Tammy Erickson

Tamara J. Erickson is a McKinsey Award-winning author and widely respected expert on collaboration and innovation, on building talent and enhancing productivity, and on the nature of work in the intelligent economy. Her work is based on extensive research on the changing workforce and employee values and, most recently, on how successful organizations innovate through collaboration. Erickson has authored or co-authored numerous Harvard Business Review articles, including “It’s Time to Retire Retirement,” winner of the McKinsey Award, an MIT Sloan Management Review article, and the book Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent. She recently completed a trilogy of books on how individuals in specific generations can excel in today’s workplace: Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer GenerationWhat’s Next, Gen X? Keeping Up, Moving Ahead and Getting the Career You Want and Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work. An interactive, engaging keynote presenter, Erickson consistently earns high praise, and was the #1-rated speaker at SHRM’s 2006 Annual Conference Master Series. She offers a fundamentally optimistic point of view, along with fascinating trends and actionable counsel. Perhaps more importantly, she will build-to-suit, depending on your learning objectives. Her blog, Across the Ages, appears on the Harvard Business Review site where it is the highest-rated blog. Her entries address how the talent shortage and shifting employee values will create opportunities for individuals and challenges for corporations that aren’t prepared! Erickson’s article “Leading Across the Ages” was one of Harvard Business Review’s Breakthrough Ideas of 2008. HarvardBusiness.org created a Best of 2007, a collection of the editors’ favorite content from the entire year. Three of the 19 selections are based on her work.


Innovation & Collaboration: Bringing People and Ideas Together
At the heart of innovation is the combination of two previously unrelated ideas. Creating the capacity for innovation in your organization means encouraging collaboration: namely, sharing knowledge and working together to create new ideas. The paradox: many of the best ways to encourage collaboration work against innovation! How can you balance both? Based on ground-breaking research—one of the largest and most rigorous studies of collaborative behavior within organizations—as well as years of experience with innovative organizations, three keys emerge: building the capacity to collaborate, asking great questions, and introducing sufficient diversity of thought and capability. Chances are high that many of the organizational practices needed…are exactly the ones you’ve d-emphasized in recent years. Learn specific ways to build collaboration among your employees, the importance of “great questions,” and new approaches for introducing diversity of thought. This presentation identifies the highest-priority investments and practices used to build an organization skilled at successful innovation.

Avoiding the Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent
A seismic shift is occurring in the workforce. Globally, several decades of declining birth rates are catching up with us. For the first time in modern history, the number of jobs created could begin to outstrip the number of people who desire to participate in the workforce, creating not just a temporary imbalance for a year or two, but a sustained, systemic scarcity over the decades ahead. And when you add a skill set filter over the raw numbers, the potential shortages look even more alarming. We’re at a tipping point. Over the next several years, most corporations will begin to experience a talent shortage. It will affect the relationships we forge with employees, the opportunities ahead for us and our children, our approaches to education, our philosophies toward retirement, and the fundamental way we live out our lives. In this presentation, Tammy offers a deep understanding of the composition of the future workforce, characteristics and expectations of the four generations in today’s workforce, and actions to attract and retain great talent.

What Does It Mean to Work Here? A Signature Experience for Extraordinary Engagement
Engaging your employees is not about copying another corporation’s best practices. Case studies of firms that have achieved extraordinary levels of employee engagement point to a provocative conclusion: there is no single best practice. It makes sense. Psycho demographic research clearly shows that individuals want very different things from work; work plays many different roles in our lives. Companies with extraordinary employee-employer relationships leverage these differences: they know who they are—and it’s not all things to all people—understand their current and future employees as clearly as most companies understand their customers, and demonstrate who they are vividly, with actual practices or events (not through slogans and posters). World-class companies create Signature Experiences, distinctive elements of the employees’ experience that dramatically illustrate the values that make them unique. These Signature Experiences become powerful ways to encourage self-selection and reinforce values, leading to retention. The result: high engagement, high customer satisfaction, and high productivity…and relationships that capture both hearts and minds. Tammy delivers examples of some of the unique approaches organizations use to achieve high levels of employee engagement. She also helps audiences understand the six psycho demographic segments that describe our relationship to work, and she provides specific ideas for creating Signature Experiences.

What are they Thinking?! Navigating the Multi-Generational Workforce
Three generations are working together in today’s workplace—each bringing different experiences and assumptions to the job. As the talent shortage grows, it’s increasingly important to create a culture that is welcoming and engaging for talented individuals of all ages. Based on years of in-depth research–and three books–on the changing workforce, Tammy Erickson helps audiences understand the underlying evolution of the assumptions each generation brings to work. Some of the insights include:

Boomers– Are you a Boomer? If so, here’s the good news: an unanticipated life bonus–extra years, filled with opportunities. Boomers are a member of the first generation that will experience a new life stage–a significant period of healthy, active adult life after your children leave the nest. Boomers may decide to launch a new career, start a business, work as a “cyclic” contractor, or turn to volunteer work.

Gen X– Gen Xer’s have traded the idealism of the Boomer generation for realism, tempered by value-oriented sensibilities that will help them serve as effective stewards of both today’s organizations and tomorrow’s world. They will force nations to produce more than they consume and fix the infrastructure. At mid-life, they are well-prepared to serve as pragmatic managers, applying toughness and resolution to defend society while safeguarding the interests of the young.

Gen Y– Technology guides their assumptions about communications, what they choose for careers, how they do work, how and where they learn, and their expectations of organizations they join. They have a desire to live life “now,” as well as high expectations for leadership opportunities. They do not stay very long. Tammy’s research shows that more than a third of all Gen Y-ers in the workforce today are currently and actively seeking a new job!

Contributing rich data and unparalleled research with her optimistic point of view, Tammy Erickson offers practical strategies and actionable insights so that audiences of all ages will better understand each other.

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