The Week That Was

The sun is shining and the temperature is warming, which means summer is right around the bend! Stock up on some summer reading with these top five stories on for the week of May 14.

1. Steps to Create a Culture of Coaching: If managers coach employees as part of their jobs, it accelerates employee development and positively impacts the business. That’s why coaching must be second nature to them, writes Mike Noble, managing partner at executive coaching and talent management services firm Camden Consulting Group.

2. Virtual Environments: The Future of HR?: Technology has changed the way we think about recruiting, on-boarding and other talent management processes, but some companies are taking it to the next level. Eric Vidal, director for the event services business segment at conferencing and collaboration services provider InterCall, explains.

3. Empower Employees to Take Control of Their Situation: When things aren’t going according to plan, don’t let employees wallow in self-criticism, writes Talent Management columnist and author Marshall Goldsmith. Instead, help them attack the challenge of changing themselves or their situation.

4. How to Attract — And Select — Talent Beyond the Job Description: Job descriptions are written to attract superheroes — or so it seems. Talent Managers can take these steps to be more appealing to candidates, writes Talent Management editor Frank Kalman.

5. Leadership Development for a Global Workforce: Competency modeling, assessment and blended learning promote leadership understanding outside specific lines of business, writes Tom Daniel, senior vice president at global leadership services company PDI Ninth House.

In Other News

Does top-team diversity pay off on the bottom line? A recent report published in McKinsey Quarterly suggests that it does.

The study’s authors looked at executive board composition, return on equity and margins on earnings before interest and taxes — also known as EBIT — of 180 publicly traded companies in France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. during the two-year period of 2008-2010. And the findings were surprisingly consistent.

For companies ranking in the top quartile of executive-board diversity, return on equity was 53 percent higher, on average, than it was for those in the bottom quartile, the McKinsey study said.

At the same time, EBIT margins at the most diverse companies were 14 percent higher, on average, than those of the least diverse companies.

The results were similar across all but one of the countries included in the study — an exception was return on equity performance in France. “But even there,” the authors wrote, “EBIT was 50 percent higher for diverse companies.”

The consensus belief among diversity champions has been that more-diverse teams should, in theory, outperform their peers. “Fielding a team of top executives with varied cultural backgrounds and life experiences can broaden a company’s strategic perspective,” authors Thomas Barta, Markus Kleiner and Tilo Nuemann wrote in the report.

Further, relentless competition for top talent should — again, in theory — reward organizations that cast their “nets beyond traditional talent pools for leadership.”

The authors said they used the study to test if the reality was consistent with the theory.

They also offered this caveat:

“We acknowledge that these findings, though consistent, aren’t proof of a direct relationship between diversity and financial success. At high-performing companies, the board or CEO may simply have greater latitude to pursue diversity initiatives, and other management innovations may contribute more directly to superior results. We will continue to explore these issues in further research.”

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