Shaping modern HR: AI and skills management (includes review of @HRCurator and HR Exchange Webinar)


McKinsey & Company recently stated the importance of AI in assisting human resources and supporting performance management. Rather than the usual scaremongering surrounding AI, the importance of what it can bring to areas like performance management cannot be underestimated. 

This week in DevSkiller TalentTech Weekly we’re discussing the potential of AI in relation to McKinsey’s article, as well as looking at the power of people and skills for the future of work. Let’s dive in!

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Generative AI shaping the future of HR (LINK HERE)

From hiring to performance management and onboarding, in their article McKinsey & Company details the various ways AI can positively affect change in the HR industry.

In the coming years, AI will reshape acquisition and talent management as we know it. McKinsey focuses on how quickly hiring managers will be able to pinpoint the exact skills required for a job role. Further than this, however, HR workers will be able to automatically evaluate candidates using automated assessments that have been selected using advanced screening platforms. This is already happening at DevSkiller.

However, technology will advance. AI will likely be able to perform interviews and technical assessments, slowly relieving HR workers of everyday tasks and freeing up their time for more advanced challenges that still require the human touch.     

One exciting area mentioned by McKinsey is the personalization of candidate communications. Following on from AI being used to screen candidates’ resumes, technology will develop that allows AI to reply to candidates’ applications while personalizing responses quickly.

However, AI develops HR, and some things are clear. The effect will be profound, but the technology will assist humans, not replace them. The human element is still very much essential in human resources. 

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From jobs to skills: What the future of work will look like (LINK HERE)

In previous editions, DevSkiller TalentTech Weekly has discussed the role skills-based working will play in the future. Forbes recently picked up the topic with some interesting commentary. 

Forbes’ take on the matter is much the same as ours here at DevSkiller— that the shift to skills-based work is inevitable.  

“The skills-based organization is a natural evolution of well-established workplace trends, such as agile work methodologies, cross-disciplinary teams, and matrix management.”

A skills-based approach to work allows companies to quickly adapt and stay agile as technology continues to change the face of global work. 

Forbes’ article quotes Matthew Daniel, senior principal for talent strategy at Guild, saying, “When employers hire based on skills, rather than things like degree requirements, they create a more diverse and tailored talent pool, driven by insights necessary to keep up with the pace of change.”

Skills-focused work is different from what has been seen before because employees are usually focused on one traditional job role with specific tasks. However, by focusing on skills and not job roles, teams can be quickly assembled based on specific skills they possess. So the right people can be selected for every project. Meaning you always put your best team out.

“Instead of a strict hierarchy of employees with fixed roles and responsibilities, a skill-based organization will likely function more like a revolving talent pool.”

With such focus on skills, inevitably comes the question of how to keep track of the learning and development of every member of your organization. The task is too massive for any employee to take on, and unreasonable to expect it can be done without the use of programs that are dedicated to such a task. Advanced talent management platforms implementing detailed skills ontologies are no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have.

While traditional skills taxonomies create a hierarchical structure of work that it can be difficult to break out of, skills ontologies by contrast, allow organizations to focus skills where they are needed most. When teams are formed around particular roles, it leaves little room for adaptability when those roles inevitably evolve. A skills ontology, however, provides an agile and modern response to the changing-face of work, where skills based on cross-team collaboration, become more and more desirable. 

At DevSkiller, we have been preparing for the skills revolution for many years. Tailoring our unique products to assist companies in readying for the future. 

AI, it seems, is on everyone’s minds right now, and Forbes discusses the effects it will have on work. The take is that the arrival of advanced AI into the mainstream has sped up what was already an inevitable change, and with that comes the realization that to get the most out of it, workers will need to know how to use AI effectively. Those companies that don’t focus on adapting their workers’ skills today may find it hard to catch up as time progresses. 

Forbes’ article leaves us with a stark warning, “To stick with traditional approaches to talent acquisition and development is to risk falling behind.”

People analytics is the new HR (LINK HERE)

Dave Millner (the HR Curator) recently released the second edition of the book he co-authored with Nadeem Khan, Intro to People Analytics: A Practical Guide to Data-Driven HR. He recently spoke to HR Exchange and shared his insights about why Human Resources leaders must cut through their fears and embrace data. Here’s what he had to say.

The book aims to get HR thinking in a data-oriented way. Millner lists 3 main focus points readers should consider:

  1. Data is not going away.
  2. Data is not as scary as people might think. 
  3. To make HR workers more data-orientated with the way they approach their work.

“What we’re trying to do here is to make HR a bit more data-literate.”

Millner emphasizes the importance of numbers in modern HR work. 

“We need to ensure that we, as HR, need to speak the language of the organization and the language of the business they are in.” 

For Millner, it seems evident that as global work becomes more data-focused, HR teams must also adapt how they approach work. 

“We need to make sure that we connect with the leaders, and make sure that everything we do is aligned with the strategy of the organization.” 

Millner’s book tackles various topics, from how to make an impact with metrics and workforce planning to use technology systems tailored to helping HR workers with the transition to being data-focused. Highlighting the need for HR teams to evolve the way they work. 

Of course, not all data is usable ethically, and as we move forward HR workers will have to work out what data can be used to advance the skills development of an individual, without violating the personal sphere of that employee. 

“Data and analytics is not going to go away, and we’ve got to really embrace it.”  

On people analytics, Millner emphasizes that the critical aspect for HR workers to focus on is not the numbers themselves but the use of numbers to tell a story and get their overall point across.

“You can have the most complex and brilliant statistics ever, but if you can’t tell the story, no one will want to do anything about it.” 

The focus needs to be, ‘What have we found out? What are we thinking about? What do we suggest organizations should be investing in?’

For Millner, HR workers should say, “What is the business problem, not what is the people problem.”

The main point to address for Millner is to get HR teams to start thinking of themselves as part of the overall success of a company.  With that comes the need to use data and figures to back up arguments. “Data drives accountability.” 

For HR teams to remain relevant, it is clear that a shift needs to happen where HR leaders understand that the role of HR has changed, and with that comes the need to adapt. Modern HR work needs to stay aligned with the company’s strategic business objectives overall. 

As Millner puts it, “Pointless having a seat at the table if you’ve got nothing to say.” 

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