By | Anand Bhaskar | Director, Coach & Advisor at PGC
One of prevalent belief in the corporate world is that HR does not understand Technology. Is that true?
When one looks at the community of HR professionals across industry, there are a few things in common. Most of us in HR are from a non-engineering background. In other words, most of us (not all) are from Liberal Arts, Commerce, Humanities, Psychology background. Does that mean anything? May be or may be not?
One other expectation from HR has been that we should be people centric, empathetic, approachable etc. The data oriented, results driven, goal centric expectations have not been very strongly prevalent for a long time. It is this softer side that many of us as HR professionals have long exploited to our advantage and sometimes if I can say hide behind, when situations got tough. While this is not universally applicable, I think we have gotten away easy in a few cases over time in our careers.
Now with disruptive technology entering the HR domain in a big way, what does this mean for HR? The human aspect of decision making with respect to skills, capability and potential, has long been our “subjective” forte. We have tried to objectify it through goal setting & PMS, skill & competency frameworks, talent reviews / calibrations and in a few cases assessment centres. With new-age tools that can both assess and measure employee skills and behaviour real-time, can map to quarterly PMS goals, can compare with other employees simultaneously, can virtually assess people from time to time, can map with behaviour data on blogs, posts, tweets etc. and through a robust and scientific algorithm provide insight on “who is your top talent”. All of this can be done through a machine learning algorithm in a nano-second. The USP of HR disappears in a flash, now what?
Does that mean will TECH replace HR? I do not think so. When I worked for Microsoft, I recall the crazy man-hours we used to spend in running talent reviews, calibrations and growth labs to identify top talent. If a machine trained algorithm had done it for us then in a nano-second, I would have had enough time to build “the talent capability” that I needed to support the business. TECH would make HR more productive, accountable, data driven and enhance the business value it would bring in each day.
Many in HR do not understand what TECH disruptions they are surrounded by. Each day I meet many HR professionals who are completely oblivious to the disruption around them. Ignorance is bliss – is so damn true! TECH is still looked at as a data warehousing tool to manage information. HR professionals are not learning fast enough and many continue to remain ignorant. While a few companies are trying to embrace the change, there is still a long way to go before one can say – mission accomplished.
The definition of TECH has changed, but HR is yet to learn the new definition!