Posts

#WorkTrends: AI for HR

As we in HR know, AI is more than just a topic Common raps about in Microsoft commercials. Ready or not, it’s the future of work — and it’s coming quicker than we think.

So how can your organization adopt and embrace AI solutions while also making sure that these technological imperatives don’t overwhelm your people or your bottom line? For the answers we turned to Jeanne Meister, founding partner of Future Workplace, an AI advisory and research firm that’s best known for its training series AI 4 HR.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Do Your Research

Even if we’re already living in an AI-driven future, it doesn’t mean your organization should rush to embrace all of the latest and greatest tools.

Meister cautions that just as organizations need to think methodically about the solutions AI can offer them, they need to do the same as they select the tools they’ll work with. She says organizations need to take their time researching vendors, especially their financial viability. With so many startups out there, finding a partner that will survive long term is especially important. “With the buzz, there’s a lot of venture capital dollars,” Meister says.

Organizations also have to do a deep dive on the algorithms their partners will be implementing. Meister uses the example of the promise AI has shown in eliminating bias in talent assessment. Organizations need to understand how the algorithms work, because there’s always the possibility that an algorithm may introduce more bias.

This research is just part of the process, Meister says. You’ll have to experiment and test to get things right, and you can only do that if you truly understand how your new tool works.

How to Keep Work Human

Becoming more reliant on technology in the workplace leads to the question “How can we keep our workplaces more human?” Meister says there are two critical things organizations can do to ensure that they don’t lose that essential human touch.

First, make sure to upscale key roles that are affected by AI, and that you’re figuring out new ways for workers to bring greater value to the organization. “McKinsey had an interesting prediction that said that 30% of all the activities and about 60% of all occupations could be automated,” Meister says. “Think of this — if 30% of the role of recruiting specialists or coordinator could be automated, that individual should be upscaled so that they can deliver more value to the organization.” After all, she says, it’s the humans who are handing out job offers.

Second, be more transparent in communicating your AI strategy to employees. “There’s fear,” Meister says. “You’re going to be asking yourself, ‘What does it mean for my job and the other jobs on my team?’ ” One way to better conduct yourself during this period of change is to create a corporate code of conduct for how you’re going to use AI. This will help employees understand organizational goals — and how their jobs will change.

What Happens When Workers Automate Themselves?

Yes, you read that correctly! For all of the fear surrounding AI, there are some who’ve taken it upon themselves to automate their jobs. It’s a fascinating phenomenon that Meister recently wrote about in Forbes.

The concept of self-automation throws off our expectations around implementing AI in organizational settings; AI is typically instituted from the top down. But self-automation is happening more than you think, particularly with programmers in IT departments, and Meister says it’s a trend that’s only going to continue. But it leads to other questions: What exactly should an employer do? Is this an ethical breach for an employee?

If you discover employees automating their jobs, Meister says not to react angrily. “If an employee is self-automating their job, we have to reward their agility and their curiosity for hacking how their job gets done,” Meister says. In fact, she says, this is a sign of enthusiasm — for a desire to get tasks done and also to think about completing these tasks in a creative way.

Now, is self-automation a skill for the future? That’s a question for another episode.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

#WorkTrends: The Bridge Between Work and Technology

This episode is especially exciting for me. I love all of my guests, but it isn’t every day that I have one of my BFFs on the program. So I’m really pumped to have China Gorman back on #WorkTrends this week.

Among her many jobs, Gorman is managing director of UNLEASH’s U.S. operations, and this week she gave us a special sneak peek at UNLEASH America, which will be May 14-15 in Las Vegas. This year’s theme is “The Bridge Between Work and Technology;” we discussed how the convention will highlight the theme and Gorman’s own thoughts on the future of work.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

What’s in Store at UNLEASH 2019

UNLEASH has its roots in HR tech, but the conference is also devoted to discussing thornier issues. Perhaps the biggest topic UNLEASH will tackle is the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR has forced organizations to examine their data privacy practices and has spurred a discussion on the place of data in our professional and personal lives. “Ultimately, what we need to wrestle to the ground is who owns employee data,” Gorman says.

Further emphasizing the conference’s willingness to “get real” is its final keynote speaker: Edward Snowden. Yes, you read that correctly. Snowden will beam in live from Moscow. “He’s going to talk sort of big picture about data privacy,” Gorman says. “So how do we know who owns what [and] how do we work so that people can control what they need to control in terms of data?”

Gorman says she’s excited for the discussion and the controversy Snowden can bring, believing it will help facilitate even more dialogue on the floor in Las Vegas. “That’s going to be a whole different take that should sort of spur the thinking and create some interesting juices for our attendees to marinate in,” she says.

How AI Has Affected HR

Since Gorman puts on events about the future of HR, it would be a little ridiculous not to ask what she thinks about that topic. Gorman was polite enough to let me grill her on how construction on “the bridge between work and technology” is going.

The first topic we discussed was how artificial intelligence has affected HR. She says AI hasn’t had quite the impact that many expected, with one exception: talent acquisition. “I think they’re going to lead the rest of HR in terms of the effective use of AI,” she says.

AI has given recruiters the ability to find more qualified candidates in less time, so positions can get filled quicker. And an AI should learn with each hire, so these systems will evolve and become even more efficient as they’re used more and more.

Why Data Will Drive Engagement

But Gorman doesn’t underplay the promise of HR tech or AI. She says that as AI is further integrated, HR will be freed from administrative tasks and will focus on the human relationships that drive the employee experience. “I think in their heart of hearts, that’s the business HR wants to be in.”

And the data HR can collect will help improve employee engagement, she says. “The opportunity there is huge to improve engagement,” Gorman says. Organizations will be able to use analytics to combat disengagement, and they’ll be able to use data to take actionable steps to improve the employee experience. “It’s just that simple,” she says.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Why You Need To Start Training Your Recruiting Teams for AI-Related Hiring

AI is here to stay. You are going to need to hire AI talent no matter what your industry is — and now is the time to start preparing your organization to do that effectively and efficiently. It’s just not going to happen on its own.

Once upon a time in recent history, businesses made the switch to PCs, email, networks, the Web — and experts in information technology became vital for any company. Now we’re racing headlong into another evolution as AI transforms business applications. We’re going to need people who are experts in AI. It’s that simple.

Even if you don’t know you’re going to be hiring AI architects, AI product managers, software engineers and AI ethicists, assume that you will. We all know that innovations don’t wait. They just happen, and it’s up to us to be there.

It’s best to accept that AI will be a part of how your business functions, if it’s not already, and start planning your investment in AI-skilled hires now. You don’t want to wind up with a substantial hole in your roster or your operations due to all the talent being snapped up. Here are three steps to take now to start preparing for the robot revolution.

Start Training and Building Infrastructure Around AI

AI, machine learning and big data are all transformative tools, which means your recruiting team needs specialized training in how to effectively hire for positions related to these technologies.

Or, take it a step further and consider AI-dedicated recruiting teams. We’re already grappling with recruiting, hiring and retention. Most HR teams are still mired in day-to-day tasks that should not still be on their plates — not when there are countless new platforms and service providers who can take over.

A team that’s dedicated to recruiting for AI roles is going to have to be very fast and very efficient. It will also need to be extremely focused in terms of pinpointing the hard skills and training for a specific AI job position — and also very smart about identifying and discerning the right soft skills. It will need to make sure the outward-facing materials are truly aligned with the organization and free of bias.

One way to accomplish this is to redesign the recruiting team so they’re not all looking for talent, but are instead more task-oriented, so the focus is divided among people and hopefully speaks to their strengths. Here are a few possible recruiting functions that could pop up in the very near future.

A Q&A czar — This person or team is the landing point for questions the chatbot sends to a human (please have a human on hand to answer questions as well as chatbots).

Initial pre-screening — This function works with cognitive assessment and screening tools to identify the best potential candidates in terms of both hard skills and soft skills

Skills specialist — Once the first tier of potential candidates is identified, this function takes a much closer look at the technical and functional hard skills, then assesses key soft skills such as problem solving and situational challenges that match each candidate better with the requirements of specific jobs.

The decision team — This team combines all the information and feedback on each candidate and takes it to the next level in terms of a hire. They’re also the team that interfaces with the hiring organization.

Let the Chatbots Help with Recruiting

As we head toward filling AI roles, here’s an irony: Our concerns about machine learning and AI may hurt ourselves even more in the next few years. Tighten up your recruiting and hiring processes with automation, self-service, and other future-facing tools. Let the chatbots help. It will free your team to ramp up on how to find the best AI talent — how to screen for training, skill sets and experience.

We need to be better and smarter about how we recruit, hire and manage our hard-won talent. Many of us are looking at the solutions presented by machine learning and AI. It’s not that I want you to lift the needle off that record. But no one wants to be caught off guard, waltzing to the possibilities of sentiment analysis and virtual teams, while your competitors are searching for tech talent to fill their brand-new AI-related jobs.

We need to make sure we’re still in control of the hiring process, but that doesn’t mean rejecting innovative technologies because we feel like they’re too opaque. Automation and self-service are vital for today’s candidates — this is how they interact with all the other aspects of their life, and it has to be part of the candidate experience just as it’s part of the consumer experience.

They also provide a far better and clearer picture of how candidates are responding, and how they’re behaving during the recruiting and hiring process — vital information that helps HR departments learn and improve.

Get Outside Help If Necessary

If you can’t train up your team, bring in reinforcements. You need specialized experts on board who know the difference between Hadoop and PySpark — just a for instance. You also need to know where to find AI talent, how to attract them, how to get them to say yes, and then, how to keep them.

Consultants are one way to do it because hiring for AI roles is not in everyone’s wheelhouse and requires very specialized awareness of training, tech and tasks. Bringing in outside services are another: use the tools developed and administered by organizations that are highly advanced in background screening, in self-service platforms, in video interviewing channels, in tools that can be integrated with your existing hiring software.

Companies that are smaller and not entrenched in AI are not necessarily going to want to do this alone. They’re also not going to have the resources to commit to automation or self-service tools. But those tools are vital, and your organization is going to have to integrate them one way or another in the coming years.

#WorkTrends: How to Build the Company of the Future: HR Transform

So what exactly is the company of the future? It’s something we’re all asking ourselves a lot.

That’s why HR Transform’s theme this year is “How to Build the Company of the Future.” The conference is one of my favorite events, and we’re very fortunate to have a sneak peek of this year’s event for you this week on #WorkTrends. We spoke with Samara Jaffee, co-founder and executive director of HR Transform, about the big themes of this year’s conference, and what exactly the company of the future might look like.

Then, we’re joined by one of the speakers from this year’s conference, Ron Storn, chief people officer at Zume. He’s helping build a company of the future right now, and he has some great thoughts on what you can currently do to position your organization for the road ahead.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

 

What to Look For at HR Transform 2019

We talk a lot on #WorkTrends about this era of rapid change in the workplace. Sometimes, it can be difficult to imagine how the workplace will change even more. HR Transform, thankfully, is here to offer us some help. The conference will have four key themes that will help us think about just what’s coming up in the future, and Samara Jaffe joined us to break it all down.

The first theme is the balance between technology and humanity. Technology will give workers more time in the workplace, freeing them from repetitive tasks. It also will do something else, Jaffe says. It will “enable greater human connection to allow us to focus on the human gift that technology really can’t replace,” she says.

Second on the docket is diversity, equity and inclusion — something we all can agree we need more of in the future. Third is the identity of HR. “There are a lot of conversations around the role of HR and the strategic shift that’s underway, within that function, to ensure that there’s a voice of the people at the C suite and the board level,” explains Jaffe.

Last is the future of work. Talent pools are changing; more and more people are working as gig workers. The conference will also look at how employees can be re-skilled and up-skilled in the rapidly-changing workplace.

Hire, Grow, Keep

Ron Storn is one of the thought leaders that will be speaking at HR Transform, and it’s easy to see why. Zume is a great example of a company that is embracing many of the tenets of the future of work that HR Transform will be addressing.

Zume is an organization that brings automation to the food service industry — for example, their business uses robots to pull pizzas out of incredibly hot ovens, eliminating the potential for human injury. Storn describes Zume’s hiring and retention philosophy very simply: “Hire, grow, keep.” The company values opportunities to re-train employees when the need arises, so that it can keep them engaged within the organization.

The company’s focus on automation is not a focus on eliminating jobs, but creating more skilled ones. “It’s all about efficiency and creating more strategic work for individual,” Zorn says. A former line cook for the business now leads its customer support area, and the company has numerous other similar success stories.

“It’s more about the growth of the person,” Storn explains. “If they have this opportunity — and it’s within your company — you’re going to get more retention, and you’re going to get more engaged employees.”

The Future of HR

When asked to look into his crystal ball, Storn has great insights into the future of HR. He reminds us that for all of the holistic concerns we have in our function, that we have to remember the business side come first. “It’s basically about enabling, facilitating and accelerating the overall growth of the company,” he says.

HR has a great opportunity now to be at the forefront of bold, progressive business decisions, he continues. By using its new tools, HR can lead with data-driven, more efficient processes that will demonstrate the function’s increased value to the C suite.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

#WorkTrends: How the Workforce Is Changing

Alexandra LevitWhile Generation Z and an army of robots aren’t about to take over your office any time soon, who we work with and how we work together is still all changing very fast. In this week’s episode we talk to author and consultant Alexandra Levit about the major trends affecting the workplace of tomorrow and why it’s a competitive advantage to have a flexible and systemized contract workforce.

Levit works to prepare organizations and their employees for meaningful careers in the future workplace. The former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and writer for The New York Times, Fast Company and Forbes has authored several books, including the international best-seller “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College” and her new book “Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future.”

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Demographic Shifts

Levit says organizations are already being affected by the changing demographics of who is available to work, particularly aging baby boomers who are remaining in the workforce after retirement age — often on their own terms.

“They’re available to work but the model in which they’re available to work is slightly different,” she says. “Many organizations are not prepared for that because these are people who even if they worked 60 to 80 hours in their prime are not willing to do that anymore. We have to really think of ways to allow these individuals to continue to contribute in meaningful ways.”

She notes that the population in developing countries is growing much more quickly than the population in developed countries, which she says means nations such as India and China are going to be exporting more qualified workers in most professions. Consequently, more individuals will be available for virtual work and remote work, often while charging lower fees than similar professionals in the U.S. and European nations.

Automation and AI

When it comes to automation and artificial intelligence and their impact on the workforce, Levit takes a largely optimistic view. “Until machines develop consciousness, there’s going to be no real way for them to take over every aspect of a human role,” she says. “There are still very unique human skills like judgment, empathy, interpersonal conflict resolution, creativity, that are very difficult for machines to replicate.”

Rather, she foresees the rise of human-machine hybrid teams in which machines will take over tasks of certain jobs — and she says deploying and maintaining those tools will likely create new jobs.

“I know one organization that’s working on a chatbot for their onboarding function,” she says. “… This chatbot has involved no fewer than 15 to 20 human employees, so that’s a whole bunch of human people who now have jobs because we’re deploying a chatbot. This is going to continue to happen. As we try to figure out how to best use technology and how to best deploy robots, we’re still going to need a lot of people.”

Managing Contract Workers

To find and maximize talent, Levit says organizations need to systematize their contract workforce — and they need to do it now because the contract world is going to play an even larger and more complex role moving forward.

“The way that it’s happening in most organizations today is that there’ll be a manager from one team who brings in someone, there’ll be a manager from another team who brings in another person,” she says. “And there will be no rhyme or reason to how that person is recruited, how they are onboarded or how their performance is evaluated.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

#WorkTrends: How AI Will Change HR

We have big news this week in the #WorkTrends community. We’re re-launching the podcast, and we’re welcoming back an old friend, Kevin W. Grossman, as my #WorkTrends co-host. We’re also changing up our format. Each episode of #WorkTrends will now include a quick look at what’s happening in the world of HR tech, plus interviews with people who are doing interesting work in HR and leadership.

On this week’s episode we’re talking everything AI — what it really means, what HR leaders need to know and how it’s going to reshape the way we work. For a look at where artificial intelligence and automation are already taking HR, we’re turning to my friend and expert Ben Eubanks, an analyst at Lighthouse Research as well as a podcaster, blogger and author of a forthcoming book on artificial intelligence in HR.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

AI for Recruiting

Over the past several years AI has transcended its status as a cultural buzzword and found its way into practical applications for many HR leaders. Eubanks says the most prominent AI use case in HR is probably on the recruiting side, because of the sheer size of the problem that talent acquisition presents for large organizations. Chatbots are already enabling companies to take on some conversations with candidates without having to have a recruiter physically sitting in front of them.

“The more volume there is, the easier it is to try to automate that and more value there is,” he says. “When I was interviewing someone for the book, we were talking about what things you should prioritize, and they said if it’s got a high volume and there’s a high cost of making an error, those are the things you really want to automate.”

Improving the Candidate Experience

Eubanks says his discussions with HR leaders indicate the initial reaction by candidates to these types of automations in recruiting has been surprisingly positive. Candidates seem to be appreciative of any chance to break through the often-opaque job-search process and have a chance to have their voices heard — even if it’s by a piece of software.

He says one manager told him candidates often go through a dialogue with a bot about their desired positions, submit their resume, then say “thank you” before signing off. “Candidates love it, because they have a chance to really feel like someone is listening to them,” he says.

Sentiment Analysis

Beyond recruitment, Eubanks says there are already a handful of companies successfully leveraging intelligent automation to perform sentiment analysis to suss out valuable trends in large employee surveys — a process that would take humans hours upon hours.

“What if we had a tool, a piece of technology, that would automatically go through that, not just look at what the issues are, what the trends are, but also look at the sentiment, the underlying emotions and moods of the employees?” he says. “You find out, ‘wait a minute, all the people in this function over here are actually kind of upset’ — or ‘people that are working in this office, this location, are actually having some issues with infrastructure or management or communication.’ ”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

HR Technology: Three Routes on the Roadmap to Automation

HR and talent technology is evolving at a breakneck pace. Financial and resource investment in this area is also growing, as technology has created the real opportunity for HR to drive impactful business growth. While HR technology once centered around the applicant tracking system (ATS) and human resource information system (HRIS), we’ve seen it mature to include various innovative solutions that can be implemented to enhance the entire employee journey; making certain each touchpoint has technology intertwined can significantly improve both cost and time efficiencies.

In short, smart use of technology brings with it the opportunity for HR and talent leaders to gain their “seat” at the executive table.

Key Insights from Industry Leaders

This opportunity, however, demands a precise balance between traditional technologies, innovative and disruptive technologies, then relying on your most savvy people to leverage them in a way that inspires greater human interaction (i.e., relationship building, learning, listening and empowering careers) and ultimately business-impacting results. Finding this balance is indeed a challenge, but not an unconquerable one!

To shed light on solutions to the above challenges, at WilsonHCG we have performed extensive research on the area of HR technology, spoke with industry leaders and created a checklist around where to begin − encapsulating these findings in our brand-new technology-focused report, HR and Talent Technology: The Journey to Automation. Highlighting a few key takeaways from the report, we delve into the following:

  1. Cognitive, Smart Technologies. One of the biggest trends that has emerged, and one that could be the most promising for talent acquisition, is cognitive and robotic technologies − such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA). In fact, at WilsonHCG we believe cognitive recruiting will soon be the norm within innovative talent strategies. Within the whitepaper, we shed light on how these technologies can enhance your talent strategy, as well as when and where automation may be optimal to integrate.In fact, at one recent industry-leading event (explored within the whitepaper), talent leaders saw that AI might just have asserted its dominance in sourcing available and best-fit candidates.
  2. Talent Analytics (the Why and How).We also discuss talent analytics, as many organizations are currently redesigning their people analytics teams in order to conduct real-time measuring that drives both talent and business outcomes, as well as decision making. In fact, according to Mercer’s Global Talent Trends Study 201793 percent of 400+ executives plan to make a design change in their company within the next two years to stay ahead and keep the focus on their workforces. Further, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report71 percent of companies see people analytics as a top priority for their organizations moving forward into 2018.
  3. Technology Cannot Replace Strategy.No technology, no matter how sophisticated it may seem (or actually be), should ever replace talent strategies or processes; rather, they need to supplement your process. Technologies help drive efficiencies, but your people need to be at the forefront of all candidate experience, employee engagement, and workforce planning initiatives. Within the whitepaper, for example, we reveal whether industry leaders believe AI and RPA will create or replace more jobs (you might be surprised by the results).Technology will never recreate or replace your personal efforts around candidate experience; it can aid in the satisfaction of the application process, or assist internally with the efficiency for sourcers/recruiters to complete a task. But candidate experience demands a personal relationship and rapport building between your candidate and recruiters. In the report, we reveal how to seamlessly align the two.

What Steps Can You Take Today?

Of note, we spoke with a noteworthy talent leader at the executive level, paving the way for innovative use of technology within the talent market. According to this leader, improving the candidate experience should be companies’ “No. 1 priority” right now as it pertains to integrating and optimizing the use of technology within front-end talent strategy; the cost efficiencies, not to mention the strategic benefits such as talent quality, are simply too readily achievable to be ignored. This starts with having transparent, challenging conversations.

Send in the Robots: The Good and Bad of Automating Your Hiring Process

Futurist and tech billionaire, Elon Musk, believes we may not be far from a time where robots and various forms of artificial intelligence (AI) will perform most jobs. He cautions that a day will come when there will be few jobs a robot will not do better than a human being.

But this reality is still years away.

In the meantime, we need people to fill an increasing number of jobs—today. And we can use AI to our advantage to automate the more tedious tasks of HR, speed up the recruiting process, save companies money and enable them to be more competitive in the race to attract top talent.

Sound incredible? It’s not. It’s very real. Of course, like any technology, AI also has some downsides. Let’s take a look at the positives and the negatives of AI in three areas of recruiting that are most likely to face digital disruption this year.

AI Takes Over the Tedium of Resume Screening

What if you could take one of the most difficult, time-consuming aspects of HR and automate the process to do it faster and more effectively than any human being could accomplish? More than half (52 percent) of recruiting managers say finding potential applicants in giant talent pools is the most challenging part of their job.

Finding a single qualified candidate from predictive screening, which shares the traits of successful hires with just a glimpse at a resume, can take up to 23 hours of a recruiter’s time.

“Candidate screening is a process better handled by algorithms that can effortlessly, accurately, respectfully, and predictively screen thousands or millions of candidates per day (or hour) for business success,” states Greta Roberts, writing for SalesForce.com. These powerful algorithms accomplishes this feat by filtering for keywords and other factors that match those of successful past hires.

Some job seekers fear that AI software won’t view candidates as individuals or will misunderstand aspects of their resume. But when a recruiter makes a decision after a 6-second glimpse at that same resume, he or she isn’t necessarily taking time to think about the person behind the buzzwords either.

AI programs don’t get tired and overlook important indicators that someone may be the right person for the job. In fact, the more resumes AI reviews, the better it gets at finding top candidates. The numbers are in and the case for AI is compelling. According to recruiting software firm Ideal, companies that have adopted AI for recruiting software who use it have seen a:

  • Performance increase of 20 percent
  • Revenue per employee grow by 4 percent
  • Employee turnover drop by 35 percent

Chatbots Keep Prospects Looped In

AI-powered chatbots are already being used in the food service industry to assist customers with placing orders, and in retail to answer questions and manage some customer complaints. It’s easy to make the leap to chatbots that can schedule interviews and answer job candidates’ frequently asked questions. From an HR director’s perspective, it’s all about being able to deliver the information candidates need, when they need it, in their preferred format.

Certainly, no one reaches out via chat interface with the thought, “I really hope I get to speak to a robot today!” But it definitely beats being ghosted by an HR director after you thought that first interview went so well.

And recruiters who spend less time sending follow-up emails can now focus on the high-touch areas of their job, such as connecting with candidates after they’ve passed the initial screening process, slam-dunked the first and second interviews, and now require some personalized attention to convince them to sign on.

Streamline Onboarding with AI

It’s important to make new employees feel at home with a personalized tour, but so many aspects of onboarding simply don’t need the expertise of an HR director. Enter Jinie, an HR chatbot that can help walk new hires through those first confusing days on the job, share information about programs and policies, and answer common questions.

However, to gain widespread adoption, these bots need to be:

  • In a familiar format—perhaps integrated into existing communications platforms like Slack
  • Secure enough to transmit sensitive HR data
  • Seamless, so the experience feels more like speaking to a human being than a bot

Will AI Replace HR?

Clearly, AI can streamline and simplify many aspects of HR. But HR directors and recruiters won’t be replaced anytime soon.

AI can handle screening applicants, initial outreach, schedule interviews, and even manage aspects of the onboarding process. For example, Wendy, an AI chatbot developed by tech startup WadeandWendy, can complete the first interview on behalf of the HR team.

By automating these tasks, HR professionals are freed up to step in when their strategic expertise is required, and to oversee the entire process for quality control. After all, AI is only as good as the data we feed it. Biases can (and do) creep in—all based on what we, the human users, may inadvertently teach the AI algorithms over time.

As an HR professional, you take extra care to ensure you evaluate all candidates on equal footing, in the same way, you will have to oversee the use of AI to help provide unbiased decisions—and to make the final calls on hiring and promotions.

If you could save time and money by implementing tools to help you do your job more efficiently, wouldn’t you? For HR departments, those tools exist and improving every day. When it comes to streamlining your HR processes, it may just be time to send in the robots.

A version of this was first posted on Converge.xyz

Why We Need a Conversation Before Fearing Jobs Being Lost to Automation and Robots

Before we can address the question of what jobs will be created for humans as automation takes over current roles, we need to focus on a question that most people are not asking. We have so many people talking about the future of work and yet, work has evolved so much over the last few decades that we no longer have an understanding of what work is. Is it having a job? Is it getting a paycheque? Is it contributing to society? What work will look like is an important question we need to ask before we focus on skills and jobs. What kind of world do we want to live in, anyway?

What if purpose mattered?

In the current western world, we like to segment everything into neat little boxes, and in that process, meaning is lost. While businesses come out of peoples’ passions to create something in the world that others would find valuable, we’ve turned people into consumers that need to be sold and marketed.

From an organizational perspective, too often we lead with structure instead of purpose. For example, most organizations claim to hire the best and the brightest, and yet most of their efforts focus on transactions like recruiting and onboarding instead of shepherding people throughout their time with the organization by providing them with ongoing information sharing and the ability to feel like they are valued every day.

What if we asked new questions and created conversations?

In this business journey, we have lost our way. The first question we need to focus on is how work fits into our changing lives. Work is not separate from life, nor is it more important, although many people define themselves by what they do (i.e. their title and organization affiliation). At a recent talk, I was asked how we could help people on the verge of retiring who feel that they will no longer be able to share with people who they are. The answer is simple: This is an opportunity for us to take our voice back and see life as an adventure, of which work is only a small part. What if we created sessions where people can talk openly about who they are in the world and why they are here that focuses on making a life instead of making a living?

What if fear of automation and technology is not new?

The automation of the auto industry brought job losses. But some of these are “jobs” that are better off without human involvement, like elevator operators or factory work. They illustrate the need for us to ask ourselves new questions, like whether it would be more valuable to society and our world if we had more people feeling like the work they do is valuable and makes an impact.

One of the biggest changes we face today is the need to let go of fear and focus on what we can create. When we create people-centric organizations, we start designing work differently. We stop putting band-aid solutions on antiquated systems that are cracking. We can either buy into our fear and rush into creating tips and tricks for people to “save” their ability to “work” or we can create forums where we have open conversations on what our world, society and lives look like and, as a result, what role work has in our healthy lives. These conversations are popping up now on the edges and not in the mainstream, where fear unfortunately continues to guide the conversation.

What if there is only H:H (Human to Human) instead of B:C (Business to Consumer)?

When we create thriving 21st century organizations that are people-centric, we will not worry about jobs. We will remember the purpose of our organizations: to create projects and initiatives to deliver them, and to bring in people to co-create with and thrive.

The skill that is needed here is a “what do we want to create on the planet?” mindset. We need intuition, imagination and creativity. We need people to understand that we are in the human-to-human experience and purpose-driven era, where business is a force  of good that does not threaten humanity or our planet with constant loss and fear.

This cannot happen in a world where furniture is an asset on a financial spreadsheet and people are deemed a liability.

What is the bigger focus?

The bigger question to ask is, when do we start valuing people more than shareholder value that requires constant layoffs and shuffling the deck chairs so the ship won’t sink?

In the words of Bryan Welch, CEO of B the Change Media from my upcoming book,

“We are on the verge of a revolution in business. Consumers are becoming more aware every day of the availability of information and their own power to understand the value systems that govern businesses and to demand that the businesses they patronize share their values. What’s about to happen is that people are going to start exercising that power. Businesses are going to need to do good in the world to earn the patronage of their customers. As this occurs, business will become the most powerful force for good that human society has ever seen.”

We’re facing both a choice and a huge opportunity for the future of humanity and our world. Are you ready for creating people-centered organizations where robots, technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are not part of the equation?

A version of this was first posted on itbusiness.ca

Photo Credit: @yojosemere Flickr via Compfight cc

The ATS Alone Is Not Enough

This is the final part in a four-part series on why talent acquisition doesn’t need to reinvent the ATS. Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

In my last post, I outlined the parallels between marketing and sales and talent acquisition. The traditional recruiting process exemplified by the ATS has been focused on the bottom half of the funnel, similar to sales, with the main goal of hiring qualified applicants.

Because of this goal, the ATS was built with process and compliance in mind and admirably serves this function. It enables recruiters to better understand open job requisitions, work with hiring managers and manage the hiring process for candidates. The ATS does exactly what it was asked to do when it was built 10 years ago for the part of the funnel it addresses. Most of this functionality is still very relevant and, in most cases, crucial to talent acquisition in today’s environment.

But the problem is that we want it to do more. We want it to be an engagement platform. We want it to help our recruiters market our jobs and employer brand better. We want it to measure the full funnel from view to hire for all our sources. And we don’t just want it to―we expect it to. In most cases, this is why we hate our ATS (although you may have other reasons as well).

The question, though, is: Where the fault should lie? Is the fault with the ATS for not adapting, or is the fault with us for unrealistic expectations?

With the shifts mentioned earlier, organizations are starting to understand the need for more robust recruitment marketing strategies on the front end of the recruiting process. It’s no longer about just posting jobs to the right channels, but how we use the budget and resources to create a strategy that consistently converts high quality leads to applicants in our ATS.

Most importantly, recruitment marketing is fundamentally different than traditional recruiting―complimenting what the ATS is meant to solve while providing the attraction capabilities many recruiting organizations are eager for.

Technology for the Front End of Recruiting

The ATS is just like the Sales CRM. It’s meant to be the system of record for converting qualified applicants into hires, or in the Sales CRM example, for converting qualified leads into customers.

Attracting and converting prospects into qualified leads requires a different system of record. Recruitment marketing uses different strategies and tactics and therefore requires different technology to be successful. It’s about engagement, multiple sources, promoting your employment brand, content outside of jobs, measuring every step of the funnel, providing candidates multiple calls to action and most importantly, creating and nurturing lasting relationships with the right skilled candidates.

And that means technology built with a recruitment marketing focus.

The technology marketplace has been flooded with products that are focused on one aspect of the pre-applicant recruiting process, such as social, mobile, job distribution, CRM or SEO. And these products have helped organizations make progress in attracting and engaging better with candidates, but not without limitations.

As organizations have evolved their recruitment marketing capabilities, these siloed products have exposed the need for integration between them not only from a usability standpoint (i.e., logging into four to five systems), but also from a data analytics perspective (i.e., pulling and trusting reports and data from multiple sources).

Recruitment marketing is channel-agnostic. It doesn’t matter what initiative or channel generates the most qualified candidate leads, whether it’s a job board, email campaign, career site, social media or employee referral program, as long as it generates qualified leads within budget and time constraints. Underperforming sources should be eliminated, and good performing initiatives replicated.

At the end of the day, we need to execute and evaluate all of these initiatives side by side. Recruiters must understand what works in the aggregate, not just in the silo. A complete view of every data point from every source will help talent acquisition leaders better understand and use their resources and budget for candidate attraction globally across all possible channels.

But this is impossible to do with today’s ATS or point products.

An Integrated Recruitment Marketing Software Solution

We’ve been here before. Just like the ATS and the HRIS before it, we are seeing a technology category emerge to address this opportunity. There’s always talk about the large HCM systems building these capabilities into their products, but the reality is it usually doesn’t happen early enough to capitalize on the opportunity or is so lightweight that the overall impact is not felt.

So what’s the future in technology for recruitment marketing?

The name of the product category is Recruitment Marketing Platforms. Some consider Recruitment Marketing Platforms a next-generation CRM because recruitment marketing strategy is more than just a database.

A Recruitment Marketing Platform offers a holistic solution to execute and measure your entire recruitment marketing strategy and will include the following in a single system:

  • Job Marketing: Execute all job marketing on job boards, niche sites, banner ads, retargeting, pay per click and one-off channels.
  • Social Media: Manage social media publishing, including marketing your jobs and other thought leadership content, as well as measure the influence of your social channels on a candidate’s decision to apply; create and measure social career pages on channels like LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Facebook.
  • Recruitment CRM: House your candidate contacts in a full CRM database and attract, engage and nurture them through multiple initiatives, including:
    • Landing pages CTAs and sourcing campaigns.
    • Targeted and automated email and SMS.
    • Pipeline tracking for key skills and disciplines to determine candidate readiness and interest.
    • Social and video interview integration for richer candidate profiles.
    • Marketing automation to help recruiters and sourcers more effectively build, nurture and engage with targeted talent pipelines.
  • Career Site/SEO: Host, manage and measure the candidate-facing career site through a content management solution that ensures SEO optimization and mobile-responsiveness and provides full brand and content creation control for a better candidate search experience on both desktop and mobile channels.
  • Employee Referrals: Integrate an employee referral program that enables effective communication with both sponsors and referral candidates to encourage better and more timely referrals to jobs and general skills.
  • ATS Integration: Integrate multiple touch points with the ATS from a data and candidate contact perspective, offering seamless interaction between the two systems and a holistic picture of your candidate’s journey from first attraction touch point all the way through apply and hire.
  • Complete Analytics: Pull trustworthy data and analytics from all the above initiatives and channels in a single view and dashboard, including:
    • Full Pipeline Insight: All interactions from click to view to applicant to hire in the recruitment funnel by source.
    • Job Level: Actionable, real-time performance data on a single job level across all channels.
    • Aggregate Level: Actionable, real-time performance data on an enterprise strategy level across all channels, skills and categories.
    • Source of Hire: Universally track the final source that converted a candidate to submit a job application.
    • Source of Influence: Universally track ALL sources and channels that influence a candidate’s decision to apply, not just the last source of application. This is incredibly important to give credit to all channels that influence a candidate’s decision to apply, especially when you look to assign budget and resources.

A dedicated recruitment marketing software solution will include all of the above AND integrate with your existing ATS solution. It will provide the foundation to begin to build and grow recruitment marketing at your organization. And if done right, it will be where your talent pipelines live ready to be tapped into the next time a job requisition opens up.

Let’s not focus on what the ATS can’t do, but focus on what other technology can do in order to take advantage of the emerging discipline of recruitment marketing.

 

Smashfly is a client of TalentCulture and has sponsored this post.

The Balancing Act: Technology And The Human Element

TalentWise just wrapped up our best HR Tech conference yet. As I cruised the show floor, engaged with analysts and customers, and chatted with fellow HR tech executives, it struck me how lucky we are to be in this industry. The next 10 years will bring a wholesale change in the way companies recruit, hire, manage, and engage their workforces, not to mention a significant reshuffling of the deck chairs among the vendors supporting them. HR is approaching a critical juncture, and must decide whether to leap forward or risk being left behind.

The keynote speaker, Andrew McAfee, struck a chord with many in the audience. We’ve known that technology is transforming everything from our economy to the minutiae of everyday life, but McAfee focused on the implications of such rapid change. This “second machine age” is no less significant than the first — the Industrial Revolution — where technology replaced physical labor and changed the world.

The challenge is now upon us, as it is upon the rest of the world. We must continue to adapt, or risk becoming obsolete. There is a great deal of fear around this concept — the idea that technology will replace humans, just as the steam engine and tractor replaced the horse and ox. To the contrary, McAfee noted that through the proper marriage of people and technology, the sky is the limit. We must allow technology do what it does best, freeing up humans to do what they do best – human-to-human (now being coined “H2H”) interaction. Nowhere is this more applicable than in the world of HR, where there is little danger of “human resources” dropping the human element. To the contrary, digital technology can unleash the power of human ingenuity, empathy, and judgment. Case in point: by leveraging technology to automate routine compliance-centric administration, HR pros can shift focus to designing smarter processes, implementing best-in-class technologies, and keeping the company’s top talent engaged. This is a business imperative. As technology matures and becomes more broadly adopted, companies will increasingly differentiate on how well they leverage their people. HR managers are no exception. It’s up to them to embrace this technology revolution, and the limitless benefits that it will bring.

At TalentWise, we are proud to be a technology company that realizes the true synergy between technology and people. Is the highest and best use of your most talented HR pros to be mailing offer letters or chasing down a Form I-9? Is there any strategic value in managing vendors as they work independently to fulfill the disjointed process of screening and onboarding new employees? Do your new hires feel engaged on day one when greeted with a stack of paperwork and a ballpoint pen? Clearly the answer to all three is “no.” TalentWise believes that HR must be empowered to focus on the things that matter most — recruitment in an increasingly competitive environment, employee engagement amidst a technology and generational shift, data-driven decision making, etc.

We have developed a single technology solution with which HR can manage the entire hiring process, from offer letter to screening and onboarding. An entirely electronic system, TalentWise reduces time and cost to hire and ensures compliance in today’s tricky regulatory landscape, all while creating an efficient and engaging candidate experience. Like McAfee, we are fundamentally optimistic about the future of both people and technology. We feel uniquely positioned to ride the wave of change that digital technologies continue to bring. Not all businesses will adapt and survive, but the ones that do will thrive like never before.

HR must not miss this wave. IT spending dipped after the 2008 recession, but now it’s back. HR needs to move with conviction in upgrading their HR technology infrastructure. If we can combine the best people with the best technology, the sky is the limit. Change is happening astonishingly fast. Will technology leave you behind or lift you up?

About the Author: Todd Owens is CEO at TalentWise and has been with the company since 2006. Previously he held senior Product Management and Business Development roles at Wind River Systems and Siebel Systems. A former United States Navy submarine officer, Todd has twice been recognized as a “Superstar for outsourcing innovation in support of HR organizations” by HRO Today magazine. Todd holds a BS degree from the United States Naval Academy and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

photo credit: quinn.anya via photopin cc

#TChat Preview: Empowering HR And The Hiring Process

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, September 24, 2014, from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT). The #TChat radio portion runs the first 30 minutes from 7-7:30 pm ET, followed by the #TChat Twitter chat from 7:30-8 pm ET.

Last week we talked about the ROI of workplace transparency and the race for talent, and this week we’re going to talk about empowering HR and the hiring process.

HR carries the talent torch everyday. It’s responsible for recruiting, hiring, training and engaging their organization’s most important asset – the people.

Unfortunately due to increasing corporate complexity and a constantly changing regulatory environment (not to mention a tightening corporate budget), HR has had little choice but to spend its limited time administering process first, and engaging people second.

HR technologies today are supposed to free HR from routine administration, while helping them keep their organization compliant. Ultimately, it’s about empowering them to deliver a more productive and engaged workforce starting with the hiring process.

Empowering HR from day one is the ultimate outcome, which in turn creates a productive and engaging day one for the candidate and co-workers alike.

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-creators and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about empowering HR and the hiring process with this week’s guest: Todd Owens, CEO at TalentWise.

Sneak Peek:

Related Reading:

Todd Owens: Screening and Onboarding: The Yin and Yang of Hiring

Meghan M. Biro: Shine Your HR Tech Talent Torch Even Brighter

Adi Gaskell: Is Your Onboarding Stifling Innovation?

Carol McDaniel: The Onboarding Conundrum

Toby Beresford: Why Gamification Makes Onboarding More Effective

Shannon Smedstad: Onboarding Requires A Little Thoughtfulness #hrbasics

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guest and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: Empowering HR and the Hiring Process

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, September 24 — 7 pm ET / 4 pm PT Tune in to the #TChat Radio show with our host, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, as they talk with our guest: Todd Owens.

Tune in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, September 24th — 7:30 pm ET / 4:30 pm PT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Todd will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What does it mean to empower HR and new employees from day one? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How much of the hiring process can and should be automated with technology? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: What does it mean for HR to be strategic and create a sustaining, high-performing, competitive organization today? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

photo credit: ScoRDS via photopin cc