Ellen Hagan, CEO, L’aine Services

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On the impact of technological advancements on the outsourcing industry and shifting demands

How do you expect Ghana’s outsourcing industry to develop?

ELLEN HAGAN: Our outsourcing industry will adapt to meet the evolving human resources (HR) best practices and skillsets demanded around the world, especially in terms of work-life balance and the agile work model.

The focus will be on recruiting talent that brings varied expertise to companies as they innovate growth strategies, and I expect outsourcing will be as indispensable as computers in terms of facilitating everyday business.

With the emergence of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), business processing outsourcing will enable organisations to delegate non-core functions to experts in the field. This will allow companies to concentrate on their core business strategy, save money and enjoy greater flexibility. 

Which technological innovations do you anticipate will disrupt HR?

HAGAN: In the near term advanced technological innovations such as AI, virtual reality and robotics could displace many workers, with linear-skilled workers being the most disadvantaged. AI and virtual reality will be the main drivers of change, particularly in terms of talent acquisition and training, as they will ultimately reduce the length of the hiring process. For instance, AI can be used to improve pre-screening assessments to ensure the results provide a more holistic and representative view of prospective talent before candidates are interviewed by hiring managers. Virtual reality could be used to enhance work scenario assessments and develop crucial soft skills such as decision making, leadership acumen and teamwork. Robotics will also affect HR, so workers should develop skills in programming and machine learning in order to make themselves more employable. As agile working becomes more important, I anticipate an increased focus on the ability to work remotely and around the clock. Given that the role of HR is to manage employees, these professionals will need to be comfortable with technological developments to add value to the dynamic and unpredictable world of work. 

What technological tools have HR personnel in Ghana adopted in recent years?

HAGAN: In Ghana we have seen advances in HR management software that has allowed for workforce planning, the recording of staff data and performance management. There is also hiring software that can be used for recruiting and assessing talent with specific functional, aptitude and psychometric tests. For compensation and benefits management many companies now use payroll software platforms that are integrated with banks and mobile money.

Social media has helped professionals in the industry to identify, source and assess talent from around the world. In Ghana we now use social media and messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook to bridge the gap in internal communications and employee engagement. Training programmes have improved with the integration of social media and online training, allowing staff to be trained outside of traditional classrooms and seminars. 

Describe the impact that regulatory changes in Ghana are likely to have on the labour force. 

HAGAN: The possible increase in personal income taxes is expected to erode employees’ ability to save and invest, as it would reduce their take-home pay. On the positive side, public sector reforms, especially those relating to employee productivity and leadership capacity, could open the door for HR firms to partner with the government and enhance public sector efficiency. Legislation should also be updated to ensure that HR policies, processes and methods are aligned with global best practices and protocols. 

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