HR professionals urged to leverage technology for success


By Sandra Agyeiwaa OTOO

The Managing Director of L’aine Services Limited, James Laar, has emphasised the importance of leveraging technology to stay ahead in a competitive business environment.

According to him, the rise of artificial intelligence, automation and plan competition has created new opportunities for HR to re-invent itself and drive business success. He said HR technology is a collection of AI applications and smart tools to augment, optimise and automate human resource processes.

“In a fast, competitive business environment, organisations must know every possible advantage to stay ahead. The three most critical aspects of maintaining a competitive edge are people strategy, technology and innovation,” he said.

Mr. Laar urged HR professionals to adopt HR technology early, starting small and building up without fear of AI to reap its benefits and stay ahead.

“I encourage everyone to get on board HR technology now rather than later. Start putting the systems in place little at a time but the most important thing is that you need to start early. Early is better, Do not let AI scare you; you should rather get excited about tech and AI.

“Just in the same way computers have been very helpful and everyone today uses them as necessary tool kits for every work we do, so will AI become – but we have to be prepared to reinvent and implement HR technology sustainably,” he urged.

He made these statements at the just-ended Human Resource Playground event under the theme ‘Reinventing HR Processes in the Digital Era’.

The HR Tech Playground is a valuable platform for HR professionals to share knowledge, learn from each other and stay ahead in the digital era.

Acting Chief Human Resource Manager-MTN Group, Abdallah Ibrahim, emphasised that technology is integral to all aspects of life – including HR – and encouraged businesses to leverage simple tools like Microsoft 360 and Google Forms to enhance their HR services and stay competitive.

“Every aspect of our lives runs on technology now. So for HR, everything is technology; the recruitment, payroll and engagement, everything has technology in it. So for business not to have technology embedded in the HR service, I would say they are really losing out a lot,” he stated.

“It doesn’t have to be big or fancy; it could be something as little as a Microsoft 360 account, which gives you a lot of things around collaboration on themes of Microsoft forms to design a few questioners here and there – and even a few like Google forms. It’s just about reading widely to know what is out there and having the ability to apply your mind a bit in order to get something going out of these things. ChatGPT, everyone is talking about it; obviously, with some safeguards you can really try to get a lot more – and I think it will go a long way for a lot of smaller organisations who may not necessarily have the means to do some of the big stuff that we’re doing,” he added.

In a panel discussion, Senior Manager, Organisational Development-MTN Ghana, Naa Latiorkor Senah, emphasised the importance of HR professionals being involved in the 4.0 Industrial Revolution, citing their responsibility to manage people and impact businesses positively.

“If we are looking at our industrial revolutions over the period, we started with mechanisation – thats way back in the 17th century or thereabouts. And then we moved to the time when we had mass production, after that going into electronics from where computers came up: and now we are in the 4.0 Industrial Revolution. So, as HR people we cannot say we are staying out and not being involved,” she noted.

“I know most of us don’t find it exciting. I went to a forum of the Employers Association, and one of the topics that was being discussed was around analytics and technology – it was the one that very few people wanted to attend from our HR space. Most people were more about learning, development and other areas, but we are in a space where we have to comment. We owe to our businesses to impact positively because, remember, we are responsible for managing people; and in managing people we cannot pretend it won’t be practiced,” she added.

According to her, it is very important for HR to be part of this new industrial revolution. She said they cannot stay on the bench, and indeed are no longer the kind of people who used to be in a profession where they weren’t taken seriously. Instead of pushing papers, they now sit at the table and are being counted on as to how to take people into this new paradigm.

Human Resource Instructor Emmanuel Woyome added that technology assists in managing people, and adopting new tools and technologies is essential for growth.

“So, we have no cause to say we are not going to adapt; and the earlier we get to understand these new tools and begin to use them, the better it is for individuals and even for organisations,” he said.

The speakers and panellists emphasised the need for HR professionals to stay ahead of the curve and leverage technology to drive business success.

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