Talent Managers: Brace and embrace the future

Jan 5, 2017 · 7 min read

2017 is upon us. It will be an exciting year. There will be a floodgate of tools in the talent management sector. After years and years of serving the financial, sales & marketing, and the R&D markets, the technologists are FINALLY serving the talent management sectors.

OK — I admit, I’m a technologist and a bit biased. I love it when technology solves old problems in new ways or creates new opportunities. You would think the talent management sector should have been the 1st sector we would have attacked as companies do not have more valuable assets than their employees. But hey, late is better than never.

With the advances in technology, the talent management’s role will be more crucial than ever before.

With the advances in technology, the talent management’s role will be more crucial than ever before. Talent managers do have new challenges and opportunities such as:

  • The rise of the Gig Economy
  • Robots in the workforce
  • Big data in recruiting
  • Change in culture to keep the employees
  • The demand for social media at work

The common theme in all is the presence of the technology. With such shifts underway, the traditional HR roles will disappear and give ways to the new role of engaging the workforce.

The gig economy is growing. By 2020, as much as 40 percent of the American workforce will be contingent workers, or independent contractors.

With the rise of companies such as Upwork, Freelancer and Workhoppers, the gig economy is growing. Based on Pew Research survey, over 8% of American workforce are already participating in the Gig Economy. By 2020, as much as 40% of American workforce will be contingent workers or independent contractors.

Due to such platforms, we are seeing organizational shifts from: “I need to hire a person” to “I need to complete a task.” At the moment, such tasks are usually either highly specialized or non-core tasks. With the rise of gig economy, more Americans would choose such life-style than full-time employment.

How should talent managers help: As more organizations adopt the gig economy, HR managers and recruiters will not hear from a hiring manager: “I need to hire a person with such qualities.” They will hear: “I need to get this task done. Who do we have?” In such scenarios, the old sourcing and recruiting models are only partially applicable. This is where the talent management departments become a database of workers and their specific skillsets. Such workers may or may not be part of the organization, but their skills can be tapped when a hiring manager is in-need.

Robots to the rescue. Robots to the rescue.

Yes, robots to the rescue. This is Harri — a robot that soon will help HR and payroll professionals in answering routine questions. Technology such as Harri, is changing the role of the ‘vital many’ large groups of employees who traditionally carried out manual or redundant tasks. Most redundant tasks will be done by robots.

Yes, some jobs will be lost. But also, more will be created. Research from Forrester predicts that 16% of jobs in the US will be lost over the next 10 years as a direct result of AI and related technologies. Equally, it has been predicted that 14 million jobs will be created during the same period in order to train, accommodate and compliment the burgeoning AI and machine learning industries.

How should talent managers help: As talent managers, we should change the types of talents we are looking for. Instead of hiring clerks, we need to hire developers and data scientists, who can program the machines to do the redundant tasks. Studies have shown that over 50% of organizations plan to use artificial intelligence. But about 42% of companies lack the skills necessary to implement and support AI and machine learning tools. As talent managers, our goal is to plan ahead for such needs. We should start looking and creating a repository of individuals with such needs. Furthermore, specialized on-the-job training will be needed. Remember — the future is not humans vs robots. It’s humans + robots working side-by-side.

Big data is recruiter’s new best friend.

I have yet to meet a recruiter who enjoys reading resume after resume or enjoys asking the same redundant questions. Administrative tasks that were only until recently done manually by talent acquisition experts, such as applicant tracking, can now be handled through platforms that use techniques in artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. Organizations such as Glassdoor, Monster and Indeed can perform auto-resume parsing and others such as SparcIt, Hogan and Plum can perform psychological and behavioral assessments. This allows recruiters to free up more time and spend it with hiring managers and other stakeholders.

How should talent managers help: Use as much time-saving technology as possible. But also, take this a step further. Read up and recommend predictive and prescriptive assessments to hiring managers. Using such tools, frees up time to work more closely with your clients and hiring managers. As a team, the group can help determine the best ways to align business and talent strategies. This will offer a more in-depth, longer-term workforce planning approach, as opposed to last-minute recruiting.

Culture is the key to keeping your employees.

Companies put a lot of effort into creating a uniform culture. Approximately, 80% of hiring is done based on “culture-fit” which means, we hire people we want to hang out with and who think like us. If you compare the profiles of leaders at fintech firms with those of established Wall Street investment, you will notice stark differences in background and personality types. As humans, we find it hard, to put it plainly, to see beyond our own reflections in the mirror and spot what may be nontraditional candidates. Such attitude creates a uniform and homogenous culture. But this is not the culture of the 21st century workforce. That’s where talent analytics will be transformational.

How should talent managers help: If we hire people who think like us, the diversity in our organizations is very limited. Most organizations are missing the fundamental cultural needs that creative individuals need. As talent managers, we should work with our organization’s leaders and bring this topic as a business need. Studies after studies have shown that a diversified workforce is a healthier workforce.

Social media at work is a must.

Currently millennia are the largest workforce segment. Most of us do not know a world without the Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat. We expect such tools in our work environment as well. Quite a few organizations such as Intuit, Coldwell Banker and Cummins use social media tools within the organizations. Some use platforms such as Globoforce, O.C Tanner, Kudos and Terry Berry for employee recognition. Using these platforms, we can also provide real-time and direct feedback to our colleagues.

How should talent managers help: The concept of social media will reach a new level in 2017. If your organization is not already using such tools, you are at loss for effectively hiring and retaining the millenia. So, start looking at how your employees like to communicate with their peers. Look for a tool that allows them to communicate in their own ways with their colleagues.

OK — I’m very excited about 2017. We will be seeing significant changes in the way we hire, train and communicate with each other in our workplaces. Again, don’t be afraid of taking risky steps. This is how we all grow together.

Happy new year everyone.


About SparcIt: SparcIt is a technology company with a focus on combining psychological constructs with large-scale semantics analytics. Our flagship product is our well-researched and well-known SparcIt’s Creative Thinking assessment. Unlike traditional assessments, SparcIt’s unique feature is in the use of open-ended exercises and automated scoring. Using a Watson-like engine, SparcIt’s patent-pending engine, accurately and efficiently grades the participants’ responses and provides a detailed report to the participants and the test administrators. Hence, it eliminates the major factors for not using such assessments.

SparcIt Blog

Large-scale Creative Thinking Assessment

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