Management technology is set to eliminate swathes of brain-numbing HR and Management activities in future organisations. There is a bubbling excitement in the world of management at the moment. People are experimenting with radical new models. There is a lot of talk about self-organising, democratic workplaces. It’s a new world of real-time feedback, fluid recruitment, self-managed learning, reputation building and the use of social data.
A common thread behind these trends? Technology and enablement
Technology means that employees can manage their own data, integrate and interrogate it instantly instead of having to queue in the IT ticketing system. Technology means that work can be organised, salaries set, and performance appraised without needing managers to get involved. All this could just mean – happy days – the elimination of hours wasted on futile HR & management activities. The HR managers of the future will act more as a coach and less as an administrator of an archaic process.
Does this mean the HR function will disappear? No. In-house HR departments may downsize as new technologies enable employees to perform self-service processes, and it might get renamed but the People function is here to stay. The future HR professionals will be data-driven and strategic partners of the business that can provide valuable insight to leaders when making high-stake decisions. They will leverage their specialist’s skills along with technology to solve new challenges, such as managing a remote workforce or a transition after a mergers and acquisitions. They will become ‘enablers’ of the business, giving the workforce the skills and tools to recruit, develop, and manage their own teams more effectively. HR’s job will be as experts and to monitor and intervene on the process only when necessary.
Less of the admin and more “letting the work do the work,” in the spirit of management guru Rosabeth Moss Kantor.
What’s going to go?
The following activities have all got a sell-by date on them, and they’re getting close to expiry. To illustrate the level of frustration these activities are currently inflicting on HR managers, I have created a pain scale (1 being the mildest and 5 being the cruellest – see Figure 1 below). Although many HR managers still devote their time doing these transactional tasks, either out of faith in the status quo or suffering from red tape, at the rapid pace that management technology is evolving today, these are the activities that could disappear in 5-10 years.
Watch out for my blog series in the next few weeks, where I will talk about this roll-call of sinners, and reveal my predictions of what technology will replace them. Some forward-thinking organisations today have already made the transition. If yours is not one of them, I would be fascinated to know your reaction to these predicted changes. Prepare to get ahead of the curve.
In your experiences, which workforce management activities will most likely get replaced by technology? Please comment below
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