Weekly News Roundup
At a time when technology is making strides in all spheres, employees still seem hesitant adopting the new and savvy ways of working. This resistance from employees (31 percent) remains the biggest barrier in adopting technology for HR processes revealed a TimesJobs survey on ‘Decoding the impact of Tech in HR’.
The survey was conducted among 1,380 HR leaders to decipher the impact of technology use in HR. The lack of knowledge or technical skills (30 percent) was cited as the second biggest hindrance for HR technology adoption at Indian workplaces. 35 percent of survey respondents said that the biggest impact of technology in HR has been in streamlining the recruitment processes. 48 percent of survey takers said organisations are using HR tech mostly to hire middle-level professionals. 59 percent of HR leaders said that investment in technology has boosted the profitability of organisations.
Tech in HR drives employee productivity and innovation
The TimesJobs survey findings reveal that 43 percent of HR professionals consider employee productivity as the biggest reason to invest in technology. About 24 percent of respondents invested in HR technology to accelerate innovation. Around 46 percent of HR leaders said that the adoption rate of technology in human resources function is going to go up by 3-4 times in the next five years.
Data security a top priority for Indian companies to invest in HR tech
Organisations seeking to leverage new-age technologies to optimize their HR activities ranked data security as the top reason for choosing HR software for their company. Whereas, functionality and easy maintenance of software was ranked as the subsequent factors for the companies to consider HR software. Price ranked as the last factor while buying an HR software.
“The use of technology can no longer be just an option for HR leaders. To win the war of talent, they will have to continuously invest in new tools and technologies to make their processes efficient and improve productivity. The TimesJobs survey findings reveal that the change has started happening on the ground and more companies are becoming tech-focused. Having said that, there are still barriers in tech marrying HR that business leaders can help overcome”, said Sanjay Goyal, Business Head, TimesJobs and TechGig.
The key technologies impacting HR processes
The TimeJobs survey also asked about the technologies that would drive the HR function. The findings state that Data Analytics (42 percent) and Artificial Intelligence (36 percent) are the top two technologies which will impact HR processes most.
The survey touched upon the next big emerging technology that will drive the biggest investment from HR leaders. The majority (33 percent) of HR leaders said that they would mostly invest in Robotic Processes Automation (RPA).
When we think about how robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) will impact our lives, there is both wonderment and fear. The wonder is tied to the spectacle of seeing robots move, grasp and carry out tasks with speed and efficiency. The fear is that robots will take over our jobs.
Being in the tech industry, I don’t believe robots will replace all jobs. They will reshape the type of work humans will concentrate on, but the fear that robots or AI will edge out humans for most jobs is unfounded.
Consulting firm PwC studied the impact of robotics and AI on a global scale and found that vulnerabilities do exist for job loss due to automation and robotics, especially over the longer term as smart technologies like driverless cars mature. However, through the early 2020s, only about 3% of jobs have the potential to be displaced. PwC also predicts that robotics, AI and smart automation have the potential to contribute more than $15 trillion towards the global gross domestic product by 2030, generating demand for more jobs.
Secondly, AI is more than a machine-like robotic arm or the humanoid robots we see in movies like I, Robot. AI-based software applications can automate business processes, such as creating routine purchase orders in business software to help the human resources team better process resumes.
Where does this leave us? It’s clear that technology is changing the nature of work. However, robots won’t take over most jobs -- and they will likely create new ones. We’ll still need technologists to develop, deploy and maintain smart automation to help boost the economy with innovations and efficiencies. It’s also certain that society will have to adapt to the future of work.
We may not know exactly which jobs will change and when, but here are my five predictions for the future:
1. Overall, robots can’t replace humans.
Technologists and engineers will be needed to develop and maintain AI-based systems and smart automation. Take a look at the number of tech jobs that are open in today’s market. Other professionals such as teachers, caregivers and creatives will still have jobs. However, they’ll need to “retool” themselves and adjust to a tech-friendly environment. The bigger upside for the human workforce is that, by automating the more mundane, repetitive or back-breaking tasks, more jobs can focus on higher-level skills that involve innovation, creativity, empathy, complex decision processes or teamwork.
2. Robots won’t eliminate the human touch.
I believe people in professions like sales, customer support, health care and education will continue to be valued because of their ability to build trust with people, motivate them and help them meet complex objectives. Robots can’t easily replicate empathy and people skills -- even if several companies are working on it.
3. Robots and humans will continue to collaborate.
In industrial settings, there are collaborative robots, or co-bots, that can safely work alongside humans without being behind a cage. The robotic arm or cart has sensors that stop its motion if a person touches it or if an object is detected in its path. Such co-bots are already working alongside humans in warehouses and factories.
In retail environments, AI-based systems like chatbots or virtual personal assistants can answer routine questions from consumers and have the smarts to escalate a customer interaction to a human agent to tackle more complex request. And drones are being used to drop off emergency medical supplies to save lives.
In short, the collaboration between humans and AI-based systems has the potential to make a company more efficient, productive and profitable.
4. More jobs will be created.
It’s rare that an entire job category is wiped out by automation. The case has been made that in the history of the industrial revolution, only one job -- elevator operator -- was eliminated by technology.
Yes, the tasks humans are assigned are being reshaped by automation, with more emphasis on jobs that center on innovation, teaching or mentoring, and leadership. Over the long term, a net gain in jobs may materialize as entirely new jobs are created or old ones are redefined.
5. AI opens up opportunities.
As a leader, do you ever wish you could avoid getting bogged down in mundane tasks to concentrate on what gives you the most job satisfaction? The realization of the benefits of AI and smart automation is a huge deal.
Let machines and software execute the dull, dirty and dangerous tasks, while humans concentrate on what we do best: solving complex problems. Already, many progressive companies are leading the way in AI and creating new opportunities for people.
Overall, I believe the future of work is brighter with AI and robotics, assuming we start preparing now. Society, governments and educators need to inspire more students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Importantly, fostering and steering more girls and women to STEM careers can help bridge the gap that exists in the tech industry.
Companies also need to put in place strategies for how humans can work alongside robots and other smart automation in the best ways. Human workers need software solutions, workflow tools and knowledge repositories to make their work as productive as possible. With birth rates dropping in industrialized countries such as the U.S., worker shortages pose a real risk, so enterprises not only need to automate select tasks with AI and robotics; they need to outfit their human workforce with technology to maximize their productivity. Therefore, it’s unwise to ignore how the future of work is shaping up. Let’s adapt to it.
There is a truism that our attention spans are getting shorter and that developments in technology are to blame. However, there is a compelling argument that this is just a myth. And what if it is? What if we don’t have dwindling attention spans at all? What if we just have less tolerance for bad experiences?
Customer experience is king: Why engagement and attention matters
Assisted customer experiences brought to us by companies like Google, Netflix and Spotify have shifted our expectations. You’re no longer just competing with category peers, you are being compared to each user’s best experiences. So when it comes to the world of work, why can’t booking a meeting room at work be as easy binge-watching the latest tv series?
It is for precisely this reason that simplicity is more important than ever. Simplicity pays. In our annual global survey of more than 15,000 consumers, 55% of consumers said they will pay a premium for simpler experiences. If you had taken the top ten simplest brands from our Index as a hypothetical investment portfolio then your investments would be up 679% on the major indices in the past decade.
Look a little closer and, as expected, you will see that Netflix, Google, and Spotify ranked 1st, 3rd and 8th as the simplest brands in the world for their usability, consumer understanding, transparency, innovation, and functionality. Snapchat: ‘More tech’ doesn’t mean better customer experience and engagement.
However, the good news is that, as demonstrated by Snapchat, more tech innovation isn’t always the antidote for a poor brand experience. After a disastrous app re-design, Snap ranked 93rd in our Index (down 51 places) coinciding with the Snap Inc stock price sliding to an all-time low.
Brand simplicity keeps customers engaged
We believe less is more, and that brand simplicity helps bridge the gap between the actual and the ideal customer experience. It involves a two-step process that we call “simplify to amplify.” Simplifying involves distilling the core principles of your brand.
What do you do well, and, almost as crucially, what don’t you do? What is unique about your offering? What do you do that improves your customer’s lives? Your organisation should live at the nexus point of these things, and it is the job of the brand to articulate this. Amplifying involves creating every experience through this lens.
3 ways to ramp up customer experience and engagement
Teams need to simplify their business brand to foster greater customer engagement.
Simplicity isn’t just about removing the unnecessary, it’s about focusing on what’s truly meaningful in everything that you create. But what is truly meaningful? How do you go to market, compete and win when tech are consistently ripping up the rule book?
In today’s landscape, we can learn from the mantra ‘show up, wise up speed up’:
1. Show up
Be where customers are. Clearly understand your users, know their habits and track their journey. SEO, analytics, and NPS can help you track how your target audiences interact with your brand digitally. Think omni channel. Know the paths most travelled, and map the steps in the user journey both online and offline. The next step is ensuring the experience is both consistently good, and consistently you across all of these touchpoints.
2. Wise up
Understand what drives decision-making. This is slightly more nuanced than ‘know your customer.’ To ensure you have the optimal experience, for the optimal audience, at the optimal touchpoint, combine knowledge of where customers interact with your brand online with an understanding of what drives decision-making.
Know where the touchpoint is, and its relative importance to the customer. This expands to the broader mindset of knowing what you’re good at, and what you’re bad at.
Identifying and solving a pain point can be a quick win to convert customers into brand champions. Online supermarket Ocado, for example, uses AI to segment emails to respond to negative emails first – with an eye to making a net positive impact by prioritising them. You don’t have to embed AI in your customer experience, but it is imperative to identify where your efforts have the most impact.
3. Speed up
Make the journey smooth. This a case of “black-box thinking.” A 3-second page load time in central London might be fine but do your fancy functionalities load on patchy WiFi or snatched moments of 4G? Faster load means fewer bounces. The days of surviving with copy-heavy sites on a dusty CMS are over. Survey the content on each page.
It should enhance the customer’s experience, be essential to the purpose of the page and be relevant to your brand’s mission. If a customer can’t download the information into their brain in a few seconds, they’re probably not going to. We might very well be in the era of the goldfish-like attention span but ultimately it doesn’t matter.
Whether you’re buying a pizza or onboarding a new corporate client, we have less tolerance for a poor, disjointed experience. Chasing the latest trends won’t give you the edge. Work out what you do well, and do it better than you did yesterday, across every channel. Everything else is noise.