How technology is evolving human resource management
It’s fair to say that in the corporate world, the human resources management function has changed unrecognisably in the last couple of decades, largely due to how new technology has enhanced the way it is performed.
Nowadays, traditional facets of HRM have been streamlined to improve efficiency, foster better employee engagement and help management make better strategic decisions for the good of the company. As a result, these innovations have revolutionised how companies recruit and train their workforce.
In this article, we will take a look at the extent to which the function of human resource management has evolved due to these technological innovations and the overall effect it has had on the organisation and its employees, now and possibly in the future.
1) Automation of HR processes
There was a time when many of the processes contained within the Human Resources remit were seen as quite labour-intensive. However, certain new technologies have gone a long way towards streamlining and automating many of them – in turn, enabling HR managers to focus on the more strategic side of their role.
AI and ML remain at the forefront of HR technology trends. For example, applicant tracking systems (ATS) and artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly being used to screen resumes, match candidates with job requirements and even, in some companies, conduct first interviews.
Likewise, the process of employee onboarding has become a lot slicker, thanks to the emergence of online portals and e-learning modules. Recently hired employees can complete paperwork, training modules and other administrative tasks remotely before even stepping foot in the office.
As a result, these technologies significantly reduce the burden of paperwork traditionally placed on HR staff while accelerating the process of integrating new employees into the organisation.
2) Data analytics
One of the most impactful ways technology has enhanced the Human Resources function is in how it now allows management to make informed decisions based on data analysis to meet the organisation’s strategic goals.
HR professionals now have the ability to analyse vast amounts of data, such as workforce planning, performance management and employee engagement. This enables them to do things like identify trends in employee behaviour, anticipate what talent might need to be recruited into the business and assess the effectiveness of HR programs.
At the same time, as well as being reactive to certain situations, technologies like predictive analytics enable managers to be proactive in forecasting employee turnover and taking measures to retain their best employees. Subsequently, this data-driven approach can also help human resources managers identify and manage potential issues before they become more problematic.
3) HR technology for remote work
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many businesses have allowed their employees to work remotely for at least some part of the week.
However, to facilitate this, these companies have had to embrace a range of technologies, such as video conferencing, virtual communication tools and project management platforms. Programmes like MS Teams and Zoom allow staff to communicate with each other in real-time and perform their roles just as effectively as they would if they were in the office.
Moreover, employee monitoring tools and other HR technology also allow management to track the productivity and well-being of their employees when working remotely. If used ethically and transparently, they can even gain valuable insights into work patterns, identify areas for improvement and provide their staff with tailored support to ensure they stay engaged, happy and motivated.
4) Platforms for employee engagement
The most savvy companies recognise how important employee engagement is in achieving success as an organisation. For this reason, their HR department has embraced platforms like Kudos or OfficeVibe in an attempt to create a more positive and inclusive work culture.
These platforms offer features like surveys and mechanisms for feedback, as well as other programs, that facilitate a two-way communication process between employees and management. Using them makes it easier for those in charge to measure employee sentiment, identify areas of concern and implement ways to improve their employee’s overall job satisfaction.
5) Academic qualifications and professional development
Topping up your skills and knowledge base is important in any field, but especially in a function like Human Resources, which shapes the way businesses conduct their operation. However, over the last decade, technology has significantly changed the way professional development is handled, much to the benefit of employees and the company.
E-learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera and edX, along with virtual classrooms and microlearning modules, have become increasingly utilised as they offer convenient and flexible ways to conduct employee training.
At the same time, HR professionals who want to enhance their credentials with educational qualifications can study for a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources with UNSW or any other e-university. Being an online institution of learning, they can study in their own time without having to miss any days in the office.
In the last decade, an increasing number of companies have adopted blockchain technology in their human resources functions – particularly in areas such as recruitment and payroll.
Known for being extremely secure and transparent, blockchain protects employee data. It also simplifies the hiring process by quickly verifying a job candidate’s academic qualifications, professional certifications and employment history and reducing the risk of candidates making fraudulent claims on their resumes.
In addition, it can also be configured to automate the payroll process to make sure employees are paid accurately and promptly, with minimal potential for errors and disputes.
7) Artificial intelligence
Of all the technological advancements that have been embraced by the HR function, perhaps the single most transformative one is Artificial Intelligence.
AI has introduced a wide range of solutions that significantly streamline many of the processes associated with the remit of an HR manager. They range from chatbots that can answer any queries employees have to complex algorithms that can enhance the process of talent acquisition and management.
For instance, AI-powered tools can help managers assess resumes. But they can also predict how successful a candidate will be based on their historical data. It can even analyse their facial expressions during video interviews to gauge how suitable a fit a candidate might be for the company.
In addition, AI is being increasingly used in performance management in the form of continuous feedback tools. They provide management with real-time insights into the performance of their staff, which allows them to immediately recognise and address any areas of concern.
Challenges and considerations
While technology undoubtedly brings numerous benefits to HR Management, it also presents a number of challenges that need to be addressed. The most pressing one is probably the potential that automation brings for displacing jobs.
As a result, it is important that HR professionals enhance and evolve their skill sets to leverage technology as effectively as they can. They should also focus their areas of expertise on tasks that require human insight and empathy.
At the same time, the more technology is incorporated into the HR function, the more management needs to implement, communicate and manage the changes it brings.
Understanding the future
Over the course of the next decade, the implementation of new technologies in HR Management shows no signs of slowing down.
Innovations like Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are expected to further transform the way training and onboarding are conducted. In the process, it should provide employees with an even more immersive and interactive learning experience.
Moreover, predictive analytics and AI should continue to streamline and improve the process of talent management. Congruently, the integration of technology within HRM seems likely to turn it into a more strategic function within businesses. Particularly, if as expected, HR professionals increasingly focus on data-driven decision-making, employee experience and promoting a culture of innovation and adaptability.
Technology has brought a significant change to human resource
There is no question that technology has brought a significant change to how human resource management functions are performed.
For a start, it has reshaped the way organisations manage their most valuable asset – people. Moreover, automating routine tasks and facilitating data-driven decision-making has made HR practices more efficient, strategic and, most importantly, employee-centric.
Companies who embrace these technological advancements must be aware of the ethical considerations that come with the implementation of them within their organisation, to ensure that the human element remains at the core of HRM.
Ultimately, though, for anyone working in the field of Human Resources, it’s fair to say that the future promises exciting possibilities. Technology will continue to redefine the way you work and how your company nurtures and develops the skill set of its employees.