Technology has been a major driving force behind the growth of remote work. With effective screening and skilling technologies, the human experience of HR, employees, and candidates has transformed over the years.
In an exclusive conversation in partnership with NLB Services, leading HR and business leaders discussed the upcoming priorities in talent management in light of continuous technological innovation.
Akhil Verma, an Independent Consultant, noted that every person-touchpoint (e.g. employee, candidate, leaders, and business units) was overhauled because technology and innovation made remote working possible. While the entire hire-to-retirement cycle was redesigned, screening and skilling took on disproportionate significance.
Screening undergoes a shift
Arun Santhanam, VP, Chubb India, discussed how the company could restructure its operations post-Covid for predictive screening. By understanding profiles, matching them with job requirements, and managing the entire lifecycle of interactions, they could capitalise on many opportunities.
Talent acquisition leaders must ask the tough questions, Arun said. “Can we automate machines to identify profiles? Can we use pre-defined NLP queries and filters and build on that?”
VP and Head HR, Apex Financial Services, Lopamudra Pradhan, noted that "AI has helped streamline the entire hire-to-retire cycle, reducing the need for mundane tasks and allowing hiring professionals to focus on more value-adding tasks." Technology is helping HR accomplish its goal of enabling employees through a seamless experience.
From screening to skilling
APAC Recruitment and Business Leader at NLB Services, Varun Sachdeva, shared how their recruitment strategy combined technology and human intelligence. They did it by proactively engaging with vetted talent communities to understand skills and aspirations, deploying a hire-train-deploy model, creating a platform to evaluate candidate skills and gaps, and then matching candidates to opportunities.
NTT Data Services succeeded in hiring early-career talent and upskilling them to meet demand by leveraging its virtual training program. “Having a robust talent development program and communicating it well will help ensure everyone feels empowered and is taking part,” Jennifer said.
Chubb India offers bite-sized ‘quick learning’ capsules and hyper-personalised needs analysis and skills assessment to make sure learning meets the needs of individual learners. Informal learning on YouTube and participation in practical hackathons also work well. At Verista, redeveloping the leadership development program was the key to growing talent within the company.
Upskilling today is highly personalised and curated to the business need and talent milieu. According to Rajesh Narayan, SVP, India Business, Affine, the human element has diminished. “Since no one speaks to a candidate anymore, how do we filter soft skills like communication, business understanding, etc.?” he asked.
The need for human touch
AI cannot assess soft skills. By eliminating human intelligence, you may end up with a person who is technically competent but lacks communication skills.
"It's about finding the 'why', or how the organisation and the candidate are a right fit,'' Kennethe said. Our connection through the communication, interaction, and interview process is critical”.
In Jennifer's opinion, technology and communication foster the right change in learning. "Business leaders collaborated to streamline and improve. The remote and hybrid models work well when the team is engaged and communicates frequently".
Cultivating the right learning culture
Leaders must ask themselves, "Does the organisation encourage test-train-fail?" to cultivate a learning culture?
Learning organisations allow employees to know where they stand and how they can move towards new skills while also providing opportunities to learn and develop. Varun emphasises understanding what people prioritise and designing policies to address both candidate and employee needs.
For example, Arun points out that the company has implemented remote working for its youth-dominated workforce for the next two years and even created a photo contest to encourage them to share their work-from-anywhere photos. Our customer escalations are lower than pre-Covid times."
No matter how technology and the human touch are balanced, TA leaders are the glue that holds it all together. Today's leaders must embrace knowledge, data, and technology while preserving human skills.
"We need to instil the right values in our teams," Jennifer said. While technology is an enabler, the human connection, maturity, and understanding of engaging employee ecosystems come from experience, cross-learning, and conversations. As a result of IT-enabled human intervention, an organisation will continuously learn and evolve.