Q&A with HR Tech Influencer: Mimi Brooks

The role of HR leaders has never been more important, as organizations struggle to keep up with near-daily changes to the world of work ushered in by the coronavirus pandemic and other global challenges. With such a tall order for HR leaders, it’s beneficial to look to industry experts for their experience and guidance. Earlier this year, HRE and the HR Tech Conference unveiled the second edition of the Top 100 HR Tech Influencers, comprised of HR, business and technology leaders whose insights are needed now more than ever.

Related: Q&A with HR Tech Influencer Ben Brooks

Influencer Mimi Brooks is a speaker, author and industry thought leader, as well as CEO of Logical Design Solutions.

Brooks recently spoke with HRE about the pandemic’s impact on HR technology.

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1. What HR tech trend that was gaining steam before COVID-19 has been most disrupted? Why and what’s replacing it, if anything? 

Prior to COVID-19, we were witnessing the start of HR’s involvement in the adoption of rules, procedures and requirements that protected workers, specifically when it came to the implementation of rapidly evolving Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies like robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. This trend has since been usurped by a concern for the wellbeing of the virtual worker, as organizational practices and policies have had to be rethought and reimagined in order to bring them to life for the remote workforce.

2. How can HR leaders best evaluate the rapid influx of post-pandemic tools that are flooding the market?

Mimi Brooks

HR leaders first need to understand what did and did not work as a result of the pandemic and take the initiative in reimagining where, what and how work in this new paradigm gets accomplished. Both scenario planning and data modeling are crucial in ascertaining which work will change for which segments of the worker population, as well as where individuals can work in a different way when it comes to the use of technology. For example, we are seeing immersive learning tools being leveraged to fast-forward workers into a novel and dynamic business ecosystem.

3. As the job market drastically changes, what types of tools will be most essential for recruiting and talent acquisition? 

We are seeing a dramatic rise in the usage of tools that leverage recruiting automation. Video interviews are being augmented by fully virtual assessments and job simulations, along with emerging workflow software that can tie all of these disparate points of candidate contact together. Online gamification is also becoming more popular, with companies assessing a potential recruit’s cognitive ability to pattern match, recollect information and solve problems. Tools that use AI algorithms to assess a candidate’s responses are also emerging, and we see these evolving rapidly as essential “digital helpers” for time-pressured recruiters. That said, the candidate experience is unfolding throughout these digitally enabled TA processes. Prioritizing both the recruiter and candidate experiences will maximize these investments.

4. How can HR leadersand HR tech buyers—continue to focus on and invest in areas like D&I with business priorities so suddenly shifted?

At a time of particular sensitivity around diversity and inclusion, it is crucial that HR leaders are seen as empathetic to the needs of potentially marginalized groups and individuals who may be adversely affected by recent sea changes to the work environment. This means HR leaders must proactively respond to perceived racism and ageism amongst an isolated workforce, while at the same time, HR tech buyers can actively investigate leading-edge technologies from diversely held companies. Regardless of shifting business priorities, both internal and external affirmation of an organization’s commitment to D&I must remain a strategic goal.

5. How do you think the remote work switch will affect employee expectations for workplace technology? 

Companies must understand how the implementation of emergent technology “patches” during the pandemic might evolve into ongoing capabilities in the future. Workers will anticipate the expansion of infrastructure capabilities that will keep them fully connected. A company must ascertain which work will change for which segments of the worker population, as well as where individuals can work in a different way, especially concerning the use of technology. The organization must ascertain which work will change for which segments of the worker population, as well as determining where individuals can work in different ways by leveraging new tools.

6. How will tech differentiate the companies that thrive after the pandemic from those that do not?

We see the alignment of organizational needs, technological innovation and worker development as being crucial in order to avoid the pitfalls of rapid post-pandemic technology adoption and short-run changes in organizational requirements. Understanding this intersection of technological innovation and workforce readiness is key to thriving during this second wave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and post-COVID. Successful business models will create value for all stakeholders (including our workers), made possible by the co-mingling of human creativity and imagination with emerging technology–essentially balancing the fast-moving, exponential value of technology with the only-human pace and value of ingenuity.

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