Where Does Research Meet the Road?

The following comes from Kathy Kacher, President of Career/Life Alliance Services, an organization dedicated to the development and integration of workforce engagement, development, work-life and workplace flexibility/mobility solutions.

Every day, across companies around the world, leaders are charged with providing the WHY to a variety of programs and initiatives they believe will improve their organization's performance.  Their mission is to find best practices, preferably from competitors, and dive deeply into the Google abyss in hopes of locating the research paper that will help them gain the support they need to move their initiative forward in the organization.  Equally, every day, across universities and research facilities around the world, researchers are working tirelessly to pitch their research ideas to funding agencies in hopes of gaining their support to improve the world. I simplify the processes above, but the outcomes are still the same: Organizations rely on evidence to help them develop engaged, productive, healthy, happy employees. Researchers need subject matter  to help them create evidence. Seems like a match made in heaven!

Perceived Barriers to a Perfect Partnership?

There may be resistance from companies to collaborate with researchers. There are often perceptions that working with a university is too bureaucratic, may move more slowly or may conflict with a company's policy on privacy. But there are hundreds of examples of successful university/company partnerships that have created sustainable change inside of organizations.

Researchers and HR Practitioners: Evolving the Workplace Together

One excellent example of where research met the road was at the University of Minnesota, where researchers partnered with Best Buy to study the impact of schedule control on employee health and well-being. You can read all about it in the NY Times. Another example goes way back to the 1990's when MIT worked with Xerox to identify the typical assumptions that stood in the way of productive work. One was the flawed concept of the ideal worker the worker who has complete allegiance to the organization, is always accessible, and shows commitment by being willing to do anything at any time. The research helped lead the way to new approaches to measuring employee commitment. This research was recently featured in Strategy+Business.

An Invitation to Come Together

On June 23, 2016, there will be an opportunity for leaders and researchers to come together to learn about collaboration and how academic/company relationships can be developed to bring value to both organizations. The Work and Family Researchers Network, founded in 1997, will be hosting their biennial conference in Washington,  D.C. One day of this three-day event has been carved out to bring organizational leaders together with industry researchers.

Please click here for more information on why you should attend on June 23, 2016.