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

Corporate Learning and Development News
Social physics, the study of patterns of social interaction and information flows, can help L&D professionals create environments that nurture creativity, learning, and innovation, according to Allison Horn, managing director of learning and development at Accenture.
Augmented reality has the potential to change the talent development profession. A report from ATD offers tips on designing successful AR learning opportunities, from determining what learning problem you’re trying to solve for to engaging with IT on security or data practices that may hinder implementation.  
Despite the rising importance of technological know-how, a recent survey found that employers still prioritize soft skills the most when considering candidates. In fact, 65% of employers cited soft skills as the most in demand skills.
An article in HR Dive advocates for considering costs associated with upskilling an investment, rather than an expense, citing the approach of leading employers like Walmart.
Credentials, Hiring, and Applicant Tracking News 
From utilizing emerging technologies like AI or video games, to simply changing the tenor and questions asked, companies from McKinsey to Microsoft are changing the way they interview to improve the quality of hires.  The companies recognize that prior processes were too long or stressful, and may have unintentionally weeded out good candidates.
More employers are use trial periods as a way to determine if a candidate will be a good fit for an organization in the long term. Forbes offers ten tips for how to make a trial period for a new employee effective, including focusing on onboarding, training, and mentorship.   
According to a recent survey, 94% of employers said they would hire former employees who left the company on good terms. However, only 52% of those same former employees would be interested in considering such roles. This article suggests several things recruiters can do to make returning to an organization appealing for former employees.
Future of Work and General HR News 
Recent research done by Burning Glass Technology reveals that “hybrid jobs” are changing the job market. These jobs combine surprising skills such as design and computer programming. A Wall Street Journal article discusses the ramifications of combining left-brain and right-brain skills into one position, including a decreased risk of automation-driven unemployment.
Gallup has compiled ten of their reports’ most insightful conclusions as a way to assist leaders in developing effective corporate structures in the new year. The reports’ takeaways range from equating employee experience, to employment brand, to the importance of managerial positions.
Predictions indicate that international wage growth will decline in 2019. This is in part because of a rise in inflation which translates to a drop in real-wage growth. The highest wage growth is expected in Asia with a 2.6% increase in real-wages when adjusted for inflation, while the Pacific is likely to experience just 0.3% growth.
Retaining your top performers is all about motivating them, engaging them, and aligning their work with their aspirations, according to an article by HR Dive. Corporate leaders told the publication that employees are increasingly caring about more than their salary and understanding what they are looking for in their workplace is crucial to retaining top performers who could find employment elsewhere.
Employer Partnerships/Company Innovation
Walmart recently announced they will be providing the Colorado Workforce Development Council with a grant of more than $4 million to help create pathways to career advancement in the retail and hospitality industries. The $4 million in funding is the latest investment as part of the Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s Retail Opportunity Initiative.
Startups, Innovation, and Investment News
Hone, a workplace training program designed for modern and distributed teams, announced the completion of a $3.6 million seed round led by Cowboy Ventures and Harrison Metal. The company plans to use the funding to support its continued growth and develop additional programs to support small businesses, as well as mid-market and enterprise organizations.
JobzMall, a company focused on connecting job seekers and organizations, launched an innovative platform to bridge the gap between younger job seekers and employers. Using a unique design based on building layouts, JobzMall’s website displays six virtual buildings occupied by hiring organizations categorized by type and industry. On each “floor” applicants can learn more about specific industries and employees and submit video job applications.
This week, Reflektive, an HR management platform, announced that it is integrating its Performance and Intelligence solutions with a new Engagement product to provide HR professionals with a unified “people management suite”. With the system’s tools, users can quickly make equip make data-driven, strategic talent decisions without having to analyze raw data.
Luminari, a management platform for Canadian CPAs, completed a second seed round, raising $845,000 from strategic angel investors. CPA Ontario board member Jean Desgagne and several other private investors led the funding round. The company plans to use the new funds to increase its presence across Canada and grow its team.
Macroeconomic Trends and Public Policy
Democrats in the House and Senate introduced a bill last week aimed at helping Americans find work and develop skills that meet employers’ needs. The ELEVATE Act would provide funding to public and private efforts to incentivize employers to hire and retain workers, particularly those who face barriers to employment like prior criminal records, long-term unemployment, displacement and homelessness.
Skillful Indiana, an initiative of the Markle Foundation, announced the Skillful Governor’s Coaching Corps, a statewide initiative to provide professional development to career coaches from workforce boards, educational institutions, and nonprofits.  The coaches will learn how to identify skills held by job-seekers, and how to match these individuals with opportunity, including through leveraging technology like LinkedIn.

People trust their employers more than business as a whole and more than the government, according to a survey published Monday by public relations firm Edelman. The firm found that 75% of survey respondents trust their employer, compared to 56% trust in business and 48% who trust government.