Home' HR Monthly : September 2017 Contents 6
In last month's column, the implications of 12 disruptive
technologies were reviewed for their impact on a more digitally
savvy approach to current HR practice, and how we need to adopt
a different mindset to visualise the digital HR environment of the
future. It is appreciated that many HR managers will face critical
'getting started' problems to adopting more IT-based, people-centric
solutions. So a better starting point may be to reshape the basics of
the HR role before you contemplate digital service delivery points
AHRI research has revealed the following checklist of approaches
successful HR managers are using to re-set their work compass, and
to reinvent their jobs. Adoption of the following principles is a good
way of establishing your relevance and value:
• Set clear pathways, not checkpoints -- good HR is working to end
its policing role; working to remove barriers; and seeking ways to
encourage innovation and experimentation.
• Asking people what issues are currently holding them back.
• Work with business leaders to identify emerging skills and role
requirements. The better HR practitioners are starting with good
questions, not arriving with answers.
• Study all current jobs: determine which ones can be replaced or
augmented by technology. What new skills will be required?
• Reorganise work: for different ways of working from home, the
office or anywhere else.
• Review all current HR processes, and reinvent.
• Focus on purpose, and create an open ecosystem for people.
• HR customer expectations will increase, so it's best to survey and
pinpoint the main ones.
• Individualise each employee's workplace experience via different
methods of communication.
This framework will better enable decisions around the type of
digital HR capability that is needed for your workplace.
Part of the future for our profession will require us to become
forensic digital detectives. On top of the establishment of HR
operational hubs and distributed IT devices used by all workers, the
HR professional will be expected to detect major trends for both
good and bad ways of working.
Australia has 12 million workers who earn an average of $80,000
per annum. The top quartile of three million workers earn about
$135,000 or $400 billion. It's estimated that this group has direct
control of initiating expenditure equal to about 25 per cent of their
pay, or $100 billion.
Further survey evidence is that about $10 billion of this is
questioned later by audit or senior management, whose job it is to
authorise those expenditures. About one fifth of this (or $2billion)
is paid back to the employer as it is later shown to be of a private
or personal nature. But most employers are of the view that three
to four times this sum is "thought not to be caught". That is six to
eight billlion a year.
Competitive pressures have required most employers to devolve
an increased proportion of operating expenditure authorisation
down to more junior staff serving the customer in the field, in order
to deliver service promptly.
If you have someone in Sydney on a customer project, and they
ring home to Melbourne that their iPad screen is smashed -- you
don't waste a day flying them home to pick up another tablet
from the IT department. They do it in the George Street store on a
However, there is uncertainty. Did they really bust the old
tablet? Who is using it now? The problem is that our more heavily
delegated powers have proceeded faster than the effectiveness of our
compliance checks and accountability systems. But that situation is
also changing rapidly.
The emergence of digital HR capabilities for all staff isn't just a
one-way street. It gives HR practitioners a lot of data on workplace
patterns and also expenditure behaviours. So we are able to follow
where the work is getting done, and how.
It's becoming somewhat like the transparency of an Uber
app. For those who charge some Uber rides back to their
employer, the boss now has a digital imprint by return
email of where you have travelled to and from (rather
than a scribbled-on taxi receipt with non-descript
terminologies and vague words), and also at what time.
Recently an employee was caught claiming an
overnight trip to and from his girlfriend's place, for
business purposes. The digital forensic imprint is now
Great IT gives us an excellent opportunity to do
our work on a distributed, productive and
flexible basis. It also gives a valuable forensic
log as to what we do, that can be very
difficult to fudge or bluff around for those
used to trying.
Good HR is finding new power in
our jobs at both ends of this digital
working spectrum. •••
Digital advances are an opportunity for HR to redesign the way we work.
BY PETER WILSON AM FCPHR AHRI CHAIRMAN
To read past Perspective columns by Peter Wilson,
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