Technology on HR Practices Impact
Since the earth began to exist, the world has gone through tremendous cultural, societal and economic transformations. In this digital era, the world has witnessed major transformations in the overall business function, employee behaviors and customer-business interactions. The rapid digital developments continue to compel organizations to adapt to new trends in the global market. The organizations first adopted digital technologies in the processes where customer communication and dialogue were of great importance, which include customer service, marketing, and communications. HR management is the latest to embrace digital technologies in its functions, and within a very short time, it has integrated IT into HR functions (Sharma & Shukla, 2013).
Digital technologies continue to impact on the roles of Human Resource Management. The global acceptance of electronic technologies has completely transformed the perception of HRM. As it goes, “A change is as good as a rest,” so are the changes caused by digital technologies in the HR function. Because of these changes, HRM has generated new opportunities for added advantage and more emphasis on organizational efficiency. However, these transformations can only augur well if the HR departments adopt the technologies in a thoughtful and strategic manner. Such move results in quick transaction processing, accuracy, little or no human oversights, and more so, improved employee self-service (Sharma & Shukla, 2013).
Once employees gain control and oversight of their information and benefits, they will dedicate their minds and time towards improving organizational productivity. While, in the HR department, digitalization will reduce its administrative tasks, and instead, the HR personnel will focus much of their energies on major HR value-additions. The overall advantages to the organization accrue from the strategic move by HRM to drive for improved productivity and place it in the long-term organizational success (Sharma & Shukla, 2013).
From these illustrations, it is clear that the HR department is a major component in the success of any organization. As a result of increased competition, globalization, rapid technological changes, and other dynamics, the organization has started looking into possible ways of managing their HR for competitive advantage. The digital HRM includes the mechanisms needed to implement HR practices, policies and strategies in the organization with the help of web-based technology channels. This digital HRM varies from basic employees’ records to refined networks of subsystems, with a defined purpose, and currently, organizations have computer systems. HR information systems (HRIS) have enabled the presentation of information in a form that can be incorporated with other business data (Sharma & Shukla, 2013).
According to Sharma and Shukla (2013), e-HR avails the required information in the HRM processes. This HRIS include employee-database, payroll, and recruitment systems together with e-learning, reward and performance management systems. The systems, given that they are web-based, can facilitate information access either from online or remote areas at whichever time. The information from e-HR is can be shared concurrently throughout the organization. Digital technologies have gained much importance in HR functions because of their positive performance outcomes. Hence, embracing digital technologies in the HR functions is becoming a crucial strategy in realizing the organizational competitive advantages. According to most literature, HRM has three goals, which include cost reduction, and improvement in strategic alignment and HR services.
Impacts of Digitalization in HR Functions
Digitalization is the only way of implementing HR practices, policies and strategies with the integration of web-based technology channels. The use of this technology achieves to things: one, technology incorporates and connect individuals within the organization or in different parts of the world. Second, IT helps HR professionals in fulfilling their tasks. Therefore, to understand these changes in HR functions; it would be good to outline some of the latest trends of HR as a result of digitalization. The great impacts of digital technologies are conspicuously evident in Recruitment, Performance Management, Payroll, Training and development, workflow and Employee Self-service.
Recruitment is one of the central function of HRM. The current state of information technology has brought a great impact on the HR function in the recruitment of new staff members through the use of web-based tools. Traditionally, the HR department would rely on print publications like newspapers so as to advertise vacancies and get applicants for vacant positions. In the 21st century, this no longer happens. Most organizations carry-out recruitment process by displaying job vacancies on their websites, as per the job gateways for reaching potential employees and using social networking websites for receiving the database (Lewis, 2013).
There are two types of e-recruitment, which include corporate websites and commercial job-boards. A corporate website is where an organization’s website has links for a job posting and the potential candidates can log in to view any current job vacancies. Commercial Job boards are websites, which facilitate advertisement of job requirements for a vacant position, and allow potential hires to post their CVs in order to secure the job. Some of the technologies currently implemented in recruitment and selection include Resume Database and Applicant Tracking Technology, Internet Job Boards, Online Testing and Assessment among others (Sharma & Shukla, 2013).
Web-based technologies and the internet have transformed training from traditional learning to virtual learning within the workplace, resulting in improved performances. The HR professionals can now train new hires from their office comfort without moving to and fro the training rooms. The organization information and training programs can be accessed online or from remote areas; hence no need for HR trainers to work directly by the trainees throughout the training. The availability of online training materials has also enabled employees to access them anytime and study them at their own comfort time (Lewis, 2013).
Although certain interaction between HR trainers and trainees are essential, virtual classroom training has enabled the HR experts to train a big number of employees concurrently and evaluate their advancement with the help of computerized testing programs. Therefore, E-training is a great opportunity offered by the organization to their potential and actual employees to better their skills. However, this freedom by employees to finish training at their own time can result in some inconveniences, i.e. some may not even study the notes (Sharma & Shukla, 2013).
Given the current speed of technological change, organizations expect many training technologies, which may differ from basic training activities like lectures to more sophisticated techniques like Technology-based Learning (TBL). However, with the bulging demand for information, the organization must approve, before implementing it, that the TBL is effective for their use. Otherwise, re-training is becoming more efficient than ever due to cost reduction in accessing the internet and powerful nature of personal computers (Alok & Akman, 2010).
Data Storage and Retrieval
Storage of data and retrieval is now easier than ever before the arrival of digital technologies. Traditionally, HR experts were required to do much paperwork in terms of processing and file keeping for future reference. This consumed much of their time, and even great deal of space was required to accommodate these files. Many files also got lost and the organizations ended-up making ineffective decisions due to lack of information (Lewis, 2013). The emergence of digital technologies has serviced these problems; now organizations are able to store, update and retrieve files with minimal hustle in an electronic format. HR personnel can print information quickly when the demand arises; hence, eliminating the inconveniences of going through large volumes of files in the file cabinet to extract what is required (Alok & Akman, 2010).
In addition, digitalization of HR functions has changed HR specialist from being perceived as book-keepers of employee statistics to being seen as key players in the revitalization and renewal of the organization. HRMS generate crucial reports such employee profiles used in the planning decisions. The systems have enabled the organizations to view information about employees who are situated different parts are the world (Alok & Akman, 2010).
Enhancement of performance management is another impact of digital technologies. Technologies have facilitated the assessment of employees’ performances by HR experts as well as the feedback collection, required for the improvement of the organization. With digital technologies, performance appraisal can be performed online, on the interface of the corporate internet. Employees and administrators can send performance data to the HR department, directly in an electronic form. Although most people denounce this practice for lack of written proofs, its achievement in paperwork reduction cannot be ignored (Lewis, 2013).
There are many software programs that help HR professionals carrying-out performance appraisal with the assistance of metrics to ensure that every employee conforms to the performance standards. Employees who fail to meet the specified standards can be subject to retrenchment or further training. This software’s have radically improved HR’s capacity in performing People Relationship Management (PRM), resulting in an organization’s employer brand. The organizations have moved from subjective employee management to objective, efficient management. In order to automate the performance appraisal process exhaustively, organizations have decided to incorporate other performance management softwares such as Talent Management Software and Workforce Performance Management systems. This software’s store data records about employee performances, compensation, target among others (Alok & Akman, 2010).
The key reason for emphasizing the integration of IT in HR functions is to minimize cost within the organization. Worldwide organizations continue to change their HR services to various E-HR functions. Some have adopted complete online functions of HR through the internet while others are still modernizing with the latest work patterns like virtual teams, and freelance working concepts (Alok & Akman, 2010). Each organization has its own different software used for various HR functions. Software’s such as Payroll system is not user-friendly; hence most organizations prefer to outsource so as to avoid disruptions in the flow of HR processes.
Alok M & Akman, I. (2010). Information Technology in Human Resource Management: An Empirical Assessment. Public Personnel Management, Vol. 39(3). Retrieved from http://www.atilim.edu.tr/~amishra/HRM.pdf
Lewis, J. (2013). How Do Technology Impact HR Practices? Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/technology-impact-hr-practices-37912.html.
Sharma, H & Shukla, S. (2013). Human Resource Management in Digital Age: Trends in Indian Corporate H R Practices. IRC’S International journal of Multi-disciplinary research in Social & Management Sciences, Vol. 1(3). Retrieved from http://ircjournals.org/vol1issue3/66-77.pdf.
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