The Rise of the ‘Super Job’ and the Role of HR Tech: Q&A With Michael Stephan of Deloitte


“The hardest challenge for HR managers today is how to keep the machine running, while also upskilling the workforce to meet the rising needs of super jobs.”

Michael Stephan, principal and human capital leader (U.S.) at Deloitte, talks about how HR leaders can prepare for automationOpens a new window and technological disruption in the workplace. He discusses the challenges that have arisen for HR managers with the rise of the “super job” and its impact on the workplace.

In this edition of HR Talk, Stephan shares tips for the next generation of HR leaders on how to leverage new technologyOpens a new window . He also puts the spotlight on the role of technology in HR to reinvigorate the candidate experience, while providing opportunities for strong performers.

Key takeaways from our interview on the rise of the super job:

  • Top tips for HR leaders to lead innovation and fully embrace it
  • Learn more about using HR techOpens a new window to focus on gaining measurable results
  • Key trends to follow in HR tech and candidate experience in 2020 and beyond

Here’s the edited transcript from our exclusive interview with Deloitte’s principal and human capital leader, Michael Stephan:

Michael, tell us about your career path, your role at Deloitte and how you seek to drive excellence each day.

I joined consulting after graduating undergrad with a degree in Business Administration and a focus in Marketing. I was deployed into custom technology projects that quickly transitioned to a focus on Human Resources (HR) platforms. That began my focus on HR, which then expanded into broader HR transformation consulting (e.g. operating model, enterprise change, global, etc.), and eventually a focus on broader Human Capital consulting. I’ve been fortunate to be the US and Global HR Transformation business leader, and today I lead the US Human Capital business for Deloitte. I believe whether we achieve excellence is determined by the how the customer and/or our workforce feel about the experiences we create and how, as a team, we deliver (or over-deliver) on expectations and needs. I’m proud to be part of an organization that is deeply committed to excellence as an outcome.

What are your top 3 tips for the next generation of HR leaders?

  1. Drive towards clarity of purpose: Take the time to define your vision and how it connects to better outcomes for the business and better experiences for your workforce.
  2. Lead the organization on digital enablement: As the organization that impacts every member of the workforce regularly, you can take the lead on digital enablement and adoption. How you serve your own internal customers impacts their ability to serve your external customers. Redesign your own workforce and work to integrate humans with machines.
  3. Embrace the ecosystem: In years past, it was easier for HR to adjust services, operating models, technology or policies to keep pace with change. These days, the pace and frequency of change is faster, and the level of disruption is more complex. Embrace the role of ecosystem partners to fill capability gaps or to accelerate outcomes.

Learn More: Analyzing the Impact of Technology in the Workplace: Q&A with Jill Goldstein of AccentureOpens a new window

What is your advice for HR leaders facing technological disruption in the workplace?

As I stated in my tips above, you can take the lead in the organization and to fully embrace it. As you think about how to navigate the choices:

  • Evaluate the technology ecosystem through the experience lens: Many organizations are still evaluating technology options through traditional lenses like cost, functionality and usability. Now you need to take a more strategic approach and first define the experiences you want to create for your workforce, and then evaluate which options can best deliver on those goals.
  • Don’t deploy in silos: There is an abundance of technology options across the HR spectrum today (e.g. Recruiting, Learning, Leadership, Performance, etc.). Too often organizations are selecting and deploying individual solutions without consideration for the other existing or planned platforms. While some solutions may meet immediate needs of one function, you run the risk of not delivering the full value. Today’s workforce expects the ability to personalize their experience, but they also want it to be more integrated and consistent. Always challenge your choices to see how well it integrates with your broader ecosystem and the extensibility of the solution.
  • Get comfortable with experimentation: Many HR organizations have lived in an environment where new technology took months to design, months to build and additional months to test and deploy. It had to be proven before it can be deployed to everyone. As you evaluate new options, look for opportunities to accelerate deployment, test it with a small population, and give yourself flexibility to iterate, improve before deploying to a larger audience. In some cases, it may end up that you choose to discontinue. Better to know sooner rather than later.

In today’s uber-competitive job scenario, what are the challenges for HR managers with the rise of the “super job” and its impact on the workplace?

The hardest challenge for HR managers today is how to keep the machine running, while also upskilling the workforce to meet the rising needs of “super-jobs.”  This was recognized in our 2019 Global Human Capital Trends reportOpens a new window , as 86 percent of respondents cited reinventing the way people learn as important or very important – the No. 1 trend for 2019. Upskilling and maintaining an emphasis on learning and development for all employees is essential to ensuring the organization can stay successful even if some people leave.

Super jobs are bringing together different skills and capabilities and presenting great opportunities for individual growth, new career paths and more talent mobility inside of organizations. Leading organizations are empowering individuals’ need to continuously develop not just technical, but essential human skills by investing in new tools to embed learning not only into the flow of work, but the flow of life.

A promising area to leverage new technology is onboarding and induction. Can virtual or augmented reality be an effective tool to induct new staff?

Many organizations are using VR and AR successfully to enhance their ability to engage new employees during onboarding and induction beyond traditional methods. These technologies can be used to help new employees feel more engaged with the corporate culture, provide key benefits for new employee training and speed time to effectiveness.

Some examples of leveraging this technology for physical and corporate culture introduction and engagement include:

  • Using VR to provide an immersive introduction to corporate locations for workers relocating for their new position, or for remote workers, helping them gain insight into the organization and feel more connected.  Combining this with leadership welcome messaging at the organizational level as well as tailored to their role provides a more personalized employee experience.
  • Using Augmented Reality markers in a physical space as part of an individual or group “scavenger hunt” approach to learning about a physical location, leadership and colleagues, and/or policies. This information remains available on an ongoing basis for employees to access

Learn More: How to Create a Culture of Digital Transformation: An Interview with Lisa Sterling of CeridianOpens a new window

What trends are you tracking in the ​HR tech and candidate experience space for 2020?

There are several emerging trends in this space. Some examples include:

  • Expanding beyond pilots in the AI matching space to enable enterprise-wide capabilities to match candidates to roles utilizing matching technologies
  • Focusing on key talent segments for assessments, to create opportunities beyond tech skills and entry-level employees to assess fit for the organization, by behaviors and values fit in addition to skills
  • A continued expansion of the Internal Mobility focus, to fill more roles within the organization internally, as opposed to relying so much on external talent
  • A drive to focus on the alternative workforce and the expectations of their experience engaging with the organization, providing opportunities for strong performers to work across the enterprise

Neha: Thank you, Michael, for sharing your valuable insights on the rise of the super jobs and the role of HR tech. We hope to talk to you again, soon.

About Michael StephanOpens a new window

As a principal and U.S. human capital leader in Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital practice, Michael helps companies develop and integrate HR service delivery models across the operations and technology spectrum, with a targeted focus on optimizing the delivery of HR services. His global consulting experience traverses the HR landscape and includes shared services, HR outsourcing, global ERP deployment, enterprise transition, and change management.

About DeloitteOpens a new window

As part of the largest management consultancy in the world, our consultants offer global experience and local knowledge to help you succeed in any public or private business environment. With more insightful business perspectives, we help focus your strengths, push your capabilities, and innovate for the future.


HR TalkOpens a new window is an interview series that features top people and talent leaders from HR tech and Fortune 500 companies who are redefining the future of work. Join us as we talk to these people tech experts to get in-depth insights, and some pro-tips on how HR tech can best work for you and your people.


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