It’s no secret I like technology. I believe technology has the ability to do great things and solve big problems. But it’s not a replacement for human interaction.
Yes, some functions that were once completed by a person might be done by a computer. The best example is the automated answering functions we get when we call somewhere (“for human resources, press 4”). The entire process isn’t computerized, only a piece of it. (Note to my Millennial friends: Yes, believe it or not, we used to talk to a real live person whenever we called a business.)
I recently ran across this old article by American Economist Paul Krugman talking about the growth of machines and the reduced demand for people. And while I understand our increased use of technology, we have to be careful about making everything a “need more technology” issue. You know that old saying, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Or something like that.
In this case, we want to avoid the “when technology can increase profits, every employee looks expendable” mentality. Keeping the customer experience a priority helps with this.
Companies need to identify what things should be handled using technology and what things should be done by people. It’s possible this might vary by company, industry or geography. For example:
- What’s the best way to train employees on soft skills like emotional intelligence?
- Is online recognition effective both in terms of manager satisfaction and employee satisfaction?
- Does setting goals online yield to equally effective results?
This is just a few of the questions companies need to ask themselves. Oh! And there’s one more:
If our company wants a technology solution, does a company exist that can deliver it?
As organizations problem solve their challenges, they must ask themselves if a technology solution exists, should they explore it and will the results be more effective than if handled using the human touch. In some cases, the answers will be yes; and in others, no.
It’s also possible that for a time, the answer will be “it depends”. Which means that employees must be prepared to handle matters using both their people skills and their tech abilities. Because even when a technology solution exists, it doesn’t absolve us from understanding the process.
Image courtesy of HR Bartender0