Sending your resume for a job to a firm may often be not seen by the Human Resource department of the organization. Instead, it may be matched by Artificial Intelligence and the right fit will be determined by the algorithm. EdGE Networks, a Bengaluru-based firm, started by Arjun Pratap (41) has been focused on end-to-end AI driven solutions for workforce optimization HR in the past six years. It aims to disrupt the skill development space. The company has teamed up with The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) who has funded them with grant and debt. “We have grown 228 percent in the last three years, and are growing at 300 percent in the current fiscal year. We are on a run rate of about Rs 10-12 crore,” said Pratap.
On the sidelines of the Nasscom India Leadership Forum 2017, Pratap spoke of how data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based approach to analyse job descriptions and profiles/resumes, is revolutionizing the HR function of hiring.
Excerpts from the interview
What led you to launch a tech startup focussed on HR and come out with a HR-management tool?
During my first venture (a digital learning platform), I realized there was tremendous need and scope for nextgen HR technology solutions, that could help organizations build future-ready workforces. Looking at the rapid pace of change taking place in India and the world, it became clear to me that HR technology powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Science and Machine Learning would be best route to enable workforce management and transformation. AI coupled with analytics was gaining ground within the HR domain and the time was ripe to build HR solutions for large enterprises looking to take their workforce to the next level.
How does your company generated machine-based source-validate-connect algorithm sharpen the process of person to job matching? What parameters are taken into account?
Using our comprehensive skills repository and machine learning algorithms, our platform analyses the job description and determines the primary and inferred skills. For example: In a Job Description (JD) for a Java J2EE developer, the JD analysis throws up inferred skills such as Spring, Struts, Hibernate, EJB thereby expanding the search universe and improving accuracy of resume match. The platform then auto-sources the right fit by parsing and analyzing both structured and unstructured information from profiles/resumes in internal database and external portals; throws up accurate resume matches by scoring and stack ranking them in order of relevance. The platform also adheres to business rules – and by harnessing contextual analysis it help you match the right person to the right job - in seconds! What takes organizations over 30-45 days to fulfill leading to a loss of nearly $800,000-1.5 million is done in 8-9 days, saving millions of dollars for large businesses. We have been able to deliver near 99% accuracy levels in the resume matches to requirements. This has led to over 50% reduction in allocation failures.
Human resource management is a human intervention subject. How can Artificial Intelligence do it better than people? Would that not be clinical?
Artificial Intelligence is transforming the way we do business today and HR is no exception to this. There will always be areas where humans will take the final call while machines enable them with information that aids decisions, making them faster and more accurate. For e.g., humans could control the final decision of hiring or not hiring a candidate and make the decision based on recommendations shared by the machine.
Is your tool meant for companies with large hiring requirements? How can it help, for instance, a company with just one job vacancy?
Our strength is in harnessing Artificial Intelligence and Data Science to solve the toughest talent acquisition and workforce optimization challenges faced by organizations, big and small. While we currently cater to companies that are over 5,000 employees strong, we are in the process of building a more modular, plug and play version that smaller companies could take advantage of. While the underlying technology will remain the same for both, the extent of customization will vary based on the size of the engagement. Our platform will deliver the same benefits of faster, more accurate and cost effective talent management to all our customers. Our platform is industry, skill and job agnostic.
Inspite of the tool, there is no guarantee that the hired professional will stick around the company for a longer period, is there?
The benefits of our platform doesn’t end with finding the right match for a job requirement. Our workforce optimization suite goes beyond that and helps employee career development. Our platform provides career path options/job recommendations to employees based on existing skills, title, years of experience and previous roles or designations. Our platform also profiles resources, identifies skill gap and chalks out learning path. Our algorithm analyzes course synopsis, reviews and ratings, sentiment analysis, alumni, etc. to recommend the most appropriate courses, books, training programs for staff that helps the staff bridge any skill gap in the profile. Our platform is integrated with Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, Google Books, to mention a few. This empowers the employees to make career decisions that best suits them and upskill as necessary to follow the desired growth path based on current role or preferred future role.
Speaking about retention of staff to enhance employee lifetime value, we have a solution for that as well. By co-relating reasons for attrition to employee engagement, performance and other data, we help predict staff attrition. Our prescriptive analytics helps retain critical staff who are likely to attrite by helping HR identify timely interventions and plan replacement.
You are in partnership with the National Skills Development Corporation. What are your future plans and targets for NSDC?
The objective of NSDC is to contribute significantly (about 30 per cent) to the overall target of skilling / up skilling 500 million people in India by 2022, mainly by fostering private sector initiatives in skill development programs and providing funding. EdGE Networks’ mammoth Skill Repository has over a hundred thousand technical and non-technical skills which we will to align job roles with the NSDC’s standard classification of occupation (National Occupation Standard- NOS) and identify the candidates who need to up-skill/re-skill to stay relevant in the workforce. It will help a workforce to identify job opportunities that would fit them best.