Before mobile apps and cloud computing, HR was synonymous with mile high paperwork and a constant struggle to align with compliance, hiring and unlimited amounts of employee information. By simplifying recruitment, record keeping, and payroll, HR technology has promoted efficiency, accuracy and even boosted employee morale.
People management and business leaders are feeling the impact of technology on HR – a trend that will only grow from strength to strength. Technology changes every aspect of the organisation, especially how people are managed. Used well, technology makes HR practices more efficient. When used poorly, it can get in the way of managing the company’s human resources. Solid HR practices should aim to maximise the benefits and minimise the problems.
There are many considerations of technology and its impact on people management. Let’s discuss a few, including the positives and negatives:
1. Ease of Communication
With email, text and messaging applications, it’s never been easier for HR staff to stay in touch with the rest of the company. However, there’s a risk of an over-reliance on technology as a time-saver. There are certain conversations that are best had face to face as opposed to a a two-page email. That way everyone can ask questions and get clarity in real-time.
2. Data Analysis & Employee Performance
Technology makes it easier and more efficient to collect and break down data on employees to get a better picture. Which tasks are performed best? Technology makes it easier to gather and break down data on employees to get an overall picture – a critical element to manage people effectively. It has a knock-on effect on our recruitment, learning and development, engagement, performance management, and retention, which are all aligned with organisational performance.Are the goals that were discussed in the last performance appraisal all accomplished? Software programs can facilitate a significant amount of the quantitative element of the employee evaluation process.
3. Too Much Data
As HR takes up more of data collection and analysis, the issue of privacy of employees might be up for debate. Is the data collection infringing on their right to privacy? Or is the use of constant monitoring through security cameras too much? The argument is that with a constant watchful eye, harassment cases or violation of code of conduct and company policies can be easier to find. That being said, constant monitoring has a very real threat of alientating your employees. Strong HR practices involve a fine balance of not only knowing how much data can be gathered but also how much should be gathered – we need to ask how much do we need versus how much do we want.
Data management is another real risk for the HR department. After a certain point, filtering through data to identify the relevant from the irrelevant becomes an impossible task. It’s also very possible that HR will misread data or make assumptions that a face-to-face conversation could clear up – we still need to have some subjectivity. Not every case can be black and white.
4. Better analytics promote diversity and inclusion
There is an increased focus on diversity and inclusion – talent and customers are actively looking for companies that value diversity, and that impacts on recruitment strategies. For example, organisations can use people analytics to get a clearer view of pay gaps which can be addressed and corrected to promote fair salaries.
As the spotlight on workplace D&I continues to grow, it puts pressure on HR software suppliers to offer more of these types of offerings.
5. A more strategic role for HR
Technology has given HR professionals tools that are time efficient and takes them away from administrative tasks. This allows them to focus on issues that require more direct involvement, especially of a strategic nature.
HR’s role as an administrative function has been consistently shifting from to being a strategic advantage for the organization with the support of technology. Administrative tasks are simplified by freeing resources to make a more strategic impact on the organisation.
In summary, the evolution of people management has been simply transformational with the aid of technology and will continue to be. We recommend making the most of technology to streamline and improve your HR function, while being aware of the dangers or harms.