Q&A with HR Tech Influencer Ellyn Shook


Ellyn Shook
Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer


What’s the single most dramatic shift you see happening in the HR tech space today? 

Businesses are waking up to a new source of growth–vast amounts of data on work and their workforce, enabled by technology, that has the power to unlock the potential of their people. The responsible use of this data can drive stronger business performance–including greater agility, innovation and productivity–and can improve the lives of employees. Yet, it’s not without risk, as we know from the consumer space.  Accenture’s recent research found that 62% of organizations are using workforce data today, but alarmingly, only 30% of leaders are highly confident they are using that data responsibly. HR has a real opportunity to engage the entire C-suite to unlock the value of this data and doing so in a responsible way, with transparency that builds trust.  Because trust is the ultimate currency in the digital age.

In acquiring and implementing new technologies, what’s the one or two most common mistakes HR organizations make?

It’s common to over-rotate on the technology itself, however, the most important source of competitive advantage for an organization is its people.  Striking the right balance is key–to use the best of technology and the insights it offers to elevate people.  To do that well, organizations need to involve their people in the design, co-creating solutions with them that help them reach their full potential.  It’s at the intersection of intelligent technology and human ingenuity where the magic happens.

How is HR technology changing the way people work?

HR technology and the rise of intelligent technology in general is not only changing how we work, but the work itself. Machines now handle the low-touch repetitive work, enabling us to move people into roles that are higher touch, higher value, more fulfilling and require insight and compassion–things that humans do best. For example, instead of processing candidate applications, individuals are connecting with candidates, developing relationships with new talent sources and gleaning insights from sourcing data. We’re starting to see new roles not only HR but across our organization, so we’ve stopped doing workforce planning and instead do what we call work planning–determining what human capabilities are needed to complete the work with the help of technology, and investing in those skills.