Archives for posts with tag: workforce skills

pexels-photo-workerBy Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Chief Economist, Glassdoor, reports on trends that will shape the job market in 2017. Glassdoor, as stated in the report, “has a unique perspective on the labor market, with access to millions of real-time job listings, salaries and company reviews that helps [them] keep a pulse on what’s happening today in hiring, pay and the broader labor market.” The five trends identified are:

The transformation of HR into “people science” – Thanks to low-cost workforce analytics that provide data “on every stage of the employee life cycle,” companies will use data to make HR more scientific.

Automation will change every job – Even though automation mostly effects routine jobs, white collar jobs are also vulnerable. Ongoing skill building that complements technology is key for job seekers.

Shifting away from flashy benefits packages – “In coming years, we’re likely to see large tech employers re-evaluating their benefits packages, more carefully focusing them on core benefits that offer the biggest bang for the buck in terms of engagement and productivity — rather than splashy headlines about unusual workplace perks.”

Taking action against the gender pay gap – “In 2017 and beyond, we are likely to see more companies taking positive action on the gender pay gap, using HR data to correct problems proactively in their own payrolls.”

Realizing the limits of the “gig economy” – “The fastest growing jobs today are ones that require human creativity, flexibility, judgment, and ‘soft skills’ like personal relationships such as health care professionals, data scientists, sales leaders, strategy consultants, and product managers. Those are exactly the kind of jobs least likely to function well in a ‘gig’ economy platform.”



Image Credit: Ibagli, OSU Graduation, via Public Domain

In 2013 the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) launched a three-year program, Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA) designed to help postsecondary institutions “investigate the library’s impact on student learning and academic success.” The project findings are important because they reinforce the “growing body of evidence that demonstrates positive contributions of academic libraries to student learning and success.” According to the findings report these contributions are in four key areas. They are listed below (directly quoted from the Executive Summary):

  1. Students benefit from library instruction in their initial coursework. Information literacy instruction provided to students during their initial coursework helps them acquire a common set of competencies for their undergraduate studies. The assessment findings from numerous AiA projects that focused on information literacy initiatives for freshmen and new students underscore that students receiving this instruction perform better in their courses than students who do not.
  1. Library use increases student success. Several AiA studies point to increased academic success when students use the library. The analysis of multiple data points (e.g., circulation, library instruction session attendance, online databases access, study room use, interlibrary loan) shows that students who use the library in some way achieve higher levels of academic success (e.g., GPA, course grades, retention) than students who did not use the library.
  1. Collaborative academic programs and services involving the library enhance student learning. Academic library partnerships with other campus units, such as the writing center, academic enrichment, and speech lab, yield positive benefits for students (e.g., higher grades, academic confidence, retention).
  1. Information literacy instruction strengthens general education outcomes. Several AiA projects document that libraries improve their institution’s general education outcomes and demonstrate that information literacy contributes to inquiry-based and problem-solving learning, including critical thinking, ethical reasoning, global understanding, and civic engagement.


Academic libraries do indeed contribute to student success and the research and critical thinking skills developed in college will also contribute greatly to success in the work environment.

16_Skills_FutureofWorkImage Source: Tanmay Vora, QAspire Blog, August 31, 2015

I ran across a great article through a post shared on LinkedIn (thank you John Semanik). Entitled, Skills For Future Success in a Disruptive World of Work, author Tanmay Vora starts out with the story of his father retiring as a Library Science professional right before libraries were completely transformed by digital disruption. Questioning what skills will be required in a future world of work that will continuously be disrupted by technology and innovation, Mr. Vora lists the “skills young people should be learning to be prepared for a career in 2020,” which are from a 2012 Elon and Pew study, and included in Janna Q. Anderson’s article: The Future of Work? The Robot Takeover Is Already Here.

My favorites:

  • The ability to concentrate, to focus deeply.
  • The ability to search effectively for information and to be able to discern the quality. and veracity of the information one finds and then communicate these findings well.
  • Synthesizing skills (being able to bring together details from many sources).

Mr. Vora, added a few of his own; which are depicted in his graphic shown above:

  • The ability to learn constantly in a self-directed mode.
  • Social Intelligence and ability to connect with people beyond geographical barriers virtually in a deep/meaningful way and collaborate.
  • Adaptive mindset to evolve the thinking and learning to keep pace with the pace of changes around us.
  • Interdisciplinary thinking
  • Critical thinking


Lolly Daskal, President and CEO, Lead From Within, lists “30 of the best sites for professional and personal development. Learn as an individual or connect your team.” This is a great list!

Here are her top five, directly quoted. Click here to read the entire list on

1. TED Talks 
TED’s tagline is “ideas worth spreading.” TED Talks is a video collection in the form of short, powerful speeches on every subject imaginable (18 minutes or less).

2. Brain Pickings
Brain Pickings has interesting posts drawn from art, science, design, history, and philosophy.

3. 99U
99U’s actionable insights on productivity, organization, and leadership help creative people push ideas forward.

4. Lynda
Lynda has thousands of video tutorials covering technical, creative, and business skills, all taught by industry experts.

5. University of the People 
University of the People is a nonprofit, tuition-free online university based in California and committed to educational access and inclusion.

Image Credit: Kate Ter Haar, A book that is shut is but a block. ~Thomas Fuller, via Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0) license

Image Credit: Kate Ter Haar, A book that is shut is but a block. ~Thomas Fuller, via Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0) license

Business Insider’s Drake Baer and Mike Nudelman have complied an interesting list of 50 popular books and summarized each in a one-word sentence. They also recommend the list for great reading. You can read the entire list here. Here are my favorites (directly quoted).

Give and Take, by Adam Grant – Givers – people who try to benefit others in their interactions – are the most successful people, since they create durable, career-enabling relationships.

Man’s Search for Meaning, by Vicktor Frankl – People are motivated more by meaning than by pleasure or even happiness.

Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson – A lot of the accepted business wisdom – that workaholics are heroes, that a great resume signals a great candidate, and that you need outside investors – is completely false.

The Black Swan, by Nassim Taleb – People are very good at fooling themselves into thinking they know much more than they do, which makes it easy for big, unusual events to surprise us.

Strengthsfinder 2.0, by Tom Rath – Instead of fixing your shortcomings, develop your strengths.

The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss – Success is a matter of designing the life you want to lead.

Business Adventures, by John Brooks – People have been brilliant and idiotic in business for decades.

Brand new research from Pew Research Center, in a report entitled Libraries at the Crossroads, reveals what the public desires from community libraries.

According to results, many Americans say they want public libraries to:

  • support local education;
  • serve special constituents such as veterans, active-duty military personnel and immigrants;
  • help local businesses, job seekers and those upgrading their work skills;
  • embrace new technologies such as 3-D printers and provide services to help patrons learn about high-tech gadgetry.


Photo Credit: Frustration, by Peter Alfred Hess, Attribution Generic 2.0 (CC by 2.0) License

Photo Credit: Frustration, by Peter Alfred Hess, via Flickr, Attribution Generic 2.0 (CC by 2.0) License

There is no question that the number one time waster when researching is slogging through large numbers of irrelevant or bad “hits.” This is especially true if you are looking for a specific detail. Here are techniques you can use to get more targeted search results, that are of high quality, regardless if you are using Google or a commercial for-fee database.

Relax. Successful research is about careful reading and attention to detail. Once you relax and start reading, your mind will automatically start making connections between what you need and what you are reading.

Restrict by date. This helps in eliminating old and out-of-date material.

Know how your results are sorted. The common default is set to relevance. Sometimes relevance is not the best way to sort – say for company financials and medical developments, which should be sorted by most recent first. If you want a timeline or chronology of events, sorting from oldest to newest is the best option.

The Find command is your best friend. Quickly looking at where and how many times the highlighted keywords appear saves you from having to read the entire article/document to determine if it will be useful for your research.

Document your work as you go. It is much more efficient to document a possible source before moving on to the next one than it is to relocate that source later. This is especially true at the beginning of your search efforts.

Learn about and use the limiting features available in commercial research databases like LexisNexis, Factiva, BvD, (and even Google). These features allow you to get higher quality, fewer results. The interfaces might be different but they all have basically the same functionality. In all of these resources, look for the “advanced search” option. Usually the default is set on the basic search feature which retrieves results without much refining or restricting being done.

The advanced feature allows you to place search terms in any field you desire, such as in the title field, meaning only articles with those terms appearing in the title will be shown. In all databases, you can adjust the date parameters to get current, fewer results.

A very important rule when researching is – Get the terminology right. Using the wrong terminology or keywords when searching is one of the primary factors leading to poor or irrelevant results. Brainstorm and identify various keywords and terms that can be used before starting to search – and consider using a pen and paper to do it.

When you are in the process of building out your terminology, use glossaries, introductory material, and background documents or books. For example think of all the terms you can use for “contingent workforce” – temporary labor, temporary contract workers, independent professionals, independent contractors, consultants, seasonal workers, freelancers.

Boolean commands And, Or. Boolean logic is a way of embedding context in your research. You will save yourself considerable time and heartache if you can use the Booleans to improve your results. The “and” command narrows results. Many databases and search engines already assume the “and” command. If you are not sure, go ahead and use it.

The “or” command, which expands results, is also important because there are many ways to enter a term, such as IBM or International Business Machines. This command allows you string out all the alternatives for a comprehensive search.

Here are other symbols to use:

The asterisk allows you to find all forms of a search term. For example, a search for “hack*” will find hacks, hacker, hacked, and hacking. Google does automatically truncate for you. However, many commercial databases do not. In these cases you have no way of knowing how an author is using a word – in what tense, plural or singular. This ensures that all forms of the word are considered.

Quotation marks in a search string indicate that you want results that contain the entire, exact phrase. For example, searching for “market share” with quotation marks will find results that discuss the market share of a company rather than results that contain both words individually – not connected. Why is this important? Without quotes, you may one find one term in the first sentence of a 500 word document and the next in the last sentence – and they have nothing to do with other. Bad hits will result.

Google Advanced Search is a fantastic resource and helps instill advanced research thinking.

Here are a few search options available through Google:

  • You can do Comparison searching by using “vs” after a product or company name. For example, “NetSuite vs” will return alternatives to NetSuite.
  • You can assign Number ranges to see results that contain numbers in a given range of things like dates, prices, and lists such as this search term: “top 50..100 companies”
  • The Site command allows you to use google to search one specific website. This approach is particularly helpful when you know a site is a good resource but has lousy embedded search functionality. An example: “contract manager”
  • Word exclusion: Placing a minus sign right before the term you want to exclude, will remove those results from what is returned.

Here are related posts that cover Google search tips: