Guest Blogger

By Jon Lester – HR Cloud Strategy Lead, IBM Global HR

The world of business is undergoing change and disruption like never before. Major shifts that are driving this include increased employee expectations, increased needs of employers from their employees, new technologies that have dramatically transformed the way we live and work, and new business models.

Agility, flexibility, speed, and digital transformation have all become the need of the hour. Most enterprises are working to reinvent themselves to keep up with changing market needs and remain relevant and competitive. However, in the race to “digitally transform” themselves, many companies fail to realize that this must be accompanied by a shift in the way they think about talent, process, tools and structure. At the same time, the competition for the best talent has intensified and there is a major skills shortage. HR leaders need to develop a new talent strategy, and HR technology and processes must have the ability to help them manage their talent transformation successfully. Cognitive computing can help tackle many of these issues, enabling a novel approach to talent management.

A cognitive system continually understands, learns and reasons from its various interactions, resulting in a deep and broad knowledge base that is always up to date. It helps you scale your best thinkers and performers with new insights and produce sounder, data-driven business insights that significantly improve decision-making processes.1 Cognitive HR solutions enhance the accuracy and quality of HR services, building on existing HR technology and processes to make talent acquisition very precise, improve employee experience, and reduce costs. Some of the areas where cognitive systems can make a huge difference are:

Talent acquisition

A cognitive system helps build and constantly update success profiles for key jobs in various job families by benchmarking the key competencies, skills, traits and behaviors of high performers in the role. This helps recruiters find the best match for any job and candidates most likely to succeed, focus on the area they can have the most impact, and make faster, better-informed decisions with no bias or guesswork. It also helps create a skills-based system with a focus on competencies that assesses candidates on existing skills as well as personality, behavior, fit and predisposition to learn.

Candidate experience

The candidate and employee experience is another critical aspect. Candidates prefer companies that take into account their skills, needs, aspirations and cultural fit. Our research has shown that people satisfied with their candidate experiences are 38 percent more likely to accept a job offer.2 The virtual assistant features of cognitive computing can provide a high-touch, memorable candidate experience,   recommending roles and openings that are potential matches. Once they are hired, it helps ensure smooth and seamless onboarding, helping accelerate their time to productivity.

Employee experience and engagement

Employees expect a personalized consumer-like experience at work, with systems tailored to their individual needs, where transparency, development and empowerment are key, as is seamlessness between work and life outside work. Furthermore, a good employee experience translates into a great customer experience, a huge competitive advantage today.

Employee engagement and buy-in is crucial for successful talent transformation. Cognitive technology helps HR leaders listen to the collective “employee voice” of their people through census and pulse surveys, as well as see what they are saying on social media platforms and forums. It can then analyze responses and act fast on insights so you know what your employees think and feel – and can act upon this knowledge.3

Career growth

HR leaders can facilitate career growth by using cognitive assessing people’s skills and aspirations and recommending a possible career path. Cognitive technology offers personalized and engaging learning options, anticipation of learning needs, and timely content that help them in their chosen career path while aligning to organizational goals. Employees who are most engaged with their organizations have been proven to be five times less likely to be searching for a new job.4  If they know they can grow and evolve with the company, this will motivate them to stay and actively support business growth.

The changes occurring in business and the workplace have necessitated a shift in the way HR thinks about leading, organizing, motivating, managing, and engaging the workforce.  Cognitive systems are already showing robust results in facilitating a new collaboration between humans and technology that will enhance and scale human expertise, helping drive talent transformation and business success. Have you explored these yet for your business?


1. Fast start in cognitive innovation: HYPERLINK “”IBVHYPERLINK “” report summary

2. The far-reaching impact of candidate experience

3. Amplifying employee voice: How organizations can better connect to the pulse of the workforce

4. Should I stay or should I go? HYPERLINK “”Global insights into employees’ decisions to leave their jobs

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