Human resources is a field that is constantly evolving. As organizations change, as their product and service offerings evolve, so do their people needs and hence, the role of HR. What has not changed is the aim of HR to help organizations to thrive, to grow well and get ahead of others.
The role of HR professionals has evolved in the following ways:
- From enforcement to engagement
- From effort-heavy to error-free
- From human to superhuman
The role now includes strategic aspects of HR such as acquisition and retention, employee experience, workplace transformation, change management, and more. And, this transformation has been aided in no small measure by technology. The following advantages become reality when tech comes into the HR picture:
- Create a more efficient system of communication
- Store vast amounts of data in a safe, secure manner
- Simplify transactions and processes that used to be complex
- Easily navigate the challenges of compliance issues
Technology has opened new possibilities for HR and given superhuman powers to HR professionals to allow them to reshape how the world works. A Tech Trends study by Deloitte in 2019 suggested that technology would serve as the macro force in the years to come, in its capacity as a disruptor. The types of technology that are playing a role in the HR domain are the following:
- Blockchain: from an aide to digital currency to a trusted source of data security
- Cognitive technology: machine Learning (ML), robotic process automation (RPA), natural language processing (NLP), bots, neural nets and AI all are serving as strategic drivers that can handle the ever-growing volume and complexity of data
- Digital reality: augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT) and others are changing the nature of human interaction with technology and data and even with each other
Courtesy technology, the role of HR has become undeniably more strategic than before, facilitating critical decisions through confident communication and sharing predictive insights about talent. Below are some of the ways in which technology is reshaping the world of human resources:
The very nature of recruitment has changed — it is now more streamlined and employee-centric. Organizations will always need to find the best talent more efficiently and effectively, and technology makes this possible. AI and automation allow HR professionals to quickly sift through hundreds of resumes and judge the best fit for talent. AI-based tools are advantageous in many ways:
- Chatbots: help in scheduling and conducting basic interviews
- Keeping candidates engaged by understanding their sentiments through a human-like experience
- Gathering candidate feedback: for enhanced credibility
- Insights into behavioral patterns — eye contact, confidence and more — through video interviews
When they are speaking, people engage with tech very differently from other occasions. This goes beyond just typing and touching, to the most natural form of communication. Just the voice can source all required data, share feedback, apply for leave, and do a lot more, allowing more efficiency and making HR superhuman.
Simplified performance management
The new-age performance management process is more agile, continuous, data-driven, and development-oriented than ever before. Goals, progress and updates are fed into the system, allowing:
- The provision of continuous feedback and ratings
- Regular employee coaching and guidance to help them realize their potential
Current and future workforce planning become easier with the insights from HR data. HR professionals find it easy to identify non-performing employees as well as those most likely to benefit from opportunities for training and development. A process that was always subjective and complicated, has now become better-structured and objective.
A better system of rewards
With recognition being a fundamental human need, rewards must evolve from doles by leadership to a fully-democratic exercise. From one-time to real-time, coupons to gamification, and standardized to personalized, AI and other intuitive, integrated technology is helping organizations make the dynamic shift. Being in sync with performance and merit of individual employees, rewards are now more desirable and relevant. AI also works with predictive analytics to understand the possible preferences of future generations with regards to rewards and recognition.
A number of factors influence the employee experience through their lifecycle, and in a smarter world, HR can connect the dots and know the people better. Seemingly disjointed sets of employee data come together on the fly, and give actionable insights. The aim is to figure out what makes the employee happy and what may cause him or her to leave the organization. Gamification with well-designed yet fun tasks is a useful tool.
A number of variables come into play in the HR field of today, increasing the likelihood of errors. There is continuous change in regulations and laws with vast quantities of incoming data, which HR must stay compliant with. Technology like blockchain and cloud-based storage and retrieval allow the huge flows of data to be streamlined, giving HR more time for other strategic tasks.