Why the Human Touch Still Matters

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The technological invasion has transformed the HR function from the traditional idea of an office of pencil-pushing number-crunchers, to a globally collaborative, computerized unit.  But has the technology that has made our lives so much easier detached us from the sentiment of human capital?

When was the last time you picked up the phone to call someone in another department, or even physically went to their office to talk face-to-face, rather than texting or emailing?

With over 100 billion emails sent globally every day, chances are the bulk of your communication to anyone not in your direct surroundings is conducted electronically.

Larry Rosen, PH.D, Professor of Psychology at California State University shared the affect emails have on the human brain, “Most of us are feeling so tethered to our e-mail that we gleefully allow it to taunt us from all of our devices including our computers, tablets and smartphones. Alerts and notifications attack our senses beeping, flashing and even playing a favorite song.”

“We are being summoned to something so important that we need to be notified of its presence lest we miss its arrival and seeming need for immediate attention.”(Psychology Today)

As more HR processes become dependent on electronics, what can we do to ensure we are not losing the ‘human touch’, and why should we bother?

Humans are social beings by nature, and we cannot forge a deep-rooted connection with a workmate simply by typing out a few words and hitting ‘send’.

In order to possess a clear image of your employees’ occupational health, it is imperative that consistent face-to-face interactions are made (this can include use of live video communication). If you want your company base to see you as trustworthy figure they can approach with issues, they need to know you on a greater level than just your email signature.

The recruitment process is now very heavily dependent on computer systems, a development that has saved time, money and resources. But consider a completely electronic candidate experience, where a potential employee does not hear a human voice until they are called into the interview room.

While you may think your brand mission and image is fully expressed through the online medium, your competitors probably do, too. Going that extra mile and allowing some more personal communication with candidates prior to an interview can ensure you acquire the best talent for your organization.

If you feel that your company is lacking the personal touch, consider turning your next online training session into a physical, team-building exercise.

While it may cost a little more and take some time to plan, your employees will be able to bond socially with their colleagues, allowing them a little less time in front of a screen and a little more time concentrating on their wellness while completing training objectives.

Technology has made human resources a smoother, more cost-effective business process. But in gaining that, we may be losing touch with the reason behind the function in the first place?

Unless of course we re-examine our existence and take a more futuristic approach of digitalizing the overall organization, getting rid of the bricks-and mortar and seeking new creative and innovative ways of remote ‘human touch’ working.

What solutions do you believe organization and HR teams can implement?


Nicole is the founder of The People Engine Ltd with the brands Human Resources Global and New To HR. Plan a face-to-face session with Nicole at the HR World Congress in Paris this October.

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