Interview with Maria Shah, Co-Founder, Infinite Mindset
Software Unplugged: How has the HR industry changed over the last 20 years? What caused COVID-19 to be such a disruptive force in the HR ecosystem and what do you feel about the rapid advancement of HR Tech in the post-pandemic era?
Maria Shah: HR as an industry has evolved multifold over the last 20 years. The role of HR in an organization has emerged from Personnel Management and Admin to be the driving force for many initiatives: mapping talent to value; making the workforce more flexible; prioritizing strategic workforce planning, performance management, and reskilling; building a solid HR platform; and developing a flexible HR tech ecosystem. After the Dot com Boom, the role of HR has transformed in an unusual way, from being viewed as a cost centre to a strategic business partner walking hand in hand with stakeholders. Post-pandemic, the workforce is still working in a dispersed fashion, from different parts of the globe. There is a loss of human connection, which was previously there pre-pandemic when employees used to get opportunities to connect on existing platforms. There is a solid need to re-work the hiring models, employee engagement models and organizational structure, in order to create that paradigm change. HR teams have a big role to play here in redesigning Job Roles, devising newer and more compatible ways of Employee Engagement and restructuring the whole organisatiorganizational in a much more suitable way, in order ttore connection, unprecedented automation, lower transaction costs, and demographic shifts
Software Unplugged: As a forward-thinking HR professional in today’s tech-savvy world, could you share with us how to make the best use of HR Tech to perform your various HR tasks?
Maria Shah: Well..in the current scheme of things, there is a lot of transparency in the Organizational policies, in terms what are the benefits each organization offers to its prospective employees, as a result of which each and each andeveryation is striving hard to follow best practices to attract and retain the best talent. This places a lot of responsibility on the shoulder of HR, to be efficient by way of being tech savvy. Most of the work in Recruitment is data-driven. Enhancing the processes by using HR Technology not only streamlines the processes but also brings about a certain level of standardization in the HR work processes. Usage of technology in HR will help them in creating a better impact by enhancing the employee experience. Few of the tools and applications which are used by MNCs are Gather, Loom, Yac, Slido, Inc. Happeo, Workvivo, Unily
Software Unplugged: What are some examples of how technology has changed how HR operates, and what impact has this had on the industry?
Maria Shah: With the use of automation and technology, HR Tech is the key differentiator in terms of decreasing the TAT for the variety of tasks that HR was taking care of. The role of HR previously was also into managing the whole database of employees, but with the increasing use of technology, it is easier to create reminders and document the details, which has created a turnaround in the Job Roles of HR. Previously HR recruiters were dependent on Job Portals and References, now with different platforms like LinkedIn, it is much more transparent and easier to identify the right fit candidate. The organization have thehasompany Page on LinkedIn, where it can showcase its upcoming Initiatives, thereby enhancing its brand equity to attract the best talent.
Software Unplugged: What do you think about the growing adoption of artificial intelligence (AI in HR) and automation capabilities in HR?
Maria Shah: From having a defined number of offices, now the companies have several thousand offices, meaning that the employees are working from home across multiple locations from different parts of the globe. HR has to be very sound and strong, in ordtoan enabled workforce. The current need is to understand what the employees need to perform better, and also it is imperative to understand what support managers need to enable their workforce better. There is a need to do a major overhaul of the whole organizational structure. With the employees being tech savvy, HR must evolve in the whole scheme of things. Using tools like Grove HR, and LinkedIn, the usage of Chatbots will go a long way in streamlining HR Processes, creating more scope for engaging with employees and a,dding the much-needed human connection.
Software Unplugged: Many companies have moved away from traditional paper-based applications and résumés, opting instead for online forms and e-résumés that can be managed through Applicant Tracking System (ATS). What are your views on this trend?
Maria Shah: The usage of E-resumes and Online forms was prevalent till sometime back, which was very time-consuming and inconvenient and resulted in a higher cost per resource. These days organizations, as well as consultancies, are relying on Applicant Tracking System. ATS has a ubiquitous presence in HR Tech since it has a lot of benefits over the conventional mode of job applications, as in it is a one-stop shop for all the requirements related to recruitment and hiring requirements, providing a single database for all the details, which in turn results in cost-effectiveness for the organization. It is also helpful in setting reminders so that there is a proper follow-up done for eacheverydidate. There are provisions created for sending bulk SMSs to candidates saving a lot of HR effort and helping improve the efficiency of the process in totality.
Software Unplugged: The use of chatbots in HR is still in its infancy, but it's growing quickly. With this new technology, companies can automate a lot of their day-to-day tasks and provide better services to their employees. Do you think it should be combined with other traditional communication channels of HR to ensure completeness of information delivery?
Maria Shah: In the current post-pandemic era, many organizations are going for a hybrid work model and many organizations have given a permanently remote working option. It iThe employees must have all the support from the organization. With the employees working from home, the lines of communication with the org organization are open and clearly defined to-and-fro. To oToe the HR Policies more accessible to employees, the usage of Chatbots is a way to make the information access available to employees, whenever required. Chatbots help in bringing about standardization in the Employee Experience and brings efficiency into the workflow, however it must be coupled with traditional ways of communication, which add a personalized touch to the employee experience.
Software Unplugged: With the recent Facebook data scandal, it’s no surprise that data security is top of mind in the HR industry right now. Do you think that HR professionals need to worry about Data security while boarding the HR Tech Train?
Maria Shah: Data Protection laws need to be forced so that Employee Data should not be misused in any way. There must be Privacy policies and laws and the employees have to be aware of the laws so that they are aware of their rights.
Software Unplugged: What are some of the biggest HR tech hiring and leadership trends that businesses need to keep an eye on in the next 5 years?
Maria Shah: Nowadays, we talk about the concept of “Future of Work”(FOW), which is an approach to visualize how the future workspace will evolve in the current scheme of things. FOW belongs to the organizations which are showing learning agility i.e. ability to learn, unlearn and re-learn. The employees will have to be redeployed, reskilled, and constantly upskilled and the usage of AI will be critical in determining the success of an organization. The HR Tech can be helpful in hiring by making use of certain tools which help us in finding the right fit for employees. Currently, there are certain tools in LinkedIn which help us in understanding the personalities of different individuals, basis how they react to LinkedIn posts. The organizations will be hiring resources whthatre much more emotionally and mentally resilient, which can be achieved by the usage of tools like Augmented Reality(AR) and Virtual Reality(VR) during Recruitment & Hiring
Software Unplugged: A few of your biggest takeaways and tips for using HR tech while keeping the human touch?
Maria Shah: While AI can be useful for the organization, in more than one way, however few things to be kept in mind are the high costs associated with AI and the fact that it lacks human connection. HR Tech can prove to be a very helpful tool, however, it is not a one-stop shop for all HR activities. It can work in tandem with Human Resources, but cannot replace them
About speaker: Maria Shah Co-founder – Infinite Mindset Consulting, State President for WICCI
Banking & Credit Council, Karnataka