​#CXOTALK: Conversational bots and the future of HCM

ADP's combined CIO and CTO explains challenges of HR technology and discusses where this industry is headed. A must-read for anyone interested in Human Capital Management.
Written by Michael Krigsman, Contributor

ADP: Conversational bots and the future of HCM

The CXOTALK series of conversations with innovators gives us the opportunity to hear the views of people genuinely shaping our technology future. For episode number 184, I spoke with Stuart Sackman, a senior leader from huge HR services company ADP.

Stuart's formal title is Corporate Vice President, Global Product and Technology, but in plain terms, he is both ADP's Chief Technology Officer and the company's Chief Information Officer. Given ADP's size and market position, this means he is helping shape the future of the HCM and HR technology industry.

Our CXOTALK conversation was extensive, lasting 45 minutes and covering topics including challenges of HR technology, the CIO role, history of cloud, and where this industry is headed.

One of the interesting segments of our discussion was about the future of HR tech. Stuart explained topics such as conversational bots and elaborated on the role of data and behavioral economics.

In the segment below, he presents ADP's experience with conversational bots and the benefits of applying machine learning to HCM technology. Watch the short video below and jump over to CXOTALK to see the entire conversation and read a complete transcript.

Here are edited comments from Stuart on the topics of bots:

Where do you see the greatest excitement in HCM?

We think the next big trend in Human Capital Management is what we call conversational user interfaces. We believe that over time HCM, human capital management, solutions will offer automated assistance, and the interface will be more conversational.

Today, when you use a traditional human capital system, you log on somewhere, navigate somewhere, and search people [for example], "Who are my high performers?" We think in the future that could be conversational.

So, you pick up your mobile device and go, "Hey, who are my high potentials?" And the system would return it back to you or the system would use machine learning to help make your life easier, which is end value. The system might remind you, "Hey, your time card is due" or "I know you worked a regular week this week, would you like me to submit your standard hours for you?" It looks at your calendar and knows you worked your regular shift.

We think this change to conversational user interfaces, of push and notification in conversation with our systems, is an interesting way that technology has evolved. We're working on this in our lab, and we think it will change the way people interface with HR technology.

You are rethinking the user experience with machine learning to interpret the data collected?

Yeah, think about the HR system becoming a bot in the background that's monitoring your patterns of behavior and work on call for you to ask questions. An example might be, it's looking at your calendar and says, "Stuart, I see you're going to be in California. Did you know that you have two high potential associates there, that are at high risk of leaving ADP?"

So, it might say, "While you're there, you have two high potential associates that are a flight risk. Maybe you should consider meeting them for breakfast or lunch and talking about career opportunities at ADP because clearly, you want to retain them."

Today, that's hard to do because when my admin sets up my appointments, she doesn't know what's going on. She's not searching our HR database, and if it's not top of mind for me, that's something I might miss.

That's an example of how the bot would interactive, using machine learning it sees my patterns and says, "Stuart loves to have lunch with associates." And as I do other traveling, it will continue to build on that and help me establish connections within the organization.

CXOTALK brings the world's most interesting innovators directly to you, without filters or interruption. See our list ofupcoming episodes and read theentire transcript of episode 184.

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