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

Insurance: the new American dream job?

According to a new report from Bankrate.com, actuarial science was ranked the most valuable college major, with an average annual salary of $108,658 and a better-than-average unemployment rate of 2.3 percent. “The actuarial science profession is interesting because students don’t need advanced degrees to gain livable wages, but instead are certified through a series of exams overseen by the industry’s professional organizations,” Bankrate.com analyst Adrian Garcia told Bloomberg in an interview. “Students typically pass one to two of these exams while in school and then go on and complete others while working, earning raises and bonuses as they pass.” The study was based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey and ranked 162 majors with labor forces of at least 15,000 people. Other fields of study that topped the list were in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, bolstering the efforts to get more students involved in STEM programs.

Five tips to manage a flexible workforce

Innovative technology and an agile workforce mean an increasingly fluid working pattern, one that requires an effective flexible work policy. In this European CEO article, Sanj Mahal, CEO of AndCo, shares five tips to successfully manage a flexible workforce. 1. Identify suitable work locations and consider offering subscriptions to affordable co-working spaces. 2. Introduce clear policies for mobile device usage and expectations on email response times. 3. Track employees’ progress on specific tasks and projects with collaborative tools. 4. Establish a culture of support and trust by giving clear objectives and scheduling regular check-up meetings. 5. Use technology to support productivity and maintain contact with employees. “Being prepared and having the tools and policies in place to implement flexible working is important so that you can manage a growing number of workers away from the office, while maintaining a satisfied and efficient workforce,” Mahal concludes. 

Immersive learning as the future of employee training

“The next generation of workers are children of the digital age and used to constant stimulation across all forms of technology. We need to consider: how can we motivate our new hires and existing employees in the right direction?” writes Sue Turk in this Human Resources Director blog post. She believes immersive learning, the kind that combines virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, has the potential to be the most effective with the younger generation of workers. “Virtual immersive learning is fairly out of the norm compared to traditional training methods, and helps employees feel more open-minded and willing to try the experience,” she writes. “It can also have more of a long-lasting effect than traditional training methods–it becomes more of a memorable and a personal experience for the individual, allowing them to retain information easier.”

How to build a strong company culture

A strong company culture attracts top talent and retains that talent for years to come, argues Naz Beheshti in this Women@Forbes blog post. “There is now greater employee emphasis on whether the organization aligns with their personal values and purpose, and has a positive work environment and culture,” she writes. “In this climate, having a strong company culture is not just a perk. It is integral to the success and continuity of your business.” Beheshti outlines three top strategies to build a strong company culture: 1. Clarify and communicate your company values, beliefs, purpose, mission and standards. 2. Live the values of your company and avoid leadership hypocrisy. 3. Focus on the wellbeing of employees to motivate and engage them to thrive in all areas of their lives. “While a healthy paycheck is certainly of interest to many of us, the most successful employers have come to understand that pay alone does not attract or retain a company’s most desirable and talented employees,” she writes.

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