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

Highlights
Companies like Mercedes are exploring the world of virtual reality training for employees. In this article, SHRM shares about the benefits of VR for workplace training, including the potential for simulations to provide lifelike experiences in a safe learning environment. (subscription required)
 
According to HR Dive, learning and development managers should include development of leadership skills to support new managers as they adjust to their new roles. The author recommends the inclusion of soft skills training and mentorship to guide new managers.
 
According to a recent analysis from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. the percentage of job seekers relocating for new employment has fallen drastically since the late 1980’s. The analysis also suggests that growth in remote work, and an increase of jobs where workers live has played a role in decreased  job relocations.
 
According to Business Insider, workplace chat app, Slack, raised $427 million in a funding round led by Dragoneer Investment Group and General Atlantic. The round was also joined by T. Rowe Price, Wellington Management, and others.
 
New research from Emsi found that the skills most in demand among top Fortune 500 companies (e.g.,  Walmart, Exxon Mobil, Apple and Amazon) include management, communications, operations, leadership, problem solving, and innovation. Researchers note that many of these skills are considered “soft” skills imperative to corporate culture and competitiveness.
 
U.S. companies are keeping their salaries and budgets stagnant in 2019, according to the latestU.S. Compensation Planning Survey released by HR consulting firm, Mercer. Just 4% say they are planning to redirect tax savings to fund salary increases in 2019, despite widely reported concerns about attracting and retaining talent. Budgets for salary bumps have held steady at 2.8% since 2015.
 
Nearly 11,000 of the FedEx Memphis World Hub employees will now be able to earn an online degree from the University of Memphis through the Learning inspired by FedEx (LiFE) program.
 
Corporate Learning and Development News
Companies like Mercedes are exploring the world of virtual reality training for employees. In this article, SHRM shares about the benefits of VR for workplace training, including the potential for simulations to provide lifelike experiences in a safe learning environment. (subscription required)
 
In the second piece of his series in CLO Media, Mike Rustici profiles the impending shift into a more data-driven learning environment in the workplace. He suggests that like marketing, learning development is becoming more quantitative and strategic.
 
According to HR Dive, learning and development managers should include development of leadership skills to support new managers as they adjust to their new roles. The author recommends the inclusion of soft skills training and mentorship to guide new managers.
 
A recent study highlighted in Harvard Business Review examines the coaching skills of managers. The study suggests that most managers don’t understand what effective coaching really is, and instead end up offering advice or direction. However, the study also demonstrated that managers can improve their coaching skills in a relatively short amount of time (15 hours) with training. (subscription required)
 
Sherrie Haynie, a contributor to CLO Media, emphasizes the importance of personalization to workplace training. The author suggests that while it learning technology is increasingly becoming the go-to-solution for employers, they pay close attention to  employee preference.
 
Credentials, Hiring, and Applicant Tracking News
New research from Emsi found that the skills most in demand among top Fortune 500 companies (e.g.,  Walmart, Exxon Mobil, Apple and Amazon) include management, communications, operations, leadership, problem solving, and innovation. Researchers note that many of these skills are considered “soft” skills imperative to corporate culture and competitiveness.
 
Inc. published an interview between CNBC's Adam Bryant and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, who explained his leadership philosophy and approach to hiring. Weiner shares that one way to determine whether a candidate is a good fit for a job over the long term is by asking: "What's your ultimate dream job?"
 
According to a recent workplace diversity report by HR-platform Namely, direct reports often reflect their manager’s ethnicity when the managers had the final say in hiring decisions. The report found that while the majority of direct reports are white employees, they ranked second on teams led by Asian and Hispanic managers. For example, nearly 44 percent of employees with an Asian manager are Asian. SHRM shares examples of businesses who have acted in accordance with the findings. (subscription required)
 
According to a recent survey report from Robert Half Technology, 95% of IT tech leaders admitted to making a bad hire, but 38% claim that bad hiring stems from new hires’ inability to complete the job as expected. Robert Half Technology provided five tips to help hiring managers avoid costly mistakes when hiring IT talent.
 
According to a recent analysis from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. the percentage of job seekers relocating for new employment has fallen drastically since the late 1980’s. The analysis also suggests that growth in remote work, and an increase of jobs where workers live has played a role in decreased  job relocations.
 
survey from AARP of nearly 4,000 multicultural employees reveals that the most important reason for employment for older workers – those over 45 – is because they need the income (42%). Additionally, the report finds that 91% of those surveyed require a workplace culture where the boss treats them with respect.
 
Harvard Business Review shares expert analysis of a correlation found between the state of the economy and employer demand for credentials. Experts suggest that when the economy is doing better, employers require fewer credentials. As a result, experts suggest that employers and educators alike take note of real time labor market data to respond more quickly to the needs of their counterparts in the labor markets. (subscription required)
 
Despite 60% of U.K. businesses citing emotional intelligence as an important skill for employees to have, 1-in-4 business leaders say it is undervalued in the hiring process, according to new research from Robert Half. The benefits of employees with high emotional intelligence include increased motivation and morale, improved leadership, and better collaboration between teams. Areport from the World Economic Forum predicts emotional intelligence as one of the top ten skills for employees by 2020.
 
General HR News
At piece in Quartz at Work provides advice to freelancers, who aren’t protected by equal employment laws, on how to respond to discrimination at work. Recommended strategies include talking to a human resources professional, writing anti-discrimination clauses into contracts, or joining a union.
 
A recent CreditLoan survey of more than 1,000 people suggests that women are less likely than men to receive raises upon asking. According to the data, only 9.1% of women surveyed who asked for a raise received the full amount requested, compared to 13.3% of men. To improve the odds, USA Today recommends that women negotiating for a raise use research and data to make the case for increased pay, highlight contributions to the workplace, be confident, and don’t assume that salary is always determined by gender.
 
U.S. companies are keeping their salaries and budgets stagnant in 2019, according to the latestU.S. Compensation Planning Survey released by HR consulting firm, Mercer. Just 4% say they are planning to redirect tax savings to fund salary increases in 2019, despite widely reported concerns about attracting and retaining talent. Budgets for salary bumps have held steady at 2.8% since 2015.
 
A recent piece in HR Dive explores how many companies have merged their marketing and HR teams into a unified unit - outlining how HR departments are now very much integrated into recruitment, brand building, and outward facing media relations. Potential employees not only value an alignment between the external and internal reputation of a company; in an era where corporate transparency and responsibility are highly valued, corporations are making a concerted effort to have their HR departments do more than serve as a support function.
 
A recent survey conducted by the anonymous community workplace application, Blind, found that70% of employees at technology companies do not trust their HR department (for frame of reference, 50% of employees among all companies do not trust their HR department). Beyond a general feeling that HR is not a helpful ally, employees voiced concerns over the ability of HR departments to y help those that come to them for assistance - prompting some companies to turn to outside third parties to investigate employee claims.
 
Employer Partnerships/Company Innovation
In an effort to use AI to help employers identify qualified job applicants, Google announced that the job search feature of its Cloud Talent Solution is now generally available. Launched in 2016 as Cloud Jobs API, Cloud Talent Solution is a job search development platform that matches employers and job seekers based on their preferences. Google also announced, “profile search”, a new Cloud Talent Solution tool that will allow staffing agencies and enterprise hiring companies to more efficiently sort through databases of past candidates.
 
Nearly 11,000 of the FedEx Memphis World Hub employees will now be able to earn an online degree from the University of Memphis through the Learning inspired by FedEx (LiFE) program. The program offers full tuition for students who would like to earn a degree from one of the 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs available through UofM Global. The LiFE program also supports employees in earning a high-school diploma or an equivalent degree. Employees can begin the program at any time, and must remain in good standing with both the university and their workplace.
 
Startups, Innovation, and Investment News
According to Business Insider, workplace chat app, Slack, raised $427 million in a funding round led by Dragoneer Investment Group and General Atlantic. The round was also joined by T. Rowe Price, Wellington Management, and others.
 
ThinkHR, an HR software and services provider, received an investment of $67.5 million from Guidepost Growth Equity. The company plans to use the funding to expand growth in their current markets as well as into new markets.
 
Vervoe, an online job recruitment platform, launched a new AI platform that will allow job seekers to complete a skills focused task, the results of which will prompt recommendations to be sent to recruiters. According to VentureBeat, the creators suggest that this feature will help reduce bias that often comes with the traditional recruitment but rather focus the selection on skill.
 
Macroeconomic Trends and Public Policy
Last Friday, the IRS decided through a private letter ruling that an unnamed company could offer student loan repayments as part of their 401(k) benefits package. Unlike a direct student loan benefit, which is considered taxable income, the arrangement approved by the IRS in its letter lets companies put equivalent pre-tax funds into a worker’s 401(k) account. While only 4% of employers currently offer their employees some form of assistance to repay student loans, many believe this ruling could prompt employers, particularly those looking to attract and retain young and educated workers, to consider offering student loan repayments as part of their retirement benefits program.
 
Other
A recent study published in the scientific journal Work and Stress suggests that leaders play a critical role in improving their employees’ well-being by decreasing emotional exhaustion--through providing role clarity, predictability, and meaningfulness in work. Emotional exhaustion in employees is a serious detriment to the functioning of an organization, a key component of burnout, and is experienced by 77% of U.S. employees.