, Research Paper
Human Resource Management and the Impact of Information Technology
Is the impact of information technology changing Human Resource Management? Information, technology impact is changing the whole concept of how the work place is managed, and I will point out the changes and enhancements to Human Resource Management and the employees. The information technology can save everyone time and expense once he or she learns how to use it efficiently. Human Resource will be impacted more than any other department.
Human Resource Department must be a leader in the implementation of emerging technologies. HR departments are harnessing technology to meet their goals to enhance efficiency and reduce cost, but most importantly, they are providing better service to their employees (“HR Logical”).
Systems are being implemented in the organizations that allow Human Resource Departments to enhance their efficiency for transportation of data, enabling them to store, manage, and analyze critical employee data without requiring the user to actually maintain the data. The new systems allow employee’s access to Human Resource
information. They can retrieve and print information quickly and easily (“HR Logical”).
Information technology is transforming the way human resource managers do their jobs. Functions traditionally performed by Human Resource Management has changed or been eliminated due to the new information technology. As a result Human Resource Management has had to change from being personal specialist to becoming internal consultants and analysts who must understand technology and what it can do for their organizations (“IT Changes”).
“These new information systems demand a level of technical sophistication and managerial skills far beyond what was required by the simple recording of standardized transactions in stand-alone data files” (“Human Resource Implications”). This new information technology will involve changes in the working process and information flows of the organization (“Human Resource Implications”).
Although the information technology is simplifying our lives it is causing problems in areas such as Title structure, Recruitment, testing and selection, performance appraisal, rewards and compensation, training and professional development, which will be discussed in the following paragraphs (“Human Resource Implications”).
Title structures are becoming a problem because of the technology requirements of jobs changing so rapidly. Classification standards for one information specialty cannot be effectively established without reference to related fields and to the means by which individual professionals acquire the knowledge. “The full range of information technology and information resource management titles need to be identified and relationships among them explicit before in–depth work on individual titles can be effective” (“Human Resource Implications”).
Many jobs are related, to one another in practice, but are not connected by career ladders. Different kinds of technical jobs may require different kinds of expertise although they are related they may not be interchangeable. For example, Mainframe installations are operated and managed very differently than installations of network computers (“Human Resource Implications”).
After jobs are classified and career paths made possible the recruitment, testing and selection process becomes critical. The appropriate person must be hired for the appropriate job at the appropriate time. Traditional methods for recruiting, testing and selection can be time consuming and expensive. New methods of selecting candidates are necessary. Selection of candidates requires recognition that highly complex technical skills are not readily transferable from one technology platform to another. Alternatives would be to explore exams, which are constructed of modules that test for different technology backgrounds, and recruitment and selection process that allows emphasis to be placed on specific technology environments for which the organization is recruiting (“Human Resource Implications”).
The information technology also demands continuous attention, and planned investment, in the workforce training. Training and development is of utmost importance an in order to get the best options human resource must explore all possibilities. When budgets are low, organizations usually cut training first, but in today’s technical world this is not very practical; therefore, improved training and development is an important issue to the Human Resource Management Departments (“Human Resource Implications”).
Human Resource Managaement must look for specific improvements such as: a centralized system for purchasing external training, adopt an investment rather than a cost-based approach to training, develop standard curricular for particular occupations, make more effective use of public resources, such as state university campuses (“Human Resource Implications”).
The performance appraisal, compensation and reward system must motivate people to adapt, adjust, and meet new challenges presented by technology. Career development should make an individual’s job as successful as possible by employing an individual in capacities that make the best use of their talents. Technical excellence should be awarded, but not in a way that forces experts to leave their disciplines and become administrators in order to be promoted to a higher status. Human Resource management needs to provide both promotional and financial opportunities for technical as well as program or managerial excellence. Compensation should not be limited to pay. It should reflect job content and organization status (“Human Resource Implications”).
The performance appraisal carries a lot of weight in the organizational effectiveness and its special implications for developing the firms HR. The performance appraisals for organizations that undergo significant change in implementing new information technologies confront the challenge of establishing an infrastructure to support the new system. The sophistication of integrated manufacturing technology raises the possibility of nearly fully automated performance monitoring. Such a monitoring system may comprise counts of production error rates and time taken to process items. Some have suggested that appraisal of work outcomes will become entirely numerical as computerized systems provide employees with instant feedback. This instant feedback may act as a motivator, but overemphasis on quantitative performance measures at the expense of qualitative judgments demises the level of developmental feedback provided to an employee and may have negative consequences in terms of employee satisfaction (“Technology”).
Three problems may cause threats to an effective performance appraisal system in the technology driven workplace. One, distant workers may receive decreased feedback from supervisors. Secondly, process issues may be neglected in favor of emphasis on an outcome orientation, and thirdly, the developmental quality of supervisor employee relationships may deteriorate if distant technologies de-emphasize face-to-face interaction. Automated performance evaluation systems may add value to the virtual environment, but organizations and individuals benefit more from increased emphasis on developmental appraisals and personal interactions between the supervisor and employees. As a result, human resource management will need to develop the use of frequent and face-to-face developmental appraisal will be positively associated with performance citizenship behaviors, and individual intent to stay among information technology workers (“Technology”).
Advances in technology have also caused delayered organization structures, which have resulted in team based work systems. Team based work systems makes the reward systems more difficult. Individuals may have either full or part time commitment to a project. Membership may be static or rotating, with individuals coming on and going off the project as needed; therefore, it is a challenge to devise pay systems that reward flexibility, self-management, and mutual accountability for results along with the process skills that are essential in a team setting. HRM must find ways to compensate teams as well as individuals without causing conflict in the work environment (“Technology”).
This new era of electronic Human Resource requires cooperation and effort from all the departments in the organization and the support of senior management. It means creating task forces and implementation teams, as well as gleaning the expertise of outside consultants. In addition, it requires an understanding of security and design issues. Fitting everything together is not so simple as just buying and installing the best programs. Detailed analysis and a thorough understanding of information technology and strategic business issues are essential (“Net Gains).
As you can see Human Resource Management has their job cut out for them. Human Resource Management must transform technology into an asset that boasts the importance and value of human resources. They will accomplish their real gains over the next few years, as the organization becomes a total electronic workplace (“Net Gains). Importantly, in the rush to embrace new information technologies, organizations should remember the fundamental principle that workers will invest in firm goals in the presence of shared values and a commitment by the firm to make their well-being a priority. Human resource management must continue attention to fulfillment of the psychological contract and to the people issues that frequently seem less critical than issues of hardware or technology (“Technology”).
“HR Logical Choice for Intranet Implementations” Computing Canada 23 Feb. 1998. Vol. 24 Issue 7 p39 Business Source Elite. Online 14 Nov. 2000.
“Human Resource Implications of Information Technology in State Government” Public Personnel Management. Spring 1994. Vol.23 Issue 1 p31. Business Source Elite. Online 14 Nov. 2000.
“IT Changes Way Public Sector HR Managers Do Their Jobs” PA Times. May 2000 Vol. 23. Issue5. P5 Business Source Elite. Online 14 Nov.2000.
“Net Gains to HR Technology” Workforce. Apr. 2000. Vol.79. Issue 4. P44. Business Source Elite. Online 14 Nov. 2000.
“Technology and Managing People: Keeping The “Human” In Human Resources”. Journal of Labor Research. Summer 2000. Vol. 21. Issue 3. P447. 15p. MasterFILE Premier Online 18 Nov. 2000