Through the decades, the practice and concept of Human Resource (HR) has evolved through various stages of Industrial revolution, trade unionism and scientific management.
This evolution, pre 1900 to early 20th century was characterized by changes in nomenclature from “Industrial Welfare,” “Personnel Management”, “Human Capital” and “Scientific Management” to “Human Resource Management”.
However, technology is currently redefining the HR value chains in a rapid, dynamic and unprecedented way, shifting HR focus from the administrative and impassive Human Resources style to a more sophisticated, strategic and tech-enabled HR Management approach.
Here are top 8 tech trends currently disrupting and redefining the Human Resource Management practice.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is the ability of computer programs or machines to learn, think and act intelligently.
In Human Resource practice, AI has enabled seamless automation of candidate sourcing, headhunting, screening, interviewing and hiring, training for different organizations.
In countless times, AI has applied its machine learning capability to analyze and match over 250 million social profiles to different job vacancies. Likewise, AI solutions have been deployed to sieve through millions of CVs and Résumés, pre-screen applications to ascertain job fit for specific roles.
In the Learning & Development department, AI is used to analyze employee competency, recommend training module based on individual knowledge gap and job demand, schedule for online class, track self-paced learning progress, evaluate learning outcome and ensure smooth delivery of personalized learning experience for employees.
A case in point is IBM, whose AI-empowered tool recommends career-development learning modules to each employee. The aim is to help employee maximize upskilling opportunities.
A chatbot is a computer program that simulates interactive human conversation via voice commands or text on websites, messaging apps, mobile apps or telephone.
Recruiters from companies like Hilton, a multinational hospitality company, are using AI-powered chatbots or HR bots to send text to candidates, schedule and execute on-demand video interviews. The easiest part is that candidates can interact with the chatbots and self-schedule themselves for interview.
For some organizations, the HR bot serves as a self-service, first-level support for all categories of employees, providing dynamic responses to enquiries and complex queries, thereby driving employee engagement.
A robot is a machine designed to perform one or more tasks automatically with speed and precision.
Robot-recruiting is gradually seeping into the HR world. Robot recruiting is an automated recruiting process, during which, assessment, screening and selection of applicants are conducted by a robot.
A Russian Startup, Stafory, developed a robot recruiter called Robot-Vera to screen and hire human workers. Among other functionalities, Robot Vera can conduct telephone interviews with job seekers and answer questions on job vacancies and open positions. The robot recruiter works 24/7 and can make thousands of calls a day. It currently boasts of conducting over 50,000 interviews per day for Stafory clients.
4. Machine Learning (ML)
Machine Learning is the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn and make future predictions on its own.
With the aid of intelligent algorithms, ML consistently gathers, stores and processes huge volume of data and helps HR to automate workflows for job functions such as performance management, payroll and benefit, compliance and reporting, among others.
Another application of ML in Human Resources is Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This machine learning tool helps to effectively manage the end-to-end applicant’s journey, match profiles to fit specific job vacancy, schedule for interview and help to give prompt and personalized feedback to applicants.
Employment-oriented online service providers like Glassdoor and LinkedIn use ML to help recruiters source, head-hunt and find best-fit candidates for different job vacancies.
Beyond Recruitment, ML is helping in the delivery of personalized training programs by assisting employee to effectively search and identify highly suitable training programs within a wide range of training opportunities.
5. Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT which is the network of physical devices and appliances embedded with sensors, software and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data.
Employees have internet-enabled mobile phones, trackers and other wearable devises. Wearables are common with field, mobile and off-site workers. HR uses quantifiable data collected from these devices to track, monitor and evaluate performance, team work, communication and productivity.
Recently, Deloitte Canada enlisted a new set of volunteers to wear sociometric badges. This sociometer measures the amount of face-to-face interaction, conversational dynamics, tone of voice, physical proximity to other people and physical activity levels. These set of data are used to determine the aspect of work that needs overhauling.
6. Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality is a computer-generated environment that is a full simulation of the real world.
HR professionals are exploiting a calm and more personalized way of conducting interviews using a VR-enabled video to make the candidates feel as though they are physically present in the interview room with the interviewer.
Lloyds Banking group is an example of companies that experiment with virtual interviews. Lloyds uses the virtual tech to assess candidates on their business problem-solving skills. This assessment involves a simulation of a typical challenge and how the candidate can solve the problem, if faced with such in real life.
7. Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality superimposes images, audio and other objects on top of the real world.
AR has a wider application in Human Resources Management, from leveraging on AR to conduct interview for candidates in real time as if they are physically in the office to using AR to give a virtual tour to new employee on the first day of resumption, thus, driving smooth onboarding process.
HR professionals have also found AR as a powerful storytelling tool in communicating corporate goals, vision, mission and objectives to both new and old employees and other stakeholders.
AR enhances learning by turning training modules to immersive experiences with the use of gamification to capture learner’s interest, increase engagement, encourage continuous learning and customize digital learning experience.
AR has also been found as an important tool in Job Analysis optimization. Here, AR is used to simulate and replicate dangerous real-life work situations in order to measure job preparedness and awareness for employee in high risk job functions.
With the help of AR-enabled software, employees of HSSMI, a leading manufacturing innovation institute, can scan their company’s logo at any location to receive virtual safety training in any preferred language.
8. Big Data
Big Data technology refers to the software tools used to manage large piles of messy, unstructured and unanalysed data.
Big Data is helping HR to effectively work with large quantities of data, generate new employee insights, evaluate workforce capacity and automatically generate performance scores for both employees and managers.
Since learning thrives on data, organizations are using big data to analyze huge amount of employee data, create employee competency profiles and design customized training programs and interventions for staff.
KeenCorp, an automated real-time data analytics company is using Big Data Technology, Natural Language Processing and AI algorithm to scan email data, assess employee group behaviours, analyze attitudes, monitor engagements and predict employee turnover rate.
Adoption of tech-powered tools is a strategic business decision to reduce time spent on routine tasks and free up time for HR professional to focus more on strategic business imperatives and deliver cost-effective, time-saving and exceptional values.
With this increase in technology invasion across different HR value chains, a forward-looking HR professional should be tech-savvy, data-literate and highly analytical while engaging in continuous learning and upskiling.