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The robots are coming! Should human resources teams fight or embrace HR automation?

September, 2017

When you think of robots starting to play a more significant role in HR management, do you think of:

A) A helpful, non-threatening robot with the duty of relieving you of mundane, repetitive tasks. Through the use of clever HR automation it will give you more free time to work on strategic and human aspects of your role.HR automation is awesome

OR

B) A robot that is marketed as a helpful time-saver, but is actually an annoying gimmick that produces disappointing results.

HR technology is overrated

OR

C) A very scary, post-apocalyptic, unstoppable force that is coming to terminate your job and take over the world.

HR robots are going to take over my job

So what’s the right answer? How should human resources professionals feel about ‘the robots coming’?

When you hear statistics from studies, like Gartner Group, stating that on a global scale, a third of our jobs will be lost to robots by 2025, it feels natural to panic and shun new technology from entering the workforce. However, HR Trend Institute also warns that “in the vein of evolutionary necessity, HR departments that fail to adapt and incorporate AI in their work are bound to be replaced by more progressive teams.”

It sounds like a lose-lose situation, right?

If you’re concerned about your job being replaced by a robot, this fun tool ‘will robots take my job?’ calculates the ‘automation risk level’ of job roles in the future.

So, HR Managers – relax. Your job results are:

  • Automation Risk Level: ‘Totally Safe’ (or 0.55% probability of automation).
  • Projected growth for Human Resources Managers: 9% by 2024.

Now that you know that your job is safe, how should we view the ever-changing technology that we will inevitably be working with? Believe that it won’t replace you – it will enable you. You control the technology – the technology does not, and never will (unless The Matrix becomes a reality) control you.

Repeat after me…

HR automation, bots, the cloud and AI are:

  • Servants not masters
  • Enablers not inhibiters
  • Empowering not disenfranchising
  • Going to increase efficiency not diminish your ability.

Sarah Kruger, managing director at Accenture, and panellist at the upcoming HR Tech Summit in Sydney reflects this positive attitude. In a recent Human Capital Resources magazine article Sarah concluded that, “Workforce technology can often seem intimidating, and discussions and case studies can emphasise how technology is here to empower workforces, not replace them.”

Technology provides freedom by being able to streamline key Human Capital Management (HCM) functions like salary reviews or performance management, enabling them to be strategic advisers in the business rather than simply HR process managers.

HR Trends Institute agree. They confirm that many HR teams are already utilising automation and robots to:

  • crosscheck internal data with external data
  • carry out a lot of the tasks pertaining to spreadsheets
  • help them with the reports.

The result? HR Trends Institute revealed, “these teams end up with a considerable amount of time that they can dedicate to more strategic and nuanced issues, including personal interviewing and employee training.”

Instead of worrying about robots taking over, we need to look at what is standing in front of us. We already use technology all the time to make our day to day lives easier. Products are available to automate the mundane, repetitive tasks that HR spend hours administering, yet we still find many organisations trapped in using ‘what they’ve always used’ – inefficient legacy systems (i.e. spreadsheets, word merges, or a custom-built inhouse database).

Robots of some kind will come with high tech analysis and predictive abilities, and they too will have a place in the HR world. But why not take baby steps and embrace what is on hand today, rather than fear what is coming tomorrow?

To learn more about how technology can empower your HR processes, download the white paper, ‘The Freedom to Fly: Why you shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to HR technology in your business.’

HR technology white paper

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