The Role Of Technology In HR

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 3674 , Published on 19 December 2011
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The new wedlock of HR and Technology has reincarnated HR, which has lead to birth of a new breed of HR Professionals. The trend with today’s HR is that they want to own their technology and make a move towards technology where they do not have to be dependent on IT or any ERP system. Most of the Organizations are drifting away from the labour intensive areas of HR and are automating the processes like Training & Development, recruitment, payroll etc. Automation seems to be an integral part of HR function now. The rationale behind the relationship being pretty simple that the time that is saved from automating these activities can be devoted to strategic initiatives and the focus is to be shifted towards the bottom line since it makes the performance of the HR Department a lot more efficient.

Role of technology in HR

The technological advancements that can be seen in HR include Human Resource Information System (HRIS), Portals, Online Recruiting (Social Media), E-learning etc. Some of the latest ones include M-learning and Shared Services. HRIS enhances the HR Management effectiveness by consolidating the personnel records into a structured database. It may include various employee demographics data, according to need, some being Employee records (personal details), absentee events, past performance reviews, employee benefits, payroll services etc. So, HRIS serves as the initial information contact point for various areas. In recruitment, Technology has a highly positive impact. There are various HRIS Solutions available for Performance Management, attendance, Employee Benefits and Payroll Management which have a positive impact on the employees. The use of CPM (Computerized Performance Measurement), ESS (Employee Self Service) has helped HR Managers to dedicate more time on strategic issues like compensation planning, workforce management, succession planning etc. This also helps them to ensure that the data of the employees is accurate and up to date.

HR Portal has been an asset in providing better services to the employees and has also helped cut down the workload of HR Professionals. The best part of an HR Portal is that it gives an employee a single sign-on access to all the services. It also directly connects all the employees. One of the best example of such a portal is Times Warner Portal, called Employee Connection, which gives access to its 80,000 employees, depending on their business unit and role, access to total rewards statement, payroll, stock option, travel planning, expenses reimbursement, compensation planning etc. IBM’s IBM On Demand Workspace is even better, where its 320,000 employees not only get their information but also do their job. The portal is also customized to roles, location, language and other preferences.

Social Networking has started to play a major role in recruitment by organizations. LinkedIn is without a doubt the most important social media tool available to any HR Professional. The companies can also display career opportunities on their websites or portals for making potential hires. It has loads of advantages like reaching out to a broader set of candidates, highly economical way to publish job openings, 24*7 access to resumes and also it speeds up the recruitment process. Major IT Companies like HCL, Wipro, and TCS etc. hire 7-10% of their hires from Social Networking Sites. Now, other than recruiting, Social Networking Sites also have other benefits for instance, alumni social network can help in staying connected with the ex-employees, retirees and long term leave employees also. Effective Communication is also one advantage that can be put to use by an HR Professional. Instead of E-Mails, a page can be made on Facebook or a Social Networking site which is personal to the Organization. This kind of communication is very effective because the employees of the organization can post their views on any kind of discussion because this methodology has the power of feedback. Corporate Brands can also be maintained via Social Networking Sites since a Social Networking Site gives the organization a face and a reputation just like any person. So, in a way word of mouth comes into play here and it gives organization to reach to people and vice versa. With the advent of Social Networking, a lot has changed in the area of Training & Development. The induction programmes and micro-trainings have started to be conducted with the help of Social Networking tools like Yammer, Udutu Teach (Facebook Application) etc. With the help of these mediums doubts can also be cleared via instant messaging and even Youtube Videos can be created for the same. Ernstandyoungcareers is making the best use of its facebook page by publishing current openings and giving an opportunity to the employees to communicate and share their ideas. Even exit interviews can be posted on common Organization page and then employees and ex-employees can comment and suggest ways to resolve the problem.

In the area of Training & Development, E-learning (Electronic learning) and M-learning (Mobile learning) provide excellent opportunities to the employees to increase their knowledge levels. In case of E-learning the employees can access the training material online. The major advantage of such kind of Training is that the Employee can move at his/her own pace. Now, M-learning is a form of E-learning that is specific to Mobile devices alone. It deals with the aspect of mobility, so the employee can get opportunities to learn from such a device anywhere, anytime and without the limitations of E-learning i.e. accessibility. It also has the benefit of providing learning prospects to all the employees equally. It is a Just in Time learning approach. So, the context needs to be short and meaningful to keep the interest of the intact. It is also a great step for the benefit of employees as well as employers because they can work and learn at the same time.

The Software as a Service (SaaS) and Cloud Computing have seen a huge demand in recent years in lieu of the companies looking forward to reduce their expenditure on IT.  SaaS helps the employers provide better service delivery with the help of fewer resources and lower costs. They can provide solutions for Shared Services, including an HR Knowledge base, on boarding, rewards etc. Organizations have shown greater confidence in SaaS across the HR Management applications largely due to the elimination of issues related to upgradation. But still HR and Technology in the area of Shared Services has a long way to go and this evolution will gradually broaden the scope of HR.

With the help of Technology in HR, a job which was earlier done by 2-4 persons can be done by a single person, which is highly cost effective. But it is also to be taken into consideration that there are many disadvantages for the same also because when an organization highly depends on technology, it is bound to substitute human interaction and this in turn result may result in loss of potential candidates. Also, HR has a lot of focus on people and interaction. So, it is important to maintain the intricate balance between Technology and Human aspect. It is also important to use certain metrics to measure the ROI of HR Technology because Technology gets obsolete very soon and if not estimated before hand, it may lead to problems in future. It all boils down to a single question that despite the fact HR is using technology and cutting costs in short term, but is Technology really performing to support HR?

This article has been authored by Mohit Bagga from MDI Gurgaon.


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