Even before the pandemic, technology was becoming integral to all job functions. And after the workforce went remote for many professionals and industries in March 2020, it became instrumental in talent management, engaging professionals at their organizations with renewed vigor. Who among us hasn’t used Zoom, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, and other digital collaboration and communication tools?
But even those platforms, which have become second nature to so many of us, seem rudimentary compared with many of the innovations used in talent management today. Across industries, human resources professionals are engaging — and retaining — their colleagues, thanks to these revolutionary technologies.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
VR and AR have revolutionized our very world — in fact, the technologies have created ways for us to interact with new worlds.
AR, which involves overlaying the physical world with digital elements, effectively combining the real and the imagined, enhances our ways of engaging with the things around us. Think of the ever-popular Snapchat filters. Meanwhile, VR fully immerses us in completely digital environments, thanks to the help of headsets, glasses, gloves, and other aids. We can experience history, faraway lands, and much more without even moving from our seats.
AR and VR have become tools HR professionals rely on to recruit, train, onboard, and engage employees. For example, new employees can take a virtual tour of their offices without even setting foot in the physical space. This can help them understand the company culture from afar, such that they can feel like they’re actually in the workplace.
In high-stakes scenarios, trainees can learn how to use and deploy equipment without hands-on manipulation, increasing safety and ensuring that the professionals know how to leverage the tools properly before using them in the real world. The military and manufacturing industry, for example, have been utilizing AR and VR for years to reduce costs and train workers by replicating real-world scenarios, allowing them to make mistakes without catastrophic impact.
AR and VR can also facilitate more engaging learning and upskilling opportunities, too, along with team-building events. By replicating and immersing employees in simulated environments, individuals can take part without ever leaving their couches — and without incurring travel or commuting expenses.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
AI is taking the world by storm. Once feared as the fuel behind a predicted “robot takeover,” many have now embraced this innovation as a godsend — something that makes our lives considerably easier.
AI certainly has a role in talent management, from recruitment to retention efforts. For example, applicant tracking systems (ATS) leverage AI to identify qualified candidates from their resumes and application materials, pinpointing applicants who meet the specified requirements and have the necessary qualifications. It can also be trained to reduce bias in the hiring process as professionals continue to feed it new data and improve the algorithms.
Ultimately, AI platforms can assist in reducing time-to-hire and minimize costs associated with the hiring process. But the role of AI is not limited to hiring. It can be instrumental in engaging and retaining existing employees as well.
AI and ML, a subset of artificial intelligence, have the power to personalize the learning and upskilling experience for employees. In training, for instance, they can adjust education plans based on an assessment of the employee’s current skills and what needs improvement. They can also facilitate smart learning, improving education.
These tools are also proving instrumental in career pathing. Based on employees’ performance, HR professionals can leverage AI platforms to identify their qualifications and offer personalized guidance, helping them utilize their skillsets to capitalize on opportunities now and in the future.
Moreover, AI will prove pivotal to retention efforts. It can, for instance, identify patterns that indicate an employee is more or less engaged, prompting HR professionals to invest additional resources and efforts into keeping them happy as well as connecting them with mentors within the company.
Data Science in talent management
No talent management strategy is complete without data science. Today, we have access to Big Data, which provides unprecedented insights into talent management from start to finish — hiring, engagement, retention, and much more. These invaluable analytics will prove to play a critical role in facilitating and strengthening the talent management process.
Organizational platforms can produce a wealth of information, via dashboards, reporting, and other tools, about how employees perform, where they spend their time, and much more. This will help HR professionals and managers understand their employees on a deeper level and create plans to better leverage their skills, improve their performance if need be, help them gain knowledge and skills, monitor progression, and engage them.
After all, in today’s world, it’s essential to make data-driven decisions supported by facts. Data science makes this possible — and it means a more robust career journey for employees of all types and levels. It also means a better organization overall. Employers can utilize data to set more realistic goals and benchmarks, reward top performers, understand and reduce attrition, and, at the end of the day, make better choices as a company.
Technology in Talent Management: Going Forward
Technology is clearly changing the entire talent management landscape, making it more sophisticated and effective. AR/VR, AI, and data science are just some of the ways organizations of all types and their HR teams are leveraging digital tools and their many capabilities to recruit, retain, engage, inspire, and otherwise ensure that employees feel supported.
Going forward, we will see these and other technologies leveraged for superior talent management now and well into the future.