The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the business world, prompting a fundamental shift in how organizations operate and respond to challenges. One area that experienced a profound transformation is the Human Resources Department (HRD), which assumed a central role in managing change, nurturing the workforce, and adapting to the advent of Big Data. In this article, we delve into the evolving responsibilities of HR departments, emphasizing the dual focus on promoting new technologies while safeguarding the human dimension and ethics.
Balancing People and Technology
In the era of Big Data, an effective HR department should take on the role of guiding the organization through the transition, promoting technological advancements, while preserving the essential human aspect. Key to this is the promotion of dialogue, which enables the balance between seemingly opposing elements, such as people and technology, or the soft and hard dimensions of business. This approach aligns with the HR department’s mission to be the guardian of the human side of the organization. Furthermore, HR departments should actively promote Big Data knowledge and culture among employees.
A Methodological Approach
The strategic use of Big Data necessitates a clear and systematic methodological approach. Every business challenge can be translated into analytical expressions and assessed using key performance indicators related to organizational processes, human behaviors, and tasks. Interpretation of data results is crucial, as it corresponds to a broader strategic vision, helping organizations make informed decisions and drive growth.
Creating a Data-Centric Culture
HR departments play a pivotal role in fostering a culture of understanding data, technologies, and technological systems used to gather, store, and analyze data. This involves developing appropriate training strategies to ensure that employees are well-versed in data utilization. A strong data culture within organizations empowers individuals with statistical and simulation tools, improving their ability to navigate the intricate world of Big Data, leading to more effective decision-making.
Guardians of Ethics
In the age of Big Data, HR teams need to develop expertise that supports the responsible use of data throughout the organization while also protecting individual and organizational interests. Ethical considerations are paramount, especially as data processing and information generation impact real people and their unique situations. The HR department must ensure that data is processed and utilized ethically, preventing discriminatory practices or disproportionate performance evaluations.
The Ethical Dilemma
Balancing ethical requirements in data management is a complex challenge, particularly in the context of the “next normality.” Organizations must consider the potential for unethical practices stemming from data analysis. Discrimination based on gender, health conditions, or performance control that doesn’t account for individual variability is a growing concern. HR professionals face the challenge of producing efficiency gains while maintaining workforce morale.
The post-COVID era has brought about a seismic shift in the role of HR departments. As organizations embrace Big Data and technological advances, HR functions must take on the dual role of promoting new technologies while safeguarding the ethical use of data. The HR department’s evolving responsibilities are essential to maintain a balance between the human and technological dimensions, ensuring a prosperous and ethical future for businesses.
S. R. Mondal, F. Di Virgilio, & S. Das (Eds.), (2021). HR Analytics and Digital HR Practices, Palgrave Macmillan Singapore. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-7099-2