Only human

Technology empowers human capital management to personalise approaches.

Read time 4min 20sec

Today's human capital management (HCM) professional has to contend with shifting business demands and an evolving workforce. At the same time, HCM itself is changing ? and one of the key drivers of that change is technology. Whether this is seen as a threat or an opportunity depends on the individual.

However, digital technologies present a valuable opportunity for organisations to take a next-generation approach to HCM.

As we've seen in the consumer market, the next-generation consumer demands greater interactivity and more engagement with brands. Brands that are agile enough to personalise their value propositions in line with the preferences of each customer will be the brands that take the market share in the end.

The same principles apply to the HCM environment, where workforces are changing and evolving fast. Consider that by 2025, millennials, born between 1980 and 1995, are expected to account for about 50% of the global workforce.

This significant shift in workforce demographics means that the employees of tomorrow will require, and indeed strive for greater integration and flexibility, and organisations that offer this will remain competitive while also positioning themselves as an attractive and engaging employer.

It is estimated the average tenure of a millennial worker is just two years; and talent management practices throughout the employment life cycle must keep pace with the demands of millennials, while at the same time continuing to adequately meet the requirements of the business.

Digital technology enables the business to deliver results fast, whether it be in recruitment, on-boarding, performance management, talent identification, learning and development, career and succession management, and recognition and rewards. Today's employees, and certainly those of the future, are unlikely to wait long for organisations to provide valuable feedback and assessments of their performance.

In short, to be an employer of choice in future, the organisation must deliver the same agility and personalisation available in the consumer market.

Thanks to new technologies enabling new approaches to delivering HCM services, it is becoming possible to give employees rich access to HCM services, and simultaneously engage employees on their terms. New mobile apps, social media, in-house CRM, GPS and Internet of things tools can be harnessed to optimise working environments and productivity, reward efficiency, track and manage human resources and customise talent management practices and communications to specific groups and individuals; effectively eliminating one-size-fits all engagement with employees.

Digital is reinventing recruitment and talent management, in addition to redefining learning and development. E-recruitment speeds up and streamlines hiring practices through digitisation. Algorithms save time by identifying where skills are needed while also sorting through various applicants to help detect the most suitable candidate.

To be an employer of choice in future, the organisation must deliver the same agility and personalisation available in the consumer market.

Digital technology enables HCM to deliver greater value to organisations. With the help of technology, the HCM function can focus on being a strategic value contributor. With the transactional side of HCM taken care of through the optimal use of technology, HCM can focus more on the strategic aspects of their role; ensuring they can direct efforts to activities which positively impact the most valuable asset any business has - its employees.

For HCM professionals, the time-consuming burden of routine processes and administrative tasks will largely be eliminated; a welcome development that frees HCM to dedicate more to efforts which improve organisational effectiveness and competitiveness.

Talent management systems are more responsive and enable the business to gather real-time performance information and to take timely decisions and actions in line with the information. This bodes well for the shifts brought about by the increasing employment of millennials.

As HCM transactional processes become more efficient, mobile technology will become all the more critical in extending these processes to reach a mobile and dynamic workforce. It's for this reason that it makes sense to make use of a central HCM platform that can provide the unified, consistent data needed to gain a single objective view of the workforce, automate specific processes, and work seamlessly across various channels.

While it may be tricky to predict exactly what the future will look like, what we can be certain of is that change is here to stay, and will most likely accelerate. Technologies that were almost unimaginable not too long ago are now a mainstream reality. The challenge for organisations today is to be prepared for inevitable change and move with it.

HCM practitioners with an appreciation for the possibilities of digital technology and those who take a proactive approach in integrating it will be in a better position to differentiate their organisations from a talent management perspective, as well as improve their contribution to organisational effectiveness.

Mandisa Seleoane

human capital executive at Adapt IT

Mandisa Seleoane is a human capital executive at Adapt IT. Seleoane holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Durban-Westville (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Human Resources and Labour Relations through the Rand Afrikaans University (University of Johannesburg). Additionally, she has completed numerous business, leadership and executive coaching programmes through the University of Pretoria's Gordon Institute of Business Science, Corporate College International, Barton Consultancy Services, Evolved Coaching and Robert Simic Coaching Institute. Seleoane is a certified neuro-linguistic programming coach, and has 15 years' human capital experience, which she gained across multiple sectors such as mining, media, professional services/consulting, medical aid and finance.

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