Embracing Technology - Modern HR Leadership

Technological change has significantly impacted HR recently and continues to influence how HR Professionals work and refine their processes to meet changing market conditions and customer expectations. The modern HR leader is evidence based, analytically minded and has strategic foresight to contribute to their organisation’s business objectives.

The changing Technology landscape incorporating digital and AI Adoption is creating somewhat of a second industrial revolution. Futurists are predicting 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet (Dell Technologies & Institute of the Future). AI and Robotics are redefining the way people work, reducing manual tasks across all industries and creating roles centred around technology, data, its interpretation, communication and design (Deloitte, HCM Trends 2019). To stay ahead of the game, HR must leverage their people data to identify skill gaps and consult with industry and internal leadership teams to see ensure they’re at the forefront of understanding how roles are changing so they can be adaptive. From here they can then plan their people strategies around changing market conditions, machine-based processes and appropriate skill base.

Mobile app advances at a macro level have created a wider consumer perspective of “on demand”, essentially allowing people to source a multitude of skills and services at their fingertips. This has helped contribute to growth in what is being coined the “gig economy”. While contracting staff is not a new phenomenon, technology growth in this space has opened new and more accessible channels to source skills quickly and more cost efficiently. There is a major opportunity for HR professionals in non-conventional “labour hire” industries to leverage this wider talent pool to address skill shortages and customer demands.

On a micro level, the on-demand mindset that people are accustomed to is creating a shift in employee expectations. HR must recognise this shift and create an employee experience that is simplified and transparent. Modern-day employees are technically astute, and increasingly have higher expectations around simplified user experiences when interacting with technology. They want autonomy to do things themselves. HR needs to consider this as part of their HR services strategy and move towards the automation of business processes and provide employees with autonomy over their data. The modern HR Leader should question how they do things and strive for continuous improvements that leverage technology and add business value, so they have more time to focus on strategic initiatives. Through refined processes leveraging smart technologies HR will be able to analyse data quickly and easily and be proactive in their strategies and better placed to promote an engaged workforce.

Employee engagement and the employee experience continue to be hot topics in HR trend literature. There is much evidence to support the fact that a positive employee experience increases productivity, which in turn yields better returns for shareholders. Customer Experience Futurist Blake Morgan suggests that companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147%. Savvy HR professionals are working with the business to look beyond an inward view and understand employee impacts across the broader commercial ecosystem. Giving employees a voice through collaboration, surveys and leveraging people data, HR can begin to explore performance and engagement data and proactively address issues. Evidence-based decision making supported by HR tools reduces subjectivity, driving more credible decision making.

It’s clear that no role or industry is exempt from the impacts of technology. Like most segments, technology is redefining the way HR works. It’s an exciting time for HR executives as technology is enabling a shift in focus from what has traditionally been a “feeling, soft-skilled” field, to a strategic data driven one. HR is now stepping up to lead organisations in adapting HR processes and leveraging people data in the boardroom to maximise people outcomes.

This piece was written by Presence of IT's Danielle Wilson and published on LinkedIn.