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    Entries in HR (511)

    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!

    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!

    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'.

    Monday
    Dec172018

    Three Observations from the LinkedIn 2018 Emerging Jobs Report

    Recently, our pals at LinkedIn released their 2018 Emerging Jobs Report, a look at the jobs and skills that have been most in demand from employers on the LinkedIn platform, both in 2018 and over the last few years. it is a really excellent look at activity on the LinkedIn platform, which I am pretty confident in stating is the world's largest professional networking site, and which remains for many organizations one of the most important sourcing and recruiting tools.

    I have been a little skeptical or perhaps cynical over the years at these kinds of reports, mainly because they always seemed to skew way towards the jobs and skills that Silicon Valley Tech companies were seeking, and was not terribly illustrative or indicative of the overall US labor market. Said differently, the kinds of jobs that LinkedIn usually reports are 'hot' are the kinds of jobs very few people actually have. Office and administrative support or retail salesperson (two of the most common job categories in the US), never make these lists. And while there remains a little of that kind of 'not the real world' feel to the Emerging Jobs Report, (you will see in a moment what I mean), there are also some pretty interesting and important insights in the report I wanted to highlight. So here goes..

    1. As I alluded to above, the top 'emerging job' is one almost no one has

    Number one on the LinkedIn list for emerging jobs in 2018 is called 'Blockchain Developer' with 33x growth in activity and interested in 2018. If you are a blockchain developer or are an HR or talent person who is recruiting blockchain developers, well, I probably have nothing else to offer you on this post. Suffice it to say, for 99% of us the next blockchain developer we run into will be the first. But let's keep looking through the report.

    2. Number three on the emerging jobs list is actually a job lots of people have, most of us have someone in our lives who has this job, and lots of the HR and talent pros reading this are probably recruiting for - Application Sales Executive

    According to LinkedIn, there has been a 8x increase in activity for these roles. This is pretty amazing to me, as there have been Application Sales Executives in just about every tech company for ages. For a mature kind of job type to see that much growth year over year is remarkable and also, hopefully a signal that the pace of innovation, development, and new technology hitting the market will continue in 2019. Sales is no doubt not for everyone, but this data suggests plenty of opportunity for those willing to put in the time and effort.

    3. The number one skill that LinkedIn claims employers are having trouble finding has nothing to do with Blockchain, or AI, or software development of any kind.

    LinkedIn says that 'Oral Communication' is the skill group with the highest shortage in nearly every major city in the country. Think skills like public speaking, effective communication, presentation skills and the like Maybe it's because we (the societal we) have spent a decade or more trying to convince every kid that he/she needs to learn how to code, that many of us, (especially anyone under 30), has essentially replaced phone calls with text messages, or that the classical liberal arts kind of education and background has over time been diminished in value. Whatever the reason, employers are having trouble finding candidates with quality skills in oral communication. That to me is more interesting than however many more people go chasing blockchain development skills in 2019.

    Go check the entire report over on the LinkedIn blog. It is a fascinating look at one (admittedly big) slice of the job market.

    Have a great week!

    Monday
    Dec032018

    Sensing age discrimination at work? Maybe try changing your date of birth

    Here in the US, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) specifically forbids workplace age discrimination against people who are age 40 and over. The law prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. Additionally, an employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of age, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on applicants or employees age 40 or older and is not based on a reasonable factor other than age.

    But despite the ADEA's intentions, we all kind of know that age discrimination still happens in workplaces. It often is disguised by job descriptions that emphasize terms like 'fast-paced' or 'dynamic' or even older applicants being turned away under the guise of them being 'overqualified'. Sometimes you can just look around you and get the sense that the company or department only seems to hire people between 20 - 30 years old no matter how many openings get filled or the type of roles being filled.

    But since it isn't technically illegal (in the US, your country may be different) for employers to request or require an applicant's or employee's date of birth, even companies that have good intentions and don't wish to discriminate based on age, might still succumb to age-related biases and/or outright discrimination.

    So what can/should you do if you are say 40+ and are starting to sense that your age may be limiting your career prospects or opportunities?

    Well, I am not really sure, this isn't a career advice column, but I did want to highlight the issue after reading a story about how one gentleman in the Netherlands has tried to fight back against age discrimination. 69 year-old Emile Ratelband decided to simply try and change his date fo birth to make him legally 20 years younger, and petitioned the Dutch government to make this change official.

    Here's the details from a piece on the case on Fortune:

    Emile Ratelband--frequently referred to as “positivity trainer,” although he calls himself an “entrepreneur in personal development--filed suit last month to change his birthday, according to the BBC. The 69-year-old said that he felt age discrimination and that it affected his ability to work and get dates on Tinder.

    “When I’m 69, I am limited. If I’m 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car. I can take up more work,” he told the BBC. “When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer. When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.”

    Although Ratelband argued that at a time when people can change their names or even their genders, opting for a different age should be allowed.

    Sadly, for Emile, the court ruled against his request to legally change his age from 69 back to 49.

    According to the court, "Mr. Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly. But amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships.”

    On the surface, the case does seem a little ridiculous. But then again, Ratelband does have a point about how societal norms around identity and personal freedom and expression have been and likely will continue to evolve. And as he hints at, employers, financial institutions, even potential Tinder dates - all form a pre-judgment of a person based on that one data point - age. And if that one data point is indeed causing someone to miss out on opportunities or even worse, to be actively discriminated against, then why not take a shot at changing one's circumstances to try and drive better outcomes.

    Like, I said, Ratelband was not allowed to legally change his age. And the entire story does seem a little ridiculous.

    But lots of other things that were once ridiculous-sounding are now pretty common and accepted. 

    Have a great week!

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