What We’re Reading: New Skills, Talent and Employment

Corporate Learning and Development News
The city of Atlanta returned $1.3 million in federal grant money back to the state after the city failed to use the money before a June deadline. The funds were intended to provide training to unemployed and underemployed Atlanta residents to help them secure new jobs.
 
Bloomberg Businessweek explores how a tight labor market is driving American companies to invest in quality workforce training.
 
Harvard Business Review explains how to decide when training is actually needed in an organization, how to identify other activities or behaviors are actually more important levers for change, and how to make training effective when used. (Harvard Business Review, subscription required)
 
The lack of both infrastructure to train workers as well as a centralized platform for finding skilled-trades programs are major problems in Michigan, even as state policymakers try to steer young people into skilled trades. Experts suggest consolidating these trades programs under the state’s community colleges as a way to effectively develop the talent pipeline.
 
Credentials, Hiring, and Applicant Tracking News
A piece in HR Dive discusses the importance of considering “total talent acquisition” recruiting in order to ensure that companies account for all potential talent needs and overall strategic goals when making hiring decisions.
 
The latest Global State of Remote Work from OWLLabs finds that 56% of companies globally now allow remote work of some kind, with 40% offering a hybrid of remote and in-office work and 16% offering fully remote work.  44% of companies globally do not allow remote work at all.
 
New research by HireVue found that two-fifths of job seekers are hired only to find out they lack the soft skills necessary for the position. The research also found that 53% of people left a new position because of a personality mismatch and said that the format of the hiring process prevented them from discovering this sooner.
 
A piece in Forbes explores the tactic of solving business needs by recruitingnew hires, and why this strategy is likely to fail.
 
A new report by the Education Commission of the States highlights 5 key themes that attempt to address the discrepancy between the skills employers need and the training that colleges offer, including data utilization, stakeholder coordination and collaboration, a commitment to raising awareness around this issue, alignment of curriculum with workforce needs, and access to federal and industry funding.
 
General HR News
The latest PwC Annual Corporate Directors Survey finds that 87% of those surveyed believe culture problems within the corporation begin with the tone set by the executive team. Additionally, the survey found that while most directors believe diversity brings unique perspectives into the boardroom, 52% believe diversity efforts are driven by political correctness, and nearly half (48%) believe shareholders are too preoccupied with diversity.
 
The Wall Street Journal shares perspectives of top leaders from companies like Netflix, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., and United Airlines about ways to improve the workplace in light of recent reports discussing the experience of women in the workplace – including one from LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Co. that found that only one in five leaders in the workplace is a woman, and 1in 25 is a woman of color. (The Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
 
Employer Partnerships/Company Innovation
Last month, the state of South Carolina announced free coding education for all residents through a partnership between the Department of Commerce Office of Innovation and Build Carolina, called SC Codes. All residents with internet access will be able to use online curriculum as well as participate in classroom-led sessions through local partners. This a part of many large-scale efforts to training opportunities to strengthen the state's workforce.
 
Carahsoft, the government IT solutions provider, announced plans to incorporate LinkedIn Learning into the suite of programs provided to government entities. This will be in addition to existing LinkedIn Recruiter and Talent tools that have been included for the past five years.
 
Startups, Innovation, and Investment News
WeWork competitor Knotel raised $60 million in a funding round led by Norwest Venture Partners with participation from existing investors Newmark Knight Frank and Bloomberg Beta.
 
Envoy, a tech company that develops tools for a more digital workspace, raised $43 million in a Series B investment round led by Menlo Ventures, with additional funding from existing funders Initialized Capital and Andreessen Horowitz. (The Wall Street Journal, subscription required).
 
Teamable, a hiring software, raised $5 million in an investment round led by Foundation Capital. Additionally, the company announced the acquisition of Simppler’s referral platform. The companies will remain separate. Funding will be used for expansion and development.
 
As companies are increasingly thinking of ways to use augmented reality to improve worker experiences, Spatial is developing an augmented realityconference room that will allow teams who work remotely to engage with one another in these virtual spaces. Participants will be able to see one another as photorealistic avatars, while also allowing photos, websites, Post-its, and webcam feeds to be placed onto the shared virtual walls while working.
 
BetterUp, provider of the mobile-based leadership development platform, announced that it will be launching three new products at its annual SHIFT conference. The new products will make coaching more accessible through on-demand coaching as well as coaching on things like sleep and nutrition, demonstrating BetterUp’s commitment to the whole person.
 
Macroeconomic Trends and Public Policy
A piece in Harvard Business Review explores why increasing wages alone does not lead to higher performance and a better job experience for employees.  (Harvard Business Reviewsubscription required).
 
Southern cities dominated in a study released by the Computing Technology Industry Association that ranked the best places to live and work for tech professionals. Charlotte was ranked number 1 on the list, followed by Raleigh and Austin. (The Washingon Post, subscription required)
 
On November 1 from 2-3pm EST, The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Ombudsman Office will be hosting a listening session to learn more about the impact of the suspension of premium processing for H-1B petitions. The session will be open to the public, including businesses, employees, and other stakeholders.
 
According to the October Beige Book from the U.S. Federal Reserve, employers report that finding qualified employees remains a challenge due to the tight labor market. Companies are experiencing high turnover rates and are struggling to retain employees. In response, they are offering signing bonuses, flexible work schedules and increased vacation allowances.
 
Other
A new NPR-Ipsos poll found that 40 percent of Americans feel the #MeToo movement has gone too far and while this term was not defined in the survey, three-quarters of those who said it has gone too far identified as Republicans as compared to less than one-quarter who identified as Democrats.