Meeting at the Intersection of Technology and Human Capital
Author: Sabina Mehmood
Data, technology, and innovation are critical as we continue to amplify the business case for equality – the first step in #leadingthechange.
In a week spent among leading HR executives, strategists, technologists, and innovators, echoes of a looming “future of work” rebounded from every corner of the Las Vegas convention center at HR Tech. Yet, across the mainstage, there was a notable shift in tone from executives: the future is now, and the organizations who don’t step up for their workforces, will be left behind.
In the past two years alone, how many times have we redefined the term future of work? Before the pandemic, conversations centered around upskilling for future technology-based roles and the economic gains to be made from an inclusive workforce. Then, a global pandemic, shifted priorities to remote work, family support, health, wellness, and recovery. Amid the turbulent landscape of the pandemic, social movements and outcries demanded corporate executives to lead with their values. Yet another shift in the future of work. Cue the great resignation after months of burnout and stress, and the introduction of hybrid work.
And just when we thought we were back on top – Gallup coins the phrase quiet quitting.
“50% of a 15,000 full time worker survey met the definition of quiet quitting – physically they still hold their jobs, but are completely disengaged – and it’s becoming more dire for future generations.“
At HR Tech, I asked senior leaders during the panel, The Intersection of Technology and Human Capital: Leveraging Data-driven Solutions to Advance Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Goals, quite simply: how do we keep up?
Their answer: recognize the power of our people – and engrain that sentiment across all of your business strategies.
Fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace in a world where we are accustomed to reacting moves us away from band-aid fixes to sustainable solutions for an equitable workforce.
And in today’s world, like any other business strategy, it starts with data. Data, technology, and innovation are critical as we continue to amplify the business case for equality – it marks the first step in #leadingthechange.
“Technology marks the start of a DEI strategy, but it’s important we recognize it’s not the complete solution”
said Miloney Thakrar, Principal and Founder of Mind the Gender Gap. At the intersection of technology and human capital, it is critical to assess priorities as they relate to fostering inclusion. Whether you are focusing on hiring talent, upskilling talent, or even retaining talent, a data driven approach to technology allows us to identify gaps for the purpose of closing them and sustaining equity, – no matter where the gaps persist.
Kange Kaneene, VP of SAP.iO Foundaries for North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean also made the point that not all data is good data. When using data to identify potential gaps in an organization, it’s not just quantity but data quality that is crucial.
In the people analytics space, where HR professionals are working to understand the technical approach to workplace planning, it is critical that we ask questions and seek to understand the people behind the numbers.
Nydia Serna, HRIT Operations Director at PepsiCo went under the hood of people analytics data on a personal note, discussing her own experience with human capital data sets. After realizing her own employee profile misinformed her ethnicity she saw a direct relationship to the employee content she received for management support. Once she corrected her own self-identification terms, the company was able to provide her with effective resources that met her individual needs, allowing her to excel as a leader.
So how do we move forward in action?
- “Be bold” says Kange. “Ask difficult questions and ensure diverse talent has the resources to innovate.”
- “Build data-driven human capital strategies to scale,” suggested Nydia, “and listen not only to senior leaders, but also work to breakdown internal silos to lead with objective decision making.”
- And lastly, “be realistic,” as Miloney advised, “start with a clear understanding of your goals, then manage your priorities realistically.”
My own takeaway: data must sit at the foundation of achieving workplace equity, but it is just the first step.
Measurement and data help us not only identify gaps that may exist among our workforces but it also holds us accountable for progress. It arms us with the information we need to break down internal silos to foster a culture of inclusion. You cannot manage what you are not measuring.