Tammy Erickson

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Award-Winning Author and Expert on the Changing Workforce, Generations at Work, and Organizational Collaboration; Adjunct Professor, Organisational Behaviour at the London Business School

Biography

Tamara (Tammy) J. Erickson is an Adjunct Professor of Organisational Behaviour at the London Business School, McKinsey Award-winning author and widely respected expert on organizations and the changing workforce. Her work is based on extensive research on changing demographics and employee values and, most recently, on how successful organizations innovate through collaboration. At the London Business School she has designed and co-directs the school’s premier leadership program, Leading Businesses into the Future, for senior-most executives.

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” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2006). Most recently, she completed a trilogy of books published by Harvard Business Review Press on how individuals in specific generations can excel in today’s workplace: “Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation” and “Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work” were published in 2008 and “What’s Next,Gen X? Keeping Up, Moving Ahead, and Getting the Career You Want” was published in 2009.

An interactive, engaging keynote presenter, Erickson is arguably the most respected voice on the dynamics of a changing workforce and generations at work. A member of the prestigious Thinkers50 list, she combines years of in-depth research with humor, anecdotes and customized observations for the participants in her sessions. She is consistently one of the highest-rated presenters in the programs where she speaks and has delivered keynotes from many distinguished platforms including HSM World Business Forum, Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), Linkage and Human Resource Planning Society. Erickson is particularly appreciated by corporate executives across many industries; organizations frequently bring her back for multiple engagements and continued collaboration at the most senior levels. Audiences value her powerful insights, which have implications for both their work relationships and broader lives. While she often challenges the basic assumptions of how companies manage their people, she offers uplifting counsel on how to improve the work experience and outcomes peppered with fascinating trends and stories.

Tammy Erickson is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Videos

Books & Research

What's Next, Gen X?: Keeping Up, Moving Ahead, and Getting the Career You Want

(Harvard Business Review Press, December 2009)

Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work

(Harvard Business School Press, November 2008)

Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation

(Harvard Business School Press, January 2008)

Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent

(Harvard Business Review Press, April 2006)

Third Generation R & D: Managing the Link to Corporate Strategy

(Harvard Business Review Press, April 1991)

Biography

Tamara (Tammy) J. Erickson is an Adjunct Professor of Organisational Behaviour at the London Business School, McKinsey Award-winning author and widely respected expert on organizations and the changing workforce. Her work is based on extensive research on changing demographics and employee values and, most recently, on how successful organizations innovate through collaboration. At the London Business School she has designed and co-directs the school’s premier leadership program, Leading Businesses into the Future, for senior-most executives.

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” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2006). Most recently, she completed a trilogy of books published by Harvard Business Review Press on how individuals in specific generations can excel in today’s workplace: “Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation” and “Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work” were published in 2008 and “What’s Next,Gen X? Keeping Up, Moving Ahead, and Getting the Career You Want” was published in 2009.

An interactive, engaging keynote presenter, Erickson is arguably the most respected voice on the dynamics of a changing workforce and generations at work. A member of the prestigious Thinkers50 list, she combines years of in-depth research with humor, anecdotes and customized observations for the participants in her sessions. She is consistently one of the highest-rated presenters in the programs where she speaks and has delivered keynotes from many distinguished platforms including HSM World Business Forum, Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), Linkage and Human Resource Planning Society. Erickson is particularly appreciated by corporate executives across many industries; organizations frequently bring her back for multiple engagements and continued collaboration at the most senior levels. Audiences value her powerful insights, which have implications for both their work relationships and broader lives. While she often challenges the basic assumptions of how companies manage their people, she offers uplifting counsel on how to improve the work experience and outcomes peppered with fascinating trends and stories.

Tammy Erickson is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

Leading Businesses into the 21st Century

Is your organization designed to take full advantage of digital innovation? Are you optimized to solve the most important challenges your organization faces? Over history, each time the business environment has changed, the companies that excel are those that developed new leadership and organizational practices – innovative responses to address the most differentiating challenges. Tammy Erickson will explore contemporary changes that require new organizational designs: changes in the way value is created, the way work is organized, how work is managed and integrated, what people want from work, how organizations relate to those who work, and the fundamental challenges that will make your organization iconic. She will share practical ideas to ensure your organization is built to excel today – and in the future.

Leading a Multi-Generational Workforce

Four generations are working together in today’s workplace – and a fifth is on the way. Each brings unique assumptions to the job. As a result, events in the workplace are often interpreted differently by individuals in different generations. What may seem like good news to a Boomer might well be an unsettling and unwelcome development to a member of Generation X; things that members of Gen Y love often seem unappealing or frivolous to those in older generations.

Today, 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 generations in the workforce, Tammy Erickson helps audiences understand the underlying evolution of the assumptions each generation brings to work, with humor, empathy and enormous insight. Contributing rich data and unparalleled research with her optimistic point of view, she offers practical strategies and actionable insights so that audiences of all ages will better understand each other.

Ten Assumptions That Are No Longer True… But Still Shape Our Organizations Today

Today’s organizations are ripe for change. Over the next several decades, we’ll see very different business entities evolve. Why? Because today’s organizations were designed in response to conditions that no longer exist. Do you still think loyal behavior at work will lead to a lifetime of protection and care from the corporation? Of course not. But many of our cherished talent management practices that are based on tenure, from pension plans to perquisites, like vacation, are holdovers from the days when this old assumption rang true.

There are many new business realities that we haven’t yet translated into our management practices and organizational designs. It’s time to question which practices still make sense and whether there are new options better suited to today. In this provocative and interactive session based on a forthcoming book, Tammy Erickson will highlight 10 assumptions that underpin organizations, all of which have major implications for the way we manage talent and run organizations, and yet none are true today. She’ll leave participants looking at their organizations – and themselves – through a whole new lens.

Innovation in the Intelligent Economy: Bringing People and Ideas Together

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 groundbreaking 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. Tammy Erickson identifies the highest-priority investments and practices needed to build an organization skilled at successful innovation.

This is a fresh look at one of the most challenging aspects of leadership today – creating an organization filled with the on-going spark of new ideas. Others address innovation from a process perspective – how to manage the development of innovations once an idea has surfaced, or provide a strategic overview. Erickson brings her unique organizational understanding to outline the embedded practices that create a culture of sustained innovation.

Building Collaborative Organizations

We are on the brink of an important transformation. New technologies are making their way into the workplace offering significant improvements in generating, capturing and sharing knowledge; finding helpful colleagues and information; tapping into new sources of innovation and expertise; and harnessing the “wisdom of crowds.” Over time, these collaborative technologies will change the way work is done and the way organizations function. They will shift the way we interact with people on our teams, find external expertise when it’s needed and share ideas and observations more broadly.

Identifying relevant business connections isn’t as clear cut as finding old high school friends. The range of activities that collaborative technologies can take on to enhance performance and drive increased productivity in the workplace is far broader than the activities most of us have explored during our personal use. Perhaps most importantly, many of our existing work practices actually hinder the successful use of extended collaboration.

How do you transform an organization that doesn’t have a collaborative culture? Which practices are essential to move in that direction? Which companies are taking new and interesting approaches to the ways they work, leveraging today’s capabilities? What do they tell us about the characteristics of organizations that excel at extended collaboration? Based on several years of deep research into the barriers and motivations for organization-wide collaboration, Tammy Erickson provides sound guidance on re-shaping your organization for future success.

What Does It Mean to Work Here? A Signature Experience for Extraordinary Engagement

A highly engaged workforce has never been more important. Much of the work today requires an individual’s discretionary effort – people have to choose to innovate, share knowledge and provide extraordinary service. Many employees, particularly those in younger generations, are less motivated by money than the connection they feel to the work.

Tammy Erickson’s unique, groundbreaking work on employee engagement provides some powerful perspectives for today’s leaders. As she’ll explain, meaning is the new money. Companies with extraordinary employee-employer relationships understand what it means to work in their organizations and excel at embedding that meaning in the day-to-day employee experience.

Engaging employees is never about copying another corporation’s best practices. It’s about digging deep to identify what’s uniquely important to your organization. As Erickson’s research shows, individuals find meaning in different aspects of work; work plays different roles in our lives. She helps audiences understand six psycho-demographic segments that describe our relationship to work and provides ways to understand the values that are most important to your employee population.

To bring them alive, leading companies need to first understand who they are and then design their organizational practices around their values. One of the most powerful approaches to strengthen meaning in the workplace is the creation of Signature Experiences – distinctive, value-driven elements of the employees’ experience that encourage self-selection and reinforce values, leading to retention.

Learn how to re-energize and re-engage your organization. Reconnect with and reinvigorate what it means to work here.

Global Generations

Geography significantly influences the formation of generational beliefs and behavior. Each country’s unique social, political and economic events shape specific views and attitudes among today’s adults. Understanding these country-to-country differences is critical to creating employment opportunities that attract and retain the best employees in each geographic area.

Tammy Erickson’s research has extended to the generations in a number of specific countries around the world, including the four BRIC nations, as well as countries in Europe and the Middle East. She will work with you to develop a customized session, focusing on the areas of the world that are most important to your business – or provide an overview of the similarities and differences within one generation around the globe.

Understanding individuals’ backgrounds and resultant perspectives or mental models, both within generations and across geographies, helps leaders grapple with the diversity, challenges and potential of a global workforce.

Get Ready for the Next Wave: The Re-Generation

The next demographic wave is almost ready to hit the shore. Children who are 15-and-under today are almost certainly not members of Generation Y. They’ve been influenced by a very different set of global events than those that shaped the ideas and preferences of people in their late teens and 20s today.

Today’s children have been forming their mental maps of the future at a time when our national and global optimism has been doused with the cold water realization that we are facing significant, seemingly intractable problems on multiple fronts. The inconvenient truths of the past half century – precarious global finances, resource constraints, shifting economic power and environmental degradation – are settling around our shoulders, and these early teens are not unaware of these issues or their complexity. This generation’s perspective is based on a world with finite limits and no easy answers.

What is this new generation, soon to be the fifth generation in many workplaces, all about? What do they value and how might they shape both the future of work and of the marketplace? Tammy Erickson’s newest research, the subject of a forthcoming book, brings the “Re-Generation” into sharp focus, with insights for employers, marketers, educators…and parents.

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Recommendations

Again named One of the World’s Top 50 Business Thinkers in 2013 (also in 2009 and 2011)

—The Thinkers 50

“Generation X will have to sharpen its skills if it can succeed in making the generations collaborate…. Erickson has written a book that is right for its time, full of illuminating insights and useful for anyone struggling with generational tension in management.”

Financial Times, December 2009

“Thanks again for a fabulous presentation and discussion. Very well done. Very informative and engaging. I really really appreciate the effort you made to engage the team on this topic. Many implications for our firm.”

—Steve Milovich, SVP Human Resources, Walt Disney Company

“Tammy Erickson was a phenomenal success! Our President said it was the best presentation of that type he’s ever heard and we are thrilled! We had people clamoring for copies of her presentation and it was a great idea to place her first on the program as she set the tone for the day and raised the bar considerably. It’s always a good sign when no one even gets up to grab coffee!”

—Mary Weekly, American Gas Association

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A-Z Name

Erickson, Tammy

Intro Video

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