Top 5 Talent Technology Conversation Starters for 2018

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, matching technology, blockchain and millennials. Those are the current buzz words shaping the HR technology marketplace today. It’s a complex and fast-moving environment and without a tour guide, many organizations feel completely overwhelmed.

To better understand the marketplace and be able to determine what’s important and what’s not, many organizations are recruiting the assistance of a third-party provider. Someone who can help them understand that it’s not really about what technology to implement, but instead, the technology that will represent a significant breakthrough which will shape the HR world for years to come. Someone who actively tracks hundreds of HR tech providers for evaluation and inclusion in client solutions, providing a deep understanding of the HR technology ecosystem and a clear sense of the direction the industry is heading.

Here are the top five predicted trends in the talent technology space that we think will shape talent acquisition conversations throughout 2018 and beyond.

1. “Total talent” technology stacks. While more and more organizations are taking a “total talent” approach, there is currently no single platform available for total talent solutions. Instead, organizations will need to find ways to integrate and layer new technologies into their stacks – technologies that go beyond the ATS, VMS and HRIS solutions in place today.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this challenge. To create an effective total talent technology stack, your organization will first need to build a clear picture of its current contingent and permanent talent as well as the talent pools it is likely to need in the future. A good starting point for organizations looking to embark on a total talent journey is to identify points of misalignment between the contingent, permanent and other talent processes. Examples include data visibility, flows between systems, or discrepancies in messaging and tone. The gaps you identify between current and future states should then drive your decisions about what technology to include your total technology stacks.

2. Artificial intelligence. The big question facing HR leaders interested in deploying AI within their organization is: “Where do I start?” The first important thing to remember is that AI is not a solution in its own right. Rather, it is a component of a wider technology solution. The second important point, as far as we are concerned, is that AI is best deployed not as a replacement for human beings but rather as a means of augmenting their work and enabling them to become more strategic.

The Adecco Group, Pontoon’s parent company, recently entered into a partnership with Mya Systems, the creator of Mya, the AI recruiter. Through leveraging an AI chatbot such as Mya, outreach and communication to candidates can be nuanced and automated, creating a higher touch experience from the start of candidate attraction and increasing conversion rates. This allows recruiters to focus on service delivery and tasks that require critical thinking and creative solutions.

One area where we have already successfully leveraged AI is in a matching application for an MSP client. This client was facing an overwhelming volume of submissions – far too many for the team to process manually without an exponential headcount increase. We have introduced an AI matching solution that replicates human decision-making but at a much faster rate. This, in turn, freed up team members to contact the highest-quality candidates quicker, and accelerate them through the process before they are hired elsewhere.

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3. Predictive talent analytics. “How can we make our recruitment strategy more proactive?” This question is becoming an increasingly common refrain within the HR community, as organizations seek to harness all the talent information they have available to them in order to anticipate future challenges and needs. Our goal is to use advanced talent analytics to solve a huge range of workforce issues, from understanding pay trends to predicting employee performance.

Imagine, for example, that one of our clients needed to staff up a new call center. By analyzing the skills and attributes of current high performers, we would be able to build a profile for new hires which, combined with local demographic and socioeconomic data, could form the basis of a highly effective sourcing plan.

Areas where predictive talent analytics also prove especially useful include:

  • Candidate quality – by mapping the traits and skillsets that predict strong performance, organizations will be better placed to attract and identify the top candidates for each role.
  • Talent pool health – predictive analytics can help organizations target their sourcing efforts to ensure adequate candidate flow.
  • Employee retention – if organizations understand the causes of churn, they can identify potential flight risks and make changes that will minimize their impact.
  • Market rate and pay – by understanding trends in geographic markets, organizations can develop expectations for the cost of certain skills in various locations.

4. Advanced process automation. The aim here is to minimize the manual effort that teams expend by automating any elements of the process that are standard and repeatable. For example, many organizations have legacy systems that do not integrate with newer technologies, meaning that data needs to be regularly moved between the two. This process is often done manually, which is not only a terrible waste of time and effort but also a virtually guaranteed way of introducing errors into the data.

At Pontoon, we are continuously evaluating technologies that can automate these processes, enabling us to maintain the integrity of our clients’ data while freeing up team members to focus on more strategic activities that represent a more valuable use of their time.

5. Customizing the user experience. There are several areas that we focus on to further enhance the user experience. One is “designed experiences” which can enable users to interact with systems in ways that feel comfortable to them. Another is “alternate interfaces” where users are separated from backend systems and given immediate and seamless access to the information they need. The aim is to ensure better user experience for everyone, whether that means reconfiguring existing technology or layering new technologies into the stack.

We believe these five trends will be the ones to shape the HR technology in 2018 and beyond. They are destined to play a crucial role in shaping the talent processes of the future.

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Annie Hammer

Annie Hammer
Annie Hammer is VP of global emerging technology and projects, Pontoon.

Annie Hammer

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