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Smart HR 4.0

Every few decades, a new way of technology overtakes our lives and changes the way we live. Starting from the first industrial revolution which used steam-powered engines and machinery(18th – Early 19th Centuries) was replaced by the second industrial revolution which was based on electricity. (between late 19th and mid 20th). And this was replaced by the third revolution which was mainly focused on automation drive. Every revolution has brought changes to it. So, there should be changes in this revolution too (Industry 4.0).This revolution has an impact on our professional world.

In this revolution, it has the latest trends of automation which involves products and processes ranging from driverless vehicles (i.e. Tesla, Google Self Drive cars), Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, IOT, Big Data to Cloud Computing and Smart Robotics.

With the changes that we’ve seen under the Industry 4.0 made many people ask the question “Will the technology replace people?How will it impact our work?”For sure the work we do will be changed. And also the HR functions may also be changed with this Industry 4.0. The useless functions will be thrown out and the new HR functions will be implemented with a smarter way of HR.

When we look back at the 1st Industrial Revolution’s HR functions, there was no proper HR system with them. But with the advancement of technology and society, all these have been implemented. Similarly, in this Industry 4.0, HR will be brought into a whole new level. Traditional jobs will be replaced with machinery and the technology while new job opportunities will be created for the knowledge workers related to technology.

“Industry 4.0 will stimulate significant changes in how industrial workers execute their jobs and completely new scope of jobs will be created while others totally disappear.” (Ermolaeva, 2017)

In the past, HR professionals focused on personnel functions: recruitment, payroll administration, training and development plans, and other administrative tasks. Today, HR people cannot depend only on the traditional approach. They must transform and embrace HR 4.0.

First, HR people must be able to identify the skills needed for the industry in which their organisation is active. (i.e. Digitisation) HR professionals must identify what skill sets the workforce and organisation they serve is currently lacking.

Second, HR must become more digitally focused. And the HR professionals need to keep up with technological trends as well.

“HR professionals all around the world specialists are challenged to seek and adapt into the constantly shifting organisational context that surrounds them by adopting digital concepts, platforms, technologies and management styles that can deliver sustainable results.” (Dharmasiri, 2018)

Third, HR must reconsider how they network and interact. HR professionals can no longer rely on the old ways of interaction, they must change the way they communicate with internal and external clients

In this Industry 4.0 HR professionals face challenges due to a huge amount of data we have, the rapidity of change, new business models and the smart services present in the industry. We’ll never be able to control the changes which happen in the world, but we can control how HR can lead the people within the organization and we can adapt to the changes which happens with technological revolutions.

“Human resource departments (HRD) must adapt to new technologies to adequately prepare for Industry 4.0” (Yosephine, 2018)


Dharmasiri, A., 2018. Transformation of HR in the digital world. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 05 June 2019].

Ermolaeva, A., 2017. International Business – Central European Business, s.l.: UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMICS IN.

Yosephine, L., 2018. The Jakarta Post. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 04 June 2019].


  1. Dear Tharindu, your nicely written article describe the need of change in HR practices in the 21st century in the backdrop of 4th industrial revolution.


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