Interestingly, the question is not whether HR will turn digital or not, but whether HR will remain human or not. New age HR is and has already turned digital, because society around us has turned digital. The key challenge before us is how do we ensure that the new age HR does not lose the ‘human’ touch.
ABC. Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Content
This is the triumvirate of the near future. How can we harness these to create more simplicity, more impact and more ‘human-ness’ in our business, and in our society, at large? Here are 5 postulations:
a. New Age HR will be able to raise the game of customer service by ensuring consistency and speed of response coupled with accuracy and comprehensiveness. This because an AI enabled ‘bot’ can truly bring together ‘what everyone knows’ into a 24*7 immediate response solution. Intelligent automation of the first mile frees up mind space and bandwidth of the HR generalist to deliver last mile customer delight.
b. Driving massive customization. Information on what employees love, their inherent triggers and habits, their consumer preferences abound around us. Data analytics from various channels of social media, spend patterns, online preferences help drive last mile customization leading to the demise of ‘one size fits all’ to mass scale customization for employees, families, partners, networks.
New age HR is about customization just as old age HR was about standardization.
This can only build on each other. Interestingly, this could also lead to the first step of dissolution of terms like ‘blue collar’, ‘white collar’.
c. Intelligent Content. Content that is not driven top-down, but co-created and shared. This is the ‘googlization’ of knowledge and learning — content that is targeted as well as content that is alive and organic. New age HR is less about managing programs and more about leveraging channels and customizing content, and driving content to change behavior; it is all about how to ensure local victory while building on global scale. There is no global consumer and there is no global learning. There is global scale, global networks, global approach, but content finds meaning at an individual level.
d. Good new age HR professionals get data; they get analytics; they create people insights. However, successful new age HR professionals get their people. And leverage the ABCs to deliver wow solutions, in scale. This also points to the re-emergence of the complete HR Generalist – who pulls the story together for great people experiences. Good new age leaders understand the importance of people and human resource. Successful new age leaders live in a world of shrinking resources and understand that the only way to succeed is get awesome last mile people experience, led by the line leader from the front.
e. The death of Performance Management as we know it. New Age Performance Management is not based on annual targets but possibly a cumulating of monthly deliveries. Feedback is not episodic but online. Assessors are not line managers (only) but customers. Careers are not vertical climbs but dynamic route plans. Structures are not hierarchies but resource maps. Humans are not resources but creators.
There are, then, 3 things to watch out for in this New Age upon us:
a. How aligned the ABCs are to deliver amazing people experiences,
b. How well we can marry the ‘left brain’ with the ‘right brain’, and
c. How accurately, we identify and impact key business drivers.
New Age HR is happening while you read this. What will be interesting is how much we will deliver through HR folks and how much through other channels. What will also be interesting is how much the new age HR professional uses what is at his disposal to bring the heart back into HR.