Influencers discuss how the biggest HR problems lie in understanding our workforce.

Rebecca Wettemann
Vice President of Research
Nucleus Research


What area of the HR function will be most impacted by emerging technologies, and why?

All areas of the HR function are being impacted, but the most significant impact is coming for HR managers who must become partners with business leaders in finding the best ways to coach employees. The most effective HR managers will take advantage of process automation and artificial intelligence to improve hiring processes, reduce the amount of rote work, and focus on employee experience—providing employees with proactive advice on performance, how to align their aspirations with opportunities, and how to get actionable feedback from managers.

How can HR leaders best make the business case for HR technology investment?

There are three keys to building a strong business case:

The first is focus. The best business cases only have two or three benefits; few good ones have more than five. Honing in on the top benefits of your business plan can help you focus your efforts in building a strong case but also help you use the business case as a roadmap for the project itself, focusing on deployment and adoption milestones that ensure you achieve those areas of real benefit. If you’re not sure what the top benefits of your business case are, rating them on breadth and repeatability (how many people an application or process touches, and how often) are a good place to start.

The second is to remember a business case is as much to get budget for a project (proving your case up to management) as getting buy in from the users that will actually be using it (proving your case down to employees impacted). Employees need to understand, for example, what automation will enable them to do—spend more time on more interesting projects, reduce conflict—that will impact them personally.

The third is communication. Having a clear and crisp, non-HR justification for your project that can be communicated both up and down will help build political and business momentum. The thing I like to remind HR professionals of here is MOM. It’s not an acronym: if you can’t explain it to your mother, you need to sharpen up your message.

How is HR technology changing the way people work?

We are just beginning to see how emerging technologies like robotic process automation and artificial intelligence impact the workplace. In an ideal world, a more data-driven workplace helps recruiters hire employees who are a better fit, helps high achievers gain recognition and the coaching and training they need, and helps managers scale their skills and advice to personalize their mentoring for each team member. In reality, AI and automation also highlight the weaknesses of poor managers and processes. In implementing these technologies, HR professionals are most successful when they’re transparent about the changes and their impact and help employees understand how technology reduces human bias, makes managers more effective, and ultimately improves their employee experience.

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