Keeping the Human in Human Resources

Technology is great … until it becomes a substitute for the human touch.

Many experts are worried that too many of us are relying on technology in our day-to-day lives. This extends, of course, to relying on tech to do away with tasks we find tedious or rote.

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But should we? Take HR. For example, instead of calling or emailing candidates personally, how many times do you send out template rejection letters or emails to people who you interviewed in person? Don’t they deserve a personal touch such as a phone call? After all, they took the time out from their day – their jobs – to come to your business to interview. Is it really too overwhelmingly tempting for you to shoot out a cookie-cutter email letting them know they weren’t selected?

How technology already impacts HR

Technological tools already have made a huge bang on human resources. For example:

  • Recruiting tools such as applicant tracking systems (ATS) have simplified the hiring process.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) helps match candidates with your open positions. It also can be used to help your current employees find answers to the many “typical” questions to which they normally turn to HR to ask.
  • Video conference and other collaboration platforms help recruiters interview candidates (in preliminary interviews, at least).
  • Many performance-management tools now automate processes such as collecting employee feedback, sending messages to employees, etc.
  • Paying employees digitally.
  • Providing online training, new employee onboarding and employee development programs.
  • Company-wide intranets that give employees information as needed. These intranets also can provide employees with direct access to their own personnel records, etc.
  • Human capital management software automates many tedious HR tasks, such as tracking hours worked by department/project, employee turnover and attrition, storing critical compliance data, and more.

The ways in which technology makes us feel disconnected from each other

Whether the following are “unintended consequences” or not of using technology to make our day-to-day work lives easier, the fact remains: we’re feeling less and less connected to each other:

  • Text messaging, email and social media often are the preferred method of communicating with colleagues, even when a face-to-face meeting or a simple phone call would answer questions and concerns easily, more collaboratively and even more quickly.
  • Technology allows us to work remotely, so we may never interact with subordinates or co-workers in real life at all.
  • Many of us now are “tethered” 24/7 to our bosses/jobs, always feeling that we “need” to be available to our employers lest we be seen as slackers of non-team players. This feeling of “always being at work” is proven to be detrimental to our health and personal relationships.

As technology – particularly artificial intelligence (AI) – moves more and more into the recruiting/human resources space we feel it’s more important than ever to ensure that the human touch remains an important part of the work we do in our professions. So much so that we’ve decided to discuss the idea of keeping the human in human resources in more depth moving forward.

That said, we will discuss how human resources professionals can keep their empathy on full display when dealing with employees and candidates. We know all too well how stressful working in recruiting/HR can be and how easy it is to start look at people as “problems” rather than as assets. Look for that post later this month.

In the meantime, if you need more humans to work for a few hours or a few months, contact the recruiters at Helpmates. We can source, vet and place terrific workers quickly. We look forward to hearing from you.

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