Most value-creating development initiatives within modern businesses require a solid foundation – often, this foundation consists of technology. The technological landscape is changing faster than ever, which means that new tools, systems and infrastructures become available as we speak. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the latest technologies that we think everyone, not just HR professionals, should be familiar with:
RPA (Robotic Process Automation),
AI (Artificial Intelligence), and
VR (Virtual Reality).
Robotic Process Automation
Refer to CIO magazine, “RPA is an application of technology, governed by business logic and structured inputs, aimed at automating business processes”. In practice, RPA tools are fantastic for supporting data driven processes. Companies can configure software, or a robot, to interpret applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems – automatically.
RPA meets HR
Saving time and being more effective is always highly appreciated by any organisation or industry, but what can RPA do specifically for HR? In short, the automation RPA allows HR professionals to focus on the most important parts of their work.
Let’s take an example from the recruitment world: instead of having to manually update the applicant tracking system after a new hire, make a new employee record for the employee database, and gather employee documentation, RPA can do it all. Thanks to the fact that different software systems can communicate with each other, RPA is also able to double-check HR compliance.
AI is a common subject of conversation at the moment, and for good reason. It’s considered by many experts to be driving the fourth industrial revolution. But what exactly is AI? In simple terms, true AI is an algorithm that takes data and as a result of that data can do something beyond what it was coded to do originally. This means it can learn something without human intervention.
Luckily, that doesn’t mean robots are taking over your job. As a recent report by PWC put it, “The judgment calls of the human professional are, and always will be, decisive in people management“. AI will, however, provide more time, more capacity, more budget, and better information for us to make those important decisions.
AI meets HR
Most pure AI applications available today are for recruitment and hiring processes. They reduce recruiting timelines and help in candidate screening. AI can also help to predict when to start hiring people for a certain department to prevent having unfilled positions during crucial periods.
What’s more, AI can make HR operations run more smoothly, so people get more done instead of drowning in paperwork. AI can keep track of operations to help HR stay on top of things and create valuable insights by suggesting actionable strategies based on data. It’s for reasons like this companies around the world, big and small, are beginning to use AI applications.
When considering AI, it’s important to understand that automation and analytics are not AI. In our experience, many of the processes in HR currently labelled as AI are actually automated processes, so be careful not to confuse them or try to buzz things up by name-dropping AI. Remember: true AI means it can do something that it’s not coded to do. This ultimately means that most advanced AI applications are expensive and not widely used just yet. As tech evolves however, they will be more readily available and will become an integral a part of our daily lives.
In simple terms, VR seeks to create a realistic 3-D image or environment, which humans can perceive as real and interact with in realistic ways. Quite logically, this makes VR an ideal gaming technology. There are a number of exciting ways it can enhance HR capabilities as well, especially within recruitment and hiring, on boarding, learning, and development.
VR meets HR
A well-known example of the successful use of VR technology is The British Army, who already uses VR to overcome its recruitment challenges. It recently created four VR experiences based on combat training, adventure training, tank training and parachute training. These were then posted on YouTube 360 as a part of their recruitment strategy. The results were excellent, with an increase in applications of 65% in the first month the campaign ran and an increase of 41% in the second month.
VR can also be used as part of a screening process for other hands-on roles. What’s more, tailored VR experiences help pinpoint the most skilled candidates pre-interview. Once at the interview stage, VR can enable candidates to demonstrate their practical skills. This means that if a lot of on-the-job training is required for the role, VR can be a fantastic investment.
New technologies are emerging faster than ever. Some technologies will transition from ‘expensive risk’ to ‘essential tool’, some will completely revolutionise our lives and the way we work, and some will disappear – or make other technologies disappear.
You don’t need to master all of the latest technologies, but you do need to keep an eye on them and have a good understanding of how they will affect your industry and how they could help your HR operations. No one can predict the future, but one thing is certain: technology will keep being a game changer, so be prepared for the exciting journey ahead!
From the wealth of information out there, we’ve gathered some useful articles to help you gain an even greater understanding on the above-mentioned technologies.