The pandemic has reset almost every business model and has led to newer paradigms in future of work; With virtual working becoming a norm and not an exception, multiple possibilities are emerging, such as companies now having greater access to talent in remote geographies or towns that were not tapped previously. The HR function is also rapidly adapting to this new world and is using digital technology in the process.
While digital technology has been transforming the recruitment and talent acquisition landscape; it has become integral to the process of recruitment, retention, and performance appraisals. Exponential technologies such as AI and RPA are proving to be popular in rapidly bringing benefits of automation to enterprises.
In this new era, with fewer in-person interactions, technology will play a crucial role in every aspect of HR. While there are numerous trends, we will focus on a few key ones that are emblematic of the evolving HR landscape, specifically driven by new age technologies.
Virtual talent acquisition
The pandemic has severely restricted people's interaction and mobility. As a result, recruiters have had difficulty filling positions since many candidates are unavailable to attend face-to-face interviews. Several companies have tackled this challenge head-on by following a completely virtual hiring and onboarding process. It is a win-win situation for the candidate and the organization. The candidate can attend the interview from their own comfort, while the recruiter can expedite the process. Besides conducting interviews with individuals, organizations can also host online talent recruitment events or hackathons. Today, with the rapid improvement of online infrastructure across the country, the best of talent can be recruited from nearly any tier 2/3 town.
Online mediums also give enterprises the option of conducting interviews in stages. Candidates can self-record on a live link (with randomly generated questions) provided by the recruiter followed by a live interview. Besides speeding up the recruitment process, this process can help enterprises evaluate candidates on their skills and competencies in a superior manner.
Virtual Talent acquisition is a big trend today, and as more organizations realize the benefits, we expect virtual hiring to be a standardized practice for all recruiters in the future.
The increasing role of AI
In almost every industry, AI has helped in significantly transforming and streamlining several processes. The same holds true for the HR function too. In a fast-changing environment impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, AI has lessened the strain on the HR team through its ability to add value in every aspect of the HR function. For example, AI can be useful in screening potential candidates from the large number of resumes received by an organization for a given position.
AI-enabled chatbots can also be used for answering frequent queries from employees, such as, “What is my leave balance?” or “How much tax will be deducted from my March salary?” etc. In the new economy, with employees being dispersed across different locations, AI can also help in better evaluating and rewarding high performers without any bias. Similarly, AI can also help in recommending learning programs for certain employees based on skill gaps, employee interest or for taking advantage of a new market opportunity.
The role of cloud
Cloud-based HR systems help enterprises implement the latest software in a few minutes. It can automate several processes such as payroll management, talent management and benefits administration. As most cloud-based HR systems are available on a pay-per-use basis, it allows even mid-sized or smaller-sized firms to avail themselves of the benefits that have been traditionally out of reach. The cloud’s ability to scale makes it possible for enterprises to upscale their systems accordingly. For example, if an enterprise is on a major recruitment drive in a new location, then cloud-based systems can help enterprises manage the increased volumes.
A cloud-based HR system can simplify the entire function of HR, by giving it the ability to automate processes and enable self-service, payroll processing and analyzing goals and performance in a better way, through centralized tracking and reporting. The process of onboarding can be quickly completed while challenging tasks such as appraisals can be easily managed.
Cloud can also be the foundation for enabling the quicker deployment of new technologies such as AI and analytics. With centralized data and analytics, performance and compensation management can be mapped more accurately which can lead to enhanced employee satisfaction.
Technology-enabled performance management
For most enterprises, performance management is a challenging task. Even today, many enterprises do not have a data-driven approach to performance management. Once a year appraisal or performance reviews are considered inadequate in an environment where good talent is difficult to hire and retain. In a dynamically changing world, a real-time monitoring mechanism is beneficial and can help to set up the foundation for an enriching culture.
Millennial’s value real-time feedback and recognition, and a technology-enabled performance management system can help in creating a continuous feedback mechanism. Analytics can also help HR function work closely with the management to analyze the root cause of non-performance or sub-standard outcomes.
For example, if the performance of a particular business unit is down, then the HR team can use analytics to look if the employee morale is low because of any issues with the reporting manager. Similarly, performance and behavioral traits can be regularly monitored, and insights or alerts can be highlighted by the HR-analytics based solution, in case of a deviation from defined thresholds. This can be very useful to even analyze the performance of new hires. Over a period, a mapping of recruitment to performance can help the HR function in identifying the key characteristics or common factors of the top performers.
As one can witness, today, new age technology has truly evolved to automate many aspects of the HR function. It is perhaps the best time to innovate, as the pandemic has offered many HR functional heads an opportunity to relook at their processes and change the growth trajectory of their organizations by fully utilizing the potential of emerging technologies.