Human Resources (HR) has gone through drastic changes to cope with the rapid advancement of HR solutions. Companies are quick to adopt some of the latest and efficiency-proven innovations to stay ahead of the competition as well as to cater to the increasing demands of employees that have changed over the years.
It is evident that there is a shift of demographics in the labour force with more and more baby boomers stepping into retirement. Additionally, the increasing population of millennials has also surreptitiously surpassed Gen X. A survey by Pew Research Centre reported that in 2016, a total of 75.4 million millennials were recorded in the workforce, surpassing 74.9 million baby boomers (aged 51 – 69) in the United States alone.
These young and passionate employees have different approaches and needs that were developed while growing up in the digital. Constant reliance on technology in their work and daily lives, as well as the specific gratification they wish to gain from their career, will change the way HR should approach the millennial generation.
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Let’s take a glimpse into the future of Human Resources!
Traditional HR processes are slowly phasing out with the implementation of digital automation. Mundane task such as filling and keying in forms will soon be eliminated through the digitalisation of HR processes. Many companies have already jumped onto the bandwagon by incorporating digital convenience and automation to replace simple tasks like employee benefits claims, leave applications and even handing in resignation letters, which can be done via digital platforms.
Almost everybody (if not everybody) has a mobile phone today. Mobile app applications that connect your HR digital processes to the employees also enhance the employee experience where the employees can access it anywhere, anytime. For example, HR information systems that use cloud-based technology, allows employees to access their information via their smartphones. This eliminates the need for employees to view HR as their helpdesk, and instead encourages employee self-service (ESS).
HealthMetrics is one such company; a fast-growing company that automates the tedious & manual processes involved in managing employee medical benefits claims & medical certificates. Not only that, as it is a digital solution, HealthMetrics provides real-time data analytics to companies to look into the trends specific to the company so that companies can make data-driven and informed improvements. There is no need to manually track everything in excel anymore.
Companies that fail to leverage on digital solutions are not only losing out on making their HR processes more streamlined & effective, but also missing out on possible cost reductions from the improved efficiency. Automation eliminates the need for HR personnel to work on operational tasks that can be easily replaced by software.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) at work
The emergence of AI chatbot has replaced HR personnel as a front desk person in answering simple questions for employees with pre-programmed knowledge of company policies.
Research firm IDC predicted that AI-related services and functions will surge from US$8 billion this year to US$47 billion by 2020. Leading industry analyst Josh Bersin said, “HR will leverage on data and harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), predictive analytics and behaviour economics. Our research showed that 70% of companies are investing heavily in People Analytics while 40% believe AI will become significant in workforce impact.”
As futuristic as it sounds, there are companies that have already integrated AI into the HR processes. For example, OCBC Singapore’s “HR In Your Pocket” features an AI-powered chatbot to provide helpful and personalised information to employees. How is it different from the old-fashioned frequently asked questions (FAQ) or manuals? A huge difference. Traditional manuals require employees to skim through pages over pages just search for a specific answer, while chatbots can easily identify keywords in seconds and guides the user through with conversational inputs.
Understanding human behaviour through data
With the data generated through digital software solutions, companies can analyse the current situation & make predictions based upon trends. This data can be further explored into employees’ performances, benefits and even talent retention.
Wearing different hats
The challenges in managing millennials differ from baby boomers as millennials seek different gratification from work. Millennials have shown that they prefer new experiences after holding a specific role for a period of time. In fact, The Future Workplace Forecast surveyed 2,147 global HR heads and hiring managers and reported that enabling new roles for employees seeking new experiences would benefit the company. HR managers believe that it can increase employee engagement, productivity, and teamwork (39%).
Workplace culture is also changing over time with more employees prefer flexible work arrangements such as working remotely and freelancing. HRs would need to adapt to the increasing diversity of what “work” means to different groups of people. As such, HRs will have to have to adjust to different talent management practices such as evaluating employees’ performances through results and not physical attendance to work.
The Active Job Seeker Dilemma Study showed that 83% of HR top management agreed that the employee experience could drive organisational success. Companies are investing more in training, improving workspaces and introducing rewards.
As such, new roles in HR will also be introduced with digital solutions & the changing workplace dynamics. For example, HR function that involves digitalisation & technical expertise, or HRs with a creative mind to run engagement programs involving gamification.
HR as a Strategic Function
With more tasks being automated, HRs will be able to focus on more strategic activities when it comes to managing the company’s people assets. With data analytics, HRs also has more insights than ever to make data-driven improvements within the organisation.
Compensation that matters
Rahul Chawla, Aon Hewitt Malaysia practice leader for talent, rewards and performance, said companies have started to see the “high skill high pay” concept where employees will be rewarded through innovative means beyond based salary.
That said, health and wellness benefits remains one of the core benefits that a lot of companies view as of the utmost importance. Heartmath.com reported that more than three-quarters of employees who indicated that they have good healthcare benefits also reported high job satisfaction. Additionally, 71% of those employees also indicated their loyalty to their employers. Further to that, many companies also extend their benefits to their employees’ families as well.
For a greener future
Generally, as industries gear towards a greener and more sustainable world, Green Human Resource Management (GHRM) can be a thing in the future where environmental and sustainability are taken into consideration across all HR processes including recruitment, training, benefits and compensation, as well as rewards and recognition.
Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) started a new study on Green Human Resource Management (GHRM) and found that 90% of respondents perceived GHRM as being important but only (26%) of HR practitioners felt that their organisations are actually ready for GHRM.
As Lao Tzu once said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Gearing towards a greener future might be an arduous task but companies can take baby steps to achieve such goals.
Going paperless is an easy way to get started. Companies can replace paperwork with digital forms as a start, before going forward with bigger projects.
Are you ready for the future?
These are just some examples of how the HR sector would look like in the near future. Has your organisation started future-proofing your HR processes? Are you ready for the future of HR?