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

Top Highlights

  • A recently released report found that in 2016, 27% of workers held some kind of non-degree credential and 21% participated in work-based learning. Furthermore, 80% of those with non-degree credentials, like licenses or certifications, found it to be very useful for getting a job, while 64% of participants in work-based learning reported that it was very useful for finding a job.
  • Josh Bersin explores the future of work and its implications in a new opinion piece, arguing that workers must become lifelong learners and focus on developing their people skills. He also notes that demographic and economic changes will lead to more “gig” work, career changes, and a need for employers to attract and retain older workers.
  • WIRED piece warns of a false sense of engagement or job satisfaction based on the“pseudo-reality” of VR. The author suggests that while VR simulations and trainings can increase enthusiasm for and engagement in a particular position, they may also downplay the dangers or consequences of certain behaviors.
  • study from Aon, a professional services firm, found that women experience a 13% fall in engagement after two years at a job, compared to 9% for men. This may be tied to lack of opportunity to learn and progress. Women under 25 were ten percentage points less likely to feel they had opportunities to learn new skills, compared to men of the same age (52% to 62%).
  • Liz Simon, General Counsel and Vice President of External Affairs at General Assembly, writes about a bipartisan push to improve education-to-employment pathways for Americans.

 

Corporate Learning and Development News

  • A SHRM piece suggests that HR departments can develop entry-level workers-- who often face limited career advancement-- by training these workers for the middle-skills careers and jobs that retiring baby boomers are leaving behind. The author also urges hiring managers to eliminate unrealistic hiring specifications, and instead focus on investing in continuous training and providing career pathways to develop the necessary work-related tasks.
  • Another SHRM piece suggests that fears of AI’s impact on jobs are overblown, and that a shift toward lifelong learning and an emphasis on creative abilities and critical thinking may open new avenues for workers whose jobs may be displaced by automation.
  • study from Aon, a professional services firm, found that women experience a 13% fall in engagement after two years at a job, compared to 9% for men. This may be tied to lack of opportunity to learn and progress. Women under 25 were ten percentage points less likely to feel they had opportunities to learn new skills, compared to men of the same age (52% to 62%).
  • Josh Bersin explores the future of work and its implications in a new opinion piece, arguing that workers must become lifelong learners and focus on developing their people skills. He also notes that demographic and economic changes will lead to more “gig” work, career changes, and a need for employers to attract and retain older workers.
  • A recently released report found that in 2016, 27% of workers held some kind of non-degree credential and 21% participated in work-based learning. Furthermore, 80% of those with non-degree credentials, like licenses or certifications, found it to be very useful for getting a job, while 64% of participants in work-based learning reported that it was very useful for finding a job.
  • A BizTech article notes that virtual reality (VR) is gaining popularity as a tool for training employees, with companies like UPS and Walmart using VR to train delivery drivers and retail associates, respectively. Executives believe VR provides the trainees with experience in immersive and real-world scenarios that they may face on the job, helping them become better prepared.
  • In other VR news, a WIRED piece warns of a false sense of engagement or job satisfaction based on the “pseudo-reality” of VR. The author suggests that while VR simulations and trainings can increase enthusiasm for and engagement in a particular position, they may also downplay the dangers or consequences of certain behaviors.
  • A recent blog post for SHRM’s HR + People Strategy executive network noted that workers now need to possess soft skills and critical thinking abilities in order to be successful in the modern workplace. The author suggests various solutions including promoting soft skills in academic curricula, on-the-job learning, and executive training.
  • An HR Drive feature discusses providing inclusive and accessible trainings through universal design and American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. Examples include offering information in easily understandable segments and checking frequently for understanding through assessments or other methods.

 

Credentials, Hiring, and Applicant Tracking News

  • A SHRM article notes that while algorithms and machine learning are changing how companies recruit new talent, recruiters will not see their jobs completely replaced. As machines take over the administrative and rote work, hiring managers and recruiters will be able to focus on the more complex and human side of the job, such as building networks, devising strategy, collaborating, and communicating with candidates.
  • Another SHRM piece describes how future talent acquisition software will no longer look like today’s best-practice model of packages that have customer relationship management and onboarding systems built around applicant tracking systems. Instead, future talent acquisition software will start with a fully functioning customer relationship management system and include a recruitment marketing platform, a fully optimized careers site, and employer branding technology.
  • A survey conducted by Tripwire found that 93% of information security professionals are concerned about the skills gap in the industry, and 91% of companies are outsourcing skills to fill gaps in their security teams.
  • A report from the Rand Corporation found that more than half of those 50 years or older who are either not working or retired would return to workforce under certain conditions, including having control over how they do their work, the ability to set their own pace, and the physical demands of the job. Researchers also found that older workers are more likely to feel that their work is meaningful.

 

General HR News

  • Harvard Business Review article encourages HR managers to avoid overly prescriptive policies that may lead to challenges in recruiting and retaining high-performing workers. The author suggests making positive assumptions about employee behavior and placing value in leadership over technical skills in HR policies.
  • A recent study found that 74% of employees would quit their jobs to work for a different organization that offers an option to work remotely, even if their salary stayed the same. 85% of employees also felt it is important for their employer to provide technology that allows them to work remotely. 
  • report predicts that by 2027, 60% of the workforce will be independent professionals -- those who receive their income through consulting, freelancing, contract work, temporary assignments, or on-call work regularly. Nearly half reported that they make more money working on their own, and about 6 in 10 reported that the ability to control their own schedules and have more flexibility were motivations in becoming independent professionals.

 

Employer Partnerships/Company Innovation

  • Amazon is bringing their “Career Choice” program -- a workforce education program that enables hourly employees who have worked for the company for a year or more to take courses toward an associate’s degree or a technical or vocational certificate-- to the Denver area. Amazon will cover 95% of the tuition and offer a monetary incentive to leave the company once they attain their degree or certificate.
  • Udacity will soon be offering two exciting new nanodegrees. The first is an entry-level self-driving course to accompany the existing advanced course, for which Udacity has teamed up with Lyft to offer 400 scholarships. The second will be an advanced “Flying Car” course, covering material on “flying cars” and other future transportation technologies. The new nanodegrees are set to open in 2018.

 

Startups, Innovation, and Investment News

  • ExecThread, a job-sharing network for executives based in New York, raised $6.5 million in a funding round led by Canaan Partners and Javelin Venture Partners. Corazon Capital, CoVenture, and NextView Ventures also participated in the round.
  • Unacademy, a platform that allows educators to upload multimedia content for learners to view for free, raised $11.5 million from Sequoia India Capital Advisors and SAIF Partners. The company plans to add new features to its platform, add content in less-developed subjects like job interview skills, and expand the platform to other geographies.
  • Shortlist, a recruiting tech company, announced $1 million in seed funding from University Ventures, Samir Shah of Sattva Capital, Zephyr Acorn, Farm Fund at ImpactAssets, Bodley Group, and others. The company plans to use the funds to enhance its product, which uses online competency-based assessments to vet job candidates.

 

Macroeconomic Trends and Public Policy

  • The World Economic Forum ranked the U.S. fourth on its recent “Global Human Capital Index,” which looked at how well 130 countries have optimized their workers for both the economy and the individual.  
  • According to a survey by Aon Hewitt, companies are generally planning to keep their budgets for raises about the same for 2018, although performance-based pay will continue to increase. An average 12.5% of these companies budgets will go toward incentives and bonuses, benefiting the highest performers. 40% of the companies surveyed plan to decrease or eliminate raises for low performers.
  • A new report found that 80% of large employers are concerned that a shortage of work visas will make hiring more difficult. New requirements this year around the H-1B and H-2B work visa programs, including requiring highly skilled individuals and increasing the amount of in-person interviews required, have delayed hiring processes. An HR Dive article notes that employers can alternatively upskill current employees or improve their corporate brand to attract American workers.

 

Other