We often tout Human Resources as the beating heart of an organisation. Yet at the core of this heart, we see a clash between technology and remaining people-centric. Sometimes, this clash is subtle and blends in behind the scenes. At other times, the blending is less subtle and we find ourselves facing a choice. How can we best balance the advances in tools and technology with remaining focused on people? For HR personnel, the struggle is real.

Human Resources play a key role

Firstly, it’s fair that we acknowledge the vital functions performed by HR. From processing new employees, to managing their induction and progress, all the way to releasing them when their tenure comes to an end. What’s more, they’re aware of (and typically involved in) any matters pertaining to the health and well-being of all staff. They form a buffer, a guide, a safe space and an avenue of action for numerous functions.

Suffice to say, no organisation, no matter how large or small, can perform adequately without HR functions, particularly when it comes to communicating. As the eSkill blog points out, effective communications are an absolute must.

So do technology and tools…to a point

Human Resources often make use of modern tools to enhance their capabilities, however. Most of these tools focus on speeding up or automating processes. As useful as they are, though, they can only add value, not replace the human element.

Think of something that you may take for granted, e.g. the process of applying for or approving leave, working out overtime, or managing automated payslips. If you don’t have dedicated software to assist with this, it remains a cumbersome task performed by hand. What’s more, it would involve copious amounts of paperwork, printing and storage.

Thankfully, modern systems exist to make these processes far easier and less labour-intensive. Apart from the systems mentioned above, you can also use software tools to run tasks such as recruitment, access control and performance management. Even communication, which is seen as a person-to-person or person-to-people endeavour, has its roots mainly in technology today.

Why HR keeps it personal

These tools and technologies are all well and good. Yet, there are some pretty compelling reasons why the Human Resources folk will always ask for direct interactions with their charges.

The human factor is critical whenever emotions come into play. If someone needs help, for example, it’s far preferable to have a person listen to that request. By the same token, being told you’ve done a fantastic bit of work is more appreciated when done in person. Finally, they should hold difficult discussions person, to facilitate both respect and interpersonal improvements.

The real litmus of why this should always be so is typically the among first proper interactions – the job interview. Inevitably, HR’s involvement at this stage means they get a more accurate impression of candidates. This in turn helps produce better staff selection overall, since HR is able to gauge whether candidates are a good fit for both the required skills and company culture. Furthermore, company representatives can discuss and relate the company’s values far more effectively than a wall of text in an email or on a website could.

Make full and good use of your Human Resources people and tools for the greatest advantage to your organisation, by combining communicative people and the gold standards in relevant technology.