The Skills Economy is changing the way organizations identify and evaluate job candidates. One thing is clear: The traditional resume is no longer adequate. In our five-part mini-series, we explore how the resume of the future will help companies win the war for talent. Check out part one, two and three.
Today in the U.S., over 39 million adults own a smart speaker, according to a 2018 study from NPR and Edison Research. Whether it's Amazon's Echo or Google Home, the devices are making users' lives easier—65 percent of respondents said they wouldn't want to go back to life without their voice assistant.
Most people give Alexa or Google Home simple commands such as, "play music," or "remind me to call my sister," but the steady development of artificial intelligence suggests that these bots will soon have much more advanced use cases—and human resources might be one of them.
As AI gets better at natural language processing and data-parsing, voice assistants will have the ability to shoulder more complex requests and generate more accurate responses—and they may be responding to some of HR's most pressing questions and concerns (including, who should I hire? and are any of my top performers unhappy here?). From candidate sourcing to vetting to hiring, it's likely voice will play a major role in helping HR teams draw valuable insights from the personnel data they have access to and take action.
Opening HR's Black Box of Data
With digital technology on the rise across industries, most HR departments have access to more data than they've ever had previously. Still, many organizations struggle to collect good data and make use of it in a productive way. According to a 2017 survey from Deloitte Research, only 8 percent of companies report that they have usable data, while just 9 percent report having a grasp of what talent dimensions drive their businesses.
To combat this, 56 percent of those companies said they will focused on leveraging digital and mobile tools to improve their HR departments this year—meaning access to more, better data. And a portion of those companies are already beginning to invest in AI solutions as well. Armed with better data and AI-powered assistants, organizations will be able to extract insights more efficiently and effectively than they were able to when using applicant tracking systems (ATS) or other digital tools. Plus, with voice, rather than having to manually search, teams could simply tell the system: "Find me a data scientist with five years of experience and a concentration in healthcare."
The same goes for internal data that HR teams have access to as well. Say your team has an opening in the London office that you need to fill, and while you've posted to the job board, you'd prefer to have an internal hire move over. You could ask the system something as complex as, "Who's over-performing, under-compensated and wants to move to London?"
Identifying Strong Candidates Pre-Interview
In addition to drawing insights from existing data, voice technology can be used to screen candidates based on the way they speak. When a person closes their eyes and listens to someone talk, they automatically imagine how that person looks—maybe their word choice makes them sound assertive or hesitant, for example. Artificial intelligence can be trained to pick up on the same cues.
If a candidate uses more active verbs (I did, I can) versus passive ones (I was told to), they might be a more attractive candidate. Likewise, someone who uses more positive language is likely a better addition to the workplace than someone who uses negative language. AI and natural language processing also help make computers better at detecting lies than humans—and studies show a majority of candidates lie about themselves during job interviews.
This application of voice technology is already in practice in the industry, with several companies offering solutions to detect voice inflection and word choice. Consumer products company Unilever, for example, uses video screening technology to help cull entry-level hires. The company told Deloitte that the system has helped them reduce the number of candidates recruiters need to interview for the job.
Improving the Candidate Experience Overall
Voice technology is also poised to play a major role in making the hiring process better for the candidates themselves. As many in HR will tell you, it's a candidate's market since there's a high demand for skilled workers, which means a seamless hiring process is critical. One way to improve? According to research from CareerArc, 60 percent of candidates surveyed said that better communication (during and after the application process) would make their experience better.
Bots could be the key to improving and scaling communication. While today some companies use online chatbots to answer candidate inquiries, in the future, a robot could not only field questions but also help interested job-searchers find the most relevant opportunity on a company's site. Rather than getting a PDF file, candidates could receive a voice-activated offer letter. While this application of the technology is likely the most distant, it could go a long way toward making potential hires feel valued by the companies they apply to, even if they don't get the job, and make them more likely to apply again in the future once their skills have advanced. What's more, in a consumer's market, news of experiences will travel: Research suggests 72 percent of candidates have shared a negative application experience with someone online or directly—likely discouraging others in their network from applying to that company. With AI assistants controlling for positive experiences, the candidate pool is broader.
For more about how the hiring process will look in the future, check out the Resume of the Future at http://hr.cornerstoneondemand.com/navigatingthefuture
Photo: Creative Commons
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Creating an Action Plan for Your Agency’s Skills Gaps
Times change, and agencies cannot predict when their employees will need new skills. Triggers such as new hiring mandates can leave agencies painfully aware of the abilities their workforces lack. However, there are many strategies that exist for closing these skills gaps. GovLoop and Cornerstone OnDemand put together this worksheet to help you and your agency develop an action plan for effectively filling its skills gaps. In this worksheet, you’ll gain insights into: Best practices from the public and private sectors for addressing skills gaps. The strategies for closing skills gaps including recruitment, reskilling, and upskilling. Your agency’s triggers, biggest skills gaps, and the best approach to eliminate those gaps. Download this worksheet to create your action plan to close your agency’s skills gaps.
5 Ways to Empower Employees with Future Skills
With the onset of artificial intelligence and automation, the demand for a highly-skilled workforce dedicated to continued learning is growing. Though these tech tools have vast capabilities, employees need specific skills in order to engage with this emerging technology effectively. But many simply do not possess the necessary knowledge: according to a new report from Deloitte Insights, there could soon be too few college graduates to fill the over six million currently vacant jobs—52 percent of employers say they consistently can't fill open positions. The skills gap is real, and it's widening. Increasingly, organizations need individuals who are able to learn quickly and who are adaptable to outside factors like emerging technology. In today's skills economy—where employees' existing knowledge and their ability to gain new skills are their biggest assets—a lifelong effort to learn new technical, social and managerial skills is a required reality. In partnership with Cornerstone OnDemand, the Institute for the Future unveiled a Future Skills Map highlighting the capabilities that modern workers will need to thrive in an ever-changing, fast-paced, tech-focused work environment. Below are five of the 15 skills outlined in the map that you can already nurture in employees today, and advice for empowering employees to attain them: 1) Get [Course] Credit for Everything To ensure career growth, employees shouldn't rely on existing skills alone. Lifelong learners never stop developing, always getting credit for every new skill they develop, and using those credits to propel themselves along their career paths. Hiring managers can identify individuals who have pursued relevant courses, certifications or made other efforts to learn, and reward them. For example, before looking outward to fill open positions, consider candidates internally who have prioritized gaining new skills. Seeing their colleagues grow will also motivate other employees who may have been complacent in the past. 2) Upgrade Your Digital Fluency Robots aren't replacing humans any time soon, but there's no denying that automation is changing employees' roles. By 2020, companies will spend $150 billion on artificial intelligence, $83 billion on robots and $70 billion on AI-based systems—lifelong learners aren't afraid of this; they embrace it as an opportunity to develop their skills. Managers should help employees more wary of automation focus on ways the technology can simplify their work lives by demonstrating how AI can help them. In the healthcare space, for example, AI now plays a growing role in digitally verifying insurance coverage information, reducing the need for manual calls and freeing up office managers' time to take on important projects, like pricing new technology for the office. 3) Connect the Dots to Make Change Thanks to increased mobility and connectivity, the modern workforce is dispersed. Because of this, insight into everyone's tasks and projects can be a challenge. Lifelong learners make a consistent effort to understand what their colleagues work on—it's the only way to gain a full picture of overall organization goals and help fill gaps that appear. Empower employees, especially leaders, to better understand how their own teams, and other teams across the company, function. This may require bringing on new technology. To connect the dots for its workforce, plumbing-product manufacturing company Kohler implemented a new talent management system across all of its business units. This solution gave leadership deeper insight into employees' roles, skills and team structures. 4) Grow Your Multicultural Dexterity Diversity today means more than different genders, races or religions—it's now about uniqueness of experience, and how these experiences shape individuals and their workforce interactions. Lifelong learners are not afraid to work in unfamiliar situations or with new people, and can quickly and appropriately shift their mindsets and approaches depending on the environment they're working. This skill doesn't come easily to all. Improve employees' multicultural dexterity by challenging them with new environments. Does your organization span multiple offices? Encourage employees to travel between them and interact with colleagues they don't see every day. 5) Grow Caring at the Core Even in the age of automation and AI, humanness is essential in the workforce because it determines how machines are programmed, and how the insight they gather is applied on the job. Empathy is an intrinsic characteristic of lifelong learners because the ability to reflect is key for growth. For others, empathy can be a learned skill. Building empathy should be an ongoing practice in every organization. Open, respectful conversations that address biases and opinions are one way to start. Self-discovery training programs that help individuals assess their own personality types and psychological needs can also help employees better understand themselves before they attempt to understand others. Creating a culture that celebrates lifelong learning and inspires employees to achieve more will only work if the organization's leaders make it a priority. When developing a learning strategy, organizations would do well to remember that just as consumers have expectations of the brands they engage with, employees also expect a great deal from the companies that employ them. The onus is on organizations to deliver the kinds of learning experiences employees now crave—personalized, on-demand and holistic. Photo: Creative Commons
Use Skill Adjacencies to Upgrade Reskilling Efforts
In today’s job market, employers prioritize technical and specialized skills, especially when hiring junior-level employees in an effort to address ever-changing needs. But technical skill shortages in the labor market exist and are likely to continue as technology continues to evolve and rapidly permeate our working lives. As a result, organizations are developing learning and development strategies to address their urgent need for tech talent. Our team at the Cornerstone People Research Lab (CPRL), in collaboration with the Human Capital Institute (HCI), recently explored this trend, and researched viable solutions for closing the tech talent gap. The final report, titled "The Revolution is Now: New-Skill Your Workforce to Catalyze Change," found that one way that organizations can start to more proactively and quickly address skills gaps—sometimes even before they appear—is by locating skills adjacencies and leveraging them to develop new and necessary skills. This is also referred to as "new-skilling," which is defined as a proactive, data-driven approach to learning that leverages partnerships and tools to simultaneously strengthen existing skills and develop skills for new roles. What Are Skill Adjacencies? Skill adjacencies are linkages between employees’ existing abilities and those that they need to learn. By identifying these adjacencies, HR and L&D professionals can identify opportunities for upskilling or reskilling to meet emerging needs. For example, Gartner Research recently analyzed billions of job postings and found that a company in need of a natural-language processing expert can look to employees with machine learning, Python or TensorFlow experience because these skills are closely related. Similarly, employees with email marketing skills have experience that will help them more easily learn community management, while those with interface design skills can pick up the tenants of modern user research. How Do You Locate Skill Adjacencies? Our findings showed that 46% of high-performing organizations actively work to identify adjacent skill sets to better inform reskilling programs, while only 26% of other organizations do. But while using skill adjacencies to refine upskilling and reskilling efforts can bolster the success of an organization, our research also suggests the methods used to identify skills adjacencies might not be effective enough. Our survey revealed that the most common way to study skill adjacencies was by collecting information on similar employee capabilities online and saving that information into spreadsheets and databases. But these tracking techniques can be esoteric and, especially for larger or more complex organizations, collecting and analyzing the massive amounts of data necessary to identify trends is challenging without more advanced technology. As the need for more technical skills revolutionizes work roles, companies will be better served using emerging technological tools like machine learning or artificial intelligence tools to collect, analyze and identify skill adjacencies. These tools empower companies to parse more information—from not only online job postings but also internal skills surveys, competency models, certification requirements, experience metrics and more—in a faster, more automated fashion. The use of these tools will also ensure that reskilling and upskilling efforts zero in on changing skills trends as they appear and address them before they create deficiencies. Skill Adjacencies Keep Employees Confident In addition to their ability to improve a workforce’s agility, there’s another underlying benefit to skill adjacencies: increased employee confidence. Today, some 40% of employees aren’t confident that their abilities will be relevant in the future. But by directing them to skills development and training that’s aligned with their existing capabilities and their interests, employees will more easily and rapidly transition from their current roles, to emerging positions, to new needs within their organization. To learn more about Cornerstone’s HCI Survey and how to use its findings to inform or update your skills development efforts, click here to download and read the full report.