In a digital world our offline gestures matter even more
Like most of you, the number of conversations I’ve been having recently about Artificial Intelligence and where the digital world is heading has to be approaching the high triple digits. It seems to be all anyone wants to talk about and, fortunately for me, is an extremely exciting subject to explore.
The implications AI holds for our lives is really outrageous and when you start to drill that down to how it may impact talent strategies in the future – the possibilities are quite endless – Alexa voice applications, Chatbots, personal office assistants - I could go on and on. In fact, I’m sure I will in an upcoming post!
But what I’m really thinking about right now is how these digital enhancements to our lives are going to further highlight the importance of offline, real world actions.
Recently we’ve been growing our team in North America. We posted the opening and an algorithm sent us a ton of relevant applicants. Relevant based on a data framework aligned to “what” we were looking for and not necessarily “who” we were looking for. For our role the “who” was just as, if not more, important than the “what.”
Of course we scheduled phone interviews and in-person conversations to learn more about the people we were talking to. Nothing groundbreaking there, but we now knew more about who they really were and could begin to determine if they’d bring the right attributes to our team and fit the tight-knit group.
Had we been using a video interview platform we may have been told by yet another algorithm how trustworthy and honest our candidates were. If we were hiring a high-volume role, we may not have had the luxury to vet our candidates so thoroughly and would have relied even heavier on an algorithm to influence our decision.
In this instance our algorithm identified a high-potential candidate, we took things offline to understand them better and then the candidate did something all job search advocates recommend but few searchers do – they sent a handwritten thank you letter after our first telephone interview!
This was someone we knew we wanted to hire from our first conversation, but this extra level of attention and care shown really put them over the top. If we were stuck between two good candidates, this would have made the difference. Had we automated the entire process, well then we would never have gotten the letter in the first place.
In a world where it’s easier to ‘click and do’ then ‘think and do,’ this extra offline effort really stands apart.
Tim Middleton, Agency Director
Late last week I started to see a number of tweets and posts from “prominent” sports journalists lamenting another round of layoffs at a major sports entertainment company. These layoffs affected everyone from longstanding on-air talent, to new, emerging data whizzes, and the support staff behind the scenes who make everything possible.
In total, something like 100+ people were let go. A big chunk in an ever-shrinking industry. The company doing the layoffs hasn’t always had the best reputation as an employer and certainly was catching backlash for this most recent cost-cutting manoeuvre. And that’s worth mentioning because what I saw in the posts from the actual ex-employees was rather impressive. Sure a few folks took the opportunity to stick it to their old employer, but the majority were actually very sincere about the time they spent there, the work they did, and most frequently the people they worked with.
Many of these people are obviously media trained and would never publish something that could jeopardise their career, but the amount of honest love for their colleagues whom they wouldn’t share an “office” with anymore was really astounding.
For all the faults of their former company, the people who were and are still employees built something important there. What they built was a community of coworkers who grew into a family. It’s because of that familial feeling that I wasn’t reading a bunch of nasty gossip or negativity about the company. I was reading and hearing genuine positivity that even in light of layoffs put the company in question in a fairly good light.
The reality of business is there are times where costs are going to be cut or hard calls have to be made. If we can cultivate a culture of togetherness and camaraderie those tough decisions won’t be any easier to make, but those individuals who do move on will hopefully do so with positive memories and impressions of their time.
Tim Middleton, Agency Director