The role of the office administrator has undergone many changes. We’ve moved way beyond the secretarial role of the past, which often included basic clerical duties. Nowadays, admins have more dynamic roles and expanding responsibilities, including human resources management. They not only act as a bridge between different disciplines, but they also bring continuity to the functions of each department as they work to create an environment of efficiency. And they’re good at it! When the expanded admin role also absorbs the HR function, though, responding to employee requests in a timely manner can be a huge challenge.
Being attentive to the needs and requests of your employees and prospective recruits alike is vital to a well-run and respected HR department. When time and resources are at a premium, you need solid systems to support your success. Implementing a human capital management (HCM) solution that is all-inclusive and driven by artificial intelligence (AI) could be the answer. So, what is HCM software, and how will it change the admin role, the productivity of employees, and drive your business to success?
HCM software is a great example of AI that is not taking jobs but providing much better ones for employees. HCM software centralizes the tasks of the employee, manager, and admin into one system. This allows employees to manage time-off requests and projects in one platform, gives managers freedom from maintaining timesheets when absences occur, and provides admins relief from restocking office supplies and emailing various forms every time an employee needs something. HCM software makes work more human by automating repetitive administrative tasks.
Shifting Views of AI’s Role In The Workplace
After the release of movies like The Terminator, AI got a pretty bad reputation and made people believe it would eventually become conscious, self-aware, and ultimately destroy all human life. This is, of course, an unrealistic fear. If you’ve used Alexa to order something from Amazon or asked Siri to help you get somewhere, you’ve used AI and probably didn’t even realize it. A more realistic fear for many people, however, is that robots, AI-powered programs, and machine learning will take their jobs, leaving humans useless in a world powered by technology. This simply isn’t true. Many professions will work in tandem with AI, and will benefit greatly from its implementation.
In recent years there has been a significant shift in opinion regarding AI. A recent study found that 64% of people trust a robot more than their manager. For instance, 36% of people think AI is better at providing unbiased information than a manager, and 21% feel AI can answer their confidential questions without fear of scrutiny by a manager. Another trend is the ability to conduct business processes: 34% of people consider AI to be better at maintaining work schedules and 26% find AI more competent at budget management.
Changing Roles of the HR Administrator
HR departments have long been plagued with mountains of paperwork. With resumes, benefits, and training documentation, compliance and regulatory guideline updates, and more, it’s no wonder so many employees have complaints about dealing with HR.
That is all changing with HCM software. Now, with AI-assisted hiring, HR doesn’t have to sort through every resume. Employees can complete onboarding and training in one platform, cutting down on paperwork and reducing time to proficiency. Using a single platform for access to benefits, project management, and other company resources means cutting back on training time and having more time to develop that talent instead. When employees are able to get up to speed more quickly, HR is less bogged down and easier to communicate with, which makes everyone happier and more productive.
Simplifying Communications With AI
Many forms of workplace communications are overseen by admins, and these have evolved with the advent of Natural Language Processing and AI bringing us digital assistants. Digital assistants in HCM software save HR and administrators a great deal of time, enabling employees to easily request time off, check time-off balances, find other employees in the office directory, put in an IT request, order office supplies, and more—just like asking Alexa. These communications—traditionally facilitated by office administrators—can now be done by other employees with ease, saving admins countless hours.
AI can also act as a scribe. Businesses can easily record a meeting and share the transcription with everyone on the team instantly. Technology, like Otter, can transcribe meetings relatively accurately, and eliminate the need for an admin to spend time taking notes. Otter works in unison with Zoom, which allows meetings in the virtual space to be easily recorded, just as one in a physical space would be.
Summary: AI Makes Work More Human
All of the talk about AI taking over administrative tasks may play into the fear of AI for managers and admins. However, there is no need to worry. This shift toward AI taking over those repetitive administrative tasks—consuming countless human hours—is something to embrace.
The more we can use AI to do the monotonous tasks, and use our brains for the higher cognitive functions, the better prepared we’ll be for changes in the future. One way we can do so is by understanding Human Capital Management, its importance in the workplace, and implementing an HCM system to take over some of these tasks. That way, we can spend our time performing the tasks that bring us, our colleagues, and our organizations the greater value.
Co-authored by Henry Garrett and Julie Perrine
© 2019 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.