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Here are the top news stories in talent & organization from this week.
How credit unions are benefiting from coworking spaces
The rise of the gig economy has resulted in an exponential growth of coworking spaces in the U.S. in the last few years. “They are also a natural fit for credit unions, a movement that began as tiny savings and loan pools that has grown into a network of full-blown financial services institutions hard-wired to collaborate on ideas and resources,” writes Marc Rapport in a Credit Unions blog post. He gives three examples of credit unions that are taking a strategic approach to using coworking spaces to brand themselves as not only community lenders, but also community leaders. In downtown Kansas City, MO, CommunityAmerica Credit Union (CACU) rents a WeWork office to host community lunch-and-learn and happy-hour events. Digital Federal Credit Union has launched a non-profit, mission-focused fintech lab in downtown Boston. In Bennington, VT, Vermont State Employees Credit Union shares its extra branch space with local entrepreneurs and thinkers. “Increasingly, the next generation of employee is looking for dynamic workspaces that fuel creativity and collaboration,” Anita Newton, CACU’s chief innovation officer, told Rapport. “In a tight labor market, having a presence in a vibrant co-working space can be a difference maker.”
Cultural change is key to banks’ success in a digital future
Not all banks have billions to set aside for investment in new technologies, but they can use cultural change to become more agile, argues Paul Schaus. “Cultural transformation will look somewhat different at each individual financial institution, but the goal should be the same—to foster a workforce and workplace culture that can thrive in today’s world of unending and uncertain technological change,” he writes in this American Banker op-ed piece. Schaus advises banks to start with implementing new training programs to boost employees’ digital skills. He also believes it is crucial for banks to rethink recruitment strategies, and employee benefits and incentives. “In addition, banks will need to promote a culture where experimentation is encouraged by using agile methodologies, design thinking and more cross-business collaboration,” he writes. “For many banks, this will run counter to risk-averse traditional thinking. Extensive workshops and training programs will be needed to help staff acclimate to the new way of doing business.”
A new directory lists women in venture capital worldwide
Last week, venture capital investors Sutian Dong and Jessica Peltz-Zatulove introduced their Global Women in VC Directory, an online database of nearly 1,000 women investors. “If you want to continue to promote and elevate women in venture, there needs to be career progression and upward mobility,” Peltz-Zatulove told Inc.’s Guadalupe Gonzalez. “Having this infrastructure enables them to find each other to connect and collaborate in a more efficient way.” The directory’s members currently span 29 countries and 597 venture firms. It is free to join, but only available to those investing in institutional and corporate funds. Typically, members invest in deals for enterprise, health care, fintech and consumer startups. “This is the largest self-reported database for female investors in the world,” Dong said. “We aim to be that connecting tissue—a gateway to other markets for these other women. It’s just transformational.”
Machines deserve respect in the workplace, too
As machines driven by artificial intelligence (AI) such as robots, chatbots and digital assistants become more common in the workplace, it’s time to ponder the ethical concerns surrounding them. Kate Darling, a research specialist at MIT’s Media Lab, explains why we should care about our interactions with machines. “We certainly don’t need to worry about the chatbot getting offended or hurt,” she told Forbes Insights. “[But] it could say something about us if we’re unkind to robots. The open question is whether negative behavior towards lifelike robots is a healthy outlet for people or whether it’s desensitizing.” Darling claims that human-AI interactions are not yet an HR issue; if anything, people are over-attached to machines. “One company using AI-powered chatbots to schedule meetings says that people send thank you notes and flowers to their assistants,” she said. For Darling, showing respect to machines is just good etiquette: “I’m not arguing that we need to treat machines like people, but what’s the harm in being nice?”
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