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Every week we scrape the internet for the latest and greates HR news, articles, and insights, compiling them here in a weekly roundup. In this week's roundup, we learn about a new AI-driven add-on for Slack, the best metrics to make data-driven recruiting decisions, and implications for AI in the workplace. We'll also look at how to choose a work/life balance and improving your leadership consistency quotient.
A company in Japan called AIR has just released an AI called Vibe that allows companies to monitor the morale of their employees by analyzing their Slack conversations. “The software works by monitoring conversations on the Slack app, tracking the overall mood of employees based on the five emotions of happiness, disappointment, stress, disapproval, and irritation,” Joel Cheesman explains. “The AI then plots the feelings on a graph, letting managers track what is causing mood swings throughout the day.” While technically designed to give managers insight into the morale of their teams, this new tool will also give insight into employees that are predisposed to complaining. While Vibe does not analyze private messages, it is seen by some as yet another step down the slippery slope toward corporate Big Brother.
In the relentless pursuit of productivity, this might be considered an inevitable development. But it’s becoming apparent that productivity is no longer the primary driver of revenue. Organizations like Amazon, Google, and Apple have created a new standard for revenue growth by focusing on innovation over productivity. This is not to say productivity is not a business necessity - that would be silly. But Amazon didn’t get to where it is today by becoming the most efficient seller of books. Will employees innovate and come up with avant-garde ideas if they’re constantly filtering their messages to fit what they think management wants to hear? It’s doubtful. As the gatekeeper for this sort of data, HR will play a key role in deciding the direction of the workplace.
The five largest companies in the world excel at recruiting. By making decisions based on data, not intuition, they position themselves for recruiting domination. “Without that shift, not only will you consistently fail to recruit top talent, but also you will have literally no chance of landing the more difficult-to-recruit innovators,” says John Sullivan. He identifies seven of the most crucial metrics the best recruiting functions track:
Another great one from John Sullivan. Intuition and gut-feeling have traditionally played a strong role in hiring decisions, but as we make strides toward a more data-focused world, these methods are starting to show some wear. Google, Apple, and Facebook lean heavily on data to make recruiting decisions, and often go out of their way to gather previously unavailable metrics. You can’t really argue with the implications of these decisions - Google, Apple, and Facebook have been knocking it out of the park for over a decade. A good portion of Sullivan’s list are relatively simple fixes, too. Evaluating improvements in employer brand year over year requires only that a readily-available metric be viewed in a slightly different light.
Holding off the future is hard to do - and it seems like AI, machine learning, and automation are very much the future. Mike Haberman provides two ways to “future-proof” the workplace for human employees.
Haberman hits on an important point in the continuing “Will AI take all our jobs?” debate. Whether AI will eventually take all jobs, or simply improve productivity to the point where many are lost is an interesting debate - either way, HR will be left with the daunting task of maintaining morale as automation cuts away at the workforce. Honesty will be critical in creating a balance between the human workers that remain and the forces of automation. Because if employees can’t trust HR to be straight with them about their job security, who else can they turn to?
In Kelly Dingee’s screening of senior level candidates, she noticed a trend: work-life balance is a struggle for all of them. And when it comes to seeking new opportunities, work-life balance is consistently top-of-mind. Yet in our always-on, interconnected world, such a thing is hard to find. Dingee provides three ways to improve work-life balance for the long haul:
While the “always-on” nature of the online business sphere has made flexible work possible to an unprecedented degree, for many it is more burdensome than freeing. Most flexible work advocates recommend a time of complete disengagement, but many workers find this impossible. There’s always some task on the horizon, some correspondence that needs responding to. Maintaining clear lines of communication and setting aside times to “re-engage” while disengaged is a solid compromise. Dingee strikes a nice balance between the necessities of the modern work environment and the necessities of being a functioning human.
“Recent research suggests employees prefer a supervisor who consistently acts like a jerk rather than an unpredictable one who wavers between fairness and unfairness,” Colette Carlson begins. “Emotional exhaustion occurs when employees walk around on eggshells trying to second-guess how another will act or react to the same situation.” The consistency quotient is a measure of how consistent your interactions are with others. If some employees are given a pass for certain behaviors while others are not, it creates unnecessary tension in the workplace. Carlson provides three ways for leaders to increase their consistency quotient:
“Shiny object syndrome” is common among many leaders. Presented with the latest and greatest idea they promptly drop their previous plans in its pursuit - much to the chagrin of those that need to make good on those plans. Following the advice in point #1 will make leaders consistently accountable to those under them and avoid shiny object syndrome.