As technological advances continue to occur, the role of human resources is evolving. It’s clear that the role of HR professionals will be much different 10 years from now, but it’s important to point out that different doesn’t mean displaced.
“The Changing Face of HR” report from Sage revealed that 82% of the more than 500 HR leaders surveyed believe their role will be “completely unrecognizable” in 10 years. But that should ultimately be a positive, said Paul Burrin, vice president of Sage.
“Inevitably, technology should be used as much as possible to help free up from low-value, mundane tasks,” Burrin said. “As that happens, that should enable HR to get out from the back office and get away from the mundane processes and then spend more time working with employees, more so than they do now.”
The report highlighted some processes that are already moving toward automation, including recruiting and various people decisions. The survey found that 24% of organizations are using artificial intelligence for recruitment, with 56% planning to adopt it within the next year. Additionally, 42% said that HR/people decisions are data driven, with 51% planning to access data in real time within the next year.
Burrin said rather than interpreting this technological overhaul as a threat, it should be viewed with an optimistic lens.
“The way we do things in HR are changing and HR has an immense opportunity to participate in working with their employees to figure out better ways of doing things,” Burrin said. “Whether it’s around performance management, or whether it’s around onboarding or talent development, there’s a huge opportunity to design better ways of working. There’s also the opportunity of embracing technology in new ways to help free up time to spend more time working with leaders. So, there’s a lot to think about and I think it’s a very exciting time to be in the profession.”
Perhaps the biggest opportunity is HR’s chance to become more personable and hands-on with the employee base. This mentality is supported by Sage’s research, as nearly 70% of HR leaders said their employees’ expectation of HR is changing.
Burrin said the prospect of HR being freed up to engage the workforce more — and help the business thrive as a result — is an exciting possibility. However, it will require a shift in how they operate today.
“Right now, there’s way too much focus on transactions and automation, as opposed to really doing what the ultimate goal is, which is how do you find the right people, the right skillset, experience, but also the passion,” Burrin said. “If you can get that alignment right, then a lot of things can fall into place, particularly around improving experiences, performance and learning and development.”
HR FUTURE ROUNDUP
Bold Predictions for 2020
Brian Westfall of Software Advice puts forth six bold predictions for human resources departments in 2020. Westfall writes that software is changing how HR functions, but it won’t spell the end of the human resources function, instead it will provide growth opportunities for HR professionals.
Evolving Without Fear
In an article for HR Technologist, Richard French writes that we should not have to fear, as it’s becoming more and more prevalent that robots and automation will provide a valuable extension to global workers by helping them eliminate mundane tasks. In the piece, French asserts that the role of the HR manager will shift drastically and allow it to become more focused on company culture, retaining employees, building robust benefits packages and working to improve management.
Is HR Ready?
There are four key considerations that should inform the future of work, writes Jonquil Hackenberg in this piece for Forbes. Hackenberg delves into why digital ecosystems, talent reskilling, field operating models and combining the physical and digital aspects of a business so they can support each other will be key cogs.
The Workplace of 2040
Jaiprakash Aildasani predicts what the workplace of 2040 will look like in this article for Entrepreneur India. The central theme of Aildasani piece is that the work will revolve around the employee 20 years from now.
About the Author
Brett Christie is a staff writer at WorldatWork.