Thursday July 2, 2015
Isabel Naidoo, Head of Human Capital at Capco, looks at how disruption is affecting HR departments and how savvy HR directors can make their mark on a disruptive environment
It seems I can’t get through my Twitter feed without some mention of disruption these days. Whether it’s the ‘uberisation’ of practically anything you can think of or the displacement of traditional services by technology, disruption is all around us. And yet in HR we still seem to be admiring the challenge. And yes I am guilty too, having blogged and vlogged a fair bit around the topic.
However the time has come for HR practitioners to realise that this state of constant disruption is our new normal. The pace at which technology is changing the world around us is, as we know, exponential (only 20 years until singularity, wow!) so there is no reason to believe that disruption is going anywhere fast.
So what does this mean for HR?
Firstly and probably most critically we need to support organisations, leaders and employees through the massive pace of change. Whether it’s in knowing how to effectively lead the digital natives, or in enabling employees to embrace and leverage technology, it seems like every way we turn our help is needed.
HR needs to move fast to provide it. While, of course, disrupting themselves…
As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more and more ubiquitous (I heard at a recent conference that Google employs half of the AI experts worldwide so that seems inevitable) it’s only a question of time before even traditional human elements of HR, that we thought would never be displaced, become obsolete. Would you care for a coaching session with a robot? Why not, if the advice doled out is based on vastly superior experience to any ‘real’ person’s.
Here are some sample questions to ask of your HR teams to see if they are ready for the new normal:
- As collaboration and new ecosystems open up, are we embedding the right skills in the workplace through learning? If collaboration isn’t topping the skills matrix, the answer is probably no.
- As we are all limited by our own cognitive biases (yes all of us), do we have enough disruptors in our teams? As the CEO of @BoldRocket is fond of reminding us, only 3% of people consider themselves innovators, how are you giving them room to operate amongst the other 97%?
- Are you still running reports that give you basic retrospective reporting or are you using data to predict trends and predict exactly who we need to speak to?
- Is your recruiting process still reliant on inherent human bias or have you found a way to leverage technology to drill down to the exact kinds of profiles and skillsets you need?
- Do your teams see infrastructure as an enabler or a hindrance? What are you doing to fix this?
- Do you think you have the skills you need to operate your HR department in five years’ time? What are you doing about it now?
Change is scary. We know that. But in this case the change is here to stay, and HR needs to be ahead of that curve if it truly is going to be able to add value to the evolving organisational models.