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


A healthy existence is all about finding balance. In order to maintain a happy medium, both individuals and businesses must be adaptable and confident in who they are. This is true whether we are looking for balance in our professional or personal life. I adore the power of smartphones, computers, and automation because I work in the technology industry, but there are times when it may be excessive. The balances alter as our objective changes.

I was held hostage by the battery life of my laptop and mobile phone technology in addition to being overloaded with email and automated notifications. I started to hate and despise the equipment and technology I so dearly adored. I hated the foundation upon which my company and lifeline were established. I lost interest in technology.

I could have given up on my business or found another route. I made the decision to go on a digital detox in order to gain some perspective and find a solution that restored balance and flexibility because I couldn’t just walk away from everything I had built and it was an important part of my life.

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. 

Human Resources, Recruiting, and Human Capital have advanced to the point that almost everything can be automated. Automation in human resources is extremely popular. Video interviews are now being recorded, candidates are automatically messaged after failing a knockout application question, employees are being reminded about their upcoming performance reviews, and some very amazing technology is now being used to entirely automate sourcing. Although employee productivity is almost at an all-time low, employee turnover is still significant. Candidates are leaving LinkedIn, particularly for technical and difficult-to-fill positions, as a result of automated and cut-and-paste messages that are more concerned with number than quality. Another option exists. The human connection, less automation, and a focus on more people rather than machines are where it all begins.

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

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


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