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

Freelancers have new banking and insurance needs

As more professionals choose freelance work over traditional employment, a new niche market is emerging to serve the unique needs of these independent contractors, argues Ugur Kaner. Here are his top five predictions for the emerging service needs of gig-economy workers from a Forbes Council blog post: 1. Banking. “Despite their impressive incomes, self-employed individuals still face an uphill battle when applying for financial products like personal loans, lines of credit and mortgages,” Kaner writes. “A bank that caters specifically to independent contractors would understand and accommodate for fluctuating freelance incomes.” 2. Insurance. “Obtaining insurance of any kind is a huge burden for freelancers who don’t have the benefit of employer-sponsored plans,” he writes. 3. Retirement plans that may offer tax savings that wouldn’t be available through a regular savings account. 4. Freelance-focused communities and workspaces that provide a social space for independent contractors. 5. Business incorporation, legal and tax services to help freelancers legitimize their business and get the basic assistance they need. “The future is freelance, and our society—and indeed, the concept of work itself—is shifting to embrace it. If your company conducts business in one of these industries, you might consider offering freelancer-specific options and benefits,” Kaner concludes.

Benefits strategy gains popularity to retain talent

Almost three-fifths (56 percent) of employers cite attracting and retaining talent as the top objective for their benefits strategy, according to new research by Thomsons Online Benefits. The company surveyed 380 HR and reward professionals and found that 56 percent of employers spent more than 15 percent of their employees’ base salary on benefits in 2019, yet half of the HR professionals surveyed said they did not know or did not measure the return-on-investment for these benefits. “There’s a common misconception that digitalization and increasing automation will lead to job losses. Our research indicates that when it comes to HR, this simply isn’t the case, at least not in the near to mid-term,” Matthew Jackson, vice president, client solutions at Thomson Benefits Online, told Employee Benefits. “Instead, we will see an evolution of skills as businesses increasingly look to HR teams to supply data-based insights that can play a real role in measuring and informing people strategy.”

August is vacation month in Europe, and this perplexes the U.S.

The European Union’s mandatory paid-vacation time can seem crazy to people in the United States, argues Suzanne Lucas. “In my experience, Europe embraces vacation—sometimes in a way that make no sense,” she writes in Inc. “While this affects my day-to-day life because I’m physically here, it can also affect your business, even if you’re based in the United States. When someone says, ‘The Geneva office is closed for three weeks,’ they aren’t joking, and no one around here even bats an eyelash.” Lucas has some tips for American businesses to deal with European vacation month: 1. Ask when peak vacation season is and plan accordingly. 2. Partner with larger companies that will not shut down entire offices for weeks at a time. 3. Embrace vacation yourself. “Europeans have proved that the world doesn’t end if you go on a vacation,” Lucas writes. “If you’re good at what you do, people will be waiting for you when you get back. It’s OK to take some downtime.”

Seven things managers need to know about gen Z

While millennials in the workplace have dominated the conversation for quite a while, Lindsey Pollak argues that it’s time to turn our attention to the youngest of the five generations in the U.S. workforce—generation Z. “Now is officially the time to get serious about gen Z, especially if you hire interns or entry-level employees,” she writes in her blog. Pollak lists seven traits that every manager needs to know about the new kids on the block: 1. They are diverse and expect it to be a part of the company culture. 2. They expect transparency. 3. They value feedback, more often than an annual review. 4. They have a zeal for social media and love to share. 5. They are highly visual, so they respond to online training materials. 6. They want creative career paths. 7. They want mental health support.

For more news on the generations in the workforce, see our page here.

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