In this post I am sharing the gist of the discussions that transpired during the professional evening meeting organized by NIPM, Karnataka Chapter. The speaker was Ms Debolina Dutta, Director (HR), VF corporation, Bangalore. VF Corporation is an American worldwide apparel and footwear company founded in 1899 and headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina.
At the outset the speaker underscored the fact that quite a few leading companies worldwide, are acknowledging the changes in the expectations of the work force.They are accordingly making changes in their approach to recruitment and engaging of people. Research suggests that a poor recruitment experience could turn candidates away from that brand, for life.According to the report of an employer branding agency ph.Attraction, one in four British jobseekers have either entirely stopped purchasing (12%) or purchased less (11.5%) from a brand because of a negative candidate experience.
The speaker cited instances of individual companies which learnt the hard way that future employees need to be handled with a lot of sensitivity. Let us take the case of Virgin media. More than 1,30,000 candidates applied to work at Virgin Media in 2014, 18% of whom were existing customers of the company. However, as a direct result of poor candidate experience more than 7,500 candidates cancelled their subscriptions and switched to a competitor, resulting in millions of pounds (£4.4m ) in lost revenue. The brand has since brought its recruitment function in-house, which allows it to take a lot more control and engage with individuals on a one-to-one level. The company has also invested in technology with a candidate portal that maps the recruitment experience; the focus being on what candidates want rather than Virgin media leading the experience. The process also features inspirational voice messages from brand ambassador Usain Bolt.
Ms Debolina said that IBM responded to the attrition nightmare by developing a predictive analytics model which helps in identifying those likely to leave and this helped to reduce attrition by addressing issues. Further, the Bell curve model of performance assessment has become outdated and is being given up by many organizations. GE has now come up with a regular updates model (feedback to employees on how they are doing) resulting in a five times increase in productivity. Similarly Adobe introduced instantaneous feedback system that contributed to a 2% reduction in attrition. Cisco has moved away from ratings and annual reviews and are looking at team oriented incentives.
It is clear from the above that employers are no longer perceiving employees as mere numbers but are looking to provide a humane experience to candidates right from the stage of interview and during their tenure in the organization.The speaker said that in the IT industry, as HR is not sure of how many will join, there is a tendency to issue offer letters to more than the required number of employees. But then what if all the 5 Java programmars who were issued offer letters ( as against the 4 required) join?
Companies are looking to engage them through gamification portals etc even before they even join the organization so as to ensure better predictability of the candidates joining. Readers may like to see an earlier blog of mine covering the L&D Leadership League organized by People Matters, wherein the VP (HR) of TCS explained how gamification is used to engage young engineers.
In accordance with the latest trends ( the millennials presence is very high in social media), HR would do well to utilize the services edge networks which scan the net for inputs from the social media, Linked in etc.to find out the best fit employees and recommend those deemed 100% fit for a position. Edge networks are focused on the development of workforce planning solutions with the use of artificial intelligence and data science technology solutions. The speaker said that in her company this tool was used for internal bench management.
Another trend is to get career counselling done for employees by a doggie/bot on their desk tops so that they would be able to open up freely without being intimidated by human seniors, some of whom may also be reluctant to give undiluted honest feedback. Websites like Wade & Wendy help in this connection, providing instructive conversation with a chat bot.
Further, technology today has made available the tool of machine learning. Machine learning explores the study and construction of algorithms, which can make data driven predictions or decisions by building a model from sample inputs.This enables companies to zero in on the optimum workforce.In future, there could be a situation of 73% of the workforce being flexible, part time freelancers. Dell, which presently has a 25% flexible workforce is planning to increase it to 50%.
The global trends indicate that talent will be procured by companies from anywhere in the world.The focus would increase on engaging and mentoring the employees after they have joined. Johnson & Johnson has a web enabled mentoring platform.There is bound to be increased collaboration between man and machine. Amazon has started using around 30000 robots at their distribution centres. The good news is that understanding the trends in advance can enable organizations to be prepared. It is for each company to look at its own unique context and become ready to face what the future may throw up. The bad news is that the trends predicted are not going to affect the IT industry alone but all organizations, across the board....