Facing the fast transformation of jobs and skills, and the disruptive aspirations of Millennials, managing the workforce is increasingly challenging for companies. To better understand the range of today’s workforce-management issues, we undertook a global study of 1,000 venture-backed, HR startups. Like many other startups, today’s new HR firms are big-data firms applying algorithms to understand what cognitive skills apply to what jobs and company cultures, what motivates employees, and how to geo-match talent with location. We identified eight unconventional solutions that HR departments should consider as they grapple with hiring, retaining, and retraining the workforce of tomorrow (with examples of what specific startups are doing).
1. Dynamic measurement of employee behavior. Tools that allow employees to share their feelings and feedback in real-time, and even evaluate their peers and managers, can create statistical dashboards useful for benchmarking managers and employees.
Example: Zest, a mobile app that allows employees to share their feelings, opinions, and ideas with management, and to form collaborative teams.
2. Personalized compensation schemes for employees. Large enterprises cannot afford to compromise on their overall compensation strategy. Nor can they ignore one-on-one consideration of individual employees, because no two people are in exactly the same boat.
Example: Beqom, an HR cloud solution that addresses all individual performance and compensation aspects, such as salary review, bonuses, long-term incentives, commissions, benefits, non-cash rewards. The emphasis is on tracking key drivers of employee performance.
3. Predictive analytics to target new hires. Smart screening tools use various techniques to sort numerous applications to find candidates that best match the selection criteria—in terms of technical, behavioral, and cognitive skills.
Example: Goshaba’s Smart Screening has a Cognitive Gaming function to analyze the cognitive skills of candidates, identify those who will be best suited to the company's culture, and a talent-mapping tool to identify best positions.
“HR” and “innovation” are not typically words uttered in the same breath, but that is what is needed to keep pace with the rapid transformation of jobs and employee attitudes.
4. Real-time and geo-located job matching. Especially for firms with dynamic demand for workers with different skills in different locations, machine-learning tools can optimize the matching process.
Example: Qapa, a platform that uses an algorithm to connect job seekers and recruiters. Qapa has a database of 4.5 million candidates, and 45,000 companies. Candidates and firms use the platform for free, and pay a commission for a match.
5. Intelligent employee retention and placement. Every company struggles to predict which employees are likely to leave, and whether some employees might perform better in a different role. Algorithms trained to understand a company’s needs are then trained to identify employee traits and make the best possible job match.
Example: Clustree, a SaaS platform, analyzed 250 million existing career pathways across 100 countries and more than 200 industries to help large companies assess the skills of their employees, or how to reskill or redeploy them in other jobs.
6. Intermediation platforms for digital freelancers. The competition for certain skills in certain fields often makes for exhausting job searches. Why not let the talent use a mobile platform to select their employer of choice, improving the odds of a successful match?
Example: Hopwork, a platform that connects 18,000 firms to 35,000 highly qualified independent workers with digital skills.
7. Fully automated HR services. Asserting control over 3rd parties via web or mobile connections adds a new real-time twist to classic outsourcing.
Example: PayFit provides basic payroll functions for French companies. PayFit lets HR departments enter data about their employees and then produces legally compliant paychecks, and notifies authorities about healthcare or retirement status.
8. Peer-to-peer and gamified learning. In great universities, they say, the best teachers are your peers. The same may be true in great companies, although employees are not naturally inclined to help people they are often competing against. But, in the age of social media and online gaming, employees can bond and learn through gaming.
Example: Klaxoon facilitates group interaction through quizzes, surveys, brainstorming activities, and instant messaging. Klaxoon Box is like a private internet for up to 40 participants at a time (Klaxoon cloud allows up to 1000 participants).
Companies must radically change the way they do HR, and studying (or partnering with) external startups that apply big-data analytics to automate recruitment, deployment, and administration is a starting point for HR innovation.
“HR” and “innovation” are not typically words uttered in the same breath, but that is what is needed to keep pace with the rapid transformation of jobs and employee attitudes. Startups are more attuned to current trends and issues, and more fluent with data analytics, than typical incumbent HR departments. Companies must radically change the way they do HR, and studying (or partnering with) external startups that apply big-data analytics to automate recruitment, deployment, and administration is a starting point for HR innovation.