There is a collective fear in us towards technology that while it makes our lives and work easier, it may one day very well take the latter. But the little Luddite in our head is not always right: there is a way to use technology, especially in HR, to our advantage while we as human professionals remain indispensable.
Recruitment is one practice which has been made considerably easier by modern technology. HR professionals today don't have to rely on print publications, they can post jobs on the net and have thousands of prospects in a matter of days.
Selection processes can also be sped up with technology, however, recruiters have to be very careful while using software. Computers can filter out the best and brightest of applicants in a second, but they do not have instinct. Computers do not see potential, only facts. They don't care, if someone could be the perfect employee, they look for the one who is.
The use of big data in performance management is similar: through automated processes, we can monitor countless variables, like how much do employees work, how satisfied they are, how successful they are in their jobs and so on.
Large data sets containing information about the performance of our employees, especially at large companies with a workforce that is several thousand strong, provide an opportunity to see an overall picture and come up with complex and comprehensive plans. But computers only go as far as automated analysis can: none can replace an HR professional who instinctively knows how to read the data and what to do about it.
Learning made easier
Another practice which has been greatly improved by technology is the training of new employees. Of course this does not apply to every company, but in a lot of cases it is not essential for a successful training for the trainees to be physically present. Information, training programs can be accessed from remote locations, trainees can join courses on the internet, and in most cases they can do this with minimal interference from humans.
Interaction of course is essential, questions have to be answered, problems must be uncovered before someone joins the team, but machines once again can not only speed up the process, but also make it much more convenient for everyone included. Of course you can’t teach someone how to operate heavy machinery in a webinar – and If you can, you certainly don’t want to. But an accountant, a programmer, an office worker can utilize technology this way with no problem.
Technology’s impact on HR can be summed up like this: processes can be sped by with it, data collection and analysis can make your work easier, but computers won’t be taking your job as an HR professional any time soon.