At Sapient, we recently launched an ‘App’ that invites people to dial in their mood. You heard me right – mood. Are you inspired, puzzled, happy, serious or edgy?
Technology has disrupted every aspect of our life – we read news on mobile and tablets, purchase bus tickets online, use kiosk to dispense movie tickets that were booked online and watch re-runs on YouTube. My sister uses iPad (and not TV) to distract my nephew while feeding him. We live in a world where it is increasingly difficult to separate the start and end of technology.
HR as a function is not impervious to this phenomenon and has undergone a metamorphosis of its own. For example, online job portals like Naukri and Monster have disintermediated placement agencies. And they now run the risk of being toppled by LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook! Have you noticed the size of Jobs insert that comes with newspapers? Technology coupled with process maturity is enabling growth of new business models too – Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Payroll and Benefits Outsourcing cannot exist without technology underpinning.
I see 3 emergent themes where technology is altering how works gets done in the field of HR
- Technology connecting people and expertise: Technology is enabling people and expertise to connect in the virtual and physical worlds, thereby forging ties among people otherwise separated by distance, culture and beliefs. HR’s role in new leader assimilation or fostering a culture of collaboration or enabling people is made easy by technology like Jive, CISCO Jabber or Microsoft’s Instant Messenger Platform (Lync). At Sapient, I am able to collaborate with global colleagues by dialing into Video Calls from the comfort of my home using no more than a laptop and a piece of software from CISCO (Jabber). Or a colleague can post a problem on internal platform Vox (Jive) and get responses from Brisbane, New York or Singapore.
- Technology enabling future: Big data and mining tools are not far from predicting crime like in the movie Minority Report. The field of People analytics, for example, is moving from answering questions “What is happening and why” to “What will happen?” Instead of merely reporting attrition and reasons behind it, we are now able to forecast attrition even before it were to happen. In another application, Google has spent years analyzing who succeeds at the company, which has moved away from a focus on GPAs, brand name schools and interview brain teasers.
- Technology enabling Choice & Control: According to a recent study, 72% of millennials would like to be their own boss. This generation values convenience, choice and control. The field of talent management and development is able to tap into technology and offer choice and control over their career. For example, leveraging technology, I can do self-assessment against current and future (desired) role. Not just identify the gaps but learn about different programs and courses available internally and externally on MOOCs.
Technology is making HR easier, faster and more effective. It is enabling scale, improving experience and bringing in transparency. We have only begun to understand and comprehend its full potential and are limited by our imagination. Instead of asking what technology can do for HR, ask if you can do HR without technology?
What unexpected ways are you leveraging technology?