Article: Need to invest in people-focused technology


Need to invest in people-focused technology

Darren Jaffrey, General Manager EMEA & APAC, HireVue on people culture and the revolutionary scope of talent analytics
Need to invest in people-focused technology

When an organization continuously invests in recruiting, developing, rewarding and managing great talent, it automatically reflects in their business metrics


Great repositories of vital data already exist in organizations and they only need to mine that to understand their employees better


What have been the key learnings in your journey from software and consulting into the development of SaaS, HCM and other hiring technologies?

This journey has taught me a lot more than I can talk about, but the first thing that strikes me as an HR technology service provider is that you need to identify those organizations where people really do matter. A lot of companies say that people are their biggest asset, but only a few really believe it. Some companies only give lip service to this thought. My goal has always been to identify those companies that really believe it, because they are the ones who adopt HR technology with a leading edge, eventually making it mainstream. It’s very easy for organizations to maintain a status quo ignoring the changes or improvements technology can bring about in their functioning and their people practices. However we seek to work with organizations that really embrace a people culture and invest in them.

In HR a lot of sensitive information is held by individuals, making it an area where security and data privacy is incredibly important. The appetite for new technologies has gradually increased such that now nobody would question putting personnel practices on cloud, but when I started it was a bit more challenging than it is now. HR has come a long way since and organizations are now realizing the difference HR technology can make to their core business. Organizations are a lot more confident on investing in people-focused technologies.

What makes some organizations really believe in a people culture and work accordingly?

Some organizations clearly understand the linkage between a great workforce and a great balance sheet. People are the most expensive assets any organization has and also the most valuable ones. A strong people-oriented culture is the best way to maximize their value. When an organization continuously invests in recruiting, rewarding and managing great talent, it automatically gets reflected in their business metrics. Organizations that really create this linkage are the ones who tend to make an investment in people technologies and processes. In short, it is very difficult to have a great business without great people!

What drives this culture? How important is the role of a CEO?

Ideally, it’s the CEO who sets such an agenda. The reason why some companies do it more than others is because some CEOs believe in it much more than others. One can tell the importance an organization places in its people by knowing the position of the seniormost people’s person in the organization. For instance, if I look at the board of Air India and if they have a Chief Talent Officer, it tells me something good about them.

Whether or not an organization has the concept of a Chief People Officer/Chief Talent officer somewhere in its C-suite of an organization, clearly reveals what that organization thinks about its people.

How do platforms/technologies like HireVue enhance the recruiting process?

Video/digital interviewing is fast becoming mainstream technology because of reduction in cost and an increase in the effectiveness of talent. The principal ways in which such technologies benefit organizations are:

Increased productivity. It allows recruiters to view a lot more candidates, creating a larger talent pool from which they can make their hiring decisions.

Enhanced efficiency. According to our research, our users have reduced interviewing time by 40% by using digital technology. This converts into faster hiring.

Reduction in cost. The first two factors, in turn, result in reduced cost per hire. Our users have reported around 24% reduction in overall cost per hire after adopting of digital technology.

More high performers. A more valuable aspect for organizations is that now they are able to hire more top performers, who are likely to stay with them longer. According to a research we did last year, those organizations are now hiring 13% more high performers. So they are not just making great hiring decisions but getting high performers who stay with them significantly longer than earlier. To ensure they stay with the organization, we use predictive talent analytics to hire the right cultural fit. It is easy to identify good candidates based on their qualifications, CV and so on. The bigger challenge is to determine if the candidate fits into the organization’s culture. Consider a fresh graduate from a top institute. Organizations like Google and Bank of Baroda may be looking at candidates like that, but their organizational cultures are extremely different and that is where a bigger call needs to be taken.

What do you think these predictive technologies hold in store for HR in future?

HR is certainly going to be the next big adopter of analytics. The wave of technology adoption here began with applicant tracking systems, moving on to performance management, succession management, rewards and benefits and so on. All of that has now created a vast amount of data which needs to be understood using analytics, further helping organizations drive their businesses forward. Analytics is going to be the next great wave of HR technology adoption, as great repositories of big data already exist in organizations and there is only a need for mining that to understand their employees better.

We help organizations hire better by turning such data into meaningful business applications. We also look at profiles of the individuals hired and map them with 15 attributes related to speech and behavioural data collected as part of the interview and video filming process. We look at this data to identify high performers amongst existing individuals and then bring back those attributes into the application system so that when candidates apply they are automatically scored against previously successful people. This also shows that HR is beginning to adopt the concept of recommendation engine for talent selection, developing algorithms to understand that if you hire someone who has been productive for you then you should also hire other similar applicants. This will revolutionize talent pooling and selection processes.

What capabilities would HR professionals require to keep pace with this evolution?

Increasingly, HR professionals will need to have an analytical view of the workforce more than just a purely human view (which is of course equally important). Soon there will be people within the HR department whose responsibilities will include mining the data, analysing it and using it to predict outcomes. The number one job role in the US today, that of a data scientist, didn’t exist two years ago. Young people coming out of MIT and similar institutions seek to be one as there is so much that they can do to harness data. Now, this doesn’t mean that HR professionals need to become data scientists, but they surely need to become a lot more comfortable with data than they have been in the past.

Darren Jaffrey is the General Manager of HireVue in EMEA & APAC. He is responsible for strategic planning, business operations and management of all customer facing functions across the region. Previously Darren was SVP, International for Taleo and Chief Operating Officer of MrTed, both leading lights in the HCM SaaS marketplace.

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Topics: Technology, #HRIndustry

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