Keith Tully’s picture

By: Keith Tully

The coronavirus pandemic made way for trailblazers of flexible work as employers embraced working from home around the globe to combat the spread of the virus. This redefined expectations and shaped the way nonproduction staff operated professionally during and after the pandemic.

As Covid-19 lockdown measures subsequently presented employees with more control over the way they navigated how they worked, when they worked, and where they worked, how did this raise the benchmark for employee retention? We dive into the topic of post-Covid-19 employee retention as the industry bears an acute labor shortage.

Katherine J. Igoe’s picture

By: Katherine J. Igoe

Work changed drastically during the Covid-19 pandemic. While the sudden switch to remote operations was incredibly overwhelming, for many workers it was also a time of intense productivity. Many nonessential tasks fell away as organizations concentrated on their most mission-critical work.

Nelson Repenning, associate dean of leadership and special projects at the MIT Sloan School of Management, says this is a known phenomenon. “Organizations tend to become much more functional during a crisis,” he says.

“I can’t tell you how many managers I’ve talked to who report working in a crisis as the most satisfying, engaging, exciting work of their career,” he says. “But when the crisis is over, they don’t learn the right lessons. They go right back to the same way of thinking as before.”

Scott Trevino’s picture

By: Scott Trevino

Nearly a quarter of surveyed healthcare cyberattack victims experienced increased mortality rates following a data breach, and more than half reported poorer patient outcomes due to longer hospital stays and delayed procedures. Healthcare has faced the highest average data breach cost—more than $10 million—of any industry for the last 12 years. The evidence is clear: Action must be taken to better prevent breaches and improve patient safety.

Congress is considering medical-device cybersecurity legislation, but the process is arduous. With an average of two healthcare data breaches per day, healthcare systems can’t wait for bills to pass. And even if they passed immediately, the short-term effect would be minimal. Patients need cybersecurity for medical equipment now.

NIST’s picture

By: NIST

As 2022 draws to a close, we ask NIST’s senior researchers to look ahead to the new year and beyond. They research topics that affect all of us, from indoor air quality to cybersecurity. So we ask our fellows, “How will the technology you are working on today affect society in the years to come?”

Here are their thoughts and predictions. 

AI will become even more common, but risks remain—Ellen Voorhees 

Ellen Voorhees. Credit: Kelley Roger

Artificial intelligence (AI) tools that can write and talk like people are getting a lot of attention right now. You can ask one of these tools for something, and it gives you a response in perfectly fluent English. 

There are many challenges with this technology. One is that the AI itself has no idea what it wrote or if the material it wrote is accurate. The answers could be true, or they could be completely ridiculous. 

Costas Xyloyiannis’s picture

By: Costas Xyloyiannis

During the early 2000s, I was a recent software engineering graduate. Along with a friend and fellow graduate, I landed some project work with a major pharmaceutical company. The CEO, who had just signed up to the U.N. Global Compact, needed to know how sustainable the company’s supply chain was. He tasked the chief procurement officer (CPO) to audit the company’s suppliers—some 150,000 of them.

Back then already, supplier data were a struggle. The CPO needed to know who all these suppliers were and whether they complied with a list of principles to which the company had committed. It was our job to develop the platform from which this could be determined. Long story short, the CPO was able to gain the visibility that he required. This meant he could demonstrate compliance at the board level, making the project a success.

It was exciting for us to witness the role that data played in making supply chains more visible. In the 20 years that have followed, we’ve had the opportunity to explore this topic with some of the world’s biggest brands. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience, it’s that good supplier data are a function of good supplier engagement. And importantly, the reverse is also true.

Amy Brown’s picture

By: Amy Brown

Listening to customers is critical for healthcare organizations to ensure they’re delivering high-quality care to their patients. Sure, the traditional methodology of doing so via surveys can increase customer retention and profitability. But much like evolving from analog to digital, there’s a better way to listen to patients.

Surveys don’t work. The responses nearly always lack context, and asking an already frustrated patient to answer a few questions skews the results.

Conversational intelligence—that is, using speech analytics to listen at scale—tells more than any written survey and is a must for all patient-focused healthcare organizations. While conversations happen in many places throughout a healthcare organization, contact centers already record customer conversations, making them the perfect place to apply conversational intelligence.

Let’s dig deeper into three ways conversational intelligence enables healthcare organizations—especially their contact centers—to use patients’ voices in the boardroom to increase positive outcomes.

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

One of the key stakeholders in stakeholder capitalism is the employee. You could argue that the employee is the key stakeholder, because without employees you’d have no stakeholders at all. This is why employers need to stay aware of today’s health environment and its effect on their employees. Employee sickness, absenteeism, and poor morale related to illness harm the entire company.

A wave of sickness

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects a new wave of Covid this winter that could more than quadruple the current infection rate, which aligns with projections of a major winter wave by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Multiple Authors
By: Marni Baker-Stein, Bridgett Paradise, Rodney Petersen

There’s a growing movement to increase competency and skills-based education and hiring practices in both the public and private sectors.

For example, the Executive Order on Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates calls on the federal government to “ensure that the individuals most capable of performing the roles and responsibilities required of a specific position are those hired for that position.” This results in “merit-based reforms that will replace degree-based hiring with skills—and competency-based hiring.”

Similarly, the “Principles for Growing and Sustaining the Nation’s Cybersecurity Workforce” emphasizes the importance of expanding the candidates pool by discontinuing the use of degrees as a mandatory requirement for jobs and revising job postings to be more transparent about the skills needed to perform and thrive in the role.

Michael Muillenburg’s picture

By: Michael Muillenburg

Consider these two pieces of recent industry data: (1) 75 percent of the workforce will be millennials by 2025. Thousands of experienced workers are retiring daily. The Silver Tsunami is real, and it’s rising fast. This unprecedented talent loss is draining industry of its ability to train and retain the incoming workforce. Manufacturers need to adopt proactive solutions to combat the effects of the shifting workforce of people hitting normal or early retirement.

Rachel Gordon’s picture

By: Rachel Gordon

The manufacturing industry (largely) welcomed artificial intelligence with open arms. Less of the dull, dirty, and dangerous? Say no more. Planning for mechanical assemblies still requires more than scratching out some sketches, of course—it’s a complex conundrum that means dealing with arbitrary 3D shapes and highly constrained motion required for real-world assemblies. 

Human engineers, understandably, need to jump in the ring and manually design assembly plans and instructions before sending the parts to assembly lines, and this manual nature translates to high labor costs and the potential for error. 

In a quest to ease some of said burdens, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Autodesk Research, and Texas A&M University came up with a method to automatically assemble products that’s accurate, efficient, and generalizable to a wide range of complex real-world assemblies. Their algorithm efficiently determines the order for multipart assembly, and then searches for a physically realistic motion path for each step.

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