We look at how technology is rapidly advancing and transforming the way businesses operate. All aspects of business, including recruitment, have seen a noticeable move towards digital platforms. When recruiting employees it is vital to understand these changes and to realise technology’s role in running a business.
At Changeboard’s 2014 Future Talent Conference, Alex Lowe of Google spoke about the role of technology in the workplace and how important it is to keep abreast with what technology is out there, as it changes so quickly.
The main points on which he based his talk are how HR should embrace new technology, incorporate the collaborative working it introduces, and through this, foster innovation.
Embracing the New Technology
Not only is technology constantly changing, but the rate at which it is changing is only accelerating. If businesses do not embrace these changes and the new technology that’s being introduced, it will only become more difficult, if not impossible to run their businesses successfully in the future.
The younger generation, however, seems to have no problem embracing the changes. Lowe quotes from Google statistics that 42% of school-aged children can operate a tablet and 28% of children aged 3-4 can too.
These are people that will be entering the job market in the not so distant future and companies will need to be equally up-to-date with technology in order to be able to recruit them. Even in the currently working generation, job seekers are becoming more “tech savvy”.
Lowe quotes that of the four billion job related searches made annually, approximately one quarter are made on mobile phones. It is estimated that people spend approximately 60 full days a year consuming digital media. Digital media is a large platform that is constantly being accessed, and companies need to ensure that they are available on digital media at all times.
Lowe stresses the need for successful collaboration in today’s workplace. He gives the example of how queues for lunch at the Google offices are specifically not optimised, in order to encourage employees to chat while they wait for their food and hence encourage collaboration.
Another example he gives is the variety of workspaces at Google offices with unconventional workspaces like the ones below where employees can sit together and discuss things, encouraging teamwork.
Technology is making the world smaller, as Business Knowledge Source emphasises. The internet has made even the furthest locations accessible and has introduced numerous ways of communicating. Companies need to take advantage of this. Video conferencing, for example, is a great way of hosting meetings with employees or clients not in the area, especially with international companies where face-to-face meetings are, more often than not, unviable and expensive.
It is also a good way to recruit international or non-local employees, without having to fly them in at early stages of the interviewing process. There is also a lot of new file sharing technology available online involved with technology’s move towards cloud based computing.
Cloud computing basically refers to accessing data and programs over the internet instead of just off your computer’s hard drive, according to PCMag. This makes data accessible anywhere and on any device. Another advantage of cloud computing is that because the data is stored in real time, multiple authors can be added to the document to work on it simultaneously from different places, and all changes are visible as they happen.
Google’s version of this is Google Drive (Gdrive) where if you sign up for free you can get 15 GB worth of online space, with paid plans for those who require more.
It is estimated by Google that 39% of the world’s population has access to the internet. They have predicted that by 2020, 100% of the population will be connected to the internet with the bulk of this growth coming from developing markets.
Innovation is the driving force behind the increased accessibility of the internet, an example of such being Google’s Project Loon. Project Loon is a network of balloons travelling on the edge of space, designed to bring internet connectivity to people living in rural and remote areas.
The balloons are also aimed at reconnecting areas after natural disasters. With more people having access to the internet, there will be more competition amongst data providers to provide the cheapest rates, and this will cause the price of internet access to drop. Sites such as internet.org are dedicated to making affordable internet access available to those not yet connected.
Lowe also predicts that hardware like tablets and mobile phones will become much cheaper in the near future. An example of a company that has successfully incorporated rapidly changing technology to better reach their market is Heineken’s The Candidate campaign.
The beer company decided to think outside-the-box and deviated from the conventional interview process, inviting a group of potential employees to a bizarre interview that required candidates to show real reactions to strange situations. Videos featuring the candidates who performed the best were then viewed in an online portal by Heineken’s internal community of employees, who then voted for their favourite.
By using social media to select an employee, Heineken’s progressive recruitment style seems to have been successful in not only finding the right candidate, but in providing inspiration for other companies looking to improve on their outdated hiring processes.
In such a technological age, it is very important that companies stay on the pulse about what is happening with technology in order to make the most of what resources are available – and to keep up with today’s technologically-savvy youth.