While some companies file individual cases of their employees in paper folders, others are looking for technologies and approaches that allow them to work with talents and human potential more efficiently – not only today but also in the future (both the very near and the far-off).
Anna Stetsenko, the founder of IT recruitment agency, Indigo, shared her insights and assumptions regarding the direction of development for HR and recruitment in the coming years.
There’s a famous classic model of growth consisting of three elements: capital, employees, and productivity. While, in the industrial world, there used to be an effective formula: “If you want to grow 10 times, hire 10 times more people, or labor force”. In the post-industrial world, multiplied by demographic crises, the focus will be on productivity as the principal driver of development.
This is why the level of care about the productivity of teams has come to a scientific level. This is especially relevant for the knowledge-intense areas (including IT) with the need to solve creative tasks, hence the price for a working hour is high.
Productivity depends on a multitude of factors.
- Regulation of labor. Nowadays people work flat-out not only physically, but also emotionally, and we hear about professional burnout more and more often. However, they are not always able to assert their need to rest, or even notice their tiredness. Most companies do not usually offer extended vacations, let alone sabbaticals (vacations that last several months and are aimed at recovery). It may not be enough for a person to have a week or two off to recuperate, and then companies lose their talents. Hence, they have to hire others, which is neither quick nor cheap.
- Balanced diet and exercise during working hours. It is about organizing healthy meals (it’s time to replace pizza and cookies with healthy food in the offices) and physical activity, both in the office and outdoors. It can be massages or meditation during the day to maintain productivity. For instance, a few minutes of meditation before an important meeting will help to solve all the issues in 20 minutes instead of stretching it out to hours due to concentration problems. For instance, in the USA, there are even meditation platforms offering business subscriptions, such as headspace.com. It is very convenient.
- Mental health and psychological fitness stand for engaging corporate psychologists and coaches who help people manage their emotions, inner barriers, fears, and uncertainties. We are used to thinking that this is a personal matter for every individual. However, each company depends on its top performers, its most valuable professionals. Why don’t you allow them to work with their limitations, even during their office hours?
- Office ergonomics. In-office spaces, basic conditions such as light, color, noise, temperature, ventilation, well-designed areas for work and recreation are of crucial importance.
- Individual approach. Every person has their rhythm and their peaks of productivity. It is good to know and consider them. Such an approach, however, is impossible in case of rigorous planning and strict timetables. Companies don’t benefit from forced productivity when people have no energy and must “turn on” only for certain times considered to be “working hours”. They have to kill the time and then finish the work in crisis mode. It is better to find an individual approach and allow people to work a maximum number of hours a day at their own pace.
2. Technologies and blockchain in HR
For instance, such an obvious and convenient tool as payroll in cryptocurrency tied to smart contracts with freelancers and staff members.
Or another concept of intra-corporate ICO initial coin offering), a modern way to attract investments, where employees can set the directions for business development and invest in the product and service development of the company on their own, while simultaneously setting the priorities and increasing their interest in the implementation of the ideas.
Staff appraisal systems and professional social media such as LinkedIn based on blockchain are entirely possible. It is a promising technology, and we’ll see many of its applications in the very near future. Blockchain is a distributed or decentralized database that is not connected to a single server, which allows you to ensure a way to store and transfer data that is transparent, verifiable and resilient to shutdowns. For instance, blockchain technology could become an alternative to banking, as it easily takes over all the three important roles that traditionally belong to the financial service sector: registration of transactions, validation of identity and contracting.
3. AI (artificial intelligence) in recruitment and HR
There has been a lot said about it, but not many people have seen, let alone used, it. It is obvious, however, that there’s tremendous potential, and AI can be used in HR in many ways. For instance, for the evaluation of candidates: let’s assume technologies for text analysis that will analyze the words that a person uses to communicate on social media platforms and create their profiles based on this analysis. And many other tools that allow increasing the quality of evaluation and lowering the possibility of a mistake.
They are actively used in Ukraine now, and this tendency is reducing the need in many professions while improving the service: people no longer need to wait long hours on hold with call centers. Recruitment chatbots are emerging, for instance, on Facebook or Telegram. They could handle the tasks of lead generation and sourcing in communication with candidates. And besides, one no longer needs to be a programmer to create their own bot as there are services that do it – for example, chatfuel.com. These technologies will be developing, and it is entirely possible that we’ll see many other kinds of bots alongside the ones handling text, such as audio bots or holographic bots.
The effectiveness of the “soft skill” professions, including sales, marketing, and HR, will no longer be the black box for business. The future belongs to data-driven teams. It’s about time to delve into HR analytics and learn to use its concepts in practice.
6. Lifelong learning and the transformation of education
Higher education is becoming outdated. There is no point in wasting several years on lengthy programs as knowledge rapidly becomes obsolete. Companies are no longer interested in certificates, and education becomes a lifestyle. The concept of lifelong learning comes into prominence instead of indoor classes. Before, one used to choose a profession for a lifetime, but nowadays it is clear that one can/must change it several times. (Of course, provided that one is continually studying willingly and with awareness, and it is a skill one needs to master.)
The future belongs to online and peer-to-peer education, including for employees. There’s a successful educational institution in Kyiv that functions without teachers: Unit Factory. And this is only the beginning.
VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) will be used in onboarding and training for employees more and more. In order to gain knowledge and skills, people continue to unite into communities, but it is done rather for motivation, inspiration, and networking. It is getting easier to access knowledge, as a multitude of useful courses on topics of any kind are becoming more and more accessible. It is enough to subscribe to online courses (e.g. Coursera or Udemy) for a small monthly fee.
7. 3D evaluation and matching in HR
As of now, the tools for evaluation are static, but two-dimensional data is obsolete. Nowadays, evaluation is a “photo” of a certain moment of someone’s life, not necessarily the best one. But people are more than just photos: they learn, change, and review their approaches to work. Now it is difficult to argue that 3D evaluation, dynamic personal profiles and technologies based on forecasting will gain momentum. However, there have already been some ideas and experiments in this direction.
When it comes to matching in HR, there are perspectives for the development of tools to digitize the profiles of positions and candidates, collect information from different sources and find the matches. It concerns both external data, for example, from social media, and the internal database of the company. Sometimes there are specific job openings and the company can be unaware of the fact that they actually already have the needed candidate in their team.
Now, concerning the discussion on artificial intelligence and its capacity to substitute the need for recruiters and HRs. It won’t do it, but it will have a powerful impact on the development and transformation of the profession. Besides, one can’t robotize the most important aspects: human communication, empathy, and the ability to create something new.
Let’s not forget that the traditions of the present moments are the innovations of the past. So we shouldn’t be worried – thanks to the development of technology in different areas of life, life expectancy has doubled and we have swapped horses for airplanes. Technologies make our world more comfortable and our work easier. Our responsibility is to use them wisely.