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HR should take the lead on productivity

HR professionals should take the lead on boosting workplace productivity, according to Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte

"Our role should be the productivity police," he said, speaking at an HR Tech World Congress influencers panel. "Our job is to be vigilant and make sure our people are being productive. The best HR practice is being invented all of the time, by you."

Phil Wainewright, co-founder of digital news and analysis website Diginomica, offered advice for HR professionals looking to take on a new software vendor. "The one thing that constantly amazes me is they have these demos set up, but if it's in the cloud it should be ready to go," he said. "If it cannot be demoed on short notice it's not going to be able to keep up with the pace you need."

Holger Mueller, VP and principal analyst for research firm Constellation Research agreed. "Make sure you ask vendors about 'what would happen if...?' scenarios," he said.

Wainewright added: "When vendors talk about talent management and how you manage your talent I want to say 'it's not your talent it's your employees' talent, and they are loaning it to your company'."

Naomi Bloom, managing partner of HR consultancy Bloom and Wallace, warned against HR becoming complacent about its role in a rapidly evolving tech landscape. "HR people are part of this problem," she said. "There can be a build-up of sludge in the tank, which has a weight to it that pulls down future progress. We'd better become part of the solution or we will be automated out of existence."