May HR News Roundup

human resource news

Wondering what's new in the world of employee engagement? Curious about the latest in education? We've got you covered in this month's roundup of human resources news.

Filling the Skills Gap with Microlearning

In today's digital age, we have information at our fingertips - literally. But we also have a growing skills gap. And new data cited in a recent SHRM article showed that only 30 percent of CEOs believe employees have the skills to keep up with technology. "Software engineers must redevelop skills every 12 to 18 months," wrote the author. And, "The average shelf life of skills that college graduates acquire during college is only five years." What to do? One answer may be microlearning; small bursts of education opportunities that are available around-the-clock. The easy-to-access approach keeps employees up to date on important skills while playing to their schedules and learning styles. Plus, one executive told SHRM, "There is a significant increase in completion rates when the training is short."

Figuring Out the Employee Engagement Survey

Ignore engagement survey scores at your own peril. That's the message from Forbes contributor Mark Murphy who says dwindling survey scores are often the result of employers who ask engagement questions...and then never do anything with the answers. "Think about how it feels to be an employee in that situation," he writes. "Your bosses ask for your opinion and then when you give it, they seemingly ignore it completely." Inaction, says Mark, is one of the biggest threats to engagement. Not asking at all is another. "You might not love the results you get when you start regularly conducting employee engagement surveys," he says. "But think how great it will feel (for you and your employees) when you uncover some easily corrected issues."

It's Not About the Avocados

Why are Millennials running out of bread? According to one Australian businessman, it's because they're buying too much toast - specifically avocado toast. "When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn't buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each," Real-estate-mogul Tim Gurner told Australia's 60 Minutes. "We're at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high." Millennials were quick to fire back, many pointing out that it is sheepskins - not gourmet produce habits - burning their budgets. In fact, our own research has shown that the cost of a diploma has left many Millennials short of cash for staples like home ownership, not to mention classes their employers desperately need them to take to forestall oncoming skills gaps. "Student loan $500; Health insurance $300; Medicine $100; Avocado toast $0," tweeted one of the indebted. "But oh I must just be a jaded millennial." Could be one reason why proposed legislation supports Student Loan Repayment by creating new tax incentives for employers.

Paving the Way for Women Leaders

Looking for some high-ROI magic for retaining women? How about...talk. That's the advice from a new study which shows that more than 75% of women would be more engaged if they were regularly able to talk to their managers about their careers...but only 25% are doing so. It's a no brainer, writes Kellye Whitney  about the study on Workforce. "How else can we suss out which roles she is best suited for, which ones she's interested in, and create a plan to get her on the leadership track?" Kellye says annual reviews aren't enough; it takes regular check-ins to keep a career on track. "Career conversations - bless their intrinsically simple little hearts - essentially guide a woman's work life in the right direction," she says. We say, schedule that check-in, stat.

Finally...a shoutout to one inventive employer who has taken ingenuity to new heights, using an, um...novel resource (sci-fi writers!) - to fashion newfangled tech solutions for old problems. The idea? "...to envision how technology can provide 'superpowers' to employees to maximize performance."

Employees as superheroes? We couldn't agree more. To HR...and beyond!  

Written by: Jeannie Krill

About the Author

Jeannie Krill at Bright Horizons

As a former Bright Horizons preschool teacher, Jeannie has seen what child care means to clients firsthand. She also offers a view from the Millennials camp, cluing us into what’s challenging today’s largest demographic, and what they really want. She holds a BA in Psychology from Valparaiso University.