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Dr. Rachel Fichter, global talent leader and executive coach, Joins Organizational Strategy & Learning Class

Dr. Rachel Fichter, global talent leader and executive coach, joined Nabeel Ahmad’s Organizational Strategy & Learning class to discuss how the performance management process can be transformed into learning and career-development opportunities. Dr. Fichter is an accomplished senior executive with 20+ years of success in financial services, currently leveraging her extensive experience to help the world’s leading provider of credit ratings build the capabilities necessary for long-term success.

Organizational Strategy is a three-credit, core course designed to improve Human Capital Management (HCM) students’ understanding of the intersection of strategy, human capital management, operational planning, and organizational development.

Dr. Fichter opened by talking about the challenges associated with performance management and how the outcomes often fail to meet the goals of the process. She shared mindset strategies and practical insights that help organizations and leaders improve their own performance management processes.

From assessment to investment. When the conversation is reframed around investing in employees, learning becomes a primary objective. Managing performance is more about learning and growth than about assessing someone—and it’s a continual cycle to see how to help people perform better.

From feedback to insights. There are often negative connotations associated with the word feedback. Established neuroscience research indicates that people shut down when given feedback. Transforming feedback to insights and encouraging employees to seek out insights from others are effective strategies that result in behavior change.

Weekly check-ins. Instead of conducting annual or infrequent performance reviews, where recency bias often occurs, consider starting with a weekly check-in to talk about what is—and what is not—working. Plus: Get insights from multiple perspectives and iterate. These agile principles allow for maximum flexibility and staying on course.

Rewards for learning. Traditionally, promotions have been a multilayered process that often has little to do with employee development. When the core idea shifts to rewarding people for learning and developing skills, the path to promotion becomes more transparent while the organization benefits from its employees building, and using, newly learned skills.


The Columbia University M.S. in Human Capital Management program prepares graduates to be world-class HCM strategists able to address changing needs in building and motivating talented, engaged workforces in the private, public, academic, and not-for-profit sectors. The 36-credit program is available in part-time, full-time, on-campus, and online formats. The part-time degree can up to six terms to complete and full-time degree can take up to three terms to complete. 

Fall 2023 application deadlines for the M.S. in Human Capital Management program are February 15, 2023 for the priority deadline; March 15 for applicants with international documents; and June 15 for the final deadline. Learn more here.