The Achilles’ heel: talent attraction and retention

It is imperative for politicians and economic development officers who crow about “bringing jobs” to West Michigan to cease the false bravado and address the enormous elephant in the room: talent attraction and retention.

This oft-cited Business Journal analysis is given new perspective by example of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who last week began twisting legislative arms for a $7-million national marketing campaign to attract workers to the state where 13,000 workers are needed (and not available) just for the jobs being created by Foxconn Technology Group, a deal Walker brokered with $3 billion in tax incentives. According to the Associated Press reports, Wisconsin has worker shortages amounting to 45,000 in seven years, across all industries. Reuters reported last week that Moody’s Investor Service dropped the credit rating for Racine County, the site of the new plant, citing the debt burden after authorization of financial incentives.

Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business researchers have put Michigan’s deficit at 80,000 in the same period. Most of that shortage is exacerbated by deficiencies in educational attainment. Business Leaders for Michigan research shows the state ranks 31st among all U.S. states. The executive group has moved education issues to the front burner of priorities.

Business Journal reporting provides a pause to applaud a program to alleviate the shortages currently obstructing the skilled trades industry. Associated Builders and Contractors Western Michigan Chapter partnered with the Literacy Center of West Michigan to provide training for refugees through a Michigan Office of New Americans (MONA) grant. The collaboration provides job training for students in the English as a Second Language program. ABC/WMC Vice President of Workforce Development Jen Schottke told the Business Journal, “West Michigan has a large population of new Americans seeking work, and we thought this partnership would provide promising opportunities for both these individuals and our local construction employers.”

Another report provides an example of retention of employees. Business Intelligence Associates (BIA), an e-discovery firm that has an office in Portage with 20 employees, conducted a deep dive study to retain an employee who needed personal time for a family emergency, after exhausting time available. After looking for pathways within often-strict employee/labor laws, BIA found the answer by way of a company that created a PTO donation program. The employee was able to take several more weeks without having to go on unemployment, disability or other assistance.

Employers must use such out-of-the-box initiatives to stay ahead of the worker shortage tsunami. Politicians and economic development officers must do so, too. The problem isn’t more jobs, it is educational attainment and worker shortages.

HR Challenges in Rural Healthcare Show No Sign of Abatement

It is not just the rural hinterland, remote villages and tribal areas, quality tertiary healthcare is not available even to a bulk of urban population living outside a few glittering metropolitan cities.

India is touted to become the third largest economy in the world in not-so-distant future but even when the country is making economic progress, rural healthcare still remains a conundrum that both the government as well as the private sector have been able to solve with limited success so far. Even the primary healthcare services have been found to be wanting in quality and quantity in the rural hinterlands, forget the secondary or tertiary healthcare. At a time when most diseases, including lifestyle related ailments, are permeating into both urban and rural households, there is heightened focus on these services in the villages and the associated human resource challenges in the sector.

Almost 70 percent of the doctors in India are concentrated in urban centers, serving around 30 percent of the total Indian population. People in urban India enjoy access to around 65 percent of the country’s hospital beds despite having less than 30 percent of the total population.

The difference in urban and rural healthcare services is only becoming starker and we still have a long way to go in building the bridges to cover the gaps in rural healthcare. Home to more than 60 percent of the national population, India can no longer simply dismiss its rural sector as the ‘sick child’, and needs to take essential steps in order to steer its healthy recovery.

Availability of trained medical professionals has been one of the raging issues in the upliftment of health and sanitation in remote areas to cater to the everyday needs of the habitants, who are thereby deprived of the basic medical facilities necessary for survival.

It is not just the rural hinterland, remote villages and tribal areas, quality tertiary healthcare is not available even to a bulk of urban population living outside a few glittering metropolitan cities. For example, in north India while Delhi NCR remains a hub of the best multi-specialty hospitals, even a 100 km move outside the region will leave you without a decent tertiary care hospital. This is evident from the fact that the Delhi NCR hospitals are crowded with people coming from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and even West Bengal.

Burden of diseases present in rural areas also

The burden of disease has started to weigh heavily in rural areas. A lot of people have to travel long distances to avail of life-saving treatments like dialysis. In the absence of quality cardiac care in smaller towns and villages, many people fail to survive a heart attack as they are required to travel long distances to nearby cities with decent healthcare facilities.

There are a lot of primary healthcare centres, especially in rural areas but devil lies in details. They continue to suffer from shortage of trained staff and absenteeism, private sector finds little incentive in investing heavily in rural areas. However, through some low cost but effective initiatives, the private sector can play a positive role in helping address the deficit of manpower in rural healthcare to some extent.

Private sector can play a vital role

Private sector healthcare service providers can expand the scope of the treatment provided at primary healthcare centres in villages. We need more public private partnerships to involve the private sector in rural areas. These partnerships can offer incentives to doctors to offer services in rural areas for a small number of days of a year. With severe shortage of specialized cardiologists, nephrologists, neurologists and gynaecologists, rural populations often have to make with less skilled doctors or worse quacks. PPPs that can take skilled doctors of reputed hospitals to offer services in rural health centres and recommend patient transfer if needed, can play a role in bridging this gap.

Strategically Placed Hospitals

Villages might not make perfect business sense for private hospital chains to go and establish a hospital there. However, the needs for profit and social benefit can be balanced by opening hospitals in smaller towns and cities which cater to large surrounding populations. Such endeavours also attract doctors who have left their state in search of greener pastures back to their roots.

Empowering village youth and train local manpower

The entire spectrum of healthcare service providers from doctors to nurses, radiologists, pathologists and paramedics are in short supply in rural India. Launching training programs for nurses and paramedics in smaller centres is another important initiative that can help address manpower shortage to an extent.corporating locals into the extensive training programmes, the initiative can ensure a long term solution to the low manpower in rural healthcare, with a motive to not only provide quick medical assistance by experienced professionals but a broad vision to empower the community. This encouragement to generation of rural employment is no surprise, considering the position of the company as the highest private employer in health industry.

Addressing a cybersecurity skills shortage with a new approach to hiring

A recent surge in major cyberbreaches around the globe reveals cybersecurity threats are growing in both volume and sophistication, leaving potential victims scrambling to find ways to properly protect themselves and their data.

While arming your company with the best security software is a good start, it’s not enough. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly savvy and businesses are falling short on adequately staffing their security teams to defend themselves against these hackers.

Demand for skilled security professionals is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry today, and it’s only expected to grow; experts predict a shortage of 1.5 million open and unfilled security positions by 2020. This gap is further exasperated by a lack of the right skills needed to meet the modern security landscape. In the face of increasing threats, this is a shortage the industry simply cannot afford.

One of the biggest hurdles behind the skills shortage is one that companies are creating for themselves – relying on outdated recruitment models and job descriptions to rapidly fill evolving security roles. At IBM, we advocate for a new-collar approach to hiring cybersecurity professionals, focusing on skills, experience and aptitude versus degrees alone. This approach has helped fill seats on the other end of the wire with qualified candidates, and we encourage the industry to evolve their talent acquisition strategy to do the same.

Here are some tips for doing just that:

Redefine hiring models

Work with internal teams and hiring managers to document the attributes and skills that are essential for your organization today and in the future. When doing so, consider positions that could be filled with non-traditional candidates or define new ones. For example, a Security Operations Centre (SOC) Analyst: he or she reports on security incidents, assists with the response and co-ordinates threat intelligence sharing across the SOC. This individual needs to be a multi-tasker with strong communication skills – capabilities acquired through experience, not just a four-year university degree.

Expand where you recruit

Encourage the recruitment team to expand their talent search into community colleges, private technical schools, and other educational programs, as a growing number of these institutions are offering cybersecurity programs yet remain untapped by employers. Build awareness of cybersecurity as a profession and your organization as an employer of such occupations by offering learning sessions and demonstrations.

Create new partnerships

Reach out to government organizations, educational institutions and academic programs in your region. By partnering with business leaders, many Canadian universities are making great strides in driving innovation that equips new graduates with the skills required to thrive in Canada’s evolving workforce. An example of this is IBM’s partnership with the University of New Brunswick, which has resulted in a security intelligence platform that was the catalyst for the creation of a global security division in Fredericton that supports more than 5,000 customers worldwide. A highly skilled professional local workforce has been critical to New Brunswick’s growing reputation as a global cybersecurity hub. Increased investment and collaboration between academia and business, along with other ecosystem partners in both the public and private sectors, will grow opportunities for a new collar workforce.

Develop robust support programs for new hires

Considering the shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals, it’s important to retain new hires by supporting and engaging them as soon as they join the team. Beyond a comprehensive on-boarding program, employers should offer mentorships, rotational assignments and opportunities to shadow more experienced colleagues. Additionally, allow employees to work on a variety of projects and to explore new technologies – not only will this help the employee with professional development, but it makes him or her feel valued and provides the team with a fresh perspective.

Help employees build and refine skills

Cybersecurity is a highly dynamic field, which requires a constant refreshing of skills. Provide employees with opportunities to stay current by encouraging them to enroll in classes and conferences and pursue certifications. Also, do what you can to support existing employees from other functions who are interested in moving into cybersecurity as a new career; they too should have the opportunity to build and refine their skills in the space.

Is AI an opportunity for HR?

AI begins to make its way into more organisations, it’s a question that HR leaders have to take more seriously. So what are the opportunities and challenges that AI presents, and how can HR take a more active role in its development and deployment?

The possibilities of AI

It might come as a surprise to some people the extent to which AI is being used right now in organisations across the world, even at very senior levels. Take Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce for instance. He brings Einstein, his AI, to his Monday morning executive meetings and asks for its opinion. Einstein has access to a significant set of company data within Salesforce, and is able to group, analyse and create insights in response to questions. Not only are Einstein’s contributions based on mountains of data, but its contributions can present a different way of looking at a problem. This in turn allows other members of the executive team to feed off Einstein’s contribution, challenge their own thinking and reframe the problem. AI used in this manner could provide senior executives and boards with on-demand insights to help them make better decisions.

The people management issue

On the other end of the scale, there is the risk that introducing AI presents, particularly with widespread deployment across an organistion. If we take workforce engagement as an example, we know there is a direct correlation between engagement and productivity. An engaged workforce is a more productive workforce and therefore delivers better results. It’s not had to anticipate the likely friction within an organisation as AI starts to automate tasks that were previously owned by humans. The potential efficiency savings from AI could rapidly be undone through disenfranchised individuals seeing AI as a threat to their future job security. The risk to the organisation is at best lower engagement and at worst destabilisation.

No one really knows what widespread deployment of AI will look like and whether it really will be perceived as a threat. Regardless, HR leaders can get a step ahead of this by looking ahead at the most likely ways AI will be deployed within your business first and anticipating what the impact will be within the business.

Who is responsible for the decisions AI makes?

One of the most interesting conversations around AI is the level of control we should be prepared to give it. AI is often talked about as if it were an on/off switch; either an organisation uses AI or it doesn’t. But AI has many shades and each one of these shades has implications around control and responsibility. At it’s most basic level, AI can generate recommendations based on data that a human could choose to implement or ignore. A step on, and AI can not only generate recommendations based on data but also implement those recommendations before sending its activity in the form of a report to a human. A step further than that, and AI can make course corrections to human decisions, identifying decisions that don’t fit with the data it can access and re-correcting those decisions. The final step is full autonomous control, where AI identifies problems and solves them in a continual loop without the need for human intervention.

At each of these stages, control of the decision and therefore responsibility of the outcome is handed progressively more to AI. This has significant implications for humans involved in this chain of decision-making, and again HR leaders have an opportunity to help decide what level of control is right for their organisation.

Leading the executive conversation on digital competencies
Many individuals at executive level don’t have an awareness of what’s out there. HRDs are always looking to build credibility with the rest of the C-suite, and with AI, people leaders have the opportunity to lead the conversation with the rest of the executive team around the possibilities and potential that the business could unlock. One of the topics that regularly comes up when I talk to organisations is the digital competency of the leadership team. Leaders of businesses can be more effective, efficient and productive through the use of technology but they are not always digitally competent and are therefore unaware that’s the case.

Executives need to be accountable for developing their personal ability so that they can leverage this new wave of data, insight and AI. By encouraging a curiosity around the use of technology in their personal lives, it can create an open-minded view to the possibilities of AI within a professional setting. Again, there’s no reason why an HR leader can’t be seen to be leading this conversation given the implications it will have for the rest of the business.

Finding the next generation of leadership talent

This wave of technological advancement also has an impact on future hiring strategy. As digital competence becomes a skill set expected at executive level, it won’t be individuals from traditional businesses who will be in demand where their working practices haven’t changed for decades. People leaders will need to be looking at smaller, more nimble businesses where there is more opportunity for innovation and where they have more advanced working practices.

The flip side however, is if you take somebody out of that type of environment and put them into a large corporate that has a desire to operate differently, the organisational structure, the hierarchy, and the way the business works, isn’t always set up to accept new thinking.

So despite wanting these types of people, it’s not always easy to find them, extract them and persuade them to work for a large corporate because those individuals know that they perhaps won’t have the freedom to work how they want because of the organisational structures that have been built over many years. To be attractive to these individuals, there’s a whole process of change that the business has to go through to start doing things in a different way. The company has to bear in mind its cultural and behavioural mind shift.

It can’t be left up to the technologists

There is a temptation to leave AI up to the technologists within the business, the CIO/CTO or CDO, and then be reactive to the people needs of the organisation as they arise. It’s the technologists who have dominated the conversation so far on the likely uses of AI, and it’s the technologists who are introducing AI into our businesses, but the implications of AI are so great that it can’t just be left up to them. As daunting as the topic seems for senior HR leaders, there is a real opportunity to play a pivotal role in the adoption of AI, and as the most people centric function within the organisation, it’s as much an opportunity as a responsibility.

HR pros are increasingly turning to data for recruiting, engagement

Dive Brief:

  • HR is planning to invest heavily in people and data, with 47% of professionals saying they will be more data-driven in 2022, according to a new survey by Paycor. Harris Poll surveyed 500 HR practitioners and C-suite executives in small to midsize companies nationwide for the study.
  • Small businesses plan to focus on using “small data,” which allows information to be quickly interpreted and used by humans without excessive processing, the study, HR Trendcast, says.
  • Specifically, HR plans to use data to address what respondents said are their two biggest challenges: finding the right people and keeping them motivated.

Dive Insight:

HR continues to examine ways to become more strategic. Automation, artificial intelligence and other technological tools are freeing up HR professionals so that they can use their knowledge as human capital managers in more strategic ways. Technology is becoming especially important in helping HR managers meet recruiting and hiring goals.

Company heads have cited the same top concerns as HR leaders: recruiting, retention and employee engagement. But finding the right candidates, hiring the most talented and keeping valued employees onboard will likely remain challenges in the tight labor market.

In addition to data, employers are looking to compete using upskilling, untapped labor pools and other creative solutions.

Don’t Let Job Rejection Ruin Your Chances for Future Work

When you’re not selected for the medical sales jobs of your dreams, it’s easy to feel slighted. It’s just as frustrating when you never hear back once you’ve submitted your application. But, it’s up to you to keep the lines of communication open with employers… even after being rejected for the job.

While 38 percent of the 5,000 job seekers surveyed in the 2017 CareerBuilder Candidate Experience study said they never get a response from employers, employers are waiting for job seekers to make the next first move.

In fact, in the same survey, 52 percent of the 1,505 hiring managers and recruiters surveyed said they wait for candidates to follow up. Without any post-application contact from job seekers, employers assume candidates aren’t interested or have found another job.

In the race for top talent, hiring managers focus on having a talent pool to pull from and look to fill positions quickly, so they want to keep those candidates who stand out, atop their list.

Here’s how to always be gracious in employer contact and help ensure you’re considered for future opportunities:

1) Show Your True Character

Building a positive team culture depends on team members who get along. The foundation of this is finding and building upon a shared interest. Even if you’re passed over for the job, there’s still a chance to show how you fit into the company culture.

For instance, if you discover that you share a goal or value of the company, a handwritten thank you note is the time to remind them of this connection. This demonstrates your active listening skills, and also shows that you care about the specific organization, instead of just landing a job.

In fact, you should send a unique note to every person with whom you interviewed. This shows respect and interest in the interviewers as people. Also, due to the fact that handwritten notes these days are rare, your kind gesture will be remembered.

2) Demonstrate Your Passion and Interest

Employers seek team members who are passionate about the industry and, specifically, their workplace.

Ideally, you created an opportunity during the hiring process to highlight a personal website and portfolio that demonstrates your professional knowledge and interest. In post-rejection communication, you can direct employers to these resources to demonstrate your industry knowledge and skill. This shows your confidence, ability, and that you’re not afraid to sell yourself, which is a positive quality for medical sales jobs.

For instance, if you’re aware that the company has recently purchased new equipment or participated in advanced research, and you’ve created content on the topic, provide a link to it in your follow-up correspondence.

Likewise, if you come across new information specific to a challenge you know the company is working to overcome, sharing relevant links is not only a way to show you’re following industry trends, but also proves that you care about the company’s problems by providing solutions.

You can also reach out to the company via social media by simply engaging in their posts.

3) See the Networking Opportunity

If you’ve networked online or in-person before the interview, you’re in a position to continue to network and continue to develop your relationship with the hiring manager. By maintaining this professional connection, you not only keep in mind of that hiring manager, but are positioning yourself for a reference or referral.

Additionally, if you were able to build rapport with the interview over a shared passion, this presents an opportunity to continue an ongoing discussion on your mutual interest.

4) Be Receptive to All Communication

If you find a company you love, you will benefit from being open to various opportunities where you can help them continue to grow. Don’t let the fact that your heart was set on one role cause you to ignore or overlook another option.

If you impressed the hiring manager, they could be a top referral source to other hiring managers within the org. In fact, of the 700 talent acquisition leaders surveyed in the 2017 LinkedIn U.S./Canada Recruiting Trends, 52 percent said they first look for employee referrals before contacting a candidate.

Actively networking with those you connected with during the interview process — both online and in-person — creates this opportunity. Mark communication on your calendar and make contact every few months, even it’s just an email or phone call to say ‘hello.’ That way, you are continually on the minds of these professionals.

In addition, it’s important to realize that there are also various reasons why a first pick candidate doesn’t work out (bad cultural fit, employee finds another job, etc.). The hiring process takes time and energy. Rather than go back to square one, employers will reach out to ‘second choice’ candidates.

By maintaining a reputation of a friendly and knowledgeable professional and being receptive to options outside your ideal, you’ll position yourself to quickly land rewarding medical sales jobs.

How a good relationship with the CFO can improve talent acquisition

Managing people and managing wealth may seem like polar opposites, but the overlapping responsibilities are Venn diagram-worthy. You can’t hire people without funding, and you can’t make money without people. For companies to fully grow, wealth and talent must walk in lockstep. At high-performing companies, the gap between the two has narrowed considerably.

With the help of finance, HR can better drive talent acquisition, development and management. With the help of HR, finance can better control costs and optimize investment. With access to big data, together they can analyze trends and plan more intentionally.

The huge investment in talent acquisition and development are two of the driving factors to a closer CFO/HR relationship. Changes to business models, along with wider adoption and use of analytics, help nurture the relationship. Higher level data-led decision making is on the rise at most companies as they unlock the value of accumulated HR software information. Where the relationship is strong, the CFO and HR are entrenched in workforce planning, predictive analytics and evaluating skill gaps.

Big data bridges the gap

A 2014 report by EY polled more than 550 CFOs and CHROs globally. On average, respondents from high-performance organizations revealed they spend more than half their time collaborating, and 80% say the relationship has become more collaborative in recent years. The specifics on which HR and finance work together include:

Scenario planning (58% of respondents);

Predictive workforce analytics (54% of respondents); and

Skills gap analysis (59% of respondents).

As businesses analyze the data they possess, the collaboration runs even deeper. HR and CFOs are mining data for:

Strategic workforce planning (71% of respondents);

Driving decisions about acquiring or developing talent (64% of respondents); and

Identifying expertise and knowledge (62% of respondents).

The relationship is symbiotic. For finance, a deeper knowledge of people issues enhances the ability to plan. For HR, understanding the numbers behind the issues enhances theirs. “For organizations that are building their HR reporting and analytics capabilities, input from finance (and other analytic disciplines) can help the HR team develop sound analysis methods and relate analysis findings to diverse stakeholder groups,” Pat Russo, principal and LaborWise leader at Deloitte Consulting LLP, told HR Dive.

Missed connections

Otherwise, employers could be missing out on a golden opportunity. “Very few firms are looking at their Human Capital Balance Sheet holistically,” Russo said. “They are not investing in developing their HC assets and are not focused on controlling HC spend and risk.”

As a result, Russo explained, programs are managed in isolation. Employers, for example, attempt to cut labor spend, but don’t consider how such moves impact productivity. Employee engagement may be negatively impacted with implications on both talent acquisition and retention. A lack of coordination might even lead to competing numbers of employees being reported to executives and stakeholders.

“These dueling systems result in lack of trust in either function and excess management and staff time devoted to reconciling the differences,” Russo said.

Culture collaboration

While many CHROs believe they lead the charge in developing corporate culture, many CFOs say they’re involved as well. A survey by Robert Half reveals 51% of CFOs say they are shaping corporate culture.

“Corporate culture ranks high on the priority list for both human resources and finance,” said Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. “While HR has long been focused on areas affecting culture — employee morale, engagement, happiness, satisfaction — finance leaders play an instrumental role, as well.”

The possibilities for collaboration in this area are actually quite extensive, Hird added. “The two groups can work together to tap analytics to enhance the recruitment process and spot business risks such as turnover, hiring mistakes and compliance issues. They also can join forces to assess staffing patterns, determine when to hire full-time employees and when to bring in consultants and project professionals.”

Small collaboration pays big dividends

Shared analysis benefits HR, finance and the company overall, said Erik Fromm, Financial Advisor at Janney Montgomery Scott. One big example is retirement, which impacts a growing number of workers due to the present shift in workforce demographics.

“When a person is reluctant or unable to retire, healthcare costs and wages increase, productivity is stifled, and organizational growth becomes stagnant,” Fromm explained. “For these reasons, it is important that CHROs and CFOs work together to make sure they are prepared to weather the generational shift taking place in the modern workforce.”

They call it the ‘Silver Tsunami,’ and it can have more than just a financial impact on companies. When new talent can’t see a clear path to advancement, morale, engagement and ownership are diminished. By the time seasoned employees realize they’re not “retirement ready,” it can be too late.

Enter collaboration: “By aggregating and analyzing data from your organization associated with this liability,” Fromm said, “the result can be clear strategies to move the conversation around your retirement plan from ‘fees, funds, and fiduciary’ to making the plan a powerful tool in taking control of this risk to your cash flow statement and balance sheet.”

When HR and Finance work together, the company benefits. Finance has better insight into the firm’s highest investment and risk: employees. HR has enhanced tools to maximize talent, from recruitment to retirement. It’s a match too long in the making that has the potential to grow even further.

Five Tips For Introducing Intelligent Automation To HR

Intelligent automation technologies make our personal lives easier. Cars park themselves, hit the brakes and will soon drive themselves. Smart home devices can do everything from adjusting the temperature to turning lights on and off to ordering a pizza without us having to get up off the couch.

This level of intelligent automation is starting to affect us at work, too. The ability to automate manual tasks and business processes frees skilled employees up to perform more high-value work, increasing their productivity. For many organizations, their efforts to introduce automation technologies should begin with the HR department.

Those are a couple of the key findings of ServiceNow’s “Today’s State of Work: At the Breaking Point” survey. More broadly, it reveals that a majority of organizations have introduced advanced automation to one or more departments. Nearly half of executives say that they’ll require it enterprise-wide by 2018 to cope with rising work volumes. In addition, a survey from CareerBuilder also shows that 72% of employers expect that some roles within talent acquisition and human capital management will become completely automated within the next 10 years.

The level of automation varies widely depending on the type of business process. For example, IT services are the most automated at 53%, whereas HR services only stand at 37%. Yet respondents most frequently cite HR services — such as employee relocations — as the least efficient. In fact, when asked, executives said that HR was the department most in need of a reboot.

HR departments want to provide great service but too often find themselves saddled with repetitive, transactional tasks. Respondents report that their various HR processes are highly manual with unstructured work processes. This leads to complexity and productivity drain.

Reducing that complexity requires enabling HR professionals to focus less of their time and energies on a number of recruitment activities they have to handle manually. For example, overseeing employee relocations, which can take 14 or more days to process, leaves of absence and onboarding new hires are among the least efficient HR processes.

If your organization’s HR department struggles with these issues, there are five steps you can take to introduce intelligent automation:

1. Identify Areas That Could Be Automated

It’s important to identify the business processes that need improving and whether they’re appropriate for automation. You may identify HR as a prime candidate, but that may not only apply to HR. Evaluate all business units to identify processes that can be made more efficient through intelligent automation.

2. Map It Out

Next, map these critical business services to introduce automation technologies by using a combination of machine intelligence and human skills. This requires determining the process bottlenecks and areas that should prove easy to automate — including purchase order requisitions, submitting IT support or help desk requests — and onboarding new employees with workspaces, computers and badges. Don’t introduce automation just for the sake of doing so. Create a map of the ideal end-state process by investigating whether the existing process can be modified to deliver the desired result. Keep in mind that it may be easier to redesign some processes from scratch rather than trying to modify them from manual to automated.

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3. Communicate

Be proactive in communicating with HR employees. Don’t forget that if you’re planning on automating tasks and processes, you’ll be affecting their day-to-day work. Address their concerns and provide reassurance that just the opposite is true. Make sure that they realize the benefits automation will provide to them, such as reducing the time they must spend on administrative tasks and even job creation. Automating jobs drives up demand for so-called soft skills such as collaboration, creative problem solving and communication. Despite the fear that automation of processes leads to job loss, the opposite is often the case. As technology improves, employees are freed from routine tasks so they can focus their time and energies on more creative and strategic projects.

4. Make Sure The C-Suite Is Onboard

This too requires constant communication with employees. Yes, a structured and measurable program plan is essential, but organizational change is more than simply executing a set of implementation activities. The senior leadership team must be visible in its support and its participation in empowering employees to suggest how automation can make them more productive.

5. Teach Skills

Finally, you’ll need to teach skills to help employees succeed after you’ve created an automated environment. So many of us work through days filled with tedious, manual processes like filling out spreadsheets and replying to long email chains. We’re used to automation and efficiency in our personal lives but not at work. So don’t expect your employees to have the skill sets for leveraging automation tools, which can vary among departments. For example, HR professionals may already have extensive soft skills but need help understanding and interacting effectively with automation technology. It may be just the opposite for the IT team.


There are times, however, when companies would not want to automate some HR tasks. For example, sensitive matters around issues involving employee conduct complaints, medical leaves or a death in someone’s family require what’s referred to in the industry as “high touch when it matters” for these types of situations.

Most HR processes can now be automated, and that requires the role of HR professionals to evolve. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of communicating to HR staff that automation will provide them with more time to work on high-value activities such as high-touch employee services, career development and organizational design rather than spending time dealing with routine cases.

Top Benefits of HR Management Software

Many small and medium-sized companies hesitate to invest in HR management software as they think it is unessential and too expensive. However, the right HR software can prove to be of great benefit to businesses if they select it carefully for their specific needs. To start, let’s begin with the answer to the basic question: what is HR management software? Your company’s employees are your most important asset. HR software enables you to effortlessly manage your people and keep them focused and happy. The HR software market size is predicted to exceed $10 billion by the year 2022. If you are still on the fence, these benefits of HR software are sure to convince you:

It Saves Precious Time

HR software can automate time-consuming processes which will allow you to focus on more productive work. If your company has a sizeable number of employees, you will find it difficult to manage their information on paper. It will be a nightmare to find basic details about how many holidays are available for a particular employee. Even if you use a spreadsheet, it will still take a lot of time to set it up and maintain it. HR software allows you to automate basic process like employee self-services, training, absence, and holiday allowance as well as to streamline workflows to improve work management and productivity. In these ways, the platform can save you a lot of time which translates into money for most businesses.

All Information is Readily Available

HR software makes it easy to access all essential information anytime. It will be available on your laptop when you attend a meeting and face queries from your employees. This simplifies decision-making as all data is immediately available and you do not have to worry about inadequate or out-of-date info.

The software’s analytics tools can help you to spot trends and resolve issues. For instance, if there is a specific role that has a high turnover you can delve into the reasons and find a solution. The system makes it a breeze to collect this information and access it. It would be impossible to use a paper-based process to get similar insights quickly.

Develop Your Employees

You don’t have to recruit new employees to grow your business. It is more affordable to properly train your existing staff members and HR software can help you with this. This platform facilitates employee development from training courses to performance appraisal. For example, regular appraisals can boost employee morale and give them an incentive to maintain high standards of work. The software stores data on the issues you discussed, the feedback given, and the goals and objectives you decided together. Your employees can also access this information anytime which will enhance their engagement with their work and the company. With this data, you can plan your staff members’ career development and give them short-term and long-term goals to achieve.

Manage Your Documents Securely

HR software maintains all information in a single secure centralized location and ensures it is accessible anytime, from anywhere. Thus, it is a boon for companies that have mobile employees and multiple office locations.

If you use a filing cabinet, you cannot be sure how secure it is as anyone can access it.

HR software is more secure as you can control who accesses what information. Plus, cloud-based solutions ensure your data is protected and available even when there are physical catastrophes or emergencies like a fire. You only need an internet-ready mobile device or computer to access the data. A quality cloud-based HR software solution like Zoho People can be quite useful to your company. There are also other good choices in the market so you can always find a Zoho People alternative any time.

HR software also offers complete document management capabilities. You can learn which employee reads what material when. Plus, you can improve productivity by minimizing paperwork. In addition, you get an accessible location to archive training manuals, staff handbooks, policies, and old documents. The platform allows you to go green and run a paper-free company as you don’t need to print out all documents.

Track Leave Requests

It is essential for businesses to properly manage leaves and absence. It can be disastrous if your company faces a deluge of leave requests. HR software helps you to avoid this as you can plan staff holidays more carefully and track the information behind absence.

HR software is more than just a calendar as it enables you to manage holiday requests, monitor remaining leaves, and calculate pro-rata payments. In addition, you can automate the time-consuming process of holiday booking. Your employees can request leaves any time and you can accommodate their requests easily and quickly without worrying about messy email trails.


As there are scores of quality HR software solutions out there, how do you select the right one for your requirements? You can consult a reliable business directory software site to read in-depth reviews and articles on leading HR software platforms. Plus, you can track the latest HR software trends and select a system that incorporates these features. Feel free to share your feedback on this article in the space below.

5 Innovative Ways to Improve Human Resources through Artificial Intelligence

The evolution of information technologies brought significant changes in the way human resources are being managed. Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing how companies develop HR plans and manage their workforce.

Why all this effort? What does AI have to do with more effective HR management? As it turns out, technology can boost the overall engagement and productivity of employees. Organizations with employee engagement programs reach 26% more year-over-year increase in revenue. Is that a good enough reason to accept artificial intelligence as a solution that can push your company forward?

Let’s go through 5 innovative ways to revolutionize human resource management through artificial intelligence.

1. Rely on Talent Acquisition Software

Technology can take loads of the monotonous work off a HR manager’s shoulders. Talent acquisition software makes their work less stressful, but more effective at the same time. It eliminates the majority of candidates from the recruiting process, leaving you with a small percentage you can quickly evaluate.

The recruiter gains immense benefits from talent acquisition software. They get more time to analyze and evaluate relevant candidates. As a result, they improve their overall hiring decisions. The companies gain benefits, too. Avoiding poor hiring decisions saves them a lot of money.

2. AI for Performance Analysis

Recruiters are constantly striving to hire engaged and productive employees. Those qualities are not easy to find, but they are even more difficult to maintain. That’s why it’s essential for HR managers to monitor the behavior and growth of the company’s employees.

Through AI tools, the organization can set specific objectives and monitor how all units work towards them. With this approach, HR managers can easily detect team members who are lagging behind, as well as the productive ones. With those findings, they can implement proper measures to motivate and educate the employees further.

3. Use Technology to Help New Workers Adapt

Once a HR manager hires new people in the team, they have to help them adapt to the new working environment. Even the most talented workers can have problems with the adaptation process. Artificial intelligence can help.

Think about it: it’s impossible for you to dedicate a lot of time to every single new employee you accept in the team. A well-planned onboarding program based on proper technology can make the process of adaptation smoother.

Onboarding is no longer about face-to-face orientation. It’s about connecting the new employees into the organization’s online environment, where all supervisors, workers, and managers are connected.

4. Rely on Technology to Help Them Grow

A good employee never stops learning. It’s important for HR departments to organize learning sessions for the team, so everyone will keep improving and expanding their professional skills. Technology supports the process of successful planning, organizing, and coordinating training programs.

There are tons of online courses to explore. However, your organization can also develop a specialized online course that will fit the specific preferences and needs of its employees.

5. AI Can Help with Retention Rates, Too
Retaining employees is a huge problem for hiring managers. Mark Murphy, the author of Hire for Attitude, found that 46% of new hires failed within 18 months. Thanks to AI, you can analyze and predict the needs of new employees, so you can work towards better retention.

You can use software to analyze the performance and reveal the individual strengths of the workers. Thanks to the information they get from such a tool, HR managers can be proactive and solve problems before they even occur.
Technology Is Everywhere

No organization can remain immune to technological progress. It’s in every aspect of the work. The hiring and retention processes, in particular, can become much more effective when technology is being used the right way. HR executives can rely on AI to make better hiring decisions, monitor the employees, and push them towards better results.