What We're Reading: L&D, Training, and HR

Top Highlights

  • A study by Google revealed that training with virtual reality is more efficient and effectivethan just watching a training video.  While those using VR learned more quickly, and made fewer mistakes when transitioning their learning to the real world, they were also less mindful of certain risks that could not be adequately demonstrated via VR (e.g. components of a machine becoming very hot during production).
  • A LinkedIn report found that employees stay with their companies for growth opportunities. More than half of survey respondents who plan to stay with their current company for the next three years choose to do so because of opportunities for new challenges and skills improvement.
  • Forbes article examines how career development opportunities have become one of the most important perks for workers, especially Millennials.
  • This year’s Internet Trends Report identified insights for learning and development due to a growing interest in gaming (e.g., video games and e-sports). Gamified learning may help employees hone their leadership and communication skills, while the rise of mobile devices and cloud computing foreshadow the direction learning technology could take in the coming years.
  • DeVry University launched the new ”Career Ready” program, which aims to help veterans find jobs, advance their careers, and expand their professional development through a 16-week online course.
  • JumpStart, a startup incubator, received a $24 million grant from the KeyBank Foundation to create 4,500 jobs in the State of Ohio.
  • In a survey conducted by PwC, only 52% of technology executives rated their company’s digital IQ as strong-- a nearly 15% decrease since last year. Researchers suggest the change reflects changes in technology outpacing workers’ skills, rather than a decline in their technical abilities.
  • Four New England-based colleges have formed a consortium to expand workforce opportunities by collaborating on their offerings related to eco-friendly industries.

 

Corporate Learning and Development News

  • In a survey conducted by PwC, only 52% of technology executives rated their company’s digital IQ as strong-- a nearly 15% decrease since last year. Researchers suggest the change reflects changes in technology outpacing workers’ skills, rather than a decline in their technical abilities.
  • A study by Google revealed that training with virtual reality is more efficient and effectivethan just watching a training video.  While those using VR learned more quickly, and made fewer mistakes when transitioning their learning to the real world, they were also less mindful of certain risks that could not be adequately demonstrated via VR (e.g. components of a machine becoming very hot during production).
  • A LinkedIn report found that employees stay with their companies for growth opportunities. Of survey respondents who plan to stay with their current company for the next three years, more than half reported choosing to stay at their current position because of opportunities for new challenges and skills improvement. The report also found that 90% of job candidates are open to new career opportunities.
  • This year’s Internet Trends Report identified insights for learning and development due to a growing interest in gaming (e.g., video games and e-sports). Gamified learning may help employees hone their leadership and communication skills, while the rise of mobile devices and cloud computing foreshadow the direction learning technology could take in the coming years.
  • Harvard Business Review piece examines how to enable employees to pursue learning opportunities without losing sight of business goals. Some strategies include getting support from upper management, hiring with an intention to train new employees, looking at skills rather than roles, and placing some responsibility for learning on the employee. By allowing for greater employee learning opportunities, companies can better engage and retain their top talent.
  • Forbes article examines how career development opportunities have become one of the most important perks for workers, especially Millennials. The piece recommends that companies foster a culture of career development by holding regular team meetings, looking to the future as well as the past during evaluations, and discussing aspirations with team members to prevent top talent from pursuing better opportunities at other companies.
  • Machine learning may help personalize learning opportunities, argues a recent piece fromChief Learning Officer. By using data on an employee’s role and needs, as well as their interests and what they’ve learned previously, machine learning can suggest different lessons and learning methods. This, in turn, reduces time spent searching for and curating lessons. 
  • As technology advances at a faster rate, companies and society as a whole will need tochange their education model. A Chief Learning Officer article suggests that companies will need to create a learning culture by investing in employee training and fostering a mindset of lifelong learning in order to keep workers’ skills relevant in a rapidly changing economy.
  • A recent op-ed notes that video and interactive platforms may bring corporate training -- which HR departments have delivered through legacy learning systems and static learning models -- in line with current trends and technological capabilities.

 

Credentials, Hiring, and Applicant Tracking News

  • Flatiron School, a coding bootcamp based in New York City, released its annual report on graduation and employment rates, announcing that 99% of its students between August 2015 and December 2016 graduated. The report also stated that 97% of job-seeking graduates were employed, with an average starting salary of $75,997. 
  • A recent SHRM piece notes that challenges in attracting and managing staff at shipping warehouses are growing rapidly due to shifts toward online retail. Making senior staff available to warehouse workers and finding common ground with workers from multiple cultures could help companies attract new employees and retain the ones they have, despite stiff competition from competing warehouses.

 

General HR News

  • Adopting and embracing technology, analytics, and big data can benefit change management processes, argues a recent Harvard Business Review article. 
  • As the population grows older, companies are forced to find new solutions to avoid losing a large share of their most experienced employees, while workers have to find ways to finance longer periods of retirement. Some employers are embracing a potential solution known as “phased retirement,” where workers can move to a different role or reduce their hours at an organization, while still being available to work or provide insight.  
  • A recent report found that most companies don’t have training measures in place to respond to or mitigate cybersecurity breaches or corporate scandals. The report found that 25% of companies do not have a budget for ethics and compliance training, and over a third said that they saw no ROI for compliance training.

 

Employer Partnerships/Company Innovation

  • DeVry University launched the new ”Career Ready” program, which aims to help veterans find jobs, advance their careers, and expand their professional development through a 16-week online course. The program also includes mentoring from a career services advisor to provide coaching and support through the job hunt and interview process.
  • Ben & Jerry’s, the Vermont-based ice cream manufacturer, is offering courses to employees throughout their company to help develop skills in communication and emotional intelligence. Since the “Core Academy” was launched last year, company executives have reported that locations where employees have taken the voluntary classes experience higher customer satisfaction ratings, encouraging the company to develop more classes.
  • Four New England-based colleges have formed a consortium to expand workforce opportunities by collaborating on their offerings related to eco-friendly industries. They hope to partner with existing professionals in the rapidly growing sustainable and resilient building industries to connect students with credentials and jobs, while connecting employers with motivated workers.
  • Uber made drastic shifts in its evaluations system to address the serious issues it has faced in recent months. Among the changes are efforts to increase transparency, implement specific goals into evaluations, and expand feedback between managers and employees, which executives hope will keep workers involved and avoid the problems their old system couldn’t address.
  • McKinsey and CEO.works, an advisory firm, have been working together to rethink talent management in terms of the value added by every worker, rather than just executives. Using data and analytics, the two firms have been helping companies locate critical roles in their organizations that provide the most value, and place the best talent in those roles to maximize effectiveness.

 

Startups, Innovation, and Investment News

  • ExecOnline, a learning platform designed for business executives, raised $16 million in a Series B funding round led by NewSpring Growth Capital. ExecOnline currently partners with several business schools, including MIT-Sloan, Wharton, and Yale School of Management. Its program includes on-demand video lectures, live online collaboration with faculty, and self-paced exercises.
  • JumpStart, a startup incubator, received a $24 million grant from the KeyBank Foundation to create 4,500 jobs in the State of Ohio. JumpStart will use the grant to fund small, young companies, and to expand educational and workforce opportunities for women, students, and minorities.
  • A Cloud Guru, an on-demand cloud computing training platform based in the UK, raised $7 million in a Series A funding round led by Elephant Venture Capital. The new funding will help A Cloud Guru to expand its training to encompass all major cloud vendors and related technologies.
  • A small startup called Simcoach Games has produced an arcade of mobile “microgames” that expose players to different real-world careers and jobs. The games hope to draw potential workers into fields suffering labor shortages like construction, healthcare, and software development.
  • Xref, an Australian HR tech company, raised $7.5 million for international marketing and expansion. The company will also further develop its cloud-based platform for performing automatic reference checking and other tasks in the hiring process.
  • Grabjobs, a tech startup based in the Philippines, has developed a chatbot to interview prospective hires, and pre-screen job applicants based on their responses to predetermined questions. The bot is capable of operating in multiple languages, paving the way for expansion into other Southeast Asian markets. 

 

Macroeconomic Trends and Public Policy

  • Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), and Ann Kuster (D-NH) plan to introduce a new bill designed to address the skills gap in cybersecurity. TheNew Collar Jobs Act would modify student loan repayment programs for workers who take cybersecurity jobs in “economically distressed regions,” offer tax credits for employers who pay for cybersecurity training for their employees, authorize additional grant funding for the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program and for two-year education programs in the areas of information technology and cybersecurity.
  • Workers with an associate’s degree have seen strong job growth in recent years, with degree holders netting about 3.2 million additional jobs since 1991. The success of the associate’s degree indicates a possible alternative to the standard path through a four-year institution into the middle class at a time when tuition costs have surged.
  • New data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirms a common argument that a small group of IT outsourcing companies receive a disproportionately high number of H1-B visas, while paying below-average wages to their workers compared to top tech giants like Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

 

Other

  • A survey of U.S. workers found that 61% believe that the nine-to-five workday is an outmoded concept, with workers aged 45 years or older being the most likely to say that traditional schedules are outdated. The survey also found that 48% of workers admit to working while off the clock, and 52% will check or respond to emails outside business hours. 
  • A KPMG report estimates that India’s online education industry will grow to nearly $2 billion by 2021, with reskilling and online certification making up the largest share of the market.
  • Some corporate leaders are promoting happiness at work.