The hospitality industry has always been powered by people, especially during peak seasons. This correlates with an increased demand on internal human resources, and Jane Thomson, Director at EOH Infor Services or Gold Partner believes that technology can play a huge role in helping to manage employees – without resorting to ‘cold user interfaces’.

A study recently published by the Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences confirms that as South Africa’s popularity as a tourist destination increases, the need for skilled human capital increases too. Especially during the festive season, the hospitality industry employs additional human resources (HR) to meet increased demand. This influx requires the effective management of HR and operations, ensuring only the best customer experiences are delivered.

Traditionally, the HR department has been subject to an array of stereotypes. Whatever image comes to mind, it is widely accepted that “traditional” HR serves as a place to go for help. Yet, as new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning continue to infiltrate  and automate the HR space, many employees fear that the “human” aspects are falling to the wayside –  leaving employees alone to deal with cold user interfaces.

“Despite these fears, leveraging the latest digital tools in the HR department can actually help businesses to manage the workforce,” confirms Jane Thomson, Director at EOH Infor Services, Infor’s Master Partner in Africa (operating as a Gold Partner). This technology not only impacts the bottom line, but also creates a more enjoyable, human experience.

Here are three ways in which modern software solutions can support the optimisation of a company’s talent and HR teams.

With the rise of hiring analytics and big data, HR departments can more effectively and efficiently match a particular candidate with the job opening that requires his or her  specific skill set. “Finding the right candidates for the right job is essential,” adds Thomson. “Just as Netflix’s algorithm is able to identify and suggest content based on a viewer’s past preferences, HR leaders can leverage cloud-based software solutions to access talent potential and determine the best fit for each role.”

Technology will also drive the investment of more time and energy in talent development. “By 2025, machines will perform more tasks than humans in the workplace, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2018 report.[1] Although developments in AI and automation could cause 75 million jobs to be displaced, another 133 million new jobs are projected to emerge, creating a total increase of 58 million new jobs over the next five years,” says Thomson.

To accommodate this massive workforce shift, no less than 54 percent of all employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling by 2020, which is why HR leaders need to put greater emphasis on developing their most important asset: their people.

By implementing robust, digital human capital management tools, companies can help their HR leaders make data-informed decisions about their workforce: creating a ‘win-win’ strategy for employees and employers. Thomson states; “Cloud-based solutions that encourage regular check-ins and engagement reviews allow employees to provide continual feedback with their managers. Having greater visibility into the entire employee lifecycle and the nuances of day-to-day activities allows companies to make better people decisions.”

Making HR departments more high-tech actually makes the HR experience more human. “This is due, in part, to the fact that automating tasks allows for HR professionals to focus on meaningful conversations and interactions with employees. As emerging technologies continue to disrupt the workforce, leveraging these offerings will greatly benefit employees; matching them to the right roles, developing their skills, and giving them the personal attention they deserve. Human interaction will never become completely obsolete. In fact, it has become more important than ever—and technology is making it thrive,” concludes Thomson.

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Joanne Dickson