The 1999 sci fi action classic “The Matrix” telescoped the future of tech in talent when Keanu Reeves’ character Neo exclaims, “I know kung fu,” shortly after a computer in his skull uploads the martial art into his intellect.
We’re not yet personalizing our brains with such instant knowledge, but the continual march of technology is bringing us closer to changing the game.
Let’s call these breakthroughs in managing performance TalentTech. Already, pioneering enterprises are boosting productivity and revenues by quantifying aspects of performance previously immeasurable. The advances are underscoring that the nature of work changes and employee behavior shifts to match it.
Among the sci fi-like avenues:
- Boosting happiness and fulfillment, TeamMood of Toulouse, France, offers an app called Niko-Niko that tracks employees’ moods and transfers the data into a dashboard for an employer to use to track and improve productivity, morale and performance of its teams.
- Facial recognition software to give consultants a better idea of what’s most important to their clients. Cetera Financial Group is adding such software from Decipher to help its 8,500 affiliated advisers develop financial plans to meet clients’ objectives by studying clients’ emotions and behavioral nuances after watching a short video of different life scenarios.
- Smart badges to track behavioral information. MIT spinoff Sociometric Solutions offers ID badges with built-in Bluetooth sensors and analytics tools to track employees’ behavioral data and generate insights for increasing productivity. A Bank of America call center that used the system to track co-workers for three months found that letting certain employees take breaks together and share customer service tips boosted productivity and employee satisfaction by 15-20 percent on average.
Digitally enabled development
Technology advances also are improving employers’ learning and coaching programs by making them personalized, adaptive and scalable. They enable managers to deliver instant personalized coaching based on fitness tracker-like data gathering; virtual feedback and collaboration tools; and mobile or augmented reality aids.
For instance, ADP’s cloud-based coaching platform, ADP StandOut, uses machine learning software to individualize strategies that managers use to develop employees’ strengths. Weekly check-ins keep the coaching timely and related to the work at hand.
Inventive technology also is helping employees chart their career path by drawing on psychometric evaluations and pulse surveys to motivate them, reduce turnover and let them own their own development. Daimler Trucks North America uses Chronus Mentor software to leverage mentoring programs to develop and advance the careers of its 4,000 North American employees.
Farmers Insurance Group collects and organizes myriad data on each employee to generate an executive summary that helps manage their career advancement and training. Among other things, it can help a manager to, say, identify an employee with specific language skills within a certain geographical to fill a position.
Who knows when technology progresses to the point of recreating Neo’s instant knowledge of kung fu in our brains. But adaptive programming, networking tools and other employee-related tech advances will continue to help organizations enhance their performance. This is TalentTech.