Podcast: Technology Challenges Facing Global Business

Copenhagen

Transcript

Mark:

Welcome to PeopleTech, the podcast of the HCM Technology Report. I’m Mark Feffer.

Mark:

My guest today is Duri Chitayat, the chief technology officer of Safeguard Global. They say the world’s becoming smaller, which means more companies want to do business on distance shores. Duri and his team help provide the data, technology, services, and local expertise to help. We’re going to talk about the global war for talent, employers’ use of technology, HRS role and implementation, and more on this edition of People Tech.

Mark:

Hi, Duri. Welcome. So, first, could you briefly tell me about Safeguard Global and what you all do?

Duri:

Sure. Safeguard Global is a global workforce enablement platform. We help organizations reach the best talent anywhere in the world.

Mark:

How do you do that in a way that’s different? Or what’s your secret sauce, as it were?

Duri:

Sure. Well, at our foundation, our core, is a need to solve new problems. One thing we’ve seen is in our industry, people are very good at solving one thing well, but a client, an employer today needs to be able to analyze, recruit, hire, manage, and pay. It’s a whole end-to-end life cycle. And our industry makes it really hard for those people to do it. Why? Because there’s friction in between each and every one of those processes. There is also complexity in understanding any one of those different verticals.

Duri:

While there are many tools out there, that in and of themselves, are good, what Safeguard is all about is creating a 360 degree solution to enable people to tie together those different needs, and be able to offer an integration layer that pulls those things together and is able to provide the additional services they need in order to access global workforce. And this isn’t a one size fit all. One of the things that’s also really important about the way we think is that clients or employers today want to be able to attract the workforce that’s best for them. In some cases, that is contractors. In other cases, it’s full-time employees. Sometimes it’s people in one country and then the next day it’s in another country. And so we offer flexibility and customization and configuration that makes that possible and simple.

Mark:

You’ve got an interesting perch where you can look out at the whole industry. How do you see corporations implementing their HR technology today? And are they being as effective as they could be?

Duri:

Well, employers have legacy, right? There’s this… Our industry has gone through many different changes. It’s gone from just write down the names of the people you need to pay each month and then just pay them to, “Okay, I need a system for that, so let me collect their information.” Then it’s “Okay, well, I need to engage these people. It’s a large system, so I need to have different ways in which I can connect with my workers.” And now we’re reaching the point where, because of the global war for talent, people are searching for any advantage. They can have to be able to access that talent, to be able to provide them value add, so that this isn’t just a transaction where it’s not just, “I can pay you,” but that, “You are working with me. Your employment with me is such that you’d rather work here than anywhere else.”

Duri:

And so I think that what employers are struggling with, however, is that in order to create that system, that employment system, that is truly differentiating, that makes people not only want to come and join your company, but grow with your company and stay on board is complex. It’s very difficult. It requires expertise in many, many different areas. And like I said before, there’s friction that makes that a struggle for anyone in an HR or finance function. This is the crucible of our industry over the next 10 years is how do we make that problem simpler so that employers and workers can get together easier and better.

Mark:

When you think about making the process simpler, what kinds of capabilities are you thinking of?

Duri:

What makes the different process that they have to do simpler? Or what is the capabilities that we offer to do that?

Mark:

Yeah, either one, really. I guess what I’m just trying to get at is employees are faced with this challenge right now, in terms of getting people on board, managing them. They’re increasingly looking to technology to help, but are they going about identifying and implementing the technology solutions in the right way?

Duri:

Hmm. Employers want to be able to analyze, recruit, hire, manage, and pay. Each one of those different parts of the process, companies will have different challenges with them, depending on their stage of development, their growth trajectory, what kind of markets they’re trying to enter, what kind of talent they’re trying to enter. Every organization will have a slightly different place where the pain is greatest. I would say that a significant number of… I’d say one of the biggest areas where people have challenges is access to data. A PWC survey said that something like 39% of HR leaders struggle to be able to access data or insights about their business. That means that you don’t know what to pay people in a particular region. You don’t know where to go to find that talent.

Duri:

That’s just the top of the funnel. If you want to be able to access global talent and you don’t know those basic things, that’s a big challenge. In addition, in a world where we have today increasing inflation and also competitive forces, there’s a lot of competition for the top talent. You need to know when your staff is now under market, and you need to be able to get ahead of that. And you need to be able to put a business case around that. And I think the lag time, the friction to being able to provide that kind of insight and data prevents a lot of organizations from being able to retain their best talent.

Duri:

Those are two key areas I would, I would suggest there’s a problem. In order to solve that problem, look, our industry provides many different platforms that can solve that. You can go and get that data from many different places. I think providing that data as part of a seamless experience, making it easy, not just for the HR folks, but also for direct hiring managers to access that information as a part of their daily process, that’s where things get really tricky.

Mark:

There are a lot of products out there and at the same time, there’s an awful lot of people saying, they’re looking for the quote unquote, “right product.” How do you think that business leaders should go about evaluating solutions?

Duri:

I think business leaders need to look at it as part of an end to end journey. You can’t evaluate any one technology by itself. You have to think about who the users are for that technology. What are the other processes, day to day experiences that they’re going to have to do that interact with that new technology? You have to think of it as more of a flow, and you have to identify any places that there’s going to be pain points, because people will naturally do things that are easy. People will avoid things that are very, very hard. So, you have to make sure that whatever technology you want people to adopt is easy.

Duri:

All of this is happening at a time when technology is moving pretty quickly, which it seems to me would complicate something like choosing the right solution. Do you think that’s true? Do you expect that’s going to change? Or remain as is?

Speaker 3:

Absolutely. In the software engineering space, we’ve made a hard turn towards what we call evolutionary architecture. Evolutionary architecture has two basic premises. One, it’s not about making the right choice, but it’s about making a choice that you can live with, that will not close any big doors. You want to be able to select technology that gives you options, not technology that locks you into a choice that you are now committed to forever. That’s a basic premise.

Speaker 3:

The second premise is that you make proof of concepts a big part of your workflow. So, you want to make sure that you’re rolling out new technology through experimentation by having real users interact with that system, and then gathering the feedback as you roll it out, observing the actual behavior of users and seeing how then you can tag on improvements all along the way. It’s part of that agile approach. I believe that’s the only way that technology can practically work these days, because there’s just, as you say, very many new things coming out every day. The last thing you want to do is lock your organization into something that is outdated or not applicable for the new talent landscape you might find yourself in a year, two years, three years from now.

Duri:

What about something like implementation? Is that something that folks in HR should be concerned about or should they just leave it to IT?

Speaker 3:

Absolutely. Implementation is all about customizing the technology for your use case. I believe strongly that every organization, if they’re going to be successful in the talent landscape they have today, they have to have a strategy. And the strategy has to have a competitive advantage. That means that the way you work is different than the way everybody else works. In that basic premise, it means that HR needs to be designing their designers of the workforce. They need to be thinking from a design perspective. They need to be customizing, curating the experiences that their workers and their hiring managers have as a part of that technology.

Mark:

Last question, there’s a lot going on out there. I think we’ve established that, but what would you say are the two or three most important trends that people should be paying attention to right now?

Duri:

Ooh. Well, as a technologist, I believe that data, and this is maybe something that people would’ve said decades ago, but it’s more true now than ever before, data is the lifeblood of any technology system. There are trends in technology that makes data more liberated, more available between systems. One of the things that I’m often very skeptical of is an organization that says, “We are RPA, RPA, RPA,” which basically just tells me that you have computers doing what humans should be doing. Instead, you should be looking for technology that communicates in such a way where data is available to other systems in a synchronous way so that you can have multiple records of the same correct information in different places. That’s essential if you’re going to create a seamless experience. Like I said before, friction is one of our biggest problems and the biggest place where there’s friction is where two systems don’t agree on the data. That’s number one.

Duri:

Another big trend I would say is that organizations need to employ multiple work models. As I said before, you’ve got your direct pay. You’ve got your contract, you’ve got a variety of other sorts of working models that depend a lot on the local legislation of each country. This is very complicated to do on your own. Companies like Safeguard are around to be able to make that easy so that you can access multiple… You could basically work in any way, what we call work in any way. I’d say that’s another big trend.

Duri:

The last big trend, I’d say… Ooh, there’s so many to choose from, but I would say having analytics a part of your basic workflow, that every HR organization should be a data intensive operation, that they are thinking from data as a first order of business. I think we’re going to see more and more tools and technologies come out to support that, and many more HR organizations adopting that fully. I think that the many organizations are already on that journey, but I think that trend will pick up steam significantly over the next five years or so.

Mark:

Thank you very much. I really appreciate you stopping by.

Duri:

Thank you, Mark. It’s nice talking to you.

Mark:

My guest today has been Duri Chitayat, the chief technology officer of Safeguard Global. And this has been PeopleTech, the podcast of the HCM technology report. We’re a publication of recruiting daily. We’re also a part of evergreen podcasts. To see all of their programs, visit www.evergreenpodcast.com. And to keep up with HR technology, visit the HCM technology report every day. We’re the most trusted source of news in the HR tech industry. Find us at www.hcmtechnologyreport.com. I’m Mark Feffer.

Image: 123RF

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