Human Capital

Impact of Technology on Diversity and Human Capital Analytics

The job market is rapidly changing due to the reach of technology. Talent once inaccessible is now easily reached via a variety of technology based strategies. Technology presents many opportunities to expand corporate diversity by making it possible to access a global human capital market. Corporations are no longer limited by geography time zone, and that has significant implications for recruiting, retention, mentoring and development. In addition, technology is now used to produce human capital analytics for decision-making concerning staff recruiting, development and progression. All of this means that many of the barriers to access to the most qualified women and minorities are removed.

One of the advantageous developments for women and other minorities is the expansion of technology uses in human resources management. Where job candidates once had to be located in the company’s geographic location or costly recruitment trips arranged, they can now be accessed from remote locations. Human capital analytics are then used to identify those people most likely to deliver results to the business bottom line. What this has done is create tremendous opportunities for firms to hire a talented diverse workforce.

Starting with Brainstorming and Expanding Outward

The earliest benefits recognized by employees and organizations using early web 2.0 technology was the ability of the workforce to brainstorm and share concepts and knowledge for problem solving. The underlying concept making web 2.0 so powerful was the ability of employees to network without having to maneuver through traditional barriers like layers of supervisors and location. Web 2.0 represents people interacting and sharing without arbitrary limits. Users can comment, augment, tag, modify, rank and participate in discussions concentrating on improving current systems or problem solving. Web 2.0 was used within the business to improve internal work processes leading to a culture of inclusion.

It is interesting to note that web 2.0 was actually a precursor to the human capital analytics used today in that users who embraced the technology were staff most likely to bring innovation and creativity to the job. In that respect, the use of web 2.0 was an analytic in and of itself.

Originally a participatory in-house system, web 2.0 entered the worldwide web, and participation became unlimited. Remote collaboration is now possible without regard to location or time zones. The landscape changed to include social networking, collaborative filtering and other applications. It changed the way people communicate and interact. Universal networking naturally has extended into the human resources arena in that online recruitment is now the primary method for finding and retaining qualified job candidates. Viral campaigns advertising positions through social media can reach talented women and minorities who would not be accessible otherwise. A company can post podcasts and blogs, develop webinars, send electronic position availability notices and post job openings on recruitment websites. In addition, companies have access to online profiles of job seekers and can develop online affiliations that contribute to effective and efficient human capital management.

Using Technology to Recruit, Develop, Mentor and Retain

Technology has also made it cost effective to develop and mentor diversity talent, provide advancement opportunities and retain qualified staff. A diverse workforce can be developed on a global basis using non-traditional job construction like positions filled by home office staff able to deliver work via the internet. Technology has also significantly lowered the cost of performing all human resource functions related to talent mentoring and development.

Specifically, talent development and mentoring is now possible through webinars, podcasts, e-learning platforms, distance learning programs and organizationally developed content available on demand. Employee retention is improved by enabling the organization to involve and mentor staff using social media and video conferencing tools or sophisticated telepresence platforms.

Using technology to develop human capital analytics is becoming more standard practice because the information can be used to improve employee engagement, identify potential leaders and make best use of talents that can produce increased business profits. Companies like AT&T are using quantitative analysis rather than simple academic grades to find job candidates that have true initiative and thus are more likely to perform better on the job. This kind of analysis is equalizing when recruiting top talent and will offer more equal opportunity to diverse job candidates.

Firms are successfully using technology for leadership development. General Electric (GE) has developed a sophisticated online leadership training course that is adaptable to a variety of cultural contexts. The basic design of the leadership curriculum is the same around the world, but staff headquartered in global locations ensure the courses are adapted with the appropriate cultural aspects. The training can be delivered to a global diverse staff. The technology enables GE to evaluate leadership qualities through pre- and post analytics developed from course interaction and results.

The director of Training and Development for Greyhound trains and networks with employees for leadership development using multimedia packages and online education programs. The director uses the social media LinkedIn as a professional contact source, which also links to the company website.

Asking the Right Questions

Human capital investment has traditionally been measured in terms of factors like revenue per FTE, benefit costs and turnover rates. However, these statistics don’t measure the direct impact of diversity hiring, mentoring and development on the bottom line.

Technology has transformed human capital analytics, especially in the area of diversity. It is no longer sufficient merely to count spend dollars or number of women or people of color recruited or hired. Human capital analytics must include adaptability to new hire markets and create links between efforts and results. Today, firms have to ask themselves: how has diversity hiring enabled the company to meet its goals? Which recruiting strategies have been successful at attracting minorities and women specifically to positions where diversity is lacking? How are technology based employee training and development efforts promoting innovation and creativity leading to measurable results? What HR measures should be incorporated in an evaluation of effective organizational response to global competitiveness? Has technology been successfully used to generate the analytics that can be used to fill the pipeline with minorities and women most likely to become leaders?

Affinity groups are one of the trends that benefit robust diversity recruiting campaigns. Affinity groups enable employees with similar backgrounds or needs to socialize and network. These groups can be based on ethnic or cultural backgrounds, country of origin, gender, age, race or a host of other characteristics. Organizations promoting affinity groups usually have multiple networks. These groups are becoming important recruitment and development tools.

The enormous changes in HR processes are largely due to technology. The company failing to adapt to this new environment will likely find it’s unable to successfully compete.