This week, I was able to attend the Knowledge 17 conference put on by ServiceNow in Orlando, Florida among over 15,000 people from around the world! The event focused on one central theme: how to think about the delivery of services today and into the future of work. While this was a technology conference by a leading technology vendor, I was truly impressed at the level of thinking around better processes and rethinking work even more than the technology aspect. As someone who has been attending HR technology conferences for two decades, I found this event unique as it was not about the latest way to do the same things in a new tool, but was about how to digitize work today which involves re-imagination, not simply automation.

As part of the conference, ServiceNow released a report entitled “Today’s State of Work: At the Breaking Point”. It’s a great read so encourage you to take a few moments to do so. I found many statistics in the report worthy of calling out and wanted to make sure I shared three along with my views on them.

By 2020, 86% of companies will need intelligent automation to keep up with the volume of tasks being generated

This statistic is very important in the world today as the number of transactions that organizations deal with only continues to grow as the view of “data as the new capital” becomes more prevalent. A key term here is ‘intelligent automation’ versus automation. We have been talking about ‘personalization’ and ‘consumerization’ of services for the last five years, but only in the past couple of years have systems through Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, bots as delivery vehicles and intelligent knowledge and content bases been readily available to make this intelligent automation available.

The demand for re-imagination of how work gets done, the data that comes out of these processes and the need to consumerize work will only continue to explode in the next 2–5 years and is a MUST for all HR organizations as they digitize their function.

IT support is the best at business process efficiency, while Human Resources (HR) department was named the “most in need of a reboot”

Organizations have spent tens of millions of dollars placing technology on employees desks, and in the palms of the entire workforce. A system outage, a security breach, a forgotten password — all have significant impacts on productivity of the workforce. We have spent so much time thinking about how people get support for their technology that we have forgotten to think about the support they need to work as part of the company. How does this happen? It happens because the owners of the “technology” have been the technologists or the IT department while we in HR have been saying “our people just need someone to call” or “they are not ready to find their answers online”. Two different organizations with two different points of view. This leaves us now at a point where our support of technology with tools called IT Service Management have been deployed and support has been completely reimagined. HR have been left behind, not because of IT, but because we have not taken ownership of re-thinking the service delivery model to a workforce that is made up of multi-generational people — looking to get their answers outside of work and even in other parts INSIDE the organization — in a better manner than what HR is serving up.

It is time that HR takes ownership of reimagining the model in which it delivers services to the workforce and realize it is not truly about delivering services, but about reinforcing the culture and level of engagement of the workforce now and into the future!

91% of executives say their skilled employees spend too much time on administrative tasks

The administrative task burdens referenced in the report were pulled from across all functions within an organization; not specifically HR. However, I believe that if we took a deeper look at where transactions and workflows are occurring related to all aspects of employee’s information, we would find this number is even higher than 91%. The reality is many HR organizations have installed HR business partners into their model, and many leaders are having strategic discussions to drive a ‘people agenda’ to the lines of business they serve in a personalized way, they are still minimized to the role of simply being responsible for the transaction. The transaction from on-boarding to transition from one job to another to helping the workforce find the information they need to make decisions like benefits. While this is important work and work that needs to be done, we live in a digitized world today where the workforce wants and NEEDS to own the collection and interaction with tools and processes … instead of waiting or working through a middle person.

We are in the cross hairs of finally 1) having technology from major HCM vendors that is meeting the needs of all types of workers combined with 2) the readiness of the workforce to interact with tools and processes that provide value to them, not just HR to 3) a belief that we need to think different about how we provide and deliver people services to the workforce to allow HR to focus on its new strategic agenda versus simply keeping the lights on. These cross hairs are deadly because if we don’t work on all three pillars listed above simultaneously we will simply continue to do what we have done over the last four decades with a new piece of technology and will continue to disappoint the workforce and our function into the future.

We live in a fascinating time in the world of workforce technology and HR is up to bat in terms of reimagining what and how on the services it delivers to a workforce that is ready, waiting and JUDGING how much the organization they have become employed by is truly interested in driving culture and engagement of its most important asset.

We are doing a special LeapGen LeapChat on this topic on Wednesday May 24th at 2:00pm Eastern, 11:00am Pacific. This is a great way to interact with others about the future world of service delivery in the HR space and discuss what services, process and technologies will work to define the future of work.

I encourage you to join the conversation here to register for the online event live and to receive a playback of the event! Click HERE to register!