Digital Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Gamification, collaboration, employee participation, HR

how can the HR function thrive in a digital future?

It is said that Baby Boomers were loyal to the company, but the Millennials are steadfast about their calling. The “Gen Y”, who have the world at their fingertips and information at their beck and call, are looking to make an impact on their community and regard their work as an extension of their personal space. The adage of separation of work and life does not hold water any more with growing connectivity.

The waves of digital disruption are felt across business functions and the HR function is no exception. Organizations are grappling with myriad people issues like multi-generational workforce, work-life balance, increased mobility and changing digital job descriptions. Therefore, a digitally savvy and nimble human resource function is pivotal for managing the diverse, hyper-connected workforce.

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So, how can the Human Resource department extract and retain the hidden potential of digitally savvy Millennials for corporate betterment and remain relevant in the changing work-scope?

Moving ahead of the Disruption Curve

Technology has completely re-invented the way employees engage with their organizations. Mckinsey Research found that 61% of businesses already implemented AI initiatives in 2017 with 71% having an innovation strategy to push new technologies across organizational functions. 50% of the organizations in the US deployed more than 6 collaboration tools for an anywhere connect.

Therefore, it is imperative that the Human Resource department become more responsive by moving away from traditional transactional work-scope. HR should plan for future disruptions by investing in digital and immersive tools that facilitate talent acquisition, remote workforce and employee engagement.

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Making way for Careers

Career management and enrichment are the emerging HRM opportunities with shifting perceptions about work-life balance, social justice, and skill development. For example, Millennials are choosing to work with organizations that meet their values, disposition, and ideals. With talent at a premium, ghosting at work, mass attrition and poaching are part of the HR lexicon. 

Another area of concern is the displacement and redundancy brought about by automation. According to State Automation report, 4.6 million sales jobs are at risk in USA. Diversity is a big challenge, with only 6.4% of women and 13% of people of color in leadership positions. 

New age ideas like entrepreneurship at work, flexi-work, parental spaces and creative usage of technology like collaborative tools, visualization, artificial intelligence, and mobility will bring in an ambiance of inclusion and balance at work.

To add on to the new ways of working, there is an emergence of the “gig economy”- a trend of using online platforms to find small jobs. As per the prediction by Accenture and Deloitte, 30% of the UK’s workforce will be freelancing or gig working by 2020. In the US, this will rise as high as 50% by 2020.

Transforming the Talent Life Cycle

Millennials are constantly challenging the status quo across all touch points. Digitization has completely re-invented talent acquisition with human resources championing recruitment as a branding exercise. Recently, a Fortune 500 company used Twitter interviews to attract global talent. Businesses are investing big on workplace gamification for training and engagement. The global gamification industry is worth over $5.5 billion. Companies like Cisco found that their employee certification witnessed a quantum jump with over 12,500 courses taken after gamification. Several companies are driving hackathons, collaborative tools, and learning platforms to acquire and retain talent. These innovations drive creation of talent incubators that pulsate with energy and ideas to transcend market disruption.

Bringing forth Digital Leaders

Today’s organizations are not a collection of bosses and followers. Organizations prefer flat hierarchies where leaders emerge across the board and collaborate with each other to bring forth innovation. This agile network of leaders and collaborators remain rooted to the market through digital technology to push customer focused innovation. Human Resources should be able to identify and equip these leaders with essential skills, tools and platforms to remain competitively relevant at all times. This involves:

  • Bringing together a diverse team
  • Providing them with tools for collaboration and communication
  • Creating an environment that facilitates risk-taking and experimentation without fear
  • Championing mobility and flexibility for work-life balance
  • Removing barriers for leaders for quick decision making
  • Facilitating visibility and real-time feedback

Conclusion

Human resources are leveraging technological, analytical and intuitive tools to become more nimble and responsive. Cloud-based HCM solutions, insight-based analytics, and democratized dashboards will enable HR professionals to create a collaborative and interactive talent space for agile organizations. The HR function can gain relevance by moving away from the routine towards a strategic and agile platform that stays ahead of the technology learning curve.

Visweswara Rao

SVP & Chief HR Officer, CSS Corp

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