control, hierarchy, and even traditional goal setting. When I conducted over 200 interviews with great bosses as part of my research into the secrets of so-called superbosses, I identified four practices that managers follow to truly become inclusive leaders and — not coincidentally — build innovative, high-performance, high-growth businesses. Hire for talent, not a résumé. Inclusive management starts before employees even walk in the door.
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To Better Train Workers, Figure Out Where They Struggle

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What company would spend thousands — or even millions — of dollars, year in and year out, without knowing the return? When it comes to training and workforce development, lots of them. In a 2014 survey, 55% of executives said a major constraint to investing in training was that they did not know how to measure success. Almost half (49%) said that it was difficult to ensure a return on investment (ROI). And in another survey, 87% said they cannot calculate quantifiable returns on their learning investments. In short, companies have little idea whether they are spending too much or not enough. This is a particularly acute issue at the entry level, where employers have come to accept that high levels of attrition and low levels of productivity and quality are normal. The reasons for this lack of understanding are not difficult to identify. For a start, employers don’t often collect or analyze
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Does Diversity Actually Increase Creativity?

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Jennifer Maravillas for HBR
Setting aside social, political, and moral reasons for encouraging a more diverse workplace, there is arguably no better incentive for promoting diversity than the premise that diverse teams and organizations are more creative. But is there actually any evidence in support of this idea? And if there is, do the potential gains in creativity produced by diversity come at the expense of interpersonal harmony and team cohesion? Here are seven findings from science: There’s a difference between generating ideas and implementing ideas. While diverse team composition does seem to confer an advantage when it comes to generating a wider range of original and useful ideas, experimental studies suggest that such benefits disappear once the team is tasked with deciding which ideas to select and implement, presumably because diversity hinders consensus. A meta-analysis of 108 studies and more than 10,000 teams indicated that the creativity gains produced by
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