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Technology’s role in human resources management

Via Business World : “Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship… the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” — Peter F. Drucker
Technology has improved the business world many times over. Business processes were developed and organizations became more efficient. Communication and information technology is not merely a want anymore, but a need. Many businesses, nowadays, cannot even function without the use of technology. This impact can be seen in most business areas including human resources (HR).

In the current age, HR departments are faced with the challenge of improving HR processes in order to provide organizations with the most business value. This has been achieved by many businesses worldwide through the effective use of technology. My research on this topic has led me to believe that using the appropriate technology on the following HR processes will be able to provide the most business value in the long run.

HR REPORTING

HR professionals generally consume a lot of time in processing and filing paperwork. Various technologies in human resource management made it possible for companies to store and handle paperwork in a more efficient manner. The use of an online enrollment system for storage of information of employees is an example of this. A company can create an internal network where its employees can access and use it to fill out documents or manage their benefits. Technology eliminates the need to look through an endless number of files in the file storage if we need to find something. Also, through technology, employee data will be much more secure through encrypted documents or other software packages to restrict access to sensitive information. However, technology in human resource management has its drawbacks. The transition from traditional methods to a technological process may be time-consuming and expensive. There is also the potential for hardware or software failures, which may be less likely, but is possible.

LEARNING MANAGEMENT

Information technology makes it possible for HR professionals to train employees in a more efficient manner. An example of this is e-learning, which provides excellent opportunities for employees to increase their knowledge levels through online training materials. The major advantage of having this kind of training is that employees can progress at their own pace. Both the trainers and employees have the ability to access training programs from remote locations which eliminates the need for trainers to work directly with employees. This makes it easier for HR professionals to train a large number of employees and to assess their progress through online testing programs.

Another benefit to employees is that they can work and learn at the same time. However, not all learnings can be done online as some may require a certain level of interaction between the trainer and students.

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

Goal setting, goal alignment and development planning are something that many of us recognize as vital factors in achieving success in the workplace as they provide employees with a clear perspective of their responsibilities. Employees are more likely to be motivated to perform by creating their own specific goals and constantly receiving feedback while working toward achieving those goals.

Through technology, HR professionals will be able to automate their performance management processes. They will be able to improve these processes with more frequent feedback and evaluations. Employees can likewise easily see how their goals contribute to the organization. This allows employees to appreciate more what they are doing as they are working toward a common objective with their firm.

Moreover, it is often the case that employees need specific training in order to achieve their goals. Integrating both the Learning Management and Performance Management systems into one may be a challenge but is not impossible. With this integration, HR leaders are better equipped to continuously improve and monitor learning programs and objectives.

Technology is an essential business tool to compete in the global market. Globalization requires the integration of business processes and information technology. There are clear benefits to such technological advancements; however, we should also be wary that there are potential drawbacks as well. The most important issue for organizations is how to manage the technology with respect to human organizational aspects and how to fully utilize its functions. There should always be balance between technology and human interaction.

Mark Alvin Bayag is from the Benefits business segment of Towers Watson, a leading global professional services company that helps organizations improve performance through effective people, financial and risk management.

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