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

Top Highlights

  • A recent analysis found that leadership development makes a difference for companies’ bottom lines, with 22 companies reporting ROIs ranging from 147% to 633% on their training programs.
  • A SHRM-associated report, funded by the Joyce Foundation, found that only one-fifth of HR professionals are fully confident in their organization’s ability to assess the skills of entry-level job candidates.
  • LinkedIn Learning released a new playbook for L&D professionals, which suggests that employees are more likely to participate in learning programs when there is managerial buy-in and encouragement.
  • new report from iCIMS, a recruitment software and ATS provider, found that the top three soft skills that employers need are problem solving, adaptability, and time management.
  • A report from the National Center for the Middle Market and the Brookings Institution found that nearly 40% of executives from middle market firms -- businesses that earn $10 million to $1 billion in revenue -- report that they face a talent shortage.
  • Guild Education, an education benefits company, raised $21 million in a Series B round from investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Social Capital, Harrison Metal, and Cowboy Ventures. Guild’s partnership with Chipotle was also recently profiled by SHRMand Employee Benefit News

 

Corporate Learning and Development News

  • LinkedIn Learning released a new playbook for L&D professionals, which suggests that employees are more likely to participate in learning programs when there is managerial buy-in and encouragement. The playbook also offers strategies on engaging executives and increasing employee adoption of L&D programs.
  • A recent analysis found that leadership development makes a difference for companies’ bottom lines, with 22 companies reporting ROIs ranging from 147% to 633% on their training programs. The study found that training can make leaders more effective faster, promote positive leadership behaviors and practices, and improve gender parity.
  • The skills gap narrative is a myth, according to a piece in MIT’s Technology Review. The author’s research found that while many employers face hiring challenges, several industries do not have a persistent hiring problem. The author makes the case for specific recommendations for courses of study that are closely tied to employer needs, rather than simply asking the workforce to invest in generic skill development or “more education.”
  • A report from the National Center for the Middle Market and the Brookings Institution found that nearly 40% of executives from middle market firms -- businesses that earn $10 million to $1 billion in revenue -- report that they face a talent shortage. The report recommends that companies engage in more proactive recruiting and work with educational institutions and workforce programs to better connect with potential hires. 
  • A Center for Creative Leadership blog post argues that many front-line managers are unprepared for their role. The piece notes that frontline managers should possess six key competencies, such as learning agility, communication skills, and the ability to motivate others. Frontline leaders can learn these skills through personalized, shareable, and social learning.
  • Forbes piece suggests that while leaders often have skills, many do not have the capacity to build or develop skills, which is equally important for effective leadership. According to the author, leadership development today needs to shift from simply building competencies to also building capacity. 
  • Chief Learning Officer article emphasizes the importance of developing and prioritizing soft skills, such as communication and collaboration, since they are important across every industry. The piece also notes the importance of soft skills training for future Millennials and Generation Z leaders.
  • Another Chief Learning Officer piece makes the case for adaptive learning, which can create personalized learning opportunities by taking into account prior knowledge and other experiences. The author notes that microlearning can be easily integrated with adaptive learning.
  • An ATD blog post suggests that microlearning is a growing trend because it is cheaper, faster, more engaging, and more effective in helping people learn. Microlearning can also provide a more meaningful learning experience, helping to motivate employees.
  • HR Dive explores the rise of apprenticeships as a response to the skills gap and increase in automation. The article notes that apprenticeships allow employers to expand their talent pipeline and engage learners, but they may require greater collaboration between employers, Congress, and industry partners. 
  • Firms in nearly every sector except technology are hesitant to promote younger workers into leadership roles, a Talent Economy piece suggests. However, taking risks on young leaders allows companies to develop leaders accustomed to change and innovation, and possibly even reverse trends in falling employee engagement.
  • Companies are using digital “nudges” -- subtle reminders sent directly to employees -- to encourage productive behaviors and increase employee engagement. For example, digital nudges can provide incentives to sign up for training courses. While nudges may be useful, experts caution that authenticity, leadership support, and a connection to broader goals are necessary for employees to actually heed them.
  • As traditional trainings become less effectiveHR Dive suggests that on-the-go training can be an effective learning delivery method for an increasingly mobile-dependent workforce.

 

Credentials, Hiring, and Applicant Tracking News

  • A SHRM-associated report, funded by the Joyce Foundation, found that only one-fifth of HR professionals are fully confident in their organization’s ability to assess the skills of entry-level job candidates. Most employers rely on in-person interviews (95%), application reviews (87%), and resume reviews (86%), although nearly half of HR professionals have little or no confidence in the usefulness of applications and resume reviews.
  • new report from iCIMS, a recruitment software and ATS provider, found that the top three soft skills that employers need are problem solving, adaptability, and time management. The report also found that customer service, human resources, and sales/marketing were the three business areas where soft skills were considered more valuable than hard skills.
  • recent survey found that 69% of management professionals reported difficulty in recruiting new staff. The three most commonly reported challenges were a lack of required skills among applicants, a lack of applicants, and an ability to meet the salary expectations of applicants. 
  • The Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey found that 50% of nonprofit employers are planning to hire in the coming year, compared to 40% of private sector employers. However, the report also found that 64% of nonprofits lack a formal talent-acquisition strategy, and 81% lack a formal talent retention program, putting them at risk of losing talent to for-profit organizations in the tightening labor market.

 

General HR News

  • New data found a growth in job satisfaction among U.S. workers for the sixth year in a row, with the job satisfaction rate reaching 50.8%. The research found that benefits and perks rank low on the list of factors that contribute to workers’ overall satisfaction; instead, employees care about their workload, communications channels at work, and recognition that they do (or do not) receive.
  • According to a recent study, HR departments have grown, on average, for the second year in a row. The study noted that the most common specialty growth area was in benefits, followed by employment/recruitment.
  • A new report shows that nearly half of HR managers spend most of their time on HR analytics, with 45.2% of their time spent on building custom reports upon request. Around half of HR professionals spend their time manually entering data, a time-consuming task that has contributed to missed deadlines by professionals.

 

Employer Partnerships/Company Innovation

  • AT&T hopes to address the shortage in cybersecurity experts by hosting cybersecurity summer camps and other educational programs for high school and college students, and by retraining AT&T employees. Since 2015, 735 AT&T employees have completed Champlain College’s cybersecurity programs, earning badges and certificates as well as undergraduate and graduate credits. Eligible employees may qualify for AT&T’s tuition assistance.
  • Degreed, a San Francisco startup, launched its Degreed Skill Certification tool for workers to earn certification in recognition of skills they already possess. By scoring applicants’ existing skills across a spectrum of categories, Degreed claims to certify skills at any level and provide a standardized method for workers to demonstrate their proficiencies to potential employers, regardless of how they developed those proficiencies.
  • The Harvard Business Review profiles GE, which has been at the forefront of workforce analytics, developing a suite of self-service applications available to its executives, employees, and HR departments with an array of functions. These applications support career and succession planning, provide performance feedback and training suggestions, and identify high-performers for promotion. 
  • KFC is trying out virtual reality (VR) to improve their chefs’ chicken-frying skills. Using Oculus Rift headsets, the fast food chain is recreating its five-step approach to properly fry chicken in the VR simulation.
  • In other VR training news, Audi has also begun a pilot to use VR to train its employees in packaging logistics. The training incorporates various levels of difficulty, motivating employees to advance in their training, and provides real-time feedback to employees.
  • The Washington Post profiles McDonald's tuition assistance program, Archways to Opportunity, which is being promoted on the restaurant’s straw wrappers.

 

Startups, Innovation, and Investment News

  • Guild Education, an education benefits company, raised $21 million in a Series B round from investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Social Capital, Harrison Metal, and Cowboy Ventures. Guild’s partnership with Chipotle was also recently profiled by SHRMand Employee Benefit News
  • Bunch, a recruiting software provider, aims to become “Google Analytics for company culture” by offering an assessment tool that helps employers determine whether a job candidate would be a good fit for their office culture. 
  • Gigster, an online platform used to hire freelance software developers and engineers, raised $20 million in a Series B funding round led by Redpoint Ventures. Gigster hopes to one day offer its freelancers a “Silicon Valley salary” (at least $180,000 a year) no matter where they are based as well as certain benefits.
  • Chicago-based Celectiv recently launched its recruitment platform. The company's goal is to be a one-stop shop for HR managers to identify, assess, recruit and retain potential employees.

 

Macroeconomic Trends and Public Policy

 

  • Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) awarded $30 million in Dislocated Worker Grants to the Texas Workforce Commission to address workforce needs due to Hurricane Harvey. DOL is also assisting in other Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, including supporting Texas in administering Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
  • A CareerBuilder survey found that 78% of U.S. workers currently live paycheck to paycheck, a slight increase from 75% last year. The report also found that more than 1 in 4 workers do not set aside any savings each month, and more than half of minimum wage workers reported working more than one job to make ends meet.
  • Bloomberg reported that Mason Bishop, a DOL official under President George W. Bush, may be nominated to lead the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration. In this position, he would oversee the implementation of President Trump’s apprenticeship programs, as well as the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

 

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