Technology can help HR fix the people thing by allowing them to do the ‘simple but difficult’ things better and on a broader scale.
It isn’t about doing ‘clever’ things. For example, technology should be used to help a people manager select the person
they believe they need to do the job. It is not there to find a better person than the manager believes they want.
How does this work? If a ‘clever’ selection process is so detached from the manager (who doesn’t know what he wants) that the ‘right recruit’ gets through the process, that person will have no chance of performing as the ‘clever HR person’ wants or expected them to. They will do what the manager tells them to do. These mismatched expectations can lead to attrition.
The real problem is that the people manager is wrong; they don’t want to recruit the person the strategy demands. In this world of ‘clever’ everything is disconnected but in the world of simple but difficult everything must connect and must integrate. ‘Simple HR’ may only be ‘roughly right’ but it’s much better than ‘clever HR’ that can be ‘precisely wrong.’
The new HR systems deliver insight and support to do the ‘simple business things’ (like selecting the right person)they will now demand. The business world wants insight and speed of change. Therefore the HR systems and the HR function must change; they must support the leaders to do the simple but difficult things needed to get the people thing right. Big data technologies, BI-tools and information processes are able to deliver value here in a very easy but simple way! It is to the HR person to grab this value.