The present moment in global business and commerce is marked
by proliferating invention coupled with the innate human desire to connect.
Technology has burrowed into every aspect of personal
communication and professional performance. Workers and customers have more
mobility and fewer temporal and geographic barriers. Professional expression
has more social qualities that bring workers together over ideas. Technology
not only makes it possible for everyone to compute, it now connects people
without the limits of time, place and culture.
More and more, work is a means of personal satisfaction in
every field. Some workers can see fulfilment, not just compensation and
security, within their career trajectories. This is happening at all levels of
Yet not every company has adjusted to this significant
development, only companies that have shifted their mindsets about the role of
the workforce in customer relationships. Only the companies that harness
technology to equip people have made the leap.
Companies must transform into structures that use technology
to connect workers with each other and their customers seamlessly.
Human Resources has matured from its early days as
"Personnel" to a robust corporate function. HR, however, is usually
not perceived as a force for innovation in business, much less instrumental in
connecting the company to its markets through the company's workforce.
HR's progression through the decades can be measured in the
effective deployment of mechanical tools and industrial psychology, not in
guiding companies to reach beyond automation and convenient categorisation of
worker skills and potential. Outside the FORTUNE 200 companies, where HR chiefs
have ready access to their CEOs and perform as strategists, most HR departments
continue to be consumed with compliance issues that began escalating in 2007
and 2008. Their scope has been defined by regulation and enforcement, not
strategy and vision. These HR teams tend to be small, yet even their C-suites recognise
that talent management is becoming as pressing an issue as competition. The
adoption of emerging talent management technology is, therefore, a thorny
topic. Early adoption of such technology is perceived as risky when budgets are
tight and HR is in response mode.
HR must change its own structure and orientation to become a
force for corporate transformation.
People are ready to manage their own careers. They are even
open to contract employment and consider it as steady a resource as
conventional employment. Social technology has broadened the experience of
workers, introducing them to the idea that they are more than what they can
produce: each worker owns a collection of skills and experiences that
constitutes talent – talent that they can choose to make available to the right
employer at the right time.
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