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Using Technology to Prepare Workforce for Post-Pandemic Times

Using Technology to Prepare Workforce for Post-Pandemic Times

​As the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs in India and companies prepare models for a hybrid work environment, they are looking to technology to find ways to keep a distributed workforce productive and connected. How technology has already helped in this and how else HR can put it to good use, were among the topics discussed by more than 120 speakers at the SHRM Tech 21virtual conference held by SHRM India last month.Here’s a look at a few key takeaways from the event.What CEOs Want from HR TodayThe pandemic has wrought huge change for organizations, and more change is in the cards as organizations prepare for post-pandemic times. HR can help prepare for that. “Readying the workforce for what might seem to be a very different world as we emerge from this crisis—that will be my biggest ask from HR,” said Nitin Rakesh, chief executive officer of Mphasis, an information technology-services and solutions provider in New York City.Rakesh said that organizations increasingly have new demands from employees, which means that employees need to constantly keep upgrading their skills to meet those demands. The need for upgrading roles and technological skills is not only true for Mphasis because it’s in the IT sector but also true for all companies—be they in finance or media.”Whether we know it or not, every business is a technology business today,” Rakesh said. Three-Point Approach to Support Business Growth To make an organization ready for change, Souvik Maity, employee experience & operations manager at consumer goods company Unilever in Mumbai, suggested a three-point approach. “First thing as human resources we can do is to source people who can interpret these changes that are happening presently,” Maity said. In the consumer goods industry, for instance, he said consumer behavior and buying patterns are changing. So the key would be to hire talent that can identify such trends. Once these employees are on board, the organization needs to supply them with platforms, skills and opportunities that enable them to influence the ongoing changes, in ways that favor their organization.Finally, HR should try to create an environment where its employees can influence trends that may come up in the future. “If we, as HR, are able to drive these three priorities, then I think making an organization agile—ensuring business growth—becomes easy,” Maity said. He said technology provides tools to accomplish all of these priorities. It can help identify the right talent by sifting through tens of thousands of resumes and also provide platforms for employees to become influencers.For Future Workforce, Think ‘Personas’ One big change that organizations can expect is in talent management, starting with work profiles.”Role is something that I’m starting to get concerned about. … Is there going to be a role 10 years down the line?” said Kalpana Bansal, vice president (domain head—HR platform) at conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd in Mahrashtra. Bansal said that it’s possible that in the future there are only “value creators” who don’t fit any role or organizational structure and come in to build …

How to Avoid Discrimination When Using AI

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How to Avoid Discrimination When Using AI

Given the prevalence and rising use of artificial intelligence for customer service, feedback and general information, it’s no surprise that HR teams are adopting AI-driven bots for workplace communication.Companies are embracing bot tools as time and money savers to conduct and evaluate interviews, substituting them for face-to-face conversations. AI tools can also screen resumes, monitor employees and provide predictive analytics.Jennifer Betts, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins, joined her colleague Joseph L. Beachboard during the session “AI, the Right Way: Avoiding Employment Discrimination with Artificial Intelligence” at the recent SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2021 to discuss the trend.The Emergence of AIAI uses machines, or computers, to perform tasks in a way that is intelligent, in that the computers can change course depending on the information being collected. These tasks are conducted through algorithms, or a set of instructions for the computer to follow.AI-enabled content generation and other AI-based tools have been available on the marketplace for years. Now they have transitioned from the “hype” of new technology to the adoption phase due to necessities resulting from the pandemic, Betts said.There are many different forms of AI. The two most important forms for employers to understand are machine learning and natural language processing.Machine learning involves AI systems that show improved performance as they are fed more data and as they predict more outcomes. In other words, they become wiser over time and through more extensive use.Natural language processing is the branch of computer science—and more specifically, the branch of AI—concerned with giving computers the ability to understand text and spoken words in much the same way humans can.AI today can be found in autonomous vehicles, injury prediction, fraud detection, precision medicine, photo tagging and “talk to text.”CREATE LASTING IMPACT IN THE WORKPLACEJoin us at the SHRM INCLUSION 2021 conference Oct. 25-27 in Austin, Texas, for three engaging days of learning and networking. You will get the tools, best practices and actionable solutions you need to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. Register Now Proper AI Programming Is KeyAI-powered analytics tools make it easier to effectively and cheaply, for example, measure productivity, identify trends and recognize potential areas for improvement—all necessary enhancements in the workplace of the future. There are many slow adopters and skeptics of AI. Betts said it’s important to realize that “Artificial intelligence itself is neither inherently good nor inherently bad. It’s critical to remember that AI’s effectiveness is all about how the AI and bots are programmed and maintained, not the concept of AI itself.” AI and Hiring PracticesAI has grabbed a lot of headlines about hiring lately, with articles reporting on how applicants can “beat the system” and have their resumes gain more attention by using and prioritizing specific words and phrases that suggest they are a better fit for the job description.Many organizations utilize AI during the initial stages of the hiring process, such as to deliver programmed questions to applicants via a robot, which can save time for hiring managers who …

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