Hello Folks!

This is our third episode in the #FutureofWork series.

The start of the year is often referred as the “holiday season”; but we might also call it the prediction season”.

All the industries are talking about new trends that are going to define the industry-progress in this year. More often than not, people tend to ignore the HR industry primarily due to the “H” which stands for people. Since people don’t evolve drastically, many think that the HR and the recruitment industry might not evolve so fast.

But, candidates are evolving, continuously; also let’s not forget the changes in technology that once limited to the IT industry have slowly started playing its role in the HR domain as well.

The future of work and human resource is going to change, and it will be rapid and fast.

But are we ready for this change, do we know enough?

That’s the main inspiration behind our initiative #FutureofWork, the spread the word amongst the entire industry.

In the third episode of future of work, we have with us Ms Priya Surana, Senior HR at Hike Messenger, talk about the way how technology is disrupting recruitment and HR and will continue doing so. She also suggests how we can embrace technology to scale faster and onboard the best talent.

Given your wide experience in the HR domain, you must have a unique perspective on the likely evolution of the future of work on a global basis. At a high level, how would you describe your view of the future of work?

We are living in an age of disruption, our world is always getting smarter, getting new and improved technologies to the table, that is altering industries and enhancing our potential. Something that daunts everyone in this global world is that, “Will there be enough jobs for us?”If you remember the Mark Zuckerberg Harvard speech, this is exactly what he had said. Everybody is talking about survival and being relevant and technology has and will continue to change the landscape.

future of work in 2018

If you look at last 5 years and think how the next 5 years will be, you’ll see that everything has moved to virtual. Lot of the conversations that we are having now, we never dreamt of having those conversations. As opposed to earlier set-ups, the entire ecosystem is becoming more collaborative, becoming more employee-centric, where they do what they are passionate about with the zest to have that deep impact.

Future of work will be all about nurturing agility, adaptability, and re-skilling.

Now, we see work being disconnected from jobs and jobs being disconnected from companies i.e the gig economy. What can be the practical implications of this?

Coming to the question of gig economy, it is usually successful in the developed countries, in US if you look at it, it grew from 7-30% which is a huge jump and now if we have to see why this entire concept is so much talked about and why it is usually successful in one country VS the other. The ecosystem is quite different and a lot of government support also comes in. Coming to India, I’m still not sure yet, given the treatment which goes in contractual vs full-time.

However, in gig economy, a lot of people have done well, in areas which are more technology driven, more creativity driven. However, in places like banking, where there is a huge confidentiality involved, all these concepts have not been tested yet.

To answer this question as a whole, I don’t think India as a country is ready yet. When in West, people resign from a job, they are not actively looking out for one, but here, they have 2 or 3 offers in hand and the contractual concept is not well-perceived in the country today because the mentality is that one can only progress only when in a full-time job where one is working 9 hours a day.

It’s good as a concept, it really gives a lot of boost to a lot of people and helps solve the diversity issues. That’s why a lot of companies like BCG, Accenture, Unilever etc are bringing a lot of employees back so that they can add more value to the entire ecosystem.

At Hike, jobs which are very process-driven and data-driven there, we have taken support but when it comes to technical problems that is not happening in practice at the moment.

It is said that the recruitment scenario is changing rapidly from being an employer-centric market to a candidate-centric one. Any thoughts on this?

My belief is that the best takes it all always. Companies which have built an employer brand, companies which have helped their employee grow, those are the companies everyone would want to join. When we are talking about the star performers or people who are disrupting the market in terms of how they are thinking about a problem and solving it, those people will always be in demand.

So, again, the entire feel about whether its candidate-centric or employer-centric will always be subjective and of course niche skills like android, mobile etc are very hard to find, people claim that they have done that but when you actually come to interview them, they do falter on simple questions on computer fundamentals!

I have spent over 2.5 years at Hike now, one thing that I can tell is that you cannot build a culture or you cannot scale culture overnight, it happens slowly and steadily. Having said that, every employee should live and breathe the culture that we are trying to imbibe in everybody working here. Radical transparency and honesty, they all sound like small words but they are very very important. Basically, everybody has a way to contribute and make an impact on the work that we are doing.

A lot of people when on-boarded kind of checked all the boxes but after they joined a lot of grooming was required before they could hit the ground running.

Now, coming to AI in recruitment, how and in which areas in recruitment and employee engagement do you think a bot can help in?

I think passive candidates, gamification, and predictive analysis would be the big areas. If you really talk about the passive candidates, identifying passive candidates is integral, now it is getting easier but searching through hashtags social forums you can easily look out for people. The second would be remote workforce, with the VPN connection, everyone can be anywhere and seamlessly workaround.

future of work in 2018

Third I would say is gamification i.e building the entire interface, building the entire application to judge candidates beyond their aptitude and skills. The fourth one is predictive analytics, there is such a huge data, with 1.3 billion population we would need some mechanism that will help us to predict or help us to shortlist right candidate with good accuracy.That’s the kind of math we want to reach to, and of course, AI is going to help us in doing that.

What is the typical process of recruitment big organizations like yours generally follow? Do you think AI Chatbots will be incorporated in such a setting in the coming days? If yes, then how will such a huge workforce adapt to it?

A lot of these things can only work in a complementary way, one does not replace the other. I still think that a lot of these things are to ease out the mundane process-oriented work, a lot of these chatbots can help in various activities, for example, there is a job and there are 500 candidates, how to make these 450 people know that they did not make it?

One is, of course, you can send an automated email, but if there is an artificial intelligence chatbot which can get to the next level of details, just imagine how these candidates can be kept engaged for future opportunities. So, I think the recruiter's role is going to be on the personalization front not only from the candidate perspective but from the business perspective as well that would really go in for bridging the gap all the time.

So, there is a lot of buzz around AI. Can you help our readers understand which are the companies which would actually accept it and which would have apprehensions?

The companies where the workforce has an attitude of agility and flexibility, can adapt to change at a much faster rate than before. Younger the people, the more likely they are to ready to experiment, fail and learn from it.

Any advice for startups who are struggling to hire good people?

Invest in creating a good work culture that encourages self-motivation and accountability. I would suggest that play on the long-term vision, don’t try to glamorize the job. Analyze your shortcomings, be more transparent, talk about the big problems that you want to solve. Take someone who really aligns with the vision and has the right attitude vs proven experience.

Now, we are seeing the focus of the employees shifting from jobs to lifelong learning. What will be the role of companies in terms of fostering lifelong learning?

It will be more around building communities, if you come to think of the role of the people in different organizations, everybody thinks they can pay back to the community. For example, in our organization, we had an iOS community and meetup, we tried to have a similar forum where whatever our learnings have been we imparted to the community as a whole.

More you network and more you try to understand the problems that people in these communities and organizations are facing, there will be a collaborative way of finding solutions around it as well.

How should the future HRs and Recruiters prepare themselves for this rapid change that we are seeing right now?

One has to go for learning and unlearning really quickly, they should be able to up their game. Either evolve or die. So you have to choose what will you do. If you are just doing the catch-up with the change, you are only going to survive but if you can for-see the change, you’ll be leading it. So, one has to take a decision in terms of where they want to be a part of the change.

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