Tech or touch? Top HR bosses share how to deal with challenges of technology
Several repetitive tasks are fastly disappearing, making the life of HR managers easy. But at the same, they are facing a peculiar challenge from technology - Should they give priority to tech or touch?
The traditional HR functions are undergoing a sea of change because of recent advances in technology. Several repetitive tasks are fastly disappearing, making the life of HR managers easy. But at the same, they are facing a peculiar challenge from technology - Should they give priority to tech or touch? Or, in other words, should they function in a mechanised way, as the technology ordains, or keep the human element alive in whatever they do to help the company succeed? Top HR bosses and industry experts tell Zee Business Online about their priorities and how technology is impacting the HR department.
“Future is about integrating tech and touch in people practices as the workforce composition is changing rapidly with the millennials, gig workers and work from anywhere /anytime flexibility, while Artificial intelligence seems to be buzzing now as HR professionals we should never deprioritize Human intelligence i.e. empathy driven People practices, in short it's time to accelerate "Tech and Touch" integration”, said Girish Menon, HR Head, Swiggy.
Lokesh Sikka, Vice President & Group CHRO, Onida, believes HR has to become a valuable business partner, central to strategy decisions, for businesses to succeed in today’s fast-paced environment.
"Core HR processes like talent acquisition, performance management and training have to be made more efficient and tech-friendly, thus making it effective. A unique platform has to be provided to enhance overall employee experience and that fosters better productivity at work. This all is linked to transformation and can be leveraged further through technology," Sikka said.
Old practices must be replaced in the wake of challenges posed by new-age technologies. Srinath.G, Vice President & CHRO, Nexval Infotech Pvt. Ltd, said, “A decisive entry of Talent, Organisations & Practices into an age of individual and collective experiences, has thrown open legacies onto the target boards of transformation necessity."
What has changed?
Zairus Master, CEO, Shine.com, said technology can help HR in transforming and making the system more integrated and automated so that they can focus on internal engagements and development of the workforce.
“The world is moving fast in this digital age. AI, ML & Analytics are playing crucial roles in ushering these winds of change and it has the potential to supersede human capabilities in running the businesses," he said.
Biplob Banerjee, Chief People Officer at Allied Blenders & Distillers Pvt. Ltd, drew an interesting analogy, comparing transformation and technology to James Bond movies.
Banerjee explained, "Transformation and Technology are like James Bond movies. It needs optimizing four other “T”. An aligned Team and trusting them. Bond, the leader, used disruptive Technologies but more importantly had a great Team behind who he trusted and they trusted him through all unbelievable challenges. Use technology but don’t undermine the other two Ts."
"Balancing the first 3 Ts is a challenge because leaders usually fall for the last two Ts (unlike Bond!): Temptation and a Trap of only depending on Technology in any transformation journey”, Banerjee added.
Kinjal Choudhary Sr. Vice President & Group CHRO, Eicher Trucks and Buses, highlighted the importance of re-skilling of HR professionals in the wake of technological advancement.
“Changing business imperatives demand not only a few ways or working for HR, but also massive re-skilling for HR professionals," he said.
Alok Sheopurkar, Executive Vice President & Head HR, HDFC Asset Management Co. Ltd, cautioned, "The excessive focus on talent management may increase burnout. Similarly, Excessive usage of technology may bring down human interaction leading to psychological issues at work.”
One should not view technology and humans as against each other. Nirav Jagad, CHRO, Nykaa.com, views advancement in technology as a huge opportunity for HR professionals.
"It’s imperative to accept the interplay between Technology and Human rather than view it as Technology versus/over Human. The outcome of Technology leveraged Human capabilities will be disruptive. It is a great opportunity for the HR (People) function to leverage technology and move up the value chain," said Jagad.
Not just Gut feeling!
Technology is transforming the way HR makes decisions. Sumantra Mitra, Head HR- Glenmark Life Sciences Ltd, said, “Technology has curved out more bandwidth for HR to manage non-value added activity in minimal time & shift towards overall qualitative employee capability & career development. With this virtue, it’s an interesting journey for HR to move from "Gut Feel” base decision to database decision.”