In the past, Human Resource departments were seen as a mere complementary part of organizations, rather than a critical determinant of business success. Nowadays, business organizations perceive that the development of their human resources plays an important role in having advantage over their competitors (Hopkins & Markham, 2003). In the same time, technological developments have continuously made essential contributions to various aspects of business organization. Administrators, managers, and other staff have adopted technological applications in their business systems and departments, which include human resources. Although there are certain drawbacks and negative effects of utilizing technology in human resources, the benefits are worth acquiring. Organizations that reject essential HR technologies are likely to have severe disadvantages (Waddill & Marquardt, 2011).
The first purpose of technology in administration of any form of business is for learning. The Internet provides vast access to sites that allow public viewers gain and increase in knowledge. For the business administrator, the Internet is the source of expanded and enriched insights, which include practical applications, regarding human resources (Smith, 2013). Websites like shrm.org, which stands for Society for Human Resource Management, contains information on HR topics including compensation, employee relations, ethics and corporate social responsibility, and more. Legal issues, policies, templates on HR forms and spreadsheets, and HR standards are also provided. Further, HR tools like research survey data, education and certification, conferences, and publications (HR magazines, news, books, etc.) are accessible. Through the Internet, administration and management teams can acquire extensive resources that will help them with their business strategies and responsibilities.
Another advantage gained in utilizing technology is the attainment of a more strategic approach to human resources. Diverse core administrative responsibilities that include recruitment, oversight of legal compliance, securing confidential information, and other administrative matters cannot be fulfilled without technological tools (Waddill & Marquardt, 2011). In utilizing HR technology, the department can reduce the time needed for administration and obtain information for strategic decision-making, thereby allowing the staff to do various HR processes effectively. Technology allows the HR department to manage large quantities of information and, in the same time, handle the pace of change with a leading edge (Waddill & Marquardt, 2011). For instance, an HR staff can be involved in recruiting processes, such as looking into the new ways of finding high-qualified candidates for business positions (Hopkins & Markham, 2003). The Internet also includes diverse platforms that allow business organizations to establish their workforce. The recruitment process is crucial and only highly qualified individuals should fill positions “in order to maintain quality organizations” (Smith, 2013, p. 38). The accuracy and credibility of the skills, work ethics, and other qualities of employees is a major determinant of successful fulfilment of business responsibilities. Thus, it is appropriate that organizations have high and wide criteria for recruitment. Skilled workers and leaders can be found in more than just one locality. In order to facilitate the recruitment process, organizations use electronic human resource (eHR) systems, which include web-based job sites, portals, and other online platforms to attract job applicants (Gueutal & Stone, 2005). These online job platforms allow organizations to present adequate information regarding their company, the job nature and specifications, benefits, and other essential info for the applicants. Moreover, online sites help filter the application of individuals so that organizations will be able to recognize the candidates with good qualifications. To many organizations, outsourcing is another advantage in acquiring workers fit to fulfil certain little business tasks. Some of these websites include Odesk, Elance, Flexjobs, and Freelancer. These sites also require applicants to complete their profile, which presents their personal information and qualifications – thereby making it easy for the recruiting organization to find the best candidate. Technology gives convenience and efficacy in selection of candidates. For example, the organization may use pre-determined qualification tests during hiring processes – instead of having candidates interviewed one by one for longer period of time. This advantage that HR technology grants includes the ability to establish training and development activities (including improvement of learning materials), to develop performance management information, to identify potential partners (including online affiliates) in eHR-advertised third-party benefits, and to improve communication activities within the organization (Hopkins & Markham, 2003).
Another advantage of HR technology is its support to management throughout the business operations. Technology improves the functionality of the workforce, from the clerical staff to the management team. It allows more information to be available to the organization’s leadership level so that business decisions can be made immediately (Hopkins & Markham, 2003). For instance, E-recruitment systems do not only make the recruitment process easy and convenient, but also make it quick. Another, business resources can be deployed immediately. Certain tools and software, which are also available online, can be used to track and maintain records regarding resources. Further, HR technology helps make rewards systems easier and quicker. In this case, technology helps accurate allocation of performance-related bonuses to its workers through technological applications like spreadsheets.
Another benefit of technology in human resource applications is having greater potential for effective organizational collaboration and learning. HR technology allows “learning opportunities to be delivered and managed more easily through e-learning” (Hopkins & Markham, 2003, p. 17). As aforementioned, administrators and other leadership members have access to online resources for updated information and better understanding regarding effective human resources. Consequently, members in the lower levels of the organization can utilize the same benefit. Trainers and team leaders, for instance, can make an online platform accessible specifically by the organization’s members. This can be in a form of online forums or social network groups. Also, business operations-related information can be shared to one another easily. HR technology does not only help business information flow towards higher levels of the organization but also within the lower groups – among the staff workers. Further, technology makes it possible to the people to set up on-line meetings. Online meetings allow these people to collaborate with one another with less surrounding disturbance and at their own convenience. Such meetings can be facilitated even if the members involved are located outside the office.
Utilizing technology in human resources also helps increase the prestige of the organization. Many organizations consider that being at the cutting edge of technology is an important “credential” for excellent public figure. It suggests a good vision-oriented company, making both potential [highly-qualified] employees and investors attracted to it (Hopkins & Markham, 2003). HR technology also provides financial advantages to the organization. Global economies, countries, and organizations alike acknowledge cost efficiencies in Internet-enabled technologies (Waddill & Marquardt, 2011). In global economy, technology has a great part in investments. Moreover, eHR systems are said to be able to reduce essential HR administration costs. For instance, arranged online meetings allow the organizations to save some building expenses. Also, outsourcing processes relieves companies from additional computer and some employee benefits expenses. In outsourcing, the distant worker is responsible for his own tools for work. Suppliers claim that by implementing eHR applications, organizations can save hundreds of thousands of pounds every year (Hopkins & Markham, 2003). Further, studies affirm that, given the access to technological systems like the Internet, employees have higher job satisfaction – resulting in higher commitment to the organization.
However, some drawbacks and negative effects of technology are included in this matter. The obvious costs include software, hardware, and staff training, and “given the rapid changes in technology, these costs will recur” (Condrey, 2010, p. 11). Managers and leaders are responsible in preparing others for technology-generated change in the field of human resources (Waddill & Marquardt, 2011), and in training their people, adequate capital money is necessary. Also, introducing, establishing, maintaining, and upgrading technological systems will be necessary and, in the same time, costly. Moreover, another negative effect of technology on human resource systems is the downgrade of service quality due to reduction of face-to-face interaction (Condrey, 2010). Although members of the organization can easily communicate and collaborate with one another, there are perceived negative relational outcomes. Also, the lack of face-to-face interaction deprives the organization of the value of accountability. Further, given the eHR system of online access for information, some employees and service recipients may deem it easy and efficient, since they can have control over these system routines. However, some may find it frustrating when they encounter certain questions and concerns technological machines and systems cannot fulfil or answer compared to a real person (Condrey, 2010).
Like other aspects of business systems, implementation of technology systems in human resources has both advantages and disadvantages. Nevertheless, considering just the ability to provide more efficient business operations, HR technology provides significant advantages – leading to business developments and success.
Condrey, S. (2010). Handbook of human resource management in government. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.
Gueutal, H., & Stone, D. (2005). The brave new world of eHR: Human resources in the digital age. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.
Hopkins, B., & Markham, J. (2003). E-HR: Using intranets to improve the effectiveness of your people. Hampshire, ENG: Gower Publishing Limited.
Smith, R. (2013). Human resource administration: A school-based perspective. New York, NY: Routledge.
Waddill, D., & Marquardt, M. (2011). The eHR advantage: The complete handbook for technology-enabled human resources. Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.