There are those who would have you believe that robots are a sure-fire way to put HR managers out of work. And while it can’t be denied that machine learning and artificial intelligence have lessened the load of repetitive HR duties, there are some things that humans can do that robots can’t – and may never.
Before we get into that, though, it’s worth looking at what the machines have done right. For the longest time, conversations about the role of tech in HR have focused on how mobile, social media, cloud, and analytics have improved productivity by:
- Increasing job satisfaction and improving work-life balance by making teams mobile;
- Helping HR teams find candidates that are well-suited to the company through social media, as well as maintaining a level of engagement with current employees via the same channels;
- Reducing admin, like leave and payroll, through automation and data analytics; and
- Using cloud software to manage all of the above.
While mobile, social, and cloud have their benefits, they aren’t considered business differentiators anymore. This is because every business should be using these tools in their daily decision-making, and to give their teams the freedom to leave their desks. What truly sets a business apart is its data and analytics.
More data, more freedom
An HR manager’s job description can lead them to feel as though their responsibilities are never-ending. From managing internal systems (e.g. payroll, leave, and performance reviews and management), to social media and external sources, the evolution of HR can only begin once all of the above is consolidated into an integrated database. Rather than your HR manager drowning under the weight of unread CVs when hunting for the perfect fit for your company, use tools like LinkedIn Recruiter and ZipRecruiter to scan them as well as various professional networks.
Before resisting the role of tech in HR, see it for what it is: an opportunity to put the humanity back into human resources, by allowing your team to do what they do best: focus on human connections.
Cultivating happiness where it matters most
The next time you’re pouring energy into understanding your customers through data analytics, ask yourself if you’re spending the same (if not more) amount of time on understanding your staff. Because, according to McKinsey, a phenomenal customer experience goes hand-in-hand with a motivated and engaged workforce.
You’ll never get to the crux of what matters and motivates your team without real and regular human interaction. There are those who would choose flexible hours over financial reward, and others who thrive within the confines of the 9-5 work day. Whoever the individual truly is, and whatever makes them tick, it can only be discovered by asking.
The true value of HR is invariable. It lies in connection, understanding, motivation, and growth. By embracing the technology that lightens the load of admin your HR team faces, they can focus on doing the things a robot never could: finding the right team and nurturing the right company culture.
This, in itself, makes an investment in technology worth it.