Lately there has been a lot of noise about the rapid rise of technology in HR, and its impact on the traditionally very human face of recruitment. Conjectures fill the webisphere on whether or not HR Tech will ever completely replace human-driven hiring and recruiting altogether, some are drawing such parallels between the relationship of HR to new tech as akin to that of the traditional job search to the emergence of the ole Internet itself.
But tech’s scope and speed should be no-brainers by now. Tools like automated outreach turn recruiting into a constant, global two-way street. The oft-cited LinkedIn and similar networking sites have mastered this kind of passive recruiting, enhancing a company’s visibility at the same time as they uncover possibly ideal candidates: company and brand X, meet candidate Y; candidate Y, meet company and brand X. It’s becoming enough of a norm in our world that we’ve stopped seeing this as a novel innovation, but about five minutes ago, it was.
Now, smartified candidate-tailored active recruiting is close on its heels, with new talent outreach and on boarding systems being developed that can locate prospects based on far more than a checklist of education and experience criteria. These methods are designed to be stratified and fluid, create a kind of built in “decision tree” that dovetails outreach, analytics and data with human input and decision making.
The point is: whether or not tech will ever take over HR entirely is, well, beside the point. Tech is a medium; a tool; and savvy companies need to take advantage of it to gain strategic position. A 2014 survey on HR Service Delivery and Technology. found that a third of companies plan to increase their investment in HR tech this year, which means that two-thirds of the companies surveyed may wind up in the dark.
Among the hottest areas of investment were:
- Talent Management Services
- Mobile Access Services
- Cloud-based software-as-a-service systems
About That Survey
Another area of investment growth the Towers Watson study notes is in HR data and workforce analytics. With the far greater scope and reach of HR tech-generated campaigns, Old Hat has a new bang. Among the various data sources HR organizations are now mining, according to the study, are employee engagement surveys. Their effectiveness now upped exponentially with a dose of tech, those same little sleepy surveys that floated onto employees’ desk (and were tackled, unenthusiastically, during 4 pm lulls) are now powerful treasure troves of usable data.
Employee engagement surveys now provide invaluable insights that play a key role in corporate planning, according to half of the companies who surveyed their employees at least every two years. One third of respondents reported that the results of employee engagement surveys will have a substantial role in their organization’s direction and strategy. Tech has made the old new.
There’s an endless race for talent going on in the world of work. And clearly, technology’s presence in HR and talent acquisition is not a question of when, or even if. Tech is here to facilitate HR, as we ask it to: We’d best be involved on the ground floor and making sure it facilitates our needs and goals.
HR’s role in tech, from the initial search to recruitment, from training to bringing new recruits up to speed, is what will turn the vast potential of a technology into a competitive advantage. Its effectiveness, in terms of functionality that supports an organization, is a matter of tailoring and customization. That means getting in the pool. To help shape tech to your best advantage, recruitment needs to make sure it’s involved in the process from the start.
Scott Klososky, founding partner of Future Point of View, a tech consulting firm in Edmond, Oklahoma, recently underscored this, saying that HR professionals should become more educated on technology to stay relevant and competitive. From upper management workshops on how to link up leadership and technology to frequent consults with IT and business and marketing analysts, the more closely HR can be involved, the better.
A version of this post was first published on Forbes.