How technology has changed HR, says Naveen Narayanan
Human relations seemed to be an end and technology a means to get there
My career started in an era where jobs were posted in newspapers, training programmes had to be in classes using a overhead projector, employee records in huge warehouses and communication through written memos. Today, a recruiter logs onto a smart ATS on SaaS or any social networking integrated app and if s/he knows their way, get all the candidates following them. Training programmes are in virtual classrooms and employee records on cloud storage solutions. This democracy of information has improved transparency and accountability in the way HR goes about doing business. Organisations that invested deeply in technology, especially in the heart of talent management and employee development have exceeded expectations and performance.
Look at how we interact today. A prospective candidate sees a job post on Twitter, his profile gets read through a parsing tool, artificial intelligence matches his resume to jobs, chooses a self-scheduled interview over video-conferencing, sends a video assessment, receives automatically generated offer letters, gets on-boarded and is trained through an e-learning module. Organisations are looking for integrated delivery of services, which enables line managers to better manage teams and not just automate transactions. My life changed with the explosion of mobiles and computers. Firstly, all transactional and repetitive activities were separated from the strategic relationship and employee advocacy activities performed by an HR professional and automated. Today, we are in a phase where Big Data has led to analytics helping organisations predict employee success, identify top performers, calculate compensation models and cost to business, predict demand-supply of resources, analyse market trends with unprecedented accuracy.
Not being invested in technology and employing a multi-generational workforce almost seems like a paradox as the company experience will seem very archaic to GenY and millennials who are so used to gamified environments, social media interactions and mobile transactions.
Owning technology today is not cost prohibitive with SaaS-based solutions. Integration and niche bolt on products are using social media, Web 2.0 and mobile technologies seamlessly. However, there are also problems because of deep technology penetration. Everyone has a mobile phone with myriad apps to connect through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and assume that regular conversation on these replace human relations.
Any successful technology implementation is on a bedrock of process maturity, which improves scalability, predictability, transparency and accountability into any process. Technology should now be ready to drive People Management, which provides insights into people and not just automation of processes. So the question remains – Has technology implementation helped HR improve employee advocacy and workforce productivity or cost to serve? That will always remain a question you should answer as a professional. How has all the above changed your skills? How much has specialisation or mastery touched your team? What percentage of your function is in a service centre or offshore? How are you retaining the soul of a credible activist in your HR function? Is technology based interaction the new normal to human relations? Tweet and let me know in a connected world...see you online!