How HR Has Changed

Written by on November 2, 2012 in Career - No comments | Print this page


HR departments have changed considerably over the years from process-driven administrative departments that helped with hiring, firing and employment law to a genuinely value-adding, commercial department that helps businesses with their core asset: people. The purpose of the function is a vast one and is expected to shape the future of the company by engaging fresh talent and helping to shape future strategy when it comes to growth and recruitment for the business, as well as help to save the business money.

These changes with expectation of the department come at a time when new technologies are emerging all the time, from sophisticated HR software system to the different ways in which people now interact with technology. They all result in a vastly different landscape than the image of a HR department 20 years ago.

HR systems now come with various modules that allow for various activities to be recorded and tracked and, vitally, this frees up time for more productivity rather than getting bogged down with administrative tasks. Modules can include serve a variety of purposes from recruitment and talent management through to assessing employee behaviour, collating employee information, holiday and payroll.

In addition to centralising the various aspects of an HR function, such software also helps an HR department to become more efficient by revealing successes and failures. The software can be used to highlight time to hire, cost per hire and where those candidates have come from. It can also reveal how much lateness and absence can cost a business. All this knowledge helps to inform a HR department t of what is costing the business most and what is most cost effective.

Recruitment has also changed because of the change in landscape that technology has produced, and not just because of software within an organisation. How people look for jobs and interact with employers has changed significantly, and a successful HR department will recognise this and be using these technologies to engage with potential employees in the same way. The explosion of the use of social media means that employers now have to consider their employment ‘brand’ and have to communicate with potential recruits in a meaningful way online.

Potential employees will use the internet to search for jobs, not simply through jobsites and employer career sites but with social media sites and websites that allow open discussion for experiences of companies through the hiring process. This means that a consistent and branded message needs to be communicated online, from career sites to social media sites, with attention being paid to the organisation’s reputation.

Conversely, HR departments need to use this technology to assist them with their job and to help them find new talent. This means using a variety of tools to look for talent, rather than relying on recruitment agencies or even jobsites. LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook ought to be used to source new talent. It also offers a chance to observe potential new recruits’ online reputations; their online presence can often reveal far more than a one hour interview can. As such, HR systems need to incorporate software and methods for utilising social media into their long-term strategies.

The successful HR departments will be the ones who relish these changes and are able to accommodate and respond to innovation quickly and positively.

This is a guest post.  Written by James Sheehan, a passionate blogger working in human resource.

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