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The Now Normal of Work and Beyond: Tech and the Future of HR

By Joe Hanna, Chief Strategy Officer at Workforce Logiq

The workplace has fundamentally changed. Just a few months ago, the expectation was that employees work from the office five days a week, or more. Now, big companies such as Twitter and Facebook have announced permanent remote work options. And it’s not just tech: After a smooth work-from-home transition, Nationwide Insurance shut down five regional offices.

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The shift puts every business in unchartered territory, and hiring and workforce leaders must do more than simply adjust. Employers that tap artificial intelligence can create new value for their organizations in this now normal.

Three benefits of AI in today’s new world of work

Here are three tangible ways tech and data-driven insights are helping employers make talent location and remote work decisions that drive costs down, build greater workforce flexibility, expand the talent pool, and more.

  1. Determine which roles go remote.

With a growing remote workforce, how do employers quickly and effectively decide which jobs and employees should go where? Do you staff a data engineer at your San Francisco headquarters and pay top dollar for the talent? Or, do you turn your attention to Columbus, Ohio – which is a rising but less competitive hub for tech talent – and staff the role remotely at a 25% lower salary? And, how do you know if the work-from-home option will really work?

Many elements go into making these decisions. The answers will look different for every organization – but they should be rooted in data and insights. Based on the job description, level of collaboration required of the role, corporate culture, salary profiles, local commuting patterns, and more, AI can provide benchmarks and insights on how the role should be staffed – on-site, fully remote, or near remote with access to an existing office location. It won’t make the decision for you, but it will give you the insights you need to make a better, informed decision.

  1. Find high quality talent and skillsets in new markets.

Gartner reports 66% of HR leaders consider a shortage of critical skills and competencies as their biggest obstacle in hiring. But, that was before employers went through the “world’s largest work-from-home experiment” and talent pools significantly opened up.

The new focus: finding and hiring the best person for the job – regardless of where in the world they’re located – instead of limiting talent searches to the vicinity of office locations. With predictive analytics and AI, employers can anticipate skills gaps, proactively kick-start the hiring process to address the issue before they feel the impacts, and use market-specific supply and demand and skills insights to identify the best places from which to source the role.

  1. Hire the talent you need, at the lowest possible cost.

Every company is looking to cut costs right now. As of June, 40% of organizations said cost optimization was the biggest priority shift, and 52% said they’re continuing business operations at a reduced level due to the pandemic. Beyond higher salaries, choosing to staff roles remotely avoids costs of candidate relocation, commuting, travel, and other expenses that can make a big difference when facing financial uncertainty.

The strategic and forward-looking insights enabled by AI create a real competitive advantage for employers in today’s hyper-uncertain market by helping to lower costs, without limiting the talent pool. Hiring and workforce leaders can use AI models to project how much staffing a role in New York vs. Columbus vs. San Francisco, or another market, would cost, and the quality of talent they’d attract with each option – and use that intel to make an informed, confident, and cost effective hiring decision. The technology can also predict which candidates are most likely to engage with the recruiting team, and should be shortlisted, speeding the hiring cycle and cutting down on recruiting costs.

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AI and HR: What to expect in the future

A 2019 Gartner survey unveiled 47% of organizations will adopt AI-based solutions in HR by 2022. But now that the future of work is officially here, and organizations realize remote work not only works, but can drive bottom-line growth and broaden talent pools, that number is expected to spike. The use cases for AI in HR are also growing. As diversity and inclusion initiatives become a bigger business priority, the technology is helping employers build diverse and candidate-rich talent pipelines.

By identifying candidates likely to have diverse backgrounds, AI can help organizations ensure workers with the right skillsets and from underrepresented groups are included at the front end of the recruiting funnel. Employers can also use the intelligence to benchmark their diversity hiring performance to the nation, industry, and competitors, and understand within which groups they specifically need to boost employee representation, creating inclusivity within the workforce.

The global health crisis is a catalyst for transformational change in the HR and recruiting function. No longer limited by geography, employers can use AI to attract and recruit the best fit, diverse, and cost-effective talent. Employers that choose to leverage the technology and embrace the now normal will not only be better positioned to navigate today’s hyper-uncertainty, but to take advantage of future trends and opportunities that will undoubtedly arise in this new era.

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