Keeping the “Human” in Human Resources

It’s no secret that in HR and staffing, analytics and AI are a competitive advantage. New technology is changing the field every day. AI can now write job descriptions, screen résumés, and more. People analytics can be used to hire candidates or optimize your current teams. But HR is about so much more than screening résumés and posting job descriptions. In the wake of all this automation, how do professionals keep human resources…well, human?

Human resources encompasses all things people: recruiting, hiring, onboarding, managing teams, overseeing benefit programs, settling disputes — anything to do with keeping employees happy and productive. They provide a link between the company’s leadership and its employees. They take the strategies that executives devise and turn them into actionable plans that improve the workplace. Often, however, HR can be bogged down by more tedious work. Looking through piles of résumés, setting up interviews, and entering new employees into systems, for example, all take away time, energy, and resources from other duties.

This is where automation comes in as a competitive advantage. It saves time, decreases costs, and increases accuracy — and those are just the basic benefits. It’s not going away, either. SHRM predicts that technology and analytics will only become more relevant to HR departments as time goes on. We’re still in the beginning stages. By the 2030’s, HR professionals might regularly work alongside artificial intelligence and use advanced data analytics to make strategic hiring decisions.

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No technology is without its drawbacks. We often see examples of people becoming just numbers on a spreadsheet without any regard for their experiences or humanity. Large corporations have been accused of using technology to monitor worker productivity and enforcing such strict standards that employees aren’t able to take bathroom breaks. Technology can be dehumanizing, especially in businesses where the goal is strictly profit.

While increased productivity is one of the many benefits of new tech, it should not come at the expense of workers. This is where HR comes in. Human resources’ responsibility is to ensure that any new technology is utilized to the benefit of the business and its workers. HR’s main job is human interaction; they should view technology as a tool they use to facilitate and streamline that goal.

New technology enables us to analyze large quantities of data to aid in recruitment—not to replace the expert entirely. Analytics provide an impressive edge to any HR department and can also improve diversity and inclusion efforts. This saves time, energy, and resources, allowing HR professionals to focus on what matters: people.Research conducted by Talent Trends found that when it comes to certain parts of recruitment and employee management, most people still prefer a ‘human touch.’ Emotional intelligence is a skill that shouldn’t be undervalued, and it’s a skill that can’t be replicated by any software on the market today.

Continue to strive to create an engaging and positive workplace environment. Listen to employee and client feedback.In order to have a productive and efficient business, you need both. Employee engagement is no longer just a perk; it’s a requirement. Find ways to honor and recognize your employees and listen to their concerns. Utilize new HR tech to increase not just productivity, but teamwork and cooperation.

HR professionals must remember that ‘human resources’ is essentially human interaction. Technology has simplified the process, but HR’s number one priority is to create meaningful interactions that push teams, departments and companies in the right direction.

We must embrace human connection just as much as we embrace technology if we want to consistently attract and retain top talent.

Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen
Tammy Cohen (SHRM-CP, PHR) is the founder and chief visionary officer of InfoMart, an identity and background screening company.

Tammy Cohen

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