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HR Tech Trends In 2019

Adrian Dixon

February 20, 2019

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Have you been wondering which HR Tech trends to focus your energy on? We’ve rounded out the most important trends for 2019.

What are HR leaders seemingly thinking about?

Per research from Gartner, here’s a slide about the priorities of HR leaders currently:

If you break down this list into broader categories, here’s what you come to:

  1. Skills of your people
  2. Skills of your people
  3. Experience of your people
  4. Overall organization
  5. Digital/tech
  6. Talent
  7. Talent
  8. {Everything}
  9. Talent in the context of diversity
  10. Talent

You could argue (2) — about building a leadership bench — is also a “talent” issue, as is “building critical skills” (although that’s more about learning and development).

If you score (2) as a talent issue, that means half this list is about talent. Talent is obviously a primary concern for HR leaders. We’ve been talking about “the war for talent” since late 1997, although in many ways it became the “war on talent” in some organizations. And now, with the Canadian and US labor markets both pretty hot, talent is at a premium in North America. Getting the best talent is a huge deal.

This is reflected in another slide from the Gartner report:

Look at (1) — grow the business. Can’t do that without people. But look at (5) too — optimize costs. That’s where all this discussion-wise becomes a concern: organizations want the best people, but want to make sure they don’t spend a lot on them. That’s where the “skills gap” resides. Oftentimes there is someone on the market who would be a good fit in a role, but to poach them from their current employer would require more than the company is willing to pay. “Grow the business” and “optimize costs” are at a cross when it comes to talent.

So put aside the salary question for a second, because that will vary by organizational size anyway. Instead, think about this question:

If talent is such a big priority, why haven’t we totally mastered it yet?

There are a number of answers to this question, and, like salary, it’s going to vary by organization. But here’s one of the biggest reasons: Per Entelo research in 2018, for example, an average recruiter is spending 13 hours of their work week on sourcing, with more than 33% spending north of 20 hours on that and similar tasks. One of the reasons sourcing can be so time-consuming is the sheer volume of unqualified applicants (among a subset of total volume, which is also very high).

Now think about scheduling interviews, rescheduling interviews, conducting interviews, and the now-en-vogue concept of “ghosting” and what a recruiter has to deal with around that. All that stuff is a major time suck — and, again, you’re doing this around candidates who often aren’t even qualified. Let’s say you do spend 10-15 hours a week on sourcing, then another 5-10 on interview work, and then another 5 or so on “issues” that crop up in interviewing, like “ghosting” or the need for reschedules. Now close to 60-70 percent of your work week is gone and you haven’t really done anything proactive about talent yet. You’ve just completed logistical tasks. And you completed those tasks around candidates that aren’t pre-vetted!

So maybe the talent issue is really a time issue.

How can you solve for time?

Simplest answer, and the most logical one for the modern age: Leverage technology. The entire premise and promise of technology is that it will save you time (and money, honestly). Think about Microsoft Excel as an easy example. Simply with the creation of that product, so much tedious ledger work previously done by hand was made easier. That’s the essence of tech: when it’s working well, it should solve problems by making things easier.

Recruiters clearly have a problem around time. They need to master time or make it easier.

This is where AI tech can help.

Predominantly right now, AI applications in the recruiting space are top of funnel, i.e. screening, chatbots for communication, and candidate rediscovery (finding “old gold” in an ATS). Where AI tech is mostly being applied presently is in saving recruiters’ time top-of-funnel so they can spend more time on candidate relationship-building, filling proactive pipelines, better relationships with hiring managers, and the like.

Use tech to support humans — > master time — > get more strategic about talent — > ease 50% of your biggest concerns.

Nice little combo, right?