HR of today for the workforce of tomorrow

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There is a real disruption! Regardless of how, we senior HR leaders think, strategise & work, there is a real disruption! Organisations are always thinking of ways to reinvent their operational strategies to achieve better business efficiencies & profitability but is HR ready for that? We know digitalization & advancement is coming but how far do we position ourselves to getting more competitive with these advancements?

In time to come, we, as in HR professionals will be standing in between the fundamental transformation phases in the way we work. Most of us are already talking about automation & ‘thinking machines’ which for sure will change and shift the hiring landscape.

In a recent study by PwC indicated that 37% of the workforce population would be worried about automation & putting their jobs are risk, this is a rise of 23% since 2014. 45% of the people think that they will have stable, long-term employment in the future however there is also the 73% of people who think technological developments and enhancements will improve job prospects in the future.

This isn’t about some ‘far future’ of work – change is already happening, and accelerating. The future isn’t a fixed destination. Plan for a dynamic rather than a static future. You’ll need to recognize multiple and evolving scenarios. Make ‘no regrets’ moves that work with most scenarios – but you’ll need to make some ‘bets’ too.Don’t be constrained by your starting point. You might need a more radical change than just a small step away from where you are today.Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will affect every level of the business and its people. It’s too important an issue to leave to IT (or HR) alone. Deep understanding and keen insight into the changing technology landscape are vital.Organizations can’t protect jobs which are made redundant by technology – but they do have a responsibility to their people. Protect people, not jobs. Nurture agility, adaptability and re-skilling.

In the US, over one third of workers are anxious about the future and their job due to automation – an anxiety that kills confidence and the willingness to innovate. How your employees feel affects the business today – so start a mature conversation about the future.

So what does all this mean to HR? 

From a global scale, the biggest focus & shift for HR would be to prepare the workforce for tomorrow with strong focus on leadership development and ensuring diversity, equality and productivity is managed well. One big example of this change is the digital experience that a company gives to its employees. Looking back at the evolution of digital technology in the last 10 years, it has impacted a number of businesses and everyone at home as well – literally! We sit in the comfort of our homes whilst shopping online.

The coming generations will not accept a digital experience at work, which is different from what they have at home, as employees want to access the same data and information through mobiles, apps or other means. As multi-national companies, we really need to expand the range of digital experiences for our employees. Our new employees are far more driven and looking for a more transparent, diverse and accessible leadership. They do not like the old traditional models of the pyramid or leadership. I think this new generation mix is a good push factor for us to enable these changes.

Diversity & equality is the biggest and most complex of change management for organisations globally. No one person likes to work with people of different nature than them. And it starts from there: the male gender like working amongst the same gender preference, certain cultural facets prefer to work within their own cultural facets and that is absolutely normal – basic human sentiments we would say. Even when people reach out to leadership positions, they like to reach out to people like themselves, with the same language, origin and dialect as it feels easier – that is the level of comfort!

However, diversity and equality is necessary as it brings innovation, is less disruptive and brings balance. And that is the very reason why the newer generation of workforce loves companies that policise diversity as they are far more attractive and use innovation as their major pull factor. In countries where technological advances are already in play, they have a bigger advantage.

So, as a starting point, I would ask if all HR practitioners understand and analyse the types of skills set your organization would need in five to ten years’ time from now to meet evolving business goals and objectives. We need to ask questions such as do we have the capabilities to ensure adequate supply of top talent & when will they be needed.

A typical scenario we can all relate to is that the traditional recruitment model is real-time or near time, a reactive process in many cases, driven by the workforce needs of today. Usually, a head hunter is contracted to find a candidate with the right skill set to fill a void in staff that has recently occurred or will happen soon. To fill this void, professional recruiters access a wide array of state-of-the-art HR technology tools that support expeditious and efficient recruiting workflow. But they lack a tool to address the organization’s long-term talent acquisition needs.

That’s a big problem. To execute the company’s long-term strategic plan, HR leaders must be able to not just identify the organization’s future talent needs but to also fulfill these demands. Today’s HR technology tools are not designed to support this objective. Finding and securing the right talent for the right jobs at the right time in the future is a “needle in a haystack” conundrum often left to guesswork.

Now imagine if such prognostications were vastly more accurate? Imagine if locating elusive yet superb technical skills was as easy as hitting the return button on a keyboard? Imagine a tool existed to rapidly source wide-ranging skill sets from across the world, wherever they may be, for specific jobs the company will have a high demand for in the future. Years before the organization needs these skill sets, knowledge of such talent is available now to cultivate relationships with these individuals.

Imagine no more. We are now engaged in helping to build this application, leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to acquire important talent supply and demand insights from hundreds of data sources.

This would be the way, the new evolutionary approach! This will be the HR of the future for the workforce of tomorrow.


Author- Sharmeel Kaur has over 21 years of industry experience out of which 13 years in Human Resources and is a big believer in skills diversity & talent. She is currently Head-Human Resources at DHL Asia Pacific Shared Services and prior to this she has been Head of HR at Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia. Having won the Top 100 Global HR Minds Award recently as one of her many accolades of recognition. She is armed with various recognition from the Ministry of HR & other established organisations for her work with establishing new workforce methods & strategies, she has gone on to be a renowned speaker at various HR Conferences in Malaysia & globally.

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