This week I read the text of Dr. Graeme Codrington’s London TEDx speech on the Third Wave of the Digital Age. The third wave of the digital revolution starts when we realize that our newest inventions are of more use then just doing our old work better. The third wave of the digital age will affect how, where and why we work. In the third wave managers, companies, consultants and employees will apply new digital technologies to revolutionize our work in a number of ways: how we use technology, where and when we work, how we are rewarded, and why we work.
I read the speech, wrote some notes up and thought to myself that HR needs tech geeks. The third wave, as outlined, is all about HR. This is a huge opportunity for any HR pro and you don’t even need to work at Apple or Google to participate.
Using Technology: How many times have we heard a complaint about ancient technology slowing employee’s down? My experience has been that many do their best work despite the antiquated technology or autocratic rules we have to follow. An HR pro that: 1.) understand the power of technology and 2.) can network/collaborate to get that technology to the employee is invaluable.
Where and when we work: enough said here. Instead of telling horror stories about stolen SSN numbers lets understand the technology and the risks and then work to find a solution suitable for both employee’s and company security. If we don’t put the capability in our employees hands they will leave for a company that does.
How we are rewarded: This may be the toughest nut to crack: rewarding people for their output instead of their inputs (time spent at the office). Depending on the work environment this is going to be especially challenging but is a challenge we need to embrace.
Why we work: Technology does an amazing thing for us. It gives us back our time. We have the luxury to think about our life, our purpose, and our world. Think about the implications of that. We have more time than ever to watch things like American Idol but we also have time to invent and innovate, write blogs and spend time with family. The company that supports our perceived purpose in life doesn’t have a problem motivating and retaining the best employees.
In the list of skills we think the best HR pro’s have I’m adding tech skills. Understand that by tech skills I don’t mean “can our HR pro write programming code?” I mean “does our HR pro have the ability to understand how technology works? Do they see technology as a great thing?” Or are they a Luddite still trying to stop people from working at home?
By understanding and embracing the digital revolution we can develop employees and organizations that not only keep up with change but make change: Now hiring HR tech geeks