“Future of work – End of HR?”
“In future business will be driven by technology”, that’s what a friend told in me a few days ago. It made me wear my thinking hat to ponder over what he said. Is it so? Isn’t it happening now? What the future of the new HR generation holds? Will HR survive? The Human Resources and the HR function itself?
Yes, I believe that Technology will play a vital dual role of disruptor as well as an enabler in the development and growth of business as a whole and HR function in particular. In short, the digitalization is inevitable and has great potential to alter the way we do business, the way we live and the way we deal with people in an organization. How HR, as a function, would relate to such changes or would it be the end of the road for HR role?
In my view, it, surely, isn’t the end of HR. But the HR function will have to be reengineered substantially to meet the virtual world with people who cannot be replaced by technology in totality. It’s a big challenge waiting for the HR Professionals in the near future. There are going to be fundamental changes the way the communication and connect happens between a Company and its employees and that the HR must be ready to face such vital change.
The process of transformation has begun some years ago and much digitization has been already done in some of the processes especially in the areas of PMS, rewards and recognitions, payroll management systems, attendance system etc.
Effectively, the digitization has cut down on the routine role of the HR by automating repetitive processes. As we go along much more automation in the form of digitalization will take over business functions as a whole. Simply put the routine works will get simplified through digitization making room for the business to move towards transformation. We need to accept this and recognize the role to be played by HR, as some important aspects of people management processes will continue to remain challenging.
Experts predict that with digitization, HR will become an integrated app based platform with real time analytics, ready made dashboards, recruitment platforms having access and sourcing from global talent pool, PMS systems with continuous evaluation and feedback, virtual offices anywhere anytime, tools for making better decisions will enable HR job significantly easier and a welcome change.
At the same time it will usher in a different challenge for HR to retain its meaningful existence. It will never go out of fashion. The current skill sets will, however, become redundant and hence to retain its existence HR will have to undergo major overhaul.
The business will become more and more dynamic and will engage people with different skill sets and competence; people with analytical mindsets, social media skillsets will make it pertinent for HR functionaries to upgrade and reskill. The Artificial Intelligence will take over business but will not have the ability to manage the Emotional Intelligence of people, the behavioral pattern, the body language and the principles and value systems and the feelings of people at different times of engagements process and thus HR will have cut out a new role, a new direction, a new era of transformational approach.
Historically, the business has undergone transformation from time to time; Agrarian economy to Industrial economy to current Knowledge economy to Artificial Intelligence economy. Similarly the people management process has also undergone transformation from welfare management to handling industrial relations to personnel management administration to developmental HR. And now look forward to managing Emotional Intelligence in the years to come as machine will relate to machine for output but will have to be managed by people who would require emotional support for enhanced business performance.
Thus HR will have to transform for handling more acute humane and emotional aspects, not be addressed by artificial intelligence. The HR continues. A new branding of HR starts. Could we have a new name as well for HR?
by Tarun Midde- Partner in progress, Independent Consultant