Effects of Technology on Human Resource Management

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Introduction

Technology is a factor of production in the contemporary workplace. Human resource management plays a pivotal role in ensuring an organization meets its objectives. This function entails activities such as recruiting, training, developing, and rewarding employees for their input. Human resource managers aim at creating a highly competitive and skilled workforce. This feat can be achieved by engaging employees in constant training programs for both professional and individual development. The digital age has transformed human resource management strategies, a phenomenon that has been occasioned by the need to increase the efficiency of the delivery system. The Internet, personal computers, smartphones, and social networking sites have greatly enhanced the ability of organizations to meet their human resource management objectives (Bondarouk & Brewster, 2016). However, technology can also have negative impacts on human resource management if employees spend much of their time on their smartphones and social networking sites engaging with friends, thus lowering their productivity. If used effectively, technology allows an organization to improve the efficiency of its internal processes, strengthen its core competencies, penetrate relevant markets, and strengthen the organizational structure.

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Literature Review

Human resource is one of the most complex management functions for any organization. One of the notable characteristics of this concept from the literature is the fact that its success is highly dependent on an entity’s corporate culture. Research has shown that corporate culture motivates employees to give their best efforts in a bid to achieve the desired levels of customer satisfaction (Solanki, 2019). Amazon is a good example of a company that has used its inclusive corporate culture to achieve prolonged success. Coupled with the authoritarian and democratic leadership of its Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, the company has successfully incorporated the latest technology in the management of its human resources. Technology has advanced the human resource management function by making it more mobile and adaptive to emerging trends (Stone, et al., 2015). Managers in the contemporary world are offering their organizations more insights about emerging hiring trends, which are being influenced by the high rate of technological advancements. For example, automation tools are helping human resource managers to maintain accurate records. Successful organizations have well-developed protocols for the incorporation of technology into various human resource activities, ranging from recruitment to employee training and development.

Human resource management frameworks for entities should incorporate an information technology strategic plan. This entails the need for an organization to develop systems that support innovation within the workplace, as well as promote research and development. The main reason for using such structures is that innovations powered by technology enable organizations to advance their recruitment systems, thus increasing their chances of hiring highly skilled personnel. The use of technology in human resource management manifests itself within an organization in three major ways. The most notable one is increased capacity to identify solutions and exhibit flexibility during business negotiations. A workforce empowered with the right technology helps to give an organization a competitive advantage because their innovations place them ahead of others in respective markets (Bondarouk & Brewster, 2016). Effective use of technology also manifests itself through the ability of organizations to develop new ideas for products and services. Technology empowers employees to engage in constant research in a bid to identify the emerging market trends and reorient their products towards meeting those needs.

The use of technology in human resource management also increases the capacity of organizations to identify new markets. According to management theorists, the ability of an organization to succeed depends on its willingness to support innovation, take up risks, and build an inclusive corporate culture (Bondarouk & Brewster, 2016). To remain competitive, a business should prioritize the need to keep developing new products, as well as introducing new services and operational frameworks (Stone et al., 2015). In addition, organizational leaders should focus on building an inclusive workplace environment that encourages all employees to participate in the decision-making process. This feat can be easily achieved through proper and timely integration of technology with organizational processes at all levels.

Amazon’s Human Resource Management Practices

One of the most contested debates relating to technology is whether artificial intelligence will replace human labor at some point within the workplace. This discussion is timely and relevant because technology is already taking its place within the organizational setup for production and marketing purposes (Bondarouk & Brewster, 2016). Currently, several companies are already using this technology in managing their human resource. One such company is Amazon, an American technology company that focuses on cloud computing, e-commerce, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence (Solanki, 2019). Everything that happens on the company’s website is done through the guidance of artificial intelligence. When a customer chooses a certain product for purchase, the software records the selection such that when one goes back to shop on a different date, products are often displayed according to previous choices.

The company still uses the same software in managing its human resources. For example, if an employee wants to be excused from reporting to work for a few days, all the required information is often recorded and transferred to the company’s database. Amazon has been using artificial intelligence in managing the activities and needs of its more than 400,000 employees for some time (Solanki, 2019). During recruitment, the company uses artificial intelligence to analyze the activity of applicants across various social networking sites. This helps them in understanding the language they use and establishing whether one might have anger issues or violent tendencies. All the data collected about applicants is then analyzed by the software to determine their suitability to work for the company. Proponents of artificial intelligence argue that it helps an organization to create a dynamic workforce (Stone et al., 2015). Although the technology is still in its early years in terms of use in human resource management, it has immense potential to shift the dynamics of this function in the future.

Effective Recruitment and Retention of Employees

Employees are one of the assets that require adequate investment by any business or organization. Therefore, the process of recruitment should be as professional and effective as possible. Traditionally, this process involved posting job openings in daily newspapers and paperwork for recruiting managers who had to check every job application received to shortlist candidates for interviews (Bondarouk & Brewster, 2016). Nowadays, it is almost impossible for a recruitment process to yield the desired results without the use of information technology. Potential employees are taking their job-seeking efforts a notch higher by registering with online recruitment agencies, where one creates a profile listing his or her academic qualifications. Additionally, organizations such as Amazon are also using online job portals to find qualified candidates for various positions (Solanki, 2019). One of the benefits of using this recruitment strategy is that employers have the benefit of analyzing the priority values of a potential employee before hiring (Stone et al., 2015). Within the workplace, the employer can keep the workforce engaged with the necessary information on personal and career development through an organization’s website.

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Employee retention is another major objective that human resource managers in an organization ought to give adequate input. One of the ways that an organization such as Amazon can manage to achieve prolonged success and remain competitive is by ensuring that they have enough capacity to retain their best employees within the workforce (Solanki, 2019). This entails the ability to keep employees motivated and satisfied with their work. Technology has proven to be a tool that helps organizations in achieving this objective. Incorporating the latest information technology tools into workplace activities improves the efficiency of service delivery and research, thus increasing the overall productivity of the workforce (Stone et al., 2015). Providing employees with all the necessary tools they need to perform their duties plays a pivotal role in increasing their level of motivation and satisfaction with their jobs (Bondarouk & Brewster, 2016). The use of technology within the workplace helps to erase any limitations that are likely to make employees fail to reach their full potential in terms of innovation and output.

Ease of Communication and Analyzing Employee Performance

Technology has made it easier for human resource managers to communicate across various organizational departments. Innovative tools such as e-mail, short messaging services, and video conferencing have increased the efficiency of information management within the workplace. If a manager has a new schedule, sending an attachment through e-mail is an effective option compared to calling everyone for a meeting (Bondarouk & Brewster, 2016). Although these technological tools are good at saving time, they can also be risky about not having everyone on the same level. Some information is delivered well in a meeting where questions, concerns, or any clarifications can be addressed (Stone et al., 2015). Another challenge associated with using these innovations to manage data within the workplace is the inability of the sender to ascertain whether everyone has received and understood the message. Artificial intelligence is an advancement that requires adequate financial resources to install and use effectively. This explains why a company of Amazon’s repute is among the few organizations using it to improve business operations.

Effective communication also helps in improving the standards applied in analyzing employee performance, which is a key human resource management function. Traditionally, performing this function was dependent on the personal assessment of supervisors and team leaders (Bondarouk & Brewster, 2016). However, technology has helped to enhance its effectiveness because data collection and analysis are computerized. Software programs are used in determining the performance index of an employee within a specified period against the set target. Additionally, they are used in comparing ones’ output over time to establish whether the degree of improvement. On the other hand, this system of data management can have negative impacts on employees if too much information is collected without taking into consideration their privacy needs (Bondarouk & Brewster, 2016). Another concern is that data collection systems such as security cameras help in monitoring the activity of employees, but can easily alienate them. Sometimes, having face-to-face conversations with someone is a faster communication approach when compared to wading through data looking for evidence.

Confidentiality of Employee Information

Human resource managers are often tasked with creating and updating the information profiles of all employees. This involves data collected during the hiring process, administration of benefits, and investigation of complaints within the workplace. It is the ethical obligation of all individuals working under the human resource department to respect the privacy of employees by not revealing or sharing confidential information with unauthorized persons (Solanki, 2019). Under normal circumstances, such data is stored in files that can be easily accessed by third parties. However, technology has played a pivotal role in ensuring the safe storage of private information in computers and other databases that cannot be accessed without the authority of an administrator (Stone et al., 2015). For example, Amazon has specialized in cloud computing, which means that the data stored in its database cannot be easily accessed and used by third parties. One of the major concerns about the use of artificial intelligence by Amazon is whether the company receives the permission of its customers and employees before sourcing and storing their information.

Decision-Making Tools

One of the human resource management functions that benefit a lot from the use of technology in decision-making. It helps human resource managers in achieving three decision-making objectives, namely, strategic alignment, business intelligence, and efficiency. When making decisions involving the welfare and development of the workforce, it is important to provide relevant and correct information. Innovative tools allow employees to participate in the process, thus making it easier to make inclusive decisions. Technological advancements such as e-mail, video conferencing, and cloud computing have enhanced the capacity of human resource managers to handle data more effectively because safety is guaranteed (Stone et al., 2015). Before the practical application of science to human resource management, data collected within the workplace was usually stored in local servers, which were highly vulnerable to tampering. Nevertheless, companies such as Amazon have proven that managers can make decisions by relying on information that is stored in clouds supported by modern technology. Artificial intelligence has the potential to make decisions on crucial human resource management functions such as recruitment (Solanki, 2019). Amazon relies on employee information in its database to manage various human resource functions with ease.

Conclusion

Technology has affected Amazon’s human resource management practices in various ways. Artificial intelligence has helped the company in enhancing the effectiveness of the recruitment process, as well as improving customer experience through better delivery of services. Technology has empowered human resource managers at Amazon about greater involvement in the strategic development of its business portfolio. I would recommend the technology to other businesses because it would equip them with tools to conduct thorough market analysis in terms of emerging trends and the most effective ways of meeting the changing needs of their customers. It is also important for firms to embrace the use of artificial intelligence for human resource management purposes. This is because it captures accurate information and stores it safely in a cloud, thus increasing the efficiency of data management. All organizations should consider incorporating technology into other management functions because it improves communication between departments. This ensures a good flow of information, which plays a pivotal role in ensuring an inclusive corporate culture. Good human resource management practices ensure that an organization maximizes its benefits and at the same time reduces its liabilities.

References

Bondarouk, T., & Brewster, C. (2016). Conceptualizing the future of HRM and technology research. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(21), 2652-2671. Web.

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Solanki, K. (2019). To what extent does amazon.com, Inc success be accredited to its organizational culture and ND Jeff Bezos’s leadership style? Archives of Business Research, 7(11), 21-40. Web.

Stone, D. L., Deadrick, D.L., Lukaszewski, K.M., & Johnson, R. (2015). The influence of technology on the future of human resource management. Human Resource Management Review, 25(2), 216-231. Web.

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