How to Prepare for the Future of HR

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The HR profession has undergone many changes in recent years and most HR professionals have managed to stay ahead of the curve. But with new types of technologies moving into people management, it’s worth revisiting a central question: Will your job be automated? And how can you prepare for the future of HR?

Change is happening – will you be replaced?

The rapid technological development of the past decade and the resulting change in the workforce have been researched extensively. As we’ve seen, HR jobs have not remained untouched by technology, despite their being in essence “people jobs”. Artificial intelligence and automation in Human Resources have lead many of us to wonder which of our tasks will become fully automated in the next few years and which jobs will be taken over by “robots”.

Will technology become so effective that humans will no longer be needed to manage a human workforce? Highly unlikely.

Fears that robots will be taking over our jobs have been around for hundreds of years. “So far, AI and robotics are not used to “automate jobs”, rather to “automate tasks” and “augment” human functions which, in turn, increase productivity and performance.”

Nevertheless, skills shifts and employee displacements as a result of technological advancement are not new nor unexpected, according to Mckinsey Research Institute.

In the field of HR, this type of transformation is accelerated by the availability of large amounts of (employee) data. Such data fuels increasingly complex algorithms that support the most advanced HR departments around the globe in making better decisions and predictions. Automation in the HR sector has taken over 80% of its administrative tasks, 55% of traditional recruiters’ jobs and almost 20% of the work of compliance. And this holds true for the entire spectrum of HR activities.

Whether we look at recruitment, onboarding, retention or offboarding, technology already drives a large portion of our processes and strategic decisions in nearly each HR discipline.

What does this mean for HR professionals?

There is no question that HR jobs are changing. The question is, how much?

After conducting a large global study, Deloitte concluded back in 2016 that, given the state of HR Technology, Digital HR amounts to a “revolution, not evolution.” Automation is increasing its share in our day to day lives and taking away the more repetitive parts of our work. This makes our jobs easier and more interesting – as long as we learn how to use it to our advantage.

Digital HR is all about leveraging technology in order to make HR more effective, drive better business value, and provide employees with the tools that make them successful and happy at their work. 

Those who can master Digital HR and lead the technological transformation will have a huge competitive advantage over their peers and will be in high demand on the job market.

Equipped with the right skills and knowledge, you can make use of technology and data to become a more impactful version of yourself. Here are a few advantages:

  1. Make smarter, data-driven decisions
    When you learn to interpret data, technology can offer you assistance in making better strategic decisions. Research by Visier (2018) shows that organizations with an advanced people analytics function have 56% higher profit margins than their less advanced competitors.
  2. Spend more time on interpersonal relations
    By automating administrative tasks you can spend more time on what matters most: interpersonal relations. Increased automation and reliance on data give rise to heightened competition for both market share and talent. Great employee experience (EX) and good people management are essential to attracting in-demand personnel and gaining a competitive edge.
  3. Grow your strategic impact
    Automation and AI allow you to take a more strategic role in the business. By understanding data and knowing how to leverage its power to fuel people-related decisions, you can increase your strategic impact and become a valued partner to the business. To be able to bridge the gap between HR and ‘the business’, you need to speak the language of data. 

It’s time to develop your future-proof skill set!

Technology might be replacing some jobs, but it will open up a greater array of data-driven and digitally-oriented positions in HR. Most of these have not been invented yet – which gives you the unique opportunity to help shape the HR departments of the future from the ground up. 

If you’re willing to invest in yourself and make use of all upskilling opportunities, a world of possibilities will open up for you.

A Chinese proverb says that “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is NOW.” The same is true for future-proofing your career. The only way to lead the Digital Transformation in HR and come out ahead in the future is by starting to prepare for it today.

It’s time to learn the ins and outs of Digital HR, to gain basic data literacy, adopt a data-driven mindset and, if that’s your cup of tea, acquire data analytics skills. When the time comes that all HR positions will require all these skills (and many jobs already do), you’ll be ready!

When you are ready to prepare for the Digital Transformation in HR, the Digital HR Certificate Program can give you all the tools you need to use technological innovation to master the future of work trends and stay ahead of the competition. 

Not sure where to start? Check out our HR Analytics wand Digital HR competency framework, to see what skills are needed and what steps you need to take to develop them. 

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