April 9, 2018

HR needs to catch up with the tech-savvy workforce

The rapid advance of technology is changing the roles of many people in our organisations. As technology takes on more jobs that humans usually do, employees’ concerns for their job security increase.

The truth is, technology will render some jobs obsolete. On the other hand, some jobs will evolve and many new jobs will be created. Consequently, we all need to think about how technology will change our work and what skills we need to develop to remain successful.

One of the many parts of a business that has been and will continue to be affected by technology is Human Resources. As business leaders, it is absolutely crucial we equip our people, especially in HR, to harness the power of technology.

For young people, a world without the internet is impossible to imagine. They tend to be more tech-savvy than their older peers, though these days it is rare to find anyone under 60 who doesn’t have a reasonable knowledge of computers and online communication tools. In this sense, HR practitioners too must become as tech-savvy as they can in order to help everyone in their organisation.

Being tech-savvy means knowing how to learn to use current and new technologies. It is about having confidence in your ability to apply basic technologies for everyday use. The changes in the way that people work and in the way they engage with the organisation because of technology are already evident.

So how can we begin to become more tech-savvy?

First, we need to understand and see the value in digital resources. As much as this is common knowledge, there are still many people who fear or reject platforms and software simply because they lack the openness to trying something new. But because technology is now being utilised daily, we must learn to understand its value.

Second, get into the habit of learning and exploring the different types of technology available. Just because you are not tech-savvy at the moment, it does not mean you cannot become tech-savvy. As you explore more and expose yourself to different types of technology, you’ll be able to learn more about what has the best potential to be applied in the HR field.

Third, ask questions. Sometimes, learning something new, especially technology that is always changing and advancing, can prove a challenge for many. Asking questions is important so you can fully understand the technology at hand.

You may feel overwhelmed sometimes, because technology is always changing, often faster than we can learn about it, and it is always a challenge to keep up. Therefore, it all comes down to the fourth and last point — keeping a positive mindset.

As Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, once said: “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

For HR practitioners, becoming tech-savvy is crucial. For a start, more job candidates are turning to the digital world to search for positions and learn about prospective employers, so the “war for talent” must go digital too. Even if there are some setbacks when it comes to technology, HR departments can benefit from it.

Technology can improve the candidate experience during recruitment and also help the HR department better serve current employees. HR staff can make smarter hiring decisions based on real-time data that has been collated and analysed with the help of special applications, some of which use artificial intelligence (AI).

Technology can also benefit on-boarding for new employees. HR staff can provide resources to new recruits to help them familiarise themselves with information about your organisation. This can help current employees as technology allows an “always-on” engagement.

Leveraging mobile applications can help HR staff keep up with the engagement, whether it is a high-potential candidate or a current talent in the organisation.

The fact is, throughout history we have always had to deal with new technology. Fifty years ago, electric typewriters were a big deal in the white-collar world and today they are antiques. Who knows whether smartphones or Facebook will even exist a decade from now? There will always be people with a positive outlook on technology and there will always be those who are sceptical or downright fearful. But, it all begins with a positive mindset. As technology as one of the key drivers of our changing world, surely it is time to embrace it and move forward.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s leading executive, leadership and innovation capability development centre. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@new.seasiacenter.com or www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa

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