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    Monday
    Jan072019

    World Bank Report: How work and workers are changing

    I know you have better things to do so you, unlike me, probably did not devote a sizable chunk of your down time this past weekend reading the recently released World Bank's 150 or so page report titled 'The Changing Nature of Work', a look at the future of work, and how work is expected to change as a result of technological, societal, and demographic changes.

    The report is really interesting, pretty comprehensive, and probably contains enough information and ideas for a dozen or so deeper dives. But for today, beyond just calling your attention to the report, I wanted to highlight one important set of findings from the World Bank - ideas on how employee skills are changing and more specifically the kinds of skills that will become more in demand moving forward, as technology continues to shape and re-shape work. 

    Here's what the folks at the World Bank think about what kind of employee skills are going to have to change in the future:

    It is easier to assess how technology shapes the demand for skills and changes production processes than it is to estimate its effect on job losses. Technology is changing the skills being rewarded in the labor market. The premium is rising for skills that cannot be replaced by robots—general cognitive skills such as critical thinking and sociobehavioral skills such as managing and recognizing emotions that enhance teamwork. Workers with these skills are more adaptable in labor markets.

    Technology is disrupting the demand for three types of skills in the workplace. First, the demand for nonroutine cognitive and sociobehavioral skills appears to be rising in both advanced and emerging economies. Second, the demand for routine job-specific skills is declining. And, third, payoffs to combinations of different skill types appear to be increasing. These changes show up not just through new jobs replacing old jobs, but also through the changing skills profile of existing jobs.

    The World Bank offers up as an example of this changing nature of what kinds of skills the new and future economy will need and reward the below chart of how the general job requirements for a hotel management trainee have changed in the last 30 or so years (see below)

    The point being that while the job, in general, is more or less the same in 2018 as it was in 1986, the skills and characteristics of the kind of person who is likely to be successful in the job has shifted. In 2018, there is more emphasis on attitude, communication skills, ability to effectively team with others - the kinds of skills that are essential to business today, and that are still incredibly difficult to automate or replace with technology. Recent data from other sources such as LinkedIn' hiring trends report suggest much the same - "soft" skills, the ones we can't replace with an algorithm or a chatbot are in increasing demand. Said differently, that philosophy or psychology degree your kid wants to take at University may not be such a bad idea after all.

    I plan on exploring the World Bank report further in the coming weeks, and encourage anyone interested in the Future of Work to give it a look.

    Have a great week!

    Thursday
    Jan032019

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 352 - Improving Diversity Recruiting in Technology

    HR Happy Hour 352 - Improving Diversity Recruiting in Technology

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Kylie Gomez, Atlassian

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Kylie Gomez, Senior Product Recruiter at Atlassian, a leading technology company to talk about how they approach the challenges of recruiting a more diverse set of candidates.

    Atlassian has about 3,000 employees worldwide, and has plans to grow to 5,000 in the next few years. A big challenge for Atlassian, and for any company in growth mode, is to improve the diversity of their candidate pools, as well as the people they eventually bring into the organization. On the show, Kylie shared some specific approaches that have been working for Atlassian - thinking about the problem in a holistic way, using modern technology tools that support more diverse and unbiased candidate searches and assessment, and making sure that the company culture and mission are at the forefront in the entire recruiting process.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, on your favorite podcast app, or by using the widget player below:

    This is a really interesting and enlightening conversation with a recruiting leader at one of tech's most successful and innovative companies, and one from which any HR and recruiting leader can take away some important insights around improving diversity and reducing bias in the recruiting process.

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour.'

    Wednesday
    Jan022019

    CHART OF THE DAY: How should we evaluate companies?

    Happy New Year!

    To start 2019, I wanted to share a chart from and the link to the fascinating report titled 'From Insight to Action: JUST Capital's 2018 Survey Results & Roadmap for Corporate America'.

    For those not familiar, Just Capital, is a nonprofit founded in 2013 by a group that includes billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones, and who has conducted an annual survey since then to determine which corporate-behavior-issues the American public cares about the most. Just Capital then ranks 1,000 large companies based on their performance on those issues which the survey has shown the public is most concerned with. The rankings are also the basis for the Just U.S. Large Cap Equity ETF, which launched in June 2018.

    Of interest to HR folks, in these surveys, worker pay and benefits consistently rank at the top of respondents' priorities. Here's the chart, which shows which general category or issues, (workers, customers, environment, etc.), that survey respondents indicated where more or less important to them when assessing a company (and compared to the 2017 survey). Here's the chart, then some comments from me after the data.

     

    Some quick observations from this data, which shows that the broad range of 'employee' issues are what the American public cares about the most when evaluating companies.

    1. Concern for workers issues is trending up. In both the chart above, and in some underlying data from the report, Americans are increasingly concerned about worker's conditions, pay and benefits, and work/life balance issues. Perhaps this is the outcome of a 10-year run of an improving and tightening labor market that is leading individuals to be more open and assertive of what they look for in an employer and what they see as just treatment of workers by a company.

    2. Shareholders may not be 'first' forever. Despite 'shareholders' seeming to be the ones to benefit the most in the last decade, the public cares about how companies treat shareholder and leadership issues the least. While millions of American workers are also shareholders of companies through retirement and other investments, most average employees see themselves in a different category than the large, institutional investor class. By this logic, if employee issues and concerns are going to be more important, shareholder concerns are seen as less important.

    3. Creating a 'just' company for employees is not that complicated. The Top 3 underlying components that influence how the workplace treats employees are providing good benefits, paying a living wage, and providing a safe workplace. There were the elements ranked as most important to survey respondents, and quite honestly, seem to represent the lowest common denominator for employers to strive for. Said differently, it probably is not as hard as the experts make it out to be, to create a workplace that is just and fair for employees.

    This is really interesting data, I encourage you to check out both the report and the Top 100 rankings according to Just Capital's survey of American workers. While there are quite a few companies on the list we frequently see on other 'Great' workplace type lists, there are also many other names you might not be as familiar with.

    Have a great day and a happy, and successful 2019!

    Friday
    Dec282018

    REMINDER: The HR Happy Hour Show on Alexa #HRHappyHour

    I have written quite a bit about Amazon, the Alexa platform, and how excited and optimistic I am about voice interfaces for all kinds of workplace applications. I have been so interested in how Alexa, and voice more generally are going to impact and influence workplace tech, that a few months ago I thought it would be fun and instructive to try and learn how organizations and developers can leverage voice in their applications.

    In order to try and have some purpose and structure to this investigation, I set out to achieve a goal - to create and syndicate a short, "Alexa" version of the HR Happy Hour Podcast that would be available to Alexa/Echo users as a part of their device's "Flash Briefing" or the daily news update that many Alexa users listen to once or even multiple times a day.

    Long story short - today I am happy to share that the HR Happy Hour Show is on Alexa - as an Alexa skill that users can add to their Flash Briefing. 

    In the Alexa app on your smartphone, simply search the library of skills for 'HR Happy Hour' to add the Alexa version of the HR Happy Hour Podcast to your daily Flash Briefing. On the HR Happy Hour on Alexa, myself and Trish McFarlane will share news, commentary, opinions, and excerpts from the full HR Happy Hour Podcasts. As always, these will discuss topics and issues about work, workplace technology, management, leadership, and more - basically shorter, tighter versions of what has made the HR Happy Hour Podcast so successful since its debut in 2009.

    So for folks like me who are absolutely addicted to their Echo device, and talk with Alexa more than almost anyone else, please consider adding the HR Happy Hour on Alexa to your daily Flash Briefing.

    As always, we would love your comments, feedback, and suggestions for topics and potential guests for this new version of the HR Happy Hour.

    Thanks as always for your support!

    Thursday
    Dec202018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 351 - Creating a Culture of Ownership at Anheuser-Busch

    HR Happy Hour 351 - Creating a Culture of Ownership at Anheuser-Busch

    Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane

    Guest: Ago De Gasperis, VP, People, North America, Anheuser-Busch

    Sponsored by Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve and Trish were joined by guest Ago De Gasperis, VP, People North America for Anheuser-Busch who shared how the legendary brewer continues to innovate and develop its culture of "ownership" - where employees are supported and empowered to feel like true owners of the company, and not just dispensable resources whose opinions and ideas don't matter. Ago shared how Anheuser-Busch tries to bring this idea of ownership to life by instilling the idea in leaders and employees and how ownership is embedded in everytihng they do. From creating and shaping a Diversity and Inclusion agenda, to supporting a wide range of employee resource groups, to fostering a culture of innovation - the idea of employee led programs and employee ownership informs just about everything they do. 

    Additionally, Ago shared some of the details and thinking that goes into A-B's efforts to recruit, develop, and support the next generation of company leaders and how in particular the People function looks to recruit from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, on your favorite podcast app, or by using the widget player below:

    This was a really fun show, thanks to Ago for joining us and a big 'Cheers!' to the team at Anheuser-Busch.

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.