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How to Empower Culture, Tailor Talent Growth Plans

By Manuela Vélez -
Independent Contributor


By Manuela Velez | Head of People - Wed, 06/07/2023 - 13:00

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I have been experimenting with and learning about integrations between platforms, automation and reading about how AI is the iron to move the needle in  business, especially at an international level.

It seems like people or HR departments must take the plunge and we must set ourselves a new mission: taking real advantage of technology (and we will not always have an IT or tech team to help us) and of AI tools to be able co-create and improve not only processes but also the company culture. This means using these tools to foster a positive work environment, improve communication, promote employee well-being and streamline consistency within the organization. 

To that end, the following are several propositions to get us closer to this new mission of profiting from AI tools to start improving company culture:

1. AI-driven communication tools: Implement AI-driven communication platforms or chatbots to improve internal communication. Integrate platforms that facilitate management and avoid having a thousand files, Google forms and others  that complicate our lives. These tools can facilitate the efficient exchange of information, provide quick answers to common queries and help employees find relevant resources. Improved communication can foster transparency, collaboration and a sense of belonging among team members. If we want to have a higher percentage of permeation, then usage flows must be agile and thoughtful for all departments, generations and common goals. I would like to share with you some actions, experiences and trials that I tried and that allowed me to be more agile in the operational phases of processes: 

  • Chatbots, slackbots, or whatever bots they may be are programs designed to interact with users in a conversational way, provide support in initial steps with their natural language processing (NLP) algorithms to understand queries and respond in a relevant way. I do not use them or have not implemented them for a whole journey because I believe that we cannot dehumanize HR. 

  • When we have teams in different countries and not all of them are able to communicate in the same language, a friendly, inclusive and easy to use tool is machine translation, since for online communication by voice or text it helps us to unite multicultural teams, allowing people to communicate in different languages without the need of deep linguistic knowledge.

  • I am currently testing and learning (I am not an expert and I am exploring form and substance) from a company I found by playing around: Ava is a San Francisco-based company dedicated to developing tools to empower deaf and hard of hearing people.  They are working with large companies and inclusive organizations with a live captioning solution for any situation. This solution not only makes our workforce environment actually inclusive for people who are hearing impaired, but may also add value to multicultural and generational environments to make sure we provide tools so that messages are better received.

2. Personalized learning and development: This means using AI-based learning platforms to deliver customized training and development programs. AI can analyze employees' skills, preferences and learning patterns and then deliver tailored learning experiences. It is not a secret that enabling employees to grow and develop their skills can improve their overall job satisfaction and, therefore, their engagement. Thinking outside the box, personalizing and moving away from creating for others in HR without knowing their needs, will lead to better engagement, happy talent and smarter budget decisions.

3. Support employee well-being: If we take on the task of employing AI tools to monitor employee well-being and provide support, how would they feel or how would we feel if we were not part of the HR department responsible for this implementation? AI can analyze data from a variety of sources, such as surveys, sentiment analysis and wearable devices, to identify signs of stress, burnout or low morale. Based on the insights received, appropriate interventions can be implemented, such as recommending wellness programs or providing resources for mental health support. 

These interpretations and analytics are also done by some companies to analyze public interactions with posts and comments, among others, on platforms like LinkedIn, given that it is not only the number of views or reactions but how the algorithm interprets the way we interact and the emotional charge behind the content. I learned this as a candidate in an interview with an American company, where the talent recruiter shared with me how their AI tools analyze this and how it was an important factor for them within the process for some positions. Interesting, isn't it?

4. AI-driven recruiting and onboarding: Those of us who work in talent attraction know the hours and wear and tear involved in reviewing applications, resumes, and profiles from various platforms. AI can drive more efficient and unbiased hiring processes. AI can help screen resumes, conduct preliminary interviews and assess the suitability of candidates based on predefined criteria. 

In addition, AI can help automate onboarding processes by providing new employees with relevant information, resources and training materials. I emphasize that I am not in favor of dehumanizing processes. Those who have been in processes with me as candidates know that being on time and always aware of the process, keeping an eye on feelings and hand-holding during the process is vital for me. There is nothing more distressing than being in the hiring process and being abandoned,  without  any follow-ups or updates. We can never lose the focus of people as the key pieces for building company and culture.

5. Data-driven decision-making: Let's take advantage of AI analytics. If we don't know the answer, let's look for support from other departments, courses or from within our community. There is always someone ready to teach and share knowledge. Sometimes, we can get ballsy and pull data or metrics and so make data-driven decisions. By analyzing patterns and trends, AI can provide valuable insights into employee engagement, satisfaction and performance. These insights can be used to identify areas for improvement and implement targeted initiatives to improve company culture. Let's rely on our HRIS and data analysts. Let's integrate platforms that make our lives easier and give us a hand in defining and deciding with agility. 

These initiatives to streamline and facilitate the flows and processes of HR operations, talent attraction, recruitment, data analysis, communication, culture and inclusion are great resources that we must learn and not wait for areas like IT or tech to take the lead. We should not be afraid of making these tools part of our lives nor of letting them facilitate our jobs. However, they must be used responsibly (this means with empathy and humanity) since there are skills that AI won’t be able to do  — for now or  in the foreseeable future. 

Motivation, will, recursion or creativity  are skills that we will continue to need from our people. Sharing moments to facilitate co-creation, sitting at a table together and  discussing ideas through critical thinking, experiencing leadership through projects, listening to each other, and taking risks are undeniably part of “being people.” Emotions, interaction and the ability to empathize is intrinsic in our ancestral DNA and will continue to be for now.  All of this leads us to creating communities, solutions, building knowledge and environments. We must not conceive of AI as a tool that serves to replace us. It is not about replacing us! It is about using to the best of our advantage a great, talented tool that a human being  has created.

Let's not stop being that pump that drives organizations

Photo by:   Manuela Vélez

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