If you know me, you know I love technology and all of the latest gadgets designed to make life easier…and more fun! You don’t have to look any further than our company, as we’re all-in on artificial intelligence, intelligent automation, chatbots, and any other technology we can develop that can be leveraged by HR professionals to help them work compliant.
But the secret sauce to any technology, especially in the realm of HR (it is HUMAN resources after all), is the symbiotic relationship between humans and technology (or robots). Workplace technology can help us do a lot of things, and it can be very effective and efficient. However, people are people, and we still need to have the important conversations and communication patterns that speak to the heart, soul, and mind of one another.
Leverage technology so you can get more work done with less effort, but take that saved effort and put it into the leadership, communication, and investment your employees need for success. Here are some ways to be aware of our need for balance between people and technology.
Don’t Be Afraid to Use Technology to Build Relationships
We live in a world that is virtually free of borders. You can befriend someone on the other side of the world, thanks to the development of technology. As simple as this sounds, don’t be afraid to network and build relationships using technology. It really is a low-barrier entry point for many people to meet others. For business professionals today, LinkedIn is an important tool to expand your network. The world we live in today has people finding their future spouse online, and I’m not talking about mail-in brides. Swipe left or right, and you can find a potential date, if not a potential life partner. While that rings true for personal relationships, the value of using social media and technology to build your network, both in your industry and outside, is tremendous.
Technology Only Goes So Far
The key to the first point is to understand that we must use technology to enhance relationships, not replace them. There’s an old saying that “people won’t remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.” Those feelings are most felt with in-person conversations. We’re all busy, and instant messaging can make life more productive. But there are also the times to poke your head into someone’s office to just connect, live and in-person. Have the conversations, even if they’re short. Communicate the important stuff face-to-face, and then follow-up with an email if necessary.Don’t depend on technology to grow your working relationships, put in the work yourself.
Don’t Burn Out
There is no telling how many times I’ve seen someone post that they’re taking a break from social media, and most of the time for their mental health. I’ve talked to even more people who tell me they’re taking a break, and I get it. Sometimes social media can feel like a car wreck, and you just HAVE to stop and look. But the reality is, that while social media is areal part of life, you and I both know that it’s not always reality. In short, don’t burn yourself out, trying to keep up with everything going on in the virtual world. Yes, take breaks if you need it, but keep a good balance of real, in-person interaction in your daily life. This is the essence of life, both professionally and personally, to have relationships with people that are life-giving.
Humans and Robots
Specific to technology in the workplace, it’s important to remember that the purpose for technology is for leverage. Automated processes and systems make it possible, not only to be more efficient and effective, but they also are intended to free your team to do the things that only humans can do. Provide leadership, inspiration, empathy, and a listening ear to what your employees are saying. These things happen in the daily, personal interactions that we have with each other, whether it’s at a desk, at the coffee bar, or over lunch.
Whatever your level of engagement in technology, know that the technology of our world isn’t going away. In fact, its influence is only going to increase, so don’t be afraid to leverage it for whatever uses you have. But don’t forget the human interaction, because technology can never trump people.