Singapore

HR must embrace tech to be change agent

Human resources needs to get smarter to leverage rise in gig employment

As we enter an era of disruption powered by technology - e-commerce, fintech, advertising and its ability to reach consumers on a hyperlocal level - the human resources (HR) function has been forced to adapt swiftly to keep pace with operational changes.

Much of HR's functions are centred on improving efficiencies and consolidating tasks; allowing leave applications, time sheets and payroll to be archived on a secure database.

But if HR is to play a critical role in helping businesses anticipate and manage change, it has to get smarter.

It also has to recognise that beyond digitising the workforce, the relationship between employers and employees has taken a turn, with gig employment becoming more common.

The sharing economy, a concept once frowned upon by organisations, now appeals to many. About 167,000 individuals in Singapore engaged in freelance work as their primary job last year, showed a Ministry of Manpower survey.

If we include part-time freelancers holding other jobs concurrently, this number swells to 200,000.

This fluidity in freelancers has benefited employers, as they can gain easy access to jobseekers, especially when manpower is needed at short notice.

In such a scenario, altering perceptions of talent alone is insufficient. New technologies must emerge to serve the gig population, increasingly comprised of millennials who demand control and flexibility.

This is where on-demand platforms such as MyWork Global come into play, providing businesses and jobseekers the opportunity to connect in a safe and efficient environment.

ANYWHERE, ANY TIME

With technology at its core, these agile platforms allow businesses to post available positions anywhere, any time.

This provides jobseekers with shift jobs that fit their schedule and gives businesses access to a ready labour resource.

To date, MyWork has served more than 300 businesses and more than 60,000 jobseekers.

Appropriate algorithms can be put in place to ensure job postings are shown only to jobseekers that best match the criteria, based on experience and employer feedback.

Combined with functions such as automated payslips, insights on workforce efficiency and resource allocation, the potential of recruitment technology in helping businesses remain competitive becomes more promising.

The main challenge for businesses in the gig economy is in knowing how much resources to invest in.

Training costs time and money, and organisations are often unwilling to commit to an investment when employees are around only for the duration of an assignment.

To overcome this, businesses can leverage digital tools that offer training in a more cost-efficient manner.

Online courses aside, predictive analytics on hiring platforms allow for better risk-management decisions, so businesses can identify the types of training that suit employees.

In line with efforts to upskill the workforce, employers can look to tie up with training contractors to develop courses specific to their industry.

Our platform, for instance, offers jobseekers subsidised courses.

It is clear that technology is shaping the workplace of the future, revolutionising recruitment and management.

The sooner organisations embrace these technologies, the quicker HR will earn its seat as a change agent.

The writer is founder and chief executive of MyWork Global.

EmploymentMINISTRY OF MANPOWER (MOM)Technology