By Randy Sanders
Companies like Oracle and ADP talked about machine learning. (Think how Netflix recommends movies for you, but much, much more sophisticated) As employees use their software, they are analyzing patterns of behavior to predict future needs of the employee. For example, if you are a women in her 30’s and you have a life changing event (i.e. you are pregnant), based on your demographics that means a series of events, documents, transactions, and “paperwork” that needs to happen. The technology has already learned this behavior and can anticipate your needs as an employee. What’s really interesting is that the technology is learning and building new event-based workflows to provide the best possible experience for the employee. What’s more amazing is that these technology companies can source information from all of their existing clients to provide your employees with the best possible experience.
To me, this was one of the most interesting topics. Obviously recruitment has been a hot topic for a while but what’s really fascinating is ability to find information about potential candidates. Technology companies are using your social presence to locate you and match profiles to existing positions they have open. Since technology companies can mine information based on their client base (100,000’s strong) they can aggregate position information and candidate information (including social media profiles) to find the best match. They can also use past performance to include or exclude candidates so companies are making the best use of hiring and training dollars.
Mobile was one of those topics that I would have guessed was old hat by now. Not for many technology companies. They are reinventing themselves on mobile devices and for some, developing on mobile first, then the web. A mobile device is something you always have with you therefore it’s the best tool when meeting new people (read candidates). Enter someone’s name, backfill social media content, and you have an ever growing list of candidates just by standing in line for coffee and saying ‘Hi’. Sounds like HR people need to have people skills…
Using technology by not using technology
Technology is advancing so much that it’s becoming almost transparent to the users. HR technology is trying to anticipate your every move and need, delivering information to your mobile device proactively. Think about it using the above topics – you’ve logged into a system, the application knows who you are, your demographic, and other personal information. The last time you logged in, you performed some specific tasks. The technology will assume you’d like to do that again. Similarly, let’s assume that for the past 3 Monday’s you’ve run the same report and delivered it to your mobile. The application will learn your behavior and deliver the report to your mobile without you having to do anything.
The interesting thing about these technology companies is that they recognize they can’t possibly deliver or anticipate every need of every client. Therefore, they are building their technology in such a way that HR technology people (hires of the future…) can build applications to access information about that they need. This was truly eye-opening to me because this causes a dramatic shift within the organization of who HR is and what they can deliver to the bottom line within an organization. If Client A builds an app that is useful for Client A, then it stands to reason that Clients B, C, and D, might have similar needs. Let’s market the app and actually make HR a profit center.
Underlying machine learning, proactive information, and delivering great results are ‘buzz words’ like workforce planning, big data, and analytics. HR will shortly be an integral part of future planning within an organization. HR will need to be aware of future projects, required resources, and existing resources so recruitment is kept at a minimum and existing workforce is maximized. Therefore, HR technology will need to tap into other applications within the organization, analyze the information, and predict timing and resources. All of this data needs to be mined, analyzed, understood and compared with data relating to potential candidates, their expertise, and training. While dashboard analytics (with charts and graphs) are ‘nice’, the more important analysis are being delivered to your mobile based on future projections of work.
What does all this mean?
It means that HR people need to up their game. They need to aware and proficient in technology, security, and what that means to their business to help remove any fear that their CIO or other C-Level executive might have with cloud technology. HR people should also be aware other influencers that will have the ability to shut down a deal, like legal and compliance. Buyers also need to focus on Total Cost of Ownership so they can make informed decisions about the future technology.
With all of this technology, what happened to the paper? What happened to retention policies?
Interestingly enough, there was very little talk about paper or retention policies (relating to data not retaining people). And while there was no outward presence (other than us) regarding paper or retention policies, each conversation we had paper was still an issue. People actually started to seek us out. The fact remains, paper is still a problem. Given that most organizations haven’t migrated to a HR Technology Suite yet or ever will, they are managing parts of their process with a combination of their best-of-breed technologies and paper process. For efficiency, HR access to the entire employee file or parts of the employee file (depending on the request or audit type) with the ability to share out the information securely.
I recall that when I first started in the Records Management industry over 15 years ago, destruction dates were mostly on HR files only and not part of any other department data. Recently, companies have caught on and Information Governance is a hot topic. It was surprising to see that HR technology has essentially moved past Information Governance and is now focused on delivering consumer-based technology to your employees. Companies, specifically legal and compliance departments, need to catch up and demand that their instance of technology and quite frankly the technology companies themselves, institute a proper Information Governance plan.