Has Technology Removed The “Human Touch”?
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With call centers having a multi-level automated call forwarder and scripted help chats, technology may seem to be the furthest thing possible from what it means to be “human” in companies.
Yet, more companies are realizing that there is a need to humanize the workplace. It’s true, with a renaissance on placing the emphasis on the importance of people, successful companies are recognizing their success stems from their employees, and not in spite of them. Rather than only seeing an employee as a “task-completer”, there is a push for employees to live and participate as part of the brand; in turn, by becoming a brand advocate to people around them. You see examples from large companies on both sides of the border such as T-Mobile, Hootsuite, Lululemon, Telus, Google, and Apple, among many others. This isn’t only because some of these companies have slides (not the powerpoint kind), group yoga sessions or foosball tables. It is because these companies spend a lot of time and effort on making their employees happy, since a happy and motivated employee, is a productive team member.
So does this mean technology really doesn’t fit into the picture?
There is a certain mindset that needs to be debunked, and the large misconception is that “robots and software are taking over our jobs.” I argue that technology actually helps to humanize the workplace, rather than detract from it. If the role of Human Resources is simply taking down applicant information and organizing it on a spreadsheet, then, of course, there would be a threat. But that isn’t the nature of the job! There are so many facets and tasks that HR can better spend their time and resources rather than filling out a spreadsheet. By embracing technology (an applicant tracking system and a screening tool in this instance), it is helping those in the position be more efficient, and by extension, able to spend more time in other meaningful aspects of the role. In following with the example, this means the HR department can afford to spend more time on getting to know the high-potential candidates rather than siphoning through each applicant by chance, whether they are qualified or not.
How does a company get started with humanization?
Humanizing your company begins as early as the pre-hire stage, starting with the tone of voice. Depending on how your company chooses to present itself during the screening, phone calls, and interviews, it plays into how a candidate feels and what they can expect when the become a part of the team. Even sending an “application received” email and keeping the candidate in the loop as to the status of the position, greatly improves the candidate experience. Even if the candidate isn’t selected, if they had a good experience, they are more likely to give your company a positive review to friends or even websites such as Glassdoor or LinkedIn. An additional positive side-effect to come out of this is that the “door” to the candidate remains open, welcoming them to apply again when they meet any missing requirements.
The use of pre-employment tests has often been villainized as the epitome of corporatization fo removing any human aspect of human resources and hiring. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Pre-employment tests are designed to simply cut through the intangibles of a resume & cover letter, allowing the hiring manager to have fair, comparable data in making an informed decision. This gives every qualified candidate a fair opportunity, rather than those who may write or speak more eloquently (which may not necessarily have anything to do with the role in question). Keep in mind, that pre-employment tests are not designed to be the “decider”; its goal is to give the interviewer information on how to approach the candidates.
So, how does a job-fit assessment play a part in the humanization of your hiring? By using pre-employment tests, interviewers are given personalized questions on how to help the candidate succeed in the role, or in the instance they aren’t a good fit, to coach them towards where their skills may be a better fit based on assessment results.
Remember, technology is just a tool! The most humanizing aspect of any company are its humans (namely employees). By putting a human voice to your hiring, you are taking a big step towards making your workplace more successful.