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The Conference Board recently convened over 200 strategic HR leaders in Chicago for The Future of Work, a joint meeting of 14 of our peer-learning councils. Together, they exchanged experiences, ideas, and strategies across the many challenges facing HR in an era of digital transformation.
Among the key insights that emerged: “Doing digital” doesn’t mean “being digital”—and leaders need to ensure their teams understand the difference. For HR, investments in new technology are just a first step. To bear fruit, they must be accompanied with policies and practices focused on human impacts, real and perceived. In a world where fears of a “robot apocalypse” have serious purchase, successful digital transformations provide a narrative for the soul—one that aligns digital strategy to values, behaviors, and standards designed around people, not mandated by machines.
What are the implications for the HR function itself? One message from Future of Work participants: Don’t panic. Automation may well make the future HR function smaller overall, but the tasks that remain will be more strategic and complex. The Center's Advisory Board, ten strategic HR leaders with global responsibilities, is guiding our future research in this area—as always, we welcome your input.