Leveraging IT for HR Management - Trends and Challenges

Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 3505 , Published on 20 June 2013
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As business horizons expand and organizations look to grow bigger than their yesterdays, Technology has become a critical weapon in an organization’s arsenal to capture the future. Since the boom of IT, almost every organization is incorporating Information Technology into their business processes with a single manifesto – ‘Profits’. Among the intersections of different factors that stimulate growth in an organization, HR management lies at the epicentre and thereby forms an important source of sustainable competitive advantage. Simply put, it is no more a maintenance and support function!


Image Courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net


As the tectonic plates of managing human resources keeps shifting, it has become imperative for every organization to adopt technology and move towards vogue concepts such as eHRM, HR analytics, Human Capital Management and the like to name a few. This capitalization of new cutting edge technologies for the optimization of HR process and meeting the business demands can lead to HR Management becoming a strategic-value based partner rather than being viewed as traditional cost driven partner.In today’s business ecosystem, if an organization continues to relegate its HR function, then one can say that the organization is setting itself up to perish!



Technological trends galore in the HR arena, however we have picked a few startling trends and tried to present a holistic view of those trends and its ensuing challenges.

Technology enabled trends in HR management

SMAC

Social, Media, Analytics and Cloud or SMAC in short is fast becoming a priority among the HR functions in organizations. The convergence of HR and social technology over the last couple of years has resulted in several social technology companies being spawned providing a range of services in HR management such as recruitment, talent management, analytics,social recruiting etc.

As quoted by McKinsey Global Institute’s The Social Economy 2012 report


“… twice as much potential value in using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within and across enterprises”


There are many new digital recruitment companies mushrooming around the globe and they seem to be focused on passive candidates(i.e.)mining social networks for such candidates who are not actively thinking about a new job and engaging with talent communities. Most of the new HR applications are developed to be in compatible with Smartphone and Tablets taking the usability to a whole new level.


It is all about the (physical and social) network now!


Big Data

Big data, which has already revolutionized marketing and finance domains, can be of immense help to HR analytics.The workforce metrics of an organization can help the organization glean information about the talent pool they possess and dissect it according to parameters such as competencies, skills, attitudes, aptitudes etc. As such HR professionals have long been collecting data about every employee in the organization. With HR analytics in place, they can now interpret the amassed data!


HR on Cloud

Next is HR on cloud. The advantages of cloud computing for HR management is an acknowledged fact already


  • No need for infrastructure
  • No storage space required
  • No maintenance or training needed
  • No expensive software
  • No need for fast connections


A good HR system on cloud can be cost effective for the organization. It can allow different levels of access to the employees of the organization and allow for online applications.


Challenges 

Data Dismantles

As IT keeps powering HR management to newer pastures of operating efficiency and business excellence, it also creates challenges that are new to HR managers. Consider for instance what HR analytics can do for a giant hierarchical organization. It simply dismantles the structure in an organization by creating a scenario where a 40-year old may need to report to a 30-year old on the grounds of the latter’s attitude and expertise for a given requirement. Obviously, there are going to be naysayers who would love to stick to the status quo and this would create friction and instability in any organization. How can a HR manager convince a 40-year old in such a scenario? How can a mere inference engine be given more importance than an employee who has been a part of the organization for long?



Missing Measures

Extensive use of dipstick analysis and mood check games to understand employees and gauge their motivation levels have become a quotidian activity with the rise of technology. However, what has not changed is the poor employee retention rate despite the enhanced human resources knowledge. The fact remains that technology can only tell you if an employee is - happy or unhappy; motivated or disinterested; satisfied or unsatisfied. The corrective measures must be taken by the organization and sadly, most organizations still do not realize that the biggest asset they possess is the human asset.


Talent Gap

Finally, with the super growth of data and big data coming into play, organizations are lining up to tap the best out of big data and this includes data on human resources also. However, few questions remain? How much would an organization spend on HR analytics? HR seems to be the least attractive of investments for organizations.  Does an organization have the talent/expertise/tools to draw inferences from data? What additional trainings must HR managers go through to utilize technology?


Conclusion – Human Touch

Definitely, technology is revolutionizing the way we are managing our resources. It has opened new avenues and resource optimization seems to be buzz word. All said and done, H in HR stands for humans. The strength of our technological leanings and the future evolution of IT as a part and parcel of business must all work towards improving mankind. We need to understand that we are dealing with people’s emotions and the profits that an organization makes are simply a by-product that comes from a happy and emotionally satisfied employee.


This article has been authored by Krishnan Chidambaram and Sri Hariharan Subramaniyan from Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai


References

  • Faiz: Leveraging IT in HR
  • HR Tech -Bersin on Big Data, October’12
  • www.forbes.com
  • Image courtesy – Google


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