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

Top Highlights


Corporate Learning and Development News

  • Josh Bersin explores how the nature of “careers” has changed over the last several decades, and how businesses can respond by focusing on continuous learning, growth mindset, and individual mobility. Bersin argues that to foster a culture of learning, companies should more aggressively establish career and learning paths for their employees, recognize the value of soft skills in all roles, and make as much learning material available as possible at little or no cost to employees.
  • Wall Street Journal article, also by Bersin, looks at what C-level executives can do tomake their companies more agile and innovative, such as embracing change and goal-oriented teams, rewarding talent mobility and flexibility, and using new communication and feedback tools both within and between teams.
  • Learning content and platform designers must keep up with changes in technology and workforce needs to stay relevant to consumers, according to HR Technologist. The article identifies the most impactful trends in learning technology, including analytics, social learning, and micro-learning.
  • When employees become disengaged, productivity, retention, and innovation suffer. ATalent Economy piece explores how companies can leverage learning opportunities to maintain employee engagement, by providing content that is interesting and applicable through an accessible format.
  • Culture is an integral part of any organization, so aligning learning goals with company culture is critical for learning programs to be effective. To do this, companies can promote a culture where leaders embrace learning, managers encourage learning, and employees serve as mentors to each other.
  • As companies in every sector scramble to integrate analytics into their business model, many overlook the need for continuous data analytics training. A Harvard Business Review article suggests forming competency centers, creating a leadership and development portal for knowledge sharing, and building certifications into analytics training as a form of assessment and recognition.
  • A recent Chief Learning Officer piece examined how VR training technology is growing across different industries, and found that for some fields, like construction, VR is rapidly becoming the norm -- whereas other industries, like healthcare, are constrained by shrinking budgets and cautious management. 
  • As online education becomes more affordable, easily accessible, and validated, people may begin hopping not just between careers and jobs, but between roles within a companyAs workers learn a new set of skills to keep up with the changing demands of the economy, they may transition through different tasks, departments, or projects -- potentially leading to a world without defined roles.
  • Companies that struggle to realize ROI from training may be focusing too much on direct financial returns. Instead, the article suggests that companies should look at how training changes worker mentality and productivity. Companies can then use assessments to make these indicators measurable and accountable. 


Credentials, Hiring, and Applicant Tracking News

  • A new report revealed that while half of all clicks on job ads happen on mobile devices,71.2% of applications are sent via desktop. The study also found that job titles with 51-60 characters receive the most clicks, and that companies generally spend around 30% of their recruitment budget on job advertising.
  • Randstad, an HR services provider, conducted a survey finding that 87% of job applicants felt that technology has made the recruitment experience less personal, and 82% reported frustration with overly automated systems. Nearly every respondent agreed that while technology can be used to make the recruitment process easier, it should not replace the human component. 
  • According to a report from Korn Ferry, an HR advisory firm, 68% of highly skilled professionals consider the promise of meaningful work to be the main reason for choosing one workplace over another, while only 4% chose pay as the main factor. Furthermore, 53% said that the top reason to leave a firm is a lack of their organization’s willingness to recognize the value of their expertise.
  • Traditionally, companies avoid overqualified workers to avoid the risk of having them leave for new opportunities soon after being hired. However, new research indicates that overqualified workers, as long as they’re sufficiently motivated and engaged, can be more innovative and creative than employees better matched to their jobs.


General HR News

  • Millennials are starting to move up the career ladder, but their changing values may mean that traditional incentive structures may be less effective at retaining them. Business leaders, therefore, may need to update their incentive plans with shorter career tenures in mind, by creating novel ways to reward employee loyalty such as through student loan repayment plans or opportunities to contribute to home down payments.
  • A recent report explored how women are perceived and what they want in the workplace. The report found that women see flexible scheduling as more important than men, and desire more meaningful roles and leadership opportunities, while overall job satisfaction is higher in workplaces with higher percentages of women or female bosses.
  • A recent study found that "high performers" perform 61% of their department’s work, making them three times as valuable as their coworkers. The study also found that high performers handle stress better, and take more time off, than their peers.


Employer Partnerships/Company Innovation

  • LinkedIn announced a new service that identifies people interested in being mentors, and pairs them with younger workers looking for advice. The service, which is currently available only in San Francisco and Australia, hopes to fill a gap in professional learning that used to be provided by longer, more structured career paths.
  • The MIT Sloan Management Review announced a partnership with Skillsoft, a corporate learning provider, to combine their content offerings, bringing nearly 40 million Skillsoft users access to MIT Sloan research and insight.
  • McDonald's tuition-assistance program has been giving support for more than just college classes, by providing free academic and career counseling through the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), and access to online courses for workers to complete their high school diplomas. The program, which was designed to retain workers leaving to pursue educational opportunities, is open to managers and frontline workers, and provides between $700 and $5,250 per year.
  • Since 2016, Walmart has sent more than 150,000 workers to its Walmart Academy training program to prepare them for higher positions in the company. However, while graduates do receive pay raises, many critics point out that the program simply helps create better employees, rather than provide a pathway to the middle class through skills training.
  • The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and the American Hotel and Lodging Association have partnered to develop an apprenticeship program using a $1.8 million U.S. Department of Labor grant. The organizations plan to have 450 apprentices enrolled by the end of the year, and hope to have 2,250 people certified by 2023. 
  • As coding bootcamps close around the country, a Reuters article reports that many are shifting their focus toward corporate training. Training providers have partnered with major employers, including IBM, GE, AT&T, and Adobe, to support re-training and upskilling of workers.


Startups, Innovation, and Investment News

  • Indeed, the largest job posting site in the world, acquired Interviewed, an HR tech firm that develops tools and assessments for companies to gauge potential hires’ abilities. Indeed reports that Interviewed will be fully integrated into its existing services, giving companies greater insight into online applicants.
  • A New-York based startup called Werk raised $2.9 million in a seed funding round led by Rethink Impact, SoGal Ventures, and Leah Busque. The company maintains a job board of flexible work opportunities geared toward women.
  • Personio, an HR tech startup based in Munich, Germany, raised $12 million in a Series A funding round led by Northzone, Rocket Internet’s Global Founders Capital (GFC), and Picus Capital. The company plans to use the funding to further develop their small- and medium-sized businesses oriented HR platform.
  • Indian executive education company Emeritus has announced an $8.2 million investmentfrom Bertelsmann India to expand both its content and its reach into global markets using data analytics and AI technology.


Macroeconomic Trends and Public Policy

  • The Senate unanimously passed the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 last Wednesday, sending the bill to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. The bill, which was passed by the House two weeks prior, removes a 15-year time limit for eligible service members to use their education benefits and expands eligibility for receiving benefits. It also includes a provision for the Department of Veterans Affairs to implement a pilot for “high technology” education programs (like coding bootcamps) that provides tuition reimbursement to eligible veterans who want to enroll in these programs.
  • A new Center for Global Development report found that the H-1B visa program created net economic gains for the U.S. and India, where the majority of H-1B visas are awarded, even though some sectors experienced losses. In 2010, U.S. workers gained a net $431 millionas a result of increased productivity and innovation generated by the program, while the two countries together saw their incomes rise by about 0.36%, or $14.7 billion.