HR’s role in technology disruption

Like it or not, technology disruption is here to stay and it will only get faster and faster. Instead of being afraid or try to deny its existence, it’s time for HR to embrace it or even better, leverage on it to tap into the opportunities created. We can see it as a threat and fear it or, we could instead view it as an opportunity for us to capitalize and ride the disruption wave. The choice is yours.

Managing the workforce of the future

For a start, let’s examine how will technology change the workforce mix of the future. We will likely see a good mix of the hot, warm and cold workforce. Hot being the full-time employees, warm defined as your gig workers and finally, cold categorized as the technology and robotics assisting us in our daily work.

This is probably the diversity you will see become common soon with the rise of the gig economy as well as the technology scene maturing at an increasing rate. With that, it also means that we are looking to access talent instead of owning them moving forward. Talent retention will soon have a whole new meaning altogether.

Diversity and inclusion becomes key

Within the hot and warm workforce, you will not only see workers from a different background but more so from different generations. Millennials may be the hot topic now, but you should probably also keep your eyes on the multi-generational workforce. Why? With the rise in retirement age, it just means that we will have more generations of workers collaborating.

It’s up to you as HR to harness their respective strengths and potential to bring out the best in the workforce. Of course, you will also need to help your employees, both the hot and warm group, to integrate alongside the technology changes so that the potential of your resources is maximized rather than diminished.

Back to the point, embrace the diversity and be inclusive to capitalize on your advantage.

Getting HR future-proof

For HR to move ahead, focusing on the transaction aspect will no longer suffice because technology will definitely be more efficient than you. That said, focusing on things that technology cannot replace is probably your best bet.

What would that be then?

One area to consider is the high touch aspect of your HR work. Strive to create great employee experience and use technology as an enabler. By doing so, not only are you delivering higher value to the stakeholders, you are also doing something that complements what technology is doing to create an edge for the organization.

In addition, HR’s journey to becoming a first-tier function can only happen if we work together as a community. That means HR professionals must work hand in hand to grow the profession collectively, share knowledge and provide the required support for one another. Only with that can the profession grow, attract better talent and deliver higher quality work to our stakeholders. That’s how we keep our jobs intact and become a valuable partner in the organization.

What should aspiring HR professionals consider?

HR’s role will be evolving and it will be scary if it doesn’t. With that, I’ll encourage aspiring HR professionals to follow their heart and know what they stand for. Be clear about what your strengths are, work on it and find the path that best fits you rather than trying to choose something that is supposedly more marketable at this moment. Why? Because of how fast technology changes, the role of HR changes as well. You will only be truly valuable if you are able to hone competencies that tap on your strength and in turn, be agile and pivot effectively in times of change.

To be in HR, it all starts with the people-first mentality. Empathy is at the center of many things HR does and without which, you will just be another transaction dealer in the organization. But with it, you can add a whole lot more value and make a huge difference to individuals and the organization. It’s as simple as that.

Closing thoughts

Many things are uncertain in today’s VUCA world, but one thing for sure, change will be the only constant. Instead of being in denial or fearing change, embrace it or even better, leverage it to make a difference. Take a proactive step forward and like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see.”

Together we can create a better workplace for tomorrow!

11 thoughts on “HR’s role in technology disruption

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