Virtual Roundtable Recap: Challenges & Opportunities Amid COVID-19

Jordan Ingersoll
March 31, 2020

(This webinar was initially planned as a networking reception hosted in Downtown Atlanta for local Talent Acquisition and Management leaders. Due to COVID-19, we decided to move this to a virtual roundtable, which you can watch here.)

pymetrics recently hosted a virtual roundtable on the challenges and opportunities in the new talent marketplace, particularly in light of recent changes organizations have made or are considering making to their talent processes around COVID-19.  In this fireside chat, Bob Toohey, President of pymetrics, and Albert Loyola, Talent & Organization Leader at Accenture, walked the audience through various trends in HR today pertaining to technology, preserving the human in human resources, and curbing bias as more and more processes become automated. Read more about our main takeaways below: 

1. Now is the time to pivot: To stay on track with hiring and business goals, we must consider new tools to facilitate remote working and more digitized, efficient processes overall. While right now is a time of loss and uncertainty, it is also an opportunity to pivot and try new things. In the words of Bob, “Right now, I’m seeing early stages of people starting to think very differently… take college hiring…. They’re not stopping it, they’re saying how do I do it now, since I can’t go to campus? And they may have gone to 10 campuses but now I can go to 100 if I really think about going virtual and [leveraging] technology.” Campus hiring is one of many recruiting and employee-related activities being heavily impacted by social distancing measures, but in reality many organizations were taking steps towards digitizing steps of these processes long before the COVID-19 outbreak. Reducing in-person interaction is just one benefit of these tools, as they can also help to increase efficiency, improve diversity, augment effectiveness, and improve overall candidate and employee experience, which can have significant and lasting impacts on your business overall. If there is ever a great time to pivot, it is now!

2. Reimagine work: Albert acknowledged the fear that many experience when it comes to technology replacing jobs, but encouraged the audience to take one step back and focus on simply reimagining work instead. Technologies have and will continue to replace humans, so we must focus on upskilling or reskilling our current workforce to meet the demands of the future. AI is a big umbrella term that encompasses lots of technologies like machine learning, natural language processing, sentiment analysis, etc. These tools can augment our current capabilities, necessitating proper training for employees on how to leverage such technology in their day-to-day workflow. Additionally, HR must lead organizations through change by understanding the needs of the business and what kinds of roles are necessary to drive it forward. There are and will continue to be ample new opportunities for businesses and employees alike to reapply their skills in different contexts, or learn new things altogether.

3. Curbing bias: When considering automating parts of your talent lifecycle processes, you must do everything to curb the bias that automation can perpetuate by leveraging better, objective data to make decisions. In fact, not only can  automation perpetuate bias, but it can also amplify it if data sets are trained improperly, systematizing harm against already-marginalized populations. But the answer isn’t to call it quits altogether and revert to outdated, human-driven approaches. This can create huge risks for the future: missing out on the best talent for any given role, losing competitive edge, and limiting their ability to increase cognitive and demographic diversity. Instead, invest in world-class tools that transparently explain their de-biasing methodologies, and even consider bringing on specialists to your own team who understand the nuances of new systems, many of which may brand themselves a bias-free but have not in fact been audited or white-boxed. 

We really enjoyed this conversation and the participation of our audience and are excited to continue hosting webinars on topics relevant to talent acquisition, talent management, workforce insights, and more. If you would like to participate in future webinars, feel free to reach out to us at, or fill out the form here. Talk soon!