Technology has revolutionized the way in which HR professionals do business in recent years. Knowing how to use it to your advantage is key to being as efficient and productive as possible.
For instance, it’s now easier than ever for HR professionals to conduct job interviews with candidates via video chat programs. This is ideal if a candidate doesn’t live near your office. It’s also becoming a more common situation. Now that many employees can work remotely, HR professionals aren’t limited to choosing candidates from specific geographic areas. They can instead interview, onboard, and train the ideal person for a job without ever meeting in person.
It’s certainly easy to understand the benefits such an approach offers. That said, it’s also important to ensure that HR still has, well, a human touch.
The following are ways you can continue to emphasize that personal, human element in your work without sacrificing the advantages technology provides. If you’re trying to strike a delicate balance between using new tools effectively while maintaining genuine human relationships with your company’s workforce, keep these points in mind.
Don’t Use Technology Arbitrarily
You should clearly know why you’re choosing to adopt a new technology every time you do so. Don’t make the mistake of using a new tool or adopting a new practice simply because it’s new and promises to save time or money. That doesn’t necessarily make it valuable.
For instance, let’s return to the example of hiring remote workers. You might decide to use virtual reality technology to train them if it’s not practical for remote hires to travel to you. This use of technology serves a clear purpose.
On the other hand, you might not want to rely on VR as your primary means of training new hires if they aren’t going to be working remotely. While VR can still provide supplemental training when in-person sessions aren’t scheduled, the main onboarding and training processes for such employees should still take place at the office.
Thinking critically about your specific reasons for using an innovation will help you avoid overusing tech in your work. Although there are plenty of instances when it’s both necessary and truly valuable, there are also plenty of instances when it adds nothing to an employee’s experience and may in fact deprive them of certain benefits.
Emphasize the Human Connection in Your Corporate Culture
Organizations often thrive when their founders take the time to define their values. This is key to developing a healthy, positive corporate culture. However, it’s worth noting that those values can be amended and edited from time to time—no organization stays the same forever.
After all, as technology plays an increasingly significant role in all aspects of business, it may become necessary to adjust your mission statement. Review any documents relating to your corporate culture and add in language explaining the value of human connection.
This isn’t a waste of time. When internal documents and branding content frequently emphasize the importance of human relationships and authenticity within your company, this provides a framework for the culture to adopt.
Changing a corporate culture takes time, and it’s better to think of the process more as an evolution than an abrupt change. Don’t expect results overnight. However, if you’re patient, you’ll see that it’s entirely possible to nudge an organization’s culture in a different, better direction.
Undergo Emotional Intelligence Training
Spending too little time interacting with employees on a face-to-face basis can have a negative impact on the emotional intelligence of any HR professional. You need to spend time with people directly in order to better understand their emotions, motivators, and perspectives. This won’t happen easily if you primarily interact with others via chat, phone, or email.
Given this fact, it may be valuable for all members of the HR department to undergo emotional intelligence training. Although most HR professionals are at least familiar with the concept of emotional intelligence, it’s never a bad idea to revisit the subject from time to time. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to recognize one’s own emotions and the emotions of others and to act with empathy toward others. Emotionally intelligent people know how to control their emotions and express them in a healthy way—they neither repress their emotions nor get carried away with them.
HR might not be the only department that could benefit from such training. For example, perhaps managers throughout your company have begun to use continuous feedback software to check in with their workers. While it’s important to provide feedback regularly, doing so via software often creates emotional distance between employees and their supervisors.
In such cases, consider asking all managers to undergo emotional intelligence training. Such training will help managers feel more capable in face-to-face interactions with their employees—the training can help them learn how to listen actively and how to handle complaints or anger from employees in a constructive way. Offering emotional intelligence training is also another way to establish and promote a corporate culture that values human connection.
Again, there are excellent reasons to use technology as an HR professional. Saving time on recruitment by conducting video interviews allows you to focus on other tasks, for instance.
However, that doesn’t mean you should rely solely on video and other technologies during recruitment if you have the option not to. It’s smarter to interview candidates in stages. During your initial screening, you might conduct phone or video interviews, but once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates, invite them all to the office for their final interviews.
These are all important points to remember going forward. Technology shapes much of what we do in HR, but it’s important not to forget the “human” in human resources.