We are not alone in the quest for a new portrait of the working world. While most companies in Vietnam are still struggling to facilitate and adapt to new ways of working during and post-pandemic, other parts of the world have made quite satisfactory progress. Let’s look at the most noticeable news and innovations of this month.
1. McDonald’s to attract talents via voice audio on Amazon Alexa
The next big trend of the HR world to be. McDonald’s is embracing social audio to streamline its hiring process and attract talents. With the idea of making job application and screening as quick and simple as a drive-through for fast food, they’ve developed Apply Thru™, a personal hiring system that works via voice activation on Alexa. Using this system, candidates can apply for jobs simply by saying to Alexa: “Help me find a job at McDonald's.” Then the virtual assistant will walk them through the rest of the process as a voice conversation.
Prior to this, it took 15 days for McDonald’s to fill a job. With Apply Thru™, they’ve reduced that to 2-3 days from the time a candidate applies to the time they begin work. Research is being carried out to develop the system even more. In the future, it might be able to conduct interviews and screen candidates.
2. Location-specific pay models: a new experiment of Google and big tech companies
A new trend is emerging among big players in Silicon Valley with Google, Facebook, and Twitter as pioneers. They are using location-specific pay models, meaning employees’ location can affect the compensation package received.
Particularly at Google, an anonymous employee reported to Reuter that their pay is cut by 10% if they choose to work completely at home, 2 hours away from the office. Concerns are being raised as screenshots of Google’s internal pay calculator showed that an employee living in Stamford, Connecticut – an hour from New York City by train - would be paid 15% less, while a colleague from the same office living in New York City would see no cut from working from home.
A Google spokesperson said: “Our compensation packages have always been determined by location, and we always pay at the top of the local market based on where an employee works from,” adding that pay will differ from city to city and state to state.
3. Can better tech make video meetings less excruciating?
Burnout caused by video meetings is so popular that people name it “Zoom fatigue”. Although seemingly interactive, video conversations are far from being natural as most meeting platforms only amplify one person at a time. The video chat therefore can never flow as smoothly as a face-to-face one.
Fortunately, companies are finding new ways to ease the video call experience. High Fidelity, for instance, allows all participants on a call to speak at once and positions each speaker at a specific point along the stereo spectrum to make it sound like everyone is in the same room.
Another company, Headroom, is using AI to monitor people's faces and body language while they are on the call. Its platform can also detect emotion based on attendees’ facial expressions and notify the speakers how engaged their audience is.
The race is still going on with other companies (e.g. Gather Town) trying to develop platforms that mimic real office environments by creating a virtual space where coworkers can freely interact with each other just like in real life. The potential of these platforms is yet to be seen.
4. Clearing the myths around a 4-day workweek: addressing the gain and pain
In 2019, Microsoft Japan stunned the world by announcing their experiment of a 4-day workweek proved an increase of 40% in productivity y-o-y. Since then, the practice has become increasingly popular across the U.S, New Zealand, and Spain. In The Adecco Group 2020 Resetting Normal research, 74% of C-level managers say that employers should revisit the length of the working week. Support is high for managers and employees as well.
However, the 4-day workweek remains a debate, as everything has its pros and cons. Here’s what supporters of the concept highlight as its advantages: fewer distractions at work, longer hours does not mean more output, increasing mental wellbeing and physical health, and lowering global carbon footprint. On the other hand, those who oppose the idea say that it causes increased recruiting cost, widens existing inequalities between knowledge and manual workers, is not suitable for all industries and job functions, and can even make team management more challenging.
More details of the debate available here.
That’s all for this month. Why not keep in touch so we can update you on every move of the HR industry via our monthly FutuHRe newsletter?