EOH HR Takes

June 2013

What do HRD’s need to do to embrace technology for future agility?

I find myself asking the question of does HR need to have a mindset that is more technical, given the rapid global rise in social media technology and the move towards M-Learning? And I believe the answer is Yes we do. We are in a society where the socio demographics are moving to a more ageless society where access to mobile technology particularly, is the norm. Workforces can consist of baby boomers to millennials, so how do you get them to all work together? Technology can help this happen and HR teams need to be more aware of how they can harness this. So what do you need to do?
I think understanding some of the terminology used helps and then you can see how you can utilise this to engage your employees. For example here are some of the things I hear about from my 21 year old nephew;
“Smart Boredom”,  do you allow employees to use their mobile devices in moments of downtime to do on-line banking or shopping? Think about how you can use “smart boredom” time more from an employer perspective. Could you set aside space/time to allow them to do this? Would they value this openness and be less likely to abuse trust? I believe most employees would. Our lives are becoming more entwined with work life balance merging together as we use technology more for everyday things.
“Gameification”, no this is not an illness but rather our minds have become accustomed to a level of addiction in experiencing games. How many of you love Angry Birds or play Words with Friends? Think about how you can tap into this ‘addiction’ and get employees engaged onto your own internet site making learning more fun, interactive, competitive even?
“Quantified Self”, as a form of personalised data management. Generation Y think nothing of using technology to manage themselves or even engage with employers. Think of Apps such as ‘Runkeeper’ where you can track all of your activity and see how you are performing. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do that with training or performance management?
“Collaborative Social Hubs”, think Costa! How many of us use coffee shops as a hub when we work remotely? Can you create virtual hubs for your remote workers? Do you have a more relaxed space away from desks where people can use laptops/tablets and work over coffee, do you encourage this? On a practical note you could save on office space by creating different work zones for people in a more informal style! Why do you think there are so many full coffee shop brands on the high street all offering free wifi and more due to open? I think it’s because although we like to have the freedom to work remotely we are still sociable and like some form of human interaction, so how do you get this in the workplace, bringing employees together? People like to share.
I think the use of mobile devices will continue to  increase over the next decade and the way we work and learn will be quite different. Tapping into Apps for learning and training tools will be key for agile organisations. I can visualise a group  of employees not in any fixed place all sharing and learning at the same time. Emails, thoughts, top tips, how to do things better, videos, people collaborating with each other in a virtual space and instant records being created of the learning.  Through this sharing you can engage employees and even customers potentially as trust will be key. Employees (and potential employees) will make recommendations very quickly on social media, a bit like Trip Advisor and you want them to be saying positive things about you as an employer, so being technology savvy and up to speed with innovation will be key to your organisation’s success as an employer of choice for the future.
Anyway that’s my Thought for today.
Esther O’Halloran