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Jamie Lawrence

Wagestream

Insights Director

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Interview: Jaime Losantos, Product Marketing Director, ADP

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Jaime Losantos is Product Marketing Director at ADP. He has held senior positions with Oracle, Workday and previously before that with Capgemini and professional services firm KPMG. In this interview we get Jaime’s view on the HR technology industry, what senior HR professionals are coming to expect from vendors, and how companies are becoming faster and more agile at attracting the talent they need to get ahead. Jaime recently appeared on a Question Time debate with other HR experts on People & Technology: the world of work in the next five years.

1) You’ve been involved in the HR technology industry for a long time. Where do you see it in five years?

The workplace is in the wake of a second globalisation wave and will be exposed to great change over the next five years.

The traditional nine-to-five working hours and static workplace environment will be eroded by technology, cross-cultural teams will connect across the globe, predictive analytics and machine learning will take centre stage and the desires of employees will adjust as millennials enter, and baby boomers leave, the world of work.

As well as incorporating these changes into the workplace and catering to the varying needs of the five-generation workforce, HR consultants will take on a role as cultural agents. They will start to use technology and virtual communications to expose the corporate brand both inside and outside the organisation. Their importance in the workplace will therefore expand, as they continue their usual daily functions whilst also ensuring the organisational culture is reflected in each member of the team and platform of communication.

2) What will HR professionals expect from new vendors?

HR professionals will expect HR vendors to deliver technology that caters to all aspects of the employee life cycle, from the moment staff are hired to when they retire, as well as their individual payroll needs. Moreover, they will demand embedded social and business intelligence facilities. These will form communication hubs for employees, and drive greater employee insight that favours global operations.

Predictive analytics and machine learning will become a commonplace part of the HR function. HR professionals will therefore expect rich employee insights from this data on a regular basis. What is more, they will demand automated – and accurate – recommendations in sourcing, succession planning, learning and all other aspects of the HR function.

The war for talent will also get hotter in years to come, making it important for organisations to be innovative when it comes to hiring new employees. Current recruitment processes will therefore be less relevant and organisations will seek new technologies to leverage the benefits of an open talent economy that is readily available across international boundaries. 
Finally, HR professionals will not forget the basics: What is the point of having the smartest solution if you fail to pay your employees on time?

3) Problems stay the same, solutions change. What are innovative companies doing to attract talent?

Innovative companies understand that individuals seek more than financial stability from their jobs. They are therefore using social media platforms and online communication tools to reach talent (crowdsourcing) and convey attractive brand messaging. For example, they are revealing organisational flexibility, CSR efforts and purpose within the branding, which is exposed via online communication hubs. This enables them to stand out against industry competitors and cater to the changing needs of prospective employees.

Companies are also looking beyond traditional sourcing and recruiting methods, using specialised resource exchanges (e.g., Topcoder or Elance) to deal with staff shortages or solve complex HR problems.

In order for HR professionals to make the right recruiting decisions, innovative companies are continuously reskilling their HR staff. This is to ensure that they remain creative in their methods of recruiting and skilled in their ability to analyse the value different employees will bring to the organisation.

4) Where do most companies go wrong when it comes to maintaining diversity and collaboration in a multi-generational workforce?

Up to five different generations are currently working together in many workplaces, all of whom have a diverse range of needs and desires. This will have an impact upon how employees interact with technology, how they communicate with colleagues and what their career ambitions are. Companies that fail to understand these differences will be presented with tension and conflict, which will impact employee engagement and have a knock on effect on productivity.

Organisations must therefore customise their employee offering to cater to the specific needs of each generation. This will help to engender a harmonious and productive working environment.

5) What skills do you think modern leaders are most lacking?

Many modern leaders need to reconsider the importance of interpersonal skills, and make efforts towards building this part of their tool box. Emotional intelligence is an important factor when connecting with staff, whose workplace happiness is often influenced by their relationships with colleagues.

Along with showing empathy and patience towards employees, leaders need to listen to their staff and offer them support. Leaders who take on a mentoring role within organisations will also earn more respect from employees, who feel valued by the personal investment that their leader is making.

By cultivating all of these personal skills, modern leaders will foster an engaged and productive workforce that feels it is working towards common goals within a supportive environment. 

6) In what ways do HR directors misunderstand the best ways to leverage HR technology to suit their needs?

Many HR directors are relying on technology to resolve compliance, engagement and retention issues that instead require personal or process-level intervention. In such cases, the issues are not properly rectified, causing potentially detrimental implications for employees and the wider organisation.

By choosing the right HR service delivery model and deciding on what functions should be kept in-house or outsourced, HR directors can become a true business partner to the organisation while elevating its corporate stature to a strategic level. Not only will they then take on the role as an advisor to the business, but they will also become culture and brand agents, and the HR function will become a well-oiled talent management machine.

7) Give us your three top tips to help HR directors get more value from their HR technology implementations.

  1. HR directors need to be brave and embrace forward thinking solutions that will help them drive employee engagement and staff retention. In most cases, Cloud-based solutions can be tested by HR directly at no or very low cost without IT’s involvement, therefore aiding the construction of a solid business case for the associated investment.
  2. In spite of the existing HR technology hype, it is essential that HR directors focus on using technology to support basic HR functions such as payroll processes and workforce administration, prior to investing in advanced HR technologies. These basic systems build the HR foundation and are critical to the organisation’s existence. Only once these solutions are in place, can organisations consider the implementation of advanced talent management functions such as workforce planning or crowd-sourced performance management.
  3. The HR world is continuing to develop at a faster rate than ever before. HR directors therefore need to ensure that the systems they use are able to adapt to the changing working environment quickly and with ease. This way, HR directors can be proactive in dealing with changes that may, if un-noticed, result in severe damage to the organisation.
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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence
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