Emerging technologies have accelerated the revolutionary process in the recent decade and challenged the business community like never before. Intelligent machines are now helping workers in overwhelming tasks. Communication technology has virtual team collaboration possible. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is automizing repetitive tasks to enable team workers to focus on core business technologies. Technologies have shaped the world we live in and made our daily tasks easier to perform. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the importance of digital technologies in continuing and boosting business operations.
As the people department, HR is on the verge of collapse due to overwhelming challenges that require instant response and decision-making. HR has to assist organizations in responding to rapidly evolving needs in the workplace, such as managing remote teams, virtual leadership, digital collaboration, and providing a safe working environment.
On the other hand, it needs to be prepared for the challenges waiting to be popped up once the pandemic ends, such as assisting businesses in coping with brutal pandemic impacts, evaluating the employee’s experience, and boosting on-site and off-site work teams productivity. To fulfill overcome these challenges, HR has to rely heavily on technology and boost its technological adaptability. By doing so, it will be able to accelerate its internal operations and focus on core HR tasks, such as developing a futuristic employee workforce.
Most HR departments stick to their conventional ways of work and refrain from welcoming technological advancement, which slows down implementing innovative ideas and applications despite the numerous perks of adopting advanced technologies.
Consider the example of Automation technologies that can unleash the potential of operational superiority by handling repetitive tasks and rule-based tasks previously operated by humans. Due to its efficiency in handling iterative activities, automation could replace most HR roles such as payroll clerks, HR assistants, and recruiting agents. Employees whose tasks can be automated can be replaced with automation technology and placed into other job roles.
Augmentation technologies are intended to improve HR decision-making capability. Augmentation uses technology to help humans perform routine activities and link with the knowledge and information-driven roles in HR. It benefits especially from the interaction between humans and technologies to attain business goals and performance supremacy. Employees under the influence of augmentation have the leverage to continue doing their jobs while becoming more productive and efficient.
In general, both automation and augmentation technologies can improve HR operations and efficiency and its organizational aspect and sustainably drive the future of job roles in the HR domain.
As discussed, many jobs will become obsolete due to automation and augmentation shortly, and the HR department is no exception. To align with evolving needs and challenges for HR to contribute to organizations, it must adopt new technologies, richly supplies the employees with future-proof skills.
Automation and Technology Challenging HR
With the instant expansion of automation and augmentation, it is crucial to evaluate their certain impact on HR so that the HR department should e able to accelerate its performance and assist the organization in shaping its digital future.
Enablement of Traditional HR Roles
The HR job roles can be sorted into categories mainly impacted by automation and those that will mostly be influenced by augmentation. However, depending on certain nature, some roles can be affected by both.
Effect of Automation
The above illustrations show the plausible impact of automation on a multitude of conventional HR roles in five and ten years, as well as an overall prediction related to HR roles in general. Automation involves scenarios such as process automation or mobile robotics occupying mainstream job roles performed by human counterparts in today’s world.
According to reports, around 6% of HR job roles will be automated and streamlined in five years. This number will hike to almost 12% in the next ten years.
For instance, the payroll and timekeeping clerk, a mainstream HR role possessing different iterative and administrative tasks, such as processing time and payroll data and preparing paychecks, will largely be impacted by automation technologies. Within the next five years, around 44 percent of this role will be affected by automation, most of which will be caused by process automation technologies. In ten years, almost 70% of this role will be obsolete.
Administrative roles like HR assistant will be equally affected by automation. More than 20% of these job roles are automated in the next five years, and around 45% of the job roles become obsolete in the upcoming ten years.
The payroll and timekeeping clerks are most likely to face automatization and are handled by process automation technologies. Other HR roles involving some iterative tasks, such as the compensation and benefits specialist, experience moderate automation. The specialists will experience around 2.6% of their roles handled by automation within five years and around 11% in the upcoming ten years.
Then there are other job roles in HR, such as the labor relations expert, that will experience negligible effects due to automation. Around 0.3% of those job roles will be automated in the upcoming five years, and automation utilities will replace only 1.0% in ten years.
Effect of Augmentation
The HR roles in question here are typically those impacted by but will also leverage from augmentation. They require dedicated human effort and interaction and knowledge to carry out non-iterative and complex tasks.
Augmentation will notably impact HR roles that are knowledge-driven and require human assistance to solve complex problems.
Consider the labor relations specialist performing tasks such as including contract negotiations and consultations on labor relations problems. This role will be augmented by 15.7% within five years and 47.7% in the upcoming ten years. It will leverage the increasing augmentation of activities due to overwhelming capacity generation via fast decision making and modern technologies taking over time-consuming administrative tasks like compiling contracts or collecting data from legal documents.
Further development is driven by the plausible augmentation impact on HR roles, such as the industrial-organizational psychologists or training and development managers, experiencing around 15% augmentation in the next five years and around 43%–45% in the next ten years period.
In general, around 15% of today’s HR job roles will be influenced by augmentation technologies in the next five years. This percentage will hike to more than 35% in the next ten years, requiring the instant development of certain training programs to upskill the affected employees.
The outcomes reveal that mainstream HR roles are impacted by automation and augmentation, making it mandatory to reshape the way HR works. However, mainstream HR roles will be affected by automation and augmentation in the future and the overall operational structure of HR.
Future HR Strategies
The following three crucial strategies that HR must adapt to meet the contemporary and future challenges and move forward while remaining a relevant and competitive aspect of the organizational structure. The illustration below demonstrates these strategies.
- The first strategy focuses on the use of data analytics is driving the business towards its goal. For instance, the futuristic role of workforce architect, whose role is to attract and retain a global, multi-generational, and diverse talent base. This role will also provide real-time data to drive rational and speedy decision-making and respond quickly to the changing needs.
- The second strategy centers around the human aspect of HR. That is, improving the employee experience by predicting and acknowledging the requirements. Consider a role is of career consultant, who guides leaders with the help of analytics, oversees or regional trends, and talent management planning.
- Last but not the least, the third strategy for the future HR serves as a digital culture engine. This strategy will guide HR in developing and sustaining a purposeful, innovative, and digital corporate culture to boost organizational efficiency and employee satisfaction while ensuring a safe and productive physical workspace that allows balanced on-site and off-site collaboration. For instance, the role of culture builder, who allows employees to enjoy the human experience rather than an employee experience in an evolving digital world.
A Glimpse of the Future HR Operations
The future HR strategies rely heavily on a data-driven approach with state-of-the-art digital and technological assistance that will reform the HR department. But how will HR operations evolve while benefiting from the unleashed magic of advanced technologies? The illustration below showcases the HR operations and the employee lifecycle that leverage overwhelmingly by adopting automation and augmentation technologies.
For recruiting operations, automation technologies such as advanced machine learning algorithms natural language processing (NLP) can cross-check CV data with job profiles, which is one of the most time-consuming processes of a recruiting agent. Shifting these activities to automation technologies like Robotic Process automation, Optical Image Recognition, and Natural Language Processing obsolete traditional roles and spare the resources, energy, and time used in core tasks.
Predictive analytics can also influence recruiting tasks up to a great extent. For instance, if the business goal focuses on developing cloud-based products requiring a special knowledge base, HR experts such as a workforce architect could fill the talent voids and training requirements based on predictive workforce analysis, suggesting necessary recommendations on hiring talent.
Moreover, technologies such as Natural Language Processing provide the basis for an objective application to job match. It provides recruiting agents a chance to makeshift from traditional and intuition-based recruitment to data-driven decisions to hire or cancel applicants. These, in turn, obsolete traditional roles and boost objectivity and indiscriminating and bias-free recruitment.
In the case of workforce planning. Predictive workforce analytics driven by deep forest algorithms can determine the probability of employees resigning and the impact on the organization. Moreover, modern AI algorithms can outline possible reasons and help HR build countermeasures, such as bonuses, flexible hours, or a healthy environment.
Talent management operations will experience more changes due to automation and augmentation technologies. For instance, talent specialists could enjoy the perks of Robotic Process Automation in training administration via automated participants.
Moreover, AI technologies could assist the HR department in deciding which pieces of training to conduct on-site or remotely and make recommendations about when to delay or cancel a meeting or training session. Apart from improving training sessions, the learning experience could be enhanced using VR-supported programs and utilities to help experience a real-life training scenario.
Automation technologies will manage a multitude of administrative activities; HR specialists such as a career consultant could focus on developing training platforms, such as AI-based digital learning platforms, which could offer supervised training sessions with the help of machine learning and deep learning algorithms and offer interactive courses and programs to assist employees on their grooming journey.
Another technology that has the potential to transform HR Operations fully is intelligent chatbots. Chatbots can help HR in various ways, such as onboarding recruits, providing them as much information as needed, etc. Using machine learning algorithms, the chatbot can learn and adapt new information and actions from users’ input and answer frequently asked questions. This technology can replace manual responses with iterative and frequently asked questions that would conventionally be answered by administrative HR staff.
A Future-Proof HR Model
The change in HR work structure demands not only a change in HR job roles and responsibilities, but this overwhelming change needs to be adapted by deploying a state-of-the-art HR operating model.
A future-proof operating model should allow the HR department to work with collaborative approaches and technology-driven decisions while providing high adaptability to evolving economic and business demands.
The three globally applicable approaches discussed below are instrumental in developing such a model:
- Business centricity
Adapt your HR operating model to your business requirements, beginning with the future HR roles mandatory to achieve your long-term business goals.
- Agile mindset and behavior
Develop and acquire an agile mindset and methodologies to become flexible in responding to business requirements and shaping a motivating and effective work environment.
- HR ecosystem
Develop an HR ecosystem with data and AI experts within your organization and develop capability-centric project teams to boost HR operations.
Every organization has to deal with different and diverse circumstances and challenges, so it has first to outline its priorities and objectives. There are different variations between today’s conventional, widely-adopted operating model and a fully agile operating model, offering every company the chance to develop its roadmap.
Trends 2.0 – Leading the Future of HR
Growing Market for HR Outsourcing
As HR roles become more complex, more companies show a keen interest in making their operations more efficient. Surprisingly, it triggers a transition towards outsourcing HR services of experts having the required experience and skillset. According to the statistics, the international human resource HR outsourcing market is expected to occupy a huge share of around $43.8 billion by 2024.
This notable upsurge in HR outsourcing may also be influenced by the increasing role and partition of HR in the corporate sector and the expansion of HR technologies. In the same way, the complexity of contemporary challenges and employment regulations may bound organizations to acquire professional services outside their ecosystem.
This trend of overwhelming reliance on outsourcing doesn’t mean that organizations will stop maintaining internal HR departments as HR departments will remain instrumental in internal processes such as managing employee relations.
Embracing GIG Economy
The days of mainstream and conventional employment will end as the gig economy is becoming a new normal. More employees are opting for the flexibility of gig work as the gig economy currently possesses one-third of all US workforce. Employees enjoy this work routine due to utmost autonomy and flexibility, resulting in better work-life equilibrium.
In a recent survey, over one-third, that is 36% of Americans, are engaged in the gig economy, according to Fortune, 2021. Apart from that, 52% of gig workers state that they have lost their jobs or reduced their work hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Statista, 2021.
To swiftly deal with this transition away from conventional long-term employment, HR professionals and senior management must find new ways to keep their employees agile and efficient.
Software and apps for recruiting and monitoring employees are becoming a substitute for traditional worker management methodologies, and freelance platforms will soon become mainstream in organizations’ frontline recruitment utilities.
New Ways to Engage Employees
Many contemporary HR trends and challenges involve improving employee engagement, especially with statistics revealing that more than 80% of employees don’t feel fully satisfied and engaged at work, according to Cision PR Newswire, 2019.
One way HR officials can keep their employees more engaged at work is to revise their corporate environment. It can be more fruitful, as employees now will start feeling empowered to share their narratives. They want to put more effort into their work and think of it as their duty, not just their job. Effectivenarrativesn Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program can also prove an effective recruitment strategy, as employees prefer organizations that provide them with volunteer opportunities.
Organizational and corporate culture are perfect insights for the Employees who want to know more about how organizations run. They want their voices to be heard regarding corporate strategies and implementation. It causes organizational culture to shift from traditional hierarchies to modern structures involving employees in decision-making and core business functions.
Additionally, the pandemic crisis and problems have pushed towards employees and employers, making it crucial for employers to check what their employees are doing and how they are doing. Giving priority to employees’ mental health as the primary indicator of performance is becoming a new norm.
Blockchain Improved Security
Data is the new oil. With plenty of data that HR teams have to deal with, it’s not surprising that many experts expect blockchain technology to cast its shadow on the HR sector. Due to its decentralized structure, blockchain shows promising results in providing the most-needed, long-term security measures for sensitive employee data. Data security is the hottest issue nowadays, thanks to the increasing use of employee self-service software utilities and the quick adoption of cloud-based systems.
Using blockchain technology, HR teams can develop secure and data-enriched employee records, verify the authenticity of system users, keep employment history, and even streamline iterative tasks such as tax administration and payroll.
In the same way, blockchain methodologies like smart contracts can help automate contract management services for the HR department. These contracts make it notably simple for all stakeholders to record and verify all transactions and alteration footprints. These contracts also eliminate the need for manual input in allowing transactions for contracts.
As the aforementioned HR trends and predictions show, the future will offer various exciting opportunities and complex challenges for HR teams. These factors push HR professionals to explore and adopt new methodologies of maintaining productivity and efficiency in their core functions, especially in employee engagement and retention.
As we have, technology is revolutionizing the way HR professionals perform their duties. More HR software utilities will be developed to ease the burden of time-consuming and repetitive tasks with time. More advanced technologies such as AI, Blockchain, AR, and VR will open more opportunity corridors for HR teams.
To stay aligned with HR trends, HR professionals must predict changes in the HR industry and start adjusting their HR model to prepare their employees for the new normal in response to the evolving economic environment, geopolitical economy, and challenges triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.