In this article we discuss how you can use technology to elevate your talent conversation to a whole new level.

In 2014, Jonathan Rosenberg, former Senior Vice President of Products at Google, talked about searching for “learning animals”, rather than specialists, in their talent and hiring processes. His reasoning? “When you’re in a dynamic industry where the conditions are changing so fast, then things like experience and the way you’ve done a role before isn’t nearly as important as your ability to think.”

In the last year, the maturity of AI and robotic technologies has made astonishing leaps. It’s prompted many leaders to question the role of human capital in the workforce of the future, as well as the role of HR functions in shaping that workforce. But Google, a company heavily invested in the future of machine learning, has long understood the central role of humans in driving tech forward.

Humans play a central role in driving tech forward.

As we continue to work through our online seminar series exploring the Future of Work, our third seminar focused on how to assess and acquire your future workforce. For established organizations and start-ups alike, the answer to this question lies in helping your existing people continually learn while bringing in new thinking and the tech savvy to sustain growth.


Talent and tech converge

Our recent talent trend predictions brought this theme to life, highlighting technology as the common thread in the future of talent.

AI and robotics: We know around 50% of the tasks humans are paid to do could be automated by technology that already exists. While individuals may be concerned about their ability to keep ahead of the robotic wave, there’s also an onus on employers to spend more time and energy training individuals to help them keep pace.

Importantly, these conversations aren’t just about technical up-skilling, but about our uniquely human capacities. The Economist reported that the labour market is rewarding social skills in their special report on learning and earning, while businessman and ex-chairman for Microsoft India Ravi Venkatesan noted the “ability to work with people will never go out of style”.

Talent acquisition as trusted advisor: Technology is helping to elevate the talent conversation, offering the data, insights and analysis to ground strategic decision-making, rather than reactive vacancy filling. As we discussed in our previous seminar, it supports the link between talent, the strategic workforce plan and business strategy.

Enterprise systems: There’s a growing trend towards consolidating systems not just in HR, but across functions like supply chain and finance. A Pivotal survey found in late 2015 that 51% of APAC respondents were already adopting data technologies for cross-business unit agility and intelligence.

This one platform approach can give a huge amount of data across the business life cycle and talent’s ability to contribute valuable data long after the hire date shouldn’t be underestimated.

Social recruiting: Social media’s role in recruiting has almost transcended trend status. Talent leaders across Australia/NZ (61%), India (45%) and SEA and Hong Kong (51%) reported that, without social media, time to hire would suffer.

Social recruiting appears to be gathering even faster momentum in APAC, where individuals interact digitally with organizations regularly and informally reference-check through social channels. The importance of building social engagement has never been more pressing.


Getting started

Despite these tech-heavy trends, in our recent survey only 46% of APAC businesses reported using applicant tracking systems, the simplest technology available to recruiting. It’s even lower in China, where only 25% use ATS. When it comes to assessments, only half of APAC respondents reported using assessment tools.

1.   Understand where your business is at – There’s huge opportunity in APAC to use talent-related technology to greater effect. Asking how your business is tracking against the talent trends will identify where you lead and where you lag.

2.   Harness the power of assessments – From a crucial risk mitigation strategy in the hiring process, to understanding your current workforce’s readiness for the future, assessments should be baseline technology for your business.

3.   Get future ready – We don’t mean investing in robots to conduct interviews. This is about looking at investments in tech and leveraging them to the full extent through gathering life cycle data, elevating the talent conversation and shepherding the business strategy.

You can find the recordings of all our Future of Work online seminars here. Learn what the Future of Work means for your people strategy, why strategic workforce planning plays a crucial part in it and how to attract, retain and lead your workforce of the future.

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About Contributor

Sue Campbell is Managing Director, Asia at Korn Ferry Futurestep. She has more than 20 years of international experience in resourcing and talent management. She has acted in a regional governance capacity for RPO across Asia driving growth and innovation. Passionate about discovering and delivering the talent that deliveres the greatest impact on her clients’ business, she has extensive international experience in resourcing and talent management, including commercial and solution design, negotiation, implementation and operational delivery management.

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