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Experts View

How AI Can Solve the Talent Challenge

Ashish Mediratta, Vice President and Principal, Talent Transformation at Eightfold India

Talent acquisition is getting even more challenging. Businesses are transforming quickly, making traditional job descriptions less useful than ever before. Skills that have one meaning today such as “communication” have another meaning in the future. Organisations are looking at talent requirements that were non-existent earlier.

Organisations don’t know how to fix this. It starts as a strictly departmental recruiting problem or an HR problem, but in the big picture, it’s a business problem.

Organisations suffer when:

People leave jobs despite there being opportunities internally they didn’t even know about. So often, employees leave for new challenges, and companies suffer, having spent time educating and onboarding the employee. The business loses someone who knows how to get things done within that company. It decides to look externally to fill the position. What nobody realizes is that instead of letting go off a familiar face, the organisation could have retained the employee by introducing them to other opportunities that were available internally. This could have saved the organisation the trouble of finding new, untrained talent to fit in, and also let the current employee explore newer roles and experience a sense of growth and expansion in their own careers.

Employees unaware of newer opportunities in the same organization. Like mentioned in point 1, employees themselves are mostly unaware that with their present skill-sets, they can fulfill other roles in the same organisation. The employee often misinterprets the amount of experience required in a particular role. The company does too: it gives undue emphasis to the experience of the candidate, and less to the kind of skill set one comes with. Then employees miss out on moves which could have opened up exciting prospects for both the employee and the company. In a radio station, for example, there could be a vacancy for a new radio jockey. Here, the recruitment team may look at profiles outside the organization. But there could be an employee with great vocal communication skills working internally in an entirely different department, who may look to move out some day to a different role from its current one. Here, both the employer and employee will never see that there is a possibility of internal hiring and replacement.

Companies cannot find enough of the right people for their roles. Several factors can make job successions challenging. An organization in one place may have trouble finding a replacement in that city. Or, the organization thinks no one is available; as already discussed earlier, companies tend to mistake skills and talent with experience. Someone may have the skills, but the employer only knows how to search for experience. Also, with changing dynamics at workplaces, with departmental activities at times getting merged, the candidate will have to juggle many roles if they get the job, which makes job descriptions vague. To fulfill such roles, companies have to look at an extensive number of candidates and go through numerous filtering sessions. This is both time and resource consuming, and could take so long that the right candidate for the role may no longer be available. Positions stay vacant, and the business suffers.

AI Coming to the Talent Mobility Rescue

Artificial intelligence is the best shot at doing away with the redundant HR processes that we had already discussed.

AI can help HR and talent teams address challenges such as filling open roles, succession planning, short employee tenures, and lack of diversity at scale. Enterprises are embracing advanced AI technologies to solve talent challenges, and their employees are more accepting of these technologies than not. The talent crisis is real, and AI has the potential to solve it for their full-time employees.

New technology is helping HR teams to become more effective, competitive, and productive.

AI can be highly effective in:

·         Breaking down what is needed for a job, so a company can hire for skills, not “who is doing that job now”

·         Helping companies see who has the skills needed to do a job, searching data from current employees, applicants, and alumni from existing enterprise systems and public sources in one Talent Network.

·         Moving past resumes/CVs and job descriptions (we can forget about Boolean search strings, which they safely belong in the past)

·         Predicting accurately, enabling decision making based on potential

·         Ignoring personal characteristics, greatly improving diversity

·         Creating a positive experience resembling the most-used consumer technologies in the world.

An AI-based talent platform can give organizations more accurate and more efficient predictions of a candidate’s work-related behaviors and performance potential. Unlike traditional recruitment methods, such as employee referrals, CV screening, and face-to-face interviews, AI is able to find patterns unseen by the human eye. The talent acquisition platforms take in data from employees who are currently employed, passive and active candidates, referred candidates, and alumni combined into one Talent Network and bring to the surface high-ranking, qualified talent for any job. With candidate-identity anonymizing, AI platforms can also eliminate unconscious bias to greatly improve diversity in hiring.

With a Talent Network, an AI-based platform can improve the internal mobility of employees by revealing internal transfer and promotion opportunities. Such platforms can expedite the processes of immediately finding, ranking, and displaying the best-fit jobs for any candidate visiting a career site, increasing the rate of qualified applications.

AI-based Talent Intelligence Platforms can aid in achieving improved candidate response, and also in speeding up hiring cycles, reducing attrition, lowering cost-to-hire, and creating greater diversity & inclusion.

With AI, Talent Networks are continually updated. So, if someone applied for a job several years ago with your company, or left the company years ago, the Platform automatically enriches the profile of that person to capture their recent experience and skills they’ve gained. That helps identify the right individuals for any need, whether those individuals are applicants, employees, sourced external talent, and even contingent workers.

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