by Jo Dennis, Advisor for PeopleTech Partners

In 1997 a curious undergrad wrote a few thousand word paper on “the impact of the HR intranet on morale”. In 2012, that same girl stood on stage in front of a few thousand HR pros, an overhead projector by her side (symbolizing the speed of change — remember those) and released a commercial whitepaper on “the new style of work — and what it means for HR everywhere”. That was me.

Now having experienced a decade, a half, and a bit of life thriving inside a large international public company, and a couple of years enjoying the thrill of a pocket rocket startup… in 2017 my passion for embracing technology, and understanding how it influences the way we work … continues to burn on. Above it all I believe there is so much more we can do together.

There is a lot in life that is different for all of us — the companies we work in, the luck we have, and the choices we make. We can, however, find consistent truth in the fact that our world has never been more connected, the experience has never felt more present, and the choices we have more generously available. Before I lose you at more than 140 characters let me get to the point. How has, or hasn’t technology changed the way we work, what’s still up for grabs, and how can we — those passionate about ensuring everyone can make a lasting difference at work — get the very best out of it?

Press pause. Consider your personal life — how damn easy is it to answer those random questions (seriously ….where did our knowledge come from before netscape)? How instantly can you train yourself in that new home skill (bless those random youtube videos)? How ridiculously simple is navigating from A to B? How clearly can you see the choices you have when making a decision to buy or experience something? How fast is your feedback to a stranger? And, how often (and at times annoying) does it feel as if Amazon and Instagram are speaking to you, watching you, your tastes, and your passions?

Now consider the experience at work. Yep, that’s when a grand canyon sized opportunity lays in front of us. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been untold progress from the days of personnel binders but it could still be so much more personal (pun intended), more integrated, more on-time. All without being weird about how we use data.

Join me on a digital daydream. Let’s close our eyes. Scratch that, keep them open, this isn’t a podcast afterall.

Let’s float over a world where our effortless (<>) HRIS systems talk to our amazing (<>) learning platforms, grabs from its universe and pushes rather than waits to be pulled — “Jo — congrats, you’ve become a people manager for the first time — woo-hoo you are in for such a treat … Here’s some recommended podcasts on great management tips, an overview of the processes you’ll need to get a handle on soon. Oh and by the way — we saw you were available on September 23rd so took the liberty of signing you up for our new manager workshop. Finally, here are some ideas on what to when you feel lost — because while leading people is great, there are times you’ll feel like that…”. We’ll call that mass personalization.

Now let’s consider a world where all of our systems talked to each other and then fed that information to HR to inform them about the teams or individuals to invest in because of the trends, hot spots and changes the data uncovered. “Hey People Team supporting 30,000 employees (where HR isn’t on the other side of the office) — you have a new manager in London, whose team has seen significant attrition in the last 90 days and it looks like you find it really hard to hire into those critical roles. You’d better get over there pronto.” No longer is HR reactive or self-service, it is very much at your service before you knew you even needed us (just like that ipod 2001, and iphone in 2007).

Pipe dream? I don’t think so. Innovation is here, and more is coming. However I think change at work should could come as fast as we expect in our personal lives, and be much less independent and ordinary.

So will robots take our jobs? I hope they take some of what we do. Together we’ll do better than we can alone … freeing up our time and talent to target our expertise to impact more people, more often where it’s needed the most.. Our adventure is in finding that beautiful intersection of the needs of our company, our community and bring what technology and data can offer … and maxing it out for everyone.

In the meantime I’ll aim for simple, creative and personal whenever I can; and support the entrepreneurs everywhere who are working hard to create the same experience we enjoy outside of work, at work.

Come on robots — we are ready for you!

People Tech Partners
PeopleTechPartners helps emerging companies understand key operational problems by providing insight into the most…

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