Wetin We Dae Du: SALCAB's Managing Director speaks at IPAM's Human Resource Summit.

Digitally Managing Human Resources

All protocols observed, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I greet you all.I stand here today with immense pleasure to speak on such an important and exciting topic. We cannot fully delve into digital Human Resource management without having a clear or proper definition of what it means or what it is about. Digital Human Resource Management involves the planning, implementing and using of digital technologies to support human resource activities. All functions of HR, like payroll processing, maintenance of attendance records, compensation, performance management, etc are supported by and changed by digitalization.

The development of artificial intelligence, digital transformation and ubiquitous automation, which today is called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, creates real opportunities for companies to concentrate in their activities on core competence while simultaneously withdrawing everything that does not concern this core competency in the so-called ecosystems - clouds, networks, platforms. A company under the conditions of the fourth industrial revolution is a mobile company, rapidly developing, capable of quickly developing and bringing products to the market with a flexible structure. To achieve these targets, companies are required to make radical changes in the way they conduct business, restructuring business strategies and business models.The intensive introduction of digital technologies into the business (i.e. Digital Transformation) involves three main areas that in one way or another affect the staff:

1. Transformation of customer service quality

2. Transformation of operational processes 3. Transformation of business models

HR management in these processes has a unique role: HR can help managers adapt to new digital technologies, employees use new work models and career building, and companies can see the opportunities offered by new technologies and adapt to changes. At the same time, priorities and opportunities for HR management are changing from bureaucratic and routine work to the main purpose of HR management - working directly with people.According to research, the global human resource management (HRM) sector is projected to reach $30 billion by 2025. Advancements in information technology (IT), predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning in HR processes is enabling professionals to perform traditional practices with much more ease and reduced time span. Over the next two years, more HR executives globally are planning investments in areas such as predictive analytics, enhanced process automation and artificial intelligence (AI).

Digital Human Resource is a process optimization in which social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies are leveraged to make Human Resource more efficient, effective, and connected. In other words, it’s a significant shift in the way Human Resources function.It should be emphasized that I am talking not only about automation of individual business processes in HR, introducing high-tech products and solutions that increase work efficiency, but also about changes in the industry as a whole, forming a new model of HR management. According to experts, a fundamentally new category of tools (intelligent systems) has emerged that can provide an individual approach to develop leaders, evaluate candidates and find the right people, recommend optimal training, identify fraud attempts, develop employee stress and solve other problems in the organization.

The other day, I was talking to one of my clients’ HR Managers and I asked her how she was doing. She responded enthusiastically: ‘tech now allows my team to automate most of our administrative work and reduce requests from our employees, who can find solutions independently through the portal’. This HR Manager and her employees can now focus on more significant business objectives in a strategic way. The moral of the story is that the manager and her colleagues felt like they were part of a modern company capable of providing innovative services, rather than part of a company that had stopped evolving a few decades ago.

Transformation is underpinned by a digital mindset that is a unique interplay of technology, people, and process, and technology can also be used to vastly improve HR processes for employees and managers, resulting in a snowball effect of positivity and paving the way for even greater digital transformation within a business. It is by adopting this view that we can seriously acknowledge and implement the transformative effect of tech in the HR environment in order to achieve successful results within a business.By promoting the transformation and digitalisation of HR services, it is possible to understand how much tech can improve the workflow of the people within this sector and free up time that can be dedicated to core activities.

Yes, we need digital solutions to everything, but where are the bottlenecks? Technology is not worth the investment if it is not properly adopted and effectively used, and it must deliver value to the organization. Resistance to adoption is one of the key challenges that organizations face. In addition, some of the other challenges that you can face while starting off are:

● Lack of a clear strategy or goal for digital transformation

● Lack of budget to enable digital transformation

● Lack of expertise in leading the digital transformation project

● Lack of agility in upgrading to new digital solutions

An obstacle may also be the non-availability of HR employees to digital technologies, as well as the natural fear of revolutionary changes, including fear of losing work due to process automation, and resistance to change.

The introduction of digital technology in staff work is complicated by the factthat HR management processes are quite complex, heterogeneous and diverse. They involve not only HR employees, but also line managers, ordinary employees. The activity of HR requires consideration of various aspects, including labor law, the views of trade unions, the situation on the labor market, etc. There are also direct restrictions on the activities of HR, such as the law on personal data, the need to respect the confidentiality of information relating to wages. In addition, these processes concern people with their unique personal and professional quality, and therefore difficult to formalize.

These issues are common and addressing them requires resilience from HR. It will take time to build a workforce that will leverage these emerging technologies effectively. Having said that, they can be addressed over a period of time. But creating a sense of urgency to initiate digital transformation is critical, and it will be taken seriously only when you make a strong business case for the project. HR employers will need to reskill and retrain their employees at a faster pace than ever to keep up with technology trends and implementation. Digital transformation aims to create an agile organization that is ready to change as technology keeps advancing. Technology will always be ahead of the curve as organizations try to catch up. The absence of this agility can be one of the reasons why digital transformation strategies fail. What you, as an HR professional, can do is prepare your organization and your team to remain engaged in this process, and adopt technology at its peak, optimally.

For that, you need to be prepared yourself. Stay aware, stay current, and ensure that you know what your competitors are doing in the same area. Keep an eye on the pulse of the organization and what it is saying/doing. This will allow you to initiate, complete, and keep moving forward with your vital digital transformation project.There is no doubt that the HR management portals represent an excellent digital tool that can greatly improve the employees’ experience and increase their involvement within the company. In fact, they include almost everything an employee may need: access to forms, manuals, pay slips, contract, and data. They can also file complaints, view the corporate calendar of events, and much more. Furthermore, with the ever-increasing diffusion of performance management, employees can also have the opportunity to consult their own evaluation sheets and give feedback.

If a company ignores these types of platforms in 2020, their business is doomed and can only expect to encounter negative effects. Preventing employees from accessing the information they need can not only create confusion, but, above all, it can impose an unnecessarily burdensome load on the HR department, which finds itself forced to devote much of its time to continuous and pressing requests rather than focusing on other management tasks. Such a scenario can become highly unproductive and clearly shows the importance of implementing HR tech tools, which employees and managers can learn and use easily.

So what should the HR department do over the following years? Focus on skill development. HR should not only encourage the training of their employees and collaborators: it is essential that they become the promoters of change. Those within the HR department ought to invest in themselves, to keep up with the times and trends, but above all, they must be able to anticipate change. Therefore, it is necessary to upgrade one’s skills in order to understand which new ones have to be implemented and which ones need to be improved.

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