A Robot Can Make Your Burger. What Does That Mean For HR?

Kathy Rapp A.I., Change, Change Management, Contingent Workforce, Corporate America, Current Affairs, Employee Development, Employee Engagement, Employment Branding and Culture, Engagement and Satisfaction, Good HR, HR, HR Tech, Innovation, Kathy Rapp, Leadership, Networking, Organizational Development, Personal Brand, Recruiting, Robots, Talent Management, Talent Strategy, The HR Profession

I want to get on a plane and head to San Francisco to experience “Creator“, the new restaurant with the world’s first robot-made burger.

“Creator isn’t the machine so much as it is the diner, the chef who uses the instrument, the dining experience, and the designers who created these robots.”

As we talk about the future of work, technology continues to be at the forefront of disruption.  As a result, the skills divide will become greater – and the skills you have today could be worthless in a few years.

The Institute for The Future conducted a future skills study, and from it 5 core skills emerged.  Let’s see how they align with today and tomorrow’s HR leaders.

Personal Brand – Building a professional reputation, trust, and a following are key elements to having a personal brand.  As leaders of the people function we already know how key those elements are to getting work done within an organization.  We must now focus on our brand outside the company walls in part to compete for talent AND to retain the talent we already have.  We also must steward other leaders to do the same.  What sets you/your leadership team apart?  What are the softer skills, like authenticity, compassion and grit, that the external world needs to know about?

A Tribe – Having a tribe is much more than networking.  In our future world of work, gig workers, suppliers of specific skills, brokers of talent and your employees are part of your tribe.  Being able to design non-traditional teams (like pop-ups) quickly and sustain relationships over time will require a proactive strategy.  Cultivating a well-rounded network will benefit HR leaders in corporate roles as well as those who look to thrive personally and financially outside of old-school work arrangements.

Making Sense of Complexity – This is all about up-skilling and adapting to change.  It’s realizing the skills you and your HR/Leadership team have today must evolve – and quickly – or you’ll be zero use to  your organization.  Acquiring the needed skills may mean stepping out of your role, either side-ways or down, and you’ve got to be able to take that risk.

Resilience – Having resilience means you can take set-backs and turn them into opportunities.  Innovators are resilient.  People who tackle transformation work have resilience.  Architects of change management bleed resilience.  I’d argue resilience is a blend of skill and your DNA, so not everyone within an HR function is likely to have it; but promoting the right mindset will allow everyone to embrace it.

Digital Fluency – Tech is no longer a department; “now the whole world is a tech world“. HR’s ability to impact an organization will include knowing how to get humans, machines, bots and AI to work together. It will include creating a digital strategy and plan for all things talent.

In other words, befriend the burger machine!

If a robot can now craft a burger, could it be a future CHRO?  I still believe the skills required to lead a future-focused HR organization will be most present within humans.  We do need to be smarter about acquiring those skills, keeping them relevant and adapting to change in all aspects of our lives.

Oh, and I plan to let the line die down before making my burger trek.  I recognize I’m not resilient enough to wait 2 hours for a $6 sandwich.

Kathy Rapp

Kathy Rapp is the CEO of hrQ where she helps companies find groovy HR Talent for permanent or project roles across the country. Prior to joining hrQ Kathy booked more than 15 years of diverse HR leadership experience working in F500s and start-up organizations. A connoisseur of the intersection between pop culture and business, Kathy believes many talent insights can be gleamed from the succession planning lessons experienced by Van Halen and AC/DC.