"The fourth industrial revolution", "The digital age" are just some of the emphatic definitions that want to define the working contemporaneity. We are in the midst of transformation.
In fact, what is really happening is that technology is expanding dramatically, and a sea of people and organizations are trying to figure out how to economically benefit from it. Internet, big data, social media, artificial intelligence, robotics, etc. they represent the cornerstones of the new social scenario within which we try to orient ourselves, and it is good that this happens soon, otherwise the whole system collapses. But how are companies and managers adapting to this new reality? And how are human resources, which by definition have to do with people, prepared to integrate technology, thought and action? I am sure you have read pages of books and articles on the subject, but for shared convenience, I try to draw up a "Bignami" on the subject.
All about contemporary human resources
1. A modern organization is a dynamic organization
Most companies are striving for a more flexible and dynamic reorganization and are leaving behind the hierarchical structures of the past. Companies organize themselves around small work groups, which are quickly formed, who work together for one or two years and then move on to other projects within the company. It turns out that small teams are a more natural way of working for humans. It is not a technological topic, but it represents an indispensable premise.
2. Employees are learning all the time
Taking into account the speed of technological change, how can we prepare for what is likely to happen in the coming decades? The solution is continuous learning. We can no longer be satisfied with the "normal" cursus studiorum and base our future career on what we learn during those years; our career has become a journey of continuous learning. To equip employees with the skills and knowledge they need, the company's training and development managers are developing more flexible learning models that can be used in real time. The learning management systems of companies ( Learning Management System-LMS) are being adapted to this revolution by incorporating video, mobile content, micro-learning, gamification techniques, etc.
3. Acquisition of talent
In an economy based on knowledge and human capital, the acquisition of talent is vital for any company. Immersed in the great technological revolution, companies are constantly looking for professionals specialized in new sectors of economic activity. To recruit (and then retain) the right people, HR managers use social networks, new cognitive technologies and Big Data (large amount of data). But, also the use of videos (with various platforms), online forms, social networks (not just LinkedIn) and interviews with Skype and the like.
4. Improve the employee experience in the company
HR managers strive to promote corporate culture (if any), improve employee motivation and engagement, keep up with the needs of ever fewer young millennials, and provide better learning opportunities for employees. Improving the employee experience (from recruitment to career path) serves to increase employee satisfaction, to improve the reputation of companies and facilitate the transition to a more dynamic, agile and flexible organizational model. If it is true that finding a job is a problem, it is also true that for certain specific skills, with a high technological content, it is the candidate who chooses the company and not the other way around.
5. New ways of evaluating employee performance
The way to get a promotion within the company, or a pay raise, is changing. Experience and seniority are no longer the main indicators of evaluation and we have moved to a faster and more flexible model. Human resources are at the center of the search for new evaluation models, based on well-defined objectives and continuous feedback.
6. New leaders
And if times are changing, so are the leaders. Companies all over the world are looking for a new type of leader, capable of adapting to the economic and social changes taking place. The trend is towards younger leaders, with diversified backgrounds, able to give companies a “digital” turn. The new leader must be able to manage small, agile and dynamic teams. It must feel constantly learning and developing continuously. It goes without saying that human resources play a key role in all of this, especially by leading by example.
7. The now mythological smart working
As the organization as a whole goes digital, HR departments must follow suit as well. HR's responsibility is to spread new digital initiatives throughout the workplace, implementing new mobile applications (Slack, Workplace, Microsoft Teams, Gamelearn, etc.), software and tools that help change the way people work. company. Even chatbox services that use artificial intelligence are to be considered an (almost) indispensable tool.
8. Big Data at the service of human resources
The rationality of the objective data has (re) conquered its primary role. Today more than ever, numbers are power. And human resources are an indispensable part of the great "data revolution". More and more companies are using their employee data to improve staffing processes, increase business productivity and detect statistical errors. These new trends have led to the coining of the term people analytics . The intensive use of data makes it possible to mitigate “emotional” discretions and to make rational decisions about people (who to hire, whom to promote, etc.).
9. Promote diversity and inclusion
As companies strive to become more global, digital and transparent, the issue of diversity and inclusion cannot be overlooked. Employees attach increasing importance to these principles and consumers have become more demanding in their demands for respect for cultural diversity, gender equality, etc. Human resources commitment to a policy that protects diversity and encourages employee inclusion will not only make companies more efficient, innovative and productive, but will also improve their brand image and reputation. And you don't need complicated artificial intelligence systems, just that little bit of natural intelligence, which we are all equipped with.
10. Finding a balance between machine and man
New technologies represent a challenge for all employees, therefore for HR managers. What kinds of jobs can be replaced by machines, which ones should only be done by people, which ones require the combination of man and machine? The answer to these questions requires a redesign of the workplace, the organization and, in fact, the future of the company itself. The issue is that identifying "essential human skills" is not easy. Not only that, over time these will change according to the various technological revolutions that will take place and the human being is likely not to be as quick to reposition themselves with new skills.
The "Bignami" is ready, but I fear that by tomorrow it will have become old and out of date.
About the author
Giuseppe Ando is a C-Level & Executive Coach - Associate Partner at the acclaimed Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching. With a career that presides at the crux of the Venn diagram of Passion, Skills, and Experience, Giuseppe’s reputation as top executive coach has spanned decades. Among his many accolades, he is also recognized for his unique ability to understand and inspire those he coaches to excel professionally and personally while also delivering their organization’s desired results.