As with many industries and departments, Human Resources was swept under by the sudden influx of hiring and training technology. Now, the HR department is left to find their place and fight the battle to keep the human element while still adopting as much useful technology as possible. It’s a delicate balance that most companies are still struggling with—so how can your HR team stay on track?

As the amount of technology coming into the workplace continues to grow, HR teams are left to battle to keep their place and find the balance between effectively using technology and not letting it take over their roles entirely. This shouldn’t be seen as a battle between humans and technology, however, because that’s not the point. The point is that all of this technology can help the humans make more of their efforts and create a more efficient HR department as a whole, and that needs to be embraced.

Work is Changing

The way that we work is changing, thanks in large part to technology. It has redefined jobs, changed workflows, and automated a number of different processes. It has also affected how people find work, when and where they work, and how people communicate both within the workplace and outside of it. It enables companies and people to be connected at all times, and highly productive with technology available in all types of devices from anywhere in the world.

You don’t have to know the exact answer to this change for your organization, so long as you are aware that it is happening. It’s all about reworking our thoughts of work and getting organizations on track with the new way to get work done. Right now, freelance work is soaring thanks to the gig economy, and an increasing number of companies will become fully digital before the end of the decade. People are no longer limited to location or time for work, since a lot of the jobs can be completed at any time and from anywhere in the world.

Another shift is that people are no longer being hired specifically by a job title. Instead, companies are hiring skills. There is a much bigger focus on teamwork and teams are fluid and dynamic, with leaders that can handle face-to-face management as easily as they can remote leadership, using a variety of constantly changing tools and resources for digital management of a business.

Microlearning and Re-Skilling

Some companies are investing money in what they are calling ‘reskilling’ their workforce, training them to work WITH the automated innovations and the new tools that have taken over some of the human jobs. They are teaching people valuable skills that will help them become an integral part of the new organization that incorporates all kinds of different technology for the success of the organization. Traditionally, companies would offer this training in a mass-learning environment, forcing people to spend hours or even days in training classes or with online training modules.

Today, many HR departments and new hire teams utilize microlearning resources like TED talks, YouTube videos, and other online resources that offer smaller nuggets of learning that provides only the information that people need when they need it. This can make learning in the workplace a lot more enjoyable and effective, and it makes employees feel valued since training is tailored to their needs.

What This Means for the Humans in HR

Technology is not removing people. It is simply changing their roles. There are certainly some threats to certain jobs, but there is also a fair amount of opportunity that can be found by adapting to a better quality of professional life with the integration of technology. People need to be particular about employing various technologies to improve HR, and understand that now it is more critical than ever to make the right choices about technology.

Of course, you can’t just implement technology. You have to know how to incorporate it and put it to work for your organization. You have to think about what the data is doing, how you are using it, and whether or not it’s going to be useful to the organization. You have to pick and choose the data that you use, record, and monitor in your HR department and make sure that you’re using it well. There are so many different things to consider here, but it’s all about finding out what works. It means that the humans have to do a little more work to figure out HOW to implement the best technology throughout the organization, including in the hiring and development of staff.

Don’t Ignore the Shift

It isn’t the technology that needs to be feared. It needs to be harnessed, understood, and put to use. HR is definitely at a crossroads and until you realize that and make the necessary changes, you will never be able to keep up and keep the human element alive.

You certainly could just engage all technology and eliminate most of the humans from your HR department. There is enough out there that most HR processes can be streamlined, automated, and changed in a variety of ways so that it’s entirely hands-off from a human perspective. You could do this, but you shouldn’t. Companies that do not have faces in a department with a name like Human Resources are not going to fare very well. In addition to all of the technology that is available, you need to have the right people on staff to harness that technology.

The answer here is simple. If you want to keep the humans in your HR department, it’s time to stop, reevaluate, and come up with a new game plan. Get to know the technology that is available and come up with a strategy to incorporate and respond to that technology in the best way that works for your organization. Then, and only then, will you truly be able to move forward successfully while keeping the “H” in your HR team.