Analytics and automation have been a focus in the HR industry lately, but many practitioners appear to be forgetting just how important the human touch still is in the HR function, an industry veteran said.
Richard Westney, an independent HR consultant, said that while metrics can give you measures of certain aspects of work, such as time to hire, no concrete number can tell you the definitive quality of hire.
“Nobody cares if it takes 20 or 30 days to get a new employee through the door; as long as you have the right outcome for your organisation,” Richard said, stressing the importance of finding people who fit into a company’s culture, aside from having the right technical qualifications.
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The HR profession, Richard believes, has always been about people making smart decisions that, most of the time, are also hard to quantify. Even the most well-responded surveys only show you part of the picture of what people think.
“If you want to know what your staff think, talk to them rather than sending them a survey,” he said, underscoring how personal, human-to-human, conversations help in developing relationships.
Knowing the purpose of HR technology
Richard observed how HR leaders are blindly diving into online performance management tools just because they are trendy. For him, digital performance management tools are good, but only if you know what you need from them.
The seasoned HR consultant recommends HR leaders first design the process that they need, which will become the basis of selecting these tools. There will, however, be times when a tool doesn’t quite complement a company’s unique process, in which case, HR leaders will have to create their own tools.
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Richard is a believer in technology, but he also believes that technology is nothing without the human touch. The “H” in HR, after all, means exactly that – human.
The industry veteran has been in the HR space for over two decades. While he has taken on many HR leadership roles, his longest stint was with KPMG New Zealand, where he served as Senior HR Manager for at least 7 years.
During his time with KPMG, a recruitment strategy he designed and led became a National finalist and a Northern Region winner of HR Initiative of the Year at the HRINZ Awards.