The Best People Investment is the Right People

Talent Acquisition

As hiring ramps up, it’s a common refrain from talent leaders that the goal of the talent function is yet to be realized. This, of course, refers to getting the right people into the right roles at the right time. It’s a task that proves more difficult than it would seem on the surface and one that costs businesses a great deal of money.

The most common estimate you hear is that it costs at least 30% of a person’s first year salary for the organization to part ways with the wrong employee and once again go in search of the right one. Many say that this estimate is actually on the low side when you factor in costs associated with onboarding and training, the impact on team morale and the drain on productivity that comes with the hassle of coping with a bad hire.

Technology is helping to address these issues, but how it gets plugged into the talent function is vital to its success. During a session at our recent HR Tech North America event, Emmersion’s Head of People, Paul Thatcher, was joined by Norm Smallwood of the RBL Group and Jordy Moorman from Workplace Technologies to discuss what investments in talent have the biggest impact on company performance.

WATCH: Top People Investments that Have the Biggest Impact on Company Performance

For Smallwood, co-founder of RBL Group, the question starts at benchmarking and looking at weaknesses and strengths as a method of impacting the business across four human capital pathways. They are:

  • Talent
  • Leadership
  • Organization
  • HR

The pathways can impact five business result areas in Smallwood’s philosophy. They are:

  • Strategy
  • Customer
  • Financial
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Employees

“We’re trying to answer the question in both directions,” Smallwood said. “If we wanted better customer results, what investments across those four pathways will have the biggest impact? When we look at the four pathways across the five business results areas, what we get is a portfolio of about 185 choices. What we’re doing now is embedding that into a technology platform that allows people to set priorities and then monitor and measure them.”

Smallwood then dug into the talent pathway, outlining ten different talent domains that impact business results to create an organizational guidance map so that priorities can be established and weaknesses identified. In the case of the talent pathway example, the guidance indicated a need to improve how talent is acquired, how performance is managed and how the company communicates with employees.

Talent Acquisition

Thatcher was keen to point out that Smallwood’s analysis highlighted the importance of talent acquisition and just how little impact improving and tracking employee engagement seemed to have on business outcomes.

As he directed the conversation toward Moorman, who’s spent a significant portion of his career focusing on the post-hire employee lifecycle, he was quick to note how his focus has shifted toward talent acquisition due to the competitiveness of the talent landscape in 2021.

“The remote everything world is a big challenge and I’ve spent a good chunk of time on talent acquisition around this and I’m feeling what the data says like never before,” Moorman said. “The talent acquisition and management world was not ready for the all remote all the time sourcing process. I think in the end we’ll be a lot better for all this and we’ll be a lot more efficient recruiters and HR folks in general. The tools and technology are going to help us bridge those gaps.”

The question then became: what are the highest impact investments that companies can make to assist in hiring decisions?

Moorman’s answer was what you might expect. While he loves buzzwords like AI and machine learning (ML), he also feels there’s a lot of what he called “vapor” out there that isn’t quite real AI or ML. The key is integration.

“The machines aren’t going to replace the hiring process, but if you can put them in front of the hiring process like screening candidates, video interviews or assessing candidates based on language, that’s going to help,” Moorman said. “You want to evaluate to some extent before ever getting humans involved and spending a lot of time. Unless you can hire very quickly, you’re not going to be successful in this competitive market. As everything has come back from COVID, everyone is hiring as fast as they can. If you let things sit, you’ll still be able to hire somebody, but probably not the person you wanted to.”

Thatcher provided an example from his time building a call center in Guatemala and it was actually the thing that attracted him toward working with Emmersion, an AI powered language assessment tool.

“In that project, the ability to make quick hiring decisions is critical and the ability of someone to speak English clearly was one of the top requirements,” Thatcher said. “All of that assessment was done human to human, but often times by people who were speaking English as a second language. Then you introduce the risk of bias into that hiring decision. So when you look at a tool like Emmersion, you see something that can have a material impact on hiring smarter.”

Emmersion is a good example of a top of funnel tool that weeds out candidates who can’t meet one of the most important requirements for a role. Those type of front end tools are important in freeing up HR people to focus on more important functions than screening and reviewing resumes.

It’s exactly this type of technology that can help refill pipelines that were decimated by COVID more quickly and efficiently. It’s also worth noting the amount of stress this can remove from HR as it focuses on other demands that have seen HR teams be stretched thin over the last year.

“You see a lot of HR transformation going on these days,” Smallwood said. “One of the things you see on the efficiency side is that companies either tech enable or they outsource or create a shared services model, but the problem is that if they don’t invest in skills, their people will continue to do that essential work they’ve paid to get chatbots to do. Then it becomes even more expensive and pointless.”

The trio went on to discuss distinguishing between that “vapor-ware” and “real AI”, how to invest effectively in competing for talent and what sort of impact AI can realistically have on bias and DEI initiatives. To listen to the full conversation, click the link below and register or login with your HR Exchange Network membership!

WATCH: Top People Investments that Have the Biggest Impact on Company Performance

Photo Courtesy of Stock Photo Secrets

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