Automation vs. personalization: what to choose?

2017-02-28

Automation usually goes hand in hand with personalization. What will happen if there is any interference from one to the other?

We talk about business development, automation, personalization, the devices and the tools all the time, trying to come up with different perspectives and illuminate different points of view. We speak of the need to customize the automation and automate personalization. But what will happen if the two have a conflict?

Thus, the automation vs. personalization problem.

Automation of HR processes from the point of view of the employer: it is everything from automation of search and selection of candidates to training and analytics. Employers/HR managers like automation because:

  1. It makes recruitment process easier.
  2. It allows you to quickly replenish the database of candidates.
  3. Constant updates of information about an employee allow you to keep abreast of business opportunities.
  4. It saves time.
  5. It provides quick and efficient information exchange.
  6. It is a handy tool for performance evaluation
  7. It gives you quick access to the map of all personnel.
  8. It makes access to the data of the company’s branches as simple as it is in the head office.

Employers/HR managers don’t like automation because:

  1. The cost of a good system pays off only when the company has "grown" up to a certain number of employees (average of 400). 
  2. You must learn to use the automation. However clear the platform for talent management may be, you still need to learn which buttons to press. And at the same time, you need to train your subordinates, which sometimes is more difficult than learning yourself.
  3. Typically, the selection of precise tools takes time, and everybody wants to get it here and now.
  4. Like any technology, the chosen platform may not operate correctly, and it cannot be fixed or replaced with another one instantly.
  5. There will be resistance on the part of employees who do not want change.

Why employees like automation:

  1. All their perspectives and mandatory tasks can be seen in one place.
  2. Transparent mentoring system (you know whom to contact in need).
  3. Access to all documents with which you have worked.
  4. The ability to influence your own development at the expense of the company (choice of courses and feedback).

Why employees don’t like automation:

  1. It is necessary to spend some time to learn the new technologies. Because why change anything when you could do something familiar, even if it is inconvenient or tedious?
  2. Instructions and recommendations come in a categorical manner, and it can be annoying. And everything is recorded, so you cannot avoid the task with “I was never told about it” excuse.
  3. Postponing any forms or reports is not possible. The system will notify straight away.
  4. Technologies assist exactly to the moment when you are forced to do some additional manipulation. Payment parking app is a good application, but installing it on the phone can be difficult.

Why experts like automation:

(It is necessary to clarify that, by experts, we mean a host of professionals who in their work mentioned the subjects of this article)

  1. Performance efficiency of individual tasks increases by 30%.
  2. The invested money was paid off in 70% of companies in the first 6 months, according to statistics.
  3. The clear analytics is in free access. 
  4. If the automation system is integrated, the end user gets a complete overview of the current situation in the company

Why experts don’t like automation:

  1. This is an area of business development, in which major changes are accepted with difficulty.
  2. Automation requires money. So convincing business owners to take the next step in the modernization of business processes is not always an easy task.
  3. The attitude and willingness among employees, HR managers, and owners greatly influence the success of the automation.

Let’s specify that the personalization is already present in the automation process: every employee gets his or her profile, their needs and wishes are taken into account, personalized courses list, etc.

Thus the problem is hidden in the fact that sometimes candidate’s personality plays a greater role than his or her professionalism (for example, if the employer is more interested in how many children a female candidate has rather than in her competencies). Such personalization risks turning into prejudice, bias, and bureaucracy.

Employers like personalization because:

  1. Budget is saved here and now.
  2. There is a high probability of establishing a personal relationship, through which for the employee it would be difficult to refuse new tasks.
  3. Some do not trust the technology.
  4. Everybody must work and be trained according to the same standards of the company. This means that everything is structured and controlled.

Employers don’t like personalization because:

  1. In fact, the efficiency of biased selection is next to none. Unsuitable candidates are not eliminated, and a lot of time is wasted them.
  2. Databases are not updated quickly enough.
  3. Employees depend on each other, which leads to bias and bureaucracy.

Employees like personalization because:

  1. They know the person whom they conduct business with.
  2. There is personal communication.
  3. Not dealing with a machine is nicer.
  4. It is more conventional.

Employees don’t like personalization because:

  1. There is personal communication. Not everybody is an ace in building relations.
  2. There is also the human factor when every decision is done in person or it depends on what someone else does. It causes delays and bureaucracy.

Experts like personalization because:

  1. It provides psychological comfort in communicating with staff.
  2. It gives you the ability to quickly replace a subject (there are no irreplaceable people).
  3. Sometimes you get a more sincere feedback.

Experts don’t like personalization because:

  1. It is less effective in the preparation of the strategy
  2. The attitude that is too personalized hinders decision-making – for decisions that are the more important for the business than for an individual employee.
  3. Personalization, which at the start is simply a good attitude, risks ending up as familiarity and bias with high probability.

So which one is better?

Imagine that automation is not personalized: you lose the element of personal efficiency as well as the ability to find the source of the problem and solve it for an individual employee; in a group you cannot identify the most effective and the weakest links.

Personalization without automation is an archivist with folders and the check-in ledger in the form of a notebook with a pen chained to it.

Therefore, talking about the opposition of the automation and personalization is incorrect. Automation and personalization are complementary concepts because behind automation there is always the man, or at least the human mind. So, it is important to combine business with a human approach.

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