HR and People Operations are being disrupted by Robots

There were two really good articles that came out within a day of each other this week about the impact and future of HR. Or as Google calls it … People Operations. 


One was in the Harvard Business Review about how you might have a robot for a boss in the future … and you might like it.

It is conceivable that some employees may be more eager to work for a robot than a human manager

In the “The Pros and Cons of Robot Managers” the authors Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Gorkan Ahmetoglu point out a few things to consider on both sides of the argument.

They use an example of a Google search to show what people may really think of their bosses. And, they also offer a great analogy to self-driving automobiles over human driven cars.

It would not require too much for AI to outperform average managers, let alone bad ones.

Which leads to a segue to what Google is doing about People Operations.

imageThe other was a reference from the former leader of Google’s "People Operations" Laszlo Bock.

If you haven’t read his book Work Rules! … you should.

Laszlo referred to a LinkedIn post by one of his colleagues at Google. It's very good and I encourage you to read it.

David Germann’s post is entitled:

Why Today's HR Is for More
Than Just "People People

Where he talks about the need for some diversity in the idea of People Operations or more traditionally known as HR. Read the post.

An interesting point he made was how Google hires for People Operations.

Using Google’s Rule-of-Thirds for new hires where:

  • 33% come from traditional HR backgrounds
  • 33% come from strategy consulting firms
  • 33% come from academics and PhD programs in fields ranging from organizational psychology to physics.

Point 3 caught my attention. I believe he is exactly right here. These data scientists, PhD's and researchers are on the right path. They will be able to put the processes in place for “People Operations” information. They will put the rigor into the gathering, analyzing and applying decision theory to make sense of it all.

Google is on the right path … Using Data to Determine the Future of HR.

Or as Google notes … HR is actually People Operations.

Note and Offer to Google:
If you need help building out the new concept of what HR is People Operations can and should be – Call Me! I would be happy to help. As I am currently looking for my next challenge I think People Operations are an area that needs a lot of attention.

man-845847_1280Robots are Already Here

There are robots in the HR processes of today. I’m sure Google has them in their People Operations efforts too. It’s a fact of life that has been around for a few years. I would argue ... it could use some fine tuning.

I hope and expect the work the 3rd 33% of Google's People Operations hires and the 2nd 33% are looking at closely.

If you have ever applied for a job at almost any company it is highly likely that a robot reviewed your resume before a human ever even got to take a look at it.

Unfortunately, that's just a fact of life.

What Can Be Done About Robot Pre-Screening?

Smart career coaches like Dana Manciagli have helped jobseekers with this by writing a book and creating a series of blog posts to helps jobseekers to understand how to write a resume for a robot.

How to Write a Resume for a Robot

While this may seem completely out of whack it is not counterintuitive. The fact is companies are using robots to screen resumes. As a job seeker you need to be prepared.

Robots Hiring Robots

While this may seem completely far-fetched I think this is the future of HR. If the HBR article is to be considered mostly true and mostly likely** then it is highly likely that robots will begin to hire robots.

**Like the Gartner Probabilities … I assign this a Probability of 60%

Comical Sidenote:
I can't wait to see the legal precedent that will be set when the first robot sues for hiring discrimination

robot-162087_1280The Robots ARE Coming

The fact is automation is and will take over a lot of clerical and operational functions. As I've said many times over the last 20 years "anything that can be automated will be automated"

Human Resources is no different.

HR and People Operations are being disrupted by Robots. This will continue and people will need to get used to it. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

anything that can be automated
will be automated

One of my next posts will talk about the jobs we humans don’t want to do (or shouldn’t do) and how we can and will embrace robots to do them.

What do you think?

  • Have you been hired by a robot yet?
  • Have you been managed by a robot yet?
  • Have you been fired by a robot yet?

    Drop a comment here and let's have a conversation about it.

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    Image Credits: Amazon, Laszlo Bock

    clip_image001Jeff is business advisor, mentor and community engagement expert. He has spent most of his career in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2.

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