The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated a process that had already begun several years ago - that of the transition of the workforce to a digital-first mode. As companies found themselves struggling to continue business-as-usual with everyone working from home, it is HR that came to the fore as the agile department keeping the engine going. Whether it’s a virtual employee engagement mechanism to host digital events for the workforce, the use of smart tools for performance analysis or the hosting of rewards programs on professional platforms, HR has made significant strides towards the ‘always-on’ mode that is the hallmark of business in the digital age. Now, as AI and ML graduate from being buzzwords to essential transformative agents for almost every industry, we are likely to witness a paradigm shift in the way HR is implemented and rolled out.
The Future of HR
As the world gradually moves on from the pandemic, there are certain questions that HR needs to ask itself:
- How HR can help people maximise the value they add to their organisation
- How HR processes need to be structured to help people deliver that value
- Which digital solutions are the most appropriate to the organisation’s structure for maximum productivity?
The answers to these will vary depending on the industry’s needs as well as what the organisation requires to function optimally. Certain trends, however, are likely to feature everywhere as digital-first becomes a reality and employees push for workplace practices that prioritise their needs and abilities. These include:
- A seamless employee lifecycle that streamlines every step from recruitment to retirement
- The use of data analytics to power people-first decisions
- Job structures that focus on ownership, continuous learning, and growth
- Tools that eliminate repetitive human tasks and accommodate multiple learning styles.
- Processes that support both remote and in-person work as needed.
- Leadership practices that are open, empathetic, and feedback-driven
HR and Building Automation
Building automation is a relatively young industry, one that has unique needs. With the objective being to design intelligent building management systems that maximise safety while minimising costs, both technology and the human touch have important roles to play. For companies in this space, a hybrid workplace model is ideally inclusive and enables onsite surveys as well as remote planning with equal ease. A cloud-based HR tool helps to keep everyone in the loop wherever they are and also store critical information safely.
Analytics in HR
Perhaps the most relevant tool in any HR department’s toolkit is the use of analytics to uncover patterns, quantify results and metrics, and drive innovation. Through machine learning and pattern recognition, analytics can provide unprecedented insights into how employees across departments are actually feeling about their role and their workplace equations, as well as insights on job fit based on skills, personality traits and work history. The right analytics tools also assist with quantifying people's goals, such as improving soft skills literacy, designing more relevant rewards and developing smarter metrics to evaluate employee satisfaction. Predictive HR is another growing component of the application of analytics, with historical data being used to forecast process changes, new job requirements and even overall strategic moves. Over time, analytics can suggest alternative organisational models to transition into for maximum productivity and optimal inclusion of different skill sets.
As the demands of doing business in today’s world grow faster and more expansively, companies large and small must invest in effective and productive ways to provide high-quality service 24x7. The HR department can spearhead this investment in productivity through tools, processes and training that equips employees to do their best and stay connected wherever they are. For the ambitious brand that seeks to go digital-first, therefore, going ‘HR-first’ will in many ways be a prerequisite.