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What IS the next big thing in HR Tech…? A few simple tips to help you figure it out

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What IS the next big thing in HR Tech…? A few simple tips to help you figure it out - Hays career advice

What does AI mean to you?

Those of us who were recruiting in 1999 can recall the Y2K hiring frenzy. At the time, I used to joke that if candidates could simply spell IT they could probably command a 100k salary – the hype was such that I’ve no doubt there were many poor hiring decision made, by all parties!

Now, developments such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) in HR Tech are generating similar hype. Why? Well, not only is expertise in this field in huge demand, but the pressure on Talent Acquisition teams to ensure they are fully ??? across new technology in their own processes, is, in some cases, being driven by the fear of being left behind (mentioned this in a previous post!). I’ve spoken to many HR professionals who say the pressure to innovate and the plethora of tools and commentary out there is causing them sleepless nights. Understandably so, since a mere 1bn USD was invested in HR tech last year according to Larocque Inc. As someone whose job it is to (try and) keep on top of the existing (and evolving), developing and emerging players and their capability in the HR tech sector specifically, I can certainly see how difficult it is for someone who isn’t immersed in it, to keep up and stay informed. It’s hard enough for me!

So, I thought I would offer some suggestions for how an HR or talent professional could think about how they evaluate all the potential HR tech solutions out there and make the right decision for their business or employer.

First things first – identify the problem you’re trying to solve or what it is you want to achieve

Before you dive in headfirst, best to be clear about the outcome. If finding the right candidates is the main problem, there are some very smart sourcing solutions out there, or if the issue is high volumes of applications, then an AI powered chatbot might be a great way to enhance the candidate journey and improve efficiency through automated screening. If managing a talent pool is causing you pain then there are tools that can help you engage and build relationships more effectively, then there are analytics products that can give you amazing insights across all your people activity. In terms of employee experience, a great onboarding and/or Learning Management system can play a significant role, as can the online brands of your key executives in telling the story of your company’s culture.

There’s enough big data out there to sink a continent and the choices can be overwhelming, but it’s your expertise and insights that are needed to identify and focus on the way forward. Articulating the problem statement clearly before you start will make the process so much easier and enable you to form use cases which will help you communicate to your internal stakeholders, IT colleagues and potential suppliers what it is you’re trying to achieve – as well as how you measure success.

Remember that there isn’t one silver bullet

The hiring journey is a complex one – there’s a lot involved, from awareness and brand, to connecting people with the right opportunity at the right time, building a great customer experience, generating the perfect level of engagement and ultimately building relationships which lead to the best outcomes for both parties. Hence the multitude of solutions on offer is broad. But, breaking down the problems to bite size chunks along the hiring journey is more likely to enable you to evaluate the right technology to give you the best outcome.

Here are a few things to bear in mind when considering your HR tech options: 

  • Get to know your IT team better – if you haven’t already – start here. They will likely already have some inside knowledge that you can tap into and may have a solution ready to go. Regardless, any decision needs to be made in tandem with your IT team and they will bring a different, expert view to the table.
  • How widely are you planning to scale the technology? If the answer is globally, then remember – English isn’t English in every country (nor Portuguese!). Taxonomy that accurately reflects your world and that of your customers is critical and, without that, many solutions will not work effectively. For example, “Servers” can mean very different things in the US and UK.
  • Does it suit your business environment? By this, I mean is it built for your legislative environment? I have had a few awkward conversations explaining what GDPR is…
  • How big is the potential IT investment? It should be minimal to prove the concept. Most solutions are API based and should be easy and quick to set up and pull down if they don’t work for you of course.
  • What are the people like behind the supplier logo? Are they individuals with whom you can see yourself and your organisation working in partnership? Can they offer you contacts with other customers who have been down the same road as you? The relationship has to work as well as the technology…

It’s a tough job to keep up in what is an increasingly fast paced and changing landscape. At Hays we are already looking at how Blockchain could assist in our already automated identity and compliance platform, as well as testing several AI solutions in different geographies around the world. Results are what determines how we move forward, so knowing what you want to achieve with each proof of concept is vital. By taking a methodical and planned approach, always keeping in mind the problem you are trying to solve, and remembering the practicalities which often get overlooked (scale, compliance, IT involvement, people etc.) and outlining “what good looks like” you will make the right decision for your business.

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