In view of the ongoing crisis as a result of the global pandemic, there’s one central message for HR teams – go digital. The top HR priorities for the next decade will be to build critical skills, strengthen the leadership bench, and implement organizational design and change management.
While CHROs seem to be aware of these pressing challenges, research suggests that not many are entirely confident of tackling them head-on. One reason behind this uncertainty is that digital transformation has not just forced organizations to redesign their business models and processes, but also their management practices. The use of next-gen technology in HR has disrupted the already-evolving function, giving rise to new challenges and opportunities. To understand these shifts, it would help to retrace the role of HR and contextualize the change taking place in the last decade. Here’s a look at how new-age technology and tools have helped transform the core functions of HR:
The shift to a purpose-based HR
For the longest time, the core function of HR tools and systems has been to maintain a system of record. HR’s role was only a transactional necessity between the employee and the employer.
The proliferation of next-gen tech in HR is helping organizations keep track of people’s work, undertake objective performance assessment, measure engagement, and support employees in making their work-life easier. This shift from a process-based to a purpose-based HR has paved the way for organizations to manage their employees as people and not just resources.
Meeting the changing workforce expectations
The next discernible change in HR has been the realization of how vital it is to address people's challenges in a timely fashion. Whether its challenges pertaining to working remotely or digitizing functional HR activities like recruitment, engagement, and assessment – all of which have been strengthened by the inclusion of employee data, advanced tools and devices have helped organizations capture and analyze an employee data. Thus, quarterly, or yearly, appraisals have given way to continuous feedback, continuous learning and continuous rewards.
Increased focus on experience
The transition from process-based to purpose-based HR has been enabled by systems and technologies that are designed around ‘experiences.’ This has resulted in HR systems and tools to become more intuitive, user-friendly, and adaptive. One of the biggest consequences of this has been the inclusion of multi-disciplinary experts in the HR function, which, up until a decade ago, would have been difficult to imagine. Today, leading organizations are hiring experts in analytics, artificial intelligence, user interface/experience, and design thinking to improve workplace experience.
Technologies like robotics process automation, machine learning, natural language processing are being leveraged to develop simple, and seamless HR systems. Similarly, the increasing use of digital tools to measure health and wellness has also helped collaborate with mental health experts, fitness coaches, and dieticians. This has made it possible for experts with diverse knowledge to build cohesive HR solutions that ensure maximum optimization and efficiency.
HR leaders and professionals must work towards aligning the entire HR function to ensure that employees can perform to their potential. They need to leverage new technologies to empower and engage employees with systems that can deliver a smooth workplace experience for a diverse workforce. Finally, they need to embrace the fact that being digital does not mean randomly using new technology and tools, but systematically using them to optimize existing human capital management practices. These changes will not only make the HR function more effective but also redefine its business scope in the organization. While the process involves several experts and stakeholders, HR leaders must lead the process of building systems that are truly adaptive, enhance productivity, and are designed for every employee in the organization.