It’s becoming increasingly clear that, as a result of Lockdown, followed by attempts to get us back to the office somehow, the world of work is set to change. Whether or not for ever is still to be decided, but at least some leaders think the changes are for good: and you can’t get a clearer statement of intent than the findings of a new PwC survey, it seems.
Why: the consultancy found a majority (61%) of nearly 700 CEOs contacted say their businesses will be more digital in the future—a change that was already underway but has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The findings, summed up well in US online HR news site HCM Technology Report, CEOs Say Remote Work is Permanent, HR Technology Should Adjust, also point to much more employee-centric approaches in the future, while, “The accelerated shift to flexible working has been valuable for many companies,” concludes Joint Global Leader, People and Organisation, PwC US Bhushan Sethi.
But what are the best ways for the HR team to deliver these changes and meet the new CEO agenda? It looks like greater automation, particularly harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI)—especially around onboarding of employees. Pandemic disruption has certainly been a challenge for getting new talent on the team, but cognitive automation tools offer the chance of simplifying the process for new hires who need to start remotely, but also cut down on the lack of connection that can come from limited initial face-to-face welcome time.
As Tech_HQ in a great piece points out, “AI steps up to simplify tasks (negating the need for manual document back-and-forths), automating otherwise arduous account setups, and providing feedback on the whole affair to make the next hire smoother.
“It can [also] track tasks, prompt responses, and even answer questions that may arise from new hires.”
Good to hear there could be help coming to deal with our common new Workplace ‘Normal’. But as ever with technology, there’s a potential downside to automation: In the era of social distancing, will technology replace recruiters?
In a thought-provoking opinion piece for the US edition of HRD (Human Resources Director), that very question is raised: “As COVID-19 has undoubtedly accelerated transformation, organisations are more than ever looking to hire talent remotely… This is not only safer given the dangers of contracting COVID-19, but also helps cut costs during these challenging times.” And by shifting to a hybrid or distributed workforce, organisations will also be able to tap into candidate pools across geographies, the article points out.
Intriguing stuff: looks like whatever else it is, the next period in HR and HR tech is going to be pretty dynamic.