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HR and technology

As we progress deeper into the digital transformation, it seems that our corporate life is still desperately playing catch up with our digital lifestyle. However, rather than continue to resist the inevitable changes to how we work, it’s time for traditional departments to embrace the opportunities advances in technology can offer.

Technology

Marcus Lambert

CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER

For over 20 years, Marcus has built a global reputation as a technology innovator. Today, he architects and delivers world- class products and projects that solve real business problems.

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As we progress deeper into the digital transformation, it seems that our corporate life is still desperately playing catch up with our digital lifestyle. However, rather than continue to resist the inevitable changes to how we work, it’s time for traditional departments to embrace the opportunities advances in technology can offer.

Many of the current tech trends look tailor made for the HR department. If we can stop seeing virtual reality as just another gaming device, this technology could deliver clear advantages to the recruitment process.

From taking an interview to a virtual company tour from the comfort of your home, there are certainly clear opportunities for more positive interaction with the recruitment process. Sorting the wheaty talent from the cv-chaff (with all its inflated skill sets) is another HR task that most people dread. But, the ability to remotely assess candidate skills through VR could saving everyone valuable time and money.

Ensuring candidates will slot seamlessly into the team is possibly the most important aspect of the hiring process. With the help of VR, candidates can become virtually acquainted with the CEO, new colleagues and even office culture, before entering the building, let alone the business.

The biggest strength of VR is creating real world scenarios, and the ability to replicate situations. Medical virtual reality already enhances surgical training, and there is no reason why virtual training shouldn’t be used as a learning and development tool across other industries too. The benefits of enabling employees to prepare for any situation should not be underestimated.

The rise of AI driven chatbots represents another opportunity to transform the process-heavy, human resources department. With unlimited access to HR data, chatbots would make it relatively straightforward to give managers, across all departments, instant access to the information they need without having to tirelessly navigate clunky menus.

Equally, removing the deluge of emails that bombard the HR help team would speed up the process and benefit employees too. For example, questions covering annual leave or expenses could be answered instantly, rather than requiring the customary back-and-forth that just clutters inboxes on both sides.

Mobile and cloud have already transformed every aspect of our lives, but as tech solutions enter the workplace, we can expect a greater demand for workplace flexibility. In a world where real-time data and the personalisation of everything is fast becoming the norm, maybe it’s time for HR to catch up and remove the disconnect with its employees.

It doesn’t take much to see how digital HR tools deliver real value by engaging with staff through the channels that they already use outside the office. While users nervously await Microsoft’s plans for LinkedIn, Facebook are already releasing tools for businesses to post job openings in the space people spend most of their time.

The digital transformation is remarkably similar to the industrial revolution. Ironically, our ancestors invented machines to help them on the road of progress, whereas we now need to reinvent ourselves to work with the machines we are creating.

Automation will doubtless mean redundancies as old roles are retired. But, it’s crucial to understand that the biggest challenge is the reskilling of a more efficient digital workforce, to fill new positions where massive shortages will quickly arise.

There are already signs that artificial intelligence and report automation is beginning to impact their workforce plans. For these reasons alone, HR should be at the front of the queue when it comes to embracing the opportunities that technology is delivering to businesses of all sizes.

Technology enabled HR is already revolutionising this traditional department according to the Harvey Nash HR Survey. The importance of embracing technology and supporting innovation is no longer solely something for IT to worry about. Thankfully, the survey results suggest that HR realise it has its role to play and is embracing it.

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