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Keeping it Personal – The Human side of Digital Agility

Keeping it Personal – The Human side of Digital Agility

Agility isn’t only applicable to insurance – it’s cross industry and in our industry etc etc… job search on the go, flexible working, tailor made careers …

It’s not only Insurance that needs to limber up! Our world has changed – we are digital. We expect digital. The world is at our fingertips and we can’t see why everything shouldn’t be done on the move.

Gone are the days of plain old library books – even the task of choosing a real physical book is now something that requires an online presence.

We don’t do waiting. We do google.

And recruitment is one of those areas that agility is crucial in. The downtime during the daily commute = job searching.  Scrolling through a FB feed = personalised Ads.   Flexible working patterns can relate anywhere as the City truly needs never to sleep now the online world is global. The old rules need not apply anymore – jobs can be truly mobile and work can be done anytime, any place, anywhere..

Recruiters need to harness this mobile world and use it to bring a truly agile service to the industries they serve.

Luckily – Recruitment lends itself to digital agility easily. A strong online and mobile presence , the ability to search and be searched for from all devices, a social media savvy frontage are all the precursors to providing a personalised recruitment offering.

Networking sites, job boards and online applicant systems are all ways that technology has revolutionized recruitment; radically changing how employers and recruiters find potential candidates. Applicant tracking systems and new AI software can help HR departments manage the massive influx of resumes that online digitally agile job hunting leads to.

AI-powered systems can do a great job sorting through candidates, but the risk is that non-traditional candidates or candidates with unusual experience that could offer an alternative perspective on a role could fall through the rules-based system, even such a one that can”learn” and therefore improve with ‘experience’,

Applicant tracking systems might be the most noticeable way technology has impacted recruitment ,however behind the scenes there are more changes afoot. Technology has changed recruitment forever, and how the industry has had to adapt – and become agile , just like the candidates it is trying to recruit!!

Data Data

Big Data is certainly a useful tool in the world of recruitment and many other businesses can’t get enough of it. The old adage of “knowledge is power” certainly seems to be being applied to the collection of data. But what good is that knowledge is it is applied incorrectly, or worse, not applied at all?

More data can mean more confusion, allowing tiny details to “skew process and drive people to take action on things that don’t matter, while ignoring the real underlying problems with the recruiting function.”

Analytics and AI are becoming increasingly sophisticated and “intelligent” – with some able to sort CVs at a thousand paces. But with Big Data comes big responsibility – which is where the human touch still maintains a critical role.

Bias

Going Digital can also help businesses not only remove unconscious bias by removing anything from a resume that might identify gender or race. However it can also help bring a specific positive bias into the recruitment process; for example, if a company looks at their workforce and realizes they have predominantly male developers, they can use technology to target female developers in the recruitment process. This can be as straightforward as helping companies to rewrite their job specs to remove any biases in the phrasing. Studies have shown that even unconscious gendered wording can bring about a hiring bias.

AI based systems(assuming the algorithims are correct!) don’t have any selection biases involved!

Global Search Capacity

Geography is no longer the boundary it once was. Global job boards and online application have made job search a truly global affair.

Telecommuting and true agile working mean that recruiters can draw from a candidate pool they may have previously had to overlook. A more diverse talent pool enables recruiters to find professionals with far more specific skill sets than ever before. This talent diversity and ability to provide agile working environments helps drive competition which in turn raises the innovation and service that a company provides.

Flexibilty vs Control

Companies don’t relinquish control easily – and it is probably this aspect of agile working that has been found the most difficult by many! However a company that is prepared to truly embrace a more flexible approach to the traditional world of work is likely to reap the rewards. If we are prepared to accept a 24 hour society in other aspects of our lives then it stands to reason that the world of a basic 9-5 may well have seen its heyday.

Allowing employees the freedom to work however and wherever they work best – whether from home, in an office or from a coffee shop – creates a paradigm shift where employees work from a position of “desired duty” instead of “required duty.”

This mindset shift creates an overall sense of ownership; employees feel like they own their own career pathways. Technology presents endless tools and resources for agile working and the best way to utilise them is to start with a scientific approach : Observe, question, hypothesize, experiment and analyze. Look at new sourcing channels, try new regions, or leveraging social media to build mindset and trust. If employees can (and should!) work in new ways then change your recruitment approach to match!

The new rule is that there are no rules…

AI in 2018

AI in 2018
So AI was big news in recruitment last year… it seemed to be the future , the way forward, a threat, a challenge… the new (exciting?)unknown quantity… a way of removing the intangible elements of personnel recruiting by applying algorithms that had no “human” bias..
 
But fast forward almost to March 2018 and has much actually changed?
The short answer is No.
 
AI is still a hugely hot potato – sparking lots of debate around uses and gains. But like all new technologies there is an uptake period.
Most of us can remember the days of 80s shoulder pads and brick sized mobile phones. Back then the thought of a paperless office would have sent us running for the carbon copy sheets in fear of our lives.. but here we are in 2018 and most of us run of lives through our “bricks”.
What started out as a cumbersome device – and tied in nicely with a personal organiser (gotta love a rolladex!) – is now – our comms, diary and camera are all neatly packaged into a smartphone that even pre-empts what we need and want practically before we know it ourselves.
So the change can – and does – happen.
 
Using AI in recruitment would seem to be merely the next logical step on from this. But its a biggie and quite frankly to a lot of us – its still a mystery.
I can think back to a previous career where we finally moved to a digital CRM system – depsite the fact that we now avoided the post office queues on a Saturday morning – most of us found cause to complain about the new computer and how tricky it was to manipulate. Humans are habit based creatures – and we find it tricky to embrace change – especially when the change is a “robot” trying to take your job. There is more “fear”in recruitment than a lot of other industries – as whilst an algorithmic approach makes practical sense – it threatens the “nouse” of a good recruiter – who doesn’t always apply the rules, yet frequently can search out candidates using plain old fashioned experience.
Its also expensive. Smaller companies who have the ability to implement change faster don’t have the budget – and larger companies who do have the budget are still struggling to move the cultural shift fast enough. A lot of these have AI technologies in place already, yet are barely scratching the surface of its functionality. If your employees have “rage against the machine” for potentially taking their jobs – its difficult to encourage them to take the time to fully explore how the  use of AI could infact improve performance. And so a vicious cycle starts..
 
The use of AI in recruitment is going to become mainstream– but just quite yet. It has huge potential to reduce bias and improve both the candidate and the recruiter experiences. But as an industry we aren’t quite ready for the rise of the machine.
 
So where WILL we go in 2018?
 
Well try 2 other words:  Blockchain and Growth Hacking.
 
Blockchain technology promises a more secure and verifiable method of “screening” candidates.. this should in theory speed up recruiting / validating / onboarding – and take a lot of the “human gut feel element” away.. a move towards fully embracing the world of AI that is to come?
The idea of “growth hacking” in the meantime also is step towards moving the human side of the business forward. Using marketing to look at clever hacks to utilise creativity , analytics and social metrics to move the business on. This does still tie into moving to an AI world as the growth hacks that include more data driven recruitment ties in very nicely to what the AI technologies can offer.
Recruiters are increasingly under pressure to find the best possible candidate within the shortest possible time. Recruitment growth hacking can simply be utilising technology, shortcuts and new ideas to save time by removing or automating low-value actions so you can focus on the high-value returns that help you find and hire the right people for your business.
Growth hacking is cheap – its quick. No extra budget is required. It streamlines your work place and helps your employees feel value as they are directly involved in upskilling themselves. It will improve recruiters skills which will knock onto an improved candidate experience.
Add that to more use of blockchain technology and we will all become more ready and comfortable to move to a more data driven validated recruitment experience.
So that when AI becomes mainstream – it will no longer be the threat to job security that it still can be seen as – and more an extension and support of existing organisations.
 
AI? The future of Recruitment?  Maybe next year!

The Alexa Factor

The Alexa Factor

There are 2 predominant schools of thought around the advent of AI – the positive value added approach: Humans X Process X Data = Increased Business Value

Vs The Chicken Licken thought process of “AI is stealing my job, AI is stealing my job”

Not forgetting those Ostriches amongst us who somehow believe that the advances in AI will have little to no impact on current jobs.

One way or another the landscape is changing. How well your company responds to that is very much down to how much agility is valued as a core skill set.

3 years ago Alexa was just a choice of baby name. In the coming years – naming your baby Alexa may not be so popular a choice – as Alexa is now in over 3 million homes, organising babysitters, booking holidays – and in many cases – being a “person” to chat to. Echo AI technology has improved user experiences – and is earning Amazon big bucks in the process. The Key in this is the fact that Alexa responds almost like a person. Alexa applies machine learning and algorithms to run queries through huge data sets almost instantaneously. Spotify applies the same logic – curating your very own DJ set based on previous choices.

Extrapolating that speed for business will surely guide towards better and more objective business outcomes.

Recent surveys by Accenture have highlighted the need for change in our own approaches with 85% of executives surveyed claiming to be investing in AI over the coming 5 years

So there is no doubt that the rise of AI will change the shape of the job market – especially for the lower skilled workforce. In order to safeguard against rising labor costs – automation becomes critical. Yet higher up the salary scale there are predictions of significant human skills shortages in the very area of robotics that is driving the change agenda. So it would seem that the key to AI success is not how to remove humans from the chain altogether, but how to embed them more effectively to participate in human-critical automation of the business, and in the search for novel business methods and models.

Perhaps the most urgent question we must answer is not one of the role of AI in our 21st century workforce but rather one of integration – and whether economics is purely driven by productivity and speed alone?

Used effectively AI has the potential to alter careers to fit a far more personal model. A more agile workforce – a more diverse workforce. But this requires a collaberation with machine learning to improve the human capability

Change is difficult at the best of times – but when the future is moving faster than we can predict it becomes an increasing challenge.

Maybe we should ask Alexa what to do next?

https://www.accenture.com/t20170125T084846__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/Accenture/next-gen-4/tech-vision-2017/pdf/Accenture-TV17-Trend-1.pdf

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