Q&A with HR Tech Influencer Gretchen Alarcon


Gretchen Alarcon
Group Vice President, Human Capital Management Strategy


What area of the HR function will be most impacted by emerging technologies, and why?

AI, machine learning and digital assistants are revolutionizing every function in HR, most immediately and significantly impacting recruiting and onboarding.

AI and digital assistants are streamlining and automating the entire recruiting process: screening resumes, identifying best-fit candidates and even answering commonly asked questions around career paths and job descriptions. Able to replicate recurring processes, digital assistants are also effective at driving onboarding, guiding new employees to helpful assets and using machine learning to continuously improve the process.

This allows HR professionals to focus almost solely on high-impact projects vs. administrative tasks, completely changing the role and expectations of traditional HR.

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

It’s easy for organizations implementing new tools to focus too solely on the technology capabilities and forget about the most important factor: user experience.

When selecting and integrating new tech into your organization, it’s critical to remember that the success of your investment relies on employee engagement. Ask yourself, beyond the bells and whistles of the technology, how will it work for employees? Will it be easy-to-use and user friendly?

HR technology needs to replicate consumer applications in order to be adopted–if it’s too difficult or complicated to navigate, the entire platform and investment will fall flat.

How is HR technology changing the way people work?

It may seem counterintuitive, but I believe AI can re-humanize the way we work.

The rise of tech in our personal lives created new employee expectations. We want things simpler, quicker, more accessible–and we want meaning in our work. Technology can help us achieve that.

Emerging technologies allow us to access information anytime, anywhere. And by eliminating the work we don’t want to do, it creates more time to invest in emotional intelligence and form personal, human relationships.

This will force the workforce to adapt by building more soft skills rather than the technical skills that technology can automate.