Why technology will never replace the human in HR
Becoming a valuable strategic business partner is no longer an aspiration for HR. With the HR technology available to professionals today, it’s an expectation.
Contributing meaningfully to business decisions and direction, offering advice and suggestions based on sound insights is becoming the expected norm.
This means understanding the needs of the business, its products, services, people and customers. It means grasping the industry dynamics and the competitive landscape the organisation operates in.
Most importantly, it means understanding how all of this combines to impact human capital so you can target resource into initiatives that impact recruitment, diversity, performance, inclusion and leadership in the most beneficial ways.
Amidst the 4th industrial revolution, the disruptive explosion of digital technology that we’re witnessing, HR is not alone in facing a skills gap.
- - HR needs to develop its data skills, so clean, reliable data can drive consultation, recommendation and decision-making
- - It needs to understand how people analytics apply to business performance, and appreciate the subtleties involved in asking the right questions and drawing inferences from the answers
- - It needs to employ systems that streamline the tactical, administrative processes inherent in people management, ensuring employees can engage with their systems with a minimum of friction
In a sense, the value of digitisation isn’t in the technology, but what HR teams choose to do with it. How they act on the real-time information and feedback they receive. How they capitalise on the responsibility and autonomy it affords their employees. What they do with the time it saves them.
Technological assimilation, not transformation
Modern technology is just a catalyst, and one which, if anything, places more emphasis on the human skills that successful HR professionals have always been valued for. For instance:
- - Complex problem solving: Spotting intricate relationships between the interdependent factors that create discord and impact human capital
- - Creativity: Algorithms cannot code random inspiration and the ability to create solutions from disparate ideas
- - Emotional intelligence: People are nuanced. Sometimes they need personal attention. Technology should not replace the human face of HR
- - Relationship building: Armed with granular data insights, HR can add strategic value at a team level. This advice is a social currency. As a strategic business partner, HR needs influence across an organisation, at all levels
- - Learning flexibility: With the pace of technological change increasing, the ability to learn new skills and critically evaluate unfamiliar options is a must
HR’s remit might be expanding, but the fundamental task remains the same: To use its knowledge and insight to maximise potential and help drive organisational strategy.
With the tools we provide, knowledge becomes reliable, real-time and accessible. With the systems we build, insights become analytical facts.
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As a journalist, Matt covered business and people management for over ten years. Today, he writes about how technology is making life simpler for organisations and their employees.