Internet of Things and how it impacts Human Resources

Everything seems connected to the internet. From cars and mobile phones to the fridge and the lights in your living room. The future of machine-to-machine technology seems unavoidable as people are on the constant look out for smarter applications to fulfill their ever-growing hunger for new information and their desire to do things quicker and better. After SMAC took the enterprise and the consumer domain by storm over the last couple of years, there is a new buzzword that is rushing through the business & the geek world and that is ‘IoT’. So, what is IoT? IoT stands for Internet of Things and it is about creating digital representations of real-world objects. It is a phenomenon that draws on rapid developments within IT, ICT and telecommunications to spark insights and to help companies create entirely new types of services and business areas.

As we move into the Networked Society, there will be an expansion not only in the scale of connectivity, but more importantly, in its scope. Devices will become more capable and more broadly utilized, and when they connect to the internet, they will be integrated into vast numbers of different applications across sectors. This is what is going to drive the evolution of the IoT. And the IoT is already taking off, as organizations, governments and businesses move to better understand – and connect to – their physical surroundings in order to innovate, increase efficiency and become more sustainable.

Current examples that fall into the Internet of Things category include:

  • Fitness and activity trackers that monitor our movements throughout the day
  • Smart thermostats that use weather forecasts to adjust temperatures automatically
  • Web enabled lights that can be controlled from phone apps

So how will the Internet of Things impact the Human Resource function? Here’s how:

Talent Acquisition: Using the Internet today to find people is not a surprise to anyone. Everyone knows about Linked In, Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites in addition to the job boards. However, the Internet of Things is a different entity altogether, a potentially very different way of finding the people that fit our needs exactly. Since everything will be connected to the internet, human beings will not only reveal information on where they are, what they do, what they eat, and how their health is, but it will also help them understand their deficiencies and their strengths. An employer with this information could more easily find someone who not only has the educational and work background they want but could also look at the measure of your creativeness, or tenacity, or some other variable important to the job. This is not the kind of information that currently appears on a resume or a profile, but at some point may be available via the IoT. E.g. When it comes to hiring temporary staff to fill a sudden resource gap, potential new hires will be evaluated and made an offer in real-time, then on-boarded and informed on the spot via their mobile since in the IoT, all the devices and systems are interconnected.

Talent Management: This data would also help in career development from the employee’s point of view. They would be able to determine what experiences they would need to have to accomplish their career goals and would be able to evaluate a company to learn if the company offers such an opportunity

HRIS & Payroll: With organisations deciding to be part of the IoT universe, all the systems & tools will be interconnected via the internet. As a result, the HR professional’s job would be easier with employee related data accessible at the touch of a button. Many of the errors which occur due to data entry in the HRIS systems & tools would primarily be avoided.

Conclusion: Even as machines become more intelligent and capable, there are some essential business qualities, including contextual problem-solving, relationship-building, and innovation, that are uniquely human. At least at the beginning, devices in the IoT will need human managers if they are to be truly effective. Humans will also be needed to take full advantage of the new IoT businesses springing up all the time. Human resources is essentially about developing a workforce’s capabilities, and that will be more important than ever as the IoT takes us where no one has gone before.

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