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HR professionals urged to not fear technology

PETALING JAYA: Human Resource (HR) practitioners have been told to not fear technology taking over their jobs but instead to explore how it can create new opportunities for them, their employers and employees.


Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management president Simon Benjamin said HR practitioners should always bear in mind they are service providers while company employees are clients.


“There is no doubt technology will increasingly force people to adopt new skills, use new approaches to complete work tasks and tap human potential to ensure the best manpower utilisation.


“HR practitioners will have to be knowledgeable themselves in new technologies available in the market so they can be explored to create opportunities for employers and employees.”


Benjamin said for HR professionals to do this, they must master their field and be open to learning more about available HR tools and technologies.


“During the pandemic when businesses and the economy suffered, some company managements cut staff and appointed clerks as HR executives.


“These people are not trained or equipped to do the job of HR professionals.Most companies have realised their mistake and have since replaced these clerks with qualified HR staff.”


Benjamin said while technology in workplace can feel like a double-edged sword for HR professionals, embracing the Human Resource Information System, for instance, centralises employee data, automates payroll and benefits and simplifies tasks suchas onboarding.


“This frees HR professionals to focus on talent management, employee engagement and strategic workforce planning while Applicant Tracking Systems sift through resumes, schedule interviews and track candidate progress.”


He said HR professionals who use these tools can focus on attracting top talent through targeted social media campaigns and build a strong employer brand. Benjamin said technology has always been the key driver of change, adding that in the business world,

HR function bears the burden of ensuring employees are fully utilised and their potential to contribute to the organisation and the community are properly tapped.


He also said while automation streamlines tasks and frees valuable time, there is a natural fear of job displacement.


However, he said in reality, using technology allows HR professionals to transition from administrative tasks to having strategic roles within an organisation, which is why hiring qualified HR personnel is critical.


“While some repetitive tasks can be automated, employing HR professionals with strong analytical and strategic skills will remain vital.


“To stay ahead of the curve using data analytics is highly favoured as it increases the ability to manage the ever-growing volume of data and translate them into valuable information, which is used to make accurate forecasts about tendencies, trends and patterns.”


Benjamin said instead of reacting to problems, companies should leverage HR data to identify trends, predict employee needs and make data-driven decisions regarding recruitment, retention and performance management.


He said the millennial generation has a very different world view compared with baby boomers and Gen Z.


“Millennials focus on material comfort, quality of living and holistic well-being. HR professionals can leverage on these to champion employee experience by using technology for surveys, feedback, analysis and personalised learning.


“We can expect some fear of AI too but the HR role can be greatly enhanced by adopting AI capabilities and technology at workplace.


“AI can be adapted to identify opportunities for streamlining workflows while ensuring ethical implementation that complements human expertise, not replace it.”


Benjamin called on HR professionals not to consider technology a threat but an immensely powerful tool.


“By embracing these advancements, HR professionals can become strategic partners in driving organisational success, fostering a positive work environment and attracting and retaining top talent.”


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