HBS Managing the Future of Work

By Harvard Business School

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Artificial intelligence. Robotics. The Gig Economy. Globalization. The world is changing at a dizzying pace in ways that will have a profound effect on the economy, jobs and the flow of talent. How will firms cope with the changes ahead and what steps do they need to take today? Each episode features faculty from the world’s leading business school interviewing CEOs, technologists and experts on the bleeding edge discussing how to survive and thrive by managing the future of work.

Episode Date
SAP's Sabine Bendiek on workforce strategy

As businesses struggle with post-Covid workplace models, supply chain snags, and the increasing demand for digital skills, workforce strategy is more crucial than ever. SAP Chief People and Operating Officer and Labor Relations Director, Sabine Bendiek, on talent acquisition, reskilling, hybrid and flexible work models, diversity and inclusion, ESG goals, and training the next wave of leadership. 

Sep 28, 2022
Packaging skills: FedEx Services’ flexible work strategy

The pandemic and supply chain crisis are reshaping the package delivery business. What are the staffing implications and what does it mean for the logistics of work? Mike Lauderdale, VP of Human Resources at FedEx Services, on hybrid work, emerging skills, and ESG commitments.

Sep 14, 2022
Credly's Jonathan Finkelstein on the evolving language of skills

As work is recast in terms of skills and credentials, is the labor market awash in too much information? Credly's founder and CEO argues that more detail--verified and expressed in a standard taxonomy--can benefit both workers and employers.   

Aug 31, 2022
Rolls-Royce: Re-engineering work while retaining institutional knowledge

As it adapts to a changing talent landscape, Rolls-Royce is experimenting with new modes of hiring, training, and managing while working to safeguard a century of accumulated wisdom. HR leader Summer Smith explains the strategy, from reimagining the office to embracing diversity and prioritizing mental health.

Aug 17, 2022
Working poor to upwardly mobile: Merit America’s formula for change

What does it take to move the needle on inequality and promote economic mobility? To help workers stuck in low-wage jobs, build career programs around their economic and social realities and focus on in-demand skills. Connor Diemand-Yauman and Rebecca Taber Staehelin, co-CEOs of nonprofit Merit America, explain how targeted, affordable and flexible training, buttressed by one-on-one coaching and other supports, can boost incomes and career prospects. 

Aug 03, 2022
MOOC to graduate degree: What the 2U, edX merger means for higher ed and skills building

Edtech firm 2U's acquisition of edX, the Harvard-MIT nonprofit education venture, has the potential to advance online higher-ed and broaden access. But there are many moving parts and interested parties. 2U co-founder and CEO, Chip Paucek, makes the case for the super platform formed by the merger.  

Jul 20, 2022
Can we automate our way to better decision making?

The pandemic has forced organizational change and spurred the development of new business models. It’s also prompted workers and the public to reexamine their relationships with businesses. Juergen Lindner, Oracle SVP of Global Marketing, discusses the workforce and skills implications of doing business in the cloud and how automation could help advance environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.

Jul 06, 2022
Reshma Saujani on recoding work for gender equity

If it’s cool for girls to code, why aren’t more women working in technology? And why are working mothers in all sectors finding it difficult to establish and maintain careers? Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code and Marshall Plan for Moms, shares her formula for structural change.  

Jun 22, 2022
Dropbox founder Drew Houston on streamlining the digital workspace

Is work-life balance possible when you’re always connected? The pandemic has forced advances in the digital underpinnings of remote and hybrid work. Dropbox has added apps and organizational advice to its ubiquitous cloud storage. Founder and CEO Drew Houston on the firm’s virtual-first strategy and his vision for an AI-powered, uncluttered digital workplace.

Jun 08, 2022
Wholesale upskilling: Walmart’s workforce value proposition

Businesses are getting strategic about skills building, focusing on what they and their employees need to reach their respective goals. As the largest private employer in the U.S., Walmart is looking to influence the direction of education and training, from basic skills through post-secondary credentials. Joe Fuller welcomes Lorraine Stomski, Walmart's Senior Vice President of Enterprise Leadership and Learning. 

May 26, 2022
Virtually present: Meta’s vision for the hybrid workplace

The pandemic has forced businesses to reassess how, where, and when work gets done. The competition to provision this transformation is intense. Facebook parent Meta is looking to bridge the community experience of social media and the collaborative aspects of work via familiar interfaces and new, virtual experiences. Christine Trodella joins Bill Kerr.

May 11, 2022
Can Handshake’s endless college job fair democratize employment?

The pandemic has underscored the value of distance learning and remote work and bolstered the case for virtualizing the college-to-career connection. Over the past decade, Handshake has established itself as the dominant jobs network and recruiting platform. Co-founder and CEO Garrett Lord explains how taking the campus out of the equation levels the playing field.  

May 04, 2022
Building back a better supported federal workforce

Government work has gotten a bad rap of late, even as it’s arguably more essential than ever. Can a labor-friendly administration jump-start the modernization and rejuvenation of the federal workforce? Kiran Ahuja, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, discusses the agency’s post-Covid strategy and its initiatives on diversity, accessibility, pay equity, and collective bargaining.

Apr 27, 2022
Micha Kaufman on the new terms of the talent bargain

The pandemic took remote work mainstream. This gave a boost to online platforms for freelance professionals and highly skilled workers. Micha Kaufman, founder and CEO of Fiverr, explains how businesses have gotten better at leveraging this talent, how freelancers have are finding new opportunities, and what policies can help support this model.

Apr 13, 2022
Working with software robots

How far up the white-collar value chain is automation pushing and what's the optimal mix of human and machine intelligence? Bill Kerr interviews Daniel Dines, co-founder and CEO of robotic process automation (RPA) giant UiPath.

Mar 30, 2022
Iron Mountain's hybrid workforce transformation

How do you manage a digital transformation while steering a heavily frontline business through a pandemic? Iron Mountain CHRO Edward Greene explains how the 70-year-old records management company is developing talent internally and staffing up to enter new markets.

Mar 09, 2022
MFW research: Rethinking low-wage work

What's the business case for upgrading low-wage, high-turnover jobs? Joe Fuller joins his Managing the Future of Work co-chair and podcast co-host, Bill Kerr, to unpack the project's recent report, Building From the Bottom Up

Feb 23, 2022
Goodwill’s Steve Preston on how to upcycle career prospects

Goodwill Industries International may be synonymous with thrifting but the 120-year-old nonprofit is a major provider of workforce development and skills training. President and CEO, Steve Preston, explains the international organization’s mission, how it works with employers and partners to bolster opportunity for underserverd individuals, and how it’s keeping physical and virtual doors open through the pandemic.   

Feb 09, 2022
Josh Bersin on why CHROs are at the center of the action

HR is reinventing itself on the fly and under increasing pressure. HR expert Josh Bersin explains how the field is adapting to play a more varied and strategic role amid economic, technological, demographic, and cultural change.

Jan 26, 2022
Contingent to career: Kelly Services’ Peter Quigley on reinventing work and creating good jobs

In its 75 years, Kelly Services has gone from temp agency to skills broker, outsourcing firm, workforce development provider, and source of labor market research. CEO Peter Quigley discusses how employers and workers are approaching contingent work, Covid-19’s role in driving innovation and flexibility, “hidden workers” and what’s behind the Great Resignation.  


Jan 12, 2022
SHRM’s Johnny C. Taylor Jr. on updating the HR playbook

How well is HR heeding its own advice to workers and reinventing itself to remain relevant and productive? Society for Human Resource Management president and CEO, Johnny C. Taylor Jr., on the importance of workplace culture, reskilling, and expanding the talent pool.

Dec 15, 2021
Hubert Joly on humanizing the profit motive

Can businesses afford to see employees in terms other than unit labor cost? How do you factor the Golden Rule into a profit and loss statement? Former Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly explains how unlearning business orthodoxies helped him prove that a human-centered approach can boost the bottom line. 

Dec 01, 2021
Lisa Cook on why inclusion benefits the economy and economics 

Economist Lisa Cook discusses her pioneering work on the cost of exclusion—the economic consequences of innovation lost due to racism and sexism. The versatile scholar and policy expert also reflects on her career path and her role in promoting diversity in the field of economics.     

Nov 17, 2021
Workforce continuity as competitive advantage

Barak Eilam, CEO of customer-service AI vendor NICE, explains how fostering careers and promoting diversity helps attract tech talent.  

Nov 03, 2021
Bringing hidden workers into focus

If workers are in short supply, why do employers continue to use digital gatekeepers that screen out millions of capable individuals? Joe Fuller joins his Managing the Future of Work co-chair and podcast co-host, Bill Kerr, to share insights from the project’s research collaboration with Accenture on the “hidden worker” problem.

Oct 20, 2021
Slack’s Brian Elliott: Digital-first elevates output and diversity

Slack is a mainstay of remote work. But when Covid-19 hit the company behind the software had to pivot from an in-person orientation to digital-first. VP Brian Elliott, leader of the firm’s Future Forum consortium, explains how remapping work means reimagining the organization.

Oct 06, 2021
Guest appearance: Joe Fuller on Enrollment Growth University

Managing the Future of Work project co-chair and podcast co-host, Joe Fuller joins Eric Olsen on Helix Education's Enrollment Growth University. How can colleges address the middle skills gap while readying students for the job market? Work-based learning and better career services are key.

Sep 22, 2021
Cultivating an organizational growth mindset

“Tiger” Tyagarajan, CEO of professional services firm Genpact, on post-Covid workforce challenges, how to foster a culture of adaptability, and the imperative and benefits of diversity.

Sep 08, 2021
Coursera: From virtual lecture hall to platform for lifelong learning

Coursera Chief Enterprise Officer, Leah Belsky, on how online education is facilitating workforce development, mitigating Covid job losses, promoting diversity, transforming teaching, and enabling lifelong learning. She also discusses the company’s decisive shift to remote work.

Aug 25, 2021
How to make hiring more equitable

Harvard sociologist David Pedulla unpacks the hiring process. How do race, gender, and work history influence the gatekeepers? What assumptions guide their decision-making and how can social science help level the playing field? 

Aug 11, 2021
Veeva’s distributed approach to building institutional knowledge and shared culture

Life sciences cloud software company Veeva's origins as a highly decentralized organization and its early adoption of video conferencing paid off when Covid-19 forced the switch to remote work. The business was able to help speed up the vaccine pipeline. Co-founder and director, HBS alumnus Matt Wallach, talks about the firm’s post-Covid work-from-anywhere strategy, its embrace of the multi-stakeholder public benefit corporation model, and why it foregoes non-compete clauses as it aims to foster employees’ careers.   

Jul 28, 2021
People analytics: Getting from data to meaningful impact

Can social science and big data help organizations have constructive conversations with their employees? People analytics is being put to the test as businesses grapple with the pandemic, remote work, return-to-the-office decisions, diversity and inclusion, and a raft of social and political pressures. Didier Elzinga, founder and CEO of HR analytics platform vendor Culture Amp, discusses employee engagement and wellbeing and the need for data-literate managers.

Jul 14, 2021
Infrastructure: Upgrading the US labor statistics system

Former Bureau of Labor Statistics commissioner Erica Groshen on how better data gathering can improve careers and the economy and why it’s important to keep politics out of federal statistical research. Also: skills, worker voice, gig, inequality, the social safety net, and assessing the impact of Covid-19.

Jun 30, 2021
Taking stock of Eastern Bank’s expansive community banking model

Eastern Bank is betting that bigger is better when it comes to serving small businesses and supporting local communities and philanthropic causes. Until recently the oldest and largest mutual bank in the US, Eastern has gone public and is pursuing an aggressive growth strategy. CEO and Chair, Bob Rivers, on maintaining the bank’s commitment to diversity—in business, communities, and internally—and how Covid has reconfigured work and magnified the challenges faced by small and minority-owned businesses.

Jun 16, 2021
AI-assisted language translation: Context is king

Translators aren’t headed for obsolescence just yet. Computer-assisted language translation has come a long way, but for many jobs, you’ll still need a human in the loop to avoid inaccuracies, tone-deafness, and cultural insensitivity. Computer scientist Spence Green is president of enterprise language translation company, Lilt. He unpacks state-of-the-art neural network machine translation and explains the critical function of localizing content for international markets.

Jun 02, 2021
Guest appearance: Joe Fuller on State of Independence

Managing the Future of Work project co-chair and podcast co-host, Joe Fuller joins Aassia Haq on MBO Partners’ State of Independence. What does the post-Covid workforce look like, and what are the biggest challenges facing CEOs and CHROs as they compete to marshal talent and transform their workforces?  

May 19, 2021
US plans for AI primacy

As the US vies with global AI rivals for technological and strategic advantage, where will it find the human brainpower and skilled labor to compete? Is the government prepared for the challenge? Artificial intelligence is crossing boundaries, transforming markets, and raising ethical concerns. José-Marie Griffiths, member of the National Security Committee on Artificial Intelligence, discusses the commission’s recommendations.

May 05, 2021
Architect Stefan Behnisch on designing for a changing workforce

Many architects are looking for work these days but the profession as a whole is influencing the future of work writ large. Architecture is shaped by the tension between the creative process and the more rigid, risk-averse business of building—a business that’s been hit hard by the pandemic. At the same time, architects are playing a key role in redefining work- and living spaces for the new normal. Stefan Behnisch, whose firm Behnisch Architekten designed Harvard’s vast new science and engineering complex, deconstructs the design and construction workforce, the future of the office, and the post-Covid city.

Apr 21, 2021
Social Finance: trainers make the grade when students get good jobs

Social Finance has deftly aligned incentives around skills training. By pooling public and private resources and making job placement a shared goal, the nonprofit is providing proof of concept that could scale to address workforce development needs nationwide. Co-founder and CEO Tracy Palandjian explains career impact bonds and social impact bonds.

Apr 08, 2021
Spotify’s talent play: distributed, flexible, and diverse

Going into the pandemic, Spotify was well positioned for the increase in demand for streaming music and podcasts. To accommodate the surge and expand its podcast presence, the 15-year-old Swedish company with offices in more than 70 countries increased its staff by a third in 2020. How do you manage such rapid growth in the midst of a pandemic, and what does the post-Covid workplace look like? What does it mean to be a purpose-driven, diverse, and inclusive firm? CHRO Katarina Berg explains.

Mar 24, 2021
Can AI and analytics deliver efficient, equitable skills markets?

As employers and job seekers cope with pandemic-induced disruption and uncertainty, the role of intermediary is more crucial than ever. Job platform CareerBuilder, with its two-sided skills market, looks to smooth the employment process and increase diversity. CEO Irina Novoselsky discusses the shift to skills-based hiring, demographic changes in the workforce, the benefits of well-informed AI, and how Covid and the gig economy are leading employers to make fulltime positions more flexible.

Mar 10, 2021
Factoring high-skills freelancers into the enterprise equation

Digital platforms for highly skilled freelancers are set to broker more strategic engagements for businesses needing extra capacity and flexibility. HBS and Managing the Future of Work’s Joe Fuller and Boston Consulting Group’s Allison Bailey, co-authors of the report Building the On-Demand Workforce, join Bill Kerr. How can employers adapt their approach to talent and align management incentives to benefit from this trend? What are the implications for workers and what choices are policymakers weighing?

Feb 24, 2021
The value of knowing what you’re about: HR, diversity, and work-life balance

Self-awareness can be a strategic asset for businesses and individuals alike, says Edith Cooper. The former Goldman Sachs partner reflects on the evolution of the employer-employee relationship, the benefits of cultivating diversity and individuality, and how a new generation of professionals looks for work-life balance and community amid social upheaval and economic change.  

Feb 17, 2021
Parsing 5G’s potential for work and learning

As the realities of 5G wireless networking and the Internet of Things catch up to the hype, the effects are expected to be sweeping, from smart infrastructure to enhanced education and training and new business models. Mo Katibeh, AT&T’s Chief Product and Platform Officer, helps break down implications for jobs, skills, and the future of work.

Feb 10, 2021
MIT’s David Autor on engineering more equitable growth

MIT labor economist David Autor, co-chair of the Institute’s Task Force on the Work of the Future, discusses the initiative’s report, “The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines.” Describing the report as both optimistic and cautionary, Autor makes the case that the US needs to reinvest in innovation while supporting a more sustainable workforce transformation that broadens opportunity and narrows inequality.

Feb 03, 2021
Reorienting work and learning around skills building

As work life morphs into an expanding series of limited engagements, education and training need to be retooled for the long haul. Workforce training expert Michelle Weise, author of the new book Long Life Learning: Preparing for Jobs That Don’t Even Exist Yet, says the sector needs to do a better job of accommodating the demands of the workplace and the realities of workers’ lives. Senior advisor to education venture fund Imaginable Futures and data collaboration platform BrightHive, the former Skidmore English professor deconstructs learning, hiring, and skills.

Jan 27, 2021
Safely unleashing the power of industrial robots

The idea of uncaging industrial robots may seem like a Hollywood trope, but it refers to technology that allows manufacturers to choreograph more precise and productive interplay between robots and workers. Veo Robotics president, CEO, and co-founder, Patrick Sobalvarro, explains the state of the art in industrial automation.  

Jan 20, 2021
Keeping remote workers at the center of the action

Video conferencing and other communications technologies have been a lifeline for many during the Covid-19 pandemic. But they can exacerbate existing inequalities and create new ones. How can organizations help employees thrive in the post-Covid hybrid workforce of in-person and remote teams? Michael Peachey heads up the user experience (UX) group at RingCentral, which provides communications and collaboration tools and services. He says successful companies will fit the tools and tactics to the circumstances of their workers so remote doesn’t mean left out.  

Jan 13, 2021
How we can avoid the robot apocalypse

As AI and automation take on more and more sophisticated tasks, being human can look like a career liability. But not when you consider inherent advantages like our capacity to collaborate, create, and think critically. Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation and author of the new book Human Work in the Age of Smart Machines, explains the emerging ecosystem of jobs and how employers, educators, government, and the social sector can help workers prepare. 

Jan 08, 2021
Intermountain Healthcare: How Covid-19 catalyzes change

While hospitals battle on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic, their business operations are adapting and evolving in ways that will outlast the coronavirus outbreak. Intermountain Healthcare’s roughly 40,000 employees staff some 200-plus businesses, from food service to operating rooms. The pandemic is accelerating the Utah-based non-profit’s adoption of telemedicine, digital platforms, and artificial intelligence. President and CEO, Marc Harrison discusses the company’s shift to remote work, employee support, re-skilling, and its efforts to address the crisis in healthcare affordability and access.       

Dec 16, 2020
Udacity’s skills play: Closing the loop on demand and supply

As jobs give way to skills as units of work, training is following suit. Udacity’s relationships with Fortune 500 companies, universities, and national governments inform its practical online training in technical and business skills. CEO Gabriel Dalporto discusses Nanodegrees, experiential training, government policy, lifelong learning, and the importance of aligning skills training and business objectives.

Dec 09, 2020
COOP Careers: It’s what you know and who you know

Underemployment is a common trap among first-in-their-family college grads and those from low-income backgrounds and underserved communities. Kalani Leifer, founder and CEO of nonprofit COOP Careers, talks about how his organization works with recent grads to equip them with digital skills and to help them develop all-important peer-group social capital.

Dec 02, 2020
PwC: Coaching change in times of crisis

Covid-19 has accelerated many organizational trends, from remote work and digitalization to automation and a growing recognition of inequalities. Consulting firms are key actors in responding to this dynamic, since their judgement has influence well beyond their own affairs. What can we learn from their latest thinking on the new normal and the future of work? Michael Fenlon, PwC’s Chief People Officer shares insights on managing remote work, addressing disparities, maintaining wellness (including mental health), developing workforce skills, and the importance of purpose and trust.

Nov 25, 2020
WWT: IT innovation rooted in diversity and employee wellbeing

Corporate social responsibility and commitment to a local workforce can go hand-in-hand with profitability. World Wide Technology in St. Louis is managing to thrive while dealing head-on with the pandemic and social and racial issues. One of the largest minority-owned businesses in the US, the 30 year-old privately held firm employs more than 6,000. The rare global tech firm based in the Midwest, it boasts a roster of Fortune 100 customers. CEO and co-founder Jim Kavanaugh discusses company’s evolution from value-added reseller to diversified IT firm and its longstanding emphasis on employee wellbeing, diversity, and inclusion.

Nov 18, 2020
Is survival on the post-Covid menu for restaurants?

The restaurant industry has been especially hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Restaurants quickly shifted from indoor dining to a greater reliance on online ordering, curbside pick-up, outdoor dining, and delivery. Toast, a restaurant management services company, provides tools for all facets of running a restaurant. CEO Chris Comparato talks about the future of dining and explains how the company helped its clients adapt to the new normal, facilitated access to capital, and advocated for restaurant relief.

Nov 11, 2020
IBM P-TECH and SkillsBuild: Narrow the skills gap, broaden opportunity

Can public-private partnerships do the heavy lifting of workforce development while promoting upward mobility? And can they help underserved groups participate in a post-Covid recovery? IBM’s P-TECH high school STEM program works with community colleges and industry partners to support students as they earn a high school diploma and an associate degree. The company recently launched SkillsBuild, a training program for adults from vulnerable populations. IBM VP of corporate social responsibility Grace Suh discusses integrating workplace requirements into education and training; digital certificates; virtual internships; on-the-job training; and what it takes to extend access during the pandemic.

Nov 04, 2020
Glint-LinkedIn: Worker sentiment informs management

Polling fatigue is normal in the runup to a presidential election. Employers are finding ways to tap into worker sentiment less obtrusively. Glint-LinkedIn equips firms with survey tools and AI analytics to keep tabs on the collective mental state of their employees. Justin Black, head of people science at LinkedIn, explains the potential benefits: productivity gains, a more engaged workforce, and less burnout; and the pitfalls: disengagement and a loss of trust. Covid-19, social strife, and the strains of remote work raise the stakes.

Oct 28, 2020
Community colleges: AACC head Walter Bumphus on adversity and opportunity

How will US community colleges emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and the economic and social disruptions of 2020? Dr. Walter Bumphus, President and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), discusses the role of the nation’s over 1,000 2-year post-secondary institutions in responding to the multiple crises disproportionately affecting their 12 million students. As the AACC enters its second century advocating for community colleges, it looks to bolster their workforce development capacity and their ability to foster upward mobility.

Oct 21, 2020
Chattanooga bridges the digital divide to make online learning more equitable

For some families online learning is a rocky road. For others it’s a dead end. To address the uneven distribution of digital infrastructure, public-private partnership EdConnect provides students in underserved areas with broadband. Tennessee’s Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Bryan Johnson and CO.LAB startup accelerator CEO, Marcus Shaw talk about how, working with municipal utility EPB, they rallied stakeholders to deliver funding, resources, and access.

Oct 14, 2020
How US community colleges can bolster the post-Covid recovery

The US is facing a tsunami of demand for skills training and job placement. Its 1,100 community and technical colleges offer the best institutional infrastructure and student support for the task, but key reforms are needed. So argues The Indispensable Institution: Reimagining Community College, a June 2020 report from nonprofit Opportunity America. The group’s president, Tamar Jacoby, discusses the report’s findings, which stress the need for better workforce development.

Oct 07, 2020
How San Antonio’s Project Quest facilitates upward mobility

In confronting the economic and social crises roiling the US in late 2020, it helps to have deep roots in local communities. San Antonio’s Project Quest brings to the task decades of success in advancing upward mobility in underserved areas. The nonprofit’s savvy, resilience, and willingness to learn from experience yield lasting improvements in the prospects of its participants. President & CEO David Zammiello explains how the group partners with employers and community colleges and provides the “wraparound” support services individuals need to gain skills and secure good jobs.  

Sep 30, 2020
MFW guest appearance: Joe Fuller on Braintrust's "The Way Work Should Work"

What's in store for the gig economy and how will Covid-19 change the nature of work? Managing the Future of Work project co-chair and podcast co-host Joe Fuller was the inaugural guest on The Way Work Should Work, the new podcast produced by Braintrust. We present the "away" half of the home-and-away pair of episodes that saw Joe interview the freelance platform's co-founders, Adam Jackson and Gabriel Luna-Ostaseski, in Episode 18.    

Sep 25, 2020
How brain games and AI can improve HR

Can neuroscience and AI improve on traditional approaches to hiring and evaluating workers? Pymetrics’ co-founder and CEO, Frida Polli, argues that the combination is necessary to overcome inherently biased human judgement and to bring empirical rigor to the task of matching talent to fast-changing job categories. The neuroscientist-turned-Harvard MBA shares her journey and explains how her company helps the likes of Unilever, LinkedIn, and Accenture factor workers’ cognitive, social, and emotional aptitudes in their personnel decisions.        

Sep 23, 2020
MFW guest appearance: Joe Fuller on Behind Bundle

Managing the Future of Work co-chair and podcast co-host, Joe Fuller, is a close observer of the care economy. He recently appeared as a guest on Behind Bundle, the podcast produced by employee benefits startup Bundle. The concierge service, which combines care and education coverage, was founded by HBS graduate Kayla Lebovits. Fittingly, we’re posting this episode the week of National Working Parents Day.

Sep 18, 2020
How Covid and BLM strengthen the case for shoring up historically Black colleges

Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement have focused attention on disparities in economic opportunity between Black and white America. This has added urgency to efforts to bolster Black students' access to higher education. It's a pivotal moment for UNCF, founded at the end of WWII as the United Negro College Fund. The organization supports historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). President and CEO, Dr. Michael Lomax, discusses the role of HBCUs in fostering economic opportunity and civic engagement and how changes in philanthropic activity and public policy can make a difference. 

Sep 16, 2020
MFW Dispatch: Jeff Ray

The pandemic has unsurprisingly produced a sustained surge in streaming video, with consumer and enterprise use doubling year-over-year during the second quarter of 2020. Viewing on mobile devices has skyrocketed. Brightcove’s software platform is a key component of the online video infrastructure.   CEO Jeff Ray discusses video’s “evolutionary moment,” as remote work and virtual events become the norm and organizations build their video talent capacity internally and externally. He also notes the overall jump in school use, where the digital divide persists and threatens to widen achievement gaps.

Sep 09, 2020
MFW Dispatch: Marissa Andrada

While adapting to the limitations imposed by the pandemic, fast food chain Chipotle is looking to emerge stronger by maintaining commitments to its workforce. As Chipotle’s chief diversity, inclusion, and people officer, Marissa Andrada, explains, the company anticipates long-term returns on its investment in employee education benefits and its flexible scheduling for shift workers.   

Sep 02, 2020
Braintrust takes aim at the gig platform middleman

Braintrust’s gig model gives freelancers the opportunity to keep more of what they earn and to have a say in running the platform. The not-for-profit aims to upend the status quo by replacing the typical gig middleman and assigning governing rights to users. The marketplace, which connects highly skilled tech talent with enterprise clients, uses blockchain tokens to grant users who help build the platform voting rights in strategy and policy decisions. Co-founders Adam Jackson and Gabriel Luna-Ostaseski discuss their experiment in realigning incentives.

Aug 27, 2020
Cybersecurity for the post-Covid new normal of work

Covid-19 and the 2020 election stack up as unprecedented infrastructure challenges. And both raise the stakes for cybersecurity. The skills shortage in this area—estimated in the millions of workers—demands a strategic rethink by organizations relying on remote work and governments seeking to secure voting and coordinate responses to the pandemic. Telecom veteran and cybersecurity expert Bill Conner discusses emerging threats and new approaches.    

Aug 25, 2020
Tulsa Remote: Live here, work anywhere

Will Covid-19 empty superstar cities? While it’s too soon to say, metros outside the top tier are now in a better position to compete for talent. This plays to the strengths of programs like Tulsa Remote, which helps professionals who work remotely relocate to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Launched in 2018 by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the highly selective program emphasizes diversity and community building. Founding Executive Director, Aaron Bolzle, discusses the importance of moving beyond the transactional aspects of such programs, and the keys to successful remote work.

Aug 20, 2020
Google expands college-alternative tech skills training

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the shortage of workers with up-to-date digital skills. Tech titans like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have responded with training and certification programs of their own. In July, Google added certificates in data analytics, user experience design, and project management to its Grow with Google program. The company says these low-cost, platform-agnostic three- to six-month courses put job candidates lacking a post-secondary degree on par with college grads. Google’s VP of Global Marketing, Lisa Gevelber, and Product Lead Natalie Van Kleef Conley discuss the alternative route to in-demand jobs.

Aug 18, 2020
How Guild democratizes employer-sponsored education benefits

For many workers, company-sponsored education benefits are a perk that’s hard to translate from employee handbook to reality. Guild Education bridges this gap by aligning incentives— matching students with appropriate programs, having employers profitably front costs, coaching and supporting students, and only collecting a portion of tuition when students complete a term. The rare billion-dollar B Corp also works to foster resilient careers for workers displaced by automation, the pandemic, or other causes.

Aug 13, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Todd Oldham

Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York, is a leader in workforce development, combining original economic research, employer partnerships, and pragmatic programs for reaching its student population. Recognized for its worker training acumen by the Aspen Institute, Monroe continues to innovate in the delivery of marketable skills. Todd Oldham, VP of Economic Development, Workforce, and Career Technical Education, has spearheaded the colleges’ efforts in this area for the past decade. He discusses Monroe’s responses to the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and how the college is helping to shape the future of technical education.

Aug 11, 2020
Unilever’s workforce transformation: hard truths and help with change

Unilever is several years into a company-wide plan to revolutionize its workforce. Faced with the challenge of selling its employees on change as opportunity, the multinational offers job counseling, retraining, and assistance with career moves—within the company or elsewhere. Executive vice president of HR business transformation, Nick Dalton, discusses what it takes to be transparent about coming changes and work with employees, unions, governments, and others to identify mutually beneficial transitions.

Aug 06, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Tim Rowe

The start-stop nature of business during the coronavirus pandemic demands flexibility and innovation. This is especially true for physical places of work. CIC maintains offices, shared workspace, and labs. It specializes in building hives of creative and productive activity and fostering entrepreneurial communities. Founder and CEO, Tim Rowe, explains how Covid-19 has spurred CIC to find inventive solutions to the challenge of working safely amid a viral outbreak and to extend its networking events online.

Aug 04, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Louis Gagnon

The Covid-19 pandemic is triggering widespread anxiety, depression, and addiction—deepening what many have identified as a mental health crisis. A recent study suggests that at least a quarter of American adults are experiencing pandemic-attributed, high emotional distress. Louis Gagnon, CEO of the Total Brain online mental health platform, discusses the benefits of preventative care delivered through self-monitoring apps and how analytics based on the resulting data can help companies improve wellbeing and productivity in the workplace.

Jul 30, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Kass Dawson

Covid-19 has made robots a welcome sight for many by hastening the adoption of autonomous cleaner-bots, greeters, personal assistants, burger-flippers, classroom aids, and more. SoftBank Robotics' Kass Dawson talks about the role of robotics in combatting Covid-19 and in changing the world of work. Rather than a wholesale replacement of human workers, he says, we can expect more cobotics—human-robot collaboration—and new robotics jobs.

Jul 28, 2020
Tightrope: Working-class despair and the seeds of hope

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Sheryl WuDunn (HBS ‘86) and Nicholas Kristof are widely recognized for their coverage of international humanitarian crises. In their recent book, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, they turn their attention to the struggles of the US working class. Regular encounters with the devastation wracking blue-collar families in Kristof’s hometown of Yamhill, Ore., prompted the couple to examine the effects (and causes) of joblessness, homelessness, substance abuse, incarceration, and chronic ill-health. WuDunn discusses the hard-to-break intergenerational cycles of poverty and despair, the impact of Covid-19, and some glimmers of hope.

Jul 23, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Laura Morgan Roberts

How can businesses move from awareness to action on systemic racial discrimination?  In a wide-ranging discussion, Laura Morgan Roberts, an organizational psychology expert and professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, says it begins with frankly acknowledging the extent of the problem, fostering open discussion, and committing to meaningful change, both internally and in the wider community. As she notes, business schools have a long way to go as well.

Jul 21, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: John Pepper

Is the triple bottom line a liability in a crisis? The question is anything but theoretical for John Pepper, who co-founded restaurant chain Boloco in 1997 while still in business school. The pandemic has brought many restaurants to the brink, but Boloco continues to work to establish a profitable model that includes paying a living wage and providing workers with opportunities for more gainful employment. CEO Pepper reflects on running an enterprise whose business plan includes social and environmental goals; navigating the public health and economic crisis; and engaging with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Jul 16, 2020
Special Episode: Tsedal Neeley and Merck CEO Ken Frazier on vaccines, racism, and leadership

Merck Chairman and CEO, Ken Frazier—one of only four Black CEOs in the Fortune 500—joins HBS Professor Tsedal Neeley. Topics include the necessity of putting science ahead of politics in the search for a cure for Covid-19 and steps corporate leaders need to take if they are to counter structural racism. He advises Black professionals on the importance of mentors and acquiring the “psychological armor to defend ourselves against the racism that’s all around us.” He also shares his personal story, including “hav[ing] only one generation between me and slavery.”

Jul 14, 2020
Beyond family leave: How help with caregiving benefits workers and employers

The pandemic underscores US workers’ need for help with caregiving obligations. HBS graduate Lindsay Jurist-Rosner founded B2B benefits company Wellthy in 2014 after realizing that her experience juggling work and the complex care needs of her mother was shared in one form or another by a large segment of the US workforce. She talks about the scope of the challenge, how employers are starting to address it, and what the payback looks like.

Jul 08, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Tsedal Neeley

The wholesale shift to remote work in response to Covid-19 is a radical change and most organizations are scrambling to adapt to the complex realities. Harvard Business School professor Tsedal Neeley has spent decades studying distributed organizations. Author of the forthcoming book Remote Work Revolution, she explains that getting it right depends on clear communication, routine, work-life boundaries, common purpose, and inclusion. She also discusses the pandemic’s disproportionate toll on African Americans and other minorities, and the systemic change needed to bring more diversity to businesses, particularly the upper echelons of professional organizations.

Jul 01, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Noah Smith

In a wide-ranging conversation, Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith candidly discusses how Covid-19 has exposed many of America’s systemic weaknesses, including the underfunding of social programs and infrastructure due to racism, bailouts for “zombie” companies, generational inequality, and the challenge of distributing wealth.

Jun 24, 2020
Dexai: Machine learning in the kitchen

Advances in robotics have opened the way for the ultimate in smart kitchen appliances. Draper Labs spinoff, Dexai, makes the AI brains that coordinate the actions of Alfred, a robotic arm versatile enough follow recipes and handle orders in commercial kitchens. Cofounders David Johnson and HBS graduate Anthony Tayoun discuss the future of this culinary cobot.

Jun 19, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Sal Khan

Khan Academy’s polyglot and free online courses seem tailor-made for a pandemic-struck globe. Not surprisingly, the platform has seen massive increases in signups and use. The education nonprofit, founded in 2008 by HBS graduate Sal Khan, now serves over 100 million students in 190 countries. As schools contemplate reopening, it is developing tools for getting students ready for the next grade and providing a mix of in-class and online instruction. To handle the surge in demand, the donor-funded operation will need a corresponding boost in investment in search of social return.

Jun 15, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Stephen Kramer

Will Covid-19 overwhelm the care industry and rob workers of an essential means of maintaining work-life balance, if not simply working? With the haphazard reopening of the economy and civic life, the demand for care center spaces and in-home services is expected to swamp the diminishing supply. Stephen Kramer, CEO of Bright Horizons and a graduate of HBS, has been at the center of the care crisis in the US and internationally. He discusses the state of care—as a universal need and as an industry.

Jun 11, 2020
Covid -19 Dispatch: Dan Springer

As Covid-19 has made remote work the norm, DocuSign and other e-signature companies have provided the digital architecture within which parties can seal agreements and process documents. This has allowed business transactions and official business to proceed while much of the economy has ground to a halt. DocuSign has seen a surge in business in healthcare, government, emergency services, small business lending, education, legal, and other sectors. CEO and HBS alumnus Dan Springer talks about the digital infrastructure for striking and managing agreements and how DocuSign has weathered the pandemic. The experience has led the company to help its employees work better from home, including subsidizing remote work setups.

Jun 09, 2020
How the next recovery can revive upward mobility

Will Covid-19 derail ongoing efforts to provide skills training and meaningful career opportunities for the low-income workers who are bearing the brunt of the crisis? Brookings’ Marcela Escobari explains the realities of low-wage employment and what businesses and local leaders can do to foster economic development that creates the steppingstone jobs that lead to better jobs.

Jun 05, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: John Barry

What lessons does the 1918 influenza pandemic offer as we respond to the coronavirus crisis? Historian and public health expert John Barry joins Joe Fuller to talk about the parallels and differences between these global virus outbreaks. Barry is the author of the best-seller The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. Then as now, he asserts, transparency from authorities and compliance with science-based public health directives like social distancing, along with extensive testing and contact tracing, are imperative.

Jun 03, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Joe DeLoss

Social entrepreneur Joe DeLoss discusses how his company, Hot Chicken Takeover (HCT), has negotiated the coronavirus pandemic. As a fair-chance employer, HCT hires workers who have faced a variety of challenges. Joe says this is in fact a significant competitive advantage. He describes the HCT Covid-19 stability guide for employees and explains how the restaurant chain’s reopening strategy prioritizes the safety of both customers and employees.

Jun 01, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Dan O’Connor

Commerce expert Dan O’Connor rejoins the podcast for a special Dispatch episode. Dan draws on his experience advising leading retailers and his ongoing research on global digital platforms to offer a glimpse of a post-Covid retail landscape. He also counsels those small businesses able to weather the crisis to take the opportunity to refocus. Across categories, the “at-home,” budget- and safety-conscious, consumer is an essential constituency.

May 28, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Hayden Brown

Hayden Brown has been Upwork’s CEO since January 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic shifted much of the workforce to working from home. Upwork is a leading platform connecting freelance workers to businesses who need help. Hayden shares with what changes she has seen since Covid-19 hit, what skills are in demand and how this new normal might change the nature of remote work. Often the capabilities that are not readily available in the local market are accessible on platforms like Upwork.

May 26, 2020
How Catalant helps align workforce and work

Large firms aiming to innovate or achieve a degree of agility increasingly look for outside help. Catalant has placed itself at the crux of this dynamic by offering a project management software platform and staffing marketplace for harnessing the skills of internal and external personnel. Cofounders, co-CEOs, and HBS alums, Rob Biederman and Pat Petitti talk about the company’s evolution and how it’s providing clients regular insights into their most strategic work.

May 22, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: People + Work Connect

Covid-19 has brought Great Depression-level unemployment to many economies and triggered imbalances of supply and demand as some businesses have needed to staff-up quickly. One private sector response, People + Work Connect, is a business-to-business personnel exchange platform active in more than 40 countries. The brainchild of corporate chief human resources officers (CHROs) at Accenture, Lincoln Financial, ServiceNow, and Verizon has signed up hundreds of businesses looking to place idled workers or fill open positions. Accenture’s Nicholas Whittall and Mary Kate Morley Ryan discuss the initiative.

May 20, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Craig Malloy

What happens when a video conferencing company has to rely on its own products for its day-to-day operations? The pandemic turned Austin, Texas-based Lifesize’s commute-to-work culture into a virtual organization overnight. As its customers’ videoconferencing volumes increased almost tenfold, the firm adjusted to remote work and completed a major merger. CEO Craig Malloy talks about the fast-forwarding of many enterprises’ long-range plans and the implications of the new normal. 

May 18, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Barry Schuler

The pandemic has radically altered the economic landscape and vastly complicated the VC market. Money is in short supply and start-ups need to run leaner. Consolidation looms. DFJ Growth partner, Barry Schuler, discusses risk mitigation, mentoring entrepreneurs through the crisis, and taking the long view.

May 14, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Karen Mills

Return guest, Harvard Business School senior fellow Karen Mills, is uniquely qualified to assert that the Covid-19 pandemic poses a greater threat to US small businesses than the Great Recession of 2008-2009. She directed the Small Business Administration from 2009 to 2013 and has been advising Congress and fintech companies on how to help small businesses through the pandemic. She is the author of Fintech, Small Business & the American Dream.

May 11, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Taso Du Val

The pandemic has increased demand for online, remote freelance and contract work. Digital labor platform Toptal provides a market for highly skilled freelancers and contractors working in such fields as software engineering, artificial intelligence, design, and project management. Not surprisingly, the downturn has sent more workers to the platform. In some cases, employers have turned to the platform to find temporary work for their idled employees. CEO, Taso Du Val, joins the podcast. (Toptal’s remote work playbook: https://www.toptal.com/playbook)   

May 06, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Sham Kakade

Contact tracing—mapping the spread of a virus by identifying individuals in the chain of transmission—is an essential tool in the fight to limit the damage of Covid-19. Early experience in South Korea, China, Singapore, Germany, and elsewhere has shown what works. Successful schemes save lives and mitigate economic losses. Smartphone apps have a role play, but as with e-commerce, security and privacy are concerns. Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics recently published a paper outlining how contact tracing can be designed to protect users’ privacy. Coauthor Sham Kakade, a computer scientist at the University of Washington, explains.

May 04, 2020
Handicapping the global competition for talent

Post-Covid recovery will hinge on how well countries leverage talent. This lends new relevance to international business school INSEAD’s 2020 global ranking of that capacity. Released in January, the school’s seventh annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) weighs countries’—and major cities’—ability to attract, foster, and maintain talent. The 2020 GTCI focus on AI is also apt, given predictions that the coronavirus will speed trends like automation. Co-author Felipe Monteiro interpreted.

May 01, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Nick Dalton

Unilever was several years into a company-wide plan to revamp its workforce when the coronavirus flared into a pandemic. The multinational entered the crisis braced for change. Executive vice president Nick Dalton discusses how that flexibility has helped Unilever maintain business continuity, provide for worker safety, and coordinate remote work. With the disruption of global supply chains and ordinary life largely locked down, all eyes are on the consumer goods business.

Apr 29, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Kent Thiry

Kent Thiry is a veteran healthcare executive with decades of experience observing public health policy and administration at both federal and state levels. He shares his assessment of why the US was slow out of the blocks in responding to Covid-19. Looking at the virus’ likely effects on the healthcare market, he anticipates that the crisis will accelerate adoption of tele-medicine. More broadly, he foresees a shift of more manufacturing to domestic locations, a speed-up of automation, and prospects for a greener, lower-carbon economy in the recovery from the current slowdown.

Apr 27, 2020
Freelancer.com: On-demand Skills and Ideas

The Covid-19 pandemic appears to be accelerating the global workforce shift toward freelance and contract work, as it makes remote work a more attractive option. For many, the traditional employment model is being replaced by digital labor platforms like Freelancer.com, which touts skills outsourcing and innovation crowdsourcing. What’s in it for enterprises and freelance workers? Vice President Sarah Tang explains.

Apr 24, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Edward Glaeser

Harvard economist Edward Glaeser is an expert on how cities function as economic engines and centers of innovation. He notes that the advantages of density in spurring creativity and productivity are mirrored by the vulnerability it creates to threats like disease. Cities and their most vulnerable residents have borne the brunt of pandemics since antiquity. As Covid-19 tests the resources and resilience of urban centers and confronts leaders with difficult choices, Glaeser explains the policy options for protecting people and stabilizing the economy.

Apr 22, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Irfhan Rawji

Canadian entrepreneur Irfhan Rawji has insight into the pandemic’s influence on a wide range of sectors, from US companies working with global tech specialists, to startups in a variety of markets, the organic food business, and healthcare. He shares his observations on the coronavirus’ impact on the nature of work; how it is shaking up the VC world; increasing demand for organic and locally produced food; and testing the Canadian and US healthcare systems.    

Apr 20, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Derek Thompson

In Episode 3 of the Covid-19 Dispatch series, we talk to The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, who recently wrote about contact tracing. In the fight against Covid-19, this critical public health tool has been used unevenly. Thompson notes that South Korea and Singapore have had success with smartphone apps, but that South Korea’s reliance on GPS, along with surveillance video and credit card transactions, raised privacy concerns and may have discouraged participation. Singapore used Bluetooth proximity data, which doesn’t reveal geolocation information. The latter may provide the model for tracing efforts in the US and elsewhere.    

Apr 17, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Ardine Williams

The pandemic has magnified Amazon’s role as household supply line and pushed the company to quickly adjust how it does business. The retail giant has revised scores of operating processes in response to customer demand, workplace safety requirements, and public health directives. For an enterprise with half a million employees in the US, implementing these changes has been a mammoth management challenge. Ardine Williams, the company’s vice president of workforce development discusses how the coronavirus has changed business as usual.

Apr 15, 2020
Covid-19 Dispatch: Justin Wolfers

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown more people out of work than at any time since the Great Depression, and did so with unprecedented speed. In this debut episode of the Managing the Future of Work podcast’s Covid-19 Dispatches, economist and New York Times columnist Justin Wolfers discusses alternatives to the official unemployment figures; best and worst case scenarios; economic insecurity; and the need for federal aid to state and local governments.

Apr 13, 2020
Data-centric business: Inside the artificial intelligence factory

Artificial intelligence seems to have repealed the laws of business physics, allowing “digital native” companies to grow at the stroke of a key and cross traditional market boundaries unimpeded. In their new book, Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World, HBS professors Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani show the inner workings of the “AI factory.” Traditional businesses can’t bolt on AI and analytics and expect to compete. Marco explains how firms can adapt and discusses the implications for workers and public policy.

Mar 25, 2020
Jobcase: Shared opportunities, collective voice

Fred Goff wants to tap the Web’s scale and connectivity to rebalance capitalism for the benefit of workers. The former hedge fund manager launched Jobcase, a workforce platform and online labor organization, in 2015. It’s a job search site, a clearinghouse for qualifications, and a support network for its 100 million members, most of whom lack a four-year degree. The AI-augmented community wields significant consumer- and investor influence. Fred shares his views on degree inflation, the skills gap, and the need for greater diversity in the workforce.

Mar 11, 2020
Richard Florida: the creative class in the age of the superstar city

Nearly twenty years ago, Richard Florida famously identified the “creative class,” an amalgamation of knowledge workers and those in the arts, culture, and design fields. He established creativity as a basic economic force. Amid increasing inequality and unstable work arrangements, diminished techno-optimism, and the rise of global innovation hubs, he is still bullish on America’s capacity for invention. Florida argues for place-based economic development and skills-building up and down the socioeconomic ladder.

Feb 26, 2020
The Purple Campaign and Vault: Taking on workplace sexual harassment post-#MeToo

Workplace sexual harassment can derail careers, depress morale, and decrease productivity. The #MeToo movement focused attention on the issue, but left companies to figure out how to address this common and underreported problem. Harvard Law grad Ally Coll and tech entrepreneur Neta Meidav are working to change the culture around harassment. Coll is cofounder and President of the Purple Campaign, a nonprofit focused on business practice and public policy that is piloting a corporate certification program with the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Expedia, and Amazon. Meidav is cofounder of startup Vault Platform, whose application makes it easier to report and track harassment. They discuss the broader cultural and legal context and what leadership can do to promote safety and fairness in traditional and nontraditional workplaces.

Feb 12, 2020
Beyond tax breaks and subsidies: Virginia’s Amazon gambit

HBS alum Stephen Moret led Virginia’s winning proposal for Amazon’s 2019 HQ2 expansion. A crucial factor in the Commonwealth’s success was its billion-dollar commitment to developing talent, particularly in computer science and engineering. In beating out states that pledged vastly greater subsidies to the retail giant, Virginia validated the view that targeted investments in workforce development can spur economic development. Moret draws on his experience in Virginia and Louisiana, and his doctoral research on higher education to explain how public and private sectors can boost growth and improve worker prospects. He also sheds light on the role post-secondary studies play in determining the arc of graduates’ career opportunities.

Jan 29, 2020
From opt-in to check-out: How digital platforms are transforming retail

Dan O’Connor, retail expert and executive-in-residence with the HBS Managing the Future of Work project, traces the evolution of retail from the corner store through big-box, e-commerce, and the emergence of omni-faceted digital platforms. What are the implications for employers and employees throughout the sector? Retail accounts for more than 5 percent of US gross domestic product (GDP) and employs more than any other industry, roughly 16 million workers, or one in ten. Globally, the emergence of mega-platforms like Amazon and Alibaba, with their consolidated supply chains and mountains of customer data, is forcing the industry to adopt leaner and more responsive operating models while the workforce comes to terms with automation and other advances.

Jan 22, 2020
Unpacking Amazon’s workforce development strategy

Amazon in the summer of 2019 announced a sweeping five-year plan to bolster the skills of a third of its US workforce—close to 100,000 worker-learners. The plan includes apprenticeships, partnerships with local community colleges, and internal programs. As Amazon’s Vice President of Workforce Development, Ardine Williams, notes, the initiative isn’t philanthropy. She argues that Amazon’s investment in training workers—even if some ultimately leave for higher-paying jobs—makes good business sense.

Jan 08, 2020
Crisis reporting from the front lines of technology and employment

Art Bilger is sounding the alarm over systemic trends in the world of work—the mismatch of labor force skills and job requirements; automation; underemployment and structural unemployment. The Wall Street veteran, whose CV includes successes in media and high-tech, founded nonprofit media production company WorkingNation in 2016 to bring attention to these sweeping and rapid changes, which he warns could lead to economic and societal crises.  Through news coverage, short documentaries, a podcast, and town hall-style events, WorkingNation focuses on individuals and groups whose stories underscore the difficulties and illustrate solutions.             

Dec 18, 2019
How AI shifts enterprise decision-making into self-driving mode

For decades, enterprise systems vendors have promised legacy businesses virtual omniscience—decision-making informed by real-time, comprehensive views of their organizations’ activities and relevant external factors. This holy grail has eluded large established organizations, with their complex agglomerations of systems. Silicon Valley software developer Aera Technology touts an AI-assisted upgrade, tapping disparate systems and data flows to provide comprehensible and timely recommendations and automated decision-making. President and CEO, Fred Laluyaux, explains how advances in computing power coupled with vast stores of data are ushering in a new mode of operations, with computers handling more routine analysis and decision-making. This, in turn, is accelerating the automation of previously “safe” knowledge work. Laluyaux discusses the benefits and the organizational changes and challenges.

Dec 11, 2019
Prudential’s long position on skills: fostering careers while embracing automation

Financial Services giant Prudential is pursuing a hybrid workforce strategy. It’s all-in on automation for underwriting and other data-intensive, but routine, tasks. And it looks to the labor market for certain in-demand skills. But, according to vice chairman Robert Falzon, the New Jersey-based multinational is committed to cultivating the capabilities of its 50,000 employees. Many of its workers are also its financial services customers. This, along with low unemployment in the industry, helps explain why Prudential is working to develop its internal market for skills, identifying both supply (workers) and demand (jobs) in terms of competencies, expertise, and attributes, rather than experience and general categories. Falzon explains how this symbiotic approach leads the company to pursue efficiencies as it also looks to foster the careers of its home-grown talent.

Dec 04, 2019
Rebooting the apprenticeship for tech jobs

The Washington Technology Industry Association’s Apprenti apprenticeship program is a creature of the Seattle tech industry. But since its 2015 founding, it has become a national player in the workforce development market. As a partner in the federal government’s push to extend apprenticeships beyond construction and the trades, Apprenti is addressing the skills gap while diversifying the tech workforce. Executive Director Jennifer Carlson discusses how Apprenti connects employers with promising candidates, many of whom lack 4-year degrees, and helps them navigate the complexities of federal and state systems.  

Nov 27, 2019
Factories without walls: How Autodesk is redesigning the work of architecture, construction, and manufacturing

Computer-aided design pioneer, Autodesk, is tightening the integration of design and production in everything from architecture to movies. This simple concept has far-reaching implications for the nature of work. Jobs, supply chains, and industries are set to become more transparent, automated, and interconnected. Construction is on the verge of becoming more like manufacturing, thanks to machine learning and cloud-based automation and control. Manufacturing is becoming more automated and customized. Training will become a continuous function of many jobs. CEO Andrew Anagnost is collaborating with Autodesk customers and workers to speed the process and seeking ways to mitigate the disruptive effects. He joins us to discuss these changes and how to address the skills gap in tech, construction and manufacturing.

Nov 20, 2019
Werk-ing the angles: how mapping work to real life can boost productivity

Werk Enterprises uses surveys and data analytics to help organize work through a set of predefined, flexible arrangements, rather than the traditional 9-to-5 in the office. This HR version of mass customization can recalibrate the relationship between employers and employees to better match the needs of both. HBS alumna Anna Auerbach and her cofounder, Annie Dean, were initially motivated by the challenges facing professional women, whose careers have often suffered due to the conflicting demands of work and life. Werk touts hard numbers – in employee retention, net promoter scores, and productivity --  to make the business case for carefully tailored flexibility across the board, in contrast to the chaotic approach blamed for recent high profile pullbacks.

Nov 06, 2019
How global trade and AI are resetting the terms of white-collar work

International trade expert and former presidential advisor, Richard Baldwin, discusses his latest book, The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work. He argues that the speed and sweep of economic and social changes resulting from global connectivity and AI could provoke widespread dissatisfaction. These factors are already influencing white-collar, middle-class employment. Work that can be automated or done remotely offers employers huge potential savings. Jobs that require onsite collaboration and interpersonal skills look less vulnerable.

Oct 30, 2019
Aspen’s playbook for linking talent ecosystems and the jobs environment

The Aspen Institute has spent the past decade deconstructing how top US post-secondary schools bolster their diverse students’ work and life prospects. The nonprofit recently released its Workforce Playbook, which distills the best practices of leading community colleges and lays out the challenges they face. This work-based learning curriculum writ large informs college administrators, business leaders, and policy makers as they look for innovative ways to cultivate community talent pipelines.

Oct 23, 2019
Handy’s CEO clears up the gig economy

Oisin Hanrahan, co-founder and CEO of home services gig platform Handy, has succeeded by finding order and opportunity in chaos. The former HBS student has navigated messy transitions, cutthroat competition, and a challenging venture funding environment. He is also on the front lines of the battle over worker classification. Now part of gig services conglomerate ANGI Homeservices, Handy has branched out from cleaning into skilled trades, contracting, and retail partnerships

Oct 09, 2019
"Been” there, learned that: Immersive workplace training with virtual reality

What do sales clerks have in common with NFL quarterbacks? Apart from a competitive nature, both can benefit from VR training. Former Stanford football player Derek Belch drew on his athletic background and a Master’s in VR to deliver the virtual goods via STRIVR, the startup he co-founded with Stanford professor Jeremy Bailenson. STRIVR started out supplying VR to football teams and has since made a concerted push into the enterprise. The technology has the potential to improve hard and soft skills.

Sep 25, 2019
How carefully managed career restarts can benefit individuals and employers

Life events, personal interests, and a host of other factors lead people to step away from work. The key is how to handle reentry. Carol Fishman Cohen, HBS ‘85, draws on her own experience to consult and write about what it means to come back from a career break in today’s economy. She sheds light on who the would-be returners are, what they bring to the workplace, the barriers they face, and how employers can include them in their talent pipelines.

Sep 11, 2019
How teaching robots the way the world works changes the world of work

Robots aren’t necessarily primed to take over, but advances in machine learning are readying the mechanical components of the workforce for more complex and autonomous tasks. Startup Osaro specializes in deep reinforcement learning systems, artificial intelligence for industrial robots. CEO Derik Pridmore talks about the adaptive decision-making capabilities working their way into warehouses and factories, and the prospect of machines with a wider, more human range of cognitive capabilities.

Aug 28, 2019
Fintech on Main Street: How small businesses are banking on new technology

Technology is changing financial institutions’ relationships with local businesses and sole proprietors, which account for half of America’s workforce. HBS professor and former head of the Small Business Administration Karen Mills sheds light on the ongoing transformation. Will new technologies expand access to credit for sole proprietors and small businesses on Main Street? How will these new technologies affect community banks? And what are the key challenges to smart Fintech regulation?

Aug 14, 2019
The energy industry’s cooperative approach to expanding the talent pipeline

The Center for Energy Workforce Development was created in 2006 to help the industry prepare for a generational wave of retirements and to diversify its workforce. Utilities are the proverbial canary in the coalmine, as U.S. organizations across the board struggle with skills gaps and demographic shifts. Southern Company Executive Vice President and CEWD Chair, Beth Reese, discusses the task of replenishing the talent pipeline from the dual perspective of utility exec and consortium head.

Jul 31, 2019
Advanced placement at work: a 21st Century apprenticeship model for the US

CareerWise Colorado is redefining job training and expanding the talent pipeline. The nonprofit apprenticeship program, patterned on the successful Swiss system, places college-track students in businesses from advanced manufacturing to finance. Founder Noel Ginsburg and COO Ashley Carter explain how Careerwise allows students to earn as they learn, become valued employees, and develop career networks and long-term prospects. It’s built to replicate, ramping up in Colorado and expanding nationally.

Jul 17, 2019
Expanding access and conveying competencies: How Western Governors University is rethinking higher education

Western Governors University was founded in 1997 to expand access to affordable higher education and to offer instruction grounded in the requirements of the job market. WGU President and HBS alum Scott Pulsipher tells Bill about the school’s innovative online model, which delivers a proficiency-based curriculum to working adults and members of underserved groups. With over 115,000 full-time students, WGU plans to reach an even wider audience. Is this a model for the future?

Jul 03, 2019
Fried chicken and fresh starts: fair chance hiring as a talent strategy

More people in the US have criminal records than have graduated from college. Joe DeLoss, founder of restaurant chain Hot Chicken Takeover, argues that people with a range of life experiences that previously kept them out of the workforce, like the formerly incarcerated, homeless, and addicted, defy easy categorization. With appropriate management, including clear expectations, relevant benefits, and frequent feedback, he says they can help create productive, stable, and profitable businesses.

Jun 19, 2019
Investing in innovation: boosting growth beyond superstar cities

Can a Manhattan Project on steroids revitalize languishing US regions and drive balanced economic growth? In their book Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream MIT economists Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson hearken back to the scientific, technical, and economic juggernaut assembled during the Second World War to make the case that public investment in innovation is the key to stimulating growth and reversing rising inequality across the country.

Jun 05, 2019
From gig to gig: Thumbtack’s CEO on the challenges facing contract workers

The phrase “gig worker” often conjures an image of a driver providing a routine service for low pay. But freelancers provide services on a contracted, or “gig,” basis in a wide range of fields from cosmetology to carpentry. In this episode, Joe hosts Thumbtack CEO Marco Zappacosta, whose platform matches hundreds of thousands of professionals with contract jobs across the country. Marco provides a unique view into the shared challenges these varied “pros” face. Will platforms like his provide the solutions?

May 22, 2019
Prediction: How AI will affect business, work, and life

How should we think about improvements in artificial intelligence? Bill speaks with Joshua Gans, co-author of "Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence," which argues that AI advances can be boiled down to making better predictions. As a component of a vast array of activities, enhanced prediction will have ripple effects throughout the economy. What new functions and business models will it create? What difficult questions will it force society to answer?

May 08, 2019
How edX is redesigning learning for the future

In a world where jobs are constantly changing, the workforce must be able to continually add skills, and receive credit for them, to remain relevant. In this episode, Joe speaks with Anant Agarwal, MIT professor and CEO of education platform edX, who says “the future of work is the same as the future of learning.” Launched in 2012 as a joint venture of Harvard and MIT, edX has brought to market innovative solutions for today’s learners. But will their approach address the needs of tomorrow's workforce?

Apr 24, 2019
The prognosis for AI-assisted radiology

Improvements in machine learning and image recognition, and gradual acceptance by regulators, have brought innovative companies the threshold of the radiology lab. Bill sits down with HBS Professor Shane Greenstein to discuss one such company and the challenges of creating effective applications and bringing them to market. Greenstein also shares insights on how AI will impact radiologists, often labeled vulnerable to automation. Will they be freed from routine tasks? Or will they soon be a thing of the past?

Apr 09, 2019
How the U.S. is driving away foreign talent and what happens when American companies miss out

Foreign talent is critical to the success of American companies. But the barriers to hiring skilled foreigners are rising: increased bureaucratic scrutiny and new regulations make it harder to bring workers into the country, and hostile anti-immigrant rhetoric pushes talented foreigners away. Bill speaks to Envoy Global CEO Dick Burke about the challenges companies across the country face and how Envoy helps them navigate the complex immigration environment to meet their talent needs.

Mar 26, 2019
How Goldman Sachs is using technology to redefine banking

Goldman Sachs, a bastion of Wall Street for over 150 years, has been remaking itself using new technology. Marty Chavez, co-head of securities and former CFO, has played a key role in this transition as workflows, position titles, and business models across the bank are reimagined. As he says, trading and coding are now “literally” one and the same. Hear him describe how technology is changing what it means to be a bank and give tips to executives working to navigate the transition to AI.

Mar 12, 2019
AI and the value of expertise

AI has been predicted to replace humans in professions ranging from customer service representatives to medical doctors. But many have pointed out elements of human work that would be difficult to imagine being performed by AI. HBS Professor Raj Choudhury discusses his investigations into uses of technologies based on machine learning. AI, he says, will be a valuable tool in the hands of experts. Listen to hear why.

Feb 26, 2019
Uncertain times for global talent: News Corp's global mobility director on Brexit and U.S. policy changes

The recent wave of geopolitical events, including Brexit and changes in U.S. policies, are creating uncertainties for firms that must manage global talent. Rina Montalvo, News Corporation’s Director of Global Mobility, has an inside look at the impacts. How are these events affecting deploying talent globally? How are large companies gearing up to handle them?

Feb 19, 2019
Speaking the language of skills

As jobs change faster and faster and companies work to prepare their employees for the future, it is more important than ever for firms to assess the talent they have and understand skills they need to compete. David Blake, founder and Executive Chairman of Degreed and author of the new book The Expertise Economy, talks to Joe about how companies can learn to speak the language of skills and empower employees working to gain them.

Feb 05, 2019
IBM: View from the cutting edge of AI

If you ask her about emerging technologies, Sophie Vandebroek – VP of Emerging Technology Partnerships at IBM – can tell you firsthand how the pace of change is moving faster and faster. From AI to blockchain, Bill talks with Sophie about how businesses are harnessing the cutting edge of advanced technologies and what one of the world’s largest enterprise technology companies has learned from putting them to use.

Link to transcript.

Jan 29, 2019
The Caring Company

Almost a third of workers—and more senior executives—say their careers have been adversely affected by caregiving obligations. As Joe explains to this episode’s guest host, HBS alum and Care.com CEO Sheila Marcelo, demographic trends and the changing role of women in the workforce mean that employers must make informed choices and “do the math.” By not accounting for costs like reduced productivity and increased turnover, employers leave money on the table when it comes to care.

Link to our new report

Jan 16, 2019
Passion, purpose, and plan: Guiding students toward success at work

The largest charter school network in the US, KIPP, is preparing young people, K–12, to lead what CEO Richard Barth calls “choice-filled lives.” This starts with teaching both academic skills and “soft skills” that are crucial for success at work and continues with proper guidance about the different paths towards a successful career. Hear why Barth is bullish on how the future of schools is gearing up to connect students to employers and a lifetime of employment.

Link to transcript.

Dec 18, 2018
Larry Summers: Urban-rural inequality and the importance of work

Examining the realities of rural America, Larry Summers concludes that the problem is not just one of providing people with incomes—it’s about the very basic human connection between work and satisfaction. Speaking with Bill, Summers advocates “employer subsidies” to encourage hiring in depressed regions, as opposed to measures like Universal Basic Income, which “send a message that it’s fine not to work.”

Link to transcript.

Dec 04, 2018
Retraining road-trip: New skills for older workers

From South Carolina, to Appalachia, to Wisconsin, Professor Willy Shih set out across the country to understand the plight of older workers coping with the changing nature of jobs. His conclusion: the challenges are enormous, but finally, a grassroots movement is taking shape to retrain workers across communities in America. Professor Shih, who has a background in American manufacturing, shares his road-trip findings with Bill in this podcast as well as an HBR article.

Nov 20, 2018
Bridging the employer-educator divide

America’s skills ecosystem is broken. Employers are confounded by workforce development institutions. Middle skills employees can’t get the training they need. Educators aren’t held accountable for outcomes. Now, innovative providers are aligning stakeholders around a common cause: creating a pipeline of workers with 21st century skills. Joe quizzes Frank Britt, CEO of Penn Foster, one of the oldest non-traditional educators in the U.S., on how the new skills ecosystem must be radically redesigned.

Nov 06, 2018
How advanced technology is lifting the business of cranes

Panu Routila, the CEO of Konecranes, which makes port cranes and industrial lifting equipment, discusses how technology is transforming the business of moving many of the things we buy every day. Technologies such as data analytics and virtual reality are not only improving maintenance and revolutionizing employee training, but are leading to a constant evolution of business models. For a CEO like Panu, predicting the future has never been more important.  What do you think he sees when he looks ahead?

Oct 25, 2018
How Vodafone’s CEO is using AI to transform the way the company works (rebroadcast)

In a re-release of our first episode, Vittorio Colao, who stepped-down as CEO of Vodafone in October of 2018, discusses the sweeping changes technology is bringing across his organization, from call centers to senior executives. If you like this episode, listen to HBS Cold Call to hear Bill Kerr discuss the HBS case on Vodafone’s transformation.

Oct 18, 2018
Ep 14: The gift of global talent: Why talented people are the world’s most precious resource

In a special episode, Professor Bill Kerr talks with co-host Professor Joe Fuller about his new book on global talent. Talent, Bill argues, is the world’s most precious resource. It is the most important factor in driving innovation – critical in today’s knowledge economy. Though the US is the world leader in attracting global talent – a key driver of its phenomenal growth – the world around it is catching up. Can the US retain its edge or will it allow other countries to rise to the top?

Oct 02, 2018
Ep 13: Work without borders: How digital platforms are transforming the way firms get things done

As the world gets smaller, the talent pools available to firms are getting much, much bigger. By bringing employers and workers together and solving key challenges of contracting at a distance, digital labor platforms are changing the way work is done. Professor Chris Stanton, who has studied them for over a decade, discusses the ins and outs of tapping into these labor sources, how workers on these marketplaces compete, and how platforms are disrupting management. Are physical offices a thing of the past?

Sep 20, 2018
Ep 12: Why employers should care about care

As demographics change, caregiving responsibilities have become an increasingly integral part of employees' lives. Joe speaks with Care.com CEO Sheila Marcelo about how her experience of being “sandwiched” by care responsibilities led her to found her company. Caregiving benefits, she argues, are not only perks, but are critical to competitiveness for employers and the overall economy. And our current model is broken. Is Care.com the solution?

Sep 06, 2018
Ep 11: High school to JP Morgan in seven seconds: How businesses gain an edge by providing ladders of opportunity

There is a deep chasm separating the millions of Americans with limited access to college degrees from professional life. Gerald Chertavian, founder and CEO of Year Up, describes how his organization steps into this void, erecting ladders of opportunity to well-paying jobs while supplying leading businesses like Microsoft and JP Morgan with talent that would otherwise go overlooked. Where will one of their graduates end up this fall? No spoilers here.

Aug 16, 2018
Ep 10: Collaborate in the classroom, compete on the grid

As regional utilities across the country faced a silver tsunami of retiring workers, they came together as an industry to develop a pipeline of middle skills workers like linesmen and technicians. From identifying critical roles and competencies to developing curriculum, utilities relied on the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) to develop industry-wide solutions. Ann Randazzo, the head of the CEWD, says success lies in asking “what can we do better together than we can separately?”

Jul 31, 2018
Ep 9: How firms are building strategy around AI

As businesses grapple with advancing artificial intelligence they must make strategic choices. Senior McKinsey Partner Scott Rutherford finds that the best companies ask: How can we delight customers? Which functions can we trust to the technology and how will employee roles evolve alongside? How do we invest in human capital? Where should we be located? How can we reorganize to become more competitive?

Jul 17, 2018
Ep 8: What can businesses learn from the present crisis of trust in tech?

Professor Sandra Sucher, an HBS faculty member who has studied trust in business for over a decade, discusses “techlash.” With customers, employees, and governments reacting to transgressions by some of the world’s largest companies, the importance of trust is more evident now than ever. Sandra explains why businesses need our trust, how they violate it, and what they can do to recover.

Jul 11, 2018
Ep 7: The CEO of ING Netherlands describes his bank’s agile “big bang”

As customers become more demanding, businesses must work fast to release new products and provide a high-quality customer experience. To keep up, ING took a radical approach one might expect from a Silicon Valley technology company, not a big bank. Bill speaks with the CEO of ING Netherlands, Vincent van den Boogert, about his company’s abrupt shift to operating as an agile organization. Is it, in his words: Brave, braver, or stupid?

Jun 29, 2018
Ep 6: From hot dogs to helicopters, the Golden Triangle’s workforce transformation

Joe discusses the ins and outs of developing an advanced manufacturing talent pipeline in rural Mississippi with Macaulay Whitaker, the Chief Operating Officer of Golden Triangle Development LINK. She describes how companies like PACCAR, Steel Dynamics and Airbus Helicopters partner with the local education system to develop the talent they need while providing middle class jobs to the region. But the real challenge is: will the region be able to sustain its current pace of “uncomfortable growth”?

Jun 22, 2018
Ep 5: Big-game fishing in rural Mississippi: Attracting employers to the Golden Triangle

Joe Fuller speaks with Joe Max Higgins, the CEO of Golden Triangle Development LINK, to discuss how a rural region in Mississippi became an attractive destination for global businesses after several local factories were shut down. Though a small part of the process, the final pitch to one outside company may have involved large helicopters, ATVs, and the removal of power lines.

Jun 19, 2018
Ep 4: Jobs lost, jobs gained: Focus less on predictions, more on potential

Michael Chui, Senior Partner at McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), and an expert in artificial intelligence, believes that many jobs are going to disappear – including those done by MBAs and doctors – just not as quickly as people think. As he says to Bill Kerr, there is a lag between the rate at which technology advances and the rate at which it is adopted. Just think Star Trek.

Jun 03, 2018
Ep 3: What really worries the AFL-CIO about the future of work?

Damon Silvers, the Policy Director and Special Counsel at the AFL-CIO believes that with the Supreme Court slated to rule on Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees in June-July 2018, financial stability—not technology—is the biggest threat to America’s labor movement. Silvers tells Bill Kerr that he’s a technology optimist: technology can actually help strengthen the role of labor if it boosts productivity.

Jun 03, 2018
Ep 2: What smart employers are doing to prevent degree inflation

HBS professor Joe Fuller’s latest research Dismissed by Degrees shows that when companies start asking for a four-year college degree for jobs that previously did not require one, they not only reduce opportunities for workers but also restrict their ability to attract talent. Which is why companies like CVS, Hasbro, Lifepoint Health and State Street are taking active steps to combat degree inflation—and in the process opening up many thousands of jobs to middle class Americans.

Jun 03, 2018
Ep 1: How Vodafone’s CEO is using AI to transform the way the company works

Vittorio Colao, CEO Vodafone, is bringing about sweeping change at one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies. In a conversation with Bill Kerr, Colao shares the management challenge of using bots and advanced technology to transform activities like marketing and hiring. Digital ninjas, he says, help a lot.

Jun 03, 2018
(Trailer) Introducing: Managing the Future of Work by Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School Professors Bill Kerr and Joe Fuller talk to leaders grappling with the forces reshaping the nature of work.

May 31, 2018