Clear a path! Using HR technology to remove friction from HR processes

HR leaders discuss how to successfully adapt to new transformation initiatives and address any reluctance to change from existing employees.

Clear a path! Using HR technology to remove friction from HR processes

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Despite our best intentions, our employees frequently experience friction when they’re trying to use HR processes. Friction can take many forms, but it’s anything that makes a process harder or take longer than it needs to.

Watch this panel discussion to learn how to thoughtfully deploy HR technology to reduce that friction and help your employees get back to the jobs you hired them to do.

You will also learn:

  • How to assess your HR processes and find out what actually needs to happen and how
  • Ways to make automated HR processes helpful and pleasant for your employees
  • Unexpected methods to use feedback from your employees to improve your HR processes
  • How cutting-edge technologies like AI/ML are removing friction from the talent lifecycle

Note: This content originally appeared during Argyle’s HR Technology Leadership Forum: Harnessing the Power of HR Technology on June 8, 2023.

Eric Wallace 0:00
Welcome to the Argyle HR Technology Leadership Forum. My name is Eric Wallace with Argyle. And it’s great to have everyone joining us today. A couple of notes before we begin our discussion. First, a quick reminder to stop by our sponsors virtual booths at any time during today’s event, and for the following week. Our partners are committed to providing you with valuable content and a great overall experience. At any time during today’s event, you can visit their virtual booths from the main agenda page, which include complimentary materials, information and meet and greet opportunities. Now, without further delay, let’s begin our discussion. First off, let’s go around the table and introduce ourselves. And we’ll just do this in the order that people’s names appear on the screen. Can we start with you, please?

Ekta Vyas 0:43
Sure. Thank you. Good morning, everyone. I make Was, the Chief Human Resources Officer at Keck Medicine of USC, have been in the HR technology field using and deploying and experiencing it for at least 20 years now. Pleasure to be here. Great. Thank you.

Eric Wallace 1:01
Ahmad, I’d love to continue with you as long as we’re going clockwise.

Ahmad Noordin 1:05
Sure. Hello, everyone. My name is Ahmad near and I’m based out of Dallas. I’m the Senior Director of People Operations for HelloFresh reporting to the CHRO. And I oversee various teams, including HR technology and shared services. Very happy to be here.

Eric Wallace 1:22
And welcome, Jason; let’s continue with you. And we’ll conclude with Drew.

Jason Cerrato 1:26
Hello, everyone, Jason Cerrato. I’m a member of the product team here at Eightfold, working in the HR technology space. But over the course of my career. I’ve also been an industry analyst for Gartner covering HR transformation, and prior to that was a talent acquisition leader helping to lead a large scale, HR transformation for a Global Fortune 50.

Eric Wallace 1:48
Thank you, Andrew, let’s conclude introductions with you. Please.

Drew McLaughlin 1:53
Morning, everybody. My name is Drew McLaughlin, I’m based in San Jose, California. I’m the VP of HR for Matson Technologies, and I’m responsible for their global HR function. And fortunately, unfortunately, I’ve been around long enough to see quite an evolution in HR technology, both on the experience side as well as the deployment side. And so, I’m looking forward to this conversation. Appreciate your time. Thank you, let’s begin.

Eric Wallace 2:20
So, the first question is, how can we go beyond complaining about things that don’t work? And really assess our H HR processes? To find out what needs to happen? Um, Jason, can we start to kick off the discussion with you, please? Sure.

Jason Cerrato 2:35
So, HR is ripe for a lot of these discussions. Because we have a lot of transactions, we touch every employee. And there’s so many areas of the organization that are trying to transform and get caught up to where the world is, you know, when I was an analyst, we would hold these HR conferences, and one of the themes we would talk about is how do we help employees experience a nine to five that feels more like their five to nine? Right? So, with everything being customized and personalized and guided in our everyday life, how can we bring that to the employee experience? And I think that’s been a key part of the digital transformation, and then subsequently, the HR transformation and talent transformation that everyone has been working on.

Eric Wallace 3:21
Thank you. Ekta. Can we continue with you, please? Sure. So

Ekta Vyas 3:25
I’m happy to hear the word transformation that Jason is because that’s exactly what technology has brought to the HR field. And certainly, as drew mentioned, it’s evolved over the years, and it has put us at a place where, you know, you really are able to go beyond the complaints to make a business case, you know, the complaints is primarily about customer dissatisfaction and stakeholder dissatisfaction. It’s not realizing where people are spending their time and how much of cost, which goes unassessed, right comes out of their time spent in manual processes and duplication of work in silos. So that’s basically where it’s, I think the onus is on the leaders to bring that unmeasured cost upfront, and then, you know, use the power of technology to make that business case and the value driven, right experience that you can create, both for those who are delivering the services and those who are experiencing the services. And it’s really, really, that’s how it worked within the area of HR technology is changing user experience and the service delivery experience. Drew, can

Eric Wallace 4:39
we continue with you and then conclude with Ahmad responses to this.

Drew McLaughlin 4:43
Sure. It’s pretty difficult to add to what Jason and active already said because they’ve covered quite a bit of the material element of this, I think, to their point, it’s also about where we’re adding value to the employee experience or employees. are spending a tremendous amount of time wrestling with our technology. So, as they are experiencing our technology, and also giving us feedback, and we’re moving beyond the complaints, they’re serving as a forcing function to drive us to the next phase. So, I think if we’re listening correctly, which I think the market is, we’re seeing this evolution in technology. And we, we need to kind of capitalize on that and continue to leverage it, so that their experience continues to improve. Bring us home on this one.

Ahmad Noordin 5:35
Sure. And just to kind of complement what the rest of my colleagues have said, first of all, I’ve been in close to HR technology for almost a quarter of a century. Now, I just look young on Zoom, but that’s not the case. And I’m still complaining about it, you know, HR, you can it’s okay to complain about manual processes, or even automated processes, and figure out how to move to the next step. And first of all, it depends on where you are in the continuum. If you’re just starting off, you have a long way to go, right. So, if you don’t have an enterprise HRIS, if you don’t have a lot of the other tools that these days are kind of a building blocks, then you know, I would suggest you start small, and find your biggest pain points and see if you can automate those processes. It’s hard to build a business case for everything. And so instead of going scorched earth, I would say, take one process such as, you know, the lead administration process is terrible, it’s manual, we need to do something about it, or our employee records, we need to find a way to electronically store them. And it could be something as simple as that, or how do we survey employees in the field, who are not in front of the computer who can take an online survey, get creative in how to automate those processes. And once you’re able to show that, hey, you know, as we automate things, we’re improving employee experience, we’re improving candidate experience, we’re improving back office, work experience, then you’ll have a business case to start building that case up and go for bigger and better things. But just find a place to start, start small, and then eventually believe

Eric Wallace 7:13
it thank you. So what HR processes are good candidates for automation? Drew, can we start with you, please?

Drew McLaughlin 7:20
Sure. I can think of many. I’ve been talking to some firms lately about workforce planning and integration of workforce planning, from the financial side to the HR side, which is there’s lots of manual processes embedded there. And so, if a company has the opportunity to start small, like Mark just mentioned, and implement some of those convergence of planning opportunities, then I think they’ll experience improved automation, both on the financial planning side and the HR side as you leverage that in the HR ATS space. And then, as a consequence, I think the business leaders will see some benefit and results as well in terms of transparency and visibility into their headcount modeling headcount planning, cost structures, those kinds of things. So that’s an area of opportunity that I’m exploring at this moment.

Ekta Vyas 8:28
you know, I’ll go back to building on what Emmett said you know, and this is response to the first question. I think we already tried technology; we are positioned in the industry in the technology industry almost equivalent. If you talk about advanced technologies, always equivalent to any other profession. It’s really very in your journey in your technology journey. Are you in adopting that technology, and more often than not in organizations? HR is not the first one, unless you are a purely HR organization to get the funding, I think most of the most of the challenges for the technology that you have to purchase, you know, do you have the funding sources as well as the support from it in deploying that, right, because you can’t do it alone. So, you know, going back to HR processes, I personally think that almost every HR process that you do manually, every HR functional area has now been made capable for a service delivery model through technology, it exists out there, it’s really going to be dependent on the maturity curve, and the learning curve of your organization on where you are in your journey. Right to what processes are you going to take so the organizations that have built it and done it for a very long time, the Googles and the Facebook’s employees, leaders, everybody they live and breathe that kind of a world right experience. They are very much positioned for advanced level, right, where you’re actually using AI and all of that for coaching. I mean, even to the video after talking to avatars and coaching for organizations that are just starting, I think you know, recruitment comes for, you know, for at the forefront of where you can start enhancing employee records payroll, right. So, it really depends on where on the curve that organization is. But almost every process, I believe, lends itself to be automated. The technology is out there.

Eric Wallace 10:17
Thank you, Jason. And Ahmad, please.

Jason Cerrato 10:20
So just to piggyback on what Alexa just said, I think, you know, the history has been HR has kind of been at the back of the line for funding. And as a result, we have this history of doing things in segments or in pilots, right, or, or by division, or by location. So, what ends up happening is we, the phrase that I’ve used is we, the end result is we have islands of excellence and deserts of despair, right, and not this unified experience across the enterprise. Part of it is just limitations. Part of it is budget, part of it is experimentation and pilots. And I think now everyone has, you know, both the desire end and the requirement to have a similar experience and to really, again, level set the playing field, I think, as a result of that where we’re headed, is in the past, a lot of these things have been tackled individually, process by process in silos, kind of in a linear fashion and with where the technology is going, we’re not going to be able to combine some of these efforts and converge some of this automation to create more blended experiences. So, it’s not just about coaching, or training or onboarding, it’s about all three together, right? Or it’s not just about recruiting or employees. It’s about that whole lifecycle together, that I think that’s where this is headed over the next few years.

Eric Wallace 11:40
Let’s continue with you, please.

Ahmad Noordin 11:43
Sure. First, I’d like to just go back to what you said, the fact that we’re talking about workforce planning, and how HR is finally tied to business planning, financial planning, or organization, I can tell you, we’re spending a lot of time on workforce planning what I mean, we as the HR Technology team, and that says a lot, that means we’ve come a long way, we’re no longer in our HR bubble, trying to fix HR stuff like performance reviews, and calibrations and so on. And now we’re focused on how to yet still automate HR processes, but make sure that they’re tied to business processes, and they’re actually making the business impact that, that it has the opportunity to make. Going back to what are good candidates for automation. You know, I think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And kind of what Ekta said, like, where do you start, if you haven’t automated your performance review process, obviously, you don’t want to go get a calibration tool, right like, that comes later in the process. So similar to what some of my colleagues have said, they usually use cases that I’ve seen are employee onboarding, that’s usually very ripe for automation, time tracking, kind of your bread and butter, leave administration. And then I’m just going to say manager self-service tasks, I think there’s still a lot of organizations that have not automated your basic manager. So, service tasks, promotion, demotion, transfer, pay, increase, termination, etc. and HR is still doing it, or it’s being done in certain pockets of organization. So really making sure the low hanging fruits are taken care of, before getting aspiration, whip and finding the better, better and better candidates for admission.

Eric Wallace 13:26
Next question let’s just get right back to you. And have you gone first, what are some ways to make automated HR processes more pleasant for your employees so that they’ll actually do them?

Ahmad Noordin 13:36
Yeah, now, this is great. And, you know, change management, obviously, is a big component of it. And when we have traditionally thought of change management of thought of you going by you think HR things, we know what the pain points of the employees are, we know the pain points of the managers are, we’ll go solve it for them. And then we’ll bring him in later on when it’s time to do testing and training and then tell them they actually wanted these tools. Yeah, it’s kind of like we’re working backwards, right. But I think really know what has happened, and going back to what Jason was alluding to the consumers, right? We’re all consumers, right? We just saw the new Apple technology, the headset come in, we have been, we’re experiencing we’re using all these different tools, and now we want them in our, in our environment. So, you know, again, it goes back to getting out of our HR bubble, and having conversations with employees, which I know sometimes it’s hard to do when you have 10 20,000 employees, and finding out what the real needs are, and then kind of bringing them along for the journey making sure they’re in the driver’s seat versus you’re just taking your employees and your users for a ride. So, I think you know, that’s going to obviously help you with your business case. They’ll actually create the business case for you bill articulated better than you can and then you’ll have that ownership as you get through the selection. In an implementation and post full live, so bringing your users on pre day one, and not sneaking up on them and doing a big old curtain raiser and then seeing if its users don’t like to be startled.

Eric Wallace 15:13
Ekta, what do you think?

Ekta Vyas 15:18
I actually covered a lot of what I would have said in my response to this question there. In my experience for anytime I’ve worked on the technology deployment, things that have stood out, certainly one is, HR processes that are automated should not be automated for HR, they should be automated for the customer, right? So, one of the biggest challenges is when you’re creating the automation workflow, keeping your convenience in mind, and you’re so myopic, in assessing, right, what’s the best process, because the best process that assessment really should come from the customer. Now, it’s not a, it’s not an easy balance to achieve. You know, that’s what I found, because certainly, you also want a little bit of how HR has to monitor right, if you need reports, if you need tracking right there. Certainly, technology has its own limitations. If you set it up in a certain way, you may be limited in how you can run reports, or how you can do certain things, right algorithms can only go so far. But you can still win a lot of the customer experience piece early on, if you’re not creating HR automation for HR, if you’re creating it with the customer in mind. The other thing is early adoption, you know, and I know I had alluded to this, my experience has been at the time that you take the process and you’re actually creating the workflow in the system with the technology. But your feedback sessions of the customer need to happen at that early phase, not just when you’re at the testing cycle of you know, they’re testing it and giving you feedback, because sometimes you are limited by that time, you know, for complex processes, you have already designed them. And it’s difficult to go back and now redo especially if there is a big redo based on customer feedback. So those are some of the things that are really important. And then I think understanding silos is important. I’m I was chuckling, you know, when Jason talked about the islands, right? Because what we don’t realize is we don’t keep scalability in mind. And we don’t keep in mind after this technology where I’m headed, right, this is not the end. So, you really have to understand your strategy and where you’re headed with that technology. Otherwise, you’re going to create something for the user, you don’t want to create unlearning for them to then create another learning because that’s another problem with technology, change management, it grows so fast. And if you keep deploying redeploying undoing doing, they get fed up of it, and then it’s like, oh, here, here is a chart now with another big thing that’s going to fade away in like two years. And then to replace.

Jason Cerrato 17:57
I think you said my name. So, I’m going to jump in. And again, I get to follow Ekta who’s provided a bunch of good setups for what I was going to share. And I think part of it is the same way we’ve said, You’re not just doing this for HR, you have to think of the employees and the users and the customers of the process. I would also extend that to say, sometimes you don’t, or you can’t just look at HR tools, you have to look at tools that may extend beyond HR to help deliver HR processes and experiences. So, for example, you know, act to talk about just the fast paced, changing nature of the way processes and software and experiences are changing and evolving, and things fall out of the cloud. And it used to be where we would have to create, you know, work instructions and write them down and print them out in manuals and bind them in binders and hand them out. The world doesn’t work that way. Right? Things change constantly. One of the tools that people could consider is there’s a whole category around digital adoption, right? And how do you build in the mechanism that allows the training and adoption process to evolve and change in real time? But one of the things that those tools also do is they allow you to visualize and see, well, where are your people getting stuck? Or where are they stopping a process? Where are they giving up? So not only does it help you train and educate your audience, but it also helps you actually visualize their experience and what’s working well and what isn’t? True. Can

Eric Wallace 19:30
we conclude this question with you, please? Sure.

Drew McLaughlin 19:33
I think part of the theme that I’ve heard from some of my colleagues here is, you know, setting up the key stakeholders, the employee experience, the employees being one at the early stages, I think is critical also having the end state outcome in mind. Now I use that word carefully, because, as my colleagues have mentioned, is you know, it’s constantly evolving, right? And so, just to In terms of the business case, in state, what outcome are we trying to drive, having the employees involved at the early stages, maybe even keeping them as stakeholders through the entire process? However, with that business goal in mind, what are we trying to achieve on behalf of the business? And then how can we make it as user friendly as possible for all of the end users, including the employees, I think I feel like I’m repeating some things that have already been said, but just keeping those themes in mind, around building stakeholder input and stakeholder value throughout the process, so that we don’t end up in deserts of despair, to coin a term. I really love that. So, I just think inclusiveness in this change management cycle is critical. Thank you.

Eric Wallace 20:51
So, what are the elements of a successful HR automation strategy? Jason, can you please start us off with that one?

Jason Cerrato 20:59
So, I think one of the things is, you need to be careful not to fall in love with a solution, you have to really fall in love with the problem and trying to fix it. So, you know, carrying on to what drew just mentioned, understanding what the user experience is, what are they trying to solve when they’re going into this process when they’re trying to complete a task. And sometimes what they’re trying to do, or what they’re trying to accomplish is completely different from what you thought they were trying to do, or what you were trying to design for. So, you know, oftentimes, especially when you get invested in some of these projects, and spend a lot of time in these projects, you know, you become wedded to them. And you really have to always remember, it’s not necessarily, you know, the tool for the tool’s sake, it’s the tool for the outcome that you’re trying to drive. So, you always need to be close to that outcome.

Eric Wallace 21:48
Thank you,

Eric Wallace 21:49
Amanda. Let’s continue with you, please. Sure.

Ahmad Noordin 21:52
And you know, where I would start? And so, the question is, what are the elements of a successful HR automation strategy? I would just take a step back and say, what is our HR strategy? And then, you know, trying to figure out what where you can automate? And if our HR strategy is not improving time to fill, then can we automate that? Can we do certain automations for the talent acquisition team for the candidate for the manager to expedite that process? So, I think that’s the first step. The second thing is really knowing what you’re going after, try to bucket what you want to try to automate, you know, are you trying to automate things that you think are risk prone for compliance purposes. And so, you want to automate things, because there’s a lot of risks with people doing it manually, their security concerns, access, for insurance and so on, then that’s how you build your automation strategy. If it’s, you know, what we’re all in for better employee experience, then that’s what the what the strategy will be, or it could be, we just want to make, we just want to help the back-office HR team, they’re spending a ton of time doing all this work. We want to automate it and may have allowed them to work on more value-added work, and not continue to hire more people to do back office manual work. If that’s your HR strategy, then that’s what your focus will be for automating your automation strategy as well.

Eric Wallace 23:16
Thank you drew. And then ACTA What are your thoughts on this?

Drew McLaughlin 23:20
Sure. So similar to maybe what a mod just mentioned. little brief history here. When I started my company over six and a half years ago, we’re about 345 employees globally. And I was handed a 15, year old, featureless back in database, everything was manual. And every time we hired somebody, either domestically or in a country that’s in our footprint, the HR team would fill out the paperwork, scan it, send it to my team, email it to my team here, and then they would manually enter it into this database. Okay, so it’s like the worst-case nightmare ever. So, in terms of my automation strategy, I had to think, Okay, our business is scaling rapidly. And so here we are six and a half years later, we’re in excess of 1300, total global workforce, and how am I going to help the business achieve its outcomes and achieve its growth results? So, I had to think, Okay, I’ve got to deploy a solution that’s going to be able to manage the entire global workforce on my preference, one or few platforms, right, because that’s part of the user experience if they have to use multiple platforms as a business unit leader as an employee, that grows wisdom, right. So anyways, all that being said, I had to start with that in case in mind, including all the compliance issues, if you have a footprint in Europe, you’re aware of some of the various compliance issues for example, GDPR, etc. And so, as well as You know, enhancing manager capability through the solutions and tools that you’re deploying and the employee experience. Those are critical considerations in your HR automation strategy. So not only what where’s the business going? What’s the business strategy? How are we going to dovetail into that, which helps your use case scenario and your, you know, your business justification. But also, what mods point? What’s the HR strategy here? How are we trying to enhance our overall HR capability as we move the organization forward? Great, thank you. And

Eric Wallace 25:34
actually, let’s conclude with you please.

Eric Wallace 25:37
Well, a lot of good things

Ekta Vyas 25:38
have been already put forth by Jason and Emma, what I’m going to add to this is, from how I have deployed technology, from a strategy development perspective, some of the key considerations really has been value for the customer. And determining value has to be rank ordered, in all honesty, because you can’t be all end all and provide all you certainly have prioritized, especially from cost consideration perspective how long it takes to deploy a technology, if you’re building it from scratch, right? If you’re not even there, by the time I’ve been in place where at places where it’s taken us so long to deploy it. And by the time we get there, you know, we already were like, there probably are three or four more versions that come out of that technology that we just deployed. So, it’s very, very important to keep all of those things in mind. So, value has to be the first one, at least from my perspective, what’s the value, it’s driving for everybody, right? And prioritization, rank ordering, certainly from a cost and efficiency perspective has to be another thing is scalability is very important, especially if you are deploying technology in a growing organization, right? Because when it’s growing, I’m in the past where I’ve deployed, you know, I’ve been part of ERP, bull ERP implementations, it was really primarily the suite of solutions and talk about suite of solutions. Then if you’re working in organization, where there’s interfaces and integrations where you have like 15 systems talking to each other, you try to move even one thing, it totally, you know, brings imbalance to the ecosystem you’ve created, right? So those things have to be thought through in your strategy, right? How can you simplify it not overcomplicated, set yourself for scalability and growth, and be ready and adaptive and agile, because technology is going to not stop changing, and it’s going to go fast? But one of the one of the words of caution, actually one of the things that I will say from my experiences, we get too passionate, especially if cost is not a consideration. And if you’re in an organization that is willing to invest in technology you want, oh, I’m going to go this because vendors are going to come and show you the best. And it’s like, Oh, my goodness, you know, this is changing my whole world, you really have to be very judicious at that point in time. Because you can be very passionate and go for something and be stuck with it. Right? And then that change management and undoing can be very challenging. So, strategy here really is not what’s available to you and what you can fund. It’s really a lot of thinking through these different facets of value efficiency, scalability, growth, and you know, your adoption in the future. So, build, you know what Drew said, Build with the end in mind, right? Look beyond just your current state.

Jason Cerrato 28:24
And Eric. But yeah, before we move on to one of the one of the things, just to kind of summarize, a lot of the great points that have been shared here, around an element of building a successful strategy is the ability to kind of see that value stream end to end, both from a data perspective and from an experience perspective. And I think, you know, there’s a couple things that run obstacles into that one is Drew mentioned is sometimes you have to go across multiple systems. And as I mentioned, in some instances, that creates a reliance on integrations. And I think that’s one of the things that we fall subject to an HR, especially since our history of these pilot projects and things that were done with limited budget that only had limited scale and scope, we end up having to cobble these mousetraps together. So, part of this is as these processes continue to combine and integrate and these experiences continue to come together as a unified experience or a unified transaction, you know, the ability to see it and to end with data and from an experience perspective is going to be increasingly important. Right, thank you.

Eric Wallace 29:33
So how do you collect feedback from your employees on how to improve your processes? And what do you do with that feedback? Ekta? Can we start with you, please?

Ekta Vyas 29:41
Sure. Um, I’ve actually done it both ways. In organizations where I knew they were ready to really get the funding, the costing a commitment, you know, there’s a commitment that has to go up come from beyond HR, it has to come from top leadership, about enhancing workforce experience. And if you’re developing an analytics roadmap Uh, you know, when I was at Stanford, we had an enterprise analytics roadmap, you know, our Chief Information Officer created, you know, administrative director position for crafting the enterprise analytics roadmap, right? And went through a lot of demos and you go through clinical analytics, and then you come to people analytics, right? So, are you in an organization that’s pretty advanced? Or it depends. First, you have to assess what kind of organization Right? that you’re that you’re in. And once actually, that assessment is done. That’s when you start taking stakeholder feedback on how they see HR and how’s HR’s position in, in the organization, now, you are being cognizant of your costs, being cognizant of the resources, and how strongly you can get funding for your business. Case, I, I’ve done both I’ve done listening tours, right, which basically highlight a big component of the frustration that’s coming from them, which is pointing fingers blaming HR service delivery is really if you were deployed technology for enhancing those workflows, that you it’s going to be really big win, because a lot of the problems or lack of transparency, a lot of the problems are because you don’t have an iterative process, right. And you’re still in the old methodology of working with human resources and nobody’s fault. Again, there’s angst and there’s anger and finger pointing. Right, so those listening sessions I’ve helped, because I’ve been able to categorize Okay, is this a problem coming from my program design? Is the problem coming from? You know, I’ve slackers on my team who really don’t want to work? Is this a problem coming from if this process are automated, a lot of this issue will, is going to go away? So, I’ve done listening sessions, if you already are at a place where technology is deployed, be very careful, you may be outdated, right? What ends up happening, I’ve experienced is as new talent and new leaders enter your workforce, right. And if you as a technology adaptation organization, and behind from where this new workforce is coming, and that new skill mix, people who are going to come from advanced organizations are going to get frustrated because you’re not there. Right. And that’s another way of basically assessing right? Not that you can solve it for them overnight. But you really have to have multi-channel approach to understand what is the population you’re servicing? What is your own capacity and capability to make the business case get the funding, you know, get executive sponsorship? And then how can you fit in, you know, that roadmap for technology to go forward? It’s really not a one channel approach when it comes to user feedback and assessing it.

Eric Wallace 32:40
Great, thank you a mod. What do you think?

Ahmad Noordin 32:43
Sure. So, I would definitely second would act as saying, you know, I think doing listening sessions. And depending on where your audience is, geographically, sometimes you have to do it do things electronically. I would also say, you know, let’s go back to basics. You know, one of my old bosses used to sit one sheet, she did not like the word HR. I mean, she was the head of HR, but you know, she wanted us to always go stealth, meaning like, they, they should know, your HR, we all know that. You they know your HR, right? You don’t really get the full story. And, you know, how do you embed yourself into the workforce and try to find out what the real pain points are, and what the real challenges are, and what things are that are working, and you don’t want to mess those up, you know. So, what I would suggest, I remember a long time ago, I used to work for this large retailer. And I drove to one of their flagships, one of our flagship stores, and I did a time study, I spent a day with a recruiter. And I literally just like, saw how long it takes her to recruit, when she gets, you know, gets to go ahead for a wreck, all the way through all of the work that it takes her to get the candidate, obviously, I wasn’t there for 30 days, you know, like it may take more than a day to get a candidate filled. But I documented how long it took me to actually do all of the manual work, sift through the resumes, to get paper applications and review that people were walking in and filling out all of that stuff. And then going back to the corporate office and making a business case for, hey, if we automated the recruiting process, this is how much time you’re going to save from the router. And now the recruiter can actually spend half of their time being an HR business partner and not just doing recruiting and recruiting coordinator activities. So, you can get a lot more from that HR associate. And obviously the employee experience is phenomenal the candidate experience. So, you know, maybe you know, just another approach will be more traditional is just go and spend some time with the people and you know, job shadow them, see how they’re doing their tasks, and then try to see what can be automated and maybe certain things don’t have a technology solution and you also have to take those as well.

Drew McLaughlin 35:00
ruin them, Jason, please. Yeah, just to complement what Ben shared, I like to do postmortems, after we’ve run an HR annual cycle program or recording the program, get some business stakeholders involved, gain their insights on how we can improve process or eliminate steps in the process that maybe HR we as an HR function, thought might be necessary, maybe it’s not as necessary to, you know, eliminate that one step in this process. Next time we go through this, I think what’s been mentioned earlier around having employees as key stakeholders, if we can maintain a consistent group of key stakeholders at the employee level, who understand why we’re deploying technology from an overall business perspective, how are we trying to help the business scale and grow? So, they have been stayed in mind or that objective in mind, and then as we go through deploying automation and technology, hopefully, that is in their mindset, as well. So, keeping them in the process through our evolution. And then also everyone’s well, maybe a survey, or, you know, automated survey that’s easy for people to respond to, just to get their feedback. So, one of the things I’ve tried to do is, my goal is to establish as much automation as possible from candidate application through employee retirement or exit from the company, and, you know, gaining business stakeholder feedback through that process as well as employees. Feedback is

Eric Wallace 36:40
great, thank you, Jason, let’s conclude with you.

Jason Cerrato 36:42
I was I was chuckling earlier, because this has been a great conversation. It sounds like we’ve all worked for the same company. But I think one of the things that I would add, I think we’ve already hit on a lot of the answers is that you can do things like roadshows and open houses and listening tours, I’ve done all of that. You can also embed surveys and take, you know, measures in the moment, we’ve also done that, I think the biggest piece is that it never ends. Right? We’ve come to a place where everything we’re doing is dynamic and changing. And there’s very little in the world that actually stays in the same place for any period of time, and it’s static. So, in the past, we could get away with a lot of that. And when some on a project ended, it ended or, you know, if we had an initiative and we were trying to land it, it landed, I think now doesn’t land, it’s always approaching some end, but it is always working towards there. So, it’s just this continuous cycle of feedback and iteration and improvement in feedback and iteration and improvement.

Eric Wallace 37:46
Our next question is, how can we use AI and ML to remove friction from HR processes. And Jason, let’s boomerang again, and start with you.

Jason Cerrato 37:54
So, I think, you know, there’s a couple of ways you can do this. And they’re used for a variety of different purposes in a variety of different places. Obviously, you know, based off of this discussion in this panel, one of the ways that those technologies are being used is for automation, right. But they’re also being used to inform the process or provide insights. So as much as you know, we’re in the era of generative AI and chat GPT, and AI and machine learning for, you know, virtual assistants and automated processes. We’re also using some of those capabilities to detect anomalies in the data, right to let people know what is happening that you should be paying attention to, or what is occurring that hasn’t occurred in the past. So, it helps provide this extra layer of kind of vigilance and due diligence. So, I think, you know, a lot of these tools are used in different areas of the tech stack for a variety of different purposes. One is obviously automation, but you can also be supported through insights and intelligence.

Eric Wallace 38:57
Great, thank you, Drew, can

Eric Wallace 38:57
we continue with you, please?

Drew McLaughlin 39:01
Yeah, transparently. I’m one of those probably later adopters here, just given the size of the scale of my organization that I do see. And I read in our great article the other day talking about this generative AI that Jason just said, I think more and more, we’re going to see how when we deploy systems going forward, these systems are going to have the capability of extracting data from multiple sources, not just your internal systems. So, if I was generating data analytics, just within my own ecosystem, I would get certain outcomes or answers to certain questions I might have, or the data might tell me something. But it would all be predicated upon my 13 or 1400 global workforce, right? Whereas going forward, we’re going to see this transition and we’re going to experience this forcing function where these generative AI companies are collecting data from Massive, massive amounts of sources. And it’s actually I think, going to help us also in technology adoption, business case scenario of selling, you know, these new technologies to our business leaders so that we can continue to, as Jason mentioned, we’re on this continuous journey, right? We never get to really land the plane; we have to continuously evolve. And so, some of these things are going to be very useful to us as we move forward.

Eric Wallace 40:30
Thank you, Hector. And then Amman, please. You know, it’s interesting,

Ekta Vyas 40:35
we have this question, because had I been answering this question three years back, before we were hit by the pandemic? You know, my answer probably would have been a little different. Primarily, because technology adoption, and the fear of, you know, AI, or machine learning, taking over our, you know, our professions, and the work we do has been, you know, lingering there for several years as technology was growing, right. And when you’re working in human resources, one of the questions that was never ending was, AI is going to take over our jobs, right, people are going to, people are going to lose their jobs, because technology is taking, taking more their jobs. Now, what the pandemic did was, it just repositioned ourselves, the technology is part and parcel of our lives and organization, right? So that whole acceptance because of the need that was thrown towards us, right, we all got used to it. And yet, being an HR professional, I certainly, you know, always think twice, you know, when I’m meeting with vendors, and they’re showing, you know, the capabilities of the technology, because there have been a lot of arguments for and against AI from a DI perspective, right? There’s like very strong supporters who say AI can reduce bias. And then there are research findings, when you talk about evidence-based management, that basically show it has not completely reduced bias, right? So, it’s really that you have to do your homework, the way I go about it. And you know, certainly this is how I have come to terms when, when I want to deploy technology, how am I going to educate force myself, so that I can confidently stand in front of my constituents supported, defended and determine whether it’s right for the organization, because the maturity and the learning of the organization and technology adoption is also a very significant thing, it’s not how much as an HR leader you can throw technology at them. So, from a machine learning perspective, I certainly appreciate the trends analysis for predictive, you know, futuristic assessments, that’s a big win, right? Because we spend a lot of time on analyzing data, and especially if the data is not clean cleaning the data. And, you know, it’s like, you know, there’s the saying, You trash and trash out something like that, right when it comes to clean, clean data. So honestly, where I am, and I’ll wrap my response up where I am, is, I have grown as an HR leader, from the fear of using AI to get into law of confidence, and at the same time machine learning, but again, all of these contingency fees, right have to be kept into consideration the organization value or the adoption, the maturity. Now there are certain suites of solution where AI is a part and parcel recruitment is not about AI anymore, you can go with any solution, it is full of AI, right? Similarly, predictive analytics is not deprived of machine learning, right? So, there are certain areas where you have a choice in certain areas, we don’t have a choice. So be careful. And you know, assess where you are, and, you know, do your homework as you as you move

Eric Wallace 43:42
forward. Thank you, Amanda. Let’s wrap up with you, please.

Ahmad Noordin 43:46
Sounds good. Bye. Thanks, Jason. I mean, I was going to mention Chad GBT and generated VI, we’d be remiss, right? If we didn’t throw that into this discussion, it needs to be in the books. But I think I would agree with my colleagues, you don’t want to be the cool kid on the block. I mean, I’m sure all of our LinkedIn mailboxes are flooded with people trying to get us to try this AI tool or that machine learning technology, and really goes back to use case, what problem are you trying to solve for? And you know, sometimes, you can try to just think of it in a very simple manner, right? Would you want and then, you know, try to Finish, finish the rest of the sentence, what you want a boss telling you that after you’ve been working for a company for 25 years, you’d have been impacted by a reduction in force. Obviously, that doesn’t make sense for you negotiating with a boss what your salary is going to be before you take the offer. And so I think there’s a time in place for AI and there’s a time and place for human so it’s just finding that right balance of where it makes sense to have where Chill assistant, and where it makes sense to have a human assistant, you know, when I’m accepting a position, you know, that happiness you have, and you’re kind of high fiving, with the recruiter, as you’re accepting the position and you’re excited, and you want to talk to the hiring manager and all that stuff. Imagine like all of that getting automated, don’t really take the little fun that HR has away from HR, like, offering someone a job and seeing how campaigns they are, and so on, right, or giving someone a promotion that they have worked really hard for. But then I think going back to like an example that I gave, finding the right use cases, people analytics, we’re always looking at how we can use machine learning, to not just to automate but do things that we just don’t have the time to do and being able to rely on technologies to do that research for us. And that predictive analytics work. That’s obviously priceless. So again, finding the right use cases and time and space for.

Eric Wallace 46:00

Eric Wallace 46:03
thank you, panelists for that excellent discussion. I want to thank everyone in the audience for joining us today. This session, along with all of today’s content will be available on demand following the event. Thanks very much.

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