Industry 4.0, Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, Made in China 2025, Society 5.0 or Second Machine Age. Whatever you call it, it is obvious that we are passing through an era where disruptive transformation is the new norm. We all know that artificial intelligence, man-like-robots, sensors and many other unprecedented technological gadgets are changing our lives. Change is not only in our lives, but also in the professional business life. Hence, each and every function of businesses are working over the possible effects of those developments on their day-to-day operations. However, when it comes to Human Resources Management, it is quite difficult to hear some plausible ideas regarding the following question:
What is in it for HR people?
Before giving an answer to this question, let us clarify what is happening around us. In 1784, when the first steam machine was invented, for the first time in the history, machines replaced human’s muscle power. And today, machines are replacing human’s mental power. Then it is not difficult to say that some works will be done by machines. Then the critical question is whether HR Management is threatened by computers. According to a study by Frey and Osborne (2013), HR Management is among the jobs which are least susceptible to computerization of jobs. Learning that we –the HR people- will be around, we can take a deep breath and go back to think how our profession will be affected by technology.
It seems that the most profound impact of the technology will be on the structure of the workforce. Crowdsourcing, freelance working models, contract labors and other “new human models”, which are the byproducts of “on demand” economy, are changing the workforce structure from full-time employment to freelancers. According to Deloitte’s Human Capital Survey of 2017, 66 percent of companies believe that their use of off-balance sheet talent will grow significantly in the next 3–5 years (this ratio was 42 in 2016). However, 59 percent of the respondents say that they are weak in the capability of managing crowdsourcing as part of the organization’s workforce and talent programs. Adding the fact that 81% of the CEO’s call talent acquisition important or very important, there is a big developmental gap for HR people to create new ways for accessing (not only acquiring) best-in-class talents in the market.
This small analysis takes us to the first answer of question “What is in for us?”.
Talent acquisition which is the most critical HR function will evolve in to talent procurement. Instead of acquisition and retention of talent, we will try to identify and build strong relations with prospective sources for timely accessing the required workforce. And this new mindset will take us to filling talent gap by acting like supply chain managers.
Then comes a new question: How does this new mindset affect other functions of HR Management?
The upcoming blog posts will look for answers to this question.