AI and automation have been showing great traction in the HR Technology space. AI and RPA not only improve the efficiency of the HR function but also improve the overall employee engagement rates across departments. According to Gartner, a successful AI implementation depends on solid collaboration between two important teams – HR and IT. Clearly, in the era of remote workforce that focuses on employee experience within security frameworks, having “data of sufficient volume and quality is critical for successful AI implementations.”
We sat down with Matthew Stewart, Chief Product Officer at orgvue to discuss about the use of AI, and Automation in HR Technology platforms.
Hi Mathew, please tell us about your role and the team / technology you handle at orgvue. How did you arrive here
I joined orgvue about three months ago, coming from Experian where I led the Global Product Management function for the decisioning software business based in London. My career has been focused on leveraging technology and data to help organizations improve decision making, drive business efficiency, and better engage their stakeholders. Given that, orgvue was a great and natural transition for me in my career.
At orgvue, I will be overseeing our product growth and evolution as the company transitions towards an end-to-end organizational design and workforce planning solution. This includes fine-tuning orgvue’s user experience to accommodate an increasingly broad array of user personas, ensuring the product supports new, dynamic organizational structures, such as agile and matrix operating models, and ensuring the platform seamlessly integrates into the broader HCM ecosystem. My remit spans product management, user experience (UX), and solutions.
orgvue provides businesses with unrivaled clarity on what’s really going on in their organizations making the connections between the business strategy, the work, the skills, and the workforce, so they can confidently get the right people doing the right things at the right time.
Tell us more about your role and how it evolved during the pandemic months? What technology / applications did you leverage to boost your remote workplace?
I joined orgvue fairly late in the pandemic, but the business has done a great job of providing the tools, and more importantly the culture, for the organization to thrive as a distributed, remote team.
At orgvue, we use the standard tools for video meetings that you would expect, but we infuse these tools with a culture and attitude that ensures everyone can participate and everyone is heard. orgvue is heavily invested in programs to support the social elements of work and employees mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing such as online yoga classes.
And as we think ahead to the future of work coming out of the pandemic, we’ve already launched our “work your way” hybrid programme that ensures everyone on the team has the freedom to choose if, when, and how often they need to be in the office vs. working elsewhere.
Tell us more about using AI in HR Technology platforms?
We’re starting to see applications of AI in a range of HR Tech applications, but I think we’ve really only scratched the surface so far. For years, organizations have focused – and succeeded – in generating insight and value from a range of consumer data. However, when it comes to HR related data, all too often organizations have disjointed data across multiple applications and spreadsheets throughout the business, making it challenging to draw even basic insights, let alone leverage more complex AI algorithms.
One of the things that orgvue has done really well is the ability to quickly bring those disparate data sources together for a single source of truth with simple concepts like “painting with data” (a visual drag and drop method of cleaning data) and unique ways to visualize the complex interactions within the data to bring it to life and start drawing insights within a matter of days.
In the near term, I would expect to see applications focus on AI augmentation in the HR Tech space – in other words, not AI in place of humans, but AI that support better, more productive decision making within the business. For example, advanced modelling techniques to support workforce demand and supply forecasting or people recommendation engines to provide guidance on succession planning or training assessments.
We hear so much about AI, RPA and Bots likely to take away jobs. How should industry analysts balance the two sides of AI adoption across industries?
AI, RPA, and Bots are ultimately tools that improve our efficiency, help us make better, more informed decisions, and generally make people more productive. Thirty years ago, many of the same concerns existed regarding the adoption of personal computers. And while many roles have been eliminated over the years because we could get more done with fewer people as a result of PCs, the industry – and its derivative industries – created an enormous number of new roles and jobs.
The same is likely true for AI, RPA, and Bots – many jobs will see partial automation and a few roles will likely be fully automated – AI won’t eliminate humans in the workforce, but will simply change the work they do. These tools will make people more productive and provide them with better insight to make improved decisions. The result will be a whole new world with new roles and jobs that likely aren’t even on our radar today – many of the same reports that highlight potential job loss from automation also note the prospect of significant job creation from these new technologies.
Within an organization, it does mean HR needs to keep its finger on the pulse of how new technologies will change the competency, skill, and role profiles within their own organizations and proactively prepare for that change.
Your opinion on the idea of reskilling needed for high-growth industries:
The pandemic was a unique situation that drove a rapid shift in the skill needs of organizations across the globe. For example, the need for digital skills to support accelerated digital transformation plans in a matter of months rather than years.
And while the scale of the pandemic as a force for change is unique, the reality is history has shown us that individual organizations and entire industries will naturally evolve over time. As a result, the skills needed to be successful, remain competitive, and grow your business will be constantly evolving…sometimes slowly and sometimes radically. And that evolution can be driven by factors ranging from new technology as noted above to changing customer expectations to new and unexpected competition.
As a result, organizations need to be vigilant and disciplined in how they keep a pulse on the changing skills profile of the organization over time. What activities will the business need to focus resources on over the planning horizon to achieve their business goals and do you have the skills in sufficient quantity and proficiency to be successful.
That means understanding where you are today and where your need to be tomorrow relative to the skills and competencies of your organization – understanding the magnitude, scope, and timing of the skills gaps will allow you to put together a plan of action – such as a training needs assessment – to begin addressing those shifting skill needs.
And it can’t be a one and done exercise, but rather needs to be an ongoing, continual exercise to ensure you stay on target as skill needs continually shift over time.
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Your prediction on the future of AI’s role in post-COVID world and how it would influence the C-level expectations from HRtech investments:
Prior to the pandemic, AI and HR Tech was high on the agenda for many C-Suites, but the pandemic really put a spotlight on HR practices with the dramatic shift to remote working and the need to digitize the business almost overnight. As a result, coming out of the pandemic, I would expect a new appreciation for the value HR Tech can bring to the business, along with an increased focus and investment level.
Tag a person in the industry whose answers you would like to see here:
Kai Berendes, Executive Partner at Dynaplan
Thank you, Mathew! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.
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orgvue, the leading organisational planning and design software platform, harnesses the power of data visualisation and modelling to build more adaptable, better performing organisations in an era of constantly changing market dynamics. HR, Finance and business leaders use the platform to take control of their organisations and, with data evidence, make faster, more confident decisions that get the right people doing the right work, in the right places, at the right costs. Founded in 2008 and funded by £41M in growth equity investment (May 2018), orgvue has been implemented by the world’s largest enterprises and leading management consulting firms to fearlessly build the organisations they want tomorrow, today.