Here are the top news stories in talent & organization from this week.

HR tech solutions for 2020

HR tech is not just about building cool apps; it’s about solving the people problems of today and tomorrow, argues Suzanne Lucas. At this year’s Unleash World in Paris, she spoke to several HR tech experts about the problems they will be looking to solve in 2020. In this Inc. article , she lists some of the trending HR tech topics: employee satisfaction and turnover, the talent experience, employee coaching, agility, and building an alumni network. “Millennials today are looking for personal development as well as career opportunities,” Juno Journey’s Klil Nevo said. “We offer a tailor-made career map based on skills and tasks backed with personalized learning that results in prediction for internal mobility and growth in your organization.” Another HR tech expert, Roman Vovk of IntraWorlds, told Lucas how building alumni networks can create a modern approach to the talent life cycle. “We recognize that talent management starts before, during, and after employment. We know that millennials are moving jobs quicker than ever and no longer stay with firms for decades,” he said. “We help companies stay connected with former employees with a talent-centric approach to help them reach their business objectives.”

Why leading with fear is not sustainable

While fear can be an effective mobilization tool in the short term, it is, at best, a shortsighted business strategy, claims Harrison Monarth. In this Fast Company Article, he lists the top three reasons why leading with fear will fail to bring out the best your team has to offer: 1. Fear stifles employee initiative and creativity. 2. Fear yields employee obedience without buy-in. 3. Fear disrupts employees’ ability to think rationally. “When employees face fear, they typically clam up. They hold back rather than take the risk of voicing a contrary opinion or proposing a novel approach,” Monarth writes. “Workers need a sense of safety to be creative. As a leader, you can cultivate this kind of culture by frequently interacting with your employees and encouraging diverse opinions.” Positive leadership creates a culture of psychological safety, where employees are encouraged to express opinions and think outside the box. “A leader who can inspire her staff with her vision can get their full commitment without resorting to scare tactics,” he concludes.

To advance gender parity, start with entry-level women

Managers are a critical link to making gender advancement a reality, according to Rosina Racioppi. “If we want to achieve gender parity, we must ensure that women have a realistic understanding of how performance and rewards work,” she writes in a blog post. “We must start with entry-level women before they create their own barriers to advancement.” Racioppi believes managers should provide women with guidance, skill development, and exposure to influencers and mentors, in order for them to advance their careers. “Managers can also help early-career women think about their roles in the context of the larger organization,” she writes. “With clarity on how their capabilities lead to an impact on the business, women find it much easier to set appropriate priorities, rather than try to do everything. Clarity about priorities breeds confidence, an essential ingredient for advancement.” While CEOs and executives have a large role to play in gender parity, Racioppi stresses the importance of managers’ involvement to set the stage. “Every manager has a unique opportunity and responsibility to add to the pipeline of savvy, skilled and confident women,” she writes.

How to develop a successful soft skills strategy

Soft skills—creativity, problem solving, empathy and adaptability, to name a few—are in top demand yet low supply, argues Jason Richmond. In an Oracle blog post, he talks about the challenges talent management professionals face when it comes to developing soft skills. “First, although there is overlap as to the skill priorities, there is enough variation to create confusion (how are you doing with dealing with ambiguity right now?). Second, it can be challenging to assess employees’ soft skills in an objective manner,” he writes. “Third, there are deep-seated beliefs that such skills are hard to train and even harder to measure.” Richmond outlines a six-step process to help develop a more successful soft skills strategy: 1. Determine the right development team. 2. Begin with a focus on business needs. 3. Determine the soft skills most relevant to those needs. 4. Consider the importance of empathy. 5. Plan your curriculum and delivery methods. 6. Measure progress and results. “Many researchers have proven empathy to be a requirement for successful leadership but a skill that’s often missing,” he writes. “No matter what your other business needs are, you can safely assume this gap exists in your organization.”

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