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

Top Highlights

  • In a recent survey of Millennials, the young people were split on the most important thing about work other than salary: 32% ranked career advancement opportunities as the second most important thing, while 34% instead chose work-life balance.  Nearly a quarter of workers aged 18-25 fear losing their current job to automation in the next ten years, compared to only 11% of the population over 35.
  • An MIT Sloan Management Review piece argues that workers will need to participate in lifelong learning in anticipation of labor market changes, and educational institutions, governments, and employers have a role to play in supporting continuous learning.
  • Harvard Business Review piece urges companies to start planning for their future workforce needs now. The authors recommend determining the skills and positions needed in the future, objectively assessing employees’ capabilities and shortfalls in relation to those necessary skills, and hiring and developing the right talent to fill those needs.
  • Offering rewards can be an effective strategy for encouraging employees to engage with online training, according to an HR Dive article.
  • Jonathan Finkelstein, CEO of digital credential platform Credly, and Toby Beresford, founder of success tracking network Rise.global, share three best practices for implementing a digital badge program to acknowledge employees’ training and skills. The authors suggest that organizations must ensure that the credentials are meaningful, measurable, and interoperable across a variety of environments.

 

Corporate Learning and Development News

  • In a recent survey of Millennials, young people were split on the most important thing about work other than salary: 32% ranked career advancement opportunities as the second most important thing, while 34% instead chose work-life balance.  Nearly a quarter of workers aged 18-25 fear losing their current job to automation in the next ten years, compared to only 11% of the population over 35.
  • An MIT Sloan Management Review piece argues that workers will need to participate in lifelong learning in anticipation of labor market changes, and educational institutions, governments, and employers have a role to play in supporting continuous learning. While educators are experimenting with online learning, governments are gathering and sharing important job trends data informing workers about what skills employers are seeking. Companies are investing in training their workers for emerging roles.
  • Harvard Business Review piece urges companies to start planning for their future workforce needs now. The authors recommend determining the skills and positions needed in the future, objectively assessing employees’ capabilities and shortfalls in relation to those necessary skills, and hiring and developing the right talent to fill those needs.
  • Offering rewards can be an effective strategy for encouraging employees to engage with online training, according to an HR Dive article. The piece suggests that rewards systems should be tied to specific goals and outcomes, should not be used for mandatory training, and can maximize employee engagement when rewards are aligned with employees’ own goals.
  • Jonathan Finkelstein, CEO of digital credential platform Credly, and Toby Beresford, founder of success tracking network Rise.global, share three best practices for implementing a digital badge program to acknowledge employees’ training and skills. The authors suggest that organizations must ensure that the credentials are meaningful, measurable, and interoperable across a variety of environments.
  • Chief Learning Officer examines how microlearning and personalized learning are driving the development of learning products. Microlearning allows learners to focus on one concept at a time, helps learners better retain the information they learn, and allows for the increasingly in-demand personalization of the learning experience.
  • According to CareerBuilder CEO Mark Ferguson, employers should take some responsibility in training and upskilling their workforce. He notes that millions of companies say they can’t find workers with the right skills, while 36% of people in the workforce feel they are underemployed. Ferguson believes the skills gap can be remedied by companies who develop their workforce in an adaptive learning environment.
  • Free or low-cost online business classes offered by prestigious business schools have grown rapidly in recent years, but the ROI on these courses and certificates is unclear compared to that of a traditional MBA. Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, notes, “the fact that employers almost never ask for most certificates raises questions about whether people are pursuing a credential that actually has currency in the market.”
  • In order to hire and maximize talent development from a global talent pool, a Forbes piece recommends that companies develop a centralized HR system to better respond to a larger applicant pool, use cultural behavior assessments, and create integrated training programs focused on cultural ethics and social norms.
  • Talent Economy article suggests that as businesses increasingly rely on troves of data, they will need to hire and develop skilled talent to analyze and make decisions based on that data. Although artificial intelligence can help business analyze their data, companies should educate their employees to understand data and prepare for future work in a digital world.

 

Credentials, Hiring, and Applicant Tracking News

  • The Association of International Certified Public Accountants released a new survey that found that companies consider the availability of skilled workers to be the biggest challenge they’ll face in the coming year. According to the survey, 20% of business executives reported losing top candidates to increased competition, and a majority reported having difficulty finding qualified candidates. 
  • The American Staffing Association released a Skills Gap Index that looks at the jobs most difficult to fill in each sector. The report found that positions in sales and STEM fields tend to be the hardest to fill, although other sectors, such as shipping and logistics, are facing severe shortages as well. 
  • As the labor market tightens, companies are moving to areas with an abundance ofunderemployed workers -- such as Richmond, Virginia or Thornton, Colorado -- to lure workers with higher pay and greater room for advancement, rather than competing for unattached job seekers. These underemployed workers are typically looking for a new job but unwilling to move away from friends and family.

 

General HR News

  • A new survey found that the “gig economy” workers or independent contractors earn 58% as much as individuals with traditional full-time jobs, and most do not have access to employer-sponsored insurance or retirement plans. The report also noted that “gig economy” work was spread across urban, suburban, and rural areas, and most workers were more likely to be in the service or manual labor sector.
  • A recent Gallup survey finds that 67% of Americans working on variable-hour schedules -- non-salaried hourly workers whose working hours vary from week to week -- report that they do not experience financial hardship as a result of the inconsistent hours. Additionally, the survey found that 69% are happy with the amount of hours they work weekly, and that 52% prefer variable hours.

 

Employer Partnerships/Company Innovation

  • Taco Bell has been working to address the major turnover rate that is prevalent within the company through a new initiative to ensure core team members are scheduled at least 100 hours per month of work, in response to concerns around meager take-home pay. Initial results suggest the new strategy is working. Taco Bell noted that 50% of new store-level employees typically quit within six months.  In addition to scheduling more hours, the company has invested in GED, scholarship, and leadership development programs for its employees.
  • While some people fear that robots will replace human workers, Amazon has shown thatthis need not be the case. The online retail and shipping service has grown its fleet of robots to nearly 100,000 worldwide, without laying off a single worker.
  • Skype launched Skype Interviews, a new product that allows employers to conduct live technical and coding interviews during a video call right in the same browser. The new service supports coding languages C, C++, Java, JavaScript, Python and Ruby.
  • Google launched a new Mobile Web Specialist certification program for mobile web developers to showcase their knowledge and skills to earn a digital badge. The open book test will cost $99 and test takers will have 3 attempts to earn a passing score. It is unclear how influential the certification will be in the interview and hiring process. 
  • Google is also offering 75,000 scholarships to aspiring developers and data scientists in partnership with Udacity. The first 60,000 scholarships will go to residents of Europe, Russia, Egypt, Israel, and Turkey.  The plan aims to alleviate the digital skills gap and address the European Union's concerns about unfilled positions.

 

Startups, Innovation, and Investment News

  • Credly, a digital credential service provider, announced $4.6 million in funding from New Markets Venture Partners, University Ventures, City & Guilds Group, and Lion Brothers. Credly will continue to expand to meet the growing demand for “credtech”-- technology that allows verified skills and credentials to be presented in a secure, portable manner.
  • Absorb Software, a cloud-based learning and performance management software, raised $59 million in investment from Silversmith Capital Partners. The company plans to increase development of its learning management system and increase hiring in all departments to further expand the company.  
  • Montage Talent, a digital interviewing software developer, closed a Series D funding round with $8 million. The round was lead by Plymouth Growth Partners with participation from Baird Capital, Beringea, and GCI. Additionally, the company announced acquisition ofGreenJobInterview, a developer of video- and voice-enabled interviewing technology.

 

Macroeconomic Trends and Public Policy

  • New York Times article suggests that the health care and educational sectors will be most affected by President Trump’s recent action to discontinue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Survey data reveals that about 1 in 5 DACA beneficiaries work in healthcare or education; Dreamers are evenly distributed across other industries.
  • A new survey found that 57% of Americans have less than $1000 in savings, an improvement from 2016 when 69% reported the same. The percentage of Americans with $0 in savings, however, increased from 34% in 2016 to 39% this year. Adults 65 years and older were more likely to have $10,000 or more in a savings account.
  • A recent report suggests that wealth, as defined by the Institute for Policy Studies and Prosperity Now, is increasingly divided along racial lines in the U.S. The researchers found that the respective wealth of black and Latino families has decreased from $6,800 and $4,000 in 1983 to $1,700 and $2,000 in 2013. Meanwhile, the median wealth of white households has increased by nearly $15,000, reaching $116,800 in 2013.

 

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