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Technology is Reshaping HR, But Your Competitive Edge Lies in Human Capital

By Tim Schigel, Managing Partners, Refinery Ventures

Tim Schigel, Managing Partners, Refinery Ventures

HR professionals today have titles such as Chief People Officer, Chief Wisdom Officer and Head of Talent. The titles represent a shift from HR administration to a focus on culture and human performance.

Why? In today’s information-driven economy, the key differentiator between organizations that thrive and those that fall behind is human capital.

We are living in an extraordinarily complex, technology-forward world. However organizations need to look past artificial intelligence or robots to gain competitive advantage. The real value comes from investing in augmented intelligence and utilizing technology to increase the overall human capital of your organization.

Companies that have the ability to provide real-time training and give employees more impactful opportunities are better positioned to drive innovation and competitive advantage, while increasing overall employee satisfaction. Here are three key areas of focus:

Education as a retention tool: As of 2019, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is hovering below 4% nationwide. It’s an extremely competitive job market, where talent demand far outweighs supply. This is forcing companies to gain a deeper understanding of attracting and retaining top talent.

Although automation has eliminated several mundane tasks for employees, too much automation can be detrimental to employee engagement. For example, point of sale systems are designed to eliminate human error, however these systems have gone so far in terms of standardization that the person behind the cash register doesn’t have to “think” to do their job.

"Companies need to continue to evaluate and implement new technologies that help make employees better at what they do"

No one wants to stay in this type of job. There’s no learning. There’s no growth. As technology takes over these mundane tasks, employers need to provide challenging and engaging opportunities for employees so they feel fulfilled in their position.

Training never stops: A week of on boarding and one-off skills training isn't enough. Companies need to provide on-demand mobile training to enable faster, better decisions. When employees have real-time information at their fingertips, it not only increases effectiveness, but productivity. Being able to quickly learn and adapt is key to success.

Not to mention, offsite training is costly and kills workday productivity. Companies need to adopt innovative on-the-fly training technology to not only engage with employees, but to also ensure their skillset remains up-to-date and competitive.

Expand your Geography: Engaging with and retaining high performers is a top priority for today’s organizations. However if companies can’t recruit top talent, engagement and retention become a mute point. Companies, especially those in competitive talent markets, need to look beyond their backyard to hire the best candidates.

Investing in technology that fuels a virtual workforce, such as collaboration tools, project management platforms and video conferencing will keep employees engaged regardless of location. Organizations that offer a flexible work environment – telecommuting, time shifting, etc. – will not only recruit top talent, but also will also increase engagement and retention.

Companies need to continue to evaluate and implement new technologies that help make employees better at what they do. Smart companies will use these tools to ensure employees are engaged and empowered.

Otherwise they’ll be obsolete before we know it.

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