Strategic talent acquisition 2017 conference June 26-28 Boston
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Augmentation, not automation, is the future of hiring tech

This week I had the opportunity to attend the Human Capital Institute’s conference on strategic talent acquisition. The keynote speakers on Day 1 pushed us to consider “hiring digital talent” (i.e. buying software that augments your team) and to better understand the neuroscience of hiring.

  • Tom Davenport, Cofounder, International Institute for Analytics and Professor, Babson College, began by introducing the idea that technology doesn’t need to replace our jobs in the form of automation. Instead we should be thinking about augmenting our cognitive tasks with intelligent platforms (like Textio) that augment our knowledge roles to free up teams to engage in strategy.
  • David Rock, CEO and Founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute brought us deeper into this idea by challenging the current thinking of unconscious bias — “Just knowing about unconscious bias will do nothing”. He says hiring is not a single unconscious bias problem; it is three problems (I would even argue that it is four). Attracting talent, reviewing resumes, interviewing, and making hiring decisions all hit on different cognitive biases. Biases in expedience, experience, distance, and safety all come into play at different stages. The only thing that solves these problems are process and data. I was thrilled when he said, “Products like Textio work better than anything you can ever possibly do.”
  • Lisa Clarey-Lawler, Vice President Employment Brand at VMware, closed the loop talking about using data to align your employment and customer brand to further drive engagement. Engaging everyone in your organization is critical for delivering a consistent set of experiences that delivers an everlasting impression of respect, personalized value, and honesty.

Photo of Lisa Clarey-Lawler presenting at HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition conference in Boston (Photo by Jodi Hill @JPHill_MN) with slide behind her about employer branding

Lisa Clarey-Lawler speaking at HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition conference in Boston (Photo by Jodi Hill @JPHill_MN)

These themes carried through the rest of the conference sessions at various levels. Augmenting human skills with new technology, especially in HR, will allow your team to spend their time incorporating all of those strategic and proactive ideas you’ve been hearing about for years.

One of my favorite talks that everyone was buzzing about after the session came from the dynamic speaker Jill Larsen, SVP Human Resources & Talent Acquisition at Cisco. Her team has already started using these technologies to make the shift. It is always a delight to work with her team as well as hear her go deep into how they shifted from “simply filling requisitions to taking a high touch, strategic direction in support of Cisco’s transformation to software and cloud models.” The result was a dramatic reduction in costs (almost 35% in 3 years) and the best KPI results in Cisco’s talent acquisition history.” Everyone took back actionable items to start implementing these strategies in their talent teams today.

As Tom mentioned, “Automation tends to be a race to the bottom.” Augmentation, by contrast, takes the best of your work and makes it even better.

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