You Can’t Automate the Human Being. Bring Back the Human in HR & Recruiting


Balance is the key to a healthy life. Whether we seek balance in business or our own personal lives, as individuals and companies we must remain flexible and sure of ourselves in order to maintain a happy medium. As an individual who works in technology, I love the power of cell phones, computers and automation, but there comes a time when it can be too much. Our goal changes and the balances shifts.

I was overwhelmed with email, automated messages and held hostage by the battery life of my laptop and mobile phone tech. I began loathing and despising the tools and tech that I loved so much. I detested the thing that my business and lifeline was built on. I fell out of love with technology.

I had a choice – either abandon my business or find another way. I can’t walk away from everything I have built and is very much a part of my life so I decided to take a digital detox to gain some perspective and find a solution that regained balance and flexibility.

My Digital Detox

Aside from the Workology blog, I haven’t written any new blog content in 4 weeks. This is how far I work and write in advance when it comes to writing and blogging. I actually picked up the phone and shut off the push notifications for all social networks and only checked in when the time was right for me. I shut down my Facebook and scheduled more in person meetings and conversations than Skype chats and conference calls. I took a step back and really looked at my business, the technology and tools that I use to organize, schedule, and are important in my life. It was my friends, my daughter and my family.

What was important was people, the human touch and not the technology. And starting August 1st, I’m back but with a new human and more personal strategy.

The Rise Against the Machine and Human Resources Automation

I’m making a conscious choice to put the human element back into my work and life.  I’ve taken a conscious break back from technology focusing on less automation and all things of the human being variety. Technology as well as automation plays a supporting role in my building relationships and human connection efforts, but it does not serve as a substitute for real engagement and human interaction. 

We’ve come to a point in HR, Recruiting and Human Capital that we can automate nearly everything. Human Resources Automation is all the rage. Video interviews are recorded, candidates are automatically messaged upon failing a knockout application question, employee reminders about their upcoming performance review and sourcing are now being done fully automated with some pretty cool technology. And yet employee turnover remains high while employee productivity is at an nearly all time low. Candidates, especially for those technical and hard to fill roles are abandoning LinkedIn because they’ve been driven away by automated and cut and paste messages who are focused on quantity not quality. There is another way. It starts with the human connection, less automation and a focus on less machine and more human being.

What we can’t automate a human being. It’s what makes us special, individual and unique. It’s time to bring the human element back in human resources, recruiting, leadership and hiring.


Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. says

    Human Resources functional transformation is super important for companies. Human Resources Transformation Toolkit helps enterprises by offering a customizable set of transformation ready deliverables.


Pin It on Pinterest