Uberization – The next frontier of innovation in HR

Uberization is a metaphor for phenomena where mobile technologies are leveraged to connect a buyer and a seller by creating a digital marketplace for services; eliminating the traditional middlemen, who could be playing the role of an aggregator or capital provider or logistics/infrastructure provider etc.

HR has been playing the role of representing talent to business and business to talent. In doing so, they also play several of the administrative roles that ensure compliance as per agreements and policies. However this role of playing the middlemen between business and talent will eventually shrink and HR will need to reinvent itself for the new role it needs to play in an and being threatened by Uberization of HR.

Talent Acquisition: Responsibility of staffing a company always resided with the HR. However Uberization is changing the story by connecting talent to business directly and turning HR only into only ‘paper shifters’, a role that is rather outsourced. Its not just LinkedIn; but I was involved in brainstorming of an Uberized tool targeting staffing companies where business can directly connect with talent and finish contracting directly – short circuiting HR and the staffing company both!

Talent Administration: Payroll and workforce administration are heavy weights in Talent Admin. Both these functions are experiencing heavy automation resulting in reduction of HR and Uberization is only making the pace faster! Mobile GPS based attendance and wearable devices are latest in attendance tracking for mines and infrastructure that is making the process more seamless and automatic thereby connecting the Business with Talent short-circuiting HR. Mobile based ESS\MSS and Natural Language processing based helpdesk are connecting Information to Talent directly reducing administration tasks in HR

Talent Development: Learning has already seen glimpses of Uberization where Talent is directly connecting with content. MOOCs, Social platforms and corporate wiki are leading the way reducing learning organization to only compliance certification department. Performance management has been down away with in most companies for more continuous feedback; short-circuiting HR.

Now that the trends are clearly showing that Uberization taking over the role of the middlemen, what will HR do? They don’t need to represent talent with Business because business is directly connected with Talent. The answer lies in the question – HR needs to be Business. It could mean further thinning of HR but that is with every function in the company as Uberization pushes the productivity frontier. You may question, so who would represent Talent? Balance of power has switched considerably in favour of Talent and will continue to do so. Thus Talent will present itself!

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Uberization, The next frontier for Innovation

Uberization is a metaphor for phenomena where mobile technologies are leveraged to connect a buyer and a seller by creating a digital marketplace for services; eliminating the traditional middlemen, who could be playing the role of an aggregator or capital provider or logistics/infrastructure provider etc.

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I consider Uberization as Industrial Revolution 3.0 because of its disruptive ability and ability to drive next phase of productivity gains, which is now getting stagnant. It essentially eliminates the middlemen thereby creating more margin for seller and lesser price for buyer without any loss of quality to the service. The fact that the buyer and seller are closer also increases the ability of seller to customize product more by understanding their needs better. Also the digital marketplace is highly scalable and thus a proven model can be taken across geographies rather quickly. Online market place also provides benefits that an aggregator traditionally provides such as brand awareness and consistent and unique value proposition. It also could help meet compliance requirements and bring discipline to the market once it takes sufficient scale.

Are there flipside to it? Yes of course! Recent times I have seen some; Uberization empowers the buyer and the seller and it expects them to use the power judiciously. Also Uberization is a new phenomenon and Law and order is still catching up to protect the seller and the buyer. This makes the buyer and seller more vulnerable. A segment of buyers and sellers are still having change management challenges and have not adapted to the new ways of operating. This has led to multiple channels of order for seller; complicating the value chain.

Despite the challenges, Uberization is the way to go because dream of every nation is to create a society where there is minimum inefficiency between the seller and the buyer and Uberization delivers on this promise.