In an age of big data, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), relying on instinct, intuition or gut feel may seem like an inferior system when recruiting talent but it may just be the edge you need to recruit the best.
We live in the digital era. Artificial intelligence (AI) guides our choices of restaurant, how we get there, and helps us get home later if we need a taxi. We talk about generations Y and Z as digital natives and organisations throughout the world are actively discussing their digital transformation strategies.
It is also having a profound impact on the workplace where everything can be measured and reduced to a series of ones and zeros, and a growing number of activities and processes previously carried out by people are being automated in the drive to reduce costs and improve productivity.
But the digital world is not necessarily a better one. Faster and less prone to error certainly, but better is open to question. And hiring people who will thrive in a given workplace is equally important, according to Sigmar head of European recruitment, Shaun O’Shea. The Sigmar recruitment framework addresses three dimensions, he explains, competency fit, motivational fit, and culture and values fit. It has been tried and tested and proven its worth in successful candidate selection over the years, but it also acts as an indicator for the limitations of technology in the recruitment process.
“I have been in the recruitment business for eight years,” says O’Shea. “Eighteen months ago, we set up the largest tech-nology recruitment hub in Europe here in the middle of Kerry. We lean quite a lot on technology tools, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotic process automa-tion. I recruit for the technology sector, so I am very pro-technology, but you’ve got to build in human intelligence as well.”
Technology has its limitations, he explains. “When you hear people talking about new technologies, they say they are quicker, more accurate and better. They certainly can be quicker and more accurate but not necessarily better. They lack human instinct, that gut instinct. You can use technology quite a lot for the first two elements of our recruitment framework. You can search for competency matches and so on but there is no questionnaire, AI algorithm or chatbot which can tell if the candidate lives and breathes the values of your organisation.”
That’s where the interview comes in, when people can interact with each other to tell what they are really like. “People want to know what will happen when your backs are up against the wall, when the organisation is in dire straits, is the candidate a person who can be relied on to live and breathe its values. Technology is important, of course and we use all the latest tools. But we are combining technology with human instinct. We are using it to complement our own capabilities.”
No matter how advanced, technologies like AI and machine learning can be prone to the same errors as humans. “They are designed to do what a human or a group of humans will do but will never have human relationship skills and instincts”, he notes.
But they can repeat the same mistakes as humans. In the US, when AI was used in an attempt to overcome unconscious bias in the recruitment process it was actually found to perpetuate it. This was because the algorithms use data on previously successful candidates to hire from the next bunch, thereby repeating and possibly amplifying the behaviour of its human predecessors.
Indeed, in 2018, Amazon ceased using AI assessment of CVs after it was found that the software was biased against those which include the term “women’s”, such as in “women’s team captain”. Again, this was due to trends in the dataset of previously successful candidates.
This is not the only reason to be cautious of an over-reliance on technology. Mistakes are costly, says O’Shea. “The Work Institute published research last year that showed that wrong hires are costing businesses around the world $600 million every year. The average employee in Europe now changes job every 12 months. We have to look at why people leave, and it’s usually because they are not a technical or motivational fit. It’s generally about culture.”
“Every organisation needs to hire the right people for them,” he continues. “Every hiring process should be unique, not off the shelf. Technology should be used as an enabler. It can be used for creating a long list of candidates and identifying a large talent pool. You need human input for short-listing and interviewing. If the recruiter works for the company, they will already know the culture. If it is an external recruiter, they will need to learn the client’s culture. I recently spent three days in Stockholm with a client learning their culture. Before that I was in Berlin and Barcelona.”
It’s not about organisations having a good or bad culture. “I explain to clients that their culture is their culture. They shouldn’t try to hide it or represent the organisation as something that it is not.”
But culture can vary. “It can be different from country to country, office to office, and between sales and production and engineering. You have to understand it, if you are to hire candidates who will be the right cultural fit.”
He concludes by pointing out that the human interaction at interview stage is now critically important to hiring the best people. “The economy is now at full employment and financial, accounting, and technology candidates can have five or six job offers at any one time. It’s a two way process now. Candidates are as much as interviewing the company as they are being interviewed. It’s now almost a question of them hiring the company.”
Mac Giolla Phádraig adds: “You can take the human out of the stone-age, but you can’t take the stone-age out of the human. Certain instincts are hard wired in us all, some in our self-interest; survival, fight or flight, reproduction and others which are altruistic; compassion, tribal instinct and a societal instinct.” Intuition is when you trust your instinct, which is often perceived as being “fluffy” as a decision-making factor when used to recruit. “We should not pit data against intuition, rather we should use our intuition to develop a hypothesis about a candidate and test that with the data in a experiential way at interview. Afterall, instincts are the fundamental drivers of how we behave and how we feel. I for one, would love to see a new recruit display, compassion towards my customers, tribal instincts towards my team and societal instinct towards the world at large. Use your instinct to hire for human instinct.”
Posted by Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig & Shaun O’Shea on 11 March 2020
The Impact of The Pay Transparency Directive
The Impact of The Pay Transparency Directive
With a focus on promoting equality and fairness in the workplace, the European Union has passed the Pay Transparency Directive, which aims to increase the transparency around salaries and existing pay gaps. The directive has significant implications for employers and job seekers alike. Here, we explore the upcoming changes and their potential effects on the employment landscape in Europe.Pay Transparency: Lessons from Finland and the United StatesFinland, known for its unique tradition of ‘National Jealousy Day’, publishes the taxable income of all its citizens on November 1st each year. This annual event is described as an “orgy of financial voyeurism”, which highlights the country’s commitment to transparency. Interestingly, the EU Pay Transparency Directive aligns with Finland’s approach by advocating for greater openness regarding income information.While Finland have been early advocates of pay transparency, the United States has also taken significant strides in this area. Since 2018, various states in the US, including Massachusetts, have implemented equal pay acts that prohibit companies from asking prospective employees about their current salaries. This approach has resulted in companies focusing on offering fair compensation for the role being advertised rather than relying on a candidate’s previous earnings.The Impact of Pay TransparencyOne of the key outcomes of pay transparency is the potential to address pay inequalities. By providing clear salary information, companies can attract more qualified candidates and promote greater equity in compensation. Studies have shown that job advertisements with salary details receive between 20-30% more quality applications, leading to improved hiring outcomes. The EU Pay Transparency Directive requires organisations with more than 250 workers to disclose pay information as part of the recruitment process. This means that candidates will no longer be asked about their current pay to determine job offers. Moreover, employers must provide workers with information on the criteria used to determine pay and pay progression. These measures aim to establish more objective standards for compensation and reduce the influence of previous salaries on job offers. Mike McDonagh, COO of Sigmar Recruitment comments, 'What it's actually done, or what it seems to have done with organisations is that they're now starting to pay people for the role that they're going for, rather than paying people for the role that they had.”Learning from the United States, where pay transparency laws are already in place in several states, organizations may be required to disclose pay bands for different roles and levels. This allows for greater clarity and transparency regarding what individuals should expect in terms of compensation for specific roles, skills, and experience. While the extent of public disclosure remains uncertain, the U.S experience suggests that companies may need to share pay bands or salary ranges, offering a clearer understanding of remuneration across organizations and roles.Benefits and ChallengesThe Pay Transparency Directive brings both benefits and challenges. Greater transparency can lead to increased trust among employees, as they have a better understanding of their worth and how it compares to others in similar roles. It can also contribute to narrowing the gender pay gap and addressing pay disparities for individuals from minority groups.However, challenges may arise. Some organisations may resist sharing detailed pay information due to concerns about internal discrepancies or potential negative reactions from current employees. Companies must find a balance between transparency and maintaining competitiveness. It will be crucial to implement pay transparency in a manner that encourages fairness while considering the unique dynamics and needs of each organisation.What’s Next?As the EU Transparency Directive takes place, the employment landscape in Europe will undergo significant changes. The move towards increased pay transparency aligns with global efforts to address pay inequalities and foster more equitable workplaces. By providing candidates with greater salary clarity, organisations can attract qualified talent, enhance retention rates, and promote fairness in competition.While challenges and concerns may arise during the implementation process, transparency can ultimately lead to a stronger, more inclusive work environment. As organizations can adapt to these new regulations, they must prioritise effective communication, skill acquisition, and employee well-being. By embracing pay transparency and its potential benefits, Europe takes a significant step forward building a more equitable and progressive workforce.
Ireland Gateway To Europe 2023 - A week in Review
Ireland Gateway To Europe 2023 - A week in Review
At the end of March, the Ireland Gateway To Europe delegation headed to the US for a week long series of events, to promote transatlantic trade as well as host a special event to commemorate 25 years of the Good Friday Agreement. This year the group of 50 delegates from 25 Irish companies and organisations, as well as the team from Newstalk, set out for Chicago, Boston and New York. CHICAGOOur trip started on Monday in the Irish Consulate in Chicago, hosted by Consul Kevin Byrne. The following day we headed out to the University of Notre Dame, ahead their game in Dublin this August. As well as touring the campus and famous sports facilities, we had an insightful lecture on design thinking and some Yankee Sullivan stories over lunch. We also got to spend some time with the next generation of Irish success stories studying on their ESTEEM Graduate Program at the University of Notre Dame.BOSTONWe got to Boston on Wednesday, to host the Boston College Ireland Business Council Peace Dinner, where George Mitchell was awarded the Irish Institute Leadership Award to for his distinguished contribution to the peace process in Northern Ireland; and heard from guest speakers including: Taoiseach Bertie Ahern; journalist Tommie Gorman; Joe Kennedy III, Special Envoy to Northern Ireland; Boston College Provost David Quigley; Ruairi De Burca; Mary Sugrue; Warren Zola; and Robert MacGiolla Phádraig from Sigmar Recruitment.The next morning we hosted a Boston College CEO Breakfast with Enterprise Ireland at the offices of G-P. There were great insights shared by Sharon Cunningham of Shorla Oncology, and Jim Joyce of HealthBeacon as they discussed their scaling journeys and the impact of Irish innovation in the US healthcare industry. We also had the privilege of listening to Katherine Kostereva in conversation with Robert Mac Giolla Phadraig discussing the growth of Boston based multinational, Creatio. NEW YORKOn Friday the group went on a special visit to the UN, followed by some time and interesting conversations with Ambassador Fergal Mythen. Bank of Ireland hosted our Global CEO Forum at their impressive NYC hub in Manhattan. The event was MC'd by Robert Mac Giolla Phadraig, CCO at Sigmar Recruitment. We heard some really interesting conversations from Caroline Klatt, co-founder at Flowcarbon; and two Irish founders operating in the US - Aimée Madden, Founder and President of CliniShift; James O'Reilly, President of Life Time Work.The group then spent the evening at Irish Consulate in New York, hosted by Consul General Helena Nolan, a lovely end to a great week.
The Remote-Work Rebound: Hybrid workforce grows by two-thirds, remote workforce down by 54%
The Remote-Work Rebound: Hybrid workforce grows by two-thirds, remote workforce down by 54%
The Talent Leaders Pulse Report was commissioned by Sigmar Recruitment as part of Talent Summit 2023."The power dynamic between employer and employee is rebalancing after two years of hyper competition, with early signs of a shift back to office. The fallout of remote working has seen employees pitted against employers as we look to sustain flexible working practices and settle on desired places of work. We are witnessing the remote work rebound, with twice as many workers now working a hybrid model over full-time remote. The hybrid workers now make up 51% of the current workforce, while the remote workforce has reduced by 54% within the last 12 months. This reflects employers’ sentiment that 87% of employees do their best work in a hybrid model.”, says Talent Summit founder and Sigmar CCO, Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig.Talent Summit 2023 Employment Survey Highlights at a glance:Hybrid WorkHybrid workforce grows by two-thirds, remote workforce down by 54% as employees spend more days in office.2023: 51% working hybrid (30% in 2022), 25% full-time remote (44% in 2022) and 24% in-office (26% in 2022). Of the Hybrid workforce more time is spent in-office over the last 12 months: 81% work 2 days or more in 2023 compared to 74% in 2022.Tuesday (68%), Wednesday (78%) and Thursday (67%) are the most popular days to be in-office with Monday (18% ) and Friday (8%) being the least.Employers believe employees do their best work, working a hybrid model (87%), followed by in-office (11%) with full-time remote (7%) considered the least productive model.Headcount2023 set to see the largest reduction in headcount in the last 5 years with 18% of employers expecting a reduction this year. 62% expect an increase and 20% expect their headcount to remain the same.HR PrioritiesThe Top 5 priorities for HR for 2023 show competing priorities creating a confusing labour market: (1) retention (2) labour costs (3) recruitment (4) sustaining a dispersed culture (5) performance management.Pay63% of employees expected to receive a pay rise of 6% in 2023 (the lowest % pay rise in 6 years)READ THE FULL REPORTThe current labour market is a confusing one and 2023 looks set to be challenging with many contradictions at play which in turn is creating a tug-of-war of work on four main fronts:Workforce: Employers are looking to balance workforce reduction, employee retention and continuous recruitment needs at all once; Work practices: The need to offer individual flexibility to all employees is often at odds with the collective need for greater productivity;Workplace: Work is shifting back to the office with the hybrid workforce spending more days in office and as employers believe employees are least productive full-time remote;Labour Costs: The rise in the cost of living is driving employee salary expectations yet at the same time employers are tightening budgets with economic uncertainty on the horizon.Commenting on workplace, Mac Giolla Phádraig adds: “The workplace has been the topic of conversation since the pandemic and employers have polarised preferences. The intense competition for talent the last two years has seen employers who favoured in-office, soften their view as employees demanded greater flexibility in a hyper-competitive labour market. As that demand recedes, those employers find their voice once more, albeit veiled in language around performance and challenges around sustainable work practices. The flexibility offered to employees now seems to be rebounding to more days in office.” READ THE FULL REPORTABOUT THIS SURVEYThe Talent Summit Pulse Survey 2023 was commissioned by Sigmar Recruitment as part of Talent Summit 2023. This is the sixth year the study has been conducted, measuring the pulse of Talent Leaders on a range of Talent Topics. 244 talent leaders from across Ireland took part in the study, comprising of senior executives responsible for talent decision making within their respective organisations, ranging from CHROs, CEOs HR Directors to Heads of HR functions such as L&D, Recruitment, Organisational Development and Performance Management.Europe’s largest HR, work and employment conference, Talent Summit 2023 will take place in Dublin’s Convention Centre on Thursday, 9 March, 2023, welcoming 1500 guests.www.talentsummit.ie
Talent Summit 2023
Talent Summit 2023
Founded at the height of the financial crisis, Talent Summit is now one of the biggest events of its kind in Europe. Sigmar CCO and Talent Summit Founder Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig talks about this year’s event, HR trends, and why the tech slump is an opportunity for indigenous firms. (Featured in The Currency)---The Currency is media partner of Talent Summit. It will be producing a series of podcasts with executive and thought leaders in human resources participating in the event. The Currency’s podcast stage is sponsored by Employee Financial Wellness a financial education and advice company supporting Talent Summit. For the full line up, tickets and more visit www.talentsummit.ie----Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig remembers founding Talent Summit back in 2011, when unemployment surged to more than 10 per cent and the country was on the brink of economic collapse.Mac Giolla Phádraig, who had co-led the management buyout of recruitment firm Sigmar just two years earlier, decided to launch National Employment Week as part of a not-for-profit effort. The aim was to connect employers who were still hiring with the tens of thousands of people who were losing their jobs amid Ireland’s economic implosion.“The idea was to set up a job activation initiative,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “Unemployment was peaking, and we just wanted to do something to help.”Twelve years later the event has transformed into Talent Summit, making March 9 this year an important date in the Human Resources calendar. Between 1,500 and 2,000 HR professionals attend the summit, making it one of the biggest events of its type in Europe. There are 35 speakers from around the world scheduled, ranging from Evelyn Doyle, the head of people and culture at Patagonia, to Eddie Wilson, the chief executive of Ryanair. A smaller basecamp event takes place the day before for 100 chief people officers from Ireland and overseas.During Covid-19 the event became virtual before returning to being in-person last year. HR had changed a lot during the pandemic.“People really wanted content,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “They were trying to figure out what was next for people strategies.”The other thing they wanted to do was convene and network. “They hadn’t been together for two years,” he said. “The conference is about the experience as much as the content. That’s why this year we’ve gone for a whole new look and feel that is flexible and open-plan for delegates.”The VHI will be operating a wellness experience, whileThe Currency, with the support ofEmployee Financial Wellness, is operating a podcast corner. Comedian Joanne McNally is closing the event at an evening reception.Mac Giolla Phádraig, the chief commercial officer with Sigmar, says that putting together the programme for this year’s Talent Summit gave him a unique insight into the challenges and needs of HR leaders.“I think it’s a very confusing labour market right now,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “The challenges have been largely talent-led the last two or three years. We’ve seen unprecedented levels of churn in the market with the fallout of remote working all of which is talent driven – it was all about the shortage of talent and how to retain it.“But this is now changing as the economy gets tougher. We’re seeing a lot of contradictions which is the theme of this year’s conference which is the tug of war of work.”He added: “Employers and employees can have opposite priorities. Before there was the swing of power from employer to employee but now it is moving back to the employer quite a bit.“At the same time, flexibility is going in the direction of employees and not necessarily for employers.”New opportunities and leadershipAccording to Mac Giolla Phádraig, the future of work could be thought about in a simple way: “You have a workplace, a workforce, and then work practice. Work practice is what enables and facilitates both workplace and workforce to collaborate and deliver the product or service.“The burning challenge right now is to make sense of how you can maybe be reducing your workforce, but still have pressure to recruit, while retention remains your number one priority, all under increasing cost pressures. That’s a very confusing message to manage, and a confusing strategy to execute.”Mac Giolla Phádraig said this was a big theme of the conference, not just for tech companies but also for other sectors that may be considering job cuts. The chief people officers of two of Ireland’s best tech unicorns, L. David Kingsley from Intercom, and Stephanie White, from Fenergo are both speaking at the event on how they see the HR market for tech.“We want to drill into, with them, where lies the opportunity in the current market?” Mac Giolla Phádraig said.He added that another theme of the conference was leadership development with Lise Render Nielsen from Lego and Leah Hollander from NASA among the speakers.“When you think about the talent supply chain,” he said. “You buy talent by recruiting it, you borrow it by taking on temporary or flexible people or bot it by automating processes.“Or you can build it. Building your own talent pipeline has been less focussed on in recent years and probably underinvested in, so we’re looking at what you can to increase that.”Mac Giolla Phádraig recalled the story of how President John F Kennedy visited NASA for the first time in 1962: “As he toured the facility the President met a janitor, and asked him: ‘What is it you do here?’ and he replied: ‘I’m helping put a man on the moon.’ That is being purpose driven. With the HR director of NASA we will be taking a deep dive into the driving force behind that level of purpose-driven followship and how it drives discretionary effort, the holy grail of performance.”Many technology companies, he said, had relied on a “seven-star kind of office experience” as a symbol of their culture, but now it is all about mission. “When tech companies lost that competitive advantage of the office experience they doubled down on a deep sense of purpose, their nobility in solving major problems and trying to create a kind of family feel by supporting their people’s wellbeing and so on,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said.“But we’ve had a bit of a wake up call and maybe people feel (because of redundancies) that employers aren’t family, performing well trumps wellbeing and many of their causes are a little less noble perhaps.”“When decisions are made based on the profit and loss account a business can lose its soul somewhat. I think a lot is being played out right now and it will be interesting to see where we end up over the next 12 months.“The golden handcuffs of share options were one of the main challenges in headhunting tech talent for companies who are in growth mode. But as valuations plummeted last year, we saw them change to bronze handcuffs.”People power“Talent Summit has become of the largest HR conference series in Europe.”Employees, he said, were more prepared to move, and this offered more opportunities to Irish-owned companies and startups to hire good people. “It isn’t all bad news, as indigenous tech and earlier-stage companies can now get access to international talent based in Ireland,” he said.Inflation was putting pressure on employers to increase pay, but again there was tension as the jobs market was not as buoyant as it was. “It’s another tug of war,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “Some employers are saying ‘We can help and support you with your financial well-being, but our job isn’t to match inflation.’ It is up to the talent market to decide who wins or loses in these battles.”Traditionally, the route to becoming chief executive officer is often via becoming chief financial officer or chief operating officer first. Talent Summit however is talking to two of Ireland’s most respected CEOs – Eddie Wilson of Ryanair and Noel Keely of Musgrave – who both came from a HR background. “The answer to the financial crisis was very much the CFO,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “The Chief People Officer was the answer to the people crisis and really came to the fore during the pandemic, and they’re still there.”“We’re starting to see how the perception of that function and its impact has changed,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “There is a new trend of the CPO moving into the CEO role, so that’s why we have two former heads of HR who have made that journey talking about this.“A lot of the problems to be solved in business are to do with people. HR has a really big impact on organisations especially when they are undergoing transformation. That’s why chief people officers are becoming of ever greater importance as leaders in companies.”Wanting something moreIn September 2022, the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard gave up his ownership of the company to a trust dedicated to fighting climate change. Head of People and Culture Evelyn Doyle is going to talk about the impact this has had on Patagonia.“She is going to talk about what it means to be a ‘for planet’ business – what challenges it has brought, and how they create a unique sense of purpose and belonging in their company. Not every company is going to go as far as Patagonia but I think it has ideas that a lot of HR leaders can adopt, and help them to think about impact in a greater way.”The Talent Summit also has a panel discussion on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) with speakers Laura Matthews from Bank of America and Joe Creegan from Zurich. “We want to understand what ESG means to different people in the room?” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “In any talent decision – hiring, retaining, leading – it is about winning hearts and minds.“We want to explore the conversation not just between the employee and the employer but also the customer and society. There is a lot of talk about this, and some of it is window dressing.”He added: “We want to talk about how to create real, material, impactful strategies. HR leaders really showed up for their teams during the pandemic, but now the call to action is what impact can they have on society and making the planet a better place.”Talent Summit aims to combine access to the best HR executives, as well as thought leadership.Dave Ulrich, an author of over 30 books and one of the most influential people in the world in HR, is delivering a keynote speech on “Unleashing human capability for stakeholder value.”“Dave is the godfather of modern HR,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “The current HR model is the one he developed and what he is going to talk about is remodelling it post the pandemic. He will be sharing his latest thinking on what we need to do to be more competitive and how HR can have greater impact on all stakeholders.”Ireland, Mac Giolla Phádraig said, had shown it could attract the best companies and talent but it couldn’t afford to be complacent. “We have been a great home for multijurisdictional companies for over 30 years,” he said.“We do have challenges like housing and the cost of living, but we also have an innate sense of storytelling that can build and lead teams. Talent Summit has become of the largest HR conference series in Europe, and we want to make HR better and give Ireland a voice as a great place to work and build a business from.”The Currency is media partner of Talent Summit. It will be producing a series of podcasts with executive and thought leaders in human resources participating in the event. The Currency’s podcast stage is sponsored by Employee Financial Wellness a financial education and advice company supporting Talent Summit. For the full line up, tickets and more visit www.talentsummit.ie