Seeing the Future of Wearables in the Workplace
Cynics can be tough on innovation and invention. History has shown us that time and time again, people have belittled huge advancements in math, science, medicine and technology. Given that so-called experts have doubted the usefulness of everything from atomic power to ecommerce, it’s important to open a dialogue on wearable technology now to help frame the future of work.
Whether a person cares to admit it or not, wearable technology is here to stay. With this new technology having already conquered select markets, the consumer segment for wearables will reach about 10 million devices and $3 billion in revenue by the end of this year, a Deloitte study predicts. As wearables become a familiar part of daily life, Use of the technology may spill over into professional life as well. The interesting part of the journey is just about to begin: seeing how wearable technologies are adopted in everyday life and within the world at work.
Research indicates that the enterprise wearables journey is just getting started, with this year marking the start of wearables 2.0, a new phase in the development of wearable tech that some expect will revolutionize business over the next decade. For organizations interested in adopting the technology and incorporating it in business processes, the time to explore the opportunities is now, starting with human resources, a critical component in businesses. For HR, the promise of wearable technology offers huge possibilities, particularly in recruiting and hiring.
To date, the most recognizable wearable technologies are smartglasses, with some 4 million pairs expected to be sold this year. Smartglasses are similar to smartphones but worn instead of held. Freeing up the hands, smartglasses can enable recruiters, hiring managers and HR pros to take more of their work with them, including applications, cover letters, resumes and all the necessary forms.
On the road and on the job, practitioners will be able to source, screen and select job candidates in just a few minutes by connecting with them over social media, accessing their company’s applicant tracking system (ATS) and connecting with colleagues to collaborate on hiring decisions in real time. Enhanced mobility will lead to other advancements as well, promoting increased collaboration and engagement among stakeholders who will be able to package and send candidate files in the blink of an eye.
Picture greater standardization, with key interview questions determined in advance, prompts guiding the interviewer throughout the meeting. Plus there's the ability to record a live interview to share with a manager who couldn’t attend. Combined with the right software, the technology will foster greater collaboration, with the use of swipe and tap to provide feedback, during or after the interview.
With this level of efficiency and the potential for real-time feedback, an organization could extend an offer letter to an exceptional candidate before he or she even leaves the building and help a company gain an edge over their competition. Because wearables can provide constant access to software and information, organizations can maximize technology investments from the get-go. This means big things for the hiring process and the candidate experience and says a lot about the companies that use wearables for business. Consumers and candidates alike will see them as innovative organizations.
Then, there’s the matter of onboarding. Once a candidate is engaged, interviewed and hired, HR can bring a new hire up to speed with a wearable. The new hire can become assimilated quickly with introductions, orientations and trainings preloaded onto a device and facial recognition software could make it that much easier for someone to remember everyone’s name and where to show up on those typically overwhelming first days at a new job.
The innovation and invention won’t stop there. Smartwatches, smart clothing and virtual-reality headsets are all said to be under development. Employers looking to achieve a competitive advantage and stay ahead of the curve should start making moves now. Adoption of wearable technology won’t happen overnight but it’s time to envision the future.
Danielle Weinblatt is CEO and co-founder of New York City-based Take the Interview, a company providing a cloud and mobile-technology platform focused on the interviewing process. She was an Arthur Rock Fellow at Harvard Business School and graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University.