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Technology

How tech is reshaping role of human resource

 digital workforce.
Companies should embrace an increasingly digital workforce. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Technology is rapidly changing the face of human resource (HR) with experts warning that the sector’s functions will soon become irrelevant if it doesn’t modernise its approach to understanding and planning for the future needs of the workforce.

HR departments are, therefore, being advised to act fast and adopt analytical insights to identify suitable employees, record their performances and company turnovers, away from its traditional form of delivery.

According to a new report By KPMG East Africa, the power of the next generation of HR isn’t in pursuing disconnected capabilities, rather it is in “creating a holistic... approach, to building the workforce and organisation of the future”. The success of this project, the study says, lies in an organisation’s ability to integrate new capabilities, taking a worker-centric view while addressing cultural shifts and embracing an increasingly digital workforce.

The report on future of HR 2020, and in which over 1,300 human resource executives from across the globe participated, shows that three in five executives admit that the future is for HR functions to use analytical insights to drive workforce performance.

In the process, it notes, some organisations are using the disruption they are facing to justify a multiyear roadmap that integrates changes to service delivery, people capabilities, technology, process, and data to create a more worker-centric HR function.

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“In 2020, we can see a path forward for HR that requires some fundamentally new thinking about what HR does and how it is built to deliver. The way forward may start with discrete adoption of workforce shaping or piloting a more digital experience…,” the report says.

In the study, 56 percent of respondents agree that preparing the workforce for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related technologies will be the biggest challenge for the HR function.

The report notes that 71 percent of organisations interviewed, agree that HR needs to be active to challenge the future workforce composition — who to buy, build, borrow, or both — in order to meet the future needs of their organisations.

Of the HR executives interviewed, 66 percent are prioritising upskilling of the workforce in tandem with AI and related technologies.

Forty-six percent of organisations identify design thinking as a top skill required by the HR function to add value to their organisations, while 40 percent of all respondents identify enhancing analytics capabilities as among the top three reasons for their organisations’ investment in HR technology. Organisations also highlighted analytics and automation as their top two technology investment areas.

Forty-five percent of the HR organisations ranked data modeller scientist within their top three roles to invest in within the next two to three years, and they are almost twice as likely to invest in this role compared to their peers.

HR organisations, the report reveals, are already investing in analytics, and 35 percent plan to experiment with new technologies like AI within two to three years.

“The world of work is changing and requires a new mindset and actions. Pathfinding HR organisations are investing heavily in workforce shaping roles and believe this is one of the skills/capabilities needed by the HR function,” the KPMG report says.

“Understanding that although they may still require strategic workforce planning in some capacity, workforce shaping starts from future business scenarios and then ‘works back’. Traditional workforce planning starts with the existing workforce and moves forward in time.”

The report strongly recommends focusing on up-skilling the workforce and ensuring they have the right capabilities to work in the future environment.

Further, the report says organisations should maximise the success of workforce shaping through collaboration with C-suite leadership who are the ultimate owners of the outcomes and the actions arising.

It further recommends establishing regular refreshing of workforce shaping scenarios by considering what the organisation and workforce could lookalike and could be capable of achieving in the future.

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