On August 1, 1981, the brand-new television network Music Television (better known as MTV these days) debuted to the world with a song that made quite a statement. The song was “Video Killed the Radio Star” and in many ways it symbolized a change in how people would experience music. In much more recent times, human resources have experienced a similar magnitude of change, this one coming from the idea of data analytics. The practice of applying talent analytics is a new concept with many questions, but one question seems to linger on everyone’s mind: are we trading the “human touch” for computerized information? Are we making people obsolete with people analytics? Is the human side of human resources being exchanged for something robotic?
The Human Touch
To answer the question right off the bat, no, human resources is not being replaced by machines. Data analytics is opening up a lot of avenues for business strategies - from improving hiring and retention, to finding ways to increase employee performance, and improving hiring ROI - because the information being captured and evaluated is unlike anything that’s come before it.
The concern is reasonable in a sense. The idea that something can do our jobs better than us, faster than us, and at a lower cost is scary to anyone, and with the rise in HR analytics, many are starting to wonder if it’s only a matter of time before a piece of software becomes the new HR manager.
It’s the idea that a hammer would replace a carpenter because a hammer can pound a nail into a piece of wood better than a carpenters bare hands. But the concern shouldn’t be “the tool will replace the human,” instead the question should be “how will the tool help improve the human’s workload, and how will the human learn to use this tool?”
A Merger of HR and Technology
In his article HR Data Won’t Make You Less Human, Joe Abusamra said it best: “the HR data comes from people. It comes from employees talking to and engaging with their managers, which comes about from smart executives working closely with and engaging their people managers. In successful organizations…it’s about making everyone better — and making the organization better as a result.” In other words, the concern that machines will replace people shouldn't be an actual worry because people are still being relied upon to collect critical information to the data analytics effort.
The data you collect for your data analytics efforts can come from a number of avenues — from pre-hire assessments and surveys, to candidate experiences and subjective feedback — but like a hammer and a nail, data is just a tool you use to drive business solutions and improvements. The HR position may evolve to have some more focus around data, but will not become run by a single piece of software. Furthermore, because there are so many challenges with data analytics - even just getting started can be difficult - the necessity for people who not only understand HR processes but also how these systems work will be critical. In other words, people in HR aren't getting replaced - they're getting much more powerful tools.
Contact us today to learn more about how leveraging analytics can help improve your talent acquisition efforts. If you're not sure if you're ready for a pre-hire assessment process, download our e-book below with 15 questions you should consider before implementing one into your hiring efforts.