HR Daily - Driving Change through Automation

Posted on 06 Jul 2016 by Laura Johnson

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 best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. . . . Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.’ Flash-forward 65 years and the image of that “museum” bears a striking resemblance to the current state of today’s HR industry. For a long time, we’ve been happy for everything to stay right where it is. We’ve been reluctant to be that one point of difference.

Six years ago I realised the HR and recruiting industry - on which I had built my career - was ripe for change. It had become reliant on older analogue processes which burdened its professionals with many uninspiring tasks, paperwork and processes. All the while, digital solutions circled around them as more forward-looking industries made changes…or were disrupted. Why was this? We had been resistant to the change the new world offered. Just like Holden, we remained surrounded by familiar and unchanging artefacts of days gone by. 

Changes to our culture, economy and industry have mounted pressure on HR professionals to streamline commodity elements of their roles and add more strategic value. While our industry has “stayed the course”, the world has become a very different place, powered by tailored, automated and user-driven digital solutions.

What’s more – talent is now coming from all corners of the globe, making outdated approaches to critical recruitment processes all the more difficult and cumbersome. Now, more than ever, HR professionals need more intuitive, secure and insightful tools to help them deliver the results that set them apart, while improving efficiencies and reducing risk. These solutions come in automated processes.

Automation: HR’s ticket into the 21st century.

But automation is often avoided in HR and recruiting. Many see technology as the threat of “robots” encroaching on HR roles in the workplace for the future.

We work in a sensitive profession, and handling personal information daily means we need humanity and empathy. So, it comes as no surprise that technology can be shunned within this setting. But the reality is, automation provides an opportunity for HR professionals to do what they do best. By eliminating human error and reducing time-consuming tasks, HR leaders can fulfil their core competencies more efficiently, and prioritise their strategic capabilities above ‘necessary evils’ that dominate their time.

Beyond business efficiencies, automation also plays a key role in improving client relationships by allowing recruiters to deliver more valuable information in a more timely manner. In the mobile age, we seek relevant and digestible information at our fingertips. By leveraging big data, automation provides current and predictive insights, paving the way for strategic planning and decision making.

Problem-solving prevails

Genuinely useful and effective solutions are always more likely to succeed. At Xref we’ve created a product that allows our customers to automate reference checking - minimising the hours spent completing a time-consuming task while also offering peace of mind by reducing the risk of human error, bias and data breaches.

And we’re not alone. Sonru is another illustrative example of automation effectiveness. The online video interviewing technology allows interviewers to enter their questions, set a deadline and invite candidates to share video responses online. This allows candidates the freedom to respond without having to be online at the same time as the interviewer, and eliminates the need for time consuming first round phone or video conference interviews. These kind of insightful solutions put the end-user at the centre of the picture to deliver seemingly simple yet impactful services that allow professionals to not just do their job but excel at it.

With a background in recruitment and HR, I am not immune to the complications and difficulties of the industry. I recognise that some solutions which have aspired to address industry-wide problems have come under scrutiny, with many seemingly promising start-ups coming un-stuck recently. I believe this is not for their lack of innovation but rather because they weren’t always born of a real problem.

We saw frustration in the industry, and answered the call by injecting the power of automation. Did it pay off? With more than 1200 new people transacting data on the site daily, we would like to think so.

As for the industry as a whole, I think it’s time we stop trying to preserve the past when we have the tools at our disposal to create meaningful solutions that will shape the future of the profession. 

Original Article -

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