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Are HR Professionals Losing Touch in Today’s High-Tech Environment?

Posted by Jessica Miller-Merrell


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In an era when technology reigns supreme and HR professionals are constantly communicating via email, social media, and other online networks, is there a point where we say that all HR professionals are losing the human touch? Does the daily routine of sourcing candidates all across the Internet hurt our “soft” skill set and make us unable to communicate effectively offline? In my opinion, they don’t. As easy as it is to hide behind the iron curtain of your computer monitor, I believe that human resource professionals have yet to lose that human touch.

But the danger is there, so it’s important to understand why human touch and interaction is indispensable in the HR industry. Here are a few reasons why this type of connection is so valuable.

The Value of Being Present

Anyone who is on LinkedIn has seen the number of profiles that have 500+ connections and seem to be the ultimate networking geniuses. Unfortunately for the majority of these people, the connections they’ve acquired on networking sites like LinkedIn are just that, connections. It’s safe to assume that a large percentage of these connections are random or added for marketing purposes. Going beyond electronic communication to a more direct, physical contact is important if you want to establish a real connection with someone.

Potential Within Networking

Having connections online is one thing, but being able to network and interact in person creates a sense of building a relationship. It’s so easy to email back and forth and seemingly be best friends without even meeting in today’s technological age. Communicating in person is a proven method to improve efficiency in your workplace. Even if you’re bound by geographical limits, use programs such as Skype to create a face-to-face interaction with someone, or at least talk on the phone from time to time.

Developing Relationships

When it comes to developing future business relationships or relationships between different departments, it’s hard to really build something sustainable when the relationship is behind a computer screen. The importance of face-to-face networking is that it adds that personal, human connection you need for real collaboration. Encouraging this type of communication will allow your office to be more flexible and even make working from home a few days a week more feasible. If you have a strong personal relationship with your employees, they’re more likely to have a strong work ethic in your company.

So, have all human resource professionals lost touch with the human aspect of recruiting and development? Again, I would say no. I think there are those who might have lost some type of touch, but most understand the value of this aspect of human resources and how important it is to keep it alive.

In what ways, if any, have you lost the “human” touch as an HR professional?

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About Jessica Miller-Merrell


Jessica is listed as the 2nd most influential recruiter online and as the 8th most powerful woman on Twitter. She is the author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, a how-to business guide for Twitter users. She also writes for a number of leading publications, including Fortune, HR Magazine, SmartBrief, and HR Executive Magazine.

3 COMMENTS Join the discussion
  • Rachel Preson June, 01, 2013

    Not only that they are losing touch with the human factor at home, but also losing touch with what’s going on at home. I’ve started to exchange e-mails with my son about his activities. I mostly know what is going on with him now by our email and SMS exchange. It’s true that I travel a lot, but I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m losing contact with the people around me, just because it’s so easy to communicate with the use of technology.

  • Sorin Lunt June, 03, 2013

    That’s a pretty freaky thing to say, Rachel. And really blunt. It’s been a while since I’ve heard somebody criticize their own person like that. Pretty brave. But on the topic at hand. I haven’t feel this way before I read the article. But know, that I’m thinking about it, it looks like the ease of communicating online and in bulk, has made me keep verbal communication to a minimum. But that’s also because having a log of what you do and say can come pretty handy when the shit hits the fan.

    • Ian Welsh June, 20, 2013

      Great question, Jessica, and with so many implications.

      Sorin, I see nothing strange about Rachel’s comment. Nothing brave, nothing outrageous, just sharing the feeling of possibly losing contact. We have to be honest with ourselves to identify things that perhaps we may want to change. It is probably braver of you to admit that you keep a record of what you do or say as protection. The negative side is that anything (negative or positive) you have on email can be subpoenaed. Just a thought.


Guest June, 20, 2013