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Why HR must become knowledge leaders

Posted on by from IBM

The shift from functional people management to knowledge leadership is vital for HR's future.

As tough market and competitive conditions change the face of the business landscape, progressive management thinking is also shifting. 

Previously, questions steering bottom line decisions may have been ‘What if we train our new employees only to find that they leave and transfer their skills elsewhere?’, or ‘What if we under-train and are left with an ineffective workforce?’ The current business environment commands a very different way of thinking and a new paradigm prevails: ‘What if we hire the right resources, and train and develop them in such a way that they become loyal and committed members of the organisation?’

The questions every forward-thinking CEO is asking his/her CHRO (chief HR officer) today revolve around how to:

  • Retain the organisation’s top talent
  • Keep employees continuously trained and motivated, and
  • Get the most out of the company’s intellectual capital in order to be an industry leader

Key issues to address such questions include:

  • Whether the company’s HR systems provide it with the needed and relevant data
  • If it can rely on its HR systems as a source from which to make key business decisions

Using artificial intelligence for organisational learning

A key takeaway from the fact that 70% of the fortune 500 organisations in 2004 do not exist today, is the need for organisations to continuously adapt and innovate. Every market is experiencing stiff competition and a shift in its economic and climatic conditions. This puts every CXO (chief experience officer) in a tough position where he/she needs not only to make quick decisions, but the right decisions, as the luxury of changing course may often not be an option.

CXOs today need to surround themselves with as much sound council as possible – advisors that keep themselves constantly updated with changes in the market, competitive environment, economic scenarios, government regulations, and all other eventualities. This is at best impractical both from a financial and resource availability perspective. How then, can the evolution in data management and cognitive capability help today’s executive?

In many organisations HR data is readily available - information relating to recruitment, training, experience, performance and changes in organisational structure. Such information sources range from talent acquisition systems and HRMS (human resource management systems) to learning management and financial systems. Historically, organisations have hired consultants to analyse and make full use of such data. Yet this is changing.

The most intelligent talent management solutions today are those that provide smart analytic capabilities able to navigate through all a company’s data, discovering essential correlations and providing deep insights for decision makers within just few minutes instead of days as it was previously.

Such smart systems provide a continuous learning experience, bringing understanding and clarity to how the organisation performs. They highlight the specific areas where more data is needed to provide further insights and shape the organisation’s talent management strategy. 

Cognitive computing vs programming solutions

The smart system as described is a cognitive solution that is continuously learning and is able to build further based on the data available. This is vastly different to the traditional programming model which needed an operator to keep updating the organisation’s programmes in order to meet new requirements – and which in many cases led to delay and uncertainty in the results generated. 

Cognitive computing systems have seemingly unlimited potential – optimising the way a company assesses its top employees, recruits talent of a similar calibre, on-boards employees to get them up to full speed from the first day, chooses the right learning and training mechanisms, elicits honest and constructive employee feedback, and builds its future leaders. Cognitive computer systems help an organisation to utilise its resources to achieve the very best results. 

Human resource vs talent management

The result is a shift between the traditional human resource function – which manages salaries, vacations and other basic employee requirements – to a talent management model that grows organisational knowledge and keeps its talent engaged. It is by adopting a talent management model that an organisation can achieve its own goals and ultimately provide a best-in-class service to its customers.

The deployment of cognitive capabilities has become essential to every organisation today to help manage talent in a scientific and smart way. It is the new paradigm to guiding a company’s strategic direction and successful future as market conditions become ever-more competitive and dynamic – and where cognitive thinking becomes the key to market leadership.

Mohammad Emad El-Din

By Mohammad Emad El-Din

Mohammad is IBM's collaboration solution business unit executive, Middle East & Africa.

IBM

IBM

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