When it comes to the world of technology, the only constant is that it’s always updating. Its inherent adaptability makes it easy for professionals in any industry to take their toolboxes down the high-tech route, and the HR field is no exception.
Advances in hardware, software and Web-based technology have provided HR professionals with the capacity to create, capture, store and distribute data in ways that they couldn’t before. Coupled with changes in the economy leading to a streamlining of HR services for many companies, the industry landscape has changed, and in the near future it will be more dependent on these technological tools than ever.
While typically considered the province of cat pictures and communications with extended family, social media platforms have been steadily finding their footing in the professional world over the past few years. Social media platforms have gained tremendous traction, as TalentHQ.com reported that as of 2012, Twitter and Facebook boasted 500 million and 850 million users, respectively – many of these being millennials who are starting to overtake the workforce. With these services comprising such a key part of adults’ Internet usage, they provide a unique recruiting opportunity for HR professionals looking to streamline operations.
According to Forbes, social media is set to revolutionize the recruitment and hiring process. More companies are supplementing traditional resume-based applications, or forgoing them completely, focusing more on applicants’ online presence and “social footprint.” This kind of presence offers employers a chance to assess candidates based on useful information that wouldn’t make it onto a CV, such as cultural fit, social attitudes or any number of other significant but difficult-to-quantify factors. Some companies have even experimented with unconventional application tactics like video resumes. Similarly, employees can get a better sense of a company’s business ideals through their social media presence, helping job seekers make more informed application decisions based on fit.
Gone are the days of hours-long classroom training centered around encyclopedic volumes of job information and company policy. Today’s workplace is flexible and fast-moving, and job training has had to adapt to match. Static learning is being replaced by more dynamic, lightweight solutions, and learning management systems are the principle force driving change in this regard.
Online courses can provide two main benefits to HR-led job learning: accessibility and engagement. The Web-based nature of online courses allows employees to access learning materials from anywhere, at any time, adding a huge degree of flexibility and efficiency to the process. Similarly, the Internet’s capacity for multimedia contributes to a greater diversity of types of materials. Static materials can be augmented or replaced with video, online lectures and even games through the use of new gamified learning strategies. This can not only increase engagement, but multimedia and gamification efforts have been shown to lead to better learning results. TechnologyAdvice reported that one company was able to reduce training time by 70 percent and training administration costs by 60 percent with the adoption of a gamification program.
The mobile technology market has exploded in the last 10 years. According to the Pew Research Internet Project from the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of adults own a smartphone as of 2014, while 42 percent own a mobile tablet device. This phenomenon of consumerization of technology is expanding into the workforce as well. Many companies are beginning to move into the world of bring-your-own-device technology policies. BYOD offers flexibility to employees by more easily facilitating things such as telecommuting and remote access, and it can also reduce costs for employers but reducing the technology infrastructure they need to invest in.
BYOD dovetails nicely with social media and online training programs to paint a picture of a new 21st-century workforce that emphasizes flexibility and mobility as virtues.