Advanced HR Technology at Forefront of Changing Workspace Dynamics


Cloud computing and social media act as agents of change in the HR domain

Dubai: The workspace as we know it is undergoing constant and dramatic changes. The concepts of ‘work and space’ are taking on a whole new meaning influenced by key global trends such as mobility, agility, flexibility, and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Yet, these changes are nothing compared to the onset of artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive computing, and the co-option of behavioural science in human resource management- all topics that will be tackled at the upcoming 3rd annual HR Tech MENA Summit, organized by Dubai-based QnA International.

The role of HR in the changing dynamics of the workplace is increasingly immersive and overreaching beyond the traditional roles of recruitment and performance management. “HR needs to be at the forefront of Talent Management and better Organizational Design. We need to seriously look at and overhaul working practices and modernize expectations based on available resources,” asserted John Harker, CHRO, Al-Futtaim Group. Contributing to this sentiment, Fatima Haidar, CHRO, Hamad Medical Corporation, said, “HR is increasingly evolving into strategic consultancy, where HR staff are the program designers and coordinators of all the essential activity undertaken to maximize workforce effectiveness.”  

For others, HR has already made the transition and has paved the way for the adoption of more complex concepts for the employee and workforce development. “Increasingly the transactional and operational aspects of HR will be undertaken by intelligent machines, leaving the HR function with a purely strategic, advisory role focused on the more complex aspects of human motivation and behavior at work i.e. a behavioral science unit for corporations!” noted Dharmendra Chandra, Group Chief Human Resources Officer, Emaar Properties. Agreeing to the HR’s prominence in today’s workforce, Hossam Haggag, VP – Talent Management & Leadership, Jumeirah Group, said, “HR is at the centre of the changes taking place: while technology is progressing at an increasing speed, people continue to drive change and therefore upskilling their capabilities will be extremely important in the coming years.”

Saqr Alhemeiri, Director – Training and Development Center, Ministry of Health & Prevention, UAE, stated that it is time organizations focuses on using HR tech in employee learning and development. “In order for workforces to evolve into supporting and anticipating the 4th Industrial Revolution, and to be able to work with fast paced changes with immerging disruptive innovations, learning and development must be highly personalized, dynamic and continuously adaptive. The new methodologies for learning and development must move away from traditional in-class or even basic blended learning and towards more targeted micro, macro, gaming, simulation, and on-the-job learning. The new methodologies emphasize utilizing diverse types of interventions for every individual based on their personalized needs and expected performance,” he said.

HR technology has for years, if not decades had a measurable positive impact on the functioning of the organization whether private, public, or governmental. “Government entities can benefit highly from implementing new HR technologies, which will help them to save time, effort and resources for many manual processes. While digitization may result in the obsolescence of many task-oriented jobs but this will only realign resources for jobs that adds more value through innovation,” commented Alhemeiri.

“The impact is both transformational and very visible. Our staff at Hamad Medical Corporation are increasingly empowered to work smarter. This means our front line clinical staff have more time to care for their patients. I am also seeing a more open and collaborative workspace, which in the short to medium term will lead to a major upswing in morale,” contributed Haidar.

Undoubtedly, the intricacies of modern life have spilled over into the HR functions too. Increasingly HR departments across the globe and in the Middle East (ME) are seeking ways to incorporate social media into their operations. “Social technological systems provide plenty of opportunities for staff and customer engagement, but the challenge is in how to manage the multiplicity of streams and large quantities of unstructured information that flows through social media. Meeting these challenges could have a major impact on the way HR tech evolves in the ME region,” noted Gordon Stewart, CIO, GEMS Education.

“Social media will increasingly influence the way we manage people in organizations with employee communication and engagement occurring through social media platforms. Similarly, our social media footprint could determine the views of prospective employers about our suitability for employment,” commented Chandra.

When it came to the technical aspect of HR technology, most sponsors agreed that cloud technology was finally taking the ME region by storm. “Organizations in the ME are catching up with the use of cloud technology specially after evaluating the security of the data stored within,” noted Haggag.

Some sponsors advocated caution in the adoption of cloud technology in the ME to leapfrog to the level of some of their global counterparts “Cloud technology is attractive for organizations starting from greenfield as it negates the need to build technology capability from scratch. This can potentially suit MENA as a dynamic and growing economic region. However, it needs to be approached with a degree of caution as it brings its own challenges (e.g. service level and solution flexibility). Most major cloud services are provided outside of the region, which can be a challenge in terms of latency and hours of support coverage,” commented Stewart.

“The use of social media and cloud technologies in business organizations are not unheard of but incorporating them into Human Resource management takes imagination, and a deep understanding of the technical landscape, workforce attributes, and managerial proficiency. At the 3rd annual HR Tech MENA Summit we are proud to host world-renowned IT leaders and HR thinkers to share their insights, knowledge, and discuss the current trends,” commented Sidh N.C, Director, QnA International

Participants will be treated to mind-boggling and informative sessions on the changes in HR tech upon the workplace, and will be privy to strategies on incorporating and handling disruptive technologies. The Summit will be held from 16-17 May 2017 at The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City, Dubai.

About HR Tech MENA:

Technology today has revolutionized every step of our lives and Human Resources is no different. The influence of technology on our evolution is paramount to making it imperative for HR to keep abreast with newest developments.

Today, HR is en route to becoming smart HR. Concepts such as bog data, cloud, social media, mobility, and gamification are today’s buzzwords and every organization is keen to embrace them in tackling the key issues of talent acquisition, talent management, change management and employee engagement.

The HR Tech Summit is the only initiative that brings together HR as well as IT professionals from across the Middle East and leading solution providers on a singular platform discussing the newest trends, ideas and disruptions over a period of two days exclusively dedicated to and focused on HR Technology.

About QnA International:

QnA International creates and delivers business learning and development exchange platforms through B2B conferences, bespoke events and trainings. The company also has an expertise in outsourced sponsorship sales and key account management.