E-HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
According to Torres-Coronas and Arias-Oliva (2005, p. 1), human resource management has experienced many changes. Changes have been established to improve the human resource activities in organisations. Management of human resources is an important aspect that should be handled properly. Management of employees entails recruitment, training, managing the payroll, and other activities. These activities are geared towards harmonizing HR functions so as to ensure that employees are satisfied in workplace. HR functions have evolved from the traditional strategies to the modern systems where technology has been incorporated. The emergence of World Wide Web enhanced the development of e-HRM. Emergence of e-HRM has improved the management of human resources (Mathis & Jackson 2010, p. 60).
Sparrow et al (2004, p. 77) opine that E-HRM is the process of managing human resources through the use of internet-based programs. Similarly, Paauwe, Guest and Wright (2013, p. 2) explain that the concept of e-HRM was launched in 1995. Technology is applied in planning and implementing in the processes of networking with employees as well as supporting human resources in an organisation. However, Schalk, Timmerman and Heuvel (2013, p. 84) indicates that e-HRM is different from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). It is also different from Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS). According to Schalk, Timmerman and Heuvel (2013, p. 85), ERP deals with software that is designed to help an organisation in designing, supporting, and automating the processes of a business. An ERP system involves many areas in an organisation. On the other hand, Schalk, Timmerman and Heuvel (2013, p. 86) continue to say that, HRIS covers electronic systems that are used in performing activities in HR. Today, there is an increased use of e-HRM because organisations have realized its benefits. The system has improved business effectiveness. In addition, e-HRM has been said to increase employee satisfaction. E-HRM is effective when it matches the strategy that an organisation has created (Schalk, Timmerman & Heuvel 2013, p. 88).
Bondarouk, Ruël and Looise (2011, p. 3) suggest that there are three classes of e-HRM: operational, relational, and transformational. Operational e-HRM focuses on the administrative duties in an organisation. These duties include payroll data and the personal data for all employees. Relational e-HRM supports the business processes. This is achieved through training, recruiting, and managing performance and other functions. The transformational e-HRM deals with strategic human resource functions such as knowledge management, and re-orientation, among others. HR goals of an organisation can be achieved when any of the three functions are implemented (Bondarouk, Ruël & Looise 2011, p. 4).
Martin and Hawkins (2010, p. 279) confirm that the use of technology in the Human Resource Management (HRM) has evolved from use of mainframe computers to modern social media systems. Initially, manual papers were used to keep records and to develop reporting systems in HRM departments. This process was time consuming and most of data could be lost easily. The mainframe computers were developed in 1970s, and most HR functions were automated (Martin & Hawkins, 2010, p. 279). Records about employees and payrolls could be managed using computers. Computer systems have developed over the years, and special software has been established to conduct electronic human resource activities. Organisations could conduct HR planning, and utilize talents effectively by applying automated information systems. IT experts were important personnel during mainframe era because HR professionals had to depend on them to run programs and maintain data. In 1980s, microcomputers were developed (Martin & Hawkins, 2010, p. 280). In addition, client architecture emerged. This technology allowed organisations to store HR databases to a central server. Servers were connected using local area networks. Wide area networks were also used to link various HR departments. In 1990s, sophisticated technologies which could merge multiple functions were established (Stone & Dulebohn, 2013, p. 2). This evolution reduced workload for HR professionals. Intranets were developed later. This technology has improved data security because only authorized people could be allowed to access HR data. World Wide Web was developed in mid-1990s, and this established a major revolution in HR functions. The Web was used when interacting with people from within and outside an organisation. Organisations developed software to accommodate new technology. In early 2000s, the web was a major tool in HRM. A complete overhaul of HR practice changed. For instance, potential employees were required to use emails when sending job application letters instead of using traditional manual systems (Stone & Dulebohn, 2013, p. 2).
According to Stone & Dulebohn (2013, p. 1), human resource management has been affected by the ever changing technology world. For example, World Wide Web has improved human resource management aspects such as processes of recruiting, selecting appropriate candidates, compensating employees, workflow, and other aspects. Use of technology in HRM has improved delivery of services to different stakeholders. Administrative burden has reduced after application of modern technology in HRM field (Stone & Dulebohn 2013, p. 1).
Web-based HRM practices have been developed to solve major problems which have been experienced in the field. Organisations can conduct e-training programs, and this has reduced burden of moving people from one place to another. E-training program has improved skills of many employees because they can acquire extra skills while at work. E-training program also improves productivity of an employee because a person can train at place of work. Unlike the traditional system where a person had to leave place of work to train in another institution, employees can train while working at the same time. This increases efficiency and productivity because the time and resources for transporting trainees is reduced (Mathis & Jackson 2011, p. 270).
Internet has been a major factor that has contributed to use of e-HRM. Evolution of internet has enhanced the development of various HRM programs. Leaders can communicate with their subordinates through emails, social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and other channels. Communication between teams has also been enhanced because people can conduct video conferences, online chats through Skype. Communication is one of the basic elements of effective human resources management. People share ideas through communication. Therefore, communication is an important tool that allows leaders to influence the subordinates. Introduction of modern communication technologies has improved leadership in organisations (Meister 2013, p. 1).
According to Meister (2013, p. 1), social media have been used to promote HR goals. Companies can recruit, train, engage all workers and develop their skills. Social media is reducing the importance of resumes in recruitment processes. For instance, a potential employer looks for personal details on social sites so that they can prior knowledge before interview. Employers can use the names of a potential employer to search the personal information. This reduces the anxiety about a candidate to be interviewed. The behavior of a person can be determined by the information obtained from the social sites (Meister, 2013, p. 1).
Talent management is also being conducted through online channels. Employers can search for talented people to fill vacant positions (Strohmeier & Kabst 2009, p. 482). Getting a talented employee is a major task that may take time. However, employers can search for talents through soliciting social media. An employer can know when an employee who quit a job wants to get back to the company. This can be achieved by looking at the updates on social sites (Meister, 2013, p. 1).
Schalk, Timmerman, and Heuvel (2013, p. 84) opine that organisations fail to use IT to conduct strategic decision making in human resources management. Even though e-HRM strategies have been applied in an organisation to in the processes of recruitment, training employees, managing payroll and other aspects, use of technology in strategic decision making has been neglected (Schalk, Timmerman & Heuvel 2013, p. 84).
Use of e-HRM helps managers to focus on other operational aspects rather than concentrating on managing employees. Use of internet in DR departments has reduced costs of hiring staff to implement HR strategies. Administrative burden is reduced, and this creates room for working on other strategic elements. When e-HRM is absorbed in the organisational culture, a company achieves good results (Payne et al. 2009, p. 527).
Introducing e-HRM requires a lot of care because employees will always be opposed to change. Change management is an important aspect when shifting from the traditional systems to the e-HRM systems. The process of changing the two systems consumes a lot of time (Bondarouk, Ruël & Looise, 2011, p. 1).
E-HRM has several advantages in an organisation. It improves the quality of services that an organisation offers. E-HRM improves the services delivered to employees as well as customers (Strohmeier & Kabst 2009, p. 482). In addition, the speed of delivering services is increased. It is also good when conducting routine activities such as keeping records, collecting information about employees, and other HR activities. E-HRM improves the accuracy of information that an organisation has about its employees. Human bias that may happen when handling HR data is eliminated when e-HRM is applied. In addition, e-HRM enhances prompt reporting and the analyses of data (Armstrong & Armstrong 2012, p. 2).
The e-HRM has some challenges which affect performance of organisations. E-HRM system allows people to communicate through virtual space (Payne et al. 2009, p. 528). This has a disadvantage that people do not meet face-to-face. Such a system creates a vacuum in communication because people may not understand each other when communicating through the electronic means. In addition, HR managers may not know the exact problems affecting the employees. Therefore, an organisation may easily lose its employee when there is no direct contact between the two (Strohmeier & Kabst 2009, p. 482).
Brevini, Hintz and McCurdy (2013, p. 1). Indicates that development of World Wide Web was accompanied by hacking, loss of data, and corruption. Hacking is a malicious activity which involves accessing information which a person has no authority in. Hacking process may interfere with data, and this is harmful to an organisation. E-HRM is prone to hacking, and this creates a major risk to modern organisations. In addition, data losses have been experienced where data is mishandled by unprofessional people. Data may be lost when computers crash or when there is internet failure. Viruses may also cause data loss. Cases of corruption have been reported when people misuse the e-HRM systems to have monetary gains. Therefore, the e-HRM has experienced a lot of challenges, and organisations have incurred huge losses when cases of hacking, corruption and data loss are reported. The most recent case of hacking is the Wikileaks (Brevini, Hintz & McCurdy, 2013, p. 1).
Use of e-HRM requires use of modern data. Research should be conducted continuously so as to embrace updated systems. Use of e-HRM may become obsolete if old structure is not replaced with new ones. Technology continues to change every day, and if an organisation delays in updating its systems, it may be overtaken by other organisations (Bondarouk, Ruël & Looise 2011, p. 134).
In conclusion, e-HRM is an important system that allows organisations to access HR information through World Wide Web. It is a modern program which has evolved for several years. The traditional manual system of HR management was hectic because it involved manual data management. This system was replaced by mainframe computers. Introduction of internet marked the beginning of e-HRM. E-HRM has improved performance of many organisations because managing employees is easy. Managers can conduct HR activities through online programs. However, e-HRM has experienced various challenges such as hacking, data loss as well as corruption. Therefore, organisations should conduct adequate research to identify modern methods of securing data. HR employees should be acquainted with management of HR data so as to avoid data losses.
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