When we think about the future of HR and moving to a more technology focussed and integrated approach, one of the first thoughts that pops into our minds is the decreased amount of HR staff needed. Now, it seems like we’ve all come to terms with transactional processes slowly being replaced by machines, but it’s time to prepare for more radical change.
Realistically, when we look into the futures of clerical, admin, front end staff, etc. we won’t be experiencing a reduction, but rather a complete replacement. Automating processes with AI or smart tech is efficient and effective and a few reductions here and there is simply delaying the inevitable. Envisioning businesses that are fully integrated with technology is a future we need to anticipate and prepare for.
This may sound a bit frightening, but it’s actually a wonderful opportunity. New technology creates just as many jobs as it replaces and having a plan to address this change is the way to move forward.
Here are a few ideas that may help you get started.
Upskilling your work force so they can move into other value-add roles
Although employees should always be going through some sort of learning and development within their role, if you know that the majority of tasks a person does is heavy on the administrative side, you can start tailoring their onward learning into activities that can bring additional value to the business. Why not start opening the channels of communication and have a few different, structured paths for those employees to follow?
One route suggestion is an analytical one–to build on the numeracy and quantitative skills of your administrative task force. Many of these employees already work with several sets of data such as payroll and core HR, and developing their analytical skills can help bring new insight into business decisions.
With the right training, potentially anyone could analyse the outputs of a business’s activity to drive productivity and performance and continually improve and enhance the processes currently in place. A couple hours a week dedicated to an online learning tool is an easy and affordable way to start.
Others paths could focus around learning technical skills, to enable the smooth running of machines or software that will ultimately be taking over transactional activities, or even an internal mentoring/shadowing programme that pairs junior staff and senior project managers to help those less experienced to get a feel for greater responsibility and develop organisation and communication skills.
Embracing an integration with technology
Technology will never fully replace humans and the entire job market; as an advanced species we will continue to seek new challenges and solutions through innovative ways of thinking. Technology is a tool we use to enable us to accomplish more, and a part of that is finding new ways to integrate with it.
Although it plays on the very ‘millennial’ quality of instant gratification, the seamless integration of technology within our lives is how we can accomplish more, faster. Relying on technology to be better at work is not a crutch in the negative sense, but an aid to efficiency and productivity.
We’ve all got smart phones, and wearable tech is on the rise, but it’s a shift in thinking that needs to happen. Resistance to change is a big factor in this regard. Many are hesitant about too much reliance on technology, but it may be that some are just afraid of what they do not understand. Teaching staff to better understand the resources available to them is one way to speed up this integration and acceptance.
Preparing for a time when HR becomes fully automated is something we need to take action upon now, before all our administrative people are left without anything to do. Is your business ready? Start thinking about it before it’s too late.
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