5 min read

Taking the “Human” Out of HR?

Guy Thornton
Guy Thornton February 01, 2019
Taking the Human Out of HR

Technology has encroached into just about every area of our lives, so it’s not surprising that it’s now replacing people in many roles. But how much is too much? The human resources department has not been immune to this technological takeover. And, with the trend for using more and more technology in your daily life, you must ask yourself: Are you becoming too impersonal in a position that used to be people-oriented?

Here are 5 technology trends that will be pervasive in human resources this year. At a time when you can make or break a career with a click of a mouse, how will you incorporate these trends into the office without losing the human aspect of HR?

1. Cyber Stalking or Candidate Recruitment?

Recruiters have used online presence and social media to research candidates for years. The trend continues this year, but you should really be asking yourself if you are heading into stalker territory. There’s often a very fine line between professional research and downright intrusion into someone’s life. How would your candidate feel if you followed them from their workplace as they lunched with colleagues? Listening to conversations that you are not a part of may seem like great research to you, but it’s also an invasion of privacy. Things posted online are not truly private—at least, that’s the argument you might make. And, to some extent, you would be right. However, checking out a candidate’s online presence to get a general feel for him or her is supposed to stop at just that. After you have a good idea of whether the person is perfect for you, you need to come out of the shadows. Make contact, and come clean about how you found your candidate.

2. Gamification is Child’s Play

Gamification is gaining popularity in different industries. In business, it may be used to screen potential candidates in an engaging way without relegating them to raw data—at least, from their perspective. It’s a win-win situation. You gain valuable recruitment information, while they have fun showcasing their skills. On some level, they know this is a preview for employers. However, pre-interview jitters don’t come into play because it’s a different forum for delivering the same information. Out simple, it’s a more honest and personal way to gather data.

3. Reduced to Numbers: Blind Hiring Too Impersonal?

Another trend that is continuing into 2018 is the concept of blind hiring. Originally, it was meant to be an unbiased way of sifting through potential candidates. But does this reduce human beings to keywords sorted through an algorithm? Blind hiring may be going too far to remain impartial. Relying solely on blind hiring can desensitize you to the human factor that makes each candidate unique. Demographics should not be an indicator of whether or not a person is qualified for a job. However, blind hiring can deliver certain pieces of information that you wouldn’t get from gauging merits and achievements. Of course, most companies only care about the bottom line, so what better way to sort through people than looking at their results? The journey to get there obviously means less now than it did in the past.

4. Working from Anywhere BUT the Office

Also continuing into this year is the popularity of remote working. Whether you choose to work at the local Starbucks or from the living room couch, telecommuting is still growing. You can easily log into work from anywhere that offers Wi-Fi. This faceless workplace still has its problems, though. Yes, it’s convenient for all involved, but online etiquette is different from physical etiquette. How do you make sure that employees are still adhering to labour and harassment laws? There is a certain autonomy in working remotely, but the human resources department still needs to make sure everything is working as it should. So, how will that happen? Should your department implement an online office moderator? There are no easy answers, even though the concept of remote working has been in place for years. Ask yourself, though, what your responsibility should be in the way you treat physical office personnel versus virtual personnel.

5. Your Job Redefined

Finally, your job is changing. Whether you know it or not, it is changing right this second. This is because the focus has shifted to technological solutions, and your employer wants to keep you employed. As an HR professional, you will have to talk to people about these changes, even if you are not going through them yourself. This means finding personnel who are willing to adapt to changes in their current responsibilities, and manage tasks that computers can’t. There is something to be said for the human touch in this tech-saturated world, but finding areas that need it is growing increasingly difficult. How do you live in an automated world without becoming automated yourself?

Guy Thornton
Guy Thornton February 01, 2019

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