Creating the right learning environment for your employees is imperative. Here's how you can do just that.

How to Create a Better Learning Environment for Your Employees

Encouraging employees to always be developing their skills is good for their mood, career development, and even team bonding.

When you offer employees the chance to learn and grow, it shows that you value them. This makes them more effective in their role – both because they’re expanding their skills and because they don’t feel like just another cog in the machine – and therefore makes your business more successful, too.

From attending conferences online to making classes more interactive, technology makes staff training easier than ever. Here are just some of the ways technology helps you to create a better learning environment for your employees.

Make training part of company culture

Training should be seen as a key part of company culture. It’s only when employees are supported and guided in their growth strategies that they can really excel.

However, it can be difficult to for employees to find the time to work on their skills around their busy schedules. Automating certain tasks, such as speeding up data entry using Excel macros, gives them more time to spend on expanding their skills.

Other repetitive tasks, such as organizing meetings, can also be automated by adopting features such as calendar sync. When a team’s calendars are connected to a booking software, the meeting organizer can select the meeting attendees, then leave the software to work out the rest. It can even work out the most suitable meeting room and schedule the meeting around the availability of that room.

Give employees easy access to the training resources they need

Employees need the right equipment for their training session so that they can get the most out of it. This could involve laptops, projectors, screens, or even parking spaces.

In a large organization the availability of these resources can’t always be guaranteed. Connecting the calendars of these resources to a booking software allows them to be reserved in advance. Training sessions can even be scheduled based on the availability of the necessary resources.

The schedules of guest speakers can also be connected to your booking software, meaning that you can book a training session based around both their schedule and the schedules of everyone that needs to attend. Nobody needs to miss out because they’re on vacation or at another training event.

It’s not always necessary to attend training events in person anymore, though.

Many conferences now offer e-tickets, which allows employees to attend without the extra expenses of travel or hotel stays. This saves your business money while employees still get to develop their skills.

E-tickets often come with the chance to rewatch lectures after the conference is over, which can also be a valuable resource. It also means employees can watch talks at a time that is most convenient for them and don’t have to miss out on anything because of time differences.

Make learning more engaging

We’ve all had to sit in a cold, dank room surrounded by colleagues while someone talks at us all day. Sometimes what can be explained in an hour is dragged out into an all-day event to justify guest speakers or room rental.

This isn’t an effective, fun, or engaging training method.

When employees can use technology, learning instantly becomes more engaging. Training modules can be turned into games; meetings can be simulated or even attended in VR, and employees can get their questions answered instantaneously by a chatbot.

Chatbots can help employees both inside and outside of a training room – should a new hire have any questions, for example, they can ask the chatbot and get an answer straight away. This means they don’t have to disturb their colleagues to get answers, and they don’t have to wait around for their colleagues to be free, either. Your latest hire can get to grips with things and start helping the team faster.

In-house training can also be made more interactive with the use of virtual reality. Virtual reality can be particularly useful for dangerous jobs where on-the-job training isn’t always possible, but where it’s important for employees to develop their skills before completing their tasks for real.

It can also be beneficial for training sales teams or telemarketers in how to deal with difficult customers, or to teach pilots how to fly before they go up in the air.

Virtual reality can also benefit remote-working employees as they can feel just as much of a part of team meetings as those who are there in person. They can also be more immersed in client meetings.

Growth is important for people and businesses

Retaining highly skilled employees is one of the most difficult tasks that a business faces. Finding a way to keep them is important if your business is to grow, though.

One of the ways in which businesses can help to attract and retain the best employees is by offering them the opportunity to constantly learn and expand their knowledge. The most successful people are always learning new things, so it makes sense that these people, in turn, help to build a successful company.

Investing in employees’ skills is a win-win situation, it prevents staff from going to the competition and helps to build a business’s employer brand. The more advanced and interesting the development package, the more attractive it is to employees. One of the ways employers can make this attractive to employees is to invest in the right technology for the job. The better the technology available to employees, the more control they have over their schedule and the faster they can develop their skills.


Source: How to Create a Better Learning Environment for Your Employees | Cronofy Calendar API

About the Author

Kristina is a writer, digital marketer, and social media addict. She spends her days working as a content marketer for Cronofy, and her nights writing novels.

About Cronofy

Cronofy connects HR software to users’ calendars via a unified calendar API.

To discover how calendar sync can save you and your users time and money, and help to hire the best candidates, watch our Real-Time Scheduling video.

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AI is all the rage, but is it dangerous?

AI is all the rage, but is it dangerous?

AI on the digital map

Artificial Intelligence continues to be a major trend in HR as companies look to improve hiring decisions and efficiency. As a computer scientist and expert on hiring research, I can attest that there are definitely components of hiring that can be improved with AI. One example is using algorithms to automatically remove identifying information from resumes to make identity-blind resume review more efficient. We can also use AI to help companies write better and more inclusive job descriptions that attract a broader pool of qualified applicants. A company concerned with employee turnover could use AI to identify employees who may be likely to leave based on variables like how many managers they’ve had, pay equity, and length of tenure. These are all exciting applications of AI that could make a real difference to a company’s hiring success.

AI and Recruiting

The main place people seem to be interested in using AI in recruiting is in reducing the number of resumes recruiters have to review to get to the best candidate. This makes perfect sense: given how easy it is to apply to a job with one-click these days, recruiters are understandably overwhelmed with the number of resumes they receive.

Unfortunately, there is a huge risk that using AI in the recruiting process is going to increase bias and not reduce it. Why do I sound so pessimistic? Because AI is completely dependent on the training set that is used to generate its predictive results. We’ve already seen how this can go horribly wrong in trying to identify images and create Twitter posts. When it comes to hiring, a critically important function for companies, AI can perpetuate biased patterns and teams that are very similar to existing ones.

Here’s an example where AI does not serve a company well. Let’s say a corporate hiring manager always looks for candidates who went to Ivy League schools. When an algorithm looks for patterns of the employees at the company, it will notice that there are certain schools that are more common among current employees, and it will seek candidates from those schools. However, research has shown that where someone went to school is not predictive of how well they will perform in a job. So, the algorithm has now found a “signal” in the data that is not predictive of how well a potential candidate will actually do the job. In this case, AI is simply feeding recruiters “more of the same,” which may not be what your company needs to achieve future goals.

Using AI in this way won’t be help organizations predict what they need to achieve future goals. AI is essentially “driving in the rearview mirror” – it is based on what has been done in the past. That’s why AI can’t replace recruiters, who have specific knowledge on the best types of people to hire to meet certain skillsets that will move a company forward.

How to spot potential bias in AI

The possibility of bias in AI training sets won’t occur to many algorithms designers, so it is up to the organizations that are deploying these algorithms to ask the right questions about what testing has been done to ensure bias was not trained into the algorithm itself. For example, if you’re considering video software that analyzes nonverbal communication to predict candidate quality or a pre-assessment that claims to predict job performance, ask whether there were observed group differences in the training data. If they can’t tell you, think twice about using it.

You’re still smarter than AI

Use AI to augment your hiring wisely. No amount of AI can replace following best practices in hiring, like identifying key skills and values before sourcing candidates and using structured interviewing. Some AI can help improve these best practices and get you closer to your goals, faster. Just make sure you have your eyes open for potential biases along the way.

Work Hard Anywhere

How Ergonomic Technology Is Eliminating Office Injuries

How Ergonomic Technology Is Eliminating Office Injuries

As a refresher of its core meaning, ergonomics is the “applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.” This definition of ergonomics is a good reminder of how our time spent at a desk can present hazards and injury. While it may seem to some that those who work in an office are least likely to experience harmful consequences from their work environment, this is actually untrue. Back injuries, carpal tunnel, and rotator cuff injuries are just a few of the conditions that can develop without proper ergonomics.

Thankfully, technology has stepped in to save the (work) day. Take a look at some of the latest ways technology is helping eliminate the risk of office injuries.

Monitor arms

As you plan a productive and ergonomic office space, one commonly overlooked (yet essential) component is the positioning of your computer monitor. If you are looking at a screen that is too low or too high for 8+ hours per day, you will likely end up suffering from neck and back issues. One recent release for the modern workspace is an advanced monitor arm. These redesigned arms suspend your computer monitor (ranging between seven and 20 lbs.) above your desk, and can be adjusted to the precise height you require. When you are done using your monitor for a period of time, you can simply move it out of the way to open up more of your desk space.

State-of-the art computer mouse designs

Now it’s time to pick a computer mouse. If you haven’t reviewed the latest developments in ergonomic mouse designs, you are in for a treat. New computer mouse designs take every curve of the hand into consideration, providing unmatched support and futuristic designs. These high-tech offerings limit the chance of joint problems and of developing muscle strains.

The latest in ergonomic keyboards

Finally, it is time to choose a desktop keyboard. Ergonomic research has led to some pretty impressive keyboard designs within the last few years. Soft palm rests, high quality keys, curved layouts, and split key designs are some of the top features found on the latest ergonomic keyboard releases. These technologically advanced designs offer a comfortable, injury-free experience for users. They also prove how far along the science of ergonomics has progressed.

Enhancing your space with ergonomic technology

Leveraging the latest advances in technology is a fantastic way to make your workspace more ergonomic. Not only will ergonomic office technology help you to avoid pain and injury, but it can also improve your productivity and boost your mood as a result. Begin by assessing your current workspace to see what is working and what isn’t. If you are unsure whether or not your current office adheres to ergonomic practices, start paying greater attention to any strain or pain felt when using your computer, keyboard, chair, or mouse. When you have taken the time to assess every element, you can begin to research which brands of ergonomic office technology are right for you.

Written by Jackie Edwards, specially for The HR Tech Weekly®

Street. Animals. Birds. Doves. An image from https://www.pexels.com.

Three ways a Mobile App will Improve Staff Engagement and Your Business’ Bottom Line

A man with iPhone 6 Plus. An image from https://www.pexels.com.

The Employee: Lost in the On-Demand Economy

Why is staff turnover so high?
What can I do to improve worker retention?
How can I keep track of staff that work off-site?
Can I even do anything to improve the worker experience for hourly, on demand and/or off-site staff?

After hearing these concerns from many business owners who schedule and manage remote and hourly workers, I put together a list of core concepts and even unpack a few specific features that will improve worker engagement for event driven businesses that rely on hourly workers.

The growth of on-demand workers dramatically altered the classic employer/employee relationship. In the past, workplace relationships were built nourished by employers and employees sharing time and space. Loyalty and accountability were natural extensions of the relationship. It was not uncommon for people to hold the same job for ten years or more. In the new worker paradigm, hourly workers are assigned event based shifts by catering, hospitality, security, promotions, fashion, and staffing agencies. Event duration can be a couple of hours and event frequency can be irregular. Loyalty, communication, and accountability often suffer as collateral damage of this new worker paradigm where the employer and the employee have minimal interaction, irregular schedules and few points of contact.

Tech to the Rescue

Technology solutions can benefit business owners and workers. Software will save your business (large or small) time and money, by automating processes and providing business insights to make more informed staffing decisions. Empowering workers by providing them with a mobile technology platform will lower absenteeism, reduce churn and improve productivity.

1. Mobile Automated Scheduling Solution

Manual scheduling can be a hassle. Workers have to sift through emails, text messages, calls, and/or excel sheet and then keep track of their personal schedules for their shifts for multiple non-recurring events at different sites.

To address this pain, employers should find a mobile solution that automates much of the scheduling process. Here’s why:

  • Mobile Today’s workforce is mobile first, you have to meet workers where they are: on-the-go and on their phones.
  • Retention If a comparable alternate employer offers an easier process for scheduling, onboarding, and keeping track of events – it will be more difficult to retain good talent.
  • Control Offering on-demand workers the option to accept and decline shifts to comply with their scheduling needs, offers hourly workers more control over their upcoming schedules.
  • Convenience Providing a platform and dashboard where the booking requests and confirmed gigs can be easily accessed removes much of the burden of scheduling from hourly workers.
  • Reminders Being able to easily schedule events to a mobile calendar and set reminders can reduce absenteeism.

2. Improved Communication

Workers that work hourly shifts can find it hard to keep track of their employer, manager and/or team. Working one-off events with different teams makes it difficult to feel connected.

Even in a scenario where it is hard to feel connected, if you choose the right platform, a mobile app will improve communication between workers and management and benefit all parties. Here’s how:

  • Familarity Managers that have access to staff profiles + photos can help develop familiarity enjoyed by people who have worked together for longer periods and improves managers’ ability to create a more pleasant team environment.
  • Teams Having an easy way to connect with fellow workers and managers helps teams build emotional connections, trust, and respect. Stronger teams do better work.
  • Complaints Creating a method to report issues or concern to management via a mobile app normalizes the reporting process, providing a comfortable and convenient way for workers express concerns which increase worker appreciation and loyalty.

3. Accountability

It’s easy for hourly workers that work off-site to feel removed from the business.
Giving contingent workers access to a system provides workers with a sense of accountability so they will be more likely to achieve their goals.

  • Brand Providing workers access to a dashboard, allows businesses to remind workers of their brand.
  • Accuracy Tracking time is a burden for workers and managers alike. Providing workers with a mobile solution with GPS check-in/check-out will track hours with greater accuracy.
  • Feedback Having a mobile app is a great way for businesses to ask workers for feedback allowing businesses to harness the collective ideas and feedback of staff that are on the front lines of the business. Feedback is also a great opportunity for businesses to demonstrate to workers that they value worker input and insights. When workers feel like their voice is heard, their investment in their work increases.
  • Rating Another option to increase accountability is to utilize a rating system, built into mobile a workforce management solution. Knowing managers will evaluate worker performance, gives workers incentive to improve and excel.

Adapting a mobile solution will improve team communication, satisfaction, and efficiency.

About the Author:

Omri Dekalo, Co-Founder and CEO of Ubeya

Omri Dekalo is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ubeya.

With web software for business owners and a mobile app for workers, Ubeya nails scheduling, communication and workforce management, empowering business owners and workers alike. Ubeya accommodates custom shifts for 1000s of workers in catering, staffing agencies, and other event driven businesses.

Website: https://www.ubeya.com

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Why HR Must Take Ownership Of Data To Survive

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The jobs market remains buoyant, emphasising the need to increase efficiency in hiring processes and improve retention levels but without taking responsibility for its data, achieving these goals will remain elusive and threaten HR’s survival.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC) Report on Jobs last month revealed that permanent placements rose at their highest rate in over two years in July while the availability of temporary and permanent candidates dropped again. An increase was also reported in salaries for all new hires.  

This news comes as the CIPD reports that analytics and AI were named as two of the top three most disruptive issues facing HR during a panel debate at the University of Bath. The contingent workforce was the third. ‘Ownership of data’ was highlighted as a specific issue as the nature of the jobs market and the working environment are both relentlessly disrupted by technology. CIPD Chief Executive Peter Cheese also observed a ‘complacency’ surrounding technology.

Taking ownership of data

Without taking ownership of data it is impossible to understand what is happening in your hiring process or improve falling retention levels among new hires. This is a particular problem in the UK as nearly half of all employers are failing to address the impact automation and AI will have on their business.

In order to avoid a complacent attitude towards recruitment data, adopt the following three steps:

Align your recruitment planning with business objectives: Talent acquisition strategies should be aligned with the overall objectives of the business but nearly a third of hiring teams don’t have a strategic workforce plan according to a Korn Ferry report. Collaboration is essential to implement effective talent planning and must be supported by technology.

Use applicant tracking software: The first step towards effective use of data is the implementation of a modern recruitment management system yet nearly half of employers don’t use applicant tracking software in their recruitment strategy. Without it, gaining an accurate understanding of what is preventing your business from hiring talent is impossible. Vital recruitment metrics enable HR to evaluate and improve hiring success yet too many hiring teams lack this vital knowledge.  Evidence based decision making is critical to creating a talent acquisition strategy that works.

Acknowledge the mobile job search: Only just over a quarter (28%) of companies use mobile technology in recruitment yet the rise of mobile job search is one of the most prominent tech trends affecting talent acquisition. By integrating a mobile responsive hiring process your ability to hold on to the qualified candidates in your recruitment funnel will improve – it is a straightforward step available through your recruitment software.

Improving the effectiveness of HR

Additional issues complicate HR’s ability to take ownership of its data.  The effectiveness – or otherwise – of HR functions also affect this area. 

A new survey from ViewsHub found that HR departments in technology companies were rated as the least effective and notably below the industry average. Professional service companies and retail also recorded low rankings which were based on three key criteria, namely, the ability to get things done, their technical ability in their jobs and their responsiveness to other teams. HR functions in the travel and food sectors ranked highest in the survey. 

Again, a move towards data driven recruitment can improve the perception of HR across an organisation:

Become more agile: An article in the Harvard Business Review, suggests that a lack of agility is holding back HR’s ability to adapt to disruptions. It proposes that HR should operate in ways that respond to ongoing changes in culture and working style – which includes developing a tech-centric culture. This is evident in tired recruitment processes that bear no resemblance to the job search habits of today’s candidates and are based on assumptions that the labour market still favours employers. An agile HR function increases efficiency in hiring and ultimately productivity. Relinquishing your reliance on manual recruitment processes will enable that and improve the ‘effectiveness ranking’ of HR departments which are struggling to respond to the needs of their business. 

Use data to understand the jobs that make a difference: McKinsey suggests that 5% of jobs create 95% of the impact within an organisation. Those exact jobs are different for every company. HR analytics will help your business to identify your roles which fall into the 5% category and focus on sourcing the talent for those positions  – and improve the effectiveness of HR. Taking ownership of data and avoiding complacency around technology is key to this. 

Take ownership of your data. Invest in world class recruitment software used by some of the world’s leading organisations to manage their entire talent recruitment systems. Contact Advorto today.

This article first appeared on Advorto's blog.

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How Technology Can Help to Prevent Workplace Stress

We spend over eight hours a day, five days a week at work.

Some of us may even spend more of our waking hours with our colleagues than our families.

It’s therefore important that our working lives leave us happy and fulfilled.

Sadly, studies show that one in four of us will suffer from a mental health condition in our lifetime.

Spending so much of our waking time at work, it’s inevitable that work will affect our mental health.

Too much pressure or long-term stress can cause employees to burn out, leaving them with less energy to function in and out of work.

Too little work – or a lack of stimulation – can also lead to stress. Employees feel under-fulfilled, like they’re wasting their time, and want to be anywhere but at work.

The more stressed employees are, the less work they get done, and the more businesses suffer.

Embracing technological innovations puts employees back in control of how they spend their time at work and greatly reduces the risks of stress and burnout.

Here are four ways technology can make employees feel more fulfilled, and help to prevent workplace stress.

Organize and coordinate schedules

Trying to find a time when a team can meet to discuss something important can often take as long – sometimes even longer – than the meeting itself.

If it’s an important or last-minute meeting, trying to get everyone together can cause employees huge amounts of stress.

There’s always a risk of someone being double-booked because they didn’t check their calendar before agreeing to a suggested time.

This then causes more stress because the meeting needs to be rescheduled.

Calendar connectivity means that this process can be automated, preventing double-bookings and avoiding any stress the process could cause.

Instead of long email chains or back-and-forth phone calls, the person organizing the meeting can tell the software whom they need in the meeting. It can then suggest a list of times when everyone is free to meet. If calendars are set up for bookable resources such as meeting rooms or parking spaces, it can incorporate this into its calculations too.

Connecting an employees’ calendar to HR software also means that they don’t need to switch between applications to keep track of their schedules.

Speed up and streamline complicated processes

On the surface, organizing interviews seems like an easy process, but with so many candidates and interview panellists to coordinate, it quickly becomes laborious.

Hiring managers can spend as many as 20 hours a month organizing interviews.

Automating this process gives hiring managers more time to spend on other tasks, saves interview panellists from having to constantly flit between their calendar and emails, and allows candidates to book their interviews discreetly.

Another process that can be automated is the organization of staff appraisals. In large organizations, this process can be particularly time-consuming.

However, when employees are calendar connected, software can work out the best times for an employee to meet their manager and automatically add the appointments to their calendar. No matter what size their team is, the process is instant.

Offering training programs for employees to expand their skills further breaks up the tedium of the daily routine.

Training programs don’t just have to take place at work, either.

There are thousands of online courses out there, and many of them are free.

Many industries also have their own courses or week-long events that employees can attend to network and get a change of scenery.

Giving employees new ways to learn and grow helps to spark new ideas that they can bring back to the workplace.

Learning new skills is also an effective way to prevent stagnation and keep employees interested in their work.

Monitor employee wellbeing

Looking after employees is a key part of HR.

New technology means HR teams can track how employees feel and gain an insight into how different teams work.

They can also encourage employees to get up and get moving by offering incentives such as fitness trackers.

Communication tools such as Slack give employees the opportunity to keep in touch whether they work in the same building or different parts of the country.

Tools like this can be key for managers and HR staff to keep informed of how employees are getting along, particularly if they work remotely full- or part-time.

Let employees take control of their schedules

The more things a person has floating around in their mind, the more difficult it is for them to organize their thoughts.

When employees have a lot to do and nowhere to organize their time, it’s inevitable that something will be forgotten.

Taking advantage of technology allows them to use it for everything from creating to-do lists in Trello to tracking customer queries in Zendesk.

Giving employees somewhere they can make a note of everything they have to do means that they spend less time trying to remember everything and more time getting things done.

The technology you provide for your employees matters

Richard Branson once said that if you “look after your staff. They’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”

When employees feel overwhelmed or overworked, they’re less productive and less able to help a business to grow.

Employees are what make a business a success.

Choosing the right people is crucial, but that’s only part of it.

If you don’t look after them, they won’t be as good to your business as they could be.

By nurturing employees, making them feel appreciated, and giving them opportunities to learn and grow, it not only benefits them, but the business, too.

The more knowledge employees acquire in their industry, the more they can use this to create a better customer experience and increase company revenue.

This then means the company can grow and increase its profits faster.

Everyone wins.


Source: How Technology Can Help to Prevent Workplace Stress | Cronofy Calendar API

An AI Intern For Your Recruiting Team

An AI Intern For Your Recruiting Team

Building a Chatbot, a GIF by Wanda Arca on Dribbble
Source: Wanda Arca via Dribbble

As a recruiter, have you ever had an intern?

It’s awesome. They take on many of the tedious administrative tasks that typically take up so much of your time. They assist with everything from processing applications to coordinating interviews and compiling applicant profiles for hiring managers.

Ah, the luxury.

Then they leave for the Summer. Suddenly all those tasks are put back on your plate. You now have to cut back on one-on-one time with candidates. You’re back to scheduling interviews and filtering through application after application. Gone are the days of complete, uninhibited focus on building relationships with candidates. Gone are the days of getting ahead of your hiring managers’ needs.

But with AI interns, you get the best of both worlds.

Artificially Intelligent (AI) interns share many of the qualities of their human counterparts, except they’re in it for the long haul. AI is impressionable, sponge-like and eager to learn. With AI interns, you get all the benefits of having human interns and none of the downsides. AI doesn’t take lunch breaks or Summer Fridays.

This is what inspired our beta testing program, aptly titled the Wendy Internship ProgramWendy is our conversational AI chatbot for recruiters. Wendy is young and eager, like an intern. She melds seamlessly into your existing workflow, easing burdens and lightening your workload along the way.

As a first round interviewer, Wendy helps recruiters engage and qualify candidates by chatting with them after they apply. This chat occurs via SMS/Facebook Messenger or our web app, and is similar to an initial phone screen. Here’s an example of Wendy initiating a conversation with Katie, a Software Developer who applied to a role at ACME:

An example of how Wendy starts a chat with an applicant
This an example of how Wendy starts a chat with an applicant.

Like previously mentioned, Wendy is young and impressionable, so this is your opportunity to shape her to your needs as a recruiter. Wendy…

  • Allows for more data-driven decision making — Wendy is able to gather information not found in applicants’ resumes. With these enriched applicant profiles, you can make more informed decisions about who to interview.
  • Increases your bandwidth — Rather than going through countless email exchanges and phone screens, you can allocate that time to other areas, like sourcing and building candidate relationships. Wendy also handles many administrative tasks, like scheduling and updating applicants.
  • Improves applicant engagement — Because Wendy can engage every single applicant, applicants no longer experience the “ATS black hole.” Unlike humans, Wendy never sleeps — meaning she can screen applicants at any time of the day and even on holidays.

We are currently filling out our Wendy Internship Program and looking for the next class of companies who are excited to help us train Wendy. If you’re interested in adding Wendy to your team, sign up here.

About the Author:

Bailey Newlan is the Content & Growth Marketer at Wade & Wendy, a New York City-based startup on a mission to make hiring more human. Wade & Wendy is a conversational engagement platform for recruitment automation. To connect, reach out to Bailey via LinkedInTwitter or Medium.


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Future of Work Trends, Part 5: Tech in HR, Human vs. Machine

Future of Work Trends, Part 5: Tech in HR, Human vs. Machine

Tech vs. Human in HR

Human Resource forms one of the most important parts of any organisation. It is one department which deals with employee recruitment, management, appraisals, payroll etc. Every day they have a hell lot of work to do from lining up candidates for vacancies, taking their interviews, maintaining policies and HR records, handling employee concerns, administering compensation and company programs, etc. All of these activities were done manually before the introduction of low-cost cloud-based services. Nowadays in various organisations, the HR department is automating many of their daily activities.

A growing trend of more and more HR activities moving online is the talk of the season. The rise of cloud based services has enabled HR to off-load much of their mundane work increasing efficiency and saving time. With the rise of new technologies like Big Data, Cloud Computing, etc. the HR world is changing forever. Many companies are using these online services to manage their HR resources function which has made it easier to track employee performances and training programs.

Employers are now taking their HR functions online with the help of cloud based services, customised mobile apps and social media. Employees now have more power over various things like punching in for work, accessing their salary slips & attendance records, requesting for leaves, etc. Various companies are using messaging apps like Slack, Google Hangouts and similar tools to create a group of team members to discuss the project work and official matters.

In various mid scale companies, employees are directly coordinating with their HR over these various chat or messaging bots for their general concerns like benefit programs, compensations, PF settlement, etc. Various companies now enable their employees to make use of their smart phones, where employees use their touch screen finger-scan to punch in their time which is connected to the attendance records. Employees can use the company’s employee portal to login into their dashboard to apply for medical benefits which were previously done by filling huge forms and submitting it to the HR.

So, whether you are looking for a job, considering a career change or want to get into freelancing, these trends will help you plan better for your career. Rapidly changing technology will bring more trends which will change the entire perspective of workplace and employment sector for good. And whilst all this automation is great, there is always something fascinating about the perfect balance especially as within people related jobs automation is great to support mundane tasks or make paper processes online and manual, but it is not good when distressed employees are managed via bots online or job loss news is received in very inhumane or impersonal ways via the same systems and online tools.

With this blog, we end our series on the future of work, we hope you enjoyed reading them all and if you missed any of them you can check them all out on our website or via this link. To read more on similar topics explore our blogs; to speak with us about employer’s hubs and how we can help transform your contractor talent management by bringing efficiencies through our simple cloud platform, get in touch.


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BYOD Doesn’t Have to Be the Biggest Headache for Companies

BYOD Doesn’t Have to Be the Biggest Headache for Companies

Written by Manish Bhardwaj, Sr. Marketing Manager, Middle East and Turkey at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

BYOD Doesn’t Have To Be the Biggest Headache for Companies in the Middle East

8 Best Practices to Protect Your Enterprise Network

Manish Bhardwaj, Sr. Marketing Manager, Middle East and Turkey at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
Manish Bhardwaj, Sr. Marketing Manager, Middle East and Turkey at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

Smartphones and other personal devices can now be found in most businesses as users are staying connected to the corporate network from anywhere, any time. It’s the stuff that keeps IT and security managers up at night — mobile users, multiple devices per user, and enterprise data on the move.

Security for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and mobile must now be part of a larger conversation when securing the network for the new digital workplace. Based on existing customers’ best practices, this paper outlines eight things you can do to boost network security amidst BYOD.

Assign Roles to Users and Devices

With users carrying multiple devices, it’s smart to standardize on user roles across the organization, and then assign device roles, too. A smartphone issued by IT for a specific purpose may require more access privileges than a personal device. IT-issued laptops would have different roles than smartphones and tablets. The value is your ability to create different rules for each device type or role.

User and device roles also let you differentiate privileges by device type for the same user. An IT administrator would be allowed to change switch and controller configurations with a laptop assigned a corporate role. But, that same person would not be able to access sensitive networking equipment using a tablet assigned a BYOD role.

Use Profiling to Create Device Categories

Accurately profiled devices should be a cornerstone of your plan when rolling out a secure BYOD initiative. As BYOD permeates throughout your environment, not all users will be diligent about downloading the latest versions of the operating system. You’ll want to capture context that allows you to see who is running what versions on iOS, Android, Chrome and other operating systems.

As new releases become available, this data will give you the visibility to help identify why authentications may be failing, the types of devices that are experiencing issues, and more.

An understanding of location can also help determine if a problem is specific to Wi-Fi equipment if the enterprise is operating a multivendor environment.

Use Context Within Policies

It’s important to leverage multiple sources of context to manage access. Data can consist of user role, device profiling, location, and once a certificate is issued to a specific user’s device, the assumption is that it’s a BYOD. Doing this greatly enhances productivity, usability and security. By enabling the use of known data you can stop users from coming up with ways to bypass policies.

The use of device categories should also be explored. The idea is to again leverage context to enforce privileges across a large category of devices. All BYOD endpoints connecting over a VPN can be treated differently than when connecting in the office. Printers can be managed differently than game consoles or Apple TVs.

Manage Mobile App Use

Enterprises need to define and enforce policies that dictate who can access specific types of data from which devices, with the ability to differentiate between smartphones, tablets, laptops or IoT devices. To be effective, enforcement must extend across MDM/EMM, a policy management platform, and firewalls.

Automate and Simplify

Automation is essential for both initial onboarding and to take action on non-compliant devices (for example, quarantining them until they are compliant). MDM/EMM solutions should share device posture with a NAC solution to ensure that devices meet compliance before being given access. Integrating with helpdesk applications and SIEM can provide an enhanced experience for the user and IT for improved problem resolution.

By automating the discovery and onboarding of non-compliant devices, you can reduce costs and improve your security posture. This also allows users to re-onboard their own devices when smartphones and tablets are replaced, which also reduces the time IT has to spend on device onboarding.

Go with Certificates – They’re More Secure Than Passwords

Users will connect to guest networks more frequently leaving passwords exposed to theft, which makes certificates a cornerstone of a secure mobile device deployment. As the use of active directory and an internal PKI for BYOD is not a best practice, an independent Certificate Authority (CA) built to support personal devices is preferred.

A policy management solution that includes the ability to distribute and update, as well as revoke certificates should be explored. Integration with an MDM/EMM solution should be an option in the event that device management was deployed prior to investing in a network access policy management solution.

Make Everyone Happy – Simplify SSIDs

Multiple SSIDs complicate life for IT and users alike. With effective policy management enforcement in place, BYOD and corporate-owned devices can connect to common SSIDs. Reducing the options for users to choose from simplifies the user experience, and makes it easier for IT to maintain SSIDs across multiple locations. Consolidation of SSIDs can also improve Wi-Fi performance.

The key to improving your security posture revolves around your ability to leverage roles, location and policy enforcement to ensure that devices receive the access that IT expects, even when using common SSIDs. When personal devices are connected to a common 802.1X network, IT can provide Internet access only if desired.

Consider Next-Generation Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

These days, enterprise data access is often initiated from smartphones and tablets. As these devices are easily shared, many IT professionals are turning to new forms of MFA to ensure that the user of a device is really the person requesting access. Instead of token generation devices that are easily lost, there’s a better way.

Now when a user connects to a network or opens an application, IT can require a secondary challenge that is as simple as picking up your smartphone and scanning your fingerprint, taking a selfie, or clicking on a pre-determined image from within the images library.

Conclusion

The continued rise of BYOD is inevitable, and few corporate leaders will pass up the productivity gains of a mobile workforce that pays for their own devices. But it is easy to lose track of long-term goals if you don’t have a solid plan. The eight ideas presented in this paper are just some of the things that IT should consider when preparing for BYOD.

In the end, a central component that brings everything together starts with an advanced policy management platform. One that includes AAA services, NAC, BYOD onboarding and third-party integration with event-driven remediation.


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Why Businesses Should Embrace Machine Learning

If you’re still unsure of machine learning and it’s benefits, consider these scenarios. 

In 2016, Google’s net worth was reported to be $336 billion, and this is largely due to the advanced learning algorithms the company employs.

Google was the first company to realize the importance of incorporating machine learning in business processes. And the technology powerhouse doesn’t stop at any given point; it keeps modifying its algorithms to better suit the needs of its users continuously.

And how does it accomplish the difficult task of observing the browsing pattern of thousands (or millions) of its users?

The answer is simple. By analysing the data, which it has accumulated by introducing machine learning to its business operating model.

This is just one example of how machine learning processes in the recording and processing of data can help businesses grow.

Here are three more ways in which machine learning can help various business sectors:

1. It removes physical restrictions

If we have accomplished one thing by automating and digitalizing business processes, it is that we have removed the physical limitations that restrict growth.

Before the technological age, what was the biggest problem faced by businesses? Operating within a limited space accessible only by a limited number of people. For a designer, it was necessary to completely clear out the previous inventory before utilising the shelf space for new designs. By embracing machine learning and diving into the world of e-commerce, you don’t ever have to worry about running out of shelves.

2. It provides a deeper understanding of your consumers

With the introduction of automated processes, businesses have become increasingly consumer-centric. To be able to survive the competition of catering to your customers’ needs, you as a business owner have to understand the needs of your consumers.

If you do not deliver what consumers are looking for, there is a high probability that you will lose potential customers to competition. Machine learning plays an important part in solving the mystery of consumer preferences. All required information is hidden behind the data accumulated by the business. You just have to crunch the code, and voila—you know what your customers are actively searching for.

3. It automated processes, boosting efficiency

Imagine standing in line in a supermarket; someone with a long haul is standing ahead of you and the cashier’s machine suddenly breaks. It’s a nightmare, right? You could be spending those precious minutes watching your favourite series on Netflix.

Now imagine that the machine is not broken but in fact was never invented. The cashier has to manually enter every purchase and tally it with the existing stock. Incorporating automated processes to record inventory stock and purchase order data is not a luxury, it’s a necessity in today’s world. Machine learning has increased the efficiency of businesses and minimized the room for error.

Want to learn more about how to incorporate Big Data analytics to propel your business towards growth? Visit Simplilearn for useful insights into the subject. For more interesting content about data analytics follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Source: Why Businesses Should Embrace Machine Learning | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn