Article (January-2018)


Tech, Telecom and HR trends for the millennial generation

Dr. Sujaya Banerjee

Designation : -   CEO

Organization : -  Capstone People Consulting, Mumbai


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There is an overemphasis on automation in the talent acquisition space. While there has been a fair amount of automation opportunities and technology application opportunities that have existed in this space which help in the context of screening of CVs, profiles, using search functionalities to be able to line up appropriate profiles as per the requirements that the recruiter might be seeking. This has now moved into gimmickry with Bots doing the job and I think, perhaps in a more gimmicky approach to wanting to have artificial intelligence to be able to identify the right candidate.
The reason I say gimmickry, is because apparently there is an AI mechanism which can actually identify not just what the candidate is not revealing, so the candidate ends up having an interview with a Bot who is asking question, but the Bot is also able to analyze the psychometrics of the Individual without the individual having to attempt any questionnaire, just by the nature of the responses the candidate is providing to the novel list of questions being asked.
I think this is a very dangerous trend. To begin with, we are encouraging potential candidates who are going to come in and perform in an environment which is not full of Bots, but full of Human Beings to be interviewed by Bot, which is their very first interaction with the organization. I believe it would be extremely intimidating to be interviewed by a Bot, so I don't know whether people are at their best performance when this happens. And the second part is, that I don't know how validated this whole approach of using this is. I think I encourage the science of using psychometrics to be able to hire people. 
Most of the tools which are really powerful are actually great inputs for identifying the development opportunities with individuals. I am very worried about a lot of this to be used for the purpose of making selection decisions. So the science of using psychometrics is a great idea, I'm not sure of what norms the bots are using in terms of being able to identify whether the individual who is being asked or who is being 'psycho - analyzed' even without knowing he/she is being psycho - analysed. Whether or not the interpretation that the Bot arrives at, is accurate in the context of what it is that the organizations are attempting to do, in terms of hiring.
Furthermore, I think this is less to do with analytics, more to do with the preparedness of organizations to be able to integrate and engage the millennials. If the organizations continue to be run in the industrial era mode, it would be extremely difficult to integrate millennials, who are clearly the products of the information era. And when I say that, I don't mean that you have an overemphasis of technology and all the touch points. But surely If you are a regressive organization, and you don't have contemporary systems and processes, whether at various HR touch points or through the development cycle for the individuals within the organizations, it is not going to be very exciting for the millennials to be in a workplace that is regressive, which does not use contemporary technologies, which does not allow for them to go up a steep learning curve, become more innovative, have an environment or a culture where they are encouraged to be able to speak up. So I think everything to do with the millennials is more in the culture domain, and more in the domain of leadership - being prepared to lead, manage and mentor the millennials, and to create hooks that will enable the millennials to want to continue seeking careers with organizations. So retention of millennials who typically may want a different kind of stimuli may look for different kinds of experiences. As it is even in their academic careers, a lot of them like to explore different avenues before arriving at what it is that they would like to do. So the same trend may continue and is likely to continue through their careers. So it is for organizations to give them these different experiences, different exposures within the organization and allow them to be able to not be in a rut. 
This - being in the same job, or doing the same thing under different designations, is something that worked well with the previous generations who believed very intrinsically that they didn't have a choice. That's not true for the millennial. They absolutely believe they have a choice, so it is important for organizations to be able to recast, revamp and rethink at the ways in which run their organizations, as far as policies, processes and systems are concerned, and to redesign this, and have the humility to revisit some of the rationale behind some of these processes and systems, to make their organizations more millennial - friendly.
I think I foresee a much larger use of the internet. I see people using their telephones as a one - stop shop for everything that they require. I'm soon seeing the laptops becoming redundant, which they already are indeed with the smart phones. But in a more holistic way, I think it's more going to be the use of the phone for practically everything that you require. I am seeing the tech and telecom space being very largely disrupted in India. And there is, therefore, a clear trend for organizations and individuals to start re - questioning how it is that the telecom services are even structured and received. I think with the cost going down further of the internet and other services with severe competition caused by the disruption in the telecom space. I'm seeing the user becoming more Innovative with the way in which they will use what it is that the telecom technology has to offer.
I would like to relate a story in the context of a researcher called Fransesca Gena who does work in the space of being able to identify leadership failure. So she studied failure by being able to talk to 100 CEO's who believed they had made a decision that had gone wrong. She tried exploring what it is that may have caused them to be able to make the decision that was not favourable. What she found was that practically 80-90% of the people who responded to her said that, the first part was that on hindsight they felt inside that they had been surrounded by people who were like them, and who liked them. So, they believed that the group thinks is what prevented them from having an alternate perspective. The second and the more stellar insight, and this is not a very old research, this research is barely 2 years ago, and I know a lot of this is even prevalent now. The second part of the research was more stellar, because she mentioned almost how all of them said that they did have a practice of being able to receive a lot of data, a lot of analytics, a lot of dash boards, and they had large number of people employed within their organization to be able to make this data available to them, so that the CEO could have made the right decision. Now interestingly, one of the reasons for his derailment of failure was that he had not referred to that data. 
So when it comes to data analytics, I want to say it is just now enough to be able to twist yourself into different forms to be able to generate data, but to have the discipline to refer to data and to make sure that you have don't have arrogance in excess of the wisdom, to be able to refer to data & to use the data to make informed, meaningful decisions. Now fundamentally, I have found that a lot of leaders are skeptical about the validity of the data, or the accuracy of the data, and I think these are areas which organizations need to constantly work on to make sure the data is accurate & there isn't such a large credibility issue with the quality of data. Other than that, I think the humility to refer to that data & if the data is giving you an indication that is different from your intuition, then to rise up to be able to go back & re-investigate. So, reality - testing is a very integral part of being able to make great decisions out of data analytics. 
The rise in data analytics is because it allows you to be informed rather than guess. I think a lot of organizations and leaders are rising up to the fact that data in different forms is extremely powerful, can reduce the risk of having to guess, or learn from trial & error. It can greatly make you far more confident about your strategies succeeding in the market, and a lot of this data is available if you're astute enough to gather it. So, more power to the data analytics & the way it is available and can be used is fantastic. I think it is the challenges around it, which is in terms of gathering it, making sure it is accurate, and most importantly, having the humility to refer to it & to act basis what it is that the data analytics are predicting. I'm going to say it's important, but it needs to work hand in hand with certain cultural & human behavioral challenges.
These are definitely exciting times for HR teams in the tech and telecom sector because there are some very interesting brands which are merging together to face competition or combat competition together. I think this is going to be a great time for sharing best practices for new practices to emerge. I think lots of opportunity for design thinking, in terms of restructuring HR and the learning, talent management functions. So yes, this is going to be more challenges for HR, more learning for HR & talent managers in the current market space.