The Changing Role of HR in Today’s Technology Driven Industry

At every stage in history, technological revolutions have been known for transforming the very way of life, and how societies function, along with the industries that support them. With the 21st century upon us, technology has taken on a life of its own, evolving constantly to meet the growing needs of the modern economy. Innovations are encouraged and carried out in every field of industry, to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and streamline operations. Human Resources (HR), one of the most critical departments in these industries, has not been devoid of the effects of disruptive technology either, using transformational innovations to help businesses grow further.

Technology has helped inject a burst of innovation into a traditional sector like HR and redefined how recruitment is done. While Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence have helped filter applicants on the basis of the specific skills and talents organizations are looking for. Robotic Interviews and Bots have helped improve hiring efficiencies by more than 90%, thereby saving time and money in the process, as well.

On the other hand, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, among others, have completely changed the face of employee engagement, over the years. Using these tools, employees can instantly collaborate with each other, while enjoying the benefits of enhanced transparency. Empowered by the easy availability of information at their fingertips in this era, they now have similar expectations from their workplace as well. As a result of that, employee engagement has ceased to be an occasional event, occurring annually or when required, but instead, it has become a continuous process that is a part of every operational procedure and interaction.

While the wave of technological innovations and shifting business scenarios have almost completely re-defined traditional job roles, hiring processes have had to adapt and evolve as well, to meet the needs of the hour. The credibility factor involved has helped increase the popularity of hiring potential employees based on social equations, and referrals by existing ones. There is a huge demand for fresh talent with multi-tasking or cross functional skill sets, indicative of how job definitions are becoming more dynamic and overarching. Reflecting the same, isolated department or function based roles are being replaced by more customer-centric and team based ones. Modern technology, including Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and social tools, are also helping recruiters source and acquire better talent, and predict the probability of success of a candidate.

Till date, the perception of HR as a department has also largely been skewed, appearing to be nothing more than a permanent cost centre. However, employee performance, in today’s corporate world, is one of the key factors responsible for spelling success for an organisation, and HR has the potential to play a very important role in helping improve employee efficiency and performance, and in turn, impact business outcomes. To do the same, it needs to be integrated with several other operational functions of the organisation, so that it can be a part of boardroom meetings, and other decision making processes. Drawing on its keen knowledge of internal operations, employee functioning, and the issues at large, it can provide insightful advice on raising the EBIDTA margins, improving the top-line growth, and driving performance.

In addition to this, the rapid technological progress of today has also necessitated the need for HR to innovate on newer ways of employee engagement, so as to encourage the free flow of information and feedback between them and management. Furthermore, line managers should also be empowered with innovative tools that help them improve and solidify their rapport with each team working in the organisation, which will ultimately help bring about higher efficiency, transparency, and a work environment that encourages growth.

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