HR Daily - Driving Change through Automation
There is a moment in the 1951 classic, The Catcher in The Rye, when Holden Caulfield walks through the Museum of Natural History and exclaims, ‘The be...
Compassion can be found with a click, solutions in a swipe, and life partners with a like. In the 21st Century, technology titans and agile start-ups are changing everything for our constantly curious minds. Technology is no longer an end, but the means to conduct even the simplest everyday task, and is a critical part of the way we live, work and do business.
While many professionals, companies and industries have raced to adopt and adapt, some have lagged behind. Six years ago, I realised my industry was one of them. I was sitting right there on the Analogue Island of Recruitment and HR, surrounded by a fortress of old world traditions, despite the solutions that digital could offer.
Why? It’s a question that continues to plague me. Despite the rapidly changing external environment, HR and particularly recruiting remains that the heart of any given business and its people. So it puzzles me that in the midst of such high-performing, high-tech teams, the industry often relies on tired and outdated approaches.
It becomes a worry when you consider the current landscape. From the increased competitiveness in the globalising war for talent, to the growing opportunities for fraud, data breaches, discrimination and poor hiring based on biased references, things are growing more complicated every day. Now more than ever, HR requires streamlined and efficient processes that deliver faster, more secure and insightful results, which provide exponentially valuable data and insights, and free up time for the strategic decision-making that drives company-wide improvement.
Across industries, we are building tailored digital solutions. Improvements in immediacy and convenience have made on-demand access the norm and bespoke experiences a given, leaving us all looking for innovations that solve multiple challenges. It’s no longer enough to simply create a new product, technology solutions must be automated and intuitive, able to flex to the needs of each unique user.
As things continue to move at lightning speed, innovative business leaders are realising the importance of taking the time to think about disruption. Not just external disruption, but how they can disrupt their own practices to ensure their function continues to add value. Questioning how a task could be redefined for the better. Challenging the norm. Exploring new approaches. Automating routine tasks to save time and resources – but also to gather more and more data on stakeholders to inform better decision-making. But as we gather ever-more data on consumers and customers, one of the unintended consequences can be an increasingly suspicious end-user – one who is demanding assurances on how their data is used.
As consumers integrate technology into their everyday lives, they become more informed. For organisations, this means embracing technology and automation, but also taking a closer look at how their business is tackling this growing concern. Educating themselves on data privacy regulations and ensuring they comply matters more now than ever before. If information can be easily shared, it’s also easily lost. This is a particularly sensitive issue for the HR industry given the personal candidate, organisational and referee data it handles.
Changes to our culture, economy and industry are placing pressure on HR professionals to streamline commodity elements of their role and add more strategic value. Analogue Island may have built a fortress but the external environment is seeking to re-build it with new technology-driven solutions. Automation is looming over many jobs and industries in Australia, but like most new innovations that are based on efficiency, fear is overriding opportunity. Many see automation as a threat for HR professionals with the potential of ‘robots’ filling their role in the workplace of the future.
It’s time we rewired this misunderstanding. The reality is that automated services are just what HR professionals need to demonstrate their value. Business leaders who operate without leveraging big data and the resulting predictive insights are missing a huge opportunity for continuous improvement, and are relegating parts of their role to a commodity that will become increasingly vulnerable. As one of the last industries to employ staff in developed markets to manually collect information, with all the inherent bias and inconsistency that this brings, we must start asking why we’re on this Island alone, and where has everyone else moved on to?
At Xref, we have found that as our customers automate a commodity element of their role – reference checking – they can move faster, more efficiently, and with peace of mind as they hire thousands of people. They can continually “test and learn” to improve questionnaires, lower the impact of “CV fraud” and ensure they gather honest, unbiased and insightful data during the hiring process.
We believe every incremental change that we bring with an automated reference-checking service – one that delights our customers, candidates and referees – helps HR leaders and recruiters hire better talent, more often, while they focus on adding strategic value in other areas.
There’s never been a greater time for the HR industry to dive into the digital century, and it can learn many a valuable lesson from similar service industries along the way. Xero has created an accounting evolution, Salesforce has driven truly effective and efficient CRM and Dropbox has enabled secure and reliable file sharing. We think solutions like Xref have the potential to have a similar impact on HR.
The possibilities are endless. We believe our industry should be examining every aspect of what we do – especially the pain points – and asking “is there a better way to do this?”
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