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Founders’ Two-pence: How to Harness Tech to Win the Talent War

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Published on February 28, 2024

Disruptive market conditions, availability of cross-border talent pools, acceptance of remote working and local skill shortages are forcing businesses to adopt new talent strategies for success. Quick ramp-ups and ramp-downs have become an integral part of running a business. On-demand skills & capabilities are coming in handy to sustain business growth at optimal costs, mitigate risks and maximize value. The blended workforce model aligns well with the evolving employee makeup too, as both mature and new-age talent preferences harbor new ways of working. To make these polarities meet, organizations are relying more and more on aggregator platforms for contractors, professional service companies, gig talent, domain experts, consultants on-demand, crowdsourced contributors, app developers, and even certain technologies to achieve strategic goals and objectives*2. Emerging technologies such as large language models (LLMs), AI, ML, metaverse, etc, are leading to a new-age workforce ecosystem. For example, the advent of progressive talent management practices are leading the shift towards a skills-first workforce management strategy. Such a talent strategy is more focused on ‘skills and capabilities ’ versus ‘jobs and roles’, and person-centered. This is not the far future but is happening now; compelling companies to attract, engage, develop and manage the ‘pivotal’ people i.e. those that contribute and add crucial value to their organization.

A Snapshot: The Current Talent Landscape

We are seeing the rise of the pivotal talent with the critical skills that will become the ultimate prize for organizations’ success.

Deepak Rajasekar, Partner & Director, India, SolveCube elaborates, “As organizations constantly look to grow and expand their businesses, the need for talented individuals is ever-increasing. However, searching for senior-level professionals can be a daunting task, often taking months to complete. This task is further complicated when the need for such professionals is only for a short duration or a specific project. So, we as a leadership team consisting of a HR practitioner, a digital transformation expert, a process transformation expert, an organization transformation expert and two entrepreneurs, set out to transform the talent acquisition space. We leveraged the power of AI and a massive talent inventory aggregated through APIs to create a complete AI Talent platform, which firstly can save time, money and effort, and secondly allow for creative solutions in the talent acquisition space.“

Skills, experience and networks indeed are the keys to bridge the skill gaps*7 and organizations are moving away from the traditional age-old model of narrowly defined ‘jobs and job titles’ to a more needs-based approach centered around ‘skills, capabilities and interests’. Such a holistic workforce ecosystem focuses on the work that needs to get done and on its linkage with business outcomes.

As Chandru Pingali, Founder and Managing Director, SolveCube, puts it, “The three Cs will continue to drive business – Capability, Chemistry and Culture.”

Leaders are realizing this shift in the talent outlook and accordingly upgrading their HR technology. Naturally, the top focus areas for HR leaders are:

#1: 57% #2: 53% #3: 46%
Understanding how the size, shape, skills and organization of the workforce needs to change to meet future needs three years out Improving the mental health and wellbeing of the workforce Building a talent marketplace which allows for the matching of skills to tasks as well as people to jobs

What is the ‘Tech Advantage’?

Digital platforms are matching talent with employers, skills with demand, capital with innovators, and consumers with suppliers faster and smarter. This technological infiltration into work-life will affect every level of the business and its people. Technology has far-reaching implications, it has the power to improve our lives by raising productivity, living standards and average life span, and free people to focus on personal fulfillment. But it also brings the threat of social unrest and political upheaval if economic advantages are not shared equitably. Hence it is too important an issue to leave to IT (or HR) alone.

Blurb: 37% people are worried about automation putting jobs at risk – up from 33% in 2014.*1

Despite overarching concerns around AI, tech is an enabler of holistic workforce management strategy. Not only can it augment and automate work done by humans ,but can drive efficiency and effectiveness for better business outcomes*1. Deepa Chandrasekhar, Principle Consultant, SolveCube resonates her personal connect with this idea, “I love that the talent solution we envisioned and created has built into it what matters to me – equitable access to work opportunities; and efficient outcomes. We made SolveCube into an AI-enabled skill, capability, and fit-for-role-focused integrated talent solution that provides businesses with an uncluttered experience, cost-effective option to get on with the business of acquiring talent; and provide domain experts a foot-in-the-door based on equity and meritocracy. At SolveCube, we’ve made efficiency and equity come alive on a platform!”

This is crucial to drive digital transformation, cost efficiencies, productivity, speed, agility, flexibility, and ramp up the workplace and workforce for future success. Therefore, business leaders must embrace tech solutions for their talent strategy.

How to Harness Tech for Talent Success?

  • Enable automation: Automate repetitive and time‐consuming tasks and use assisted intelligence to build a new-age tech ecosystem. For example, resume-parsing and screening for a faster and better talent acquisition process.
  • Integrate digitization and digitalization: Integrate digital to create a frictionless and engaging working environment. For this, leaders must turn digital in thought, word and deed*5. Closely linked to digital is data. Organizations, governments, and individuals must decide how to share and use data in a human-centric manner, for the greater good.
  • Advance analytics from insights to action: Move beyond tracking of KPIs and dashboards to harness the power of human social networks. Use relational analytics to derive meaningful insights and take business-forward actions*5. Business leaders have jumped onto this bandwagon – 36% of survey*3 respondents believe that delivering predictive insights and business value will be a priority in the next three years.
  • Create AI-enabled talent marketplaces: Create ‘talent in flow’ by integrating talent data, business insights and forecasts*5. Open workforce platforms*3 can help unlock the potential of every type of talent, )whether on-role, off-role, contract, consultant, interim executive, freelancer, fractional executive, or in any other talent model) by enabling omni-channel talent acquisition. It will also help watch costs by institutionalizing legal, compliance and regulatory processes by talent type.
  • Enable access to continuous learning: Learning ‘in the flow of work’ is critical to cultivate a culture of lifelong learning and to push skill development. Build tech tools such as AI-personalized learning recommendations, engaging learning content, and anytime-anywhere access, with a focus on the outcome.

The optimum approach is to move beyond HRIS or HRMS, and choose a technology platform as the basis of the organization’s ‘digital headquarters’ to make the organization more accessible, connected, and communicating seamlessly*3. Mahboob Hussain, Head – Platform Technology shares how this is possible with the SolveCube platform, “SolveCube’s platform built with microservices architecture uses cutting-edge technology – not for the sake of using technology but as a tool to make a difference in the world of work and create social impact. As a technocrat, that appeals to me! The Natural Language Processing (NLP) subdomain of AI has vast potential, which I find exciting”

Paving the way for Agile Talent Management

Business leaders and HR leaders are prioritizing talent transformation using technology. In fact, HR leaders have outlined three tech-priorities*3 as the top #4, #5 and #6 :

#4: 39% #5: 39% #6: 36%
Automating HR service delivery Delivering digital technology into HR beyond the core HR system of record Delivering predictive insight and business value from workforce analytics

Leaders can build an agile talent management strategy by integrating such ecosystem platforms with business strategy, to adapt to the changing business scenarios. *1 Mere tech will not help here, it requires deep human intelligence and cognitive skills, to navigate today’s TUNA (turbulent-uncertain-novel-ambiguous) environment. Hence, leaders must learn to blend tech with human touch, and strike the right balance to harness the business benefits of a blended approach. This endeavor begins with leaders asking some compelling questions:

“How far will tech alone take us in the skill-building race?”
“How can we learn to blend tech with human touch, striking the right balance?”

And ultimately,

“How can we harness the business benefits of a blended approach?”

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Reference Sources:

  1. New fundamentals for a boundaryless world, Deloitte’s 2023 Human Capital Trends Report
  2. Managing the extended and connected workforce, Deloitte Insights
  3. The future of HR: Moving from “function” to value generator, KPMG
  4. HR functional perspectives, Contingent Workforce, Global Business Driven HR Transformation The Journey Continues
  5. The future of HR, from flux to flow, KPMG
  6. PwC Global Workforce Hopes & Fears Survey, 2023
  7. Workforce of the future, The competing forces shaping 2030, PwC