“Dead in the water” is what the traditional HR director will be when e-commerce takes hold, Doug Ross, Watson Wyatt human capital consultant, told delegates.
He said the changes technology will bring over the next few years will wipe out the transactional side of the job and shift people management on to line managers. The HR professional will have two roles: managing outsourced contracts and defining the culture of organisations.
“The HR director is dead in the water,” he said. “As the organisation starts to move and readjust the only things HR can hang on to are training and brand values. Do people know what they are supposed to do in their jobs and have you established the company’s values through hiring the right people and through training?”
He said HR will only deal with transactions through suppliers. “The HR manager of the future will be an expert at managing suppliers. Benefits will be outsourced, stock options will be outsourced, company cars will be outsourced because you don’t want to be in the car business. The HR person becomes more employee focused and outsourcing focused.”
But he warned most people in HR are not prepared for the changes. “It is not about the mechanics of the technology, you can get guys like us in to deal with that. It is a nuance thing, it is about changing your way of thinking. A lot of HR people don’t know what to do when you take the paper away. They haven’t got a clue about the dynamics.”
He said the administration side of the job will disappear because employees will be able to do it themselves through the Intranet.
As responsibility for customer service has moved to every employee, people issues will move from the HR department to line managers.