I visit a famous coffee shop almost every alternate day below my office and whenever I go there, I see the bunch of people sitting together with their laptops, either silently working sipping Latte’s or discussing almost violently on their STARTUP. Coffee shop or smoking area of a pub is the birthplace for most of the startup ideas. I love this culture, everybody has a unique idea, few have a startup because they have a unique idea, and few have a startup because everybody else has. So, one day, I was surrounded by such future entrepreneurs sitting in the same coffee shop and I was waiting for this long-lost colleague who wanted to meet for a discussion. A Startup Idea, again, an HR Tech Startup Idea. When I came back from that meeting, I was happy for just one thing, I didn’t have to pay for my coffee that day.
This was the 8th HR tech Startup Idea I heard in past one and a half year. Two years back I uploaded a video on my blog www.recruitmentgyan.com mentioning that as recruiters we need to innovate and come up with fresh ideas so the Human resource is at least recognized as a vital function of any organization in India. We can’t be growing while doing the same thing from past 30 years. In every sphere today, I see innovation being mistaken for digitalization. Innovation means app-ify something. Put anything on an App and call it innovation. Not that I don’t like apps, I am a very app friendly person and tech-savvy too, but I believe we have been hugely mistaking innovation with app-ification. When it comes to innovation in HR, people started coming up with ideas of different kind of apps. Naukri.com, shine.com, monster jobs they all launched an app and came on your mobile from your desktop, was it innovative? It was required to keep up with the speed of millennials but did it revolutionize the way we hire, NO. There were few HR tech startups, where candidates and employers can chat online, it’s like the tinder of employees and employers, great idea but was it innovative? There is an HR tech startup idea, which even I thought of launching three years back, a marketplace for recruiters and employers and employees, the IndiaMart/amazon of recruitment, was it innovative? Was it really solving a huge problem? Was this idea or any other idea revolutionizing recruitment? Honestly, NO. I have heard many such ideas in last 2 years, including my own but one thing always remained unanswered in my heart. Are we solving a problem or we are forcing to tech-innovate HR? Yes, tech-innovate. Innovation is not necessarily technology driven.
Human resources is a people focused branch of organization/culture. It’s unique and complex because it involves people, we deal with unique individuals. An individual is not a representation of algorithm or keywords, they are a complex amalgamation of feelings, emotional, IQ, EQ, Skills acquired, capability, learning, potential, aspirations and this all has not been yet measured on any scale. The generation we are dealing with today is tech-friendly, agreed, but the question here is, by involving tech in everything are we really addressing the real challenges in HR. The real challenges being, “Finding the right talent” for a said job’, “A person who is fit to fill a role but not fit in the culture of an organization”, “Finding a person who is not only right for the job but also passionate about it” So the challenge is not “Lack of technology”, the challenge is “Lack of right/effective approach to connecting to the worthy prospect”. Social media plays a big role here. The right use of social media tools can help HR to achieve the unachieved but that too has not been used to its complete potential yet.
Greg Savage, one of the leading Recruitment and Leadership advisor of Australia and one of my favorite HR People, says, “If you think the future of recruitment is more technology and less human interaction, then you are in for a major disappointment”. And I agree totally. While we are trying to forcibly inculcate technology in HR, we are taking out the human from Human resource and replacing it with Technology. People discussing this so-called innovative HR tech startup ideas boost algorithms and skill set matching. But every time they fail to explain what are they offering in lieu of human interaction which is done one to one, eye to eye conversation, the tools which either select or reject a professional, not a left swipe or green tick on an app. Nobody needs innovation, new ideas then recruitment industry does today, but whatever takes the human out of human resource is just taking it towards doomsday and is bound to fail. A new mindset, a new approach, a new way to deal with talent is also innovation.
Let me know your thoughts.