The New Normal: What emerging technologies can HR adopt to assist them in meeting challenges posed in a post-COVID 19 workplace?

Written by Topco Staff Writer



This week we are zooming in on technology and AI, investigating its impact on post-COVID 19 workplace culture. Our focus is on how AI can improve HR and management processes, in an effort to approach employee well-being with new solutions. Three panelists head this Masterclass: Rob Bothma – Master Principal Consultant – HCM @ Oracle, Ronnie Toerien – HCM Development & Strategy Leader @ Oracle, and Ralf Fletcher, CEO @Topco Media.

Ralf introduced this week’s Masterclass by highlighting its alignment with the values and focus areas of the 2020 Future of HR’s latest summit and awards – fostering winning mindsets, energising your organisation, and implementing the very best enabling tools and practices.  Ralf highlighted key themes that the masterclass would be looking at: top AI technologies for enhancing your business, the impact this could have on HR departments, ensuring safe return-to-work for employees, being mindful of mental health issues incurred by employees due to sudden changes in work environments and culture, and being prepared for the possibility of future COVID-type events.

Key takeaways from this Masterclass included:

  1. Technology has gradually been moving us forward for decades. Therefore, the demand for us to adapt to emerging technologies shouldn’t be seen as something new – change will come and change is necessary.
  2. Emerging technologies, such as Analytics, Blockchain Technology, Digital Assistants and Machine Learning, are valuable business tools – use this to gain better value from data you’ve accumulated.
  3. Employees have taken more control over the workplace environment, and this newfound agency is accelerating the pace of change in businesses.
  4. “Talent Passports” (verified employee information and certifications) will benefit the recruitment process for HR teams – time reduced and costs eliminated.
  5. The enforcement of safety measures, and safety policies, should be automated to save time.
  6. 5G has become a prerequisite for all businesses to thrive, and AI is no longer invasive.
  7. Chatbots are becoming widely popular in HR and Customer Service domains.
  8. We need to be mindful of cyber risks as we spend more time online – Zoom meetings and emails must be limited to decrease stress and anxiety.
  9. We need to use emerging technologies to prevent employees from burning out and working in dangerous, high risk areas.
  10. As things progress and transform, employees will need to be managed based on OUTPUT; focus needs to shift from ‘quantity’ to ‘quality’.

Rob Bothma is a respected Business Solutions Architect based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Early on in his career, Rob entered IT as an Operator. Thereafter, he moved to Programming, Business Analysis and then Training COBOL programmers. Today, he is Master Principal Consultant – HCM for Oracle: Africa. He specialises in working with companies extracting maximum value from their HRIS, assisting with building HR System prototypes, researching new technologies within HR, and assisting companies in defining their HR Systems strategic goals. As an HRIS thought leader, Rob Bothma contributes monthly editorials to the HR Future magazine and other HR Industry publications, including People Dynamics and the HR Pulse Online Portal. In 2011, he co-authored “4th Edition Contemporary Issues in HRM” used for HR studies in 3rd & 4th year modules, as well as for MBA students. In 2011, he received a lifetime achievement award from HR Future publication, and in 2013 he was elected as a Thought Leader for Business Connexion within the HCM space.

Ronnie Toerien has been involved in Human Resources since 1990, and is currently a HCM Development & Strategy Leader for Oracle: Africa. With a Diploma in Business Management, from the Institute of Admin & Commerce SA, he is an extremely intelligent thought leader, and is always willing to share his PeopleSoft knowledge. Writing regularly for HR Pulse and Skills Portal, Ronnie has a plethora of well-research publications on a variety pf themes, mainly addressing skills shortages, HR bots, and cloud transformation –  to name but only a few. He is a recipient of the Global HR Excellence – Strategic Leadership Award, awarded by the World HRD Congress in Mumbai. He also occasionally guest-lectures HR Master’s students at the University of Johannesburg, as well as at the University of Pretoria, where he serves on the examination panel for masters students.


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