The end of one-size-fits all HCM

Technology empowers Human Capital Management to personalise approaches

By: Mandisa Seleoane, Human Capital Executive at Adapt IT

Today’s Human Capital Management (HCM) professional has to contend with shifting business demands and an evolving workforce. At the same time, HCM itself is changing – and one of the key drivers of that change is technology. Whether this is seen as a threat or an opportunity depends on the individual. At Adapt IT, we believe digital technologies present a valuable opportunity for organisations to take a next-generation approach to HCM.

As we’ve seen in the consumer market, the next generation consumer demands greater interactivity and more engagement with brands. Brands that are agile enough to personalise their value propositions in line with the preferences of each customer will be the brands that take the market share in the end.

The same principles apply to the HCM environment, where workforces are changing and evolving fast. Consider that by 2025, millennials, born between 1980 and 1995 are expected to account for about 50 percent of the global workforce. This significant shift in workforce demographics means that the employees of tomorrow will require, and indeed strive for greater integration and flexibility, and organisations that offer this will remain competitive while also positioning themselves as an attractive and engaging employer.

It is estimated that the average tenure of a millennial worker is just two years; and talent management practices throughout the employment life cycle must keep pace with the demands of millenials, while at the same time continuing to adequately meet the requirements of the business. Digital technology enables the business to deliver results fast, whether it be in recruitment, on-boarding, performance management, talent identification, learning and development, career and succession management, and recognition and rewards. Today’s employees, and certainly those of the future, are unlikely to wait long for organisations to provide valuable feedback and assessments of their performance.

In short, to be an employer of choice in future, the organisation must deliver the same agility and personalisation available in the consumer market.

Thanks to new technologies enabling new approaches to delivering HCM services, it is becoming possible to give employees rich access to HCM services, and simultaneously engage employees on their terms. New mobile apps, social media, in-house CRM, GPS and Internet of Things tools can be harnessed to optimise working environments and productivity, reward efficiency, track and manage human resources and   customise talent management practices and communications to specific groups and individuals; effectively eliminating one-size-fits all engagement with employees.

Digital is reinventing recruitment and talent management, in addition to redefining learning and development. E-recruitment speeds up and streamlines hiring practices through digitisation. Algorithms save time by identifying where skills are needed while also sorting through various applicants to help detect the most suitable candidate.

Digital technology enables HCM to deliver greater value to organisations. With the help of technology, the HCM function can focus on being a strategic value contributor. With the transactional side of HCM taken care of through the optimal use of technology, HCM can focus more on the strategic aspects of their role; ensuring that they can direct efforts to activities which positively impact the most valuable asset any business has – its employees.

For HCM professionals, the time-consuming burden of routine processes and administrative tasks will largely be eliminated; a welcome development that frees HCM to dedicate more to efforts which improve organisational effectiveness and competitiveness.

Talent management systems are more responsive and enable the business to gather real-time performance information and to take timely decisions and actions in line with the information. This bodes well for the shifts brought about by the increasing employment of millenials.

As HCM transactional processes become more efficient, mobile technology will become all the more critical in extending these processes to reach a mobile and dynamic workforce. It’s for this reason that it makes sense to make use of a central HCM platform that can provide the unified, consistent data needed to gain a single objective view of the workforce, automate specific processes, and work seamlessly across various channels.

While it may be tricky to predict exactly what the future will look like, what we can be certain of is that change is here to stay, and will most likely accelerate. Technologies that were almost unimaginable not too long ago are now a mainstream reality. The challenge for organisations today is to be prepared for inevitable change and move with it. HCM practitioners with an appreciation for the possibilities of digital technology and take a proactive approach in integrating it will be in a better position to differentiate their organisations from a talent management perspective, as well as improve their contribution to organisational effectiveness.


Mandisa Seleoane is a Human Capital Executive at Adapt IT, and is responsible for building an effective Human Capital organisation which contributes value to the group.

About Adapt IT

JSE-listed Adapt IT provides a variety of specialised IT software solutions and services to Education, Manufacturing, Financial Services and Energy sector clients. Adapt IT has over 800 employees and customers in 38 countries in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America, and its services and solutions span the complete IT life cycle, from consulting and application design and development, through to delivery and support.

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