Scarcely has a work domain been bereft of the impact of technology, and HR is no exception. Technology has made inroads into HR as much as anywhere else, and as expected, led to a number of changes. From searching for the right employee to storing their data and analyzing their performance, HR now functions differently and more efficiently, armed with the right technology tools. However, when not used optimally, HR technology could well become a roadblock in managing the human resources of the company. The ideal mix would be one that minimizes the problems and maximizes the benefits.
Recruiting in the era of the Internet
Before email and the Internet became commonplace, finding the right job applicant meant making phone calls, writing letters, or setting up face-to-face meetings with prospective candidates. Come the 21st century, and posting job openings online is de rigueur, with applicants logging in their details via an online tracking system. The amount of time now made available by not having to receive or make multiple phone calls or sift through paper resumes, is sizable.
The system, though, is far from perfect. Ever come across an online job application system that confuses the respondent in many ways, is hard to navigate, or simply is down? Such situations, in fact, could cause job seekers to look for other avenues. And the merits of standardization aside, the system also rarely can help tell a star performer from a slacker.
Performance analysis and management
From clear subjectivity to extensive objectivity, performance evaluation to has ridden the HR tech wave. Previously evaluated basis metrics like on-time performance and rapport or trust within a team, performance analysis, and management now has become a lot more objective, with the gathering and breaking down of data getting simpler. Measuring how much the employee exceeded or fell short of expectations, for instance, gets so much easier.
More information is typically better than less. Going from more to too much, though, is where the problems begin. Getting more data than one can manage, and having to sift through it to make meaningful conclusions is something where HR tech tools can possibly help, but then they could also obscure something that a face-to-face chat would illuminate. Also, it is easy to cross over from being watchful to invading employee privacy, an early step in alienating employees.
Keeping data safe
From a file in a locker with a key in one person’s pocket, data security and its requirements have become a lot more complex. With the amount and types of data gathered, it is equally important – or possibly more so – to keep it safe. Aside from digital security, HR technology and policies must also govern the people with access to data, both electronic and hard-copy based.
Communication certainly has become more convenient. Just send an email or a chat, attach your documentation, and you are good to go. However, the flip side is that the HR team could appear to have become more detached. For instance, a long document attached to an email is a good way to summarize instructions, though a follow-up or a prior meeting is a chance to elaborate on the documented points and clarify employee doubts.