Indeed, some of what used to be familiar jobs done by individuals are now done by robots or ATMs. However, an article about workforce trends expected to dominate HR professionals’ concerns in 2014, posted recently on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)'s website points out that not all water-cooler conversations in the coming year will be about tablet computers, the Cloud or even Internet-based job boards. Some workplace issues will need to be solved by good old-fashioned human communication skills.
To be sure, mobile apps for work are at the top of the 2014 workforce trends list. This according to a webinar referenced in the SHRM article produced by HR software developer PeopleMatter and released just before Christmas: "Naughty or Nice? Top 10 Workforce Trends and Whether They’ll Be Good or Bad for Your Brand in 2014."
Last year, smartphone and tablet users in the U.S. (over half the population now) downloaded more than 100 billion apps. PeopleMatter predicts companies will develop more and more apps to get work done quicker, faster, better -- from tracking attendance and productivity to helping get employees more engaged with their jobs. These apps will likely be accessible on all matter of hand-held devices and have the capability to access Cloud-based data.
But beyond storing data in the Cloud, offering their employers technology-based "point solutions" or doing a deeper dive into the importance of so-called "business analytics," HR professionals will need to rely on more than technology to solve work-based challenges in the coming year, according to PeopleMatter.
They’ll be calling on the "human" aspects of their "Human Resources" mantles, with ObamaCare changing the way some companies do business -- or even the number of employees kept on by smaller firms; compliance with immigration laws becoming stricter, with no new immigration legislation before Congress; and on-line job boards with familiar names like Indeed, CareerBuilder and Monster giving way not only to social media outlets (think LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) but to more intense scrutiny of potential employees the old-fashioned way. One PeopleMatter executive put it this way: "Qualification can be taught; fit can’t."
So take heart, HR professionals: Your jobs may be more relevant than ever in the future.