HR Tech highlights: Getting back to the future of work with AI-powered talent intelligence and skills

HR Tech was buzzing with talk about AI, talent intelligence, and skills. Our sessions helped cut through the noise to help you really understand what these things are and what they can do for your entire organization.

HR Tech highlights: Getting back to the future of work with AI-powered talent intelligence and skills

One of the biggest annual HR events, HR Tech was filled with buzz about AI, talent intelligence, and skills. As an innovator in AI-powered talent solutions, we were excited to be there talking about talent intelligence — and how it can help everyone see and reach their potential.

From our data supporting The Josh Bersin Company’s GWI study on pharma, to launching our latest product Eightfold Resource Management, and discussing a new analyst report on why everyone needs a skills-based approach, our team was on the ground with today’s top talent experts to explain why AI-powered talent intelligence is the way forward in this new world of work. 

Here are a few of our highlights from the event.

Related: Watch a quick video of our highlights from HR Tech.

Eightfold Resource Management and EY: Real-life learnings in project staffing

We launched a new product at HR Tech, welcoming Eightfold Resource Management to our Talent Intelligence Platform. Resource Management uses our AI-powered skills-based insights to drive more powerful project staffing, matching the right employee to the right project at the right time.

As one of the earliest adopters of Resource Management, EY joined us at HR Tech to talk about how the organization is using it to serve global project staffing needs. We’ve partnered with the consulting firm on what Global Digital Talent Leader Antony Shields calls “Next-Wave Careers,” EY’s focus on building a skills-based approach to help guide their people’s professional development and inform how they get staffed on projects.

“As artificial intelligence starts to become something we can actually get value from — as we move from the wonder to the wisdom on it — EY has been working, and certainly my teams have been working, for five years now on AI,” Shields told the HR Tech audience during our session.

“But now we are at a turning point where you’re starting to see the real value come through,” he continued. “And we’ve been trying in everything we do to make it human-centric, to look at empathy and AI. That’s something in the skills area that is so important because obviously it touches an area where all of us in this room and everyone globally will have a reason they want to use that AI because it’s your skills profile.”

Shields said that a majority of EY’s staff are 35 or younger and looking at their career progression not as a series of jobs, but as gaining skills through learning and growth opportunities. He said the link between seeing their employees’ entire breadth of skills and deploying them to staffing projects based on those skills is key to both providing the experience employees seek — feeling valued, appreciated, and engaged — and providing a more agile and efficient client-focused experience.

We were absolutely amazed by the data that did not work, which was pretty much all the data that we’ve been using,” Shields said of the change in how they staff. “The things that we picked up in the AI that were of incredible use and created that accuracy were things that I think you probably recognize if you step back from it. It’s how people have been learning because they had freedom to be able to choose this — their skills growth — through learning.” 

Now, Shields said that EY has been able to “deeply dig” into its up-to-date performance data to discover the best way to resource projects. And while the change has required a shift in thinking, they are realizing positive results. 

“The reality is you and your brain have already made the decision before you go to it around the watercooler-slash-coffee machine — people resource the people that they know,” Shields said. “So there is a significant shift into resourcing people they don’t know. And with the AI this is surfacing real data around skills that should be used as opposed to what you think of being used.” 

Learn more about Resource Management’s capabilities or request a demo to see the product in action.

The Josh Bersin Company talks pacesetters in pharma

What’s next in the evolution of pharma? That’s the latest industry The Josh Bersin Company’s Global Workforce Intelligence Project (GWI) is tackling, with new research coming soon.

HR Tech attendees received a preview of insights from the new pharma research, along with updates on previous industries GWI reported on, including consumer packaged goods, banking and finance, and health care.

In their upcoming report, The Josh Bersin Company has found that pharma companies in particular have “reached a crossroads” and are now in a continuous era of expansion and growth. New fields of study and development, a shifting focus to medical treatments rather than medications, and changing requirements to secure market relevancy are all challenging pharma companies in new ways. 

“You have health care and technology, ultimately, redefining and expanding what a pharma product could be,” said Senior Research Analyst Jordan Schmitting, lead researcher on the pharma report, in the HR Tech session. “What this industry convergence and this disruption is causing is a rapid skills velocity. The skills that are highly relevant today that are driving companies forward are going to look different two to three years from now.”

Schmitting said that while scaling up might have been the most direct route in the past, it is not a go-to solution today. Smaller biotech companies, especially during the pandemic, showed greater agility and increased rates of innovation by focusing on digitalization. Today’s larger pharma companies are actually acquiring some of these smaller biotech firms for their digital-first approaches, in addition to picking up other pacesetting skills that enable greater innovation in both products and processes.

We supply the data to fuel these thought-provoking GWI reports on industry challenges and opportunities, especially best practices surfacing from pacesetting organizations. We can’t wait to dive into this full report on pacesetting pharma companies when it’s ready. You can sign up to get an infographic preview of it here.

Related content: See the 7 leading strategies of pacesetting companies from The Josh Bersin Company

We know the future of work needs talent intelligence, but don’t just take our word for it

We were thrilled to co-host a session on unleashing the power of skills with Madeline Laurano, Founder and Chief Analyst at Aptitude Research Partners. As an analyst in the HR tech space, Laurano specializes in covering areas of talent acquisition, talent management, and employee experience.

As part of a new research project with us, Laurano presented findings from her latest report on AI-powered technologies in the talent space. Her goal is to demystify some of the trends and misperceptions around what talent intelligence is and is not, while also clearly presenting its value.

Laurano said that she thinks of talent intelligence as a “compass or GPS” that uses data to draw insights — especially around skills — so you can understand what’s happening in your workforce “in a more holistic and complete way.” This is a much different mindset than thinking of talent intelligence as just a system of record that collects and uses data.

Some of Laurano’s key report findings include:

  • 72% of companies said they’re increasing investment in talent intelligence this year
  • 95% of companies stated that skills are more important than job titles when promoting employees.
  • Companies investing in talent intelligence see 2x-3x improvements in quality, experience, and decision-making

And yet:

  • Only 28% of companies understand what talent intelligence is
  • Only 27% of companies can identify providers in the space

“There’s a lot of confusion also around where talent intelligence sits,” Laurano said. “You’re going to see a lot of talent acquisition providers that call themselves talent intelligence platforms, and they just do pre-hire. They’re not doing anything to support the employee experience or anything post-hire. That idea that talent intelligence is just talent acquisition limits the possibility of what it can do.”

Laurano said this is the ideal time for HR leaders to step up and help their CHROs and the entire C-suite understand the big picture of what AI-powered talent intelligence can do for the entire organization.

Be sure to sign up for our webinar with Laurano for more of her insights on how talent intelligence can positively impact your organization on Nov. 29. More details coming soon.

Miss us at HR Tech? No worries. You can sign up for a demo to see our Talent Intelligence Platform in action anytime. 

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