There are two main concerns raised by HR folks when it comes to the future of the profession and how it’s impacted by automation:
- Will most HR jobs become obsolete and replaced by “robots”?
- Will it change from a people role to a tech role, so every HR expert has to learn how to code?
The workforce is hit with a new article about “robots stealing jobs” seemingly every other day, and it’s easy to understand why this could make some professionals nervous. The same goes for rapid technological innovation – people are worried they’ll get left behind without the necessary skill sets.
For HR teams, however, there’s really no reason to worry.
The automation that is sweeping through organizations these days is a catalyst, and the future of HR is brighter than you might think. Rather than being something scary to avoid, automation is a huge opportunity for HR experts to increase their business impact and support employees better.
How will automation actually change the HR role? And how do these changes and an automation-first mindset prevent HR jobs from becoming obsolete? Here are the 4 main changes for HR roles.
1. HR becomes more human
One might assume that adding automation to HR processes makes the relationship between HR and employees less personal. However, this is not the case.
More automation in an HR role actually means they spend less time on transactional work – handling repetitive requests, manually executing the same processes repeatedly etc. – and more time on:
Consultative work: Giving leaders and employee guidance and assistance on complex topics
Transformative work: Future-proofing the organization by thinking strategically about how it can work and operate better
In other words, HR will capitalize on human strengths. Then, automation will handle some of the repetitive admin tasks that are a waste of their expertise.
2. HR becomes more data-driven
An increase in automation also means an increase in digital touchpoints, so more data points are generated over time. This helps HR managers to collect more feedback, learn what works (or what doesn’t), and iterate processes.
Why is this imortant? First, it creates real insights to help identify the right HR strategies. Second, it helps HR teams to get leadership buy-in – because what executive doesn’t love data-driven decision-making?
3. HR becomes more employee-centered
As we discussed in the previous chapter, the number one best practice for implementing HR automation is to focus on the employee experience. This shift is one of the biggest changes for the HR role.
More data means HR teams can discover real-world insights about their employees’ needs and preferences – and then build processes based around those learnings. No more guessing game.
Plus, successful automation helps break up the silos between your organization’s various systems. With fewer barriers, employees can access better support within the tools they’re already using – Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc. – and HR managers won’t have to force them into another system for self-service.
4. HR becomes more independent
If you’re an HR professional that doesn’t code, fear not. While it’s true that some occupations are shifting to heavily favor the tech-savvy, we’re also in the midst of a no- code software boom. This means that many of the automations that previously depended on developers can now be done by HR teams themselves.
It’s great news that the market is shifting in the favor of HR, and it makes obsolescence much less likely. Plus, some automation platforms like Back are designed specifically to work for non-technical teams.
A new mindset for HR in the age of automation
As the HR role changes, the most successful professionals will have an automation-first mindset going forward:
- Develop your busywork detector. Keep an eye out for the repetitive tasks you’re doing. Over time, you’ll get a sense for what can (and should) be automated.
- Embrace automation. As HR teams grow more accustomed to automation, it becomes a no-brainer. Every level understands it’s nothing to be scared of anymore and actively embraces it.
- Build new processes to be scalable from the get-go. If the HR team is thinking about a new process, it should be implemented with a scalable automation. That way, when it’s time to scale up, the groundwork has already been laid.
- If human contact is needed, do it right. It’s true that some human contact will be reduced as tasks get automated – but there will always be instances where people want to talk. When those instances arise and HR managers have the time for it, they should do it right. But outside of this, let automation do its work and save you – and your employees – valuable time.
The “dream world” of optimized processes, fewer manual tasks, and effortless help for employees does exist when organizations reach the highest levels of HR automation – but these shifts won’t happen without significant changes to the HR role itself.
With automation as a catalyst, the future of HR is looking bright: these developments will help HR experts to increase their business impact and support employees better in the years to come. Ready to get to work?