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Embracing Talent Intelligence, Introverts Rise to Leadership, and Proximity Bias at Work

Published 4 months ago • 8 min read

News Spotlight

Introverts are now the ideal leaders: Remote work and the pandemic allowed introverts to thrive and unleash their distinct traits including dealing with adversity and creativity (Wall Street Journal).

A shocking amount of teens have entered the workforce: About 250,000 more teens are working now than before the pandemic and it's the highest teen employment rate since 2009 (Marketplace).

International companies are stealing American talent. With more American companies mandating a return to office, international companies are seizing the opportunity to offer remote roles that employees are seeking but can't find locally (CNBC).

Stat of the Week

Employees who work from home 5 days a week are 35% more likely to be laid off than employees who spend time at the office, according to new research.

This finding highlights the value managers put on face-time at the office and the proximity bias that allows office employees to be favored.

Deep Dive Article

How Talent Intelligence Will Drive the Future of Work

Talent intelligence, coupled with the transformative power of AI, stands as a linchpin for shaping the future of work. In an era characterized by rapid technological advancements, evolving skill requirements, and dynamic job landscapes, talent intelligence harnesses data-driven insights to inform strategic workforce decisions. AI, with its capacity for analyzing vast datasets and identifying patterns, not only enhances the efficiency of talent acquisition and management but also aids in predicting future skill needs.

By leveraging AI-driven talent intelligence, organizations can proactively identify, attract, and retain top talent, aligning workforce capabilities with business objectives. This synergy between talent intelligence and AI not only streamlines recruitment processes but also facilitates continuous learning and adaptability, ensuring that the workforce remains agile in the face of evolving industry demands. Ultimately, this integrated approach serves as a cornerstone for organizations seeking to navigate the complexities of the future of work, fostering innovation, resilience, and sustained success.

In today’s article, I share insights from three executives at Eightfold AI who have been focused on how talent intelligence and AI will transform your workforce, HR department, and business. These executives include:

  • Sania Khan, the Chief Economist, discusses how to build a flexible, agile, and skills-aligned workforce.
  • Jason Cerrato, Vice President of Market Strategy, explains how HR can work smarter and become an agile strategic partner across the business.
  • Sachit Kamat, Chief Producer Officer, speaks about how to align talent and AI strategies to business outcomes.

Workforce Transformation

How can companies build talent agility and resilience in today’s workplace culture?

Sania Khan: There's a mismatch between the shortage of workers and the demand for workers. The half-life of skills is shortening with technology advancing. There are new levels of employee agency that will present employers with historic challenges. Most companies aren't ready. What that means is that we need to redesign our companies around people and skills, and shift to a new model of work because the traditional way just isn't working.

In tough economic times, companies usually lay off workers. We saw that happening in 2022. But we also know that finding top talent is hard, especially in highly competitive industries that need those technical or specialized talent. Before jumping to layoffs, companies should think about looking at skills first. If you analyze skills data first, you'll have a better outlook on what talent you currently have, what skills you need, and potentially redeploying those people before letting them go.

What is the role of talent intelligence in allowing organizations to pivot during this time of changing market dynamics?

Sania Khan: Talent planning needs a more holistic approach. We know it's this outdated model that we've been seeing. If you use a talent strategy that's based on talent intelligence, it gives HR and business leaders a better understanding of what they need, talent-wise, not just today but in the future. Talent intelligence would show leaders what skills they need, and help them determine the best approach for the future.

Whether that's building your workforce, buying your workforce, or borrowing your workforce with contingent employees to acquire those skills. It helps deliver a better employee experience, retains their talent, and shows people how they can grow within your organization. It's a win-win overall. If you do this across the organization, it benefits everyone. There's no more of that siloed information, or HR just looking in a vacuum. On the flip side, top talent wouldn’t be looking elsewhere for their next opportunity. This allows you to keep and retain those people.

Watch the full interview.

HR Transformation

How can a data-driven approach help recruiters be more intentional when sourcing and hiring candidates? What about when it comes to retaining and upskilling your workforce?

Jason Cerrato: Data has always been important. The nature of it is changing, the speed of it is changing, and the tools you must gather, interpret, and understand have advanced. From a talent acquisition and a recruiting perspective, I've been in this space for over 20 years, and what's happening now is the world that you know is expanding because of the availability of data, the measurement of the process through the entire talent life cycle, and with the incorporation of AI to read and react and understand dynamically to this. A good comparison to the Internet of things. The Internet of things is where everything has its own IP address, and if you were building products and in manufacturing, you could look at the entire life cycle of a product, and make decisions on strategy, development, and retirement. The same thing happened with healthcare. When healthcare went online, people could look at healthcare data in a more cohesive way, and start to be more proactive and predictive, and diagnoses got better.

Now from a talent perspective, we're doing the same thing. You're moving beyond just your own data to now looking outside of the organization at the same time, to also looking in more predictive ways for what's coming next. You're not just looking at historic data of how jobs have been done, you're looking at more proactive and predictive data of how jobs will be done tomorrow. And then you're using external and internal information in a much faster way to make more informed decisions. I don't think data is any less important than it's always been, but the ability to use it, understand it, and expand that data set is where we're moving towards.

How can HR use data to make the shift from a job-centric to a talent-centric planning model?

Jason Cerrato: Historically, a lot of the tools we've been using have been built around jobs. Think of an applicant tracking system or an HR suite. A lot of it starts with the job as the cornerstone, and you collect the data for that job, "What's the cost center? What's the department? Who does it report to? What's the interview team?" And you work from there to fill that job. If you shift it to more of a balanced view, managing jobs and talent, it shifts the conversation and the process. Instead of waiting for a job to be identified to start, you can start acting on the talent you already have to start understanding who they are, and what they’re fully capable of, and nurture and guide them to a process that can potentially end in a requisition versus start with a requisition. It's this process of becoming a talent advisor, but also jobs reflect skills, and talent is where skills reside.

If you have the capability through the use of AI and some of this advanced technology to examine your talent, and to monitor your talent in real-time as they're developing and as they're evolving, you can understand what's happening in your organization today for how that job is being done versus historically how you've understood it for how a job description may have been written months, if not years ago. You’re understanding what the work that someone is doing in real-time that is different from how we've historically understood this to be and is different maybe from how their manager did this job when the manager was in the role.

Watch the full interview.

Business Transformation

How can organizations become more agile to be able to make fast-moving market changes in today’s fast-paced business environment?

Sachit Kamat: We are, as a company, going through this transformation ourselves now. If you look at the tools and technologies that are available out there in the marketplace, the first thing you must have is a culture of innovation. You need to start seeing a better way to do certain things, whether it is a sales process or a capability that impacts a particular function within the organization. You need to have a culture of experimentation, where you don't necessarily want to adopt something and then deploy it to thousands of people before you can validate that it works experimentally for a certain portion of the organization.

We as an organization are always experimenting with new tools and new technologies and some of these things are scalable. You should stop doing the things that you are doing manually today and completely transform the way that you operate. One example is our marketing team has been experimenting with different generative AI tools, and now one of the things that they have learned is that they can create marketing copy for campaigns using some of these tools. We have now fundamentally changed the way that the marketing function operates.

There are always things that from a cultural perspective make that transformation happen. Particularly, when you're talking about some of the largest companies on the planet, they're going to have to do this in a way that doesn't disrupt what they do today. It starts with a culture of experimentation and a culture of being open to trying new things. Then when you do learn that there is a more efficient, more transformative way to operate, you adopt that, and you scale that across the organization.

How can organizations prepare their executive team for an AI-driven workplace?

Sachit Kamat: We have started to see this over the last year. Once generative AI came to the fore, it first started out with the CEO asking their leadership teams, what should we be doing to adopt this technology? How can we transform the culture of the company? How can we effectively adopt some of this technology to drive the metrics that the executive team cares about? Whether it is a cost reduction or whether it is scaling on the positive side of creating new value that the company couldn't do before. That has now translated from the CEO and the board, down to each of the functional leaders within companies, and they have tried to figure out what tools and technologies they should be adopting to drive the metrics and the outcomes that they care about.

The example that I just provided on the marketing side that we've adopted here at Eightfold, or for example, our sales team is using a number of these generative AI tools now when it comes to capturing conversations, learning from the questions that are being asked, being able to analyze the most common questions that come up in sales conversations. I think that every single function can benefit from the technology that's out there to scale what we do today in a much, much more efficient way in the future. I get to work on this technology on an everyday basis. In terms of building out the future of what HR looks like in a AI-powered and a generative AI-powered world, and honestly, the types of applications that we are building, I get excited because I do think that in the future, when you look at the way that recruiters operate, that people that manage talent in companies operate, six months from now, it's going to look very different from the way that they operate today.

The core thing is for every single leader to start evaluating the benefits of adopting some of these technologies. What is the low-hanging fruit that they should be experimenting with? And then once they've experimented and evaluated the benefits, transform them into things that change the way that the organization operates. In some cases, you may find that there are things that you didn't think were possible before, given constraints that we operate with in terms of budgets, etc., they're now actually possible today. Those are the kinds of things I would say that leaders should be thinking about as they evaluate the technologies that are out there.

Watch the full interview.

Thanks for reading — be sure to join the conversation on LinkedIn and let me know your thoughts on this topic!

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