Canadian HR Reporter

March 2020 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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4 www.hrreporter.com N E W S over-reliance on technology. "This is always the worry when managers get their hands on new quantitative tools… that you're going to start focusing on those things that you know how to measure," says MacDonald. "Suddenly, you don't feel like you need to actually talk to your employees or keep your fingers on the pulse of the culture. Because, after all, you've got this algorithm that's going to tell you if there's any problems. You've got this algorithm that's going to tell you who the high-potential employees are," he says. "You worry that this starts to become an opportunity for managers to just absolve themselves of responsibility for the fundamentally human task of managing." Information for managers But these kinds of tools give people the information to be better managers, says Nourse, in seeing who is working hard or not working hard, for example. "Maybe you see someone struggling because they need some more training and you don't realize that but, all of a sudden, the productivity report shows this person is working hard, but they're just not doing as [much work] as their counterparts. Well, they need some training. They're not lazy. [You] can see from the reports that they are working hard; they're just not producing as much so maybe we need to help them a little bit more." The goal of AI is to provide context at scale, says Modi. "The decision-making is eventually a human job. So, in situations like that, when we talk about engagement, the role of the AI is to contextualize engagement, understand whether there is a change in pattern, understand whether there are other factors involved, and present all of this evidence back to the manager, who can then sit down and discuss this with the employee. Because that change in engagement might be intentional, it might be a sign of a bigger problem, it might be simply because the relationship with the manager has broken apart." Artificial intelligence can process information in such high volumes and such high amounts that the level of insight it generates is unprecedented, he says. "A lot of people assume or are scared of AI taking the decisive role and using that information to automatically decide that 'Oh, this team is disengaged, this team is important, this team is not important.' That's not the role that AI needs to play." And open-ended data collection is not only dangerous, it promotes uninformed conclusions because not all managers are trained to read data the right way, says Modi. "If you present data without context, without purpose, then people will make conclusions out of it and believe that they are being data-driven, where in reality, they are being more biased and not less. So, I think it's really important to have a defined purpose, training and legitimate and relevant data that is then collected to inform that," he says. "We're talking about people data. This is sensitive. Even a small mistake in decision-making affects someone's career, affects someone's life." CHRR IN LAST 5 YEARS, COMFORT LEVELS HACE RISEN "Companies spend a lot of money training people, getting them up to speed and, sometimes, it's hard to know when someone's disengaged." Peter Nourse, Veriato 30% Number of employers using non-traditional monitoring techniques in 2015 50% Number of employers using non-traditional monitoring techniques in 2018 10% Number of employees comfortable with their employer monitoring their email in 2015 30% Number of employees comfortable with their employer monitoring their email in 2018 43% Number of employers that think monitoring employee conversations is an invasion of privacy in 2015 10% Number of employers that think monitoring employee conversations is an invasion of privacy in 2019 Sources: Gartner, GetApp, U.S.

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