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Technology in HR

February 10, 2010

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.” said Victor Hugo. He might have been talking about the impact of technology in HR.

Convenience, Speed, Cost Saving, efficiency, connectivity, Transparency – from whichever angle you view, technology in HR is here to stay, and may be eliminate many HR jobs the way they exist today.

Technology, with all its self-service capabilities and 24X7 mobile accessibility increases chances for more outsourcing and lesser manned jobs.

So how is technology impacting the current HR functions and the way people interact with HR departments

Hiring : More and more HR professionals are realising the effectiveness and ease of connecting to potential employees through social networking sites like Linkedin, facebook and Orkut. A recent study points out that HR managers are scanning blogs and social networks to understand trends and look for innovative strategies. Blogs can also make or destroy a company’s reputation as an employer

Employee Relationship Management : We’ve already moved into a phase where employees are more and more being recognised as internal customers and therefore being treated with equal respect. With multiple work flow tools available, Employees now access most of the facilities online on their own. This not only saves cost and time, but also reduces the instances of interpersonal disputes. More importantly, it moves the HR professional away from the mundane administrative handling and offers a more strategic thinking opportunity. Above all, it increases transparency and reduces follow ups.

Training & Development : Technology brings down the requirement of classroom training by putting it on the company intranet in the form of learning modules. Not only does this allow employees to learn and relearn at their own pace but also enables supervisors to understand capabilities and inclination by analysing the online learning and outcome data. Further, latest tools can allow employees to share their learning and collaborate across geographies and time zones to deliver faster and thereby improve productivity. Online MIS tools can help employees track their progress. Some may point out to the missing human link in all this. What needs to be understood here is that training and development areas have become more learner oriented rather than teaching oriented.

Performance Appraisals : With all the information from day to day attendance to the employees daily activities and customer interactions being captured today, performance appraisals have become more objective , and rightly so. With multiple data and detailed balanced scorecard based assessments , a supervisor can move to a quarterly feedback system thereby allowing for course correction at every stage, rather than waiting for annual performance evaluation event. Data based evaluation brings down the discontent which is normally associated with appraisals as all the parameters get defined and are available to every employee daily. Many companies have moved to online systems where the MIS systems talk to the performance trackers and update the information daily to result in scoring that can be easily understood by the employees and supervisors.

While these are broader areas, technology is today helping HR professionals perform all their tasks, from joining formalities to exits, with ease and very high efficiency.

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