Knowledge & Insight

The changing face of HR

Tue 31 March 2020

Transformational change in HR practice is both ongoing and accelerating. So here we take a look at how digital technologies are driving that change, and helping to deliver an enhanced HR proposition.

A digital HR revolution

Digital technology is driving rapid change across every industrial and commercial sector, and this phenomenon is also present within the functional practices of the organisations that make up the global economy. Yet in the field of Human Resources, rates of adoption of new ways of working are far from uniform, with even large firms that compete in the same sector often displaying different attitudes towards the oncoming wave of digital tech. While tech-savvy HR leaders confidently embrace new technologies and explore innovative ways to drive value from new approaches, some cling to a more traditional model. But this is a high-risk approach, because failure to evolve inevitably leads to one result – extinction.

Enhancing the employee experience

The HR model has been evolving ever since the function first formally emerged, with new insights and new ways of working continually reshaping best practice, and driving improved results and greater efficiencies. Yet today, as in so many other functional areas, the pace of change is accelerating. And for those at the leading edge, the rewards can be game changing. By utilizing data analytics, artificial intelligence and digital labour, HR can rebrand itself as a new value driver. Yet to do so, HR departments must find ways to enhance employee experiences in order to attract the brightest talent and retain key personnel. And by empowering employees to continually up-skill, the HR function can enhance productivity and out-innovate the competition.

Affirmative action

As digital technology changes the look and feel, and the size and shape of our workplaces, HR has a critical role to play in helping talent transition to new models of work. Our workplaces are becoming increasingly diverse, not just in terms of employee culture, life stage, education and training, but also through the adoption of robotic assets and AI systems that must mesh seamlessly with human resources. This is the primary challenge that HR leaders face, and one that traditional HR approaches are simply not equipped to tackle. So leaders must wake up to the disruptive threat, shake off their inertia and take affirmative action.

Staying ahead of the curve

If you’re not already working to implement new technologies and new approaches, now is the time to review your position and explore how best to evaluate your options. These will likely include investing in digital assets, equipping yourself and your team with new skills, and exploring new ways of working that enhance the employee experience, and that empower your people to drive change rather than being swept along with it. It is important to create a balance between your digital assets and your people, because all organisations, even technology firms, are people-centric. So it’s about finding new digital approaches that work in harmony with your human talent. If you can achieve this, you’ll create a surge in productivity and creativity.

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