HR tech accelerates the transformation of talent acquisition.

October 10, 2018 Jason Roberts

solutions that eliminate unconscious bias shine at the 2018 HR Technology Conference

Randstad Sourceright - HR Tech Conference

| 5 min read |

If you ask talent leaders what major trends have helped transform their business in recent years, two of the biggest might be the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) and the digitalization of HR. With both of these developments taking the spotlight in Las Vegas during this year’s HR Technology Conference & Expo, I was fortunate to spend some time with technology innovators and get a glimpse into the tools and workflows that will be impacting talent acquisition in the future.

The show itself is massive, reflecting the proliferation of technologies for the human capital market. More than 9,000 attendees and 400 exhibitors were there, and what they brought were questions about and solutions for today’s biggest talent challenges. Some of the innovations were truly exceptional, while others were enhancements to existing technologies. Collectively, developers are moving our industry forward like never before. And that’s great news for anyone needing to attract, engage and hire talent.

Having served in the talent industry for many years, I have never seen technological change accelerate faster than in the past five years. New advancements in AI, automation and machine learning mean employers have more tools than ever to help them source, win and manage talent. It also means companies are transforming from process-centric to talent-centric organizations. They are increasingly more focused on the experiences that they deliver to candidates and their employees to improve performance and recruitment outcomes. This shift will lead to more productive and engaged workforces. As a result, companies can gain a competitive advantage that directly translates into stronger business growth.

HR tech is also helping talent leaders gain unprecedented insight, and many of the innovations at the conference included data-crunching features. Through predictive analytics, companies can easily gain full visibility of their workforce, identify potential issues with filling roles and even get prescriptive actions to solve problems. And they can do this for all work arrangements, giving human capital leaders a complete view of talent throughout the enterprise.

focus on workplace diversity & inclusion

The most buzz-inducing category at this year’s HR Tech Conference create more diverse and inclusive workforces. According to McKinsey, workplace diversity has clear business advantages. Two platforms in particular stood out during the show. The first, Blendoor uses AI and talent analytics to reduce unconscious bias and promote diverse hiring. The second, TalVista relies on algorithms to eliminate bias in the recruitment process. Both solutions were winners at the conference’s Pitchfest competition.

The use of AI to eliminate bias in hiring and promote greater workforce diversity is not brand new. We are seeing, however, that more companies are now eager to use smart technologies to get the best talent, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age and other personal traits. In these talent-scarce times, it makes sense for employers to ensure they don’t leave great candidates behind through unconscious or institutional bias. Buyers are showing a strong appetite for these innovations. In fact, employers often ask me about the use of these technologies in their process, which is encouraging. It shows that they recognize that there’s room for improvement in their processes, and that they’re actively want to close the gaps.

existing HR technologies mature

Randstad Sourceright HR tech integrationWe also saw many incremental enhancements to existing innovations on display at the conference. Although there were few truly transformative technologies this year, the evolution of existing technologies show how far we have come. For instance, chatbot technologies keep improving to the point where non-programmers can write their own chats, giving companies flexibility in how they engage with applicants. Companies such as AllyO are turning to AI to reduce time to hire and recruitment costs. Greater automation in areas such as interview scheduling is enabling hiring managers to more quickly engage and hire talent. The use of video technology such as Monster’s recorded job descriptions is enriching the application process.

considering the total workforce

We also noticed greater presence from contingent talent technology companies at this year’s conference. What this tells me is greater convergence of employee and contingent talent in the workforce. Employers increasingly view their workforces holistically, meaning they don’t care so much about the worker type but rather that the work done meets a business need. Whether that means leveraging a temp, a statement of work (SOW) contractor, a full-time employee or all of the above, companies are now considering all types of work arrangements.

Speed and cost have always been the driving force behind the transformation efforts of many talent leaders. With HR technology playing an increasingly important role in that equation, make sure to keep an eye on the latest innovation coming your way. And judging by what I saw at this year’s HR Technology Conference, there will be a lot to pay attention to in the near future.

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