The Changing Phase of HR in the Digital Age – A Snapshot

Caption for the Image – Using technology, HR professionals can unlock a vista of opportunities to retain talent and increase productivity 

 “Technology has become an integral part of our lives whether you like it or not”, I overheard my nephew telling his mother the other day. Yes, indeed. It’s rather foolish to run away from technology when it has become ubiquitousIt’s not just the popularity of social media or our excessive dependency on electronic gadgets, technology, if adapted smartly by business establishments can usher in growth and success.  

In the present times or should I say the digital age that we live in, HR professionals get the unique advantage in building a digital eco system that is centred around people, technology and processesBesides ensuring seamless workflow and increasing productivity, a digital eco system (if managed effectively by HR) can bring about a paradigm shift in the way we work 

To go digital, HR professionals should take the lead and should be willing to acquire new skills and adapt to changes in the organizational thinking. Some of the simple measures HR can take is listed below: 

  • Identify and understand- Does your organization have a digital status at all? Identify and understand this aspect at the outset. 
  • Knowledge sharing – This can play an important role in devising a digital strategy. Look out for people in your organization who possess strong digital skills and take their help to devise a digital strategy and ask them to share their knowledge with their colleagues.  
  • Provide resources and incentives –  HR department’s prerogative should be to educate and make the workforce understand the importance of a digital strategy. If there is a digital divide between the top management and the employees, make sure incentives and educational resources are provided to bridge the gap. 

I was recently reading a report called Building the Digital HR Organization by Accenture and SuccessFactors wherein they have reiterated the need for HR operations to change, to be more streamlined, and more agile to keep up with today’s workforce. The report further states that digital technology is shaping the future of Human Resources, and it outlines three ways that technology will disrupt how future HR departments operate. 

According to me, this report is a must read for all those who are serious and committed towards ushering in HR initiatives in the digital age. For the benefit of my readers, I have picked up few important points from this report. It gives a lucid description of how Digital technology is driving change for HR in three key ways: 

  • Enables new approaches to delivering HR services  Social media and other mobile tools are regularly used by our employees today. These tools can be effectively used to communicate about HR services and engage employees on their own terms. This is a simple but straightforward approach of using familiar technologies to reach employees in new ways. The use of multiple channels to provide HR services will ensure that it can reach employees anywhere, anytime and on any device.  
  • Talent management becomes easier With the help of technology, HR can be extended to the organization, allowing managers and employees to manage their own profiles and perform many other processes in a self-service format. This can help with recruitment, on boarding, training, performance reviews, and even career path strategy and succession planning. 
  • Allows HR to act more like marketing- Technology enables customization. The HR department can use technology to act more like a marketing department by tailoring messaging to specific groups, customizing employee options and focusing on individual or group performance measures. An individual employee performance can be focused/assessed more easily through this method thereby eliminating the one-size-fitsall approach which often turns out to be ineffective and unfair. 

The report cautions that if HR departments don’t adapt and embrace some new digital technologies, they run the risk of becoming obsolete, which could discourage some potential employees in today’s tech-savvy market. To read the full report, click here 

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