Over the years, the HR function has evolved from performing a functional/ administrative role to Business partner to Strategic Partner. And today, driven by data, technology and new interaction models, its role is shifting from managing bureaucracy to managing business assets and talent management.Information has become the key resource for the New Age HR.
Technology automates and streamlines processes in the employee lifecycle from hiring, onboarding, and training to compensation, benefits, retention, and exit. Other important areas under the purview of HR such as communication, compliance, centralized employee information, among others.
In a 2015 report The Society for Human Resource Management identified employee engagement, talent retention, competitive compensation, and developing the organizational leaders for tomorrow as major human capital challenges. Technology will be a vital partner in dealing with these challenges, for example,Big Data helps to gain deep insight and allows HR professionals to make informed decisions based on facts and figures.Most time-consuming, routine and repetitive tasks such as keeping track of employees’ time, preferences and work patterns are already being automated. This frees up HR to focus on engagement challenges, increasing productivity, and aligning the human side of the organization with business goals.
A large number of technologies, like the Microsoft HoloLens headset, are available to make HR more efficient. Thisheadset could be used by human resource professionals for immersive, simulation-based training or off-site assignments.
Another field making inroads into HR delivery is Advanced Machine Learning which focuses on predictive analysis and talent relationship, mostly in the recruitment process – PhenomPeople.com is one such AI-driven platform which takes marketing personalization practices and data analysis, and uses them to discover, engage, and retain top talent.
Many companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft have started introducing wearable technology in all devices which ensure that employees stay connected andit provides a wealth of opportunities for employee engagement, increased productivity, and security. And, some businesses like the Finnish company Bittiumare exploring new ways to turn a wearable device into a powerful tool. By simplifying secure remote access the company has made it possible for employees operating outside the office premises to safely work on their mobile devices with confidential data without worrying about leaks or cyber threats.
SaaS applications such as BambooHR, Google Docs are being used for recruitment, performance management, etc.
Blockchain technology is the safest option for transactions and information exchange that require a high level of security. Recruitment websites would typically have an applicant’s authenticated metadata for the hiring firm to verify before making a job offer. Recruit Tech is one such organization building recruitment solutions on the blockchain.
In the near future a robot similar to TARS from Intersteller, programmed to respond with wit and humour,could probably become an internal information network, responsible for streamlining communication and increasing the organization’s efficiency through access to the right data, at the right time.
The Internet of Things platforms appear to be fragmented as of now, however these platforms will follow a trend of integration in the coming years, which will lead to more data being available and accessible throughout enterprise environments. With easy and instant access to employee data, part of HR activities will be performed by line managers, and HR will be able to focus on business performance and execution.
The trend now points towards human resource managers and their departments transitioning to being strategic data managers, managing smooth information flow to ensure that employees have access to the right data at the right time.
On the “administrative role” side, self-charging phones and wireless electricity will free up office space and help in redesigning the workplace experience.
The future of any human resource team is linked to technological development, and challenging it encourages innovations that will add to the employee experience.
The question that HR professionals need to ask is – “Are we leading technology, or is it leading us?”
(The author is CEO – SHRM India and Business head- MENA & APAC)