‘Strategy’ has been a popular buzzword in HR for the past several years, but when we as HR professionals sit down to actually talk strategy—we struggle with it! What is ‘strategy’? What would we really do if we had more time? Technology gives us a glimmer of hope that we can change how HR functions and flip the script on task management and strategic planning. 

But before HR goes ‘all-in’ on technology, we need to start really thinking about the impact of tech and where it can help. Some of that will be high-level strategies, but a lot of the most helpful changes will be the day-to-day ‘busy work’ stuff that still needs to get done. This is where technology can really help—just think about something as simple as automation and how that can amplify how we work.

In his Eclipse 2019 general session, Dr. Jarik Conrad addressed three specific areas where technology is transforming how HR functions to become more efficient and more human. Check out the recap and full session video below! 

 

1.) Overload & Stress—Well-Being at Work

HR needs to think differently about the approach to wellness at work. Stressors at work are affecting our emotional, social, physical and cognitive well-being. Most people associate ‘well-being’ with the physical aspects—but what about the rest? Emotional intelligence is critical for a well-balanced, holistic approach to wellness. 

One of the biggest stressors that often gets ignored is work overload. Over the next 5 years, 74% of workers will be working beyond their capacity.  Additionally, a high percentage of employees report negative mental health symptoms related to stress at work. People are struggling—and it’s our job to help. 

 

 

Overload has a tremendous impact on employees and whether they are productive or not in the work environment. Stressed employees can often check the day-to-day boxes, but it makes the difference between high performers and employees that are doing the bare minimum. Stress takes a lot of mental and emotional effort and, over time, will inevitably result in diminishing performance returns. 

Additionally, stressed employees are not taking care of themselves, which exacerbates other wellness issues. 

 

 

How do we reverse this trend and work to prevent overload and unhealthy stress? HR and managers have to fundamentally and profoundly understand people more than they ever have before. We need to understand where people are within our organizations. To do this, we’ve translated Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs into a workplace-friendly version to help HR managers understand how to meet employees where they’re at. Communicating with an employee in ‘survival’ mode will be a much different conversation than an employee in ‘influence’ mode. 

 

 

 

This approach requires highly individualized leadership; leaders must seek to discover every employee’s unique potential and help them continuously improve. The employee/manager relationship is still the #1 driver of engagement within an organization. 

Check out the full video below to learn more about sentiment analysis and how this technology is helping bridge the gap between employee feedback and organizational changes. 

 


2.) 4th Industrial Revolution—Preparing People for the Future of Work 

The Fourth Industrial economy is upon us, which is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological to augment human capability. How does this affect us at work? And is HR ready? The nature of work is changing and it’s our responsibility as HR managers to prepare people for this change. 

 

 

 

A recent study by Ultimate Software asked this very question and solicited answers from over 1,000 participants and over 50 interviewees. The conclusion? HR is interested—but definitely not ready for change. We’re busy! And it’s hard to focus on the future when we are so busy in the present. We are going to have to decide as a group that now is the time. We have to ask different questions and experiment with different approaches and solutions. 

 

What exactly is HR not ready for? 

  • Tailored training and development
  • User-centered designs
  • Robotics & AI in the workplace

 

When considering upskilling employees, equality needs to be hard-wired into this process.  African American and Hispanic workers are disproportionately concentrated in the kinds of support roles most likely to be affected. Women’s jobs are likely to be disproportionately affected by automation, at least in the short-term. 

This is just one example of how technology is going to shape the future of the workforce and how HR needs to be proactive about handling these changes and challenges. 

 


3.) Internet of Things—Creating the Connected, Collaborative Enterprise

If employees are used to a connected experience in their personal lives, we as organizations should strive to provide that same experience in the workplace; we must facilitate connections that elevate people at work and transform the digital employee experience. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) has given us: 

  • Boundary-less connection
  • Ability to think things into reality
  • Control over our environment

 

Leading companies recognize that the employee experience is the new battleground for competitive advantage.

Connectivity and collaboration at scale will help overcome employee isolation and overload while increasing employee fulfillment, control and productivity. And these tools will help mid-senior level managers create and control their own destiny within your organization. 

Technology that enables continuous feedback loops will revolutionize HR, particularly by using advanced analytics and process automation to optimize systems of work and people systems. 

As an example, HR could provide tools that continuously coach managers so they can give more valuable feedback in real-time. Tools can also change the game of collaborative development by providing insight into team challenges, motivational feedback and company performance intelligence. 

The Future of Work & Workplace is personalized, digital, experiential, interactive, fluid, collaborative and connected. Are you ready? 

 

Check out Dr. Conrad’s full Eclipse presentation in the video below! 

 

 

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