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Modern employee experiences require intelligent use of data

data
(Image credit: Shutterstock / whiteMocca)

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation efforts across industries as the world evolved to meet the needs of hybrid living and working. Businesses were forced to adapt overnight, with HR and people leaders at the helm, as the human impact became apparent. Yet Covid-19 was a catalyst for an already evident need for human capital management transformation – not the spark. There had already been a clear need for organizations to adapt to thrive in today’s increasingly borderless, fluid, skills-based, and always-on world of work.  

We live in a time when we have ever-increasing amounts of data about our companies and employees. Now is the time for organizations to harness their data and leverage emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to provide insights so business leaders can make efficient and informed decisions. Emerging technologies also have tremendous potential to transform big data into predictive outcomes, and match people and work in more intelligent ways. We truly need to focus on having the data find the individual, not the individual finding the data. Our always-on environment drives that need. 

The use of data has far-reaching effects across an organization, including its ability to drive smarter recruiting, identify flight risks, and increase employee engagement. This has become increasingly important given today’s dynamic talent market. Companies are not only experiencing the Great Resignation, but also its domino effect which is further impacting HR and people teams worldwide.

The HR revolution 

Organizations continue to invest in their digital transformation strategies. This is reflected in findings from Gartner research that suggest despite one-third of HR leaders planning budget cuts this year, 90 percent are determined to either maintain or increase their investment in technology.1 That is a resounding vote for a tech revolution within HR departments. 

This is driven by business need – and the clear benefits of bringing emerging technologies on board. The Gartner 2021 HR Leaders Agenda Poll found that 48 percent of chief human resources officers find their current HR technology solutions hinder, rather than improve, employee experience.2 Despite there being a very real need – a full understanding of how technologies like AI can assist HR teams has some way to go before it reaches maturity. To create the most impactful digital transformations, building awareness and fostering trust for emerging technologies is key.  

Despite being in early stages of adoption within the workplace, AI solutions that enable fair hiring and build equitable workforces are critical. This is noteworthy as diversity, equity, and inclusion have never been more of a priority. Rules and regulations are quickly becoming established worldwide to help assure leaders that AI will not damage one’s right to privacy, reinforce bias or lead to discrimination.  

AI is still in its infancy, and now’s the time to develop best practices for how AI and emerging technologies can be established with a focus on trust. Trustworthy AI requires not only having good data, but the right safeguards to access the data. It means that data is used to gather insights and find hidden patterns, but not to reinforce bad behaviors. The insights and drivers simplify decision-making, but they must be considerate of whether the actions will create new problems. 

These guiding principles of accuracy and trust are essential as organizations look to tap into the power of data and AI to improve the entire employee lifecycle – from better recruiting to the selection and hiring process. Further benefits are being achieved through efficient onboarding of talent. In this case the use of benefits intelligence helps new employees understand the best benefit options for them and their families. This also supports the building of stronger, more engaged teams, and works alongside flight risk models to keep top performers engaged and satisfied. 

The Great Resignation has required employers to supercharge their recruiting process. AI can help support these efforts by screening, shortlisting, and identifying top candidates. According to Ceridian’s recent Future of Work report, 46 percent of executives plan to use AI tools for recruiting and talent management, while another 42 percent are already doing so. 

Meanwhile, data-driven insights are helping HR leaders measure engagement and performance, make fair compensation decisions, support diversity, equity and inclusion, and succession plan. Emerging technologies are creating value through increased efficiency, immediacy, and more accurate decision-making. They enable the personalization of services and the automation of day-to-day processes. 

Emerging tech’s trailblazing benefits 

It’s important HR leaders understand how benefits are achieved – so they can focus on setting meaningful and measurable goals to get the most out of their investments in technology, and bring the rest of the organization on board. This includes: 

  * Better financial decision making  

AI and machine learning are helping leaders forecast the future values of their KPIs – for example sales, foot traffic, transactions, units, or other metrics – based on historical data and trends. This information can then be used by HR departments to create labor deployment curves and optimize schedules with a clear cost-benefit.  

  * Reducing the allure of the Great Resignation 

Big data and predictive analytics, powered by machine learning, can help employers discover the key factors linked to flight risk. Actionable insights can be identified for each employee to inform and predict flight risk so organizations can act accordingly. The more frequently these insights are provided, the better teams can respond in real-time to keep top performers engaged and satisfied. 

  * Getting the most out of business benefit schemes 

After payroll, company benefits can be the biggest expense for organizations – so managing this well is business-critical. Encouraging employees to use these benefits starts with adopting the right package for them. Intelligent, AI-based solutions help find the most suitable and cost-efficient packages for employees. They offer the chance to measure utilization and distribution of plans across an employee base and identify strengths and weaknesses in the offerings for employers to action and improve. 

   * Time back to focus on human impact 

Technology offers the ability to improve efficiencies, accuracies and save time. AI, machine learning and analytics are improving once burdensome administrative tasks. In HR this means real-time actionable insights and intelligence is available – and HR staff should have the time to use this insight to do what they do best: focus on people. 

Major changes are on the horizon for organizations that leverage AI and data analytics. The benefits are clear. Employees are more likely to have engaging careers with suitable progression, HR professionals and managers have the time to nurture important business relationships, and organizations have a more engaged and productive workforce. And then, fewer people need to be resigned to resignation. Now that really would be great.

David Lloyd, Chief Data Officer, Ceridian

David Lloyd is Chief Data Officer at Ceridian, a leader in the Human Capital Management space that is working to make work life better through intelligence at work.