Harnessing the New Trends and Technologies to Win in Workplace — Interview with APAC Talent Acquisition Director of ADP
When asked to describe his new role as Asia Pacific Talent Acquisition Director of ADP, Vashist Kommunuri said, “It’s a very exciting and challenging one.” Previously the Human Resources (HR) Director for ADP China, he is now leading the regional strategy and execution of talent acquisition initiatives since December 2017.
“A lot of technology transformation is taking place within talent acquisition due to the introduction of advanced Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and recruitment marketing tools. The benefit to HR leaders is simplified and accurate data which speeds up the recruitment cycle with higher quality,” Vash added, “But technology is just a tool. Competition for top talent remains extremely fierce – hundreds of recruiters trying to source the same talent, so the road ahead remains quite challenging.”
Asia is rapidly changing, and HR leaders are no longer isolated from the business. According to Kommunuri, there are four trends that are important to workforce management.
Adoption of AI in the Workplace – Artificial Intelligence was “the next big thing” but is fast becoming part of our everyday lives. Fully automated technologies such as driverless cars, no-staff supermarket and drones delivering goods are transforming the ways we live and communicate. AI tools and platforms are being used to complete the routine and repetitive parts of our jobs, freeing us up for more creative activities, and helping leverage complex data sets enhancing our capabilities and decisions with data analytics.
Emergence of Human Cloud – There will be a vast global pool of freelancers available to work on tasks from remote locations. For people who work in talent acquisition, it is a great news for it will shorten the recruitment cycle and help attract more millennials who prefer flexible work conditions. Other impacts of the change is that job competition will become fierce as workers from New York, for example, will have to compete with their peers in Delhi or Manila to bid for a same job.
No Retirement – With the emergence of human cloud and improvement in life expectancy, people will no longer retire at a fixed age. In countries like Japan where maturity and experiences are valued in the workplace, there is a tradition that the aged help the young adapt to their work. The Japanese government is also investing in providing more jobs for people above 65, which yields positive results.
Career Path More Than Upwards – Rather than only “moving up the career path”, employees now have choices to move sideways or tap into new fields, which may lead to less management layers.
In our following conversation with Kommunuri, he elaborated on talent market trends and made recommendations to talents who are looking for career advancement.
- The younger professionals who value work life balance and flexible working are more opt to work as freelancers, how should HR leaders harness this trend?
We are not close yet to the time when work can be entirely done by groups of freelancers. Similar to Didi taxi where you can bid a higher price to grab a cab, in the future there will be various portals you can bid for talented freelancers to get your job done, which are less costly than hiring full time employees. Building a pool of freelancers will be important for companies to stay competitive on time and cost. In order to cope up with this trend, HR leaders should work out an effective and flexible performance delivery model, make sure a set of freelancers are available to sustain the demand, develop regular feedback mechanisms and create meaningful work that matters the most to millennials.
- With the adoption of AI and automation in the workplace, which roles/functions will be affected the first and the most?
From driverless cars to robot waiters and doctors, what seemed like novelties yesterday will soon become common. For example, Foxconn, this former labor intensive giant manufacturer is now introducing thousands of robots every year to enhance productivity. We can foresee that the workforce will be restructured and collaboration between human and machine will increase in the future.
All jobs will be affected by the adoption of AI to some extent. Take HR manager for example, AI will take over all the administrative tasks in a HR manager’s daily work such as scheduling, resources allocation and reporting, while enables the manager to make better decisions by providing sufficient information and effective analytics.
- How should HR uplift their position in the organization as a strategic partner?
HR will need to build their business acumen based both on internal business needs and external market landscape and provide more value added offerings. With more organizations tend to adopt the Center of Excellence (CoE) model, HR business partners will focus more on areas such as strategic workforce planning, leadership development, talent retention and tailored training offerings.
- As a talent acquisition leader, what do you consider to be the most valued skills and capabilities? Do you have any suggestions for talents who are looking for better career opportunities?
In talent acquisition, we’re always looking for top performers, diverse talent and innovators. The aim is to attract and hire individuals in key roles to implement innovations and increase productivity. The workplace is constantly changing, so is talent acquisition. My advice for ambitious talent is to keep an eye on the opportunities “across” the company. Growing vertically is no longer the mantra. Instead you may now have the option to work in different departments and teams, which will enable you to try different roles and gets a more comprehensive view on how a business operates.
- AI, automation, 35 crisis and product thinking are some of the buzzwords in 2017, any keywords you think will be prominent in 2018?
I believe AI and automation will continue to be the eye-catcher in 2018. IBM Watson is already taking the jobs from lawyers and legal experts, and within the talent acquisition field, we can foresee that sourcing could be completely automated in the future. For example, campus hiring can be done in the form of a video call with AI based screening and assessment tools. I’m excited to see what will happen and develop with the new technologies.