Are robobosses coming for your job?

May 2, 2017

I kicked off 2017 with a blog talking about the proliferation of artificial talent, and the prediction that as many as half of all jobs could be automated by machines in the next decade. In a new series of blogs that I call “HR in 2020,” I’ll talk about technology and its role in changing the face of HR. Specifically, I want to address how we, as people, can evolve our own skills and roles to make sure there’s always a place for us in this new world.

HR Leadership is a good place to start. At a recent Gartner IT Expo, it was predicted that as soon as 2018, more than 3 million US workers will be supervised by what it calls “robobosses,” or intelligent machines. The Infor piece “10 things to know about managing in the robotic age,” explains that HR managers cannot continue the traditional path of reactive tasks, such as monitoring employee time and training to ensure policies are being followed. Those responsibilities can, and will, be filled by machines.

But does that leave today’s HR manager irrelevant and at risk? Not if you’re smart about using technology to carve out a more consultative, strategic role focused on long-term value and results. Healthcare managers enjoy a certain advantage in making this happen, as a recent McKinsey report states that the industry has a lower potential for automation, given that patients expect the kind of care only humans can provide.

The fact is that managing in the age of automation can help HR professionals dispense with menial tasks that clog time and resources. Using creativity and emotional intelligence, while also understanding available technologies such as mobile apps, streaming video and ubiquitous connectivity can help elevate the HR role to one that’s indispensable to the organization.

Taken further, access to the right kind of organizational staffing information in a single source means HR managers can carefully analyze staffing trends, identify areas for improvement and plan a long-term, sustainable staffing strategy. For example, Infor Talent Science, as part of the Infor Global Human Resources solution, has shown to reduce first-year nursing turnover and lower voluntary termination rates. How? By giving HR managers the power to analyze and report on everything from concrete performance-to-goals data, as well as behavioral characteristics that help match skills to specific roles for optimum outcomes.

All of this evidence-based and verifiable information elevates the role and reputation of the HR manager, and sets him or her apart from any “robobosses.” It’s an exciting time for HR, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on where you see automation helping—and challenging—your role.

- Marcus Mossberger, Human Capital Management Strategy Director
  • Healthcare
  • EMEA
  • North America
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