5 ways hiring will feel more, not less, human in 2030

The interviewing process, the hiring process, and the process regarding paperwork are becoming easier with the help of technology. Although technology is creating a more efficient way to complete these processes, it may create a dehumanizing feeling. Read this blog post to learn more about keeping the human touch in the hiring process.


While 2030 may feel like something out of science fiction, recruiting will likely look more human than android. Trends such as using artificial intelligence and cloud technology to curate candidate analytics are on the horizon, experts said. But any new technological trend must be paired with a focus on onboarding, upskilling and reskilling current employees to compliment new talent that all require a human touch.

1. Talent acquisition agendas go strategic

EY Partner and the Americas Leader for People Advisory Services Kim Billeter told HR Dive that HR transformation and technology will be the cornerstone of any organizational transformation.

“HR is going to play a far more important role going forward in the overall visualization and disruption of an organization,” Billeter said.

A recruiter’s job — bringing new talent, and retaining and upscaling that talent — will drive the success of business transformation as a whole, not just the HR function, she said. Billeter helps clients understand how digital transformation includes both digital aspects and embracing human beings. A successful transformation will require hiring talent with hybrid skills, or hard and soft skills. In the coming years, Billeter said companies will use both internal and external recruiters in finding talent for specialty areas.

Recruitment will be “done largely by the internal teams and organizations,” but organizations will also incorporate external niche recruiters to find candidates with very specific skills, she said. For example, a company may have a D&I; executive-level position in the slate. To find the right candidate, they may use a specialty recruiting team to really focus on all aspects of the hiring agenda, Billeter explained.

Sourcing upfront to get niche or digital skills will become essential for recruiters. However, a lot of organizations are realizing that hiring talent with advanced or emerging digital skills can be costly, and they can’t hire them fast enough, Billeter said.

“So, we’re seeing more focus on upscaling and rescaling [existing employees] perhaps than just the puristic talent recruiting,” she said. That’s the “real value for organizations,” she added.

2. Curating candidate analytics happens in the cloud

There will be a focus on not only measuring a candidate’s technical skills but a candidate’s ability to align with a company’s culture, Billeter said.

“Quality-level metrics are a little harder to try to define as it relates to recruiting,” she said. But, “we’re seeing clients wanting to get to those candidate pools in a far more qualified way.”

That can be challenging, though.

“If a company’s strategy is in innovation, how can you measure if the candidate brings innovation?” Billeter said. “That’s where a lot of the next level thinking is coming. Curating a lot of that analytical data as it comes to really qualified candidates, and moving them in a very different way than we’ve done before.”

She said the companies that have been the most successful in implementing technology have done the hard work to “both standardize [and] understand the nuances of the processes.” But there aren’t a lot of organizations that know how to effectively utilize talent acquisition solutions or cloud HCM solutions, which provide methods intended to improve operations and cut expenses, Billeter said. Companies such as ADP are working to create a user-friendly workforce analytics platform intelligence to drill into a candidate’s potential.

One feature of ADP’s DataCloud platform is intelligent recruiting, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

“Organizations say they have a hard time sifting through resumes for candidate relevancy,” Imran Ahmed, director of product marketing at ADP DataCloud, told HR Dive.

The new Storyboard feature uses a combination of machine learning and predictive analytics, along with advice based on ADP’s experience in human resources, Ahmed said, comparing it to Google Analytics.

“Storyboard is the exact same scenario where we’re pushing [insight] to the front of the organization,” he said. “We pull all of this information from various sources of data that we put out, and we actually serve up these recommendations to provide guidance.”

The tool can provide a narrative about human resources business challenges, such as the aging workforce, he said. For example, he said you could find out which positions are retirement eligible and what impact the positions have on the organization — low, medium or high.

Companies can also mimic the profiles of talented past employees to curate desired qualifications for a position, he said. “You can drill down so deep in this information to actually find look-alike employees,” Ahmed said.

In regard to choosing and implementing cloud solutions, Billeter said it’s essential to first solidify the goal of an organization’s transformation. It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s a “business-led transformation not an HR function transformation,” she added.

3. An entry-level hire will be the company’s future CEO

Organizations will still put a big emphasis on hiring for a diversity of ideas, which enhances a company’s culture and leads to profitability, according to Terrance S. Lockett, senior diversity program manager of Campus Advisory at Oracle.

“That’s why it’s critical that we get this diverse talent,” Lockett told HR Dive. But, in his opinion, a trend will be more of a focus on inclusion and equity, and “less about the word of diversity, per se.”

Recruiting diverse populations at the collegiate level will remain important as companies move those candidates up the talent pipeline into leadership roles, instead of looking outside of the organization for top executive talent, he added.

Organizations are focusing on the C-suite and “shaking up the board, shaking up the chart.”

“So it’s going to start from campus to recruiting,” Lockett said. “It’s key now that we get those people with potential because that’s going lead to the next wave of focusing on more internal growth of diversity.” According to the results of a survey by Zapier released on Jan. 27, 2020, millennials and Gen Zers want to stay a job for a significant amount of time, defying myths that younger generations tend to be job-hoppers and thus not worth the investment.

In searching for diverse talent, Lockett said Oracle, a multinational computer technology corporation, has partnered with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to find science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent, but the company is also focusing on what he referred to as high diversity institutions (HDIs). For example, an HDI could be a college or university in which the engineering program has a high concentration of women students.

Lockett said that at Arizona State University, 40% or more of their engineering students are women.

4. Adjusting to communication styles becomes the norm

Billeter said a focus on enhancing communication styles for recruiters will grow in importance.

“If someone is very analytical, you’re communicating with them much differently than someone who’s on the more emotional side or more communicative,” she explained. “You’ll have to understand how to engage with them to get a more productive conversation.”

Even if a candidate is more analytical and prefers technology to be present in the interviewing process, like the 24/7 ability to ask questions online through chatbots, there still needs to be personal, one-on-one communication, Billeter said.

“It can’t just be only technology-based,” she said. “The human side of this is going to win the day.”

In addition to online conversations or phone calls, Billeter recommended that if a candidate is based in a location outside an organization’s headquarters, a company representative in that location could meet with them. She also said having “a quality candidate pool based on analytics and curating all of the different experience data” will enhance the delivery model, resulting in moving the process forward more quickly.

5. Candidate, employee and customer messaging merge

This year employers will begin to connect the candidate, employee and customer through one, insync company experience. “We’re seeing the employee and the candidate experience needs to meld into the customer experience because often times employees and or candidates are going to become customers,” Billeter said. “You have to be attracting the talent that’s going to drive your overall business strategy, but most importantly your customer strategy.”

She said chief human resources officers will focus on experience strategy first — one that involves both heightened tech and the human touch.

“The medium with which we meet people is going to be a combination of human as well as technology as well as ... living, feeling and seeing the culture of an organization — all of those things have to come together for it to be a good experience,” Billeter said.

No matter what year it is, candidates consider the quality of the recruitment process and their impressions of the recruiters, according to December 2019 survey results from career site Zety.

“If you can’t get the experience part of this equation right, you are probably going to be an unfortunate loser in the talent game,” Billeter said.

SOURCE: Estrada, S. (09 March 2020) "5 ways hiring will feel more, not less, human in 2030" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.hrdive.com/news/5-ways-hiring-will-feel-more-not-less-human-in-2030/573153/


Industrywide Initiative Brings Blockchain to HR

Although many HR professionals would think of a blockchain as an obscure element of technology with very little practical application in their jobs, it can protect those who are involved in exchanging data in digital environments. Read this blog post to learn more.


To many human resource professionals, blockchain may sound like an esoteric technology with little practical application in their jobs. But an ambitious initiative called the Velocity Network Foundation (VNF) shows how blockchain has near-term benefits for both recruiters and job seekers. Experts say the project is one of a growing number of uses for blockchain—in talent acquisition, payroll and data security.

Blockchain technology allows two or more people, businesses or computers that may or may not know each other to safely exchange data in digital environments without having an intermediary validate the transaction.

The VNF is a nonprofit consortium of 15 companies in HR technology and education industries. It was formed to reinvent how the career records of job seekers and students are shared in the global labor market. A blockchain-powered platform streamlines the way work history, professional achievements, skills, talent assessments and educational certifications are verified, stored and shared.

Founding members of the VNF are Aon's Assessment Solutions, Cisive, Cornerstone OnDemand, HireRight, Korn Ferry, National Student Clearinghouse, Randstad, SAP, SumTotal Systems, SHL, Ultimate Software, Unit4, Upwork, Velocity Career Labs and ZipRecruiter.

Benefits for Job Seekers, Recruiters

On the VNF platform, job seekers create and own a verifiable digital record of their career credentials and can share it with others. According to a 2019 global study from Accenture, more than 70 percent of 10,000 surveyed employees said they want to own their work-related data and take it with them when they leave their jobs—and nearly half (48 percent) of C-level executives were open to allowing them to do so.

Experts say portable work records help recruiting teams. Recruiters get easier access to an all-in-one digital collection of employment history and can evaluate candidates more quickly.

Yvette Cameron is co-founder and executive vice president of Velocity Career Labs, a developer of blockchain technology that helped establish the VNF. Cameron said the foundation is initially focused on building a platform that serves as a "public utility layer." The project's second phase will enable network members to build and integrate applications that facilitate the exchange of credentials between job seekers or students and employers and educational institutions. Being open and transparent about the process is key to the foundation's success, she said.

"We wanted to include members from across the industry to solve the challenge of how career records are shared in the labor market because we believed no single vendor or organization could address it," Cameron said. "Taking an industrywide approach means the VNF will be owned by nobody and governed by everybody."

Debasis Dutta, vice president and general manager of product management for vendor SumTotal Systems in Gainesville, Fla., said the network will benefit job seekers and recruiters alike. In a labor market where verifiable skills are increasingly in demand and the relevance of college degrees is shrinking, Dutta said employers need quick, secure access to a job-seeker's skills.

"We're leveraging blockchain to address the problem of job candidates or employees owning their own verifiable career credentials and making the process of checking employment history and skills more efficient for recruiters," Dutta said.

Cameron said blockchain means job candidates no longer have to be at the mercy of their employers' systems to get quick access to information about their work histories. "The goal is to put people back in control of their digital professional credentials in a trusted and verifiable way and fix the underlying data exchange problem we have in the labor market," she said.

Apratim Purakayastha, chief technology officer with the Skillsoft group (which owns SumTotal Systems), said blockchain-inspired approaches like the VNF also can help when creating internal project teams. "Organizations that are constantly bidding for projects often have to assemble project teams with the right skills, and prospective clients want to see proof of those skills," he said. "If verified career credentials can be quickly shared with clients through blockchain, it improves the chance of success in those projects."

Blockchain Gains Traction in HR

HR's use of blockchain is growing incrementally. Research and advisory firm Gartner found that 12 percent of 500 surveyed HR and technology leaders are using blockchain-based solutions in their HR function today and another 23 percent are experimenting with the technology in their area of responsibility. Of the latter group, half are running blockchain-inspired pilot projects in their HR function, the study found.

Matthias Graf, a senior director analyst in Gartner's HR practice, said the top three HR process areas where study respondents reported using or piloting blockchain are in HR analytics and reporting, policies and governance, and workforce planning. But Graf also noted an important distinction between "adoption" and "maturity levels" of the technology within human resources.

"If you take a closer look at where blockchain solutions are most advanced in HR, the picture differs," he said. "The most mature applications can be found in the areas of compensation and benefits, recruiting and employee relations, and labor law."

An example is paying gig workers. Blockchain solutions can facilitate real-time payments, the Gartner study found, bypassing intermediaries like payroll aggregators or banks. Blockchain can make it easier to employ and pay workers in far-flung locations around the globe where the payment infrastructure may be limited, as well as make it more efficient to verify the identity and experience of such workers.

Chris Havrilla, vice president of HR technology and solution provider research for Bersin, Deloitte Consulting in Atlanta, said using blockchain for instant pay can expand access to gig talent and make contract jobs more attractive to top candidates.

Blockchain and Data Privacy Regulations

Companies considering using blockchain often wonder how it aligns with data privacy regulations like the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Gartner's study found 40 percent of respondents cited "data security and privacy concerns" as their top worry about using blockchain, followed by 31 percent who cited "integrating blockchain technology with existing technology architectures."

Cameron said no proprietary data or personally identifiable information from users will be stored on the VNF blockchain platform. "Depending on the approach that's taken with blockchain, you can be 100 percent compliant with GDPR," she said. "In our approach, career credentials are owned by the individual and stored privately in a trusted way on their own devices. You decide as a job candidate or student who gets access to those credentials, when and for how long."

SOURCE: Zielinski, D. (27 February 2020) "Industrywide Initiative Brings Blockchain to HR" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/technology/Pages/Industrywide-Initiative-Brings-Blockchain-HR.aspx


Employees are fearful of being replaced by automation

Technological advances are starting to scare employees regarding job security. Although automation is creating a scare, companies are using technology to transform and improve productivity within their organization. Read this blog post to learn more regarding the benefits of automation technology in the workplace.


Automation is transforming businesses and directly impacting bottom lines as a result of improved productivity. But it also raises employees’ concerns about their job security, according to a new study by research firm Forrester and UiPath, a robotic process automation (RPA) software company.

Some 41% of companies say their employees are concerned that their existing digital skills may not match what their job will require in the future, the study finds. However, by training employees, providing them vocational courses, or encouraging them to pursue digital qualifications, companies can help them to overcome fears around automation and embrace it as a productivity-boosting asset.

“We need programs that not only train you to be a better employee at an institution, but advances your digital skills as well,” said Craig Le Clair, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, speaking during a recent webinar. “We need a new form of education and training that can keep pace with the technology, particularly due to automation.”

Companies having their own training programs at work — trying to mimic the kind of experience that you have in traditional education — is a legitimate and important development, because traditional education cannot keep pace with what's going on, Le Clair said.

Companies are increasingly investing in automation — including technology like AI and RPA — and is now the driver of most organizations’ digital transformation strategies. For 66% of companies in the study, RPA software spend is going to increase by at least 5% over the next 12 months. Forrester predicts that the RPA services market will reach $7.7 billion, and eventually balloon to $12 billion by 2023.

The dynamics of the labor market, technical feasibility, and acceptance of the more advanced AI building blocks like deep learning and conversational intelligence are just some of the factors that will determine the pace of workforce automation.

Automation can not only benefit employers, but also employees. Automating repetitive, rule-based tasks enables employees to focus on higher-value activities that require advanced skills and improves employee engagement. The study found that a 5% improvement in employee engagement leads to a 3% increase in revenue, indicating that more engaged employees means higher growth.

“Organizations can view the future of work as a competency, as something that they have a view on and has a distinguishing approach to,” Le Clair said. “This is going to help with recruiting and retention, and help [companies] deal with these transformations that are occurring. It can change the way you serve customers for the better. You can get more of your humans working on the thing that humans do the best, which is carrying on conversations with other humans. [Automation helps you] extract that labor value and move it into the right places.”

SOURCE: Nedlund, E. (12 February 2020) "Employees are fearful of being replaced by automation" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.benefitnews.com/news/employees-are-fearful-of-being-replaced-by-automation


Data-Driven Decisions Start with These 4 Questions

With data being considered the new oil, unique advantages are being brought into the business world. Properly using data can result in unimaginable possibilities, but to get the correct answers the right questions must be asked.  Read this blog post to learn more about how data is introducing optimized operations and new possibilities with the help of new questions being asked.


Data has become central to how we run our businesses today. In fact, the global market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC) projects spending on data and analytics to reach $274.3 billion by 2022. However, much of that money is not being spent wisely. Gartner analyst Nick Heudecker‏ has estimated that as many as 85% of big data projects fail.

A big part of the problem is that numbers that show up on a computer screen take on a special air of authority. Once data are pulled in through massive databases and analyzed through complex analytics software, we rarely ask where it came from, how it’s been modified, or whether it’s fit for the purpose intended.

The truth is that to get useful answers from data, we can’t just take it at face value. We need to learn how to ask thoughtful questions. In particular, we need to know how it was sourced, what models were used to analyze it, and what was left out. Most of all, we need to go beyond using data simply to optimize operations and leverage it to imagine new possibilities.

We can start by asking:

How was the data sourced?

Data, it’s been said, is the plural of anecdote. Real-world events, such as transactions, diagnostics, and other relevant information, are recorded and stored in massive server farms. Yet few bother to ask where the data came from, and unfortunately, the quality and care with which data is gathered can vary widely. In fact, a Gartner study recently found that firms lose an average of $15 million per year due to poor data quality.

Often data is subject to human error, such as when poorly paid and unmotivated retail clerks perform inventory checks. However, even when the data collection process is automated, there are significant sources of error, such as intermittent power outages in cellphone towers or mistakes in the clearing process for financial transactions.

Data that is of poor quality or used in the wrong context can be worse than no data at all. In fact, one study found that 65% of a retailer’s inventory data was inaccurate. Another concern, which has become increasingly important since the EU passed stringent GDPR data standards is whether there was proper consent when the data was collected.

So don’t just assume the data you have is accurate and of good quality. You have to ask where it was sourced from and how it’s been maintained. Increasingly, we need to audit our data transactions with as much care as we do our financial transactions.

How was it analyzed?

Even if data is accurate and well maintained, the quality of analytic models can vary widely. Often models are pulled together from open-source platforms, such as GitHub, and repurposed for a particular task. Before long, everybody forgets where it came from or how it is evaluating a particular data set.

Lapses like these are more common than you’d think and can cause serious damage. Consider the case of two prominent economists who published a working paper that warned that U.S. debt was approaching a critical level. Their work caused a political firestorm but, as it turned out, they had made a simple Excel error that caused them to overstate the effect that debt had on GDP.

As models become more sophisticated and incorporate more sources, we’re also increasingly seeing bigger problems with how models are trained. One of the most common errors is overfitting, which basically means that the more variables you use to create a model, the harder it gets to make it generally valid. In some cases, excess data can result in data leakage, in which training data gets mixed with testing data.

These types of errors can plague even the most sophisticated firms. Amazon and Google, just to name two of the most prominent cases, have recently had highly publicized scandals related to model bias. As we do with data, we need to constantly be asking hard questions of our models. Are they suited to the purpose we’re using them for? Are they taking the right factors into account? Does the output truly reflect what’s going on in the real world?

What doesn’t the data tell us?

Data models, just like humans, tend to base judgments on the information that is most available. Sometimes, the data you don’t have can affect your decision making as much as the data you do have. We commonly associate this type of availability bias with human decisions, but often human designers pass it on to automated systems.

For instance, in the financial industry, those who have extensive credit histories can access credit much easier than those who don’t. The latter, often referred to as “thin-file” clients, can find it difficult to buy a car, rent an apartment, or get a credit card. (One of us, Greg, experienced this problem personally when he returned to the U.S. after 15 years overseas).

Yet a thin file doesn’t necessarily indicate a poor credit risk. Firms often end up turning away potentially profitable customers simply because they lack data on them. Experian recently began to address this problem with its Boost program, which allows consumers to raise their scores by giving them credit for things like regular telecom and utility payments. To date, millions have signed up.

So it’s important to ask hard questions about what your data model might be missing. If you are managing what you measure, you need to ensure that what you are measuring reflects the real world, not just the data that’s easiest to collect.

How can we use data to redesign products and business models?

Over the past decade, we’ve learned how data can help us run our businesses more efficiently. Using data intelligently allows us to automate processes, predict when our machines need maintenance, and serve our customers better. It’s data that enables Amazon to offer same-day shipping.

Data can also become an important part of the product itself. To take one famous example, Netflix has long used smart data analytics to create better programming for less money. This has given the company an important edge over rivals like Disney and WarnerMedia.

Yet where it gets really exciting is when you can use data to completely re-imagine your business. At Experian, where Eric works, they’ve been able to leverage the cloud to shift from only delivering processed data in the form of credit reports to a service that offers its customers real-time access to more granular data that the reports are based on. That may seem like a subtle shift, but it’s become one of the fastest-growing parts of Experian’s business.

It’s been said that data is the new oil, but it’s far more valuable than that. We need to start treating data as more than a passive asset class. If used wisely, it can offer a true competitive edge and take a business in completely new directions. To achieve that, however, you can’t start merely looking for answers. You have to learn how to ask new questions.

SOURCE: Haller, E.; Satell, G. (11 February 2020) "Data-Driven Decisions Start with These 4 Questions" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2020/02/data-driven-decisions-start-with-these-4-questions


How Next-Gen Technology Can Keep HR Data Safe

In 2018, the FBI reported having 350,000 complaints of internet crimes, which is a rise of 23 percent over five years. With an increase in internet crimes, HR departments are turning to security approaches that are powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Read this blog post to learn more about how artificial intelligence is helping companies with cybersecurity.


As hackers grow ever-more inventive and data privacy laws are enacted around the globe, HR leaders are faced with the challenge of protecting and storing sensitive HR data but not curtailing employees' ability to use that data to make timely workforce decisions.

But there may not be enough cybersecurity colleagues to call upon for advice and technical assistance, which compounds those challenges. Approximately 65 percent of companies reported a cybersecurity staff shortage last year, according to the 2019 Cybersecurity Workforce Study conducted by (ISC)2, an international nonprofit association for IT professionals. As a result, more companies are turning to security strategies that don't require human intervention, such as cybersecurity powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that can proactively monitor and neutralize new kinds of cyberthreats.

New Strategies for More-Sophisticated Attacks

Research suggests that concerns over data security are occupying more of HR leaders' time and resources. The 2019-2020 Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey found a 17 percent increase from the prior year's survey in the number of respondents deploying cybersecurity strategies, with 70 percent of HR organizations reporting they have and regularly update such a strategy. That's good news, because the FBI reported receiving 350,000 complaints of Internet crimes in 2018, a rise of 23 percent over five years. Those crimes caused an estimated $2.7 billion in financial losses.

Security experts say the loss of sensitive data like payroll information, Social Security numbers and notes from internal investigations or employee assessments has implications far beyond the HR department.

"When HR systems are breached, it goes beyond the personal data stolen, because HR is central to so many processes across the organization," said Corey Williams, vice president of marketing and strategy at Idaptive, a cybersecurity firm in Santa Clara, Calif. "HR systems are the starting point for much of the access employees have throughout the organization. HR data doesn't sit on an island like other data, and when you have vulnerabilities at the HR level, you're exposing the entire enterprise to wider attacks."

AI-powered security tools represent a new approach to combating threats to HR data. While not a cure-all, these technologies can protect against malicious attacks driven by automated malware and have capabilities, such as pattern recognition, that can identify suspicious behavior and block potential problems or threatening online traffic in real time.

To protect against insider threats, whether malicious or from workers not following sound security practices, some AI-based cybersecurity tools can be trained to learn employees' behaviors when using corporate networks. Research shows that such threats are a growing problem. Insiders caused 48 percent of reported data breaches in organizations in 2019, according to a recent benchmark study from Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, up from 26 percent of total data breaches in 2015.

More companies are adopting "zero trust" policies that feature a "never trust, always verify" approach to network access or identity authentication and employ tools like multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA is a way to confirm user identities through at least two different factors. In the last year, according to the Sierra-Cedar survey, large organizations increased their use of MFA by 20 percent, and approximately 55 percent of small organizations reported using MFA for HR applications.

Williams said stolen or weak user credentials is still the top cause of data breaches in organizations. "We've seen growing sophistication in the way passwords and credentials get stolen," Williams said. "That includes malware, hackers writing more convincing phishing e-mails that get employees to click on harmful links and other approaches. Companies have found that depending on passwords alone for access is becoming untenable."

Balancing Security with the User Experience

HR leaders have to strike a balance between taking the right data-security measures and ensuring employees can still use HR networks and software in efficient and user-friendly ways—a balance that ideally won't make the workforce feel excessively monitored or handcuffed when using technology.

"Security is often viewed as a teeter-totter, where you are either increasing data security or you are improving the user experience with technology," Williams said. "But it doesn't have to be an either-or scenario."

For example, employees who typically access the same corporate networks or applications in the same fashion likely don't need additional security oversight, but someone accessing that same system from a country he's never been to before and with a different device would need more controls.

"We're seeing more innovation in applying security tools to separate high-risk from low-risk system access," Williams said.

HR leaders also can help enhance security by encouraging their companies to re-evaluate user access policies, experts say. "As people work for a long time in companies, they tend to accumulate access to systems, and that access doesn't necessarily get taken away as they move up or around a company," Williams said. "Employees are often 'over-provisioned' in terms of their access to sensitive data in systems, which can create increased vulnerability for companies." Automated processes tied to the life cycle management of employees can ensure system access is changed or removed as people change roles in a company, he said.

James Graham-Cumming, chief technology officer for Cloudflare, a cybersecurity company in San Francisco, said being more judicious in granting data access is a wise but sometimes overlooked security strategy. "It's not uncommon for CEOs or other senior leaders in a company to have access to all or most corporate systems because they simply feel a need for that access," Graham-Cumming said. "Yet these are more-visible or even public figures who are often targets for hacking. The reality is your C-suite or vice presidents may not need access to all of your systems."

Managing Vendor Risk

Data security and privacy threats can grow as HR functions add more technology platforms to their ecosystems and create more integrations with third-party providers. A recent study by research and advisory firm Gartner found that because human capital management systems are built to integrate with many third-party services—such as LinkedIn, for example—those integrations can expose organizations to risk through "misconfigurations" that result in unintentional data leakage. Depending on the level of integration, problems with security in vendor systems can open the door for attackers, the Gartner study found, as was the case with the retailer Target in 2014.

Security experts say HR leaders should ensure vendors have best-practice data security and privacy protocols in place, such as MFA, in addition to passing an external Service Organization Control, or SOC, 2 audit, which confirms they're in compliance with recommended practices for data security, processing integrity, ensuring privacy and more.

Jared Lucas, chief people officer with the cybersecurity firm MobileIron in San Francisco, said security-related employee training also is more important than ever as malware grows more sophisticated, phishing attacks increase and bad actors use AI-powered methods to hack corporate systems.

"Effective, regularly updated training in what to look for and what to be wary of can close a lot of holes in a company's data security strategy," Lucas said.

SOURCE: Zielinski, D. (10 February 2020) "How Next-Gen Technology Can Keep HR Data Safe" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/next-gen-technology-can-keep-hr-data-safe.aspx


Organizations Will Need Data Analytics to Survive

Did you know: the use of data analytics can improve a company's overall performance. Data analytics can differentiate those companies that are going to be disrupted. Implementing technology is simple, but it is HR's responsibility for managing the technological change. Read this blog post to learn more about why data analytics is becoming a need for organizations.


SEATTLE—HR professionals play a critical role in getting their organizations to use data and analytics strategically to compete more effectively.

Jack Phillips, CEO and co-founder of the Portland, Ore.-based International Institute for Analytics, a research and benchmarking services firm for the analytics industry, urged attendees at the Society for Human Resource Management People Analytics conference on Jan. 14 to get focused on data.

"It's proven that the use of data analytics improves overall company performance," he said. "Organizations invest in many things, but budget dedicated to data and analytics is limited. It needs to be a top priority. The broad use of data and analytics will differentiate the companies  [from those] that eventually are disrupted and disappear from the survivors."

And HR is key to the success of winning with data, from sourcing the necessary talent and applying analytics to HR functions to leading change management when adopting a data-driven mindset across the organization.

Implementing the technology is the easy part, Phillips said. Getting your workforce to truly adopt data analytics across the organization is harder. Ultimately HR is responsible for managing that transformational change.

Data Analytics Overview

The data analytics market is in full growth mode, accelerated by the explosion of cloud computing. The technology environment is moving so quickly that it is very hard to keep track of the increasing array and complexity of analytics technology available, Phillips said. But the top-performing companies are investing heavily in data analytics.

"If you are not paying attention through expenditure and [acquisition of] talent you will be behind," he said.

Phillips outlined a maturity model showing the sophistication levels of an organization's approach to analytics. Employers aiming to improve their data analytics function first need to assess where they currently are. Phillips' model includes those at the bottom stages who don't use any data to make business decisions and companies where data analytics may exist in silos without a structure for collaborating across business units.

Most employers likely exist in one of these stages, while many enterprise-level organizations are in the higher aspirational stages where the value of analytics is expressed, or they are data-oriented and use analytics with some internal coordination.

"Only one company we've studied [Amazon] has achieved near perfection as a data-driven company," Phillips said. "You don't come to a meeting without data [at Amazon]. No gut-based decision-making is allowed. Everything is driven by data."

Succeeding with Data

According to Phillips, the key ingredients needed to achieve higher levels of maturity as a data-driven organization include:

  • People with data analytics skills.
  • Organizational structure, processes and technologies in place for those people.
  • Use of the data. "The highest performing companies have superior capabilities on the supply side and business leaders who use the insights that the data analytics teams are providing to drive the business forward," he said.
    Another model he presented breaks down the elements that must be in alignment for companies to succeed with their analytics initiatives. "Without alignment, organizations run the risk of poor or limited results," he said. "To make real progress and become a data-driven organization, the capabilities and assets of these five elements must evolve and mature." The five elements are:

Data. It may seem obvious, but to provide meaningful analytics, data must be high quality, organized, reliable, integrated, and accessible. The raw material must be right.

Coordination. Companies must advocate a single and consistent perspective for analytics across the organization.

Leadership. Senior leadership should fully embrace analytics and lead company culture toward data-driven decision-making.

Targets. The organization should prioritize business targets against which it will apply its analytics. "Data and analytics without a targeted reason for it is worthless," he said.

Talent. Organizations require analytical talent that covers a range of skills from accomplished data scientists to rank-and-file employees who embrace being more analytical in how they do their job.

Employers must also understand rapidly emerging analytical techniques and technologies, Phillips said. The widespread adoption of open source tools has resulted in an explosion of analytical methods and techniques, and with the advent of big data, machine learning and cloud computing, creating an effective technology strategy for analytics is a critical ingredient for success.

HR's Role

Human resource professionals play an important part in getting their organizations up to speed and competitive with analytics, including sourcing the right qualified talent—a difficult task in a labor market lacking the requisite skills—and investing in data analytics for its own functions.

"HR lags behind other business functions when it comes to using data analytics," Phillips said. "Sales, marketing and finance tend to outpace other parts of the business."

HR should be assertive with leadership when advising on budget and staffing for data analytics positions and in creating and managing a workplace culture that values innovation.

"The top performing companies treat their data analytics function as a product, with design thinking and intentional product management," Phillips said.

One positive for employers who may be overwhelmed by implementing a data analytics function is that best practices are easily transferable. "There are many things that you can just copy," he said.

SOURCE: Maurer, R. (15 January 2020) "Organizations Will Need Data Analytics to Survive" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/organizations-will-need-data-analytics-to-survive.aspx


Implementing AI Technology for HR

Artificial intelligence (AI) has taken the tasks of collecting, copying, entering and checking data off of HR professional's hands. With advancements in technology, AI has become a way to open a variety of opportunities to influence a company's workflow. Read this blog post to learn about artificial intelligence and how it's developing HR managers and leaders.


When HR managers embark on implementing artificial intelligence (AI) into their company's workflow, they'll be grappling with a disruptive technology that changes the way people from HR leaders to recruiters to front-line employees work.

That may be why PwC's latest Human Resource Technology Survey of 599 HR and information technology (IT) leaders worldwide shows that those leaders are cautious about leveraging the technology to drive HR functions.

In fact, 63 percent of those surveyed have not yet implemented artificial intelligence for HR, and many cite various reasons that influenced their decision not to do so, including:

•Cost of implementation.
•Complexity of integration into the existing IT infrastructure.
•Lack of skilled staff.
•Lack of compelling use cases that can be tied to business outcomes.

But while they are hesitant to jump into using AI, 42 percent of respondents said they plan to implement AI for HR over the next one to three years. The technology opens significant possibilities.

"Human resource executives want their teams to focus on meaningful tasks, such as interpreting data, decision-making, storytelling and strategies that enrich the worker experience, which is what AI solutions can offer. Without AI, HR professionals are relegated to collecting, copying, entering, re-entering and checking data," said Mike Brennan, president of Leapgen, a Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based HR consulting firm.

HR leaders will have to find the right tools, team with the right partners, and find the best opportunities to apply AI to HR functions without causing employee anxiety.

Schneider Electric's Story

Andrew Saidy, vice president of talent digitization, talent acquisition and mobility at Schneider Electric, a multinational company based in Paris, oversaw the implementation of an AI-driven platform that revolutionized the talent mobility and career development processes at his company.

Three important factors pushed Schneider Electric, which employs approximately 144,000 employees across 100 countries, to make the change. First, more than half of Schneider's employees are Millennials, a generational group whose members change jobs more frequently than workers in other age groups. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average job tenure of Millennials is 2.8 years.

Second, 47 percent of Schneider employees surveyed in exit interviews said they were leaving because they couldn't find their next opportunity within the organization.

Third, the process of matching employees to job opportunities within the company was laborious, cumbersome and lengthy.

"Recruiters were spending weeks waiting for responses, making phone calls, sifting through CVs and selecting which candidates would be chosen for interviews," Saidy said.

With a clearly defined use case for its AI strategy, the company chose to develop a cloud-based, AI-driven talent market. The HR team had to decide whether to build or buy a solution.

"This is an idea we toyed with at the start because we are a technology company, we are a digital company, and we are leaders in digital energy management," Saidy said. "We have a strong team of enterprise IT developers, and we could have had the ability to build a talent platform internally as opposed to buying something outside of the market."

What surprised Schneider's HR team was that there are many vendors offering AI solutions for HR tasks, but having so many AI solution providers to choose from presents other issues.

"You have to be careful when you select a company for your AI project," he said. The vendors "need to be financially stable" and need to have "a clear product road map and customers with proven success. You can't just go for whoever is claiming to provide a solution."

After a three-month search, which included testing vendors' algorithms, Schneider's HR and digital teams decided to buy an internal talent product from Gloat, an Israeli technology company. The platform, called Open Talent Market, leverages AI to match employee resumes with open positions, including long-term jobs and short-term projects.

Part of the software evaluation involved letting employees register on the site and upload their education and experience to get a sense of whether they thought the tool was intuitive, easy to use and engaging. Schneider used a Net Promoter Score to assess employees' experience and enthusiasm for the tool.

The company monitored the number of employee registrations, short-term and long-term jobs that appeared on the site, and successful matches of qualified employees to job posts.

Schneider's HR team also tested the algorithm's ability to adequately address bias and evaluated its security features. Schneider chose software that doesn't require candidates to enter information related to gender or race, or place or date of birth.

Keeping in mind the difficulties Amazon experienced when it built an AI-driven recruiting system that perpetuated gender bias, Schneider is mindful that many of its jobs such as engineer, field technician or electrical engineer have typically been filled by male candidates, Saidy said.

Schneider's technical team also carefully considered the software's security capabilities, measures to protect from data breaches and secure integrations. This was particularly important when considering that Open Talent Market is connected to the company's applicant tracking system, learning management system and human resource information system, as well as LinkedIn.

Recruiter Adjustment

Since its launch in September 2018, Open Talent Market has put Schneider's managers in the driver's seat and has changed the role of some of the company's 200 recruiters—an adjustment that hasn't always been smooth, Saidy said.

"Initially, some recruiters had reservations on the Open Talent Market because of the way it changed their jobs [by giving more control to hiring managers] and took away from recruiters the tasks of sourcing and shortlisting internal candidates, now done by the platform."

Making sure recruiters continue to be motivated, engaged and enthusiastic about their job as their tasks change was a key consideration, Saidy said.

"To address this, we focused on why we put the Open Talent Market in place, what is in it for the recruiters, and how they reinvest their time consulting and supporting managers as well as employees' internal mobility. Keeping the lines of communication open with the teams is an especially important pillar of a successful change adoption."

SOURCE: Lewis, N. (09 January 2020) "Implementing AI Technology for HR" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/technology/Pages/Implementing-AI-Technology-HR.aspxA


10 Quick Tips for Avoiding Distractions at Work

The number of notifications that the average employee gets interrupted by each day is between 50 and 60. With more than half of the interruptions being unimportant, these distractions are reducing the productivity rate of their work. Read this blog for tips on how to avoid distractions at work.


In a world of push notifications, email, instant messaging, and shrinking office space, we’re becoming increasingly distracted at work. The average employee is getting interrupted 50 to 60 times per day, and about 80% of these interruptions are unimportant. As a result, people are spending little time in what psychologists call “the flow state,” a space where people are up to five times more productive, according to research from McKinsey.

The constant distractions are not only leaving people less productive, but also more stressed than ever, with a lack of control over one’s work being cited as a major contributor to workplace stress, according to the American Institute of Stress. So, how do we avoid distractions in the office in order to take control of our days, do our best work, and improve our emotional well-being?

1. Practice Asynchronous Communication

When you get an email, it’s actually OK to think: “I’ll get to this when it suits me.”

Aside from the benefit of giving people more time for uninterrupted focus, asynchronous communication predisposes people to better decision-making by increasing the amount of time we have to respond to a request. When you’re on a phone call or video chat, you’re making real-time decisions, whereas if you’re communicating via email, you have more time to think about your response.

In order to practice this successfully, we must do away with the arbitrary “urgency” that still plagues workplaces the world over, almost a century after Dwight D. Eisenhower, who, quoting Dr. J. Roscoe Miller, president of Northwestern University, said: “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” This “Eisenhower Principle” is said to be how the former president prioritized his own workload.

To optimize an asynchronous message and to avoid a lot of follow-up emails, include the following in your initial request:

  • Sufficient details
  • Clear action item(s)
  • A due date
  • A path of recourse if the recipient is unable to meet your requirements

2. Batch Check Everything

“Just quickly checking” anything, even for one-tenth of a second, can add up to a 40% productivity loss over the course of a day, and it can take us 23 minutes to get back into the zone after task switching.

Rather than sporadically checking things throughout the day, we should batch check email, instant messages, social media, and even text messages, at predetermined times.

If you struggle with self-control, tools like Gmail’s Inbox Pause plugin enable you to pause your inbox once you’ve checked it and only unpause it when you’re ready. Blocksite and the Freedom app also allow you to block access to specific websites and apps during specified intervals.

3. Do Not Disturb

If you’re reading this and thinking: “But I work in an open-plan office, and it’s impossible to avoid interruptions,” try using a signaling mechanism to let your team know that you’re in the zone (or trying to get there) and that they shouldn’t disturb you unless it’s legitimately urgent. This could be as simple as a pair of headphones.

4. Avoid Calendar Tetris

In today’s workplace, it’s a widely accepted norm that others can book time in your calendar, usually at the expense of your own priorities.

Basecamp CEO, Jason Fried, told me on an episode of the Future Squared podcast that at Basecamp, you can’t book time in someone’s calendar without first getting buy-in. This means that most meetings just don’t happen because the would-be meeting organizer usually opts for a phone call or an instant message instead.

Alternatively, consider blocking out meeting-free zones on your calendar, or using a meeting scheduling tool such as Calendly so that people book meetings with you only during scheduled windows, leaving the rest of the day free for focus, and ensuring that you avoid the email tennis matches that scheduling meetings often degenerates into.

5. Close the Loop on Meetings

Instead of risking follow-up interruptions and a meeting to discuss the previous meeting, ensure that you leave each meeting with actionable next steps, clearly assigned responsibilities, and due dates.

6. Stop Using “Reply All”

Reply All, used as a mechanism to share accountability, only adds unnecessary chatter to people’s inboxes and headspace. Take more ownership over your decisions and only email people who need to be informed.

7. Use Third Spaces

As Sue Shellenbarger wrote for The Wall Street Journal, “All of this social engineering (open-plan offices) has created endless distractions that draw employees’ eyes away from their own screens. Visual noise, the activity or movement around the edges of an employee’s field of vision, can erode concentration and disrupt analytical thinking or creativity.”

If you’re struggling with open-plan offices, then try to incorporate more third-space work into your day for critical thinking; try to find a quiet space in the office, a serviced office, or negotiate some time to work from home.

8. Turn off Push Notifications

The average executive receives 46 push notifications per day. To avoid our Pavlovian impulses to respond on cue, simply turn off your push notifications. Find out how here.

9. Use Airplane Mode

You can also use airplane mode to limit text message and phone call interruptions during certain times of day. If the idea of doing this gives you anxiety, you can always exempt specific numbers, such as those of loved ones or valued and important business associates. You can set “Do Not Disturb” mode on an iPhone to allow your designated “favorite” contacts to get through, while silencing other calls or messages.

10. Limit Layers of Approval

While harder to implement, becoming a “minimum viable bureaucracy” — stripping away unnecessary layers of approvals required to get trivial and not-so-consequential things done — means that there will be less paperwork to move around, which means fewer interruptions for people.

Awareness Is Key

Environmental changes aside, human beings evolved to conserve energy in order to stand a shot at surviving on the savannah. As such, we are predisposed to picking the lowest hanging fruit or doing the easiest thing first — think checking email instead of working on that presentation. Becoming more aware of our tendencies to pick the low hanging fruit, getting distracted by low-value activities, is step one towards changing our behaviors.

Organizations that build a culture around minimizing distractions will enjoy the compounding benefit of a focused workforce and will leave their people feeling less stressed and ultimately more fulfilled.

SOURCE: Glaveski, S. (18 December 2019) "10 Quick Tips for Avoiding Distractions at Work" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2019/12/10-quick-tips-for-avoiding-distractions-at-work?ab=hero-subleft-2"


Reality check: The learning pro's primer on AR, VR tech

Virtual reality (VR) has created an opportunity to live in a realistic moment while also in a safe and controlled environment. Employers are now using this tool to train employees in a fun and authentic way. Read this blog post to learn how and what virtual reality is doing for employees.


Virtual reality and related technologies are gaining momentum in the employee learning field. Trainers love these tools for their ability to create an authentic learning experience in a safe, controlled environment and employees say they're on board, too.

But what exactly are these technologies? What do they do and how can you make use of them in your workplace? For many, understanding the tech is the first step toward implementation.

Alphabet soup

All together, these tools fall under the umbrella of XR — extended reality — according to Jack Makhlouf, Talespin's VP of sales and licensing, enterprise learning.

Within XR is VR and AR, virtual reality and augmented reality. To add to the confusion, AR is sometimes called MR, or mixed reality, Makhlouf told HR Dive in an email. Essentially, VR is a simulated experience that transports the user to a virtual environment that can be similar to or completely different from a real-world scenario. AR is an interactive experience where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated information.

IRL application

VR and AR have many real-world applications, according to Ravin Jesuthasan, managing director, talent management at Willis Towers Watson. "VR and AR have gotten increasingly popular for training people on scenarios that don't occur often (e.g., a store manager being taught how to deal with an armed customer) and for training people on things that require significant practice (operating a complex piece of machinery)," he told HR Dive via email.

As a result, they're fast becoming a safety training must-have, especially for distributed workforces. These tools can be used to familiarize workers with a risky procedure or process before they attempt it in real life, Concept3D's CEO Gordon Boyes wrote to HR Dive. For location training, staff can learn safety procedures or the locations of exits, eyewash stations or fire extinguishers. "We use AR or mixed reality for remote locations," Boyes said, "and can overlay relevant data or information in its correct location without having someone needing to go to the remote site."

VR training scenarios also are particularly useful for practicing workplace conversations, Makhlouf noted. Workers can test run negotiations or customer interactions. "People generally don't get enough real-time practice engaging in difficult conversations so it takes much longer to build competency," he said; these tools can allow trainees to practice scenarios where soft skills are critical before being thrown into real-life situations.

Moreover, trainees are free to fail, get feedback, retry and improve with little judgment or consequence, Makhlouf said: "They are free to stretch their skills and gain a higher level of learning — that is the real power of this technology."

The ROI

While costly, Jesuthasan said, VR and AR have major benefits. For one, the speed of training on highly complex topics is unprecedented.

Additionally, the tech boosts knowledge retention because people are visual learners, Boyes said. "An employee's ability to learn and retain information is greatly enhanced with the addition of immersive media." The self-directed nature of the training can result in a cost savings, too, Boyes added.

XR training programs tend to be scalable as well, Makhlouf said, which can make it more cost-efficient. But ultimately, employees seem to like them, and that's perhaps the best return on investment an employer could hope for. After all, if you can't get employees to complete training, there's no ROI at all. "[W]e believe training should effective, cost-efficient, and measurable," Markhlouf said, "but most of all, fun.”

SOURCE: O'Donnell, R. (17 December 2019) "Reality check: The learning pro's primer on AR, VR tech" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.hrdive.com/news/reality-check-the-learning-pros-primer-on-ar-vr-tech/568730/

 


Tech tools underused for workplace engagement: survey

Did you know: Only 45 percent of employers use technology to improve employee engagement, according to a survey of HR professionals. Read the following blog post to learn more about using technology to enhance workplace engagement.


Just 45% of employers are using technology to improve employee engagement, according to a new survey of thousands of HR professionals in organizations of varying sizes.

The research finding comes from the Next Concept Human Resource Association (NCHRA) and Waggl, a real-time engagement platform. HR tech industry professionals weighed in on the topic at the HR TechXpo 2019 and others as part of the latest “Voice of the Workplace” pulse survey.

Of those respondents, 92% said they would like to create a strong internal culture that affects results. In addition, 81% believed that investing in people-focused programs and skills such as onboarding, performance and employee engagement would help increase revenues and profit margins.

Lisa Hickey, VP of professional development at NCHRA, was “a bit surprised” that only 45% of her group’s members reported that their organizations are using technology to improve employee engagement in the face of business volatility and a tight labor market.

NCHRA and Waggl, both based in the San Francisco Bay Area, also distilled into a ranked list crowdsourced responses to a survey question about social media and gamification platforms as tools to increase employee engagement.

Several caveats were expressed. One HR leader, for example, cautioned that they need to be tied to the type of company and demographics, as well as the extent to which employees are willing to embrace change. Another respondent said it’s important that gamification not be “viewed as a nuisance and a distraction from accomplishing job tasks.”

The bottom line is that giving employees an opportunity to help shape their organization’s culture, experience, vision and execution enables them to “feel more connected to the workplace and empowered to drive change,” according to Alex Kinnebrew, chief marketing officer and head of growth strategy for Waggl.

Benefit brokers and advisers can play a critical role in helping their employer clients bridge the technology gap when it comes to improving employee engagement, Hickey believes. “From designing an offering that represents company goals to securing the best technology to administer the program, brokers are guiding you every step of the way and also helping utilize technology beyond benefits administration that delivers more services and solutions for the company,” she says.

Founded in 1960, NCHRA is the nation’s second-largest HR association — serving more than 30,000 professionals in 23 states and several countries and showcasing more than 100 annual educational events.

Waggl’s Employee Voice platform examines critical business topics that include culture, experience, vision and execution. The company’s management team includes executives from Glassdoor, SuccessFactors and Coupa. Customers include Paychex, eBay, City Electric Supply, UCHealth, American Public Media and Freddie Mac.

SOURCE: Shutan, B. (4 December 2019) "Tech tools underused for workplace engagement: survey" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.benefitnews.com/news/tech-tools-underused-for-workplace-engagement-survey