Should HR professionals embrace automation?

Much of the HR function is now being automated - is this a good thing?

Should HR professionals embrace automation?

Think automation is a threat to HR? Think again.

In fact, it’s the exact opposite, according to Ben Willis, vice president, product management and strategy at Saba.

Automation has certainly helped make life easier for HR professionals, he told HRD.

For one, it means they can spend more time analysing what the data they collect is telling them so they can provide even more value to managers and employees, said Willis.

“And automation can make life easier for employees, as well. Data gathered from across the organisation can help make personalised recommendations for learning and development activities based on interest or improving productivity.”

So does HR make smarter decisions due to big data and data analytics? “I think that’s absolutely true,” said Willis, “HR and other business leaders can make more informed business decisions around talent management programs because data and analytics provides a better understanding about our people.”

Willis cites the example of clearly being able to see employee learning preferences, how they’re progressing towards meeting their goals or where they might need support, and their connections within teams and throughout the organisation.

“Analytics really does provide a deep understanding of the current workforce and helps HR and business leaders match their strategy against near-, medium-, and long- term organisational needs,” he said.

Willis added that technology is constantly changing the nature of people’s work in all areas of business.

“Specifically, when it comes to AI and analytics, HR departments should team up with business leaders to define the critical questions that need to be answered,” he said.

“The next step would be to identify the sources of data where those answers can be found within the organisation.

“It’s an important exercise to first identify the business needs for workforce analytics because once it’s understood what the right questions are, and where they can find the data, HR can work with stakeholders from across the business to establish the best approach to understanding that information.”


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