5 Takeaways from the HR Tech Online Summit

Disruption, Revolution and Innovation




The digital transformation of human resources continues and will continue to grow in complexity and commonality.

That’s the overall theme of this week’s HR Tech Online Summit

The event was held on June 19 and 20. The HR Exchange Network event found attendees moving from online session to innovation showcases, each session featuring unique challenges and case studies on how HR professionals are addressing the challenges associated with HR technology.  Topics included artificial intelligence, machine learning, organizational network analysis, retention, and the digital transformation.

Here are the biggest takeaways:

1. The Passive Candidate

“We’re going to a world where 100% of people are going to be passive job seekers,” Sebastien Girard said. He’s the Chief Workforce officer for Parkland Health and Hospital System.

He said technology is going to make every employee a passive job seeker. Someone not actually looking for a new opportunity, but open to the possibility should one present itself.

The first is social media. Employees can receive potential job opportunities in their LinkedIn Inbox for instance. While they may be happy with their current position, the very real chance that another company seeks to hire them can transform this individual into a passive job seeker. According to Girard, the latest statistics on passive job seekers in the market is around the 75% mark due in part to social media.

But technology is about to push that number skyward.

There is a new application out there that is, for all intensive purposes, an employee bidding platform. All of the power goes to the job seeker. Essentially, the job seeker enters their profile, skills, and competencies into the application. The application then sends the information to potential employers. Employers then put together comprehensive job offers and send those back to the application, which forwards those offers to the job seeker. He or she decides which companies, based on the offers, they would like to interview and the application sets up the interview.

Another application essentially acts as Tinder for work. The job seeker enters his or her profile. Potential companies do the same. Then the application matches them with potential job opportunities. If both parties signal they’re interested, indicated by a swipe, the application sets up the interview.

“The impact of those technologies is going to take the 75% of passive job seekers to 100%,” Girard said. “Your staff, in the near future, can and will likely receive opportunities on their phone while they’re working and the only thing they’re going to have to do book an interview is to touch their screen twice or swipe once or twice.”

2. Retention strategy is really just a game of chicken

Keeping employees is like a really big game of chicken. HR professionals are waiting to see who will leave first and how to keep that from happening. Alex Farley Messer is a HR Business Partner with Pinnacle Entertainment. She says it is, but there is a way to make it a smarter game.

Courtesy:  Stock Photo Secrets

It’s all in the data.

The company specifically looked at hot spots within their company; 6 departments that show a high probability of a high turnover rate. They did this by reviewing engagement polling data. To get a deeper understanding of why people were leaving these particular departments, Farley Messer looked at differentiators between those that left the company and those that stayed. Based on the engagement index from the two groups, those who exited and those who were retained, exited respondents were less engaged. Other differentiators included compensation, professional development, respect, recognition, leadership, and availability of resources.

By focusing on those demographics, the company was able to verify those six departments were seeing turnover, but also identified three more that were at risk.

The company then looked at the number of employees who left the company last year and what departments they were in. Pinnacle lost 25 people from 14 departs. Based on the data, 7 of the 14 departments who lost employees were previously identified as hot spots meaning the company is able to reasonably predict what departments and what employees are going to leave the company based on the data analyzed.

“For the most part, it is telling us these predictions are things we need to take into account,” Farley Messer said. “That’s really good news because it’s saying to us this is an actual, solid, informed strategy we want to use moving forward.”

3. Embrace the Adaptive Space

“If you don’t transform, if you don’t reinvent your organization, you’re going to be disrupted,” Michael Arena said.

Arena is the Chief Talent Officer for one of North America’s largest automakers, General Motors. He focuses much of his time on organizational network analysis, or ONA for short. ONA specifically looks at social networks within an organization and how they interact with one another to increase adaptation.

What he discovered is that adaptation doesn’t need a brilliant strategy or technology to work, but it does need social arrangements and how you bring them together drives adaptation. He calls that “adaptive space.”

“There is a cadence of moves that are necessary to have this type of agility in a company and really truly unleash the potential of being both fast and nimble and agile and also being able to operate at scale with precision and efficiency,” Arena said.

And those moves are specifically four social arrangements that enable adaptive space and help drive effective adaptation and innovation.

  • Discovery: Interactions that trigger novel ideas, new insights, and learning that lead to adaptation.
  • Development: Local interactions within cohesive teams to facilitate idea elaboration and refinement.
  • Diffusion: Interactions to move concepts across the broader organization to enable scaling.
  • Disruption: Interactions to overcome the stiflingly effects of formal structure and enable network closure.

Through this strategy, Arena said GM is moving the concept of self-driving cars forward.

4. Digital Workplace Creation

Flex is creating what it calls the digital workplace. The charge is led by Chief Human Resources Officer Paul Baldassari.

He described the digital workplace as needing to be collaborative.

“The most important one is to create a space where people can collaborate because innovation is really done where knowhow and industries converge,” Baldassari said.

Three specific elements lead to that realization.

First, employees need to have an analytic visualization. That means they need real-time data to make decisions and better preform.

They also need a collaboration platform where folks can exchange and work together on ideas.

Lastly, everything needs to mobile so that information can be accessed anywhere at any time.

That digital workplace also includes technology enablers such as robotic process automation, augmented/virtual reality, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, and blockchain.

Finally, the makeup of the workplace needs agile leadership, talent and skills upgrades, high performance teams, social awareness, and experience.

5. Automation is not killing jobs

Baldassari also focused some time on the concept of automation killing jobs. He said there is a lot of political messaging out there that indicated an increase in automation equals a decrease in jobs.

He says that’s counterproductive.

“If you look all around the world, the data indicates record employment,” Baldassari said. “In all the countries we [Flex] operate in, it’s really, really tough to find people, so we have to operate with fewer people and we have to do 10% more product every year. So, we continuously have to drive efficiency.”

As a result, Flex has lowered the number of people who work on any given product line, but they’ve not fired the employees. In fact, some are moved into engineering positions while others are placed in other projects.

Presentations from the HR Tech Online Exchange are available for On Demand viewing.

The HR Exchange Network is planning its next event: HR Exchange Live: Corporate Learning. It is scheduled for September 19 – 20, 2018. To register for that event, click here.

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