Organizations need new thinking, and informed guidance to manage their most important resources – their people. That’s why the theme of the HRPA2020 Annual Conference and Tradeshow is Power Up HR.

The HR profession is empowering itself to embrace and harness technology, changing demographics and a truly global economy. We must equip ourselves with the tools and knowledge to take on the challenges of future, and HRPA has built this year’s conference with those specific needs in mind.

As HR professionals, we also have the privilege and the responsibility to elevate or “power up” our delivery of world-class human capital management in our workplaces. And we need to do all of this while ensuring that the administrative and transactional elements of HR are fulfilled flawlessly.

This work may be invisible to our employees and leaders but the consequences of not getting it right are high. The risk of data breaches, privacy violations, health & safety issues, unconscious bias in recruitment processes, errors in pension & payroll can all have catastrophic consequences on public confidence in a particular organization, its employees or the industry as a whole.

And the stakes are even higher with new disruptors like Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation or RPA, and Machine Learning. If they aren’t already in your industry or your workplace, trust me, they’re coming.

Technology will disrupt the way work is done and define what the work of humans actually is.  HR is not immune — the work that HR does, and the way enterprise processes are fulfilled, will change dramatically.  For some of us, these phenomena may seem like they’re happening to other people’s organizations or industries. I assure you, if you’re not feeling the impact yet, you will soon.

For example, artificial intelligence will radically accelerate the time to fill positions, and cuts out a lot of traditional HR processing. It can also increase the applicant’s positive experience and sentiment about the employer.

Yet, even with AI entering and workplaces transforming, they remain fundamentally human enterprises.  In an era defined by change, the human resources profession has never been more essential to the workplace made up of people.

HRPA2020 demonstrates that HR professionals are leading the way in understanding and shaping the modern technology-enabled workplace. We are vital drivers of organizational transformation and excellence, and I’m confident that our dedication to our profession, and our desire to learn, adapt, and thrive, will power the next evolution of human resources.