How Technology Influences Human Resource Departments

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Global business models and practices have been influenced by the technological revolution. Major shifts have occurred in the way we carry out daily tasks and it has spread throughout all levels of the business model. The incorporation of the internet and social media has demanded each individual organizational entity to adapt in order to increase productivity and growth.

Human Resource (HR) departments are no exception to these changing conditions.


Social Media and Human Resources

The Under Cover Recruiter claims; “Social media is most used in recruiting, employee communications and training.”

They explained that;

25% of HR professionals use social media for teambuilding activities

26% of HR professionals use social media for onboarding practices

34% of HR professionals use social media for training purposes

41% of HR professionals use social media for employee communication

69% of HR professionals use social media for recruiting

Additional uses include; Branding/promoting, background checks, work delegation, research, and emergency notification.

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Recruiting, Onboarding and Hiring

“HR generally has seen dramatic changes in how talent is identified, on boarded and supported in the past five to seven years” said Jim Link, Chief Human Resources Officer at Randstad North America.

Many of these changes can be attributed to the technology that companies are using to enhance their recruiting and hiring processes. The emergence of social platforms has allowed for global expansion of the recruiting market.

However, technology in HR departments is not limited to the use of locating and recruiting interested job-seekers. Another major change is how the interview process as a whole has evolved.

Blair Decembrele wrote for LinkedIn and explained some of the ways that the interview process has transformed. “Expect to see more comprehensive, research-based interview tactics like job auditions, soft skill evaluations, and virtual reality assessments.”

Employers value soft skill and interpersonal communication skills more than ever. In a digitally connected world, the interview process itself has become the only essential test of interpersonal communication that still exists in modern society.

Interacting with friends, family, peers and even significant others has transitioned to primarily online sources. For more information on how the internet has impacted interpersonal communication and romantic relationships check out our slackchat on the topic here.

However, organizations today often contradict themselves by putting a consequential importance on communication and soft skills in the way they carry out the actual interviews.

Most businesses and job-seekers are familiar with the concept of a video interview. This is when the recruiter communicates with the potential employee via live video, like Skype or Facetime. This can be a good alternative to a face-to-face interview for those who are looking to save money on transportation costs and it allows businesses to access recruits on a global scale.

But, video interview has evolved even further with the emergence of what companies are calling one-way video interviews.

This is when potential candidates for a given position are asked to sit at a computer and speak directly to the webcam as if it were the recruiter. These questions are computer generated. Generally, the question will appear on the screen and the candidate has approximately one minute to come up with their answer. The webcam will then begin recording for a pre-set amount of time. The candidate’s recorded response will then be submitted to the recruiter.

Some argue that this is an effective method for recruiters to use when there are several candidates for the same position.

However, there are other experienced HR professionals like Liz Ryan, the careers columnist at Forbes, who disagree with this new practice for a variety of reasons;

“It’s a completely different thing to “interview” a job-seeker by commanding them to look into a camera and answer questions put to them by a computer. It is disheartening to me as a long-time HR person to see how badly some HR and Staffing folks damage and degrade the recruiting function by building in talent-repelling processes like one-way video interviewing. The emergence of one-way video job interviews in recruiting speaks to incompetence at a high level, because any leader who would green-light a recruiting process that includes automated, impersonal “interviews” is someone who fundamentally misapprehends the nature of recruiting.”

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Josh Bersin, founder and principal of Bersin by Deloitte Consulting LLP, said to HR Dive that, “those HR execs that don’t grasp visual thinking, strong digital communication skills, organizational design and data security will be behind their peers in top-performing companies.”

Leela Srinivasan, Chief Marketing Officer at Lever, a recruiting software firm, said that Chief Marketing Officers who are not digitally savvy are out of luck. “Chief Human Resources Officials face a similar issue now that much of their focus has pinpointed on employee brand.”

Modern job-seekers have become increasingly aware of their online presence and whether it will hinder or assist their chances of getting hired. “Laws regarding equal employment that forbid discrimination for factors like age, gender or national origin have not changed even though a human resource professional can view pictures and text that would raise red flags about an otherwise qualified candidate” according to Human Resources MBA. Which is why job seekers must be aware of their published and posted content.

Although there is a large focus on the potential employee’s brand or online presence, HR departments have recently discovered how crucial it is for organizations themselves to create an employer brand. They have acknowledged that when employees don’t see an opportunity to thrive within an organization, that organization will have no shot at real growth. HR departments and recruiters are looking for the best way to portray their company’s culture and brand to potential employees.

Human Resources MBA said, “Human resource professionals primarily care about measuring and improving employee performance. However, modern managers are also concerned with how the companies for which they work are perceived in the marketplace.”

HR Dive says that, “More employees, especially younger workers, are seeking individualized, tailored career experiences from their employers — and employers aren’t especially good at this yet.”

Businesses must carefully consider these demands of creating a culture, connecting with future employees and preparing future workers because it turns out, the next generation of workers already make up the largest segment of the workforce. Read more about Generation Z and their impact on the workforce and influence on business models here.

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“Travelling to different company sites to deliver training to employees is a thing of the past thanks to certain technological improvements. Training and development staff can now create customized computer based training modules and deploy them online for the benefit of employees around the world.” According to Human Resources MBA.

New media platforms have transformed the way businesses train their employees. They allow for expanded resources, communication and collaborative environments through informal and formal networks. Social platforms also promote deeper engagement and understanding through discussion.

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The ways in which the human resources sector has been effected by new media and technology continues to influence and transform common HR practices like hiring, training and recruiting. It also has promoted communication within organizations through teambuilding and employee communication. This use of social media aids in building trust between the employee and the business as well as helping to create a positive organizational identity.