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How technology can fast-track HR evolution

Using new tools like AI, HR departments can find and develop talent better even as they ensure that it is freed up for higher-value functions

The human resource (HR) function has undergone a long, transformative journey. It started with operating from conference rooms, devising basic protocols for better functioning of organisations and went on to plan overall operations of companies and driving their strategic growth along with personnel empowerment. The HR function has witnessed dynamic transitions in its role and the overarching impact that it has had in shaping organisations. In this, technology has been an important aid. In a recent KPMG survey of 1,200 HR executives from 64 countries, 39% said they were harnessing resources and insights to redefine outdated models, and implement technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), digital labour and analytics to increase efficiency.

Redefining recruitment

Recruitment is a primary function of the HR department. The demand for talent is at an all-time high with the bar only set to rise in direct proportion to the talent scarcity. The best way to stay in the game is to ensure that the right people are hired, motivated, empowered and retained. Technology has made this easier. With the talent pool being global, technology has made cut distances out of the equation. Even 15 years ago, an employer couldn’t have imagined interviewing a candidate over Skype. Today, we can do that and more – social media can also function as a recruitment tool. Furthermore, technologies such as psychometric evaluation during recruitment can help us better understand employee capabilities and weaknesses and also to measure the potential growth arc.

Evaluate better

Businesses are now equipped with advanced practices that help them choose personnel better suited for the job on hand. Through digital evaluation and analysis, even employees can easily access their records and discover improvement opportunities. Predictive analytics is a gamechanger, helping HR managers by taking unprocessed data and extracting actionable insights that can be applied to everyday processes. This smoothens the work environment and ensures better employer-employee relationships. Technological advances in performance evaluation and analysis can decentralise hierarchy, leaving employees with more decision-making power in their hands.

Skilling and upskilling

Skilled personnel are never easy to find. With technology advancing at warp speed, regular upskilling is needed more than ever. Since mainstream education doesn’t serve the purpose, it is the duty of the HR leadership to take this forward through skill-based training sessions.

This is where technology can ensure organisational development as well as employee growth. AI, for instance, has several benefits. In synergy with technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality, which help create digital set-ups of real-world scenarios and problems, AI helps engineer as simulations and mock drills that help teams practice complex tasks.

The world is going digital, and so should the HR function. It is up to HR leaders to merge human capability and technology. Technology can never completely replace humans, but it can be used to benefit businesses. Many repetitive tasks are now taken care of by automation, freeing employees for higher-value work that involves creativity, empathy etc.

This is the first time in history that five generations are working shoulder to shoulder. HR policies must be crafted to bring out the best in all of them. Technology can be the enabler.