Business owners and corporate CEO’s are worried that something in digital innovations is going to change their HR model or their operations. I will say that there is a change of ethos going on in the way people think about their jobs and what their jobs mean to them.

Gone are the days of the “golden watch” or being employed from start of career to the end with one company. “The good old days” when people worked for the same company for 30 or 40 years?  Walked off the job with a fancy plaque and gold watch engraved with their name and company logo?  When family and friends would gather together to celebrate a person’s journey into their golden years? 

We will now have careers that will have multiple jobs, multiple employers and many of us will work part-time. We are building individual portfolios of work experiences. We have the rise of the Gig Economy – although there are two thoughts on the gig economy, where million self-employed Australians work on a freelance or project basis rather than in permanent jobs.

  1. the gig economy is a haven for contractors and companies because it boosts labour market flexibility.
  2. it is a form of mass exploitation of younger workers, particularly those born overseas, and a race to the bottom in wages and conditions.

The first thought is the one that most will go with – there are benefits for all and technology certainly has played its role.  Although there is an increasing ripple in the idea it is mass exploitation – think Uber, Deliveroo and other mainly food couriers.

The relationship between employees and employers is very different than ever before. There are a whole bunch of new things people are trying to do with technology. The purpose of technology today is not just to automate things; it’s to make the work experience better. So, there are some lessons to be learned by these digital innovations that we can take in our businesses. I’m going to try to give you some context of what it means to HR.

 Dealing with digital disruptive innovations

Since the beginning of the internet and the adoption of technology, productivity has not gone up significantly, and one of the reasons for that is we have not figured out how to adapt to all that technology. We don’t know what virtual reality and artificial intelligence are going to do. Our job in HR is to curate and make sense of that and use productively in a way that improves the employee experience at work.

Have you tested the on-line recruiter platforms, or the people less induction process?

The human brain can only continue to maintain relationships with about a hundred people, and so companies their business; that’s why a lot of organizations decentralize themselves into fractal Organizations. How people interact, work together, share information that’s all about culture and shared values, communication technology, and systems. The problem with us from the standpoint of HR, the way we designed our operation for the traditional organization, whether it be performance management, communication, the way learning takes place and decisions are made. You can leverage some of the techniques of taking care of your people and being a highly engaged digital organization yourself.

Do you remember the term Personnel Management? The aspect of management that is concerned with the work force and their relationship with the entity is known as Personnel Management. It’s a traditional approach where people were treated as machines and tools and the management role was transactional compared to transformational as we now have with Human Resource Management. It focused on mundane activities like employee hiring, remunerating, training and harmony where today it is treating manpower as valued assets, to be valued, used and preserved.

Value and invest in Human resource planning technologies

Now if you look at the progression of the talent market, you can see where it’s gone. Today we’re trying to measure engagement, feedback; we’re trying to do performance management, build goal management systems though ERP technologies. In the world of technology, we are now shifting our platforms away from the cloud on to mobile, so the Human Resource Planning is going to be changing with it.

There’s a whole new breed of applications out there being invented by creative people that are going to change what we can do in HR, tools for constant employee feedback, mood management tools for wellness and health, work-life management, new forms of data-driven engagement tools, tools that monitor workplace. As we aspire to build empowered highly engaged teams, coach and develop them, let them create their own goals, keep them aligned to other people and give them feedback, so a revolution of building new performance HRM is taking place.

Human resource management is not sitting around in a conference room with a whiteboard designing a process, it is studying the working the activities and workday lives of your employees, understanding what they do, and developing interactions, systems and tools in an iterative fashion to make their work better; that is the essence of HRM.

We would love to hear your thoughts on HRM and where you see if going. Perhaps a discussion on if technology is creating a verbal defecate in our workplaces – people have forgotten to talk instead emailing, texting, and messaging. Job applications are done online and if you don’t fit the tick box that’s it, all over. I am divided as to how technology will impact the future – what will happen to us as a society and what will our workforce look like.

Share your thoughts.