The HR industry knows better than anyone how intelligent automation is changing the workplace, especially here in Asia. Faster processes and data analytics are elevating the value of our responsibilities. HR's role is to lead us through this exciting transformation. To do so effectively, it must first lead by example.
According to KPMG, half of global businesses surveyed believe that automation will drive significant change for business as well as impact the HR operating model. Talent management, acquisition and onboarding are the ripest areas for disruption. The future of HR is already here.
HR managers who adapt now to new technologies will thrive. Those who don't risk their future: lack of expertise in data and analytics is already the number one reason why HR managers are not promoted to C-Suite roles, according to The Wharton School.
Enhancing the art of HR through science
Traditionally, HR was more of an art than a science. Not so today.
New technology platforms are reshaping the HR profession by enhancing the art of people management. For example, every HR manager at a large multinational knows how challenging it can be to attract and evaluate applicants—let alone identify gaps in talent before they become critical issues.
By integrating technology into the hiring process and acquiring basic data analytics skills, HR managers are enabled to better evaluate resourcing needs across an entire organization as well as more efficiently discern high potential candidates from the high volume of applications.
Empowered with more capacity and better data, HR managers can focus on getting to know shortlisted candidates and assessing how well they fit an organization's culture. Ironically, new technologies enable HR to focus on its most traditional function: people management.
Adaption is a journey, not a race
Integrating 'hard' skills like data analytics into the HR function shouldn't be a race. Instead, managers must be supported on to gradually adopt new technologies and develop new skills.
Consider the experience of Sunway Resort in Malaysia. When this luxury hotel wanted to enhance the value of its HR function through intelligent automation it didn't do so overnight. Instead, Sunway rolled out technology alongside training.
With coaching and support, the benefits of the technology quickly became clear to the team: streamlined payroll processing and holiday rota systems enabled managers to spend more time on their high-value responsibilities, like talent development. Liberated from paperwork, HR was able to once again focus on people.
As this example shows, change doesn't have to be hard—and it shouldn't be overnight. Every team should be supported to adapt to new technologies and ways of working.
Adaptive managers make influential leaders
Technology not only makes life easier for HR, but also enhances its clout within an organization. Data analytics capabilities create new opportunities for managers to collaborate with CIOs and CTOs—thereby impressing their CEOs.
Research shows a clear correlation between firms that value their HR managers and managers who are sensitive to technology. According to KPMG, 27% of global organizations report that their HR function is viewed as a key business asset that adds strategic value. Of those organizations, 92% of strategic HR functions view intelligent automation as having a significant impact on the HR function.
When HR is unwilling or unable to integrate technology into its function, its value can decrease. As a recent report from Deloitte noted, the analytical capabilities of HR systems are now so advanced that they create insights and implications far exceeding one specific function. Instead, HR now has the potential to improve an organization's holistic operational performance through analysis of management and operational issues. CEOs who receive these insights from HR gain a competitive advantage. Those who don't, will wonder why.
With the ability to inform strategic decisions through data, HR is empowered to influence the C-Suite. But without this capability, HR managers are unlikely to join the upper echelons of the corporate world.
The future of HR starts now
Technology is creating valuable new opportunities for HR professionals. Intelligent automation has relieved their administrative burden, enabling them to get back to what they do best: helping colleagues to perform their best.
As the value of critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills continues to rise, data-savvy HR managers will thrive. Their evidence-based recommendations will not only secure the future of their firms, but also their own careers.
Ambitious HR managers across Asia are increasingly looking to integrate data platforms into their functions. Successful HR managers are doing so now.
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