Economy

LinkedIn knows more about our people than we do! 

Chitra Narayanan New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Jason Averbook   -  SMHerrick Photography2013

Global thought leader Jason Averbook talks about disruptive HR technologies being used by companies to leverage their human capital

Analytics that are prescriptive, not just reports or predictive, will truly help leaders understand how to leverage their human capital in the most optimal manner, says global thought leader and HR tech expert Jason Averbook, who rues that often competition knows more about a company's talent than it does. Averbook is in India to speak at the Society for Human Resource Management India’s Tech ’16 conference that kicks off in Mumbai on April 20 and responded to BusinessLine’s Chitra Narayanan over e-mail.

What are the top disruptive HR technologies that companies are deploying today?

The top HR technologies that companies are using fall into three categories 1) Workforce Technology — work on the workforce experience and how to make the workforce experience interactive, engaging and simple so that the workforce interacts and not just transacts with the tools of today.

2) Analytics — Work on measuring our workforce (talent). We live in an era where LinkedIn knows more about our people than we do, which means that our competition knows more about our people than we do. This is wrong, sick and a failure on the part of HR. Much work is being done to have a better handle on knowing our most important asset, understanding what they are doing, how they are feeling and what we can do to keep them and make them more productive.

3) Cloud solutions — In order to do the first two, we must have a solid foundation. There is much work being done to replace old systems of the past, which require much time and money to maintain, and replace them with cloud solutions that allow for easier integration and less value-add maintenance.

Who are creating the most disruptive HR tech solutions – established software players or start-ups?

Most innovative and disruptive workforce technology comes from start-ups that have a small customer base and can try new things without disrupting organisations that are not ready for new innovations. There are hundreds of new start-ups in the world of HR/ workforce technology, many focusing on how to drive and measure more value from the workforce.

These innovations come in the form of new talent acquisition tools such as SmashFly that builds talent pipelines, to collaboration and recognition tools like LifeWorks that leverage innovation to drive real-time recognition and engagement, to tools such as Reflektive, WorkTango and StandOut that are looking to reinvent how performance management and engagement are done. Eventually, all of these innovations end up back in the established vendors solutions, but never quite in the same format or in as agile a manner. Innovation always occurs at the edge of the Human Capital Management ecosystem.

You may have new tech, but user adoption is often a challenge. How do you overcome that?

It all starts with a buy-in from the line of business. This is a concept called governance that HR is not good at traditionally. Every HR function should have a HR/ workforce technology governance model that is made up of individuals from HR, IT and the line of business in a 40:30:30 ratio respectively. Traditionally, HR has tried to deploy HR/ workforce technology by itself and it is a guaranteed failure. The workforce does not report to HR, they report to the line of business, so, to get the workforce to use technology, the business must be bought in. The other thing most HR functions are terrible at is marketing. True marketing of initiatives that show the value to the workforce, not value to HR must be introduced early and infused often in order for the initiative to succeed.

Marketers have moved to the mobile-first strategy to engage with consumers. Has HR made the shift to mobile to engage with employees?

HR is starting but doesn’t know how to do this. Many of the HR functions out there are things the workforce sees as being forced upon them by HR not things that they see value in (this is opposite of marketing). HR must adopt a mobile first, if not mobile only strategy, but it must also realise that to succeed in this initiative, it must change the way most of its people work and how its processes are designed. HR must realise to digitise its function in the era of digitisation, it must think differently and throw away many of its processes of the past.

Published on April 18, 2016

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