Automation and robotics create great opportunities, but Human Resources (HR) needs to engage in a much more active conversation within their own organisation. It is not interesting to see automation as a cost issue, rather focus on improving your service and customer experience. In a Dutch article I elaborate on the fact that practically no one is actively asking what work will look like and which skills sets will be important for employees. Organisations should proactively approach people with this line of questioning. Line management is opportunistic, and especially concerned with the short-term result. It is crucial for HR to take the lead in the ‘future of work’ discussion.
We all know the industrial-era has shifted to a knowledge era. So, why do a lot of organisations still behave in the old fashion way? These days we are living in a more volatile society with an almost unpredictable economy. Still organisations are producing and delivering according their good old business model. This is reality: networking capability, software systems that have little supply chain to manage, and global open source platforms innovating around customer problems in real time. Traditional business models are becoming more and more ineffective at driving business results. Why has the greater part not followed the transition yet?
Let HR and innovation go hand in hand
Recently I read an interesting whitepaper published by KPMG. Culture and HR outlined in one paper as drivers for innovation. Splendid. Not so often you get so clearly explained how HR as a strategic can drive innovation. I share most of their view on the subject. The paper illustrates why innovation matters and how HR can play a role in these processes. Or should I say, must play a role?
Innovation is not about copying successes of other organisations. On the contrary, because it could end up in a disaster for you. Each company should develop its own approach to innovation, given the unique set of circumstances they have to anticipate on. The organisation’s (desired) culture is a significant factor for this approach. It is not only about employees being able to identify themselves with the organisation. Also collaboration and acceptance of failure are key; these two are prerequisites for an environment that needs to encourage creativity, to drive innovation.
How can top management, employees and process reach that optimal synergy? What key questions should an organisation answer before setting the scenario? How does innovation expands?
I truly recommend reading the whitepaper ‘HR as a driver for organizational innovation’ and think about how you can create your unique opportunity.
Technology has changed the way we do business, how we focus on business development and especially how people do their jobs. Also, the way recruiters and talents find each other in their job pursuit has shifted from the traditional face to face encounter to meeting via an online social network meeting. The Human Resources (HR) areas of recruiting and training have already benefited from enhanced technologies, but they are still behind if you look at the possibilities that lurk. So, is HR ready for disruption by the mobile mind shift and big data?
If you look at how individuals connect to jobs and how HR managers and recruiters find individuals with the right skills for open positions these days, you see a true revolution going on – mainly caused by the internet. Online social networking and recruiting has opened the door for a next step that will be enabled by innovative (mobile) technology. This revolution has just begun.
HR Mobile Self Service
The role of HR is evolving and technology has, and will continue to have, an impact on the changing way HR drives business outcomes. It is about future-proofing your HR practice, preparing for when big data lets the big bang errupt. Social and referral recruiting, talent analytics, assessment science, online learning, and mid-market core HR systems are tools to help companies manage employee communications, engagement, recognition, and recruitment. While finance, marketing and supply chain organisations have been implementing analytics solutions for decades, HR is now just starting to get serious in this area. With the current developments in online and mobile technology companies and job seekers are getting more and more independent from recruiters and old style HR consultants. With the right equipment (potential) employees will be able to serve themselves 24/7 in the future.
And why not? Easy is the buzz word for customers, so why not for our employees? Let’s look at typical HR applications that would be very suitable for mobile devices and apps:
- Time and attendance tools
How convenient to fill in your sheets while waiting for a train?
- Employee goal setting
Ideas don’t derive from 9:00 till 17:00 hours. Why not being able to complete and update goals outside the office?
- Online learning facilities
The retraining certification or compliance training coming up? What better time to learn than when sitting on a train or plane, even while waiting at the doctor’s office?
- Employee directory
In most cases we will phone or email someone through a mobile device, so where is the full employee directory?
- Internal communications
People are more likely to read a newsletter or email on their phone during off hours. Twitter, feed or phone reader.
- Job application and social recruiting
E-mail and feeds on mobile devices just need a small step towards applying for a job via that same device, even standing in line at the supermarket. Why not combining this with an recruitment app?
Talent’s choice: you or your competitor?
Really, the software itself is more and more like a commodity. Value for decision-making is driven by the data and analytics. Our data-driven lives also effects the way employees and employers would like to connect. Why not use their mobile devices more efficiently at work and during travel time? Is the risk of blurring the lines of work and home life and how it will affect people that frightening to us? People will learn to handle that like they do with every disruptive change. Then again, it might as well be the HR business being afraid for their changing role or maybe even for losing their positions.
But this revolution effects people’s choice to work for your brand (or not). How easy is it today for your potential employees to connect with your company? How easy can talents engage and recruiters grasp that engagement for you? It’s up to HR to change their operating model to the new (upcoming) standards shaped by the consequences of big data and new technology.
Papers, books, research, etcetera show us the strategic information we have about people’s characteristics, personal development, job experiences, assessments and real time data. Science is delivering the right data to companies. This data gives you a huge advantage in making decisions about who to hire, how to improve performance and business outcomes, how to reduce labour costs, and so on. Today’s HR systems should be fully “data driven” applications, not just data repository. However, the HR analytics issue is simply one of investment, for most companies that is.
There will be a geek who will amaze the world by connecting an unexpected set of technologies and solutions. It will be fully embraced by its users. And once the big bang is heading your way, don’t duck, anticipate. Basically, you will already be too late. So act now.