What is the future of HR? As we all know, change is inevitable, and a large percentage of jobs will be automated by 2022. In light of that, HR teams will have a greater than ever opportunity to mentor and educate employees by focusing on their career planning and individual development plans. By renewing their attention on the ‘human’ part of Human Resources, teams can thus increase engagement and retention rates across businesses.
As technology is progressing at an exceptional pace, Artificial Intelligence is emerging. It is concept that is shaping and will continue to reshape global HR departments of organizations. Referring to the ‘’Future of Jobs’ report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), it is clear that globally, 35 percent of core skills are poised to change between 2015 and 2020. For India, the figure stands at 42 percent. Thus, there is tremendous scope for HR teams to contribute in the space of Learning & Development (L&D).
In this context, it is evident that technology cannot replace softer skills such as problem solving, conflict resolution, relationship building, collaborative cooperation, personal communication and trust building. Hence, developing soft skills will soon become one of the most important HR job requisites.
L&D projects are going to play a key role here. Currently the NPS (Net Promoter Score) for L&D is 35 percent. According to Deloitte Human Capital Trends, 83 percent of all companies acknowledge that L&D is important, and 80 percent of all global companies are accordingly redesigning their career and learning models.
Continuous interactions with people and fast adaptation to changes with agility will be the key differentiators for successful organizations. To achieve this, it is important for organizations to consistently review their benefits to assess and attract the best talent. Talent acquisition is the key here, and companies need to actively work towards building cognitive recruitment techniques to ensure that the right people are brought on board at the right time.
Today, employees want real-time feedback. Once or twice in a year feedback cycles have now become redundant and outdated. HR teams thus have to design processes for frequent formal, as well as informal, reviews and feedback sessions. These will help avoid last minute disappointments and keep employees motivated and engaged.
As I look at current HR operating models, I find that only about 5-7 percent of the work is strategic in nature. We should aim to increase this to 40 percent strategic intervention, and also bring down our transactional work from 70 percent to 40 percent. As HR professionals we have diverse skill sets and possess unique perspectives on business operations. We should thus leverage these insights to add strategic value. HR teams must thus move on from transactional to strategic objectives.
Another topic of interest is ROBOTIC TECHNOLOGY. Typically, this is controlled by business or manufacturing functions or sometimes, even by its creators who are digital officers or IT teams that report to Chief Information Officers (CIOs). In a situation where robots start taking wrong decisions – it will be difficult to determine who is responsible for the outcome. Will it be a CIO or a business function head or someone else? How much liability will lie with the vendor who built/sold the machine? I do not have an answer today, but I am certain that HR teams must
be involved in such discussions to resolve the potential issues of accountability and responsibility.
How I am preparing myself
Firstly, I continuously learn and read extensively about the industry to keep myself abreast on what is happening around the globe. Secondly, I make a targeted and concerted attempt to engage with and encourage everyone at my workplace to engage with technology. To achieve this, we are in the process of bringing in a digital culture in all Employee Relations (ER) work areas at Bosch India.
We know that the war of talent is on; so, it is time to educate companies (Directors, CEOs and CFOs) that they cannot underestimate the urgency to recruit high potential digital talent, irrespective of age or function. I actively attempt to do this with our Bosch leadership team as well. Fourthly, I also encourage myself as well as my team to experiment with new HR/ER initiatives. We adopt a trial and error method that finally leads to success.
Finally, I continuously work with the theme “Empower radically, empower people”. According to me, this is going to be a key mantra for HR folks in the near future. It is needless to mention that all the aforementioned attributes need to be strongly supported by a high degree of emotional intelligence, relationship building through transparency, providing/receiving honest feedback, being open to change and creating a culture of strong accountability.
I am confident that, we as ‘HR folks’, are soon going to witness a paradigm shift in our roles and responsibilities. Robots will mature from being mere technical guardians to becoming key components of adapted HR functions. HR has always transformed itself through history – from the days of ‘Personnel Manager’ to ‘HRBP’ and so on. Change can be stressful at times, but it can also be exciting. I would like to conclude by saying that now is the time for innovation and to unleash our collective creativity. There are challenging times ahead, and there has probably never been a more interesting time to work in the HR industry.
Keep reinventing yourself!
Note: Views expressed in this post are exclusively the author’s personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the company’s viewpoint.