Key Trends in HR Digitalization amidst shifting business landscape


As SMAC, acronym for Social, Mobile, Analytics, & Clouds alongside Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic process automation, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Virtual Reality, Chatbots take a centre stage, they present industry with an exciting possibilities of growth that is non linear, and also an opportunity to play a critical role in reshaping the market and workforce landscape.

It is high time for us in Human Resources, if we want to remain relevant, to start thinking how to help global CEO’s deal with the Human Capital challenges by visualising shape of future workforce, developing a diverse and accountable leadership pool, keeping a step ahead of paradigm shift in engagement practices for 21st century workforce and its imperatives.

I was wondering during my course of employment if I would be asked to hire a Robot instead of an employee? There is already a talk about moving beyond span of control to new measurements like man to machine ratio etc.

As Digital is taking a centre stage and is at the forefront of CEO’s & CXO’s mindset in the fast changing and ever evolving business landscape in VUCA world, I see emergence of following key trends in Human Resources.

Paradigm Shift in Workplace Learning Dynamics

Learning today is in the midst of a dramatic change. Gamification, Curation, Augmented Reality (AR), Mobile Learning – Personalization & Customization – Be it the phone, or tablet, mobile devices are changing the game of learning delivery and interaction and sharing, Use of multimedia and open education resources : Digital media, YouTube videos such as TED talks or the Khan Academy, and, increasingly, open educational resources (OERs) in the form of short lectures, animations, Massive Open Online Short Engagements (MOOSE), simulations, or virtual worlds enable Learners to access and apply knowledge in a wide variety of ways.

Days of learning for learning’s sake have evaporated. The more closely learning providers work in partnership to fulfill business strategy with measurable ROI or RoE, the more rapidly L&D will be viewed as catalysts for innovation and learning rather than course or program providers.

Outsource or Automate HR Transactional Spectrum

In a book published by Edward E. Lawler III, Contributor, Forbes along with John Boudreau, he has mentioned that HR spends less than 15% of its time as a strategic business partner. It spends more than 80% of its time in dealing with the implementation and administration of HR policies and practice including compliance, managing compensation, employee benefit programme, maintaining employees’ records, driving appraisals etc. which are mostly transactional in nature. Some of the companies have already taken the steps to automate or outsource some of these functions. Do we have to automate or outsource is not the question now days, what and how much is the question?

Analytics in HR is taking a Centre Stage

Maintenance of database, reports, dashboards and other HR tools that encompass  employee life cycle right from entry in the organisation till exit including Talent Acquisition, Onboarding, Compensation Management, Talent Development, Employee Turnover, Performance Management etc is a critical part of HR Job and in view of the technological shift that is taking place, CHRO’s responsibilities have increased multi-folds and Analytics in HR has taken a centre stage as this enables CXO’s & CHRO’s to make informed decision and choices to create relevant contextual interventions for the optimisation & development of workforce enabling enhanced productivity and superior customer experiences in a fast evolving business landscape where efficiency is no more a luxury as there is an increasing demand to provide Japanese quality at Chinese price.

Gig Economy – Developing Roots and Taking Shape…

Digital is revolutionising the global economic firmament and also the ways & means of employment. As per Investopedia, in a gig economy, temporary, flexible jobs are commonplace and companies tend to hire independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees. A gig economy undermines the traditional economy of full-time workers who rarely change positions and instead focus on a lifetime career. According to Intuit, the percentage of Americans in the gig economy is expected to grow to 43% by 2020.

The open access marketplace is both an opportunity and challenges as laws governing the Gig economy are at a nascent stage of development specially in the developing world.

HR Role Dynamics Undergoing a Major Shift…

HR leaders have to keep themselves abreast of the changing mindset of generations and how workforce is evolving, what are their needs, what is relevant in current scenario and what has become obsolete. They need to align the business demand to the ever evolving workforce need and strike a balance in a manner that they manage to retain knowledge and contribution which requires agility &constant revisiting of HR strategy& its impact.

As Digital disruption continues amidst shifting workforce dynamics, In times to come, Human Resources Leaders will play a critical role as:

  1. Conscious Keeper– to ensure that policies practices framework are deployed across organization in letter and spirit;
  2. Custodian – ensure application and alignment of laws of the land so that your CEO could sleep peacefully and
  3. Be par excellence facilitator – more of a consultant role wherein you guide the workforce and help them enhance their productivity and customer satisfaction through designing of contextual interventions and last but not the least act as a change catalyst.                                  (The Views expressed are personal)


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