How Innovative Companies Put Advanced HR Technology to Work

BY Matthew Koehler | November 14, 2023

What are the most important HR technologies right now? Skills management, learning experience platforms, and internal talent marketplaces, according to a 2023 Gartner survey. Lydia Dishman, senior editor for growth and engagement at Fast Company cited these findings in a recent From Day One webinar. HR leaders will have to persuade key stakeholders to adopt the new technology, justify investing in HR tech, and figure out a roadmap for rapid tech transformation, which isn’t easy.

“Yet, while nearly half of the HR leaders surveyed said that driving better business outcomes was their top priority, implementing these tech tools needed to bolster the strategic focus hasn’t quite caught up,” Dishman said.

Managing Talent

“The pandemic was definitely a mode where we saw a dramatic push to get employees in all the countries we operate in,” said Jason Radisson, CEO and co-founder of Movo. “From a tech space, we’ve seen the pendulum swing from talent acquisition technologies to workforce management technologies.” Now he says there’s more focus on using technology to manage the workforce. Like mobile apps, for example, being used to not only gather data on their frontline workers but allow for frictionless interactions.

“If you're asking what the future looks like, it’s a mobile application. If we could talk to somebody on Saturday and have them working Monday morning, that’s an ideal world. Or talk to them on Sunday and have them download the app, do the hiring paperwork and get to work. That’s really what we were going for.”

Simon Taylor, head of organizational effectiveness at Gap, Inc., honed in on what drives decisions in the management space. “What are the core questions we need to answer? And then what’s the data that’s going to enable us to be able to answer those questions?” Taylor said one of those major sets of questions is around understanding the pain points because that’s where there’s opportunity to come up with solutions.

“There’s always a need to continuously focus on what those questions are, revisit them and then modify them over time to ensure that you’re answering different questions as the business model evolves and the market evolves,” said Eyad El Hindi, vice president of HR technology & operations at Catalent Pharma Solutions.

Reflecting on lessons learned about frontline workers during the pandemic, Dishman pointed out that “a happy worker makes a happy customer.” Workers who feel supported by their company have better morale, and better worker morale means better customer service. Better customer service can lead to bigger positive feedback loops in terms of revenue.

Dishman moderated the panel about “How Innovative Companies Put HR Technology to Work” with panelists Simon Taylor of Gap, Eyad El Hindi of Catalent Pharma Solutions, and Jason Radisson of Movo (photo by From Day One)

A big part of that morale boost is how well companies integrate technology to enhance the work life of the employee. “From a skill standpoint, it's really thinking through, what are the skills that we need for these individuals to be able to be successful to provide a positive customer experience to feel comfortable and confident on the floor and engaging with customers and serving them?” Taylor said.

El Hindi touched on the fact that as companies adopt AI technology, they will need a “more dynamic workforce” to manage the use of those technologies. “I think the key thing is acquiring talent with that skill. But then how you sustain that overtime is another dimension, right?” El Hindi said.

Looking at hiring, Dishman pointed out that the AI technologies the panelists talked about were supposed to eliminate bias in the hiring process, which they don’t always do. “Are there good use cases for incorporating AI tech tools, particularly when it comes to recruiting and retaining workers?” Dishman asked.

“You hit the nail on the head in terms of the journey on the TA side with bias and the promise of removing bias” said Taylor. He emphasized that even though many companies are beholden to the technology they use, their using that technology, experimenting with it, and exploring its limits is also an important part of the journey. How you have meaningful insights in hiring quality candidates based on a job profile using AI is really the question companies are trying to answer, says Taylor.

“I think what is underpinning that in some respects is the volume of work that happens on the TA side with our field organization, and how can we use that to compliment, not to replace our recruiting team. To be able to help make sure that we’re really putting the net out as wide as we can to be able to attract the right diverse candidates” Taylor added.

Stepping Into the Unknown

“The most important thing for us to make sure we’re getting right when it comes to change management and driving adoption with these kinds of things, is getting that sponsorship secured upfront. And when I say sponsorship, I mean the leaders that provide that legitimacy and role modeling, and getting them on board first,” Taylor said.

El Hindi added that when deploying new technologies you have to have a clear understanding of what’s in it for them. Ensuring that the people who will use the technology “understand the corporate benefit to why it’s being adopted, both from a productivity cost perspective” is key, he said.

“You understand that I have an individual personal benefit to what's been deployed. It’ll help me run my organization better. It’ll help me get greater insights into the workforce that I oversee, empower me to do more with technology,” El Hindi said.

This isn’t surprising to Radisson who says the heritage of HR is conservative “because it’s focused on compliance,” which usually makes it late to advancements in technology.

“So if we all agree on what the future should look like, and then you take that gap with the senior team or with your operating team, you really have to pick it apart and look at that gap and decide what the actions, use cases, and implementation of technology is going to be in order to fill that gap. And then you get people working concretely on things,” said Radisson.

Editor’s note: From Day One thanks our partner, Movo, for sponsoring this webinar. 

Matt Koehler is a freelance journalist and licensed real estate agent based in Washington, DC. His work has appeared in Greater Greater Washington, The Washington Post, The Southwester, and Walking Cinema, among others.


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