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MIT CISR 2021 Research Projects

How Can You Make Your Workforce Future Ready?

Organizational Structure and Agility: Employee Experience, Talent

The focus of this research in 2020 was to gain insights into what it takes for large organizations to build a workforce that is equipped to deliver success in a digital world. Our findings resulted in a framework that brings together two key dimensions—digital fitness and digitization of work—that are critical to building a future-ready workforce that can solve complex problems. We also found that firms with a future-ready workforce outperformed their competitors on both revenue growth and gross margin.

While the framework, which identifies five states of readiness, is helpful for organizations to ascertain their current positions, the next challenge is to understand more about what it takes for companies to keep growing and moving toward the goal of having a future-ready workforce across the entire organization. In 2021 we will draw on existing and new quantitative data to understand more about leadership and costs. In addition, we will dig deeper into the framework and use case studies to better understand the activities and practices that are enabling firms to advance toward a future-ready workforce.

We will focus on the following key research questions:

  • What are leaders’ roles in developing a future-ready workforce?
  • What metrics help to track the progress of employees to becoming future ready?
  • What is required for employees to develop the digital fitness necessary to be empowered problem solvers?
  • What does it take to provide employees with access to the technology components required to actively engage in the designing of work?


  • Executives involved in leading the efforts of large companies to build the workforce of the future, employee experience, learning and development, and/or the digital workplace
  • Leaders of companies who believe that they either have an existing future-ready workforce or are well advanced in their efforts to reach that goal
  • Leaders with a passion for enabling their people to be successful in the world of digital

Contact: Kristine Dery


Kristine Dery, Research Scientist

Kristine’s research focuses on the dynamic between technology and the way people work. Currently, Kristine is investigating how organizations design their employee experience to enable their people to be the best they can be.

Cynthia M. Beath, Professor Emerita
Stephanie L. Woerner, Research Scientist

Stephanie’s work focuses on how enterprises use technology and data to create more effective business models and how they manage the associated organizational change. She has a passion for measuring hard-to-assess digital factors and linking them to firm performance.

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