HR & Technology
How to greet this current economy, Network economy or Knowledge economy or Hyper economy? Technology is ubiquitous, whether in a developed market or in a growing market, giving instant access to information and people. Companies use technology as a way to gain competitive edge in the market. In case of Human Resources, technology helps in all processes from recruit to retire functions and has drastically changed the way employees and managers get access to the human resource data.
How to use technology in a human resource perspective to connect people and information is the challenge faced by the business leaders presently. HR-IT has achieved much importance now because of its use in most of the organizations to increase the productivity through maximizing the value of the organization’s most significant asset, PEOPLE.
Impact of technology on HR functions:
It is important to look forward for the changing trends in technology which can have an impact on the HR practices. Understanding these changes will help smart managers to adapt and flourish. Once you exploit these changing trends, you can very well have the advantage over other players in the global market. The wide range of impact of technology on HR can be clearly viewed on the HR functions such as:
- Training & development
- Performance management
- Payroll & attendance records
- Employee benefits etc
In case of Recruitment, IT has a highly positive impact. E-recruitment is the use of technology or web based tools to support the recruitment process. The major ways of recruitment, which companies commonly use are by displaying the career opportunities on their websites, depending on the job portals for making the potential hires and using social networking sites (SNS) for getting the database. The major advantages of this e-recruitment are:
- Economical way to publish job openings
- Greater reach
- An easy tool to get connected to people with niche skills
- Speeds up the recruitment process (faster posting of jobs, quicker applicant response, and rapid hiring).
- 24*7 access to the online resumes.
E-recruitment also has its pitfalls. Even though e-recruitment helps in speeding up the whole recruitment process, there is danger of short listing stage becoming a lengthy one. As large volume of resumes are posted online, screening and short listing of resumes takes long time for the HR department. Also if the screening is not done properly, the Company might lose the right candidature and will have to continue with the GO-Error, thus leading to inefficiency.
The usage of Social networking helps in getting faster response and interactions but the safety and credibility of the data continues to be a serious question. Corporates have started using these sites for business and to find out potential talents in few minutes. The major disadvantage is that many job seekers post their confidential data on these sites and end in serious issues; hence the safety of these data is an unanswerable one. Risk of mistaken identity is another problem faced by the recruiter. Even though all these risks exists, major IT services companies in India like HCL, Wipro, TCS etc hire 7-10% of their overall employees through SNS and these companies have a separate recruiter team for coordinating these activities. It is due to the reduced cost and greater reach of SNS to the younger segment which makes major corporate use SNS as a tool for recruitment.
In the case of Training & development, e-learning is an intense opportunity provided by the companies for their employees, which help them to increase their knowledge level. The training materials are provided online; employees can utilize these materials and get trained. In the case of e-learning, employees have an advantage that they can learn at their own pace. The stretched duration taken by the employees to complete the training and the assimilation of the training independently can be few disadvantages in the e-learning mode.
Several customized HR-IT solutions are available off the shelf for performance management, payroll maintenance and attendance which have a positive impact. These functions have become a part of the customized software packages like ERP solutions. CPM (Computerized performance monitoring) system used by companies helps in data collection by counting the number of work units covered by each one per time period. At a time, it helps in calculating the performance of approximately ten million people. Even though these software packages have been made to make the flow of information between different departments to be smoother, they have disadvantages also. Inadequate testing of the application and poor implementation can lead to problems in the system, also inexperienced employees using the system can add to confusions leading to lower productivity.
In the case of Employee Benefits, the use of ESS (Employee Self Service) has helped HR managers to dedicate more time on strategic issues like workforce management, succession planning, compensation planning etc and ensuring that the employee’s data are accurate and updated. Through this ESS solution, employees get access to their data, pay roll information, training materials etc online which allow them to keep their data updated.
With the help of these HR IT solutions, a job done by 2-4 persons can be done by a single person, leading to cost savings. The increased impact of technology has cut down the employee head counts, in turn achieving cost effectiveness. Managing the expectations of the surviving knowledge workers becomes a major area of concern for the HR managers. Managing virtual organizations in this technology driven market is going to cause hard challenge for HR managers.
Virtual organization is the network of companies or employees connected by computers. Virtual workers can work from wherever they want, from home, car or abroad. Human resource department has significant role in virtual organizations. As the employees in a virtual organization doesn’t meet face to face, it is the HR manager’s responsibility to create a psychological connection between various units and their workers. HR department has to take care of the alignment of the organization’s vision, mission and goal with the worker’s objectives. Finding potential hires with the requisite skills for the virtual organization become another challenge for the HR department. Creating a feeling of belongingness among the workers and managers can help in meeting their responsibilities in an effective way.
The major disadvantages of the use of technology on HR are:
- When organizations depend more on technology as a substitute to human interactions, loss of potential talents may happen.
- HR is all about managing people, which requires human interaction and face to face communication, and as human element will always remain significant in HR, a balance should be maintained between the IT and the human aspect.
- Technological obsolescence also poses to be a problem. Obsolescence occurs very fast that the information relied on obsolete technologies becomes inaccessible in certain cases. Hence, the ROI for the HR technology systems, if not estimated and measured will lead to problems.
In this fast growing market, if you are not aware of the latest technologies in HR, ensure that you don’t get left back in the dust, as your competitors are already experimenting new technologies. In particular, Companies need to look at adopting technological assistance in the major HR functions such as recruitment, training, performance management, pay roll, employee benefits etc. HR personnel need to be updated on the technological options that are available, select the best options that will make significant difference to their functioning and leverage them to bring efficiencies. Hence, HR managers have to be keen and far sighted; don’t let the opportunities pass you by, only because you were not updated on technological offerings and its impact on doing better business.