5 Ways to Strike a Balance between HR Automation and Human Interaction
There is a lot of discussion these days about automating anything that can be automated. Not surprisingly, human resource management systems (HRMS) are some of the most popular automation tools purchased by clients from cloud vendors. HRMS automates a number of tasks that are often repetitive and unnecessary for manual application.
Some of these include hiring, payment of salaries, employee self-service, maintaining employee records, and a host of other HR-related tasks that can be easily automated. Even training programs are being automated, as employees can take courses on their own, while sitting by a computer. In fact, there is no job that cannot be done by an HRMS, except for face-to-face contact and superior analysis for which human judgment is required. Yet, human interaction is very important in an organization.
If we get rid of all our HR managers and replace them with an HRMS, employees will not be happy, whether they realize it or not. HRMS can only automate repetitive tasks, but for the rest of other HR department tasks, a real living breathing human being is required.
In this article, let us take a look at why this is so.
- Do not automate everything
We should remember that an organization is firstly made of employees, who are human beings with a need to communicate. Secondly, automating every task may not lead to an increased productivity. IT may lead to disenchantment among employees, and cause boredom. It might be in your best interest to not automate everything and instead, automate only the repetitive tasks that are boring. You can also automate tasks that are prone to human error. Whatever is going to eliminate the need for using paper can also be automated. Most importantly, we need to keep certain tasks that are enjoyable available to employees, even if they can be automated.
- Encourage your HR managers to interact with employees
HR managers often believe their tasks are clerical in nature, always filling up forms, typing reports and sending out appraisals. However, this is not what an HR manager should be limiting oneself to. An HR manager should ensure that employees are happy and content. This requires managers to interact with employees regularly and seek their well being. If we automate repetitive tasks, managers will actually have time to socialize and interact with employees. This is an important part of human resources. What matters at the end of the day is that you should save money with HRMS, but you should boost employee relationships and morale with the help of HR managers.
- Encourage employees to socialize with other teams
Employees often spend hours together on the computer and do not talk to each other. This si increasingly becoming a trend in IT companies. The only breaks are during the lunch or for coffee, but there isn’t much socializing that is happening. While cubicles are often arranged in such a manner that people can talk to each other, it still doesn’t help that they are not socializing in an old-fashioned way. To bridge the gap, you can organize activities which will encourage employees to socialize with other teams and thus discover new friends and relationships. This helps to break the monotony of job, which often leads to stress and low productivity.
- Automating certain tasks may be a bad idea
While it is a good thing that everything can be automated, certain things like counseling and addressing employee grievances can never be automated. A distressed employee always needs a senior manager who can help him or her. If an employee has a personal crisis, managers are one of the first individuals they can seek advice from. This helps in speedy solutions and happy employees, which translate to increased productivity. In other words, face-to-face interaction between managers and employees will always be a need or requirement. So, do not try to automate everything, including employee counseling, which though can be done by a computer or through instant messaging, will not replace face-to-face interaction.
- Do not turn your office into a robot
HRMS is a great tool and is almost indispensable in an organization. It ensures that money is saved, records are kept, analyses are drawn and that employees are managed better. Yet, automating everything is not a good idea. This will lead to a robotic atmosphere which is scientifically known to cause stress and anxiety in employees. Thus, while you must install and implement HRMS, you should also ensure that you don’t turn your office into a robotic space. By doing so, you are going to alienate your employees and that is never a good thing for productivity. Encourage healthy human interaction and integrate HRMS in subtle manners. This ensures to strike a balance between automation and human interaction.
Strike a balance between human interaction and automation
As we can see, it is not such a good idea to automate everything. It will lead to alienation and isolation among employees, which may lead to reduced productivity. Automating everything is not an answer. If everything is automated, you will still need someone to take decisions and ideally, a computer should not be making those decisions. As automation can reduce human interaction, encourage your HR managers to regularly interact with employees.
An important aspect of human resource management is to be able to dispense counseling when it is required. Employees when they are on their own may feel isolated and bored. Encourage team building activities and ask your employees to interact with people from other teams. While automation sounds like a great idea, it may not be in the best interest of your company to automate everything.
When it comes to legal matters, it is best handled by a human employee who can be held responsible. An HRMS cannot be held legally responsible. Certain highly critical tasks should be left to human employees. Finally, no one wants to work i a robotic atmosphere. This leads to alienation and confusion. By encouraging human interaction and balancing HRMS with face-to-face contact, we can strike a balance between the two.
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