<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1509222356040859&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Complete this form to request your access to the platform.

Ensure a Positive Candidate Experience When Hiring Contingent Talent Remotely

As digitization, coupled with the global pandemic, propels contingent hiring online and with more individuals relying on employer reviewer sites to evaluate businesses, delivering a positive[...]

March 10, 2021

Read More
All Posts

The Human Cloud in 2017: Tech Trends That Will Define the Next Year

One of the most significant shifts in the staffing industry during 2016 came from the explosive growth of what employment experts refer to as the “human cloud.” According to a report by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), this market segment generated between $25.6 billion and $28.6 billion globally over the past year. What is the human cloud? It’s an expanding ecosystem that drives the gig economy. It includes vaunted companies such as Uber and Upwork. The human cloud consists of contractors, consultants, freelancers and subject matter experts who are seeking new models of employment. And technology connects everything in the human cloud. We’ve been hearing a lot lately about artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotic automation and data transformation – particularly as the new drivers of the workforce. Naturally, when we explore the trends shaping 2017, the biggest movements involve technological innovation. Let’s look at the role advanced tech will play in the world of HR and staffing over the next year.

The Human Cloud Billows

Rather than competing with online staffing platforms and emerging hiring systems, the human cloud incorporates them; they are elements of the human cloud itself. Some of the more prevalent tools powering the human cloud are:

  • Online staffing platforms
  • Cloud labor platforms
  • Crowdsourcing platforms
  • Online work arrangement intermediation platforms
  • Talent exchanges
  • Online work services
  • Mobile job board apps, such as Jobr

These technologies mirror the workforce evolution that’s creating a more contingent, on-demand future. Uber certainly embodies the potential of the gig economy, yet it didn’t pioneer the concept. Uber, and companies like it, are the result of the push toward a fast-paced, competitive, task-oriented, at-your-fingertips business model – one in which consumers and companies are decoupling.

Payments today are electronic and transacted through apps. Processes are highly automated, efficient and informed by the collection of relevant data. Workers in the sharing economy seem more like service providers and business partners than employees. The movement isn’t just evident in organizations such as Uber. The change is omnipresent and includes all elements of staffing.

Stephen DeWitt, CEO of Work Market, told Workforce magazine that data transformation will soon expand beyond niche areas of HR. It will infuse and integrate with every aspect.

“It’s going to involve algorithms around labor and tapped success and geographic pricing and economics and the ability to compare labor, internal, external, partner-based, all in one autonomic system that defines the modern enterprise,” DeWitt explained. 

Workforce Tech Trends of 2017

The Hiring Manager Experience

Throughout 2016, the industry emphasized the importance of the candidate experience. Next year, we’re likely to see this priority extend to hiring managers. As Rosemary Haefner and Eric Presley observe in their latest ERE article, “Like candidates, hiring managers want a consumer-like experience where results are quickly delivered and information is easily obtained or shared through the click of a button.”

HR and procurement teams have begun investing more time in analyzing data to help hiring managers develop realistic pictures of crucial metrics such as time-to-fill, turnover and performance. That means companies are also investing in platforms with robust people analytics capabilities. However, I believe this also spells new opportunities for MSPs and contingent workforce program leaders, who can expand their roles into true workforce consultants.

MSPs, for example, already alleviate the burden of managing staffing partners and contingent workers. They have also focused heavily on data. Many now employ internal data scientists, analysts and even labor economists. The VMS systems they bring offer increased functionality, which incorporates machine learning and modules that support a wider range of talent – independent contractors, freelancers, SOW professionals and more.

It’s entirely feasible that their tools and expertise could be tapped to benefit any workforce initiative, improving the hiring manager experience while saving costs.

Learning and Engagement

“One third of employers (33 percent) say employees have been leaving their company voluntarily at a higher rate in the last year as the economy improves,” Haefner and Presley discovered in their research. “The biggest exodus is among mid-level and entry-level employees in areas like customer service, information technology, sales, product development and marketing.”

Workers today have more choices in selecting employers or projects. Contingent workforce leaders and hiring managers face fierce competition for top talent. Because flexibility and agility are critical, traditional training and learning systems are falling out of favor. Experts point out that once-a-year classroom-style programs risk becoming outdated by the time they’re launched.

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) programs are quickly becoming the norm. In 2017, the utilization of MOOCs for training, skills development and engagement will increase. Companies are building internal certification programs, informational libraries, on-demand orientation programs and alternative avenues for acquiring new skills.

Educational analysts are recognizing the ability of MOOCs to turn the expensive and somewhat exclusionary privilege of college into a low-cost, on-demand and universal experience. Staffing industry experts have also discovered that MOOCs are rising to create new frontiers in sourcing, engaging and hiring STEM talent with brand-name certifications and degrees.

In fact, some pioneers in the MSP and staffing space are capitalizing on the full power of MOOCs by designing internal courses that address the skills their clients seek. Specialized classes for individual businesses deliver a powerful way to entice talent. People looking to work at specific companies will naturally be more inclined to complete courses tailored to those organizations. Those agencies already offering free or low-cost classes using MOOCs are attracting quality candidates and enhancing their skills prior to placement.

We’re living in an employment era where the mantra has become “hire for fit, train for skills.” The MOOC model, when combined with staffing curation, epitomizes that philosophy. It increases supply, ensures quality, expedites screening and engagement, and serves as a compelling selling point to hiring managers.

Virtual Reality for a Better Reality

There are other fascinating developments dawning, as well. Virtual reality (VR) is being embraced as a new, immersive way to experience a business culture through interactive presentations and videos. VR is also being touted as one of the most intriguing ways to conquer issues related to diversity.

Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab is using VR as a tool to help police departments and even the National Football League (NFL) combat discrimination.

As Jeremy Bailenson, the lab’s director, explained to USA Today, replacing real world scenarios with interactive VR scenes brings the brain closer to “believing what it is seeing. The effect of such realism could be lasting behavioral change.”

“Feeling prejudice by walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is what VR was made to do,” he added.

Intelligent Sourcing

Machine learning and artificial intelligence will be instrumental in 2017. Intelligent sourcing systems will continue to evolve and become more intuitive. Not only do they help inform hiring decisions, they are rapidly growing to provide new levels of insight about program performance, retention, employment culture, skills and more.

“Sourcing systems,” Haefner and Presley write, “will be able to assess these factors to establish predictions around whether the candidate is on the verge of being ready for the next role, which will help companies expand their labor pool and potentially hire at more competitive rates.”

As we revealed this November, Google is helping the staffing industry achieve these ends. Google’s targeted API is a powerful job search and discovery platform dedicated to improving processes in the talent industry. Machine learning forms the core of the technology and its potential boon to staffing professionals. Google describes the innovation on its site:

“Company career sites, job boards and applicant tracking systems can improve candidate experience and company hiring metrics with job search and discovery powered by sophisticated machine learning. The Cloud Jobs API provides highly intuitive job search that anticipates what job seekers are looking for and surfaces targeted recommendations that help them discover new opportunities.”

To ensure that users receive the most relevant search results and recommendations, the API relies on Google’s advances in machine learning to understand how job titles and skills correlate. It then compiles the data to determine the closest match between job content, location and seniority.

HR Will Become a Business Partner

HR leaders, procurement officers and continent workforce program managers should see their roles mature into key corporate business partners. In the past, some companies have viewed these professionals as compliance police, benefits administrators and vendor relations managers. With the technologies in place, and the wealth of data they deliver, workforce leaders are being sought by executives to provide detailed insights to the labor market and business strategies.

  • Supply and demand
  • Compensation trends
  • Recruitment return on investments
  • Matching talent to business objectives
  • Skills shortages and skills surpluses
  • Alternative staffing models
  • Potential new sources of talent discovery
As this relationship expands, HR and contingent workforce leaders will also become more integrated with other divisions. Haefner and Presley believe they will be “turning to groups like Finance or Business Intelligence — teams that eat, breathe and sleep data — to help make sense of mountains of data so they can create better strategies.”

The Tech-Powered Human Cloud of 2017

The factors that influenced the industry in 2016 remain just as relevant: employment culture, candidate experience, diversity and inclusion, people analytics and more. However, our outcomes and successes in attaining these goals for 2017 will be driven by technology.

Back in the day, applicant tracking systems (ATS) arose to enhance the hiring process, which was primarily concentrated on traditional full-time employees. As contingent labor gained steam, we witnessed the growth of vendor management systems (VMS). Now, contract talent are no longer merely temps or contingent workers – they are vital members of the blended, complementary workforce. It’s clear from the ongoing spread of the human cloud, and the types of technologies enabling it, that this will soon become the standard work arrangement of tomorrow. The trends are already materializing, and 2017 promises to be an exciting year of bold disruptions, heightened efficiencies, innovation and tremendous opportunity.

Casey Enstrom
Casey Enstrom
Casey is one of the staffing industry’s household names, specializing in sales and operations leadership. He brings extensive knowledge of business development and sales strategies, predictive analytics, leadership, and human capital solutions. Prior to Crowdstaffing, Casey served as the Vice President of Technical Sales, North America, for a Fortune 1000 staffing firm.
Post a comment

Related Posts

Ensure a Positive Candidate Experience When Hiring Contingent Talent Remotely

As digitization, coupled with the global pandemic, propels contingent hiring online and with more individ...
Crowdstaffing Mar 10, 2021 9:30:00 AM

How is COVID-19 Shifting the Hiring Trend from Local to Globally Distributed?

Due to the accelerating effects of COVID-19, Hiring Marketplaces are uniquely positioned to support new m...
Crowdstaffing Feb 17, 2021 2:13:34 PM

How Hiring Marketplaces Improve Cost Transparency

Benefit from a hiring marketplace’s optimal pricing strategy where you can adjust rates at each requisiti...
Crowdstaffing Jan 21, 2021 8:29:00 AM