CES and the impact of technology for talent leaders | M&M Global

CES and the impact of technology for talent leaders

Agency talent leaders should harness the latest technology to engage with employees, writes Marie-Claire Barker, global chief talent officer at MEC.

Marie-Claire Barker

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week did not disappoint. When you cut through the Vegas bright lights, the show is a look into the huge advancements for all things digital and technology led, and as a talent leader, CES was both an inspiration and wake up call.

For years we have said that technology is significantly changing the way people work and connect, and the implications on organisations and the leaders within them, is game changing. But then, so are the opportunities to innovate.

I have long said that too many HR leaders hang on to the process before the purpose; now we need to make sure we don’t fall into the same trap with technology.

We take for granted that tech is at our fingertips, but we must not lose sight of what it actually can do for us. We need to go beyond the gimmick and look at how tech can change our game – in an organisation, that means using tech to build your brand, tell your story and grow and engage your employees.

Employee engagement

We strive for employee engagement. Then how about having employees experience our culture through virtual reality? The truly immersive nature of this technology allows us to tell our story like we’ve never done it before.

From helping a prospective employee imagine themselves in the company culture, to the onboarding of new employees, employee development and messages from the CEO – the possibilities within virtual reality seem endless. And when people are wearing the goggles, you have their undivided attention – imagine what leaders could do with that. This is true engagement.

Not surprisingly, wearables were everywhere at CES, offering to measure your sleep, what you eat or the number of steps you take. But, again, I encourage you to look beyond the strap on your employee’s wrist.

Wearables today are collecting so much data that they’re also able to advise on activity and health. Fitness and wellness are of extremely high priority for your employees, and with a forecast of 111 million of these devices being shipped in 2016 alone, it is an area of employee interaction that cannot be ignored. With the 24/7, always-on technology enabled workforce striving to over-achieve, whilst still looking after body and soul, leaders can do much to help employees manage their mental fatigue at work. Use the data, do something meaningful in this space.

Mentoring programme

Also at CES, dating websites were there talking about how their technology is matching people based on preferences and data – that type of technology could be utilised to get your mentoring programme up and running. One of the toughest parts of any mentoring initiative has always been matching likeminded people.

Finally, we say that we struggle to compete for talent against the big tech companies because of their ability to innovate. CES showed me that we can all innovate in the tech space, we just have to understand the value and applicability of it to our people. And wouldn’t it be fun if your future employee got their offer letter via a drone – or is that a step too far?

Marie-Claire Barker

Global chief talent officer, MEC

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