How the IoT is changing HR

Bruce Leith

Blog by: Bruce Leith - 9 / Aug / 2019

It’s easy to think of the IoT being about devices, not people. After all, connected ‘things’ are the very fabric of the IoT. Yet place those devices in the hands of people, and you can start to see why and how the HR department is benefitting from the IoT era.

Remember that in any IoT ecosystem the core function is the same. Smart, connected devices collect up data which was previously either too complex or costly to collect en masse. They transmit that data back to a centralised analytics engine or platform, which then transforms that raw information into tangible insights for improving business functions.

The same mechanism applies in the HR department. Various facets of HR can be streamlined, made more intelligent and more efficient with the use of IoT technology. For example…

Recruitment and assessment

Recruitment can be a convoluted process, particularly for organisations which regularly rely on temporary or contract staff, and therefore need to scale their recruitment function up and down rapidly. If HR teams are able to carry out their interviews and candidate assessments remotely, rather than organising dates and times for them to visit the premises, they can save huge amounts of time. If they are able to truly immerse potential employees in the working environment without the fuss and complication of bringing them into the office, they stand a better chance of recruiting truly informed and enthusiastic candidates. Virtual and augmented reality technologies, in conjunction with IoT ecosystems, can help on both fronts. They enable potential employees to be put in virtual situations and environments remotely, which in turn enables a far more in-depth and sophisticated assessment of their performance.

Performance management

On the subject of performance, the IoT can enable HR professionals to take a far richer, more multi-faceted and responsive approach to performance management, in a number of different ways.

At the simple end of the spectrum, the IoT can power, say, attendance and location trackers. RFID chips can replace old-fashioned systems for clocking in and out, and enable HR teams to get visibility over the entire workforce’s attendance and hours at the click of a button. Location-tracking ecosystems can enable smarter router planning and fleet management, which can in turn streamline employees’ working practices and improve health and wellbeing. And on the wellbeing side, IoT ecosystems can even enable the tracking of health and fitness information such as fatigue levels; particularly powerful for people in roles such as truck driving.

Flexible working

This draws us towards everyday working practices. Flexible, remote and mobile working are becoming increasingly important to today’s employees, particularly as millennials make up an ever-greater proportion of the workforce. IoT technology can enable employees to be far more connected to their colleagues, their customers and their responsibilities, wherever they are based. This is useful for the HR team from an ongoing management point of view, but also in terms of selling the company to potential future employees.

Ultimately, the IoT is a technology trend, but one with an inescapably human impact. Encourage your HR function to be visionary in its use of the IoT. The possibilities are truly huge.

Topics: human resources, IoT, HR

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