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How to Keep Your High Performers Happy

Based on the research and insights of Jeff Hyman , Carter Cast, Dylan Minor and Brenda Ellington Booth.

Everyone wants to fill their organization with top performers. But superstars are in high demand, so you need a clear strategy to recruit and retain them.

At the same time, don’t ignore the drag that problem employees can have on the organization. By some measures, the liability that comes with bad employees is more pronounced than the boost you get from superstars.

Here, Kellogg faculty offer advice on how to nurture superstars and rid your organization of “toxic” workers.

1. Challenge is key in keeping valuable employees.

Above all else, top performers care about challenge, according to Jeff Hyman, an adjunct lecturer of management and organizations and chief talent officer at Strong Suit Executive Search. He is also the author of Recruit Rockstars.

Stretch assignments are central to keeping rockstars engaged. Organizations should assign rockstars a senior executive as a mentor. In addition to seeking out new opportunities for them, mentors should provide career coaching and act as a sounding board for difficult situations. “And,” adds Hyman, “they are the ones who should be held accountable if that rockstar leaves.”

While providing...

Will Quitting Social Media Hurt My Career?

This May, I deleted my Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter profiles.

In spite of the dopamine rush from “likes” and the ever-accessible validation, I went radio dark, largely because I suspect that social media does, for me, more harm than good. Or at the very least, I am curious if this experiment will confirm that inkling.

The problem is that, as I graduate from college and commence my job search, it seems that several perfectly curated platforms are often a prerequisite. Many of the internships and entry-level positions available to students and recent grads, regardless of industry, list social media upkeep as a core responsibility.

For me, as a freelance writer, it seems that self-advertisement supersedes my portfolio. A professor from my school’s MFA program told my class that we need an online presence to interest publishing houses: “No one is going to give you a book deal unless you have Instagram followers.”

Entrepreneurs with unlimited live access to public opinion lust after coveted influencers to sell their brands. Corporate executives can address an immense global audience in seconds, announcing promotions, launching products, and responding to negative press, all while establishing a more human ethos. The facility and immediacy...

A New Study Compared Formal And Informal Communication At Work, And The Results Are No Fun

For decades now, the trend in business is toward informality. We refer to bosses by their first names, casual Friday is also observed Monday through Thursday, and rigid rows of cubicles have been replaced by laptop-using workers sprawling on couches.

That drift has taken place in communication style as well. Meetings have been replaced with Slack chats, and memos with texts. For our increasingly dispersed and flexible workplaces, that makes sense. Meetings suck up time and are often unnecessary, according to the current management thinking, and we should talk with co-workers in the ways they prefer.

But a new study argues those informal communications channels come with a cost. Manufacturing systems that use formal methods of communication, like meetings with set agendas and required participation, are more efficient and have fewer errors than those that rely on emails and phone calls, according to professors at IE business school in Madrid, in a paper published last month in Decision Sciences(paywall).

Antti Tenhiälä and Fabrizio Salvador worked with seven industrial companies—which make equipment ranging from air-defense artillery to elevators—to better understand how to prevent “glitches,” the hiccups in production caused by delayed shipments of materials or customer change...

How a New Contracting Tool is Shaking Up Federal Procurement

The Government Accountability Office recently upheld a first of its kind protest of a contract awarded under the non-traditional contracting methodology known as other transaction authority. The protest and GAO’s decision have stirred debate over the future of OTAs and their potential to fundamentally disrupt federal acquisition.

First, some background. OTAs enable certain federal agencies, most prominently the Defense Department, to enter into commercial contracts outside the constraints of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. Historically, OTAs have been used to engage commercial companies during the research and development of new technologies without burdening them with requirements and costs associated with the FAR, which can be a major disincentive for companies to work with the government.

But the attractiveness of OTAs was often limited by the fact that once a selected technology entered final development and production—in other words, was ready for market— the FAR came back into play, thus obviating some of the very benefits the initial OTA was intended to provide. Advocates have long argued that extending the authority through full production or deployment (known as “production authority”) was the key to their success and to enabling the government’s access to the full range of emerging capabilities...

Croatia’s President Taught a Lesson In Leadership At The World Cup

Spectators in the VIP section of the FIFA World Cup tend to be a far more sedate and stolid crew than fans elsewhere in the stadium. At Sunday’s final between France and Croatia, though, Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was a literal bright spot in the crowd.

Dressed in a red-and-white team jersey, Grabar-Kitarović spent most of the game on her feet, cheering in support of a squad that ultimately lost the 4-2 final. Before being invited into the VIP box as a guest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Grabar-Kitarović watched every single one of her team’s appearances from the stands with fellow Croatia fans.

Being a visible booster for a winning team is one of the fun parts of being a leader. Croatia has never advanced to a world cup final before and the team, led by captain (and former refugee) Luka Modric, were national heroes.

But when it was over and Croatia was left to reckon with the deeply disappointing defeat, Grabar-Kitarović was as present and supportive as she’d been during their ascent. She embraced a shattered Modric after he was presented with the Golden Ball, the tournament’s most valuable player award. A hard rain...