Technology has caused significant disruption in people management and employee experience a whole. The post covers a few of the most awe-inspiring ones
As human beings, each of us is uniquely different. This makes people management one of the most complex functions in the world. In a professional context, human dimensions like gender, education, geography, age groups, and skill sets add further intrication. While organizations attempt to manually tackle people management with a handful of HRs, they end up further knotting up this already entwined process.
The good news is that technology is best in solving such complex scaling up problems. Today – with the advent of AI, Machine learning and lightweight applications- technology can be used to deeply understand every employee’s aspirations and grievances without having to build a large HR team. The data and analytics from these products can provide the management dynamic and invaluable insights to frame proactive people policies.
This way, technology can help drive organizational changes organically and seamlessly through the fabric of the organization. Seems utopian, but globally, many organizations are already in the process of approaching this pinnacle.
Since the turn of the century, analysts across the world have been fantasizing about this concept of the ‘firm of the future’ and dissecting it to help organizations get ready for it. Yet, the change did come crashing upon organizations who were fencing it – with the sudden upsurge in applications of technology in business. Today, the need to digitize the workplace is a grappling requirement for firms to survive the labor and user markets.
Technology has caused significant disruption in people management and employee experience a whole. Below are a few of the most awe-inspiring ones:
1. Recruitment: Age of the Human Bot
Artificial Intelligence has extensive applications in the recruitment process and the candidate experience. The very iterative recruitment screening processes are now being taken over by AI. Smashfly, for instance, provides a personalized and extremely human-like interaction with prospective candidates. Emerson, Smashfly’s AI, sends follow-ups and reminders to the candidate – more efficiently and accurately than even human HR personnel. These help each prospective employee to feel that the company is keen on their candidature and that they are highly valued.
Similarly, Tech Mahindra has an AI-enabled talent marketplace and this AI has been taught to nudge dormant talent on the company’s opportunities. These judges will be customized as per the unique strengths and career interests of the candidates. These machines are ensuring that not only are active candidates appeased, but also are the latent prospects.
2. Learning and Development: on-demand and dynamic
Technology has transformed the learning and upskilling process of employees drastically. The marketplace format of learning is being used by online learning platforms, like Udemy and Cousera. These help in developing a dynamic learning environment in organizations by making the learning ‘on-demand’. The digital learning platforms are also using gamification- the use of e-badges, social leaderboards, etc – to achieve momentum in their learning initiatives. This has helped employees to experience learning more as an organic process than as a prescribed one.
For the manufacturing segment, demonstrative learning and simulations take an upper hand. Augmented Reality elegantly fits itself into this purpose by providing real-time instructions and helping to expedite on-the-job training. GE Healthcare, recently had a fantastic case of using Augmented Reality for their OTJ training. They let a batch of new trainee workers perform an assembly operation and they completed it 46% faster than their standard assembly time on their very first trial. They did this by using smart glasses that overlayed augmented instructions to the assembly that even included visualization of the steps.
3. HR helpdesk: Human Intelligence
‘How do I avail a leave?’ ‘What is the process of reimbursing travel bill?’ These are iterative but critical queries that need immediate redressal. Failure to receive a correct or timely response to such questions can affect the employee experience drastically. HR bots are being widely used by organizations to not only attend to these helpdesk queries but also to engage and understand the well being of the employees. For instance, Genpact uses AI enabled chatbots to help in their HR self-service and employee engagement. They also use analytics and machine learning to interpret the communication patterns to predict performance and preempt attrition.
4. Work Tools: Augmenting the workforce
O’Reilly Media’s collection of talks in mid-2015 coined the term, ‘the Augmented Worker’ that currently has an ever growing significance. The term articulates how employees are augmented and enabled using technology and its by-products. A typical example is when Boeing used wearable technology to simplify their electrical wiring process. Instead of browsing through ‘phone book’s full of diagrams and schematics, their technicians now use a voice-enabled search and overlay schematic that takes them through the process step by step. Similarly, Accenture alone has over 30 organization-wide softwares that help in digital enablement, collaboration, and productivity.
Even management roles have evolved at the advent of technology. Harshvendra Soin, the Chief People Officer of Tech Mahindra speaks of how AI is helping their managers take the right decisions and receive real-time updates. Alexa and their inhouse chatbot nicknamed ‘UVO’ provide analytics and information and responds to voice-based commands.
5. Employee Engagement: Tech that drives culture
Lazlo Bock, ex-senior vice president of Google, co-founded Humu that solely aims to ‘make work better’. Humu helps drive behavioral change using data and algorithms by determining and nudging the top drivers of happiness, productivity, and retention.
The Xoxoday platform is a stark example of how technology enables employers to intuitively design employee engagement and the employee to uniquely choose how to engage back. The platform uses social media-inspired elements of technology like feeds, groups, chats, etc and e-commerce inspired extensive global catalog that makes rewards truly aspirational.
Tech Mahindra reportedly uses facial recognition technology that not only eliminates swipes but also helps to capture and measure their delight quotient and send engagement index to leaders and managers.
These innovations signify the importance companies now place on employee engagement. These softwares facilitate employees and companies alike to have a transparent, collaborative and engaging work environment.
A Deloitte study predicts what is in store for HR in 2019 and each of its functions was envisioned to have technology as an important ingredient. The study speaks of how HR will use technology to reconfigure how talent works, do organizational network analysis to get macro workforce insights, to look beyond hiring to nurture talent and motivate employees. Technology has become ubiquitous in HR and at all the employee touch points.
The greatest takeaway of these more efficient processes, more responsive environments, and more sensitive interactions is that these make employee experience a more wholesome and purposeful journey. This, in turn, should aim to create better workplaces, better communities and truly better livelihoods.