I thought I’d struck pay dirt when I landed my first internship in college. I was interning in the Human Resources department of a trucking company and I felt like I’d finally arrived.
My responsibilities included sitting alone in an office all day, screening resumes for truck drivers and forklift operators, conducting phone screenings, and setting up in-person interviews if candidates met certain criteria. Spending countless hours alone in a room with stacks of applications, a computer, and a telephone made me appreciate the effort it takes to find the right talent to move an organization forward.
Looking back twenty years later, it’s astonishing how things have changed and how—in some ways—they’ve stayed the same. Technology has evolved through several evolutions over the last two decades, and those paper job applications are a thing of the past.
With the recent surge in HR tech, I can’t help but consider how technology is shaking traditional ways of working to their very core.
Ryan Adams, chief impact officer of the talent engagement firm Qwalify says, “Most people would say how technology is the “great equalizer” or talk about “accessibility.” But it’s more than that. Technology will shape the future of work by humanizing it. The next generation of talent is demanding a human experience; one that is accessible and convenient.”
“At Qwalify, we see this every day,” says Adams. “Through our technology, companies, candidates, and customers are forming real relationships; having meaningful conversations that are about more than a ‘like’ or ‘share.’ Scalable engagement results in genuine learning and understanding for all parties, which to me is incredibly persona and, well… human.”
“Technology has really become a key enabler for many businesses and, in many cases, it is a strategic business decision,” says Karen Williams, chief product officer at Halogen Software, a provider of cloud-based integrated talent management solutions. “Many CEOs are recognizing how technology can help with their organizations’ HR needs.”
When speaking with users and providers in the talent strategy and HR technology space, a few things became quite clear to me.
- Most folks are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices available. Innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit have led to many go-getters to develop solutions that fit under the HR tech umbrella over the last several years. When you peel back the onion, however, it feels like many of these solutions are extremely niche-focused. Buyers feel like they need to cobble together many different systems to achieve their talent management goals. As the HR tech space continues to evolve, buyers need to be able to access and purchase functionality in a more streamlined and integrated way.
- Businesses must have a global mindset. Technology has enabled startups and entrepreneurs to expand to a global talent market. “Fortune 500 companies and startups share the same concerns when trying to find talent,” says Eynat Guez, co-founder and CEO of Papaya Global. Her global talent and workforce management platform aims to help companies connect with qualified service providers across the world, allowing companies of all sizes to think beyond their office walls and tap into a deep well of global talent and employment needs.
- Cognitive computing is changing the game. Recent advances in cognitive computing are going to disrupt this space in ways that many people can’t imagine. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. According to Bob Schultz, general manager of IBM’s Smarter Workforce, “Employees want a true ‘customer experience’ and the HR systems of today were not designed to deliver this.” Cognitive computing allows organizations to look across systems to help drive these levels of service and other key insights that business leaders need.
- Employees want real-time feedback. Vip Sandhir, founder and CEO of employee engagement platform HighGround, expects business technology to mirror consumer technology from an employee experience perspective as well. He feels that aspects of social media will begin to play more of a role as employees “want to digest content in real time, in small pieces,” and share and receive feedback more frequently.
Take a moment to consider how you’re managing talent in your company. Do you have an intern hidden away in the back office, shuffling papers and making phone calls? Now is the time to consider the competitive benefits of technology as a supplement to your talent management processes. If you wait much longer, you may just get left behind.
Culture Change is a Complex Process
Make sense of it with actionable advice from experts on the front lines.