The evolution and advancement of technology has steamrolled the conventional way of doing things in most aspects of our lives. Today, smartphones, watches, voice-activated speakers, and programmable thermostats, and even cars and cities, everything is connected. It is not surprising that transformation has touched the workplace as well.
Undoubtedly, automation, digitization, cloud, big data are the buzzwords that were heard in the world of business in the last decade. Rapid changes and advances in technology were accompanied by disruptions in the job market with a demand for new future-ready skills coming to the fore. This, in turn, has led to a significant shake-up in the role of human resources (HR), with HR evolving from being just an administrative unit for employees to a strategic member of the organization with an equal stake in the growth of the business.
If digitization was the trend of the last decade, then artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will be the cornerstone of HR in the next decade. This will bring about rapid changes in the skills required, and the next decade will see an acceleration in the speed of change. While the digitization of HR functions will continue to hold an essential place in HR strategies in the coming decade, the spread and scale of digitization will increase tremendously to ensure that the organization stays relevant in the coming decade.
The first point of contact, that is, recruitment has itself undergone a sea of change. From the use of the internet for posting job openings and connecting with jobseekers to online tracking and short-listing of applicants, we are today using AI and ML in not just recruitment, but the entire HR process too. In the next decade, AI will allow repetitive and administrative tasks to be automated, freeing human talent for more advanced work that focuses on improving the organization’s processes and developing the employees to ensure that the vision of the organization is fulfilled.
The decade ahead will also see data enabling and empowering the HR function. The application of analyzed data will bring agility to the function through insights that would otherwise not be perceived by human talent. In fact, AI-powered analysis of data will ensure consistency and objectivity untouched by human bias.
Another core area of HR where AI will bring change is in the aspect of employee engagement by enabling processes such as real-time feedback and analysis, intelligent surveys, personalized messaging and communication, and objective evaluation and assessment for a rewards and recognition program. This will, in turn, promote retention of talent with a positive impact on organizational performance and stakeholder value.
With the need to ensure that all employees are future-ready, it is learning and development that will play an essential role in the coming decade. Here too, it is AI that will play a crucial role in recognizing skill gaps, targeting delivery, and improving learning outcomes. E-learning, personalized paths to skill acquisition will allow an organization to stay ahead of the game.
The next decade will be full of challenges for all functions and for HR it will be to ensure the right people are in the right places and the right time. That’s probably the only way to ensure that the organisation gets fit to compete. It is up to each of us to embrace technology so that HR as a function, will play a more strategic role in business growth. Ultimately, success will be determined by how well organizations can adapt and adopt new technologies and drive employees to do the same.