Why we should be hiring for attitude in the age of technology and AI

By Rebecca Gravestock, GM - Global People Experience, Xero

Rebecca Gravestock, GM - Global People Experience, Xero

As General Manager of Global People Experience at Xero, I’m often asked to comment on what the role of technology and AI will mean for the future of the HR profession. In response, I tell them one thing I know for sure: the only certainty in the modern workforce is change (especially in the fast-paced world of tech). For this reason, it has become critical that we hire for mindset as well as skillset.

In our organization, we recruit for attitude and potential in the same way that we do for technical skills, experience, and knowledge. Beyond this, we actively look for people who are open to change. In line with this approach, we’re upfront about the fact that ours is a dynamic environment that is always shifting and developing – because we need to know that future employees will be capable of flexing with the organization.

Searching for people who will flex and grow alongside us

With constant change now an everyday reality in most workplaces, an open mind and the capacity to adapt are key. This means finding people who are aligned with our company’s values and excited about what we’re trying to achieve, rather than being wedded to just one role or way of working. Indeed, possessing potential and a future-focused mindset, as well as the ability to thrive on variety, outweighs any accomplishments listed on a resume.

Of course, we also need to acknowledge that change can be challenging. As HR professionals, a vital part of our role is fostering an environment where employees feel safe, secure and equipped to flourish. This way, and this way only, our team will be comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. Each and every day.

While change may be constant, so too is what we're trying to achieve. For Xero, this means making life better for people in small business, their advisors and communities around the world. In a fast-paced workplace like ours, having a clear purpose and ensuring everyone understands the ‘why’ is integral. After all, this is what drives engagement and loyalty. Yet it is not enough for employees to simply understand our purpose; they need to know how they contribute as individuals and why what they do truly matters. The ability to communicate this is where soft skills come to the fore.

Harnessing technology and AI to enhance the human in all that we do

With automation and AI now taking over some of the more routine aspects of HR, we’re left with extra time to dedicate to the all-important human element. What does this look like in practice? Where machine learning algorithms help source and screen candidates for us, we’re able to invest our efforts into choosing the right person for the job and providing the best possible candidate experience. While clever programs like Officevibe help us measure employee satisfaction and eNPS on an ongoing basis. All so we can devote our energy to ensuring our people thrive once they get here, and throughout their careers at Xero.

Rather than something to be feared, automation and AI free up HR professionals to support and nurture the companies they work for. With everything from onboarding processes to personalized training programmes now aided by automated emails and communications, we’re given the space to forge genuine connections with our people. And as we continue to adopt further technologies to aid us in our daily tasks, this ability has never been more integral.

In today’s environment of uncertainty and change, it’s our people who are our most important asset. After all, innovation doesn’t come from tech. It comes from people.

Weekly Brief

Top 10 Organizational Development Consulting/Service Companies in APAC - 2020