Successful HR requires the perfect fusion of tech and intuition

Every business relies on technology, but when reliance crosses over into dependence, employees and company leaders could mistakenly think they don't need to keep improving their personal practices.

"HCM operations can't successfully run on tech advancements alone."

Human capital management is no different: While eHCM solutions can automate workflows and perform many essential HR and payroll operations, they still need to be operated by those with strong intuition and people skills in order to succeed.

Exploring the rise of digital HCM

As pointed out by Forbes, part of HCM's digital transformation is reflected in how its very abbreviation has, to a certain extent, supplanted HR.

Semantics aside, the heart of this matter lies in how functions like employee compensation, benefits, scheduling and record-keeping became so much more easily managed through the automation that HCM platforms facilitated. Additional advances such as chatbots, which automatically deploy when necessary to help users navigate certain aspects of the HCM process they find confusing, offer further advantages, as does the growing incorporation of predictive analytics into the HCM tools that employees use every day.

Acknowledging the limitations

Until the day comes when software can pass the Turing test, there will always be certain reactions, strategies and thought processes that software can't address as well as a human could.

For this and other reasons, those who develop HCM technologies stress that they don't aim to replace professionals with tech but rather hope to augment their efforts. In a process like recruiting, for example, AI can do the heavy lifting of perusing hundreds or thousands of resumes, identifying common threads, highlighting the most intriguing candidates and presenting human hiring managers with a much shorter list of the most qualified candidates. Recruiting professionals then apply the skills gleaned through experience and bolstered by natural intuition to choose the applicant profiles best suited for further examination, interviews and possible hiring.

A vision for a united future

It has become eminently clear that just as businesses – and entire industries – need to evolve to survive, so must the processes that drive companies' daily operations, including HR/HCM. Technology will, of course, factor into such evolution. (At PeopleStrategy, we aim to be a major part of personnel management professionals' efforts to meet their evolving needs through our flagship eHCM platform.) But tech shouldn't ever be emphasized at the expense of human intuition and understanding.

A reasonably experienced HR team member can read the facial and body language of an employee going through a rough patch in terms of their assignments and deduce that outside personal troubles are to blame, rather than any inability on their part to do the work. At this point in the chronology of artificial intelligence development, such duties aren't within the purview of any HCM platform equipped with even the most sophisticated AI. When properly used together, however, the possibilities of human and technological resources are endless.

According to a study of strategic HR conducted by Harvard Business Review, the desire to focus on the big-picture issues of human capital, such as talent development, rather than being tied up in administrative functions stood out as a common thread among surveyed business leaders. Tech solutions such as employee self-service portals, manager and C-level dashboards, web-based training modules and analytics collection and reporting can all be of service to this goal, but they'll require human ingenuity to reach their fullest potential.

More basic administrative tasks, meanwhile, are perfect candidates for automation, and this is where HCM staff can free up room for more complex and strategic responsibilities. Ultimately, a strong relationship between people and tech will help any organization excel, but tech cannot be the tail that wags the HR department's figurative dog.