Article (January-2022)


Keep the balance

Anil Kaushik

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In the light of increased digitilization and automation, the new work world is consistently changing. HR function is not the exception. This technological transformation is also being defined as workplace 4.0. HR is also on automation ride with speed to see that all its processes and systems are transformed technologically to increase effectiveness, decision making, employee experience and of course overall business outcomes.

But recent past few incidents of process automation malfunctioning or failure to address people issues, have however, raised questions on its success rating, achieving the purpose and impact on overall business. Who can dispute the benefits of technology and automation? The benefits, convenience and time saving are evidently enough. Along with this, is it not the opportune time for HR to sit, rethink and review the extent of automation in HR processes without evaluating its impact on ultimate employee experience? We should be intelligent enough about using the technology and assessing its corresponding loss of human interaction with people in organisation. The money, organisation might save with increased efficiency in one area ends up costing more in another because end user expectations and acceptance of a particular HR automated process is the core. Losing human touch with employees in this whole process may prove to be counterproductive in the long run as it would lead to employee dissatisfaction.

The challenge before the HR would be how to keep automation process humanized to have faultless hiring process and on boarding, increased employee engagement, purposeful PMS and meaningful L&D initiatives. How to embrace new technology without losing the human element because the soul of Human Resources function is touch and feel. While moving towards adopting technological automation of HR processes, it cannot be either OR. The balance between the two is must. You cannot sacrifice or leave behind one for another.

HR needs to regularly evaluate the automated processes on the basis of end user feedback, align them with their needs and keep improving them so that processes are kept humanized and human intervention is exercised where it is required. Faceless automation process will eliminate compassion, empathy and emotional bonding in the long run. We have to stop converting people and its contributions to organisation into just numbers. Quantification of everything in the form of data will harm more to people management than benefit.

This edition cover story ‘Humanizing the Tech’ is an attempt to explore and identify the ways of keeping technology humanized to serve its purpose better for HR function. HR experts of the subject have brought diversified views for you on the subject.

Wishing you all a very healthy, safe and joyous 2022.