Like many HR veterans, we still remember the filing cabinet days. When HR technology was introduced, we all set aside our pen and paper ways and made room for the systems and their accompanying efficiencies. For a long time, innovations in human resources suites drove HR professional job empowerment, employee self-service, talent acquisition and candidate experience improvements, and better analytics and KPI measurements. Though success of deployments was mostly dependent on the creativity and willingness of the business to maximize software functionality and the overall strategy for achieving user adoption, we can unanimously say the industry was improved by HRIS.

You sense the “but” coming, I’m sure? But…these systems are still not enough to guarantee a seamless candidate experience, an optimal employee experience, and the most ideal outcomes for organizations (especially those dealing with change or transition). Furthermore, as technology advances, it delivers new solutions but also creates fresh issues or reveals ongoing shortcomings. What’s the answer?

Ouch! Candidate and Employee Pain Points

We can all agree that with better visibility into HR processes that were formerly untransparent, new challenges have emerged. Several challenges include:

  • Candidates can now apply for positions via very elaborate job marketing websites or mobile devices, but we are seeing large drop-off rates if an account needs to be created first.
  • Candidates find it easier to search for available jobs but will apply to many that they are not qualified for, creating candidate frustration and unnecessarily increasing pipeline sizes.

Problems also exist for internal mobility. Through the introduction of HRIS platforms, self-service for employees has improved tremendously. Unfortunately, more and more important tools like succession planning might be functional technology-wise but are rarely utilized across the entire organization due to inadequate change management.

From a HR professional prospective, we are also still living in different system worlds despite the push for the one-platform strategy. Especially in talent acquisition, many companies still have separate applicant tracking systems, candidate relationship management systems, and talent marketing platforms – all containing different candidate data. This makes it difficult for recruiters or sources to find the right candidates from an existing talent pool.

AI: Far More Than a Bandaid

So, how is AI improving these essential experiences for candidates as well as HR professionals?

Let’s start with the candidate experience in talent acquisition processes. The key here is to make it as easy as possible for candidates to apply. The next level in efficiency is to connect the candidate’s resume with open positions in which she or he could be most successful.

This is where Position and Candidate Matching comes in. After the resume is uploaded, AI technology can analyze the candidate’s background, match it with the most promising positions, and present these back in real time. This is two solutions in one: it gives the candidate a more realistic path toward gaining a job with that organization, and it helps ensure applications that reach the recruiters are from position-qualified candidates.

Capabilities go one step further when all historical candidate data is gathered into one Talent Intelligence Platform giving recruiters visibility to the entire talent pool, including past candidates. This will address another real life challenge for retailers that spend major recruitment marketing dollars on the same seasonal hiring.

Similar AI matching capabilities can also be applied to the overall topic of workforce planning. Currently, COVID19 is creating large transformational changes, but the pace of industry changes is also picking up. So, back to the example of succession planning, companies will focus more and more on their workforce strategies and will need to understand how to address internal skill gaps. AI can now help with reviewing the associated skill profiles of current positions. This will help HR professionals proactively plan for organizational changes and even allow employees to match themselves to new opportunities inside their organization.

I’m Interested in AI, But Aren’t There Different Kinds?

So far, we have used the word AI very loosely to describe an overarching category of technology. In our next blog, we will describe different kinds of AI, discuss why some work better than others and advise which ones are ideal for HR applications.

How can you envision your organization utilizing an AI-based platform to improve your employee experience? How could you leverage it to elevate the candidate journey?

About the Author: Hendrik Fischer

Hendrik Fischer is a Managing Partner at Blue Crab Consulting. He is responsible for leading the strategic growth and daily operations of the firm. Hendrik has more than 20 years of global management experience in various high-tech and SaaS industries.

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