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Most Important Developments in HR for 10/11

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Employers are increasingly turning to automated hiring platforms, believing they’re both more convenient and less biased than humans. However, this is misguided. In the past, a job applicant could walk into a clothing store, fill out an application, and even hand it straight to the hiring manager. Nowadays, her application must make it through an obstacle course of online hiring algorithms before it might be considered. One problem is that automated hiring platforms have enabled discrimination against job applicants. A 2016 class-action lawsuit alleged that Facebook Business tools “enable and encourage discrimination by excluding African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans but not white Americans from receiving advertisements for relevant opportunities.” The New York Times

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Catherine Tan, a senior at UCLA, learned a lot last summer while interning at Tumblr. She developed her skills as a software engineer, and said she had a positive experience in the workplace, something that’s not always true for women in tech. But she also learned other crucial bits of information — the names of a few other companies where she might avoid working in the future, as she and co-workers swapped what they knew about the latest misconduct allegations swirling around the scandal-plagued tech industry. Some of those reputations were being pressed on recruiters from about 300 companies that had all converged on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando for the Grace Hopper Celebration — the largest conference of women in technology, which also doubles as a job market. Many of the women had plenty of questions for their potential employers, some of whom have made headlines for allegations of misconduct and sexism. “People will say, ‘I don’t like the company,’” when word spreads about a bad culture, said Iris Nayki, a junior at the University of California, San Diego, who’s majoring in computer engineering. “I want to be somewhere where I’m safe and appreciated and respected.” NBC News

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The Supreme Court grappled at times on Tuesday with historic cases that could impact millions of LGBTQ Americans. At the end of two hours of lively arguments, it seemed clear that the four liberals on the bench believed that federal employment law that bars discrimination based on sex includes claims of sexual orientation and gender identity. Two separate cases were argued on Tuesday, one concerning whether the law encompasses claims of sexual orientation brought by Gerald Bostock, and the estate of Donald Zarda. The other concerned a transgender woman, Aimee Stephens, marking the first time the court heard arguments regarding the civil rights of a transgender individual. How the justices rule could have critical implications for the LGBTQ community made up of approximately 1 million workers who identify as transgender and 7.1 million lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers, according to UCLA’s Williams Institute. CNN

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Unwritten rules and ways of doing things — both good and bad — are ingrained in the corporate world. Often, these norms become so enmeshed in company culture that leaders don’t even think about them. By their nature, unwritten rules don’t exist anywhere but in people’s minds. Ask yourself what norms your employees are holding in their heads, and then get them on paper. Do your employees think the best way to get ahead is to do whatever senior leaders say, or to show that they can think for themselves? Do they think promotions are meted out fairly, or just go to people who gossip with the boss? Until there’s agreement on what perceptions exist, it’s impossible to address or change them. You should also ask your rank-and-file employees what they think your company’s norms are. You may be surprised what you learn. Harvard Business Review

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Workplace by Facebook now has 3 million paid users, up 1 million in the past eight months, and is rolling out updates that make video collaboration easier, gauge worker sentiment, and better target frontline employees. The new features and subscriber total was announced at Workplace by Facebook’s Flow conference. The 3 million tally indicates that Workplace by Facebook is a player in enterprise collaboration in just three years and is learning the nuances of selling to businesses. Should Workplace by Facebook boost employee engagement and connect frontline workers (employees who traditionally don’t have email addresses and are in the field a lot), the company is likely to add more enterprise customers. Christine Trodella, head of Americas at Workplace, said Facebook is getting C-level conversations because employee engagement has real returns. Indeed, Walmart, Campbell’s, Danone, and Starbucks are large customers. ZD Net

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