The digital revolution has asserted itself into virtually every aspect of modern life, from business, to culture, to politics, and the field of human relations is no different. Over the past few years alone, impressive innovations in hardware and software alike have reshaped how HR professionals meet the demands of their job, and made HR more effective at achieving its goals and cost efficient than ever.
So what are the biggest impacts of the digital revolution on HR, and how should rookies and veterans in the field prepare themselves for the impending changes that tomorrow will bring?
A top-down change
Like most other industries that it’s impacted, the digital revolution has reshaped the entirety of the field of HR from the top down. Virtually every industry standard or common practice over the past few decades has been touched in some way by the expansion of highly-advanced tech into the modern workplace, to the point where it can be hard for beginners in the field to keep up with the changes.
Business and tech-savvy executives have recognized this for some time, and have begun to reevaluate how to build an effective organization in response to these changes. Few areas, for instance, have been as fundamentally transformed by tech as the luring in and training of new employees. Tried-and-tested HR practices of the past have quickly grown outdated, and companies these days need to stay on their feet and increasingly digitize their operations if they want to attract and retain the best talent in their fields.
Whether it’s by adopting advanced methods of an SEO company, such as data analytics to comb through potential job candidates for that employee who’s best suited for the job, or something as simple as monitoring employee’s social media feeds to make sure they’re not posting something harmful to the company’s reputation, HR professionals have rolled with the punches and adapted well to recent tech advancements. One area where HR departments have been asserting themselves more is in company’s IT sectors; it’s not uncommon for HR workers to be closely working with the tech-gurus of a company to better achieve both of their needs.
The market has quickly shaped up to the new HR reality, too. Billions of dollars are already being poured into digitizing the world of HR as executives realize the new direction they’ll need to take their companies in if they hope to remain relevant well into the future, and it’s likely more money will be funneled into HR for these purposes well into the future.
Rewriting the rules of HR
Like all other industries impacted heavily by automation, digitization, and the broader trends that have been propelling such phenomenon’s as the internet of things and globalization forward, HR has had to rewrite its rules in order to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. Deloitte’s recent report highlighting how tech is radically revamping the workplace shows the extent to which outdated methods of practicing HR will hurt companies who don’t abandon them soon.
Customers in the marketplace and individual clients dealing with companies now expect HR departments to be fully “outfitted for the future”, equipped with trained professionals capable of navigating an increasingly digital world. Like in other sectors of business, the use of algorithms and data collection is quickly soaring in HR, and IT-professionalism is now seen as a boon for those seeking jobs in the field.
It won’t be long until HR as we know it is virtually gone from the world, replaced by this new, digitally-infused HR that focuses more and more on using machines to adequately respond to human needs. This isn’t a bad thing, either; the recent changes have only made HR practitioners better at their jobs, and have saved companies huge amounts of money as well.
There will be downsides, of course; further outsourcing to lesser developed parts of the world, where HR labor is cheaper, is to be expected. Yet the jobs that remain will be better paid than before, and new opportunities will appear as innovations in tech bring new demands that HR departments will be expected to satisfy. Few people know better than HR professionals the need to invest in their human capital; as the digital world continues to expand and take over, the vital human element needed to tame it will only become more valuable.
I'm a creative and passionate HR Director with 15 plus years proven experience up to board level in international and world-class organisations.
I have had the privilege of working on a wide range of projects that have enabled me to apply my leadership and technical skills and I have proven expertise in managing change, business integration and outsourcing, including TUPE/ARD. I am currently looking for my next intellectual and professional challenge.