Advanced talent management has developed exponentially in recent years as the rise of AI, people analytics and RPA have revolutionised the way that individuals are sourced, engaged, deployed and developed.
However the pace of change is accelerating at lightning speed: according to the most recent estimates, there are now around 12 million ‘HR technology’ companies and, globally, the sector employs more than 160 million people – that’s more than the population of Russia.
Against this backdrop, 2019 looks set to be the year when HR practitioners are offered the universal scope to move beyond simply gathering data to applying analytics in increasingly intelligent ways. However, knowing where to direct resources amid this increasingly complex landscape has the potential to be a key challenge for HR strategists as they move into 2019.
While HR technology is a catch-all term which encompasses myriad diverse offerings – from relatively simple payroll extensions to training portals – there are three areas of technology development which are currently achieving the lion’s share of attention: mobile, AI and platforms which facilitate communication between employers and their audiences.
In today’s digital age, when employees and candidates now routinely expect the level of service they receive as consumers in every facet of their lives, programmatic methods are being used to drive online engagement. Based on search history, we as consumers are fed ads related to how we engage online. However, this technology should also be harnessed to effectively target or retarget candidates and employees – and to ensure that we continually collect data and preferences through user behaviour.
In the near future, candidate and internal communications strategies will no longer take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to engagement. Big data can now be made available through close integration of analytics, advertising and search preferences. This, in turn, brings about the possibility to customise communications for particular users, by directing them into different ‘lanes’. Through taking this approach, individuals can be offered benefits and opportunities for progression which truly resonate with their innate drivers to aid retention and productivity.
While Amazon’s AI-based recruitment tool hit headlines in 2018 when it emerged that its hiring decisions were biased against female candidates, predictive hiring looks set to mature in 2019, with the development of highly sophisticated systems. For organisations facing a complex and competitive candidate market, using algorithms can be extremely useful. They can aid the identification of the right talent, remove a level of human error and reduce the risk of recruiters missing qualified candidates. Provided that the data used to help the AI learn has been considerately selected – and, once live, is meticulously maintained through continuous monitoring of overall performance and results – the risks of encountering issues with regards to extreme bias becomes less of an issue.
While the proliferation of available data has the potential to revolutionise HR practices, the sheer scale of information we now have access to has the potential to be overwhelming. In response to this ‘complexity creep’, the coming year will also see the emergence of recruiting platforms designed to turn large volumes of loosely structured data into complete professional profiles.
These systems can curate data so that the attributes of jobseekers or employees can be reviewed, assessed and compared with ease. By pulling information from various sources – whether that be internal training records or publically available social media profiles – HR leaders can ensure that people decisions are based on the broadest possible data sets to increase both subjectivity and accountability.
According to PwC’s latest Global HR Technology Survey, just 14 per cent of employers say they are satisfied with their current HR technologies. However, it is vital that practitioners never join the ‘race to innovate’ for the wrong reasons. They must start from the ground up and consult with their teams to discover where the pain points are and how these can be addressed to boost productivity and engagement. The new digital landscape is impacting the skills required of talent acquisition leaders, who must be able to cut through the noise to build digital strategies which reflect real-time business needs.
The concept of the ‘Future of Work’ has traditionally used 2020 as a reference point, and as this pivotal date draws closer, some decision makers are eager to jump on the technology bandwagon through a fear of being left behind. However, by identifying the tangible results they are hoping to achieve through digital transformation – and the benefits and limitations of options available – HR leaders can create slick and future-fit systems which succeed in boosting engagement, efficiency and productivity throughout the recruitment process and beyond.