Will the rise of tech help or hinder HR’s future?

KPMG’s Soula Courlas speaks to HRD about the rapid evolution of technology, and what HR can expect next

Will the rise of tech help or hinder HR’s future?

Feel like you’re struggling to keep up with the latest HR technology – not to mention a world of apps, social media, and other tools?

Technology is causing major disruption to how HR and businesses operate – including eliminating jobs and creating new ones – but there are ways to stay ahead of the game.

Soula Courlas, partner and national leader of people and change services at KPMG, says HR leaders need to be constantly looking ahead to anticipate how technology will impact people, then working with their organization’s leadership to understand those implications and continue on the right track to achieving their vision.

“HR is a speciality in the organization that can help leaders and business executives understand how to get the most out of their organization and people to achieve the business’ goals. It’s being proactive and providing more thought leadership, understanding of implications, and how to really elevate the strategy through organization of people.

“If you’re always thinking about it in that way, then as challenges come along, as disruptions come along, the anchor’s always: what are we in the business of doing, how are our people and our leaders going to support that vision, how do these disruptors affect our people and our organization, and our leaders.”

Courlas says recruiters will need to rethink where talent comes from – “some is human, and some is not” – including what that might mean for HR professionals in their own careers.

It’s part of HR’s role in supporting the rest of the organization to build in the proper sensing mechanisms throughout the organization to get a sense of ‘how are people feeling, what is happening, how are people responding to something, do we need to make a change’ – there’s that information flow throughout the organization.

“Potentially, 10-plus years out, HR as we know it will have disappeared. HR service delivery [will be] highly automated, small HR strategy and architecture functions, navigated by a chief resources officer [who’s in charge of] both human and financial capital.

“There’s a landscape out there that says HR is going to radically change because it’s driven by technology and high automation, distribution of those capabilities around leadership, employee engagement etc., to the leadership of the organization away from HR, and more towards that direct access self-service.”

Courlas urges HR professionals to stay on top of trends that are changing the landscape of their work, position themselves as business leaders first, and understand how their organization and industry are evolving.

“They can enable the organization to achieve its goals through people in the organization – a life-long learning, and being really top of the HR game and focusing on technology advancements, the psychology of people, and leadership.”

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