Tech-led touch: A look at the emerging role of HR function


The role of HR function with respect to engagement and communication with employees has been changing dramatically with the introduction of digital tools. In the wake of digital transformation of businesses, HR function is also beginning to adopt chat bots and system-driven support in order to create positive experience for employees. Organisations are gearing up for employees’ queries related to HR policies, leave entitlements, payroll and others which are either answered through user-friendly self serving repositories or through chat bots and AI engines trained to provide pertinent, proactive support and speedy response to employees.

As of now these initiatives are supporting HR teams to handle the queries, specially in organisations that have distributed workplaces and are keen to ensure uniformity and standardisation as well as provide flexibility to employees to interact using devices anytime, anywhere. With employees getting used to such measures and receiving customised service, the engagement levels will get enhanced as HR function is always connected with their workforce.

Similarly, the talent development function which has traditionally been driven by HR function is now getting pivoted as employees want to have a say on their career and own the plan for their growth opportunities. It is now possible with the help of digital platforms such as Skills Alpha to enable employees to express their aspirations, for the organisation to define its business requirements and find a match with respect to current as well as required competencies. The linking of performance management system, competency mapping, learning and development supported by internal and external coaches, all of which are facilitated by the digital platform forms the core of succession planning which can now be decentralised to a great extent across business units through the empowered business heads. As a result, the onus of providing regular emotional connect and enhancing the ‘touch’ quotient would be more on such empowered business heads.

HR managers would have to therefore transition from ‘managing resources’ on behalf of the mangers to providing mentoring support to business leads to help motivate their teams for outcome driven performance. HR function would still have the responsibility to nurture the right culture and values in the organisation and for this communication and ongoing engagement with employees would be the key.

With part-time workers, niche talent working from home or remote locations and gig economy style becoming the norm rather than an exception, HR function would have to focus on security, monitoring output, integration and alignment although such resources may not be part of the regular workforce. With technology playing a big part in shaping the new work environment, it would be expected of HR function that the required systems and tools are served up to the teams in order to meet their needs for information, policies, confidentiality, people engagement and development. Further, HR function’s role would tilt towards analytics—both predictive and prescriptive, providing inputs to managers on key parameters such as likely attrition cases, employee mood sensitivity analysis, adaptive content based on learning styles and best-fit analysis for recruitment for key positions. Cognitive skills and analytical skills would be the critical competencies that would determine how HR managers can reshape their own roles as well as the ability of the organisation to attract and retain quality talent aligned with the dynamic business needs.


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