Hmm… that’s an interesting question… Five years isn’t necessarily a long time, but in today’s fast paced, constantly changing economic times, it could be a lifetime for many businesses. Has HR also changed with the times or has it remained the same? I think the answer is “yes” and “no.” There have been some changes, while the fundamentals have (or should) stay the same.
Technology and it’s use in Human Resources has definitely changed. While HRIS systems have been around for many years, web-based technologies and self-service software have creaped their way into what used to be a very paper driven function. Many companies now use online benefits enrollment, communicate with their employees through an intranet or social media and house important HR related forms and paperwork online. Employees may also be entering their time into an online system which communicates directly with payroll, eliminating some HR functions. Technologies have made many of these processes easier but, at the same time, HR still is a CYA function in many respects and there’s no substitute for good old paper files. It will be interesting to see where technology takes HR in the future. Could HR become a paperless society?
The face of training has certainly changed in the past five years. Technology has played a significant role in this transformation. Training has evolved from classroom based, teacher led training to online options. Today’s business are looking for quick hits in training verses the day or week long training of the past. Training programs have done a good job at adapting to the technology but, to succeed in the future, will need to be even more creative to reach today’s learners.
Technology may simplify interactions with employees, but ultimately, Human Resources is driven by communication and interaction with employees. The past 5 years has seen a dwindling of communication and now is the time to stop this trend. Communicating with employees is important for employee morale, increased employee productivity and reaching the company’s goals and objectives. While there’s been a trend to depend more on technology for communication, HR is seeing the need to stop this trend and emphasizing the need to pick up the phone or schedule face-to-face meetings.
Many of the goals and objectives of Human Resources have not changed over the past 5 years. I think it’s fair to say that Human Resources still strives to assimilate new hires, train employees, give feedback on performance and process time and compensation, to name just a few. The manner in which we do these, however, may have changed. That being said, while some change is good, in the eyes of an HR professional, it’s good to stay grounded to the basics sometimes.