The world as we know it has gone digital. The proof sits before you as your eyes scan over this page. Yet, over three decades into this digital revolution, many of the core processes of established organizations remain analog.

There are times when this is appropriate. We might agree that a robotic CEO might lack the necessary compassion. Overall, however, businesses stand to gain so much more than they stand to lose by versing themselves in digital solutions to inherited problems.

Recently, I took a 5-week AI4HR course. It struck me how the course, which was all administered online, was able to accelerate the speed of learning by employing an assortment of digital learning tools. I found myself amazed by how quickly the digital world is evolving – both in the applications available to support all the functional areas of HR, and by how agile we need to be in order to recommend, develop, and implement these solutions.

What I’m about to share with you represents a shift in perspective in the HR space. These are technology-driven solutions that are having a measurable impact on profitability, talent management, and employee engagement. It’s my hope that these current trends in digital HR energize you to question old processes, and imagine what else is possible.

1. Saving Time with Automation

Efficiency is a golden objective for every organization, so it’s only natural that technology would evolve to help us optimize our timesheets. While automation is the process of using tech-based solutions to perform tasks that chip away at our time without adding a lot of value.

Many of us corporate veterans are familiar with the exasperation of answering the same phone calls, and then eventually responding to the same emails, over and over. These mundane tasks erode our time, cost our companies dearly, and seldom reward us with any significant value.

Now, companies are catching on. “Emma”, the voice-activated app introduced by health insurance provider Alegeus uses voice commands to interact with Alegeus clients, like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. But rather than searching the web or turning on your hallway lights, Emma specializes in answering questions about Alegeus’ benefits policies.

How to Put This Trend into Action

Implementing automation can be costly on the outset, but the value is exponential when the solution offers a better experience for both external and internal parties. For organizations who choose Alegeus for their health benefits packages, Emma provides value in two ways: she connects internal personnel to details about their package instantly and conversationally, and she shields HR representatives from fielding these inquiries, many of which can be time-consuming.

Using automated technology, common inquiries can be filtered out of the middle manager’s workflow, allowing them to focus on more intellectually demanding tasks.

2. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment

Artificial intelligence is not yet at a place in which it can substitute human ingenuity, creativity, and curiosity. Perhaps it’s best if it never is. Fortunately, developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have evolved to a point in which they can supplement human resources at scale, using big data to sort and execute tasks in minutes that would take human beings days, weeks, or even months. This is highly valuable in the recruitment space.

Today, savvy HR managers are leveraging AI to filter out the noise in the talent pipeline. This process, which Josh Bersin calls ‘Blind Recruiting’, enables organizations to intelligently sift through the talent pool, screen candidates, and make smarter hiring decisions.

How to Put This Trend into Action

Chatbots can be programmed to respond to questions from interested prospects by setting up canned answers to common questions, triggered by keywords. For instance, a potential candidate could visit the company website and ask the Chatbot what kinds of positions the organization is hiring for. The Chatbot, recognizing words like “positions” and “hiring” can then display a message summarizing the open postings.

And that’s just the beginning. AI solutions are becoming more and more commonplace to aid HR teams in pinpointing resumes that meet key hiring criteria. This process not only helps with efficient hiring at scale, but also combats unfair hiring practices. Using ‘Blind Recruiting’, organizations can use a layer of tech to assist in reducing unconscious bias and work toward a more diverse corporate culture.

Are you committed to a sustainable, value-building HR strategy? Our complimentary insights article, “HR Strategy Delivering ROI” outlines how people management impacts the bottom line. Download your copy today.

3. Storytelling with Digital Media

As the workforce ages, the talent pool is filling up with young talent who have fully integrated themselves in the digital universe. These workers have different motivations than the generations before them. Acutely aware of their options in an ultra-connected world, this generation doesn’t search for a job – they search for a culture.

Now more than ever, organizations need to think beyond marketing to customers and start marketing themselves to up-and-coming talent. That includes using digital media to deliver engaging content that tells your company culture story.

The talent we want to attract craves a workplace where they feel they belong, and in doing so, make an impact. They’re looking for cues.

How to Put This Trend into Action

Social media, video, and online resources express the focus, values, and attitude of your organization. We must act like our dream candidates are paying attention because, in fact, they are.

4. Using Tech As a Gateway to Work/Life Balance

For decades, the 9-to-5 office job was, if not the gold standard, then at least the default of the middle class. While the generation that occupies the majority of the corner offices may feel strongly about being physically present in them, the trend of offering remote work is rapidly gaining traction.

Rightfully so. Today, most operational tasks can be performed from a home computer. The option to work some, or all, of the week from home has enormous appeal to employees who crave flexibility in their schedules. The terms of the arrangement can be negotiated to maximize both employee output and workplace mental health.

How to Put This Trend into Action

I’ve noticed many CEOs respond to the remote work trend with discomfort. On the surface, ‘remote work’ sounds like another word for ‘paid time off’. This perspective overlooks the capacity of the organization to select engaged, motivated candidates to join their teams.

When properly introduced into the corporate culture, remote work solutions enable growing organizations to promote a sense of autonomy among their people. This lays the groundwork for a different approach to the use of commercial space, in which multi-purpose shared facilities are prioritized against costly square footage.

“Going digital” can be daunting, as it often involves a careful re-examination of processes that have long been left unchecked. If you sense that your organization is being held back by old tactics, the right technology can pave the road for increased productivity and innovation. For guidance on making the investment in digital HR solutions, I encourage you to contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.

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