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By Bill Rojas, SAP Digital

Everywhere I turn, I hear concerns about technology and workforce automation causing job losses. For employers, however, it seems that the real worry lies not in eliminating but retaining their workforce. How can they prepare their existing talent pool – and their organizations – to thrive in the new economy? How can they deal with the impending mass migration of jobs toward those requiring new skills?

Those are the fundamental questions that emerged from my discussion with Emily Lambert, Content Marketing Specialist at Plum, Inc. Plum offers a solution, also called Plum, that is now available on SAP App Center. The solution uses the precepts of industrial and organizational psychology combined with – you guessed it – artificial intelligence to help organizations hire, grow, and retain top talent.

A plum job for a young graduate – without job experience

But I think Emily describes it best – not just because she’s the content strategist for Plum, but because she herself exemplifies the whole concept. I’ll admit to some surprise that Emily, who is in her first job and has been with Plum for only two years, met with me as the company’s key spokesperson. And why not? “When I joined Plum, I did not have the resume or the experience you might expect,” she freely acknowledges. “I was right out of university. But I am a testament to how Plum works: quite simply, I had the capabilities they needed. And what excites me is the ability to leverage psychometrics to surface people with backgrounds that don’t fit the traditional mold, discover their innate talents, and match them to roles where they will succeed. Recruiters and managers can ditch resumes and performance reviews, instead digging deeper into the behavioral needs of the job.”

Cultivating innovation through diversity

That capacity leads directly to Emily’s true passion: diversity and inclusion. “There is so much hidden bias in the hiring process that Plum can mitigate,” she remarked. “For example, a recruiter might skip over a candidate with a degree from a community college who waited tables to earn tuition money, in favor of another with an Ivy League degree and an unpaid summer internship. Yet the job requires the social intelligence, attitude, and problem-solving skills that neither candidate’s credentials reveal on paper.” By using the Plum platform to see beneath the surface, recruiters can get more qualified people into the pipeline, and foster a more dynamic workforce by bringing together a variety of perspectives. Emily also speaks from experience on that note: At Plum, she said, where team members come from widely divergent backgrounds, “we may not always initially agree, but the result is a more innovative product.”

Managing the full employee lifecycle

While Plum started out in 2012 offering a service to support recruitment and hiring, the company soon began to experience considerable demand for predictive data to be used in talent management. Plum evolved into a software-as-a-service offering, supporting the entire employee lifecycle: learning and development, engagement, career-path mapping, succession planning, and more. “There will be so many new roles,” Emily pointed out, “requiring characteristics like adaptability, innovative thinking, and persuasiveness. Plum provides the ‘people analytics’ to help companies not only identify emerging leaders, but also to help others who might lack those cognitive abilities to develop them.”

A fruitful relationship with SAP

The Plum platform integrates with SAP SuccessFactors solutions to leverage enterprise HR data that powers these insights. In that vein, I asked Emily about Plum’s partnership with SAP. She replied that, about two years ago, the company participated in the SAP.iO programs. Focusing on gender and racial diversity, SAP.iO helps entrepreneurs build innovative software, taking advantage of SAP’s various technical and support services. In fact, Plum’s CEO and Co-Founder Caitlin MacGregor, is a champion of #movethedial, an initiative dedicated to increasing the leadership of women in tech.

Emily added that, in her own experience, the SAP team has been tremendously supportive. “From our alliance manager and the account executives to the product and go-to-market teams, everyone has blown me away with their genuine desire to co-create with us. At our bi-weekly meetings, they are organized and well-prepared, and we always come away with new ideas.” The Plum team plans to attend the SAP SuccessConnect conference in Las Vegas in September to amplify the partnership with SAP SuccessFactors.

And what about the benefits of the SAP App Center? “First, the SAP App Center gives us immediate credibility as an SAP partner. But more importantly, it puts us in direct contact with the SAP ecosystem – with companies that share the same values and mission as we do with SAP. And the result is high-quality leads.”

What’s your organization doing to prepare for the future of work? Please comment below.
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