Today’s Job Sector: Of Human Resource Management and Technology

Posted on February 24, 2012 in Business and Economy

By Swaruparani Sahu:

Human resource management (HRM, or simply HR) is not just management of an organisation’s human resources or workers — it extends to aspects far beyond that. HR has evolved and changed each passing year, to bring about success in an organization through the employees. Many emerging trends that were noticed till 2011 are mentioned here in this article. The forecast of HR trends for the year 2012 is also briefly explained.

The variable pay plans and performance-based award programs are on a rise. As the global recession continued till 2011, again in 2012 we’ll see rise in remunerations in an organization. Companies are trying to place a greater focus on variable pay packages, despite predictions of higher pay increments in 2012.

The mobile platform will have become the dominant communications and interaction platform, by early-adopting best-practice organizations. The capabilities offered by such technology afforded users of Smartphones and tablet devices to grow immensely day by day. Long before unified inboxes existed for the desktop, smart device users could see all incoming e-mail, social messaging, text messaging, and voice and video messaging in a single place. Tablets will become the virtual classroom, and an emerging class of tools will let employees manage almost every aspect of their professional life digitally.

In less than a decade, as employees “bring their own technology” with them, the workplace will shift to wherever an employee actually resides. The idea of “Bring Your Own Technology”, or “BYOT” was improbable, even inconceivable, only five or six years ago because of integration, security and other issues. Yet, today, it looms as a strong likelihood — thanks to the relentless advance of technology and the continued blurring of lines between personal and business technology. BYOT will impact the size and design of the corporate office, as fewer square feet per employee will be needed, and open, collaborative workspaces will continue to replace cubicle and personal office-based designs.

One can forecast an incorporation of Nanotechnology, biometric security, sensor-driven smart buildings, and unified communications in workplaces. The introduction of these converging technologies will enhance human performance. The author also feels that the changing scenario in recent years will bring about a mammoth change in the organizations. Also, cloud computing will be replaced by “always-networked” personal devices. Posting a job from an iPhone or making organizational changes from an Android Phone will be common. According to the author, the issues of access, security and control in cloud are not positive signs. Even a good cloud-based software provider can’t take away every risk factor.

Despite high engagement scores, more than a majority of employees are willing to quit their current job as soon as a better opportunity comes along.  The turnover rates in high-demand occupations has increased, and because most corporate retention programs have been so severely degraded, retention could turn out to be the highest-economic-impact area in all of talent management. Under these circumstances, the author suggests implementing a personalized approach rather than a “one-size-fits-all” retention strategy.  While growth has slowed somewhat in China, Australia and Southeast Asia, including India, the countries continue to see dramatic demand for skilled talent. In the U.S. and Europe, demand is still largely limited to certain industries where skill shortages have been an issue for years. 2012 will see a significant escalation in the war for top talent. While recruiting will move forward at a breath-taking pace, so will rapid leadership development.

The continued growth of technology, social media, and easy communications now makes it possible for most knowledge work and team activities to occur remotely. Allowing top talent to work “wherever they want to work” improves retention and makes recruiting dramatically easier. The author is right when she says: Workplaces will lose walls.

Social networking may get an additional boost, but trial-and-error approach used by most firms may produce mediocre results. In 2012, organizations will further evolve to agile models of goal-setting and performance coaching. However, it would also have been better if increasing number of companies could rethink their traditional performance appraisal processes.

Human resource outsourcing, employee referrals and few other trends are also expected in HR. The areas touched by the author have been clamouring for attention and are ripe for change. What remains is the hope that the year 2012 will bring about a whole new way of working.