Will Human Resources Ever be Automated?

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With automation replacing many jobs in many different industries, individuals looking to go into human resources or currently employed in HR are rightly concerned with whether automation will replace their jobs as well. While there are never any guarantees because technology is constantly evolving and changing, this field is in an extremely good position to retain human workers. The following will outline why that is.\

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The Current State Of Automation

Automation has already replaced many jobs and will continue to do so in the future. Manufacturing jobs have been hit particularly hard. Unfortunately, if given the choice between robots and human employees, most companies will choose robots because they are often cheaper and more efficient. However, this is not always the case – just because it is feasible to replace a worker with machinery does not mean it will happen. The cost of developing and deploying the technology is also a factor, as is the return on investment. Employees then have several options they can pursue if their job is in danger. They can position themselves as someone to manage and supervise automated processes, train for another line of work or offer so much personal value that replacing them becomes a poor decision.

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How Susceptible Is HR?

Generally speaking, positions that require complex social interaction are not as likely to be replaced by automation in the near future. Because HR requires this skillset, HR positions are unlikely to be replaced. In fact, human resource managers are listed as one of the jobs least likely to be replaced by automation in the future per MSN. Jobs that involve managing others are also less likely to be automated in the future. HR positions join other subjective, medical and creative jobs such as writers, lawyers and dental professionals as positions unlikely to be taken over by machines.

What Functions Of HR Can Machines Not Perform?

Human resources involves face-to-face human interaction on a regular basis. HR professionals must employ critical thinking skills and be able to adapt to the specifics of each case before them. Each individual employee and candidate at an organization will be different and cannot have their needs met by an automated HR department. Allowing automation to fully take over the hiring process would be disastrous, as employers would get a very poor idea of fit for the position and would pass up better candidates who may have less impressive credentials on paper.

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What Functions Of HR May Be Automated?

Payroll and benefits management has the greatest potential for being automated in the future. Artificial intelligence programs will likely not have much trouble in effectively distributing those. This will save HR employees time and allow them to focus on where their career matters most – working with employees. Applicant tracking systems already do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to sorting through resumes, although they still require humans to continue the hiring process from there. Other functions that can be automated include timesheets, time off requests and expense claims.

No one can predict the future or how far technology will eventually advance, so it is possible many HR jobs and functions will be replaced with automation sometime in the future. However, the necessity of complex human interaction in HR will prevent machines from completely taking over. Human resources is a field that is unlikely to ever be fully automated.

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