How AI will help this org hire 7,000 engineers in the next 3 years

Artificial intelligence is having myriad impacts across the HR space—from enabling the hiring of more diverse talent to automating repetitive HR processes. For one technology communications company, the objective of using AI for HR is to “implement the human spirit of technology,” all while fueling rapid growth.

U.K.-based Vodafone announced last fall that it would hire 7,000 new software engineers by 2025, and Marc Starfield, group head of HR programs and systems, explored the tech that will support that journey during a core session on the opening day of HR Tech Virtual, a free event that will run through Friday. He was joined by Ashish Mediratta, principal of talent transformation at Eightfold AI, whose platform is a piece of Vodafone’s growth strategy.

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At the heart of that strategy, Starfield said, is a focus on talent attraction, skills development and learning.

“We want to make sure we’re attracting people in the wider market in a way that underlines and supports our employee value proposition as a leading digital organization,” Starfield said. “That experience needs to be rich and digital to anybody looking at potential jobs with Vodafone.”

That particularly includes internal candidates, he said.

Vodafone is taking advantage of the integration potential offered by Eightfold AI to blend its capabilities with that of SAP SuccessFactors, which it uses for its core HR. The result, he said, is a “unique” learning platform that helps internal employees assess their skills and career path and access diverse and personalized content for skills development.

See also: A how-to guide for workforce planning beyond the Great Resignation

Starfield said it’s vital that employees first understand what skills they already possess and what skills may be needed for their desired career growth before they’re connected to learning opportunities to bring that path to fruition.

“[We’re] helping people understand where they are on their own development journeys and how that relates to new opportunities,” he said. Smart technology can help employees “self-assess” their current skillset and explore what they need to add to it to get to their next step. “We enable that by a really rich learning experience,” Starfield added, “which links skills to learning interventions in a personal and purposeful way.”

That could include connections to thought leaders within the organization, learning videos and connections to projects and initiatives to develop hands-on learning.

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AI is also helping Vodafone suggest opportunities for growth within the organization. Mediratta said that intentionality is vital, particularly in today’s market.

Without a personalized experience, employees may have to invest significant time scouring the company intranet for open jobs—and could be at risk of finding opportunities more easily outside of the organization, he said.

“Employees don’t have to go search for jobs anymore—so the jobs should come looking for them internally,” he said. “That gives the flavor of being cared for. [Employers] have to love their team members—or someone else will.”

Registered attendees can click here to watch the full session.

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Jen Colletta
Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at