Should Future HR Managers Rely Only on Technology?

Dec 02, 2021
Should Future HR Managers Rely Only on Technology?
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HR is becoming more complex all the time. For a start, it’s more hybrid, with gig employees making up a larger percentage of the workforce. In the near future, demand for gig workers is expected to rise from 77% to 94% for support services, and 63% to 94% for corporate staff. 


It doesn’t help that “job for life” is no longer part of the lexicon, so there is also a lot more movement into, out of, and within the enterprise. Today’s employees are looking for new challenges, positive corporate culture, and opportunities to advance their professional horizons and discover their personal talents and capabilities, and you need to meet these expectations if you hope to retain them. Close to three-quarters of workers are more likely to remain at a company that offers skill-building opportunities. 

On top of all that, the impact of the pandemic, plus the existing drive towards digital transformation, has made change management more pressing, more challenging, and more frequent, further complicating the picture. 

HR managers today need to gather employees’ data so as to keep track of all the capabilities of each individual, in order to know how best to support them, what to offer them, and how to put those skills to best use. But at the same time, you need to keep track of the makeup of your teams and the organization as a larger whole, so you can respond to changes in your industry and be ready to mitigate risks and seize opportunities.

It’s not really possible to handle this without the help of new technology, but is tech all you need?

Manual Performance Reviews Are No Longer Sufficient

Performance reviews are crucial for encouraging employees and enabling employee growth. Ideally, they should be ongoing, constantly updating a representation of each employee’s strengths and weaknesses, but that’s a high bar to clear — unless you have tech to help you. 

Traditional performance reviews involve lots of emails and spreadsheets. You have to dog people to complete their forms, and it’s easy for information to get isolated. But HR platforms have user-friendly interfaces to make it easy for people to carry out continuous performance assessments without friction.

That said, delivering the results of a performance review requires tact, sympathy, and compassion, capabilities that machines don’t possess. You need a living, breathing, and well-trained human who can convey the results in a way that the employee is able to hear and take in, so your employees get built up, not torn down.

Mental Health and Employee Wellbeing Demand Tech and Human Synergy

There’s no denying that a good HR manager has to be a people person, someone who can spot the employee who seems down, sluggish, or unmotivated. It takes a face-to-face conversation for an HR manager to check if an employee is waving or drowning.

But remote work made that tough to achieve, and many organizations still haven’t returned to the office. Increased awareness around mental health challenges has raised the bar for managers to detect them and offer support, at just the same time as anxiety, bereavement, and long covid caused by the pandemic has raised the incidence of mental health issues. 

At this point, HR managers can’t do it alone. They need help from mental health apps, which can both provide regular support for those who need it, and identify those employees who need more than app-based guided meditations.

Personalized Interactions At Scale Are a Step Beyond Human Capabilities 

It’s challenging for HR teams in a large enterprise to offer personalized training sessions and project opportunities, or suggest a new internal role, to the right employee at the right time. Many share these openings on a central forum and simply trust that employees will see them, but most notices go unseen. 

This is where artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-driven HR tools can help. They analyze employees and constantly update their assessment of individual skills and skills gaps, interests, and intra-team dynamics to create a multi-faceted understanding of each employee and push relevant opportunities in their direction. Some also use augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) to create immersive, personalized training experiences. 

While these tools are invaluable, an enterprise still needs the holistic opinion of a human HR manager, both as part of and to confirm the data that a talent management platform might draw on. 

Technology Fatigue is Real

Both employees and HR managers risk experiencing tech fatigue. Overloading employees with tech tools intended to improve their working environment, wellbeing, and employee experience can often end up backfiring. Likewise, HR managers with too many tech platforms can easily miss the wood for the trees, and fail to notice serious issues developing within the workforce. 

However, HR managers who have too big a workload can face burnout, especially when many are managing hybrid teams and dealing with the ongoing fallout of the pandemic. The right way to use tech is to automate tedious HR tasks and lighten the burden on HR teams, so managers can spend more time on the human interactions and assessments that AI can’t (yet?) take over.

Successful HR Management Is All About Balance

Tech is a vital way to augment the abilities of your HR team and help them do their jobs more effectively, but like in every sphere of the world of work, HR teams need to use human and machine capabilities in a balanced way. By applying AI and ML to automate time-consuming tasks, streamline performance reviews, support employee mental health needs, and improve talent management, HR managers can improve HR processes across the board.


Author Bio: This article is written by our marketing team at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee engagement, and intranet software. Our aim is to help your company improve employee engagement, employee productivity, and to save you valuable time!

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