HR Automation is not a threat to HR

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HR Automation is not a threat to HR

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HR AUTOMATION IS NOT A THREAT TO HR The HR function has evolved a lot – since its inception back in the 1800s it was focused primarily on maintaining union relations and improving productivity. Over the years it has transitioned from a mere recruitment and payroll engine to the role of a strategic business partner for leadership and talent management. However are the HR departments really geared up for this changing demand According to a publication by EY released in June 2016 on ‘Facing Future Challenges’’ 60-80 of all HR efforts and costs are being directed towards transactional and compliance based activities similar to how the department functioned over 30 years back. A survey conducted by Careerbuilder in the US shows that not automating the HR function has some serious implications on business like 16 lower productivity 35 higher operational costs 7 poorer employee experience and a 40 higher error rate.

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Thus it is imperative for organizations to look at automating certain HR functions. But is this a threat to the HR personnel Will this lead to robots/machines eventually replacing the HR department itself HUMANS IN HR ARE INDISPENSABLE HR features as one of the jobs ‘most likely to withstand automation’ as per a list compiled by Daniel Culbertson – an economist associated with a global institute the Indeed Hiring Lab that works towards advancing the knowledge of HR professionals worldwide. The reason for it is that the HR department’s role relies heavily on human interaction and involves decision making based on gauging the circumstances in addition to data available. These are two aspects that a machine cannot help with hence will never be completely automated. As per Robert Potter HR Director of the Guild of Human Resource Professionals though some administrative HR roles may diminish the demand for qualified strategic HR personnel and data analysts will only increase with automation. The focus will shift to managing the work culture building and retaining the talent pool competency planning leadership building etc. Hence the HR department should not look at HRM Software and automation as a threat to their jobs but treat is as a huge opportunity to leverage the power of technology to do things differently. Technology will not replace the ‘human’ in ‘human resources’ but will merely facilitate them to shift their focus onto more important aspects of their role. FACETS OF THE HR FUNCTION THAT TECHNOLOGY CANNOT AUTOMATE HR functions can broadly be segregated into two major divisions – the administrative tasks and the leadership organization tasks. There is a clear advantage of a certain level of HR automation of administrative tasks like payroll processing new joinee contracts documentation etc. However the leadership and organizational HR tasks require social and motivational skills that technology cannot address. For example what will motivate an employee to stay happy and productive workforce - an HR Manager appreciating him in front of his colleagues for bagging a large order or a system generated congratulatory email. Similarly for formulating talent management strategies there are so many intangible characteristics that need to be considered like honesty loyalty relationship building capability patience etc. that cannot be identified using any algorithms. SUMMARY The ‘human’ will always be an integral aspect of human resources and no kind of automation can replace that. Though the merits of technology and automation are undeniable they will only facilitate the HR department by automating the administrative repetitive functions by creating newer roles more opportunities thereby giving them the bandwidth to focus on more strategic tasks that will shape the work environment and talent pool of the organization.

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