While disruptive technologies will pose new challenges, HR managers will have no option but to find technology solutions to address these
In the coming times, technology will force HR managers to make decisions faster, to engage employees using the latest technology enabled tools, to communicate changes in more compelling ways that grab attention, to make more accurate performance assessments based on rich analytics and multiple data sources, to proactively manage talent using new networking technology, and to most effectively develop staff with nifty fit for purpose learning nuggets delivered via mobile gadgets. Talent managers will have to continue to jump onto the new S curves created by technology to stay in tune with the emerging workforce.
I recently interviewed a gentleman who was holidaying in the Swiss Alps. He had his ski boots on and was back for lunch and came on skype via his tablet to connect with the two interviewers – my business leader connecting from his home in Houston early his morning and I connecting from Singapore just after my dinner. The person was an extremely sought after trader who had just mentioned to his contacts on social network that he would be considering appropriate job opportunities based in Dubai if they came along. Our recruiters picked this cue and in no time we were talking to him of a role in Dubai. We got him before the competition did!
Technology will keep changing the speed and the way in which HR works. Recruiters are increasingly looking at LinkedIn to identify potential candidates. Jobs are being advertised through professional networks using social media. Imagine being able to fill vacancies almost instantly and the cost savings for the organization.
Increasing the speed at which new employees become autonomous is another key to unlocking value. To make employee on-boarding effective, there are automated tools that can help a new employee select his/her role, get the most relevant suggestions of materials to read, courses to take and people to meet. Traditionally, these used to take ages and the process was prone to errors. The consequence – some expensive mistakes and many poor decisions based on incomplete on-boarding; the business would pay for these. What could the future look like? Imagine using gaming technology to get all the relevant parties – the joiner, his supervisors, his buddy, his mentor, his HR – involved in a game that incentivises everyone contributing to helping the joiner onboard fully. Technology will enable the proverbial ‘village to raise the child’.
Learning managers are leveraging technology to make learning fun and engaging. We have pipelines that run over thousands of kilometres traversing many inaccessible patches. Maintaining these require specialized skills. To train the pipeline operator in specialized problem solving and maintenance, we send the targeted operators videos of an expert doing the job. Compare that with someone having to read pages and pages of dry manuals and guess the best way of doing things!
Technology will impact recruitment, talent management, employee engagement, learning and development, change management and knowledge management to name a few areas. While disruptive technology will pose ever new challenges, HR managers will have no option but to find technology solutions to address these.
While technology will offer more options, it will still need HR managers to make decisions. Technology will provide more data and more thorough analysis. The HR manager will still have to define the parameters of that analysis and make sense of the same. The history of business is the history of discontinuities. The best analysis of historical information cannot necessarily replace the human judgment of what is emergent. Human judgment, intuition and the emotional connect will effectively differentiate the good HR managers from the average ones when it comes to defining and effectively leading the people agenda.