ISPI Performance Digest
Sept. 7, 2010

How BMW deals with an aging workforce
CBS News
BMW's workforce is getting older. But as Richard Roth reports, it's also maybe getting better. In a world where the route's always scenic and the road's always open, automaker BMW was worried it could be losing a race against time. That's catching up with the 18,000 workers who build the brand's luxury cars in Dingolfing, Germany. Production manager Helmut Mauermann was crunching the numbers, and found that BMW's workers are getting older. "No surprise," Mauermann said. "It's part of the demographic development of the German country as a whole, or even Europe as a whole." Demographers call it the "Silver Tsunami": a rising tide of grey hair. Americans over 65 will make up more than 16 percent of the population within 10 years. Germany is aging even faster: More than a fifth of the country (21.6 percent) will be over 65 by the year 2020. Older workers have more patience and skill that comes from experience, the studies say, but less flexibility, strength and vision — real liabilities on a production line that depends on precision engineering and a lot of hard work to turn out more than 1,200 cars a day.More

Companies must take steps to defuse workers' stress
Kansas City Star
Like many workers, Nancy Topolski found herself with more work piled on after her law firm laid off 11 legal secretaries. Topolski soon began stressing over work, losing sleep and making mistakes. One day, the stress erupted into a full-blown panic attack in the office. Trying to keep your cool in workplaces these days has become more difficult. The recession has brought a new set of issues, driving stress to a new level. Three out of every four American workers are on the brink of a meltdown, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University report. More

What's next in performance improvement with ISPI, Rossett, Gayeski, and Rosenberg
ISPI
Achieving effective results and re-defining the next stage of performance improvement demands an organizational shift that can only be realized with exposure to new thoughts and ideas. ISPI brings you three thought-provoking experts to help you discover and implement new ideas to answer the question, "What's next in performance improvement?" Join featured speakers Allison Rossett, CPT, EdD, San Diego State University, Diane Gayeski, PhD, Ithaca College and Marc Rosenberg, CPT, March Rosenberg and Associates, online on Sept. 13, 2010, from 12:00-4:00 p.m. Eastern Time in ISPI's virtual classroom and experience learning at its best.More

Any time, any place, any way
The Guardian
At the turn of the millennium, storing your entire record collection on a device no bigger than a deck of cards might have seemed inconceivable — never mind high-speed internet access in your pocket and daily "chats" with friends on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. The rapid pace of social and technological innovation has had a far-reaching effect on all aspects of life, including the workplace. So, given the astonishing rate of change, what does the next decade hold for learning and development? Undoubtedly, technology will have a crucial role to play, but with innovations being rolled out all the time, trying to predict what learning and development might look like in 2020 is a big challenge.More

Hotel chains try training with improv and iPods
The New York Times
Before two luxury hotels, the Andaz 5th Avenue in Manhattan and the Elysian Hotel in Chicago, opened their doors in recent months, both added something extra to their usual employee training practices: they hired improvisational comedy experts. The Benjamin, an upscale business travel hotel also in New York, took a similar tack to help its staff better serve guests, offering them a series of life-coaching sessions this summer. Other hotel brands — including Hilton Garden Inn, Aloft, Homewood Suites and SpringHill Suites — are using devices like iPods and the Sony PlayStation Portable to help with staff training. More

How do we raise research and development productivity?
PharmExec.com
An ill-posed question is a mathematician's term that well describes what many big pharmaceutical companies are asking themselves, namely, how can we raise R&D productivity? It’s ill-posed because it has not one but several answers, and would get better, clearer answers if it was broken down into several smaller, better-posed questions. The first question should be "what makes R&D productivity so low?" This was well addressed in a recent paper by some of Lilly's R&D team, which, using an econometric analysis, identified that late-phase attrition was the biggest cost driver. Not a very surprising result, although the details of their work provided some startling illustrations of the huge impact that, for example, pushing a product into Phase III prematurely can have on R&D costs per launch.More

ISPI SkillCast: Working together when you are apart: Web-based collaboration tools
ISPI
The cost of travel means teams that are not co-located must rely on collaborating via the web. Unfortunately, this sounds better than it works. You can waste a lot of your team's time just trying to operate the web tool. This session will provide a decision matrix to help you evaluate your needs and the tools that will help meet them. We'll discuss how these tools can help your distributed work team be productive virtually. More

Blazing their own trails
CFO Magazine
Training and development programs are now more flexible than ever, which makes employees happy and keeps costs in check. Autodesk CFO Mark Hawkins counts himself very fortunate to have worked for two companies with robust and carefully structured training and development programs. Hewlett-Packard, for example, sent him twice to graduate school and rotated him through various roles, some of which were overseas. Later in his career, at Dell Inc., he continued with job rotations and further honed his leadership skills by participating in a highly selective program that brought in CEOs of other companies and top strategists like Ram Charan to deliver guest lectures. Those experiences have inspired Hawkins, who joined Autodesk in the beginning of 2009, to press toward a lofty goal in his current position: "To give team members the best development experience they've ever had in their entire career." More

What are you worth?
Management-Issues
A report published on Sept. 1, by the Institute for Policy Studies in the U.S. shows that despite the recession, the pay of CEOs of major U.S. corporations averages 263 times that of the average of American workers. In the 1970s, very few CEOs made more than 30 times what the average worker earned. In contrast, the average American worker is taking home less in real weekly wages than he or she took home in the 1970s. What has happened in the intervening decades? The report points out that "executive pay overall remains far above inflation adjusted levels of years past. In fact, after adjusting for inflation, CEO pay in 2009 more than doubled the CEO pay average for the decade of the 1990s, more than quadrupled the CEO pay average for the 1980s, and ran approximately eight times the CEO average for all the decades of the mid-20th century." More

The importance of confidence in the workplace
Helium
If you want to get ahead in the workplace it helps if you have confidence, as without it you're likely to fade into the background even if you’re a capable worker. You have to believe in yourself to get anywhere in the first place, as otherwise you simply think that you're not particularly good at anything you try your hand at. When you don't believe in yourself there is a tendency to give up whenever things get difficult because you don't think that you're capable enough to handle it by yourself.More