Interesting. Intense. Complex. In consequence a challenge for HR folks to make sense out of all this. This would be my summary from Zukunft Personal 2019Let me try to help out by focussing on which questions mattered to me and which might also be important for you. 

As a first time attendee, I was wearing two hats: a) a “business” person with P&L responsibility in my previous roles and  b) as the founder of an AI Startup Predict42As usual, please disagree or complement on my views or contact me in case you want to have a discussion.

Question #1: How can I benefit from HR Tech (Startups)?

As an introvert, tradefairs are absolute energy draining for me. Therefore, my first stop was the start-up village with the intention to have some deep and insightful conversions with founders on their product. The selection of start-ups, I have chosen to talk to was driven by the question, which of these new models could make a difference.

    1. deepsight offers natural language processing for interpreting free text. There are still at an early stage, currently in the process of building up their API. Alexander, who researched in this area, will be an interesting person to talk to.
    2. Sklls is also at an early stage, offering onboarding service for young professionals as well as interview preparation. My personal feeling is, that they are on to something interesting, but should now work with innovative customers to build up the analytical side of their product.
    3. Firstbird is a more mature company, which provides a platform for employee recruitment recommendations. I believe they solve a real need to structure the employee recommendation process , while also integrating the data into your HR System. I also like the idea of having landing pages with the job offer and as well as the information, who recommended the job to you.
    4. Entwicklerheld.de allows companies to sponsor coding challenge to a growing pool of developers. For me its a gamified version of Kaggle (a company bought by google a while back). This is a great idea to reach and evaluate developers, even for small or non-technical brands. I have a few question-marks with their pricing, but the product is awesome.

As a HR leader, you will learn a lot by talking to start-up founders - Are you spending enough of your time doing so?

Question #2: Is analytics driving you recruitment?

If AI is changing everything, how are the big recruitement sites (Indeed, Stepstone) integrating (people) analytics in their biz model? I have talked to Tim Verhoeven from Indeed and to Thomas Planischetz from Stepstone and both of them clearly stated that analytics is something they want to push.

There is the a lot of activity in the market, which you can also see by the recent acquisition of programmatic advertisement tech companies.

Nevertheless, are recruiters as well as these job site ready to make analytics actionable? Are they ready to move it beyond pure dashboard reporting? Actually, with a more predictive approach, this could mean to reduce a recruiters’ cost per hire and make the recruitement site a strategic partner rather than a pure advertiser.

Do you ask and get the data from your strategic recruitment partners to start build you own analytical models? - Ask how these partners can support you with their internal best practices!

Question #3: What is a two speed HR Transformation?

While I was listening to Kai Anderson, CEO Promerit, giving his speech about the future of work, I was torn between two conflicting concepts and ideas.

On the one hand, we tend to underestimate the long-term impact of Digitization / AI on the nature of work in the future. Therefore, HR Strategy and HR Transformation are of critical importance. I could virtually see, how HR board members and Kai would discuss this at an intellectual high level to get companies ready.

On the other hand, I also believe, that we overestimate, how well we can predict the future. Otherwise, stock market investments would look a lot different. Therefore, we also need to build capabilities in HR, such as analytics, with a clear focus on learning and execution. As a result , we are better prepared to whatever facet of the future might materialize.

In a nutshell, AI/analytics is both a external influence on companies as well as a capability. Therefore, I believe you need to be able to handle both speeds: 1. Take long-term perspective on HR strategy and 2. move quickly to build up analytics as a capabilities to transform HR into something more actionable / closer to business.

Do you strike the right balance between designing HR strategy/ transformation and building up (people analytics) capabilities to actually execute the strategy?

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