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June 5

Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 And The Modern Role of Human Ressources

At the top of the list of HR hot topics these days sits the whole concept of Industry 4.0, which represents a major transformation in the way companies approach their business practices.

This fourth industrial revolution has already reduced the need for a human ressources department within many companies through automation and process optimization. Although the needs are constantly changing, the relevance of valuing the human beings within a company is not becoming any less important.

Optimistically, we need to see this new reality as an opportunity to improve our quality of life as HR experts. Often working with the odds against us, the digital transformation might prove to be a much-needed disruptor in the sector.

While managers are increasingly alert to the impending changes that need to be made in the coming years, much of the technology is already available to optimize half of all current human resources activities.

Nobody can know for sure what will happen when companies will need fewer human resources to function.

However, we are confident that the work as a human resources experts will be radically different and that our practices will need to be modernized.

Since we can't stop the inevitable, let's see how you, as an HR expert, can leverage technology to make it a strategic lever for your practice.

Here are some examples of the changes you should expect.

It's all about the people

At its simplest, the digital transformation is not about eliminating employees, but about maximizing their importance in a company's production chain. Fewer people with more value and greater purpose.

While it is true that labor scarcity is a limiting factor in the growth of current businesses, the digital transformation can be perceived right now as one of the many solutions to compensate for long-term business projects and growth strategies.

Let's be honest and address the elephant in the room. Yes, some employees will find that their knowledge, skills and abilities will no longer be required.

Although this may seem to be a negative thing, the big picture is much more positive when we keep in mind that we are in a context of full employment. There is literally no better time than now for these workers to change careers.

Meanwhile, people who remain employable will have changing expectations regarding their terms of employment and working conditions.

This evolution will also come in the form of development opportunities, in order to remain employable and up to date on the new trends and realities of the sector.

The changes resulting from this transition will require the employer to take responsibility towards continuous education of its workforce and  provide tools, along with a solid learning structure, to facilitate ongoing training for all employees. In order to remain competitive while maximizing every dollar invested in training, the onboarding training program must be accessible and easily kept to date with the latest changes.

This new automation culture, just like the progressive implementation of new technologies, is changing the needs of organizations. Business owners and executives will need to quickly re-evaluate their structure and review the organizational roles in play to identify critical positions that require human involvement.

As a result, it will be imperative to adjust their recruitment practices.

In other words, as you face the challenge of reinventing the human resources role within an organization, you will also need to deal with employers, employees and partners who are also experiencing major changes in their professional lives themselves.

By keeping a strong focus on the needs of your users rather than sticking to the rigid processes in place, you will be able to stand out and succeed in reaffirming the relevance of your HR position in this time of change.

Recruitment

The transition to Industry 4.0 influences all sectors within a business. As this transformation calls for a reset within your HR department, your recruitment processes are no different than the rest and will need to be rethinked.

If internal HR teams and agencies fail to adapt, they will lose their competitive advantage. To continue to find the best talent for the jobs available, you will have to accept and learn to deal with this evolution.

The access to new data may help recruiters better understand what makes a company attractive to certain candidates. As a result, HR managers will be able to put into actions different measures to nurture and control the outside perception of your business culture and corporate values.

As you become more proficient with applications to find suitable candidates, you can help reduce recruitment costs and job opening delays. The adoption of the RH 4.0 philosophy gives you the opportunity to create employment opportunities with sustainable potential for you and your company.

Collaboration and collective knowledge

Traditionally, every HR tasks within an organization were performed by an internal team, or subcontracted to external agencies.

To help various departments coordinate their activities, HR professionals will now need to become familiar with new technologies and use them to work more effectively. This involves the use of collaborative tools, communication, as well as the preservation of digital archives and protocoles.

The HR expert role is not limited to finding and hiring good talent. It also involves other tasks such as integration and training.

For starters, you can automate and personalize the onboarding experience of new employees. You can improve your employer's brand while significantly reducing the learning curve for a new employee.

In-house training programs and continuous skills development can also benefit from new technologies. For example, a tactic such as creating learning content using your veterans (collective knowledge) can motivate workers to maintain a high level of skill, while valuing their jobs. It also generates engagement and pride for any employee involved in the process.

Many learning management system (LMS), such as Didacte, allow workers to study and learn new skills according to their own schedule, using their mobile device.

In conclusion, the digital transformation is already at the root of many changes in the business world and many changes are still underway.

As a HR professional, it is your job to anticipate, research, and propose new technologies and techniques that will help you work more efficiently and intelligently.

It goes without saying that part of your job will be to discover and meet the changing needs and expectations of your clients and recruits.

In addition, you can expect the new industrial revolution to open up new opportunities for performance management and continuous training, which will help you stay relevant to the employers and employees you serve every day.

In a world where we must constantly reaffirm our value within a company, your position as human resources professionals will be solidified by focusing on the development of your employees' skills, on the optimization of human roles with added-value and by proving the multiple gains in efficiency, established with your financial director.

Essentially, your job is to cultivate happy people, in an environment where everyone understands the importance of their individual contribution, to the benefit of collective success.

Mathieu Dumont