Imagine you enter your room and the air conditioner switches itself on and sets the cooling level according to your body temperature. You walk into the kitchen, open the fridge and get a message that this will be the last bottle of milk in stock, alerting for a refill. Wow! Was that part of a sci-fi movie I just screen played? Well, the answer is NO – it is called Internet of Things (IoT)!
Let’s get a simple description of this intriguing idea. IoT is a computing concept that defines an upcoming era where everyday physical objects will be linked to the Internet and be able to identify themselves, communicate and co-ordinate with other devices.
I know you are wondering how in the world this is related to the HR and recruitment. When the whole world gets technology-obsessed in all walks of life, the HR professionals are inevitably forced to adapt to the innovations in all the HR processes, right from recruitment till retirement.
With the advancement of the IoT, there is a paradigm shift in the roles and jobs across the industries. The IoT ecosystem is not limited to the products and ideas that the companies come up with. Rather, it is more about connections, partnerships and adapting HR skills to recruiting and training talent pertaining to the technology. Hence, HR should have a sound strategy for maximum agility when absorbing the impact of IoT. Internet of Things can be considered to be a close association of technology developers, service providers and the value-added services. An emphasis on hiring and training people who can communicate this vision to suppliers and customers can become a challenge for many employers. If I am developing a smart pillow, my business strategy would be to recruit engineers to help me build the product as well as sales people who understand the concept of smart pillows to help me sell the product better.
Hiring in the IoT era primarily refers to having the right workforce composition. Just as how the bank teller and secretary jobs are on a decline, the demand for web designers, iOS developers and mobile hardware talent is growing unprecedentedly. Recruiters once asked to look for service engineers and sales professionals are on a look out for purple squirrels in specific technology niches like Android, cloud and HTML5.
Imagine a company culture where the employees are introduced to wearables to encourage physical activity and health. This trend presents a lot of opportunities when it comes to recruitment. If the hiring manager can gain access to the personal information of the employee using the wearables such as his sleep pattern, stress levels, etc., he can make an informed decision. For example, the hiring manager can determine if the candidate’s sleeping patterns matches with the company’s working week. Does the aspirant’s stress levels match with the job role he is aspiring for, and what kind of coaching will enable him to cope with the challenges if any? Similarly, virtual reality could help the candidates attend the interview from the comfort of their homes, yet experience a real-time office environment along with the hiring manager. It may seem to be a futuristic concept now, but soon it is going to be nothing less than reality.
With gadgets like Google Glasses, the hiring manager can easily record the interviews and later review the same to determine intricate details like body language, response time, etc. before making a choice. Gone will be the days when vital information about the candidate is lost or forgotten during interviews. Don’t you think this will empower the recruitment team to recruit a workforce in alignment with the company strategy and business needs?
I know what’s lingering in your mind. Yes, privacy issues are apparent when discussing IoT in any context and recruitment is no exception. Will candidates even let companies see their personal data? Will the companies let the candidate access their virtual resources before being hired? Well, we need to wait and watch as to which extent the data will be exposed.
I think IoT is an ideal emerging technology with a potential win/win scenario for employers and employees alike. If you are going to blissfully dismiss the Internet of Things, you might end up being left behind; just like one of those companies which snubbed the Internet at the turn of the century.