There are very few aspects of life that have not been impacted by technology, and almost no parts of business. Communication, entrepreneurialism, information and retail have each changed almost beyond recognition in the past two decades thanks to ‘Software as a Service’, superfast broadband and mobile technology.
Therefore, the overarching discipline of HR which brings these elements, and more, together has also changed to fit alongside them. Here are four ways that things are different.
Who sends a CV or resume through the post any more? With modern technology a person in Saigon, Siberia or Sunderland could each send an email which all arrive simultaneously in the same inbox – or for that matter a video or social media application.
A jobseeker can spend time searching for perfect jobs across the world, streamlining their applications through filters based on area, salary, keywords and other information. Social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter, plus recruitment sites such as Monster and Indeed, allow jobs to be seen by a far wider public. For a company with vacancies the recruitment process is cheaper, more efficient, and generally easier for all parties involved.
Remote training is a more streamlined, and more easily accessible, facet of a job than ever before through technological advancements. Psychometric testing; video training and virtual seminars; and access for newcomers/trainees to company information, have each never been easier to achieve. Additionally, training portals such as Udemy can help for those wishing to pick up supplementary skills in their own time.
While Sage and Excel have existed for several decades, the advent of broadband and cloud-based technology has opened up the potential of accounting in even the smallest of companies. Every single facet of a company’s financial operation can be carried out electronically, but with much more than numbers; the latest iterations of Excel, for example, can visualise data on a map in an attractive and interactive format.
Software for HR now allows teams to deal with ten or thousands of employees worldwide; payslips, files and documentation can now be sent electronically with a high level of security through payroll integration, invoices can be processed promptly and intelligently, and alerts can be set up with the minimum of fuss.
Prior to broadband and internet technology, many jobs simply could not be done from home. Now, people can work from a coffee shop or an office but still have the capability of taking part in a video call or accessing company information. Indeed, you’ll have access to any administration literature (assuming you have privilege) or relevant files at any time of the day. Even having a mobile smartphone that allows an employee to access emails and social media is a vast leap. For an HR department working from home can cut costs for petrol, and also gives employees enhanced adaptability if necessary.
It’s believed that one terabyte of information could hold almost 86 million pages of word documents – imagine printing and then storing this vast expanse of type. You’d need some form of aircraft hangar sized building. Thankfully the worlds of cloud storage, flash drives and Google Drive have removed the need for such a ridiculous task, and the need for CDs and floppy disks that followed. We can now store almost any volume of data, in written, video or technological form, in a few plastic blocks in our office. And the world is better for it.