IT: The New HR Recruit

Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 2228 , Published on 07 July 2012

Information Technology continues to expand its flanks in all spheres of the modern world. No advancement in any field of technology or service seems to happen without the intervention of IT in it. Information Technology is supposed to be one of the greatest inventions of last century.

It has not only helped in the advancement of technologies in varied fields but also made the life of people much easier and simpler by bringing the whole world under a single shell. It has brought a phenomenal change from manual to automated service in various work domains. The expansion still continues.

One of the latest additions in its crown is HRIS(Human Resource Information System). IT has managed to advance itself in the field of Human Resource too. HR, the group of people in an organization engaged in achieving the organizational needs of the company and that of the people hired by that company in order to maintain a healthy relationship between the two.Till yesterday they were only the hub of the organizations, serving as a connection between all concerned.

Their main functions comprised of:

  1. Hiring & Recruitment
  2. Evaluation and Management (Appraisals,Soft skill Trainings)
  3. Promotions
  4. Compensation and Benefits
  5. Improving Organizational Culture
  6. Managing relations (Employee vs. Employers vs. Departments vs. Divisions)                                                                                 

These activities are conducted by the hr managers in an effective, fair, legal and consistent manner

But now with the advent of IT in HR,the concept of HR work functionality and scope is slowly changing.The daily HR functionality involves tracking and updating of existing employee data which includes personal histories like attendance, leaves, project details, accomplishments, skills and salary. To reduce the manual workload of these administrative activities, organizations are slowly transforming to electronically automated activity systems by introducing Human Resource Management Systems, HRMS. HRIS or HRMS is the intersection of Human Resource with Information technology.

HR activities and processes are merged with the Information Technology field by programming of data to transform the various HR activities into different modules of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. ERP systems automate the activities of various business departments of an organization with an integrated software application.ERP software and data can also be hosted in cloud through Software as a Service(SaaS) delivery model.

An ERP system is characterized by:

  • A common database, supporting all applications.
  • An integrated system operating in real time and not relying on periodic updates.
  • Consistency between modules in terms of look and feel.

Implementation of ERP requires the standardization of all business processes which in turn leads to a loss of competitive advantage. But with successful ERP implementation, overall competitive advantage can be increased by compensating the losses made in one area by the gains made in the other.

A Human Resource ERP system generally encompasses:

  1. Payroll
  2. Appraisal performance
  3. Benefits Administration
  4. Time and Attendance
  5. Scheduling
  6. HR management Information system
  7. Recruiting and Talent Management
  8. Training System
  9. Absence Management
  10. Performance Record
  11. Employee Self-Service

The payroll module, being the most generic one, automates the pay process by gathering the required data like employee grade, performance, attendance, variable pays, deductions and taxes. Data is generally fed from the human resources databases to calculate and automatically deposit salary to the employee’s bank account.

Then there is the Appraisal performance module, used for capturing self as well as supervisor’s feedback and grading for appraisals and promotions. Task Settings and target achievements are also updated here. Such data is maintained for future reference by the managers and the employees, for whom access to hard copy data was not so easy before.

Gone are the days when an employee will wake up one day to run from pillar to post for ascertaining if he/she would be taking home the correct monetary amount as a part of his/her benefits program. The Benefits administration module helps organizations to administer and track employee participation in benefits programs like compensation, insurance, profit sharing and retirement.

What if some employees make it a habit to call it a day when it is almost mid-day, and that too quite often? The Time and attendance module is a way in which the firm can keep a track of the employee working hours and a check on whether the minimum working hours have been served on a monthly or quarterly basis.

The days of uneven distribution of workload on available staff are gone. The answer to that is Scheduling module. This module can make professional-looking schedules and reports consisting of numerous schedules of different time frame in minutes. This help in scheduling shifts much in advance and reduce overtime by tracking the number of hours an employee is scheduled. This also enables quick and effortless schedule changes. By entering staffing requirements, proper staffing levels can be ensured. Available and qualified people can be easily identified for open shifts and no shows.

Online recruiting has nowadays become the most commonly employed method for hiring potential candidates best suited for available positions within an organization.Talent Management, also known as Human Capital Management deals with identifying and attracting the best available talents in the market through online recruitment sites or publications such as, and that advertises job openings to both recruiters and applicants.

For time and cost effective recruitment, a dedicated Applicant Tracking System, or 'ATS' module is generally maintained. Moreover the internal employee’s talents are also analyzed and best channeled to retain the profitable employees whose competencies can be easily identified through dashboards.

The Training Module, normally called a Learning Management System is a stand alone product which tracks the educational qualifications, skill sets and trainings undergone by various employees. It tracks the various trainings that can be offered to enhance the different skillsets and then courses are offered on date specific manner to employees interested or referred by the managers.

The HR management module covers HR aspects from application to retirement. The module records and shows basic employee data like demographics, address, joining, training, capabilities and skills, project history, performance data,compensation records and other related activities.

The Absence Management module allows employees and managers to enter absence or leave related information in the system. Planned leave request(before the leave is taken) can be submitted which can be either approved or rejected by the manager. Leaves not approved until a certain period of time gets an auto approval. A history of leave taken is maintained and can be viewed by employees and their respective managers.

The Performance Record module deals with the annual feedback given to all employees about their job effectiveness and career guidance.A Performance Review Summary Form is maintained by the HR department which consists of the employee’s accomplishments, dependability, adaptability and flexibility, service and relationships and decision making or problem solving ability.The Performance Review Summary Form records the results of the employee’s annual evaluation and is used during the performance review meeting with the employee.

The Employee Self-Service module allows employees to update any kind of self-related information like qualification, skillset, leave application etc. HR related data can also be queried over the system without asking the information from HR personnel. It allows managers to approve leave or transport requests without depending on the HR department.

Some of the renowned ERP vendors are SAP, PeopleSoft (now acquired by Oracle),Adrenalin,Abacus which isa HR tool developed by Accenture on the .NET platform.

Adrenalin HRMS application resulted in Business Process efficiency of Tata Communications with better informed Management and HR. Time and cost were also saved. HDFC Standard Life Insurance also got similar success.

The major advantage of ERP is the quick,easy and cost efficient way of maintaining huge volumes of data in a synchronized manner across organization and thus reducing manual effort. It has also made decision making faster with reduced errors.

Not only that, HRIS has also opened up new opportunities for the HR managers. The merging of IT with HR gave rise to Functional HRs. These people are responsible for the proper implementation and maintenance of the ERP software. They go and visit the client site and implement the software in the client systems. Infosys is one of the leading implementer of ERP applications. HRIS has also given rise to Techno Functional HRs, who are responsible not only for the proper implementation of the ERP system but also for the coding of the software to build in the required functionality.

As the lines between IT and HR fade more, companies will find themselves in better positions of determining the right strategy for growth. In a fast changing world, the synergy thus obtained could be leveraged to get rid of the not-so-good, retain the better and attract the best, only with the click of a few keys. But the next big thing would be to inculcate loyalty in the best a company has and ERP would address that fundamental priceless quality, the biggest competitive advantage known to man.

This article has been authored by Aparupa Bandyopadhyay & Arnab Roy from TAPMI.



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