The Impact of Technology on HR Practices

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Technology has had far-reaching effects on all aspects of life. With various technological advancements in place, the role of an HR professional has undergone a complete metamorphosis from just being administrative and handling the day-to-day operational aspects of the organization, to being strategic, proactive and more aligned to the needs of business.

CEOs of top organizations have now started believing that with the aid of technology, their HR teams can create more value and deliver quicker results. Though there are a number of technologies which have influenced the way HR roles have revamped, three key technologies stand apart. They are Human Resource Information System (HRIS), HR Analytics and Social Media.

This article would primarily focus on these key areas and their impact on the HR function and dynamics.

HRIS: Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is an integrated software solution which helps in automating and effectively managing the core HR tasks like recruitment, new-hire processing, maintaining employee professional and personal information, payroll processing, compensation and benefits management and employee development to name a few. HRIS has also helped in improving the levels of employee satisfaction by introducing more transparency and facilitating self-service options. This high level of service that could be provided with HRIS has been leveraged by HR managers in retaining talent and curbing attrition rates. There are several HRIS products available in the market which can be chosen according to the needs and scale of the organization. However, the most popular ones are SAP HRMS and Oracle PeopleSoft HCM which provide easy integration with the ERP system of the organization.

HR Analytics: HR Analytics provides tools and methods for analysing data and exploring the relationship between the various HR practices in the organization and how they affect employee productivity and other important metrics. With the help of such data analysis, the HR department can alter or tweak existing policies and people practices in order to improve processes like recruitment, talent retention, improvement of the working environment, improvement of happiness quotient at work place which ultimately results in improved productivity and thereby the creation of value.

Social Media: Social Media and Social networking sites have revolutionized the way the world communicates and connects. There’s no way any organization could ignore social networking sites. In tandem with this thought, many of the HR professionals are aggressively pursuing social recruiting through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. HR professionals have engaged themselves in employer brand building activities through communities and pages in sites like Facebook where they bring in existing employees to share their experiences and perspectives and also highlight various green initiatives and community service activities the company has taken up, in order to attract potential candidates.

The Road Ahead: Amongst the other important technologies which could have a major impact on the HR professionals, is cloud computing. It is believed that HR functions on the cloud will have a profound effect on the HR teams at small and mid-size organizations.

An HR professional can no longer afford to be just the people’s person. The increasing use of technology mandates an HR professional to be tech-savvy. Also, HR professionals should engage themselves in constant learning and should be more business-centric and try to have a clear understanding of all other business functions in order to have a successful career and put the HR department on an equal footing with other key areas like marketing and finance.

-Contributed by Bhavya Rastogi , IIM Shillong

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