From tactical to strategic, from effort-intensive to error-free, from enforced to engaged, from human to superhuman - evolutions in HR have always helped organisations thrive, accelerate and slingshot their growth. Especially so, when supported by technology that brings together, connects and empowers every single rank and file in the organization.
Today the role has evolved to enable #SmarterWorkLife and handle the more strategic pieces of the business like Employee Experience, Performance & Productivity Analysis, Rewards & Recognition, Workplace Transformation, Change Management, Talent Sourcing, Acquisition & Retention. With the help of these two incumbents: Evolution of HR Practices and Evolution of Technology.
Here, let’s look at Technology. We are living in an era which is witnessing a huge technological revolution. Today, you have access to all the right levers you need to make a difference and unleash a universe of intelligent possibilities in HR. To lead more authentically, negotiate change, inspire a higher level of performance and make more relevant impact in your business.
New-age technologies such as , Blockchain, Cognitive (Machine Learning [ML], Robotic Process Automation [RPA], Natural Language Processing [NLP], bots, neural nets and AI), Digital Reality (AR,VR, IoT, and others), Cloud, and Analytics are opening new vistas and possibilities for HR and equipping them with some superhuman powers to reshape the way the world works. As per the Tech Trends study by Deloitt (2019), these technologies have taken up the “disruptor” mantle and are going to be the macro forces in the years to come. Cognitive technologies are emerging as a core strategic driver and helping make sense of ever-growing data, handling both the volume and complexity while Digital Reality is facilitating engagement by redefining how humans interact with data, technology, and each other. Blockchain has evolved from just being an aide to cryptocurrencies to becoming a trusted source of data security and authentication.
With some awe-inspiring technology, it is now possible to simplify many complex processes and transactions, build a better and more efficient communication system, store a vast amount of data with trust, and navigate through difficult compliance issues with greater ease.
By leveraging technology, HR professionals have been able to confidently communicate and share predictive insights about the talent and thereby, take critical decisions. It has certainly elevated the status of HR to a more strategic function. Let’s look at some of the ways technology is reshaping the world of HR:
Overhauling Recruitment Practices
Technology is changing the very nature of recruitment; it has become more evolved, employee-centric and streamlined in its approach. The focus for organisations continues to be finding the best talent more efficiently and effectively and technology is making it possible. By leveraging on AI and automation, it is now feasible to sift through hundreds of resumes in no time and advice on the best talent-fit (CV parsing and shortlisting).
Technology has made the profile-based hiring more intensive and accurate by going beyond JDs and including other factors such as the performance of the individual after joining the organization, social footprint and a combination of career moves, skills and behavioural attributes.
AI based tools are powerful and intuitive which can see through the person, present a holistic profile of the candidates and predict their success in the organization with greater accuracy, for example, video interviews can tell a lot about candidate’s behavioural patterns, e.g. eye contact, confidence etc. Similarly, chatbots are here, helping HR professionals by scheduling and taking basic interviews of the candidates, keeping them informed and engaged throughout the funnel. Technology has also made it possible to gather candidate’s feedback during the last interview, lending credibility to the entire process. Today’s technology is smartly delivering a human-like experience by understanding human sentiments to keep the potential hires engaged and excited throughout the process.
Smarter Management of Performance
Technology is revamping the way organizations view their performance management process. In contrast to the traditional approach, the new approach is more data-driven, more agile, more continuous, and more development-oriented.
Technology has simplified the complex process of performance management to a great extent, by allowing goals, updates, and progress to be easily fed into the system, allowing managers to use this information to provide ratings, continuous & real-time feedback, and then constantly coach and guide them to realize their full potential.
This information can also be archived and utilized during the succession planning process. It can also provide data-driven insights to HR about the current and future workforce planning; for instance, HR can identify about employees who are not performing well and who can benefit when given requisite training and development opportunities. The technology has certainly given a better structure and objectivity to the otherwise complicated and subjective process.
Staying Compliant is Easier
Today’s work ecosystem is highly dynamic and complex, where HR has to handle multitude of variables. This may result in errors, and hence requires HR to remain compliant. Laws and regulations are constantly changing and it is a big challenge for organizations and HR to manage such vast amount of data. The maintenance of data requires humongous paperwork which is monotonous and a time-consuming process. To salvage the situation, Cloud-based technology and Blockchain are regulating the process by storing and streamlining the huge amount of data, freeing up HR professionals to be strategically significant.
Smarter interfaces are changing how technology is used and experienced, because while speaking, people engage with technology in a very different way. It is no longer about typing or touching, but the most natural form of communication. Today, an HRs 'voice' gets him all the data he needs or share the feedback he wishes to give and even apply a leave on his behalf as he plans his vacation! Thus, making him not just nimble and efficient, but more superhuman too.
To be recognized is one of the fundamental human needs and should be essentially addressed. In the cross-road of people and change, carrot and stick, advanced incentives and speedy perks; rewards need to become a democratic exercise and not doled out only by the leadership. With intuitive and integrated technology, like AI, organisations are making a dynamic shift from standardised to personalised, one time to real-time, coupons to gamified modes of rewards. The technology will help budget and administer rewards at scale. This is helping HR, slingshot employee engagement and motivation, because these rewards are more relevant, desirable and in congruence with individual performance and merit. Predictive analytics coupled with AI would also help in projecting future trends in rewards and recognition and understanding how future generations at work would want to be appreciated
What makes an individual happy is never a one word answer. And neither is why s/he leaves the organisation. In a smarter world, an HR can know his people better by connecting the dots that influence their experience across their lifecycle. With technology, they can draw actionable insights by bringing together disjointed sets of employee data on-the-fly. Break them, aggregate them by a host of values and metrics, to predict and act timely on the future of their most critical resource - Talent.
The impact of technology on the world of work is tremendous and cannot be denied; it is bringing a huge transformation and equipping HR professionals with some great tools to create smarter and more efficient systems. Successful adoption and execution of HR technology will not only enhance employee productivity, engagement, and collaboration, but will also result in better and smarter business outcomes and improved organizational effectiveness. HR professionals are portraying the role of ‘change leader’ and ‘enabler’ by quickly embracing the technology and institutionalizing the same in their organizations.