Repeat after me. Unicorns are NOT real. Unicorns are mythical creatures.
The HR Tech Conference is a consistently enlightening experience in its ability to encompass both relevant HR trends, as well as the more traditional technology and processes that continue to be in vogue. This year, the conference looked beyond the usual process and technology and instead emphasized people as a critical asset in organizational success. Below are a few takeaways from the conference:
No more HR
The leaders at the conference underscored the point that traditional HR was no longer viable. There was renewed focus on treating employees as assets and the need for HR to act more like asset managers, or, as they call it, “human capitalists.” There was general agreement that the advent of millennials and disruptive technologies have altered the very fabric of the workforce, and “human capitalists” need to lead organizations to solicit interest from the newly empowered workforce.
HR Tech keeping pace with HR processes
The concepts of worker and employer are more fluid than ever, and HR processes must reflect these dynamics. And yet, the technology supporting these processes is not evolving fast enough, and this means either HR has to handle them manually or the business just doesn’t handle them at all.
Business leaders are always on the lookout for that magic wand that will take the pain out of these dynamics, and the HR Hacklab hackathon session was a great testimony to this fact. Some of the best brains met to discuss evolving HR challenges and possible hacks. It was made clear that the new role of HR is to enable better employee experience rather than just focus on efficiency. HR leaders are to act as workforce enablers and help people enhance their skills to be able to help businesses outperform.
Importance of communication
While this has always been a hot-button topic, the last few years have decisively underscored the need for better managed HR policies and open communication with employees. Cutthroat competition, intricate workforce dynamics, and changing labor compliance landscape present increasingly complex challenges for the HR teams. The only way out for HR professionals is to be more approachable, better educated on changes, and in constant dialogue with employees to better relay new information and receive feedback. There was lot of emphasis on how HR business partners need to be change agents and manage innovation to minimize disruptions and chances of failure.
Wearables at work
Wearable technology and its use at the workplace has been a topic of discussion for at least a couple of years. While the adoption still has a long way to go, it is encouraging to see how some businesses are using this technology to promote wellness and work-life-health balance within their teams. As we move forward, it will be interesting to see how wearables, sensors, connectivity, and extreme digitization will be used in conjunction to solve critical challenges around workforce management and productivity, while also opening up new challenges to be dealt with. Whichever way this goes, HR and tech vendors should remember that end user experience is what will drive adoption and in turn the success of any technology.
Making HR human
While the last few decades have been about using technology at the workplace and quantifying the workplace, there has also been movement to bring the human aspect back to the workplace. We have seen businesses take steps forward, like getting rid of the performance reviews, implementing flexible work, paid sick and parental leave policies, and using micro-learning and gamification. For businesses, the biggest bang for your buck will come from investing in technologies that enable HR to bring more human elements into its processes.
HR to prove its mettle at the C-table
Time and again, CHROs have been asked to prove what they bring to the C-table, despite businesses claiming employees as their biggest resource. Recently, however, this sentiment has been changing, which was clearly seen at this year HR Tech sessions. More than ever, most C-suite leaders know and believe that HR has to be part of the strategic leadership of organizations of any size. HR is being charged with the transformation of business and HR technology is seen as a core aspect rather than a perfunctory administrative necessity.