BW people in interaction with Ajay Trehan, CEO, and Founder, AuthBridge throwing light on how “New-normal” would look like in terms of technology, hiring, and HR functions and how leaders need to adapt the changes to be the new leader in the new normal.
As of now, what is your definition of “New-Normal”?
Much is being said about the “new normal” these days. I have not seen a phrase become so popular, so quickly. To be honest, it is hard to define this ‘new-normal’ just yet. But we do have some indicators that point to what it will be like. For instance, work-from-home will be enforced and accepted by many organizations. Those who were reluctant earlier, either due to a mindset or technology roadblock, have now experienced it. In addition to tangible benefits like less expenditure on physical infrastructure, many organizations are also seeing an uptick in productivity. Some client-facing functions, like sales, will have to completely unlearn and learn newer ways of functioning. Physical office spaces, where they exist, will take additional measures for hygiene and social distancing – cafeteria spaces will be a lot different. Meetings will be different. Coffee breaks will be different. Most importantly, employees will ask for greater flexibility, more trust, and empathy from employers. Employee policies around engagement, commute, health, and more will need a fresher perspective in this light. Whatever final shape it takes, one thing is certain – the new normal will change the way we live, socialize and work.
Are you foreseeing automation coming into the industry?
Our clients are now feeling the need for technology and solutions and our recent conversations and interactions are pointing to a huge shift in the way we will operate going forward. At AuthBridge, we already have products for digital onboarding of employees, customers, vendors, agents, etc. Automating these processes not only helps save time, money, and resources and also increases accuracy and overall efficiency. Processes involved in onboarding and verification can be complex, especially due to the amount of customization involved. As I said before, for us, automation has been part of the system for some time. Our tech stack, powered by AI, ML, deep learning algorithms, E-sign, image recognition, geocoordinate mapping, and more make these processes simpler, faster, and more robust, efficient, and reliable. With the current situation, more players are expected to follow suit while industry adoption accelerates further.
Are we totally moving towards a contact-less world? How would the leaders in the industry manage Virtual verification processes?
I believe we were always moving towards a world where technology was increasingly reducing the barriers of distance, location, and time. COVID 19 has only accelerated the process. An unprecedented crisis, this pandemic has put the spotlight on the need to not only survive but thrive in a contact-less world, and it is no different for the verification industry. Fortunately for us, we, at AuthBridge, have long adopted a tech DNA that has led to automation across products, processes, and systems. To give you a few examples, an HR manager using our product, can verify and onboard a candidate without ever meeting them. Our end-to-end automated workflow solution for authentication iBridge™– makes this possible. Identifying a candidate, choosing aspects of the background to verify, collecting information and documents, actual validation and sharing of reports – activities that usually take weeks, sometimes even months to complete – are completed on iBridge in a few hours, digitally and without any physical contact at all.
OCR, E-sign, image and facial recognition, geo-coordinate-based digital address verification– All are part of our robust tech stack that empowers a modern recruiter to remain contact-less, and still, build trust with candidates.
How is the hiring industry taking shape? Is technology or AI playing a crucial role?
Hiring as we all know has slowed down currently due to this crisis, but a bounce-back is inevitable. We are already seeing a revival in a few major sectors. The big change, however, will be the reduced usage of conventional physical workspaces, which also means a fundamental shift in the interview, verification, and onboarding processes. Earlier, technology was being used as an enabler, assisting the physical process. Now, Technology will be the driving force – replacing the physical process, and AI will be a crucial part of this change. AI is already being used for resume parsing, application sorting, initial assessment, psychometric evaluation, learning & development, and more. Going forward we will see it’s usage in Video Interview processes, facial recognition, feedback, real-time sentiment analysis as well. Our AI-based verification technology has yielded exciting results already. What used to take us weeks, now gets done in a matter of seconds. With the amount of data that is now flowing through systems worldwide, AI, in my opinion, will become a de-facto technology feature in the times to come.
How will technology support HRs to mark the productivity of the employees?
The coming times will lead us to completely new ways around how organizations will operate. We will see adoption & innovation of remote technologies, new workplace designs, new use cases for office spaces, and so on. Work-from-home will become a norm and will demand newer ways to analyze and track employee productivity. There will be two parts to this. One will be the technology that employees will use for their work. Virtual platforms for easy video and audio based communication with and between employees, Time tracking software, cloud-based data & document repositories, virtual collaboration, and sharing tools all will become essential for employee productivity. The second part will be the revised goals and targets. HR teams will need to guide managers to set up revised organizational values, goals, and targets that not only keep the new normal in mind but are also tangible and trackable. Both of these put together will help set and track the productivity of remote employees. Finding ways to establish trust while employees work remotely will be one of the top challenges as well as markers of success for HR going forward.
What is that one powerful quote you keep reminding yourself especially in tough times?
Tough times do not last, tough people do. It is a principle I have tried to build my life on and one that sustained me through the ups and downs of my entrepreneurial journey. Tough times are the best testament of our character and they teach as much about ourselves as about others. This pandemic remains unprecedented and will change the world like never before, but I am certain we will find a way to emerge stronger by harnessing our collective grit. As Churchill famously said, “We have not journeyed all this way because we are made of sugar candy.”
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