Technology in HR practices is everywhere, but don’t forget the human touch
Our future is digital. By 2020, an entire generation – who are called Digital Natives – will have grown up in a primarily digital world. A desire to remain in contact with large networks of peers, leaders in different walks of life, family members, friends and business contacts will transform how we work and consume. In this context, it is a no brainer that organisations will brace technology in its core operations and sub-functions.
Human resource management is no different when it comes to adoption of technology. In the last five years, we have seen great changes in technology transforming people dynamics in organizations. Their focus areas, like employee well-being, rewards and recognition, on-going coaching conversations and employee experiences, are all supported by technology, and ongoing data analytics about these functions and its real-time analysis are available to business leaders. Human resources experts, while focusing on digitalized processes and instruments, need to work on new challenges for competence management, diminishing importance of hierarchies and perspectives for people communication. And, amongst all these challenges, there is an exceptional opportunity to strategically reshape and reinforce the roles of HR leaders within organizations.
With operations streamlined and the available real-time workforce analytics, human resources professionals now need to enhance their strategic thinking skills for business complimented by sharp internal consulting skills and base their decision on the available organizational insights.
While digitization may bring sweeping changes, it cannot replace the aspects that human beings thrive on: that is, a need to have face-to-face interactions, growth in a socially stimulating environment and a desire to have genuine appreciation and be led by credible leadership for a bigger purpose. For example, measuring real-time employee happiness through mobile applications can be a great idea, but it may be trivial in nature in bringing deep insights into human behavior or motivation, which sustain a stable business. While digitization is reaching an inflection point, an effective HR strategy will be to strike an impactful balance between what technology can do and what human or social interactions can do for today’s workforce.
– Author is the Director and Head- Human Resources, SAS Research and Development, India