November 17, 2020

How to use people intelligence to make smarter HR decisions

Jack Bennett, Senior Director of Solution Engagement at Ceridian takes the INSIGHTS 2020 audience on a journey of how Dayforce uses AI and machine learning to deliver quantifiable value for organizations.

“Advanced analytics and AI have the power to reshape organizations – and entire industries. They can dramatically improve the way organizations and people work,” said Jack Bennett, Senior Director of Solution Engagement at Ceridian as he kicked off his session, How to use people intelligence to make smarter HR decisions, at INSIGHTS 2020.

This kind of seismic possibility is exactly what Bennett set out to demonstrate as he took the audience on a “people intelligence journey” through Dayforce, using terminals in an airport as a metaphor for the platform’s interconnectivity.

Each stop on the journey painted a picture of a more intelligent future of work, where artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning drive value through efficiency, immediacy, and informed decision-making.

First stop: Candidate Grading

Finding the right talent in a sea of applicants is always a challenge. According to Bennett, “Fifty-two percent of talent acquisition leaders say screening is the hardest part of recruiting.” He went on to explain that Dayforce’s Candidate Grading feature helps organizations focus on the best-fit applicants by grading them against a set of criteria. Powered by AI and machine learning, this grading system becomes increasingly more accurate and efficient over time.

Bennett shared a personal example of a time where he had over 700 candidates for a job posting, and the Candidate Grading feature helped streamline the process for him. The tool compared candidates’ qualifications with those highlighted in the job posting, and then presented only the highest qualified candidates for screening, saving him time. Bennett noted that you can set your minimum mandatory or preferred qualifications for roles, which will inform the grades given to candidates.

But the true scale of the tool’s value comes to life with an example from retailer Bargain Hunt. With 90 stores across 10 states and a rapidly expanding workforce, finding ways to be more efficient in the recruiting process is critical. Leaders at Bargain Hunt said Dayforce gave them an edge in the competition for talent.

Another benefit of Candidate Grading in Dayforce is that talent acquisition professionals can override the grades the system gives at any time, allowing flexibility in situations where hiring needs may be more complex or nuanced.

Second stop: Benefits Intelligence

According to Bennett, supplying benefits is the second largest cost for most organizations after payroll. “In fact, we’re estimating that the cost is going to rise to above $15,000 per employee in 2020,” he said. “And SHRM is quoted as saying that they’re expecting a 6% increase, as well.”

Bennett explained that Benefits Intelligence has a few different components that can help organizations build benefits portfolios that suit the needs of their people, while staying within budget.

One feature is Benefits Decision Support, a tool that uses just four questions to cut through the complexity of benefits offerings and guide employees to the best plan for their individual situations. The feature shows the employee the costs of different plans, and helps them make a choice that has the greatest value for them. It can be challenging to get employees engaged during enrolment, as they’re often overwhelmed by choice or unsure of how to make the right decision.

Because of the significant cost, employers want their people to use their benefits. Helping employees find the right package helps drive up adoption. But what if there is a better offering that isn’t even on the table? What if organizations could actually drive up adoption and save money in the process? Benefits Intelligence also helps employers with this type of visibility.

The Best-fit Plan Analysis feature within Dayforce’s Benefits Intelligence module, Bennett explained, helps organizations measure utilization and distribution of plans across the employee base to identify strengths and gaps in offerings. It helps leaders see which plans are most popular and which are not being used, as well as if the plans on offer are competitive.

With Benefits Intelligence, organizations can also forecast the financial impact of plan adoption rates, and determine whether or not to change offerings. Leaders can do a what-if analysis to model adjustments to their benefits plans, helping them identify which plans will drive the highest adoption, within budget.

Watch next: How to design a smarter benefits experience

Third stop: Dayforce Assistant

In a world where we expect everything to be on our mobile devices, Dayforce Assistant takes that convenience to the next level. Using voice recognition and natural language processing, Bennett explained, employees can make common requests like booking time off or swapping shifts through voice or chat commands in the app.

In a typical scenario where an organization is using separate systems for different aspects of the managing the workforce, a simple employee request can require multiple steps. Bennett gave an example – booking vacation time could mean flipping between your schedule, your personal calendar, and a time-off request portal. And then you’re waiting for your manager to see the request and find the time to do the same juggling act to approve it. With Dayforce Assistant, employees can make a request easily, saving time for managers so they can focus on higher-value activities.

Read next: Here's how virtual assistants are improving the employee experience

Bennett also mentioned a couple of Ceridian customers that have seen great results from using the Dayforce app enabled with Assistant. Trident Seafood, for example, saw employee engagement improve after launching the app, and also found it was easier to communicate with employees spread across multiple locations – something almost every company is grappling with right now. Costa Coffee, a UK-based coffee chain, saw 100% adoption of Dayforce, signifying the digital-first mentality of today’s workforce.

Fourth stop: Advanced Scheduling

Next, Bennett covered Advanced Scheduling, another Dayforce module that provides a lot of value for managers. He explained that there are a couple of different areas within Advanced Scheduling that leverage AI and machine learning.

The first is in the planning and forecasting phase, where leaders can forecast future values of key performance indicators (KPIs), such as sales, foot traffic, transactions, units, or other metrics, based on historical data and trends. Leaders can use that information to create labour deployment curves, which will optimize schedules and shifts based on configurable shift policies. This information is then leveraged in the autofill and fill/unfilled components to identify qualified employees to fill open shifts, and assign the employees to them.

“The real power behind our Advanced Scheduling is the adaptability it provides organizations – to fit within your culture,” said Bennett. Leaders have the flexibility in how much their employees can customize the schedules. There are many possible ways to create schedules, but underpinning that are AI and machine learning to assist with the entire process.

Another key feature Bennett mentioned was how Advanced Scheduling can help support compliance. “As an organization’s policies change, and laws change, you have different options to maintain compliance with your managers, while still providing them the freedom to interact with the scheduling process,” he said.

Fifth stop: Dayforce Intelligence

At the final stop on the people intelligence journey, Bennett took the audience through the Dayforce Intelligence module. Dayforce Intelligence helps organizations focus on the areas where taking action will deliver the most quantifiable value. This feature helps organizations benchmark KPIs against both past performance and against competitors, and the trends identified over time help leaders make better business decisions.

“We combine all elements of the Dayforce platform to present the most influential metrics to your organization,” he said. Dayforce Intelligence helps organizations measure HR efficiency and effectiveness across the employee lifecycle, including recruiting, onboarding, payroll, and workforce management. It quantifies the value that can be created by incremental improvements.

One example Bennett gave was unscheduled overtime. In Dayforce Intelligence, you can drill down to which areas of the business are performing well, and which need improvement. Unscheduled overtime might not be an issue across the board – there may be just one or two regions that need attention to correct the problem. That type of granularity in the data picture allows leaders to get laser-focused on solving challenges.

According to Bennett, Dayforce Intelligence also allows you to follow the results of any initiatives you enact to see if performance is improving period over period. He shared that customers have been able to, for example, reduce the time it takes to onboard new employees by 50%, and save two hours of training time per employee using Dayforce for learning.

Intelligence is everywhere

Bennett wrapped up his presentation by reminding viewers that intelligence isn’t only in the Dayforce product – it’s also embedded throughout Ceridian. “It’s not just within the product. We actually leverage AI and machine learning as part of our organization to assist our customers, as well,” he said.

He cited the example of how Ceridian uses these technologies in payroll processing. “We have KPI and benchmarking data, and we proactively detect issues in customer environments to assist in payroll commit, configuration validation, and a year-end readiness analysis.”

WATCH NOW: How to use people intelligence to make smarter HR decisions

Kristin Knapp

Kristin is the Content Marketing Manager at Ceridian.

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