By Carolynn Chow
The world of work is changing at a faster rate than ever before. We’re now in the middle of what experts call the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and technological automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI) apply to nearly every aspect of our lives today.
This fusing of the physical, digital, and biological worlds has affected not only our daily tasks, but also our business operations and processes. Measuring how tech and automation may disrupt the field of human resources (HR) provides a startling look at what we might expect from the future of hiring, onboarding, and employee retention. So, how do these changes affect your business? Specifically, how does the tech disruption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution impact your workforce (past, current, and future)? It’s likely you’ve recently been through or are considering some kind of systems, process, or efficiency change. With growing expectations to do more with less, the workforce will interact with your organization much differently than ever before – starting with HR.
It’s important to remember that hiring is a process, not an event. This function of your business is not only critical to the success of your organization, but also has a dramatic and lasting impact on your employees. In a recent study distributed by CareerBuilder, 74% of employees said they were affected by bad hires. In the same report, 72% of Western Canadian organizations reported that turnover had a direct impact on operations. In the Saskatchewan HR Trends Report distributed by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources, Saskatchewan, the lack of confidence in hiring is evident. Hiring confidence in Saskatchewan is at an all-time low, specifically in small and medium-sized organizations.
Learn more about the importance of the hiring process, the right steps to take, and how to prepare in this video titled Hiring Is a Process, Not an Event by Carolynn Chow, Operating Partner at SmartHire®
Give a boost to your hiring confidence through the implementation of a tech piece. Here are three ways HR tech helps to optimize recruitment, selection, and onboarding:
1. Data: There’s lots of data out there. You can track, measure, and compare numbers on almost any subject possible. But you must know what data to consider or the results could be catastrophic. For example, in the 1970s, when passenger-side airbags were first installed as a safety feature in personal vehicles, failure to consider certain data during the design phase had fatal results. The first airbags were designed to accommodate the average adult male body. When installed and deployed on the passenger side of a vehicle, the airbags were causing higher rates of injury and death to the passenger, typically a woman or child.
Implementation of appropriate systems will allow you to track, measure, report, and adjust your process based on actual findings, improving the quality and speed at which you hire.
Data related to your workforce, its stability, and its productivity is critical. With data collected through the recruitment, selection, and onboarding processes, you’re able to better understand
• Time to hire
• Applicant abandonment rate
• Retention risk
• Candidate source quality
• Time to productivity
…and many more key metrics that can display the shortfalls and areas for improvement in your hiring and onboarding processes. Implementation of appropriate systems will allow you to track, measure, report, and adjust your process based on actual findings, improving the quality and speed at which you hire.
2. Efficiency: Try to think of efficiency as being less about saving time and more about adding value. For example, consider the use of a remote car-starter versus manually warming your vehicle each snowy Saskatchewan morning. Though it likely doesn’t take a whole lot of time to manually get the vehicle started, pushing a button from inside sure beats having to sit in a cold vehicle before beginning your commute.
This value-add mind shift can also be applied when considering the addition of automation and AI to your candidate screening process. Typical candidate screening practices are manual – and maddening. Application processes that are online, mobile, and user-driven can save you time but more importantly can help to identify the most suitable candidates quickly.
3. Inclusivity: More and more opportunities for inclusion are introduced and implemented in your organization each day. Collective decision-making processes, identification of potential biases, and other inclusive strategies are hot topics today. What many business owners and hiring managers fail to realize is that this attempt to include others could open your process to latent bias.
Adding a bit of tech to your decision making process will help identify and reduce the potential for bias from your hiring teams or manager. Leveraging a neutral, candidate-driven tool will allow your team to truly focus on the best possible candidates. Initially, this may seem like a challenge but once the framework for a bias-conscious recruitment process is set, you’re able to truly maximize the potential of the talent and potential suitability through your process. Most assessment tools provide access to AI to help identify key traits of the candidates in question.
Think about what your hiring process looks like today. Do you have one at all? Are you prepared for interviews and for follow-up with those who do not move forward in the process? And what happens when that new hire starts in your business? Are you prepared to treat that new employee the same way you might treat your newest customers? Based on your answers to these questions, you may realize you have a few (significant) shortcomings
when it comes to hiring. You aren’t alone.
Many Western Canadian organizations will soon find themselves in trouble, if they aren’t there already. As the dynamics of our workforce continue to shift, many hiring teams admit it is nearly impossible to effectively and objectively determine which candidates to move into phase two of the hiring process. The following recruitment steps are an example of how efficiency and objectivity can be added through the use of technology, automation, and AI, which will likely improve the integral forces impacting your business (engagement, productivity, culture, morale, etc.).
• Pre-hire sourcing: Similar to methods used in sales and marketing, tools that distribute your message efficiently, effectively, and consistently to the appropriate audiences can be leveraged to find candidates.
• Candidate screening: Rather than reviewing a stack of paper resumes that bring individual biases to the process, offer your candidates the opportunity to drive their own application process through automated screening tools.
• Selection process: When HR professionals and hiring authorities partner with an unbiased tool, the ability to objectively select the most appropriate files for hire increases substantially.
• Onboarding: Treat your newest employees like you might treat a new customer. Put their comfort and needs first. Meet them where they are and generate a great experience to help teams become productive and engaged faster.
Technology is changing the way we do business every day. Our workforce and HR functions are not immune to these disruptions. Like all businesses, yours will need to maintain a fast pace to stay competitive. Attracting and retaining talent are two of the most challenging tasks for business owners and senior managers today. They are also some of the most critical for future brand success.
First published in the March 2019 edition of The Business Advisor.