The Circular spoke to Andy Campbell HCM Strategy Director at Oracle, about corporate social responsibility, HR’s challenges and the future of the workforce.
How is corporate social responsibility essential in improving the image of the company as an excellent organization to work with?
Corporate social responsibility is becoming more prevalent and increasingly significant as a means to improve the image of a company. The divide between our private life and our life in work is becoming increasingly blurred. We shouldn’t be a different person in our work life and our domestic life. When we are at home we might naturally do some volunteering activity, it is part of our social make up. The ability to be the same person and do the same kind of activities in the work environment is very attractive, the two complement each other.There are also important business reasons and it is proven to work. It encourages a better working environment, one that is conducive to improved employee engagement, which in turn is good for customer satisfaction, improved profitability, etc.Also, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that sometimes we need to do things just because they are right, not necessarily because they bring profit. The workforce should be representative of the community in which it operates, and this is just another way in which companies can demonstrate their broader links to the society that we live in.
From HR’s point of view, is corporate responsibility important in the choice of a company to work with?
The reasons why people are joining businesses today are becoming more complex. Many people are no longer just attracted by salary, they often want to work for an organization that demonstrates the same values that they personally hold. When I search for a new employer, a lot of factors are involved in my decision. Why should I join this organization, besides the amount of money I would make? Opportunities for learning and personal development, wellness and well being, interesting and project-based team working, all of these are important things to consider when making a decision. An organizations approach to corporate social responsibility and what this represents in terms of its values is just another dimension to add to the equation.
What will be happening in the future from HR’s point of view?
Technology will undoubtedly change our organizations dramatically. This offers the potential for both good and bad and the role of HR professionals will become even more critical. There is a risk with technology that you can do all sorts of things, just because you can. However, that does not necessarily mean that you should, which is an important distinction.The role of HR is to understand the capabilities of the technology that is coming and then to consider what impact it might have on our organizations. What will the implications be for the way in which we plan resources, the skills that we require, the ways in which we organize ourselves, treat and train our people.Most organizations’ value is based on intangible assets, like people, so it is really important that they are well managed. The role of HR is to understand what impact technology has in the workforce and how we can make sure powerful resources are applied effectively.HR also has an important role in ‘holding a mirror’ to the executive team and reflecting on their behavior and decision making. Something that is not considered enough is the ethical repercussions of what we do and it is typically the role of the HR Director to raise such issues. Increasingly we are seeing that the ethical implications of how businesses respond to challenges are being scrutinized. The role of the HR Director has never been as important as it is in 2018.
Soft skills and How will robots replace humans’ soft skills?
According to a statement by Andy Haldane, the chief economist of the Bank of England, one-third of all workers in the UK could be replaced by robots. However, other commentators suggest that no jobs were going to be replaced. The reality will be somewhere in between. The potential of robots automating tasks is very real, and if people can be released from activities that do not add value, getting robots to do this would benefit humans beings, too.There is a potential to modify roles and tasks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we will need fewer people. There are opportunities to use this technology to do tasks differently and for people to use the technology to augment their skills.Since we have an aging population, there will be an increase in demand for care staff, nursing work, and related skills, roles that would be difficult to replace with robots. On their other hand, there will also be an increased demand for people with advanced data and analytical skills. These increases may be enough to replace those roles that might be lost as a result of the use of robots. It is difficult to predict what the overall numbers will be.Certainly, roles will be different, and the skills required of people will be different. I am in my 50s, so I probably would not want to retrain in a completely new skill like data analytics. So what does this mean? Andy is going to be trained in other roles. Could he be a mentor to new people? Surely we need to think about how we develop our workforce because there are potentially quite profound challenges