The Role Of HR In An Automated World

The Role Of HR In An Automated World

A common dilemma for any startup is ensuring that you have enough time to work on the business rather than simply in the business.  In other words, you need to give yourself time to improve how your business works rather than simply living day to day.

It’s a reality that the latest “Global Human Capital Trends” report from Deloitte suggests the modern leader is only too aware of.  It reveals that nearly 90% of leaders rate building an organization fit for the future as a key priority for their organization. What is less positive however is that just 11% of leaders believe they have the capabilities to do so effectively.

Working On The Business

This desire to mold a better business is driven by the huge levels of technological, political, social and demographic change we are witnessing today, with the paper advocating that organizations reconsider their org structure and HR processes in order to adapt and thrive.

“Technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate and these innovations have completely transformed the way we live, work and communicate,” said Josh Bersin, principal and founder, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Ultimately, the digital world of work has changed the rules of business.  Organizations should shift their entire mind-set and behaviors to ensure they can lead, organize, motivate, manage and engage the 21st century workforce, or risk being left behind.”

The study, now in its fifth year, reveals a business environment of rapid change, with leaders often struggling to keep pace. Indeed, only 35% of respondents regarded their capabilities as good or excellent.

Flexible And Fluid

The paper suggests that the most effective organizations are using networks of teams, with recruitment more important than ever before. The thing is, for many organizations, they appear to be struggling to build a differentiated employee experience.  In other words, they might be good at hiring people, but retaining them is another matter.

The gap between what employees want and what employers offer is biggest in the range of learning and career development opportunities provided to employees. The paper suggests that organizations should try and offer immersive learning experiences to help develop leaders capable of thriving in the modern, rapidly changing world.

Thankfully, many of the disruptive forces that are impacting a business can also be deployed to help it improve. Over half of respondents revealed that they are redesigning their HR to utilize digital and mobile tools, with one-third using AI in some way.

“HR and other business leaders tell us that they are being asked to create a digital workplace in order to become an ‘organization of the future,'” Deloitte say. “To rewrite the rules on a broad scale, HR should play a leading role in helping the company redesign the organization by bringing digital technologies to both the workforce and to the HR organization itself.”

An Identity Shift

The study found that there was a distinct shift within HR to move from purely a cost base to a more strategy, business advisor role, with a focus on talent management, efficient service delivery and a holistic design of the workplace.

This reinvention isn’t confined just to HR however, with a desire for change present throughout the organization.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the response to AI, with a large number of respondents either implementing or having implemented AI technologies in the past year.

It chimes with a study from Accenture I wrote about at the start of the year, which urged organizations to invest heavily in training to ensure employees are equipped to work effectively alongside autonomous systems.

Deloitte suggest that there is still some way to go before this vision is realized however, with just 17% of respondents believing themselves to be ready to manage a workforce of humans, robots and AI working side by side.

There is a lot written about the need for us as individuals to adapt to an increasingly automated world, but it seems there is still much for organizations to do too. This doesn’t only mean we are failing to reskill our workforces, but also that we’re failing to ensure they have access to the right data and the right tools to do their job effectively. For instance, just 8% of respondents revealed that they have usable data with which to do their jobs.

“This represents one of the biggest opportunities for the HR organization,” Deloitte conclude. “To be able to rewrite the rules, HR needs to prove it has the insights and capabilities to successfully play outside the lines.”

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