Every week we scour the internet for the greatest and most pertinent HR news, articles, and insights, compiling them here in a weekly roundup. In this week's roundup, we look at two different approaches to recruiting a diverse workforce and the efficacy of chatbots in the application process. We'll also examine methods for building an authentic employer brand, as well as some things HR can learn from Japanese business.
There are several HR tech tools that can help recruiters tackle bias in hiring. But do they really work? According to Meghan Biro, “The answer is a qualified yes—if the companies that use them are serious about achieving diversity.” She analyzes seven ways tech can help motivated organizations overcome hiring bias.
The focus on ability over cultural fit is one that’s sure to be controversial - after all, shouldn’t fitting into an organization’s culture increase performance anyway? An issue that commonly arises when talking about organizational culture and cultural fit is that everyone has their own definition of it. Since everyone defines it differently, it’s easy for advocates (and detractors) to skate around any critique in “no true Scotsman” fashion. For example, those that hold cultural fit sacrosanct would dispute the notion that it is inherently exclusionary - pointing to a set of shared values as its source (not shared skin tone). I think we can find a happy medium by simplifying the conversation: hire on skill, get results. No one can argue with results.
“Diversity is a mix of compliance, responsibility and good business sense,” Jessica Miller-Merrell begins. “According to a recent article by McKensey, ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform industry medians and yet so many companies struggle with this.” When building an innovative organization, diversity is a must. Different backgrounds, experiences, and expectations are the building blocks of organizational change. “You need to hire diverse candidates to stay competitive just as you need to push your people to learn and think differently,” Miller-Merrell explains. She outlines five strategies to attract diverse candidates:
Are recruiters marketers or salespeople? With the focus on verticals and creation of diversity nurture campaigns, the points above lean heavily towards the “marketing” side of the spectrum. Creating unique content for different candidate personas is a nice elaboration on the more generic “create content for candidates.” The stories of diverse employees’ success and focusing on fair advancement opportunities will be key to creating content that converts.
According to a recent survey by Allegis Global Solutions, a majority of job seekers indicated they were comfortable engaging with a chatbot during the application process. Here’s the breakdown:
“Although this fails to represent a resounding vote of confidence for chatbots, it does reveal that a majority of job seekers do show a significant level of comfort dealing with an automated system,” Cheesman says. According to Craig Fisher, AGS’ head of marketing, it signifies that the candidate experience still requires a human element. Olivia and GoBe are a two of these chatbots making an impact on the candidate experience. By guiding candidates through the process and performing initial screening, they offer the ability to make up for deficits caused by tedious job applications and employers’ seeming apathy towards candidates that don’t make the cut.
From a tech perspective, it’s pretty cool to see a majority of people express their comfort with interacting with a chatbot. These sorts of interactions are shaping up to be the future - and if a majority of people are comfortable interacting with them, it bodes well for the adoption of new and better technology. On the other hand, chatbots in the application process look symptomatic of a poor candidate experience. If organizations didn’t have lengthy, repetitive applications and poorly defined screening requirements, there would be no need for AI-driven chatbots (as cool as they are). If the candidate experience was pleasant and straightforward, organizations wouldn’t need chatbot apologists.
2017 marked the first year of the human resources conference “HR Uncubed.” At the fore of the discussion was employer brand - a topic that promises to be white-hot this year. Ryan Golden summarizes the two key employer branding takeaways made by panelists:
We’ve talked about the job description as an exercise in employer branding before, and I think it finds perfect applicability here. Think about what happens if we combine the two points, and make job descriptions a showcase of the impact a new hire can expect to have. Framing it this way takes advantage of the fact that job descriptions are often the first interaction candidates have with your brand: it’s the perfect place to tell you story and display an authentic image.
“The Japanese industry is a major competitor, a customer, and a supplier to European and American companies,” Kevin Faber begins. “What American HR managers don't know is that there is a lot to learn from their Japanese counterparts in terms of the development of young professional managers, balancing employment security with other factors such as acceptance of change, flexibility in labour costs, and productivity within a company.” Faber outlines five Japanese HR strategies that American HR teams should consider:
While interesting, Faber expresses skepticism that Japanese business practice can find full applicability in American corporate culture. Consider the three-pronged decision making process that focuses heavily on the “why”. Such a long, drawn-out process is sure to be considered slow and lumbering by an American corporate culture that is increasingly focusing on speed and digital innovation. Of course, diversity is the lifeblood of progress - maybe we could gain by taking a more introspective approach to decision-making.