Technology and Human Touch


Technology is changing the way businesses operate and deliver products to consumers in many sectors. It has really made a lot of inroads into various industries like Financial Services, Manufacturing, Automobile and so on. With so much of automation taking place and Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) being the trend, obviously HR is not left behind. There is a lot of innovation taking place in HR technology space as well. HR being enabler in every one of those industries that employs humans, how much of tech is too much is a big question to answer. HR always in conundrum that by employing lot of technology, will we lose human touch?

Today many enterprises are spending lot of their dollars to improve efficiency and productivity, HR is also not left behind in terms of this spending. There are various different technologies for HR industry that is helped / helping them to reach where they are today. However, the road to transformation is still long and there are plenty of opportunities that are available to optimise HR operations where technology becomes critical to improve efficiency.

The question that becomes relevant is – where do you draw the line? Consider the following scenarios. We may get the answers.

  • Today technology such as Video interviews will help the hiring team’s to attract talent in a faster way than typically calling them over phone or for that matter calling them in person to their office.  Where the commute distances to work have become longer, it becomes imperative for recruitment teams to employ such use of video interviews thereby reducing time to hire, cost of hire etc.  Besides helping in preventing any fraudulent hires. 
  • Similarly if hiring team were to sift through oceans of resumes that have come into the bank of every recruiter, it becomes a herculean task.  Hiring team should embrace technologies embedded with AI / ML in these cases where it will help them to spot the right candidate from their bank and help in serving the business faster. 
  • Employee engagement has been the most talked about in every organization. Yet we have problems to execute them because its person dependent and is not scalable. Internal social platforms for employees helps them to network with their colleagues, collaborate with them. HR can promote peer-to-peer recognition platforms with gamification using such technologies. This in turn helps them to run Rewards and recognition programs very effectively. 

Above are some of the examples, where if technology is available it can help HR to scale up to the growing business needs.  By not employing such technologies, organizations start to lose out to their competitions.  Hence it is imperative for HR to embrace technology.

However, there is a word of caution.  Technology marches or will march forward year after year and there is no stopping of the same. But we have a far more fundamental phenomenon called people-to-people communication in business and that cannot be replaced by these technologies or bots or virtual realities.  They can only get closer but not replace the human touch. In my view all these technologies help in freeing up administrative or mundane time HR or Managers spend today. By freeing up this time, HR & Managers can provide the much needed human touch to employees thereby becoming a catalyst for a positive transformation to business.  Just because the tech is available, doesn’t mean it’s always going to be the best option in every situation.  Hence its important to strike a balance and employ them based on organizational needs and culture.  

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Swaminathan is a Senior Director at Capgemini Technology Services India Limited helping their clients in architecting solutions for their digital transformation journey. Prior to Capgemini, Swami has donned multiple roles of Chief Delivery Officer, Business head & Product engineering head for Adrenalin eSystems Ltd. During his time with Mahindra Satyam [now Tech Mahindra], Swami was based out of Microsoft Technology Centers in Boston and Redmond where he executed some turnkey projects on Microsoft technologies. Swami is an ardent Microsoft Technology Evangelist and has done many touches down programs in Microsoft Technologies to its various customers. Swami holds an Master in Computer Science and MBA in Human Resources field.


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