In a blog post made by Rouse M, human resource technology in short (HR-Tech) defined as an umbrella term for software and associated hardware for automating the human resources function in organisation. HR-Technology has become more than a fashionable term to understand modern trend but is a utilitarian term for bringing organisational productivity. HR-Tech has become more than application software to support HR administration and optimise age old HRM, but this has become a trend that is shaping human resource management as techno professionalism, software innovation and entrepreneurism in admixing the concept of HRM plus technology and ergonomics. HR-Technology is creating the new business i.e. the business of innovation and systematisation through the use of software and computing. So HR-tech has given birth to many business, new denturists are moving toward HR-Tech based business. There is ample literature on the impact of HR-Tech on organisational HRM performance, but, the role of HR-technology in business venturization is still rare. This paper attempts to recapitulate the role of HR Technology in businesses creation and the other role.
Businesses through Human Resource Technology - Innovations and Dominance
Prof. Arup Barmanα & Mr. Karan Dasσ
In a blog post made by Rouse M, human resource technology in short (HR-Tech) defined as an umbrella term for software and associated hardware for automating the human resources function in and organization. HR-Technology has become more than a fashionable term to understand modern trend but is a practical term for bringing organizational productivity. HR-Tech has become more than application software to support HR administration and optimize age-old HRM, but this has become a trend that is shaping human resource management as techno professionalism, software innovation and entrepreneurship in admixing the concept of HRM plus technology and ergonomics. HR-Technology is creating the new business, i.e. the business of innovation and systematization through the use of software and computing. So HR-tech has given birth to many businesses, new venturists are moving toward HR-Tech based businesses. There is ample literature on the impact of HR-Tech on organizational HRM performance, but, the role of HR-technology in business venture creation is still rare.
This paper attempts to recapitulate the role of HR-Technology in business creations and the others such as solution to management of human resources in an organisation.
Keywords:dominance of HR tech, tech- entrepreneurship, venture-creation, start-ups.
Author α: Faculty Member, Department of Business Administration, Assam University, Silchar-788011 (India).
Author σ: Research Scholar, Department of Business Administration Assam University, Silchar-788011.
We can define; Human Resource Technology (HRT) is any technology that is used to attract, hire, retain and maintain human resources, to support HR administration and to optimize human resource management as a whole. Earlier, technology was a luxury; however, today; technology has become the necessity for the survival of a business. With this technological revolution, many business organizations have embraced, and leveraged human resource technology to make the HR processes simpler and also to give a competitive edge in this fast-changing business environment. Technological automation is widely known phenomenon in the operation of human resource management and in other related areas of business. Today, the old automation in HR has got a shifting focus, getting attention due to possible integration of technology to as many HR transactions as possible to achieve effectiveness and efficiencies.
Previously, HR technology emerged with the sole solution provider to improve employee performance. The employee performance was a key concern for the human resource management. The HR Performance Technology became the pavement to improvise workforce performance so that the productivity derived at an utmost level. However, the world today is moving towards the golden era of HR technology solutions, where, management has postured human resource management absolutely at a new level. With massive improvisations in HR technology and workforce solutions, HR Technologies have now not only contributing to increase the overall organizational productivity but also supporting organizations in meeting their strategic objectives and to keep organisations up on an advantageous as well as in competitive positions.
The future technology will be about the speedy access to accurate, up to date, and about the ability to enter the information systems via multiple systems which stretch organizations to be at strategic edge. We know that the traditional form of HR was limited only to managing employee(s) databases in desk and paper method has become redundant. Human resource technology, conjugating HRM with information and computing technology have enabling HR professionals multiple ways. Today, HR-technology has enabled managers and professionals to focus on transforming information to the knowledge, helping organizations in implementing decision support system(s). Now, it is all about the HR and IT, working together in a smart organisation to leverage the technology.
The traditional HRM styles mainly focussed on supportive personnel activities for a company including collecting employee information, monitoring individual performance, and implementing organization policies. With the increasing pressure on HR, HR managers need to understand the business strategies and then to formulate the corresponding management strategies based on human resources to improve the service delivery, and to act as a strategy partner in the top management team. With the increasing technological innovation and competition, HR professionals need to adapt latest technologies those support in organizational changes and create proper developmental climate for acceleration of innovation and knowledge creation in the organizations.
Today, the HRM cannot be treated as single function, but is a collection of highly specialized capabilities-each of which having its distinct objectives, tasks, and the needs. There is an ever -increasing pressure on the Human Resource function to support strategic goals and to focus on value-adding activities. Managers of Human Resources ask for the more strategic position of their department within the organization with an aim to get to the essence of the problem- how to manage, how to motivate, and how to increase the performance of the organization. The HR function, with its newly developed strategic focus, is expected to demonstrate measurable importance on business results. Big multinational corporations are making enormous investments to leverage technology with an aim to surge the business productivity, and to make a difference through human resources or capital by diving to the role of strategic decision making.
HUMAN RESOURCE TECHNOLOGY
Nowadays, managers have realized that human capital is only among the means for an organization to achieve a competitive edge to adjust to the dynamic business environment. Technology had and has made its impacts on HR during 1990s when e-commerce was sweeping the business world. This technological interaction at a global level creates a need for HR systems to eliminate many cumbersome jobs of HR. In this global market dynamics, HR professionals have to avail the opportunities for taking part in the race, which obviously demands the help of digitalization. It is observable, the digitalised HR is endowing an ease to operate, store, retrieve, calculate, identify, analyse, study and to make strategies in making an efficient and result based organization. Among many recent development, the cloud-based human resource technology, service delivery model with employee’s engagement and retention have made an integrated HR technology, as the strategic enabler for any organization.
Advanced technological tools, such as- Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Machine learning, etc. are now becoming highly significant for the HR professionals, as because, it is experienced that all those having positive effects on overall efficiency of businesses. The accuracy of information, analysis of data, dissemination of the policies, and their outcomes are unquestionably helping organizations to be respectively competitive over others. Not to mention, information technology has made an organisation to propagate right information to the right people at right-time which was fundamental needs of any organization, since long it is being realised and has become a reality today. It can be visualised that these innovative technologies will play an overbearing role in the process of transformation of HR. These human resource technologies would be utilised for developing workforce competencies to face the disruptive challenges to pursue the growth of the business as well. Thus, the disruptive technology has also been swaying as the driving force for creating new roles of HR function, to improve the business competence, and thereby, to increase the overall productivity of an organization. Technology has enabled organizations to deliver state-of-the-art HR services. The reduced costs of such technologies have empowered companies to purchase rather than opt for creating an own HR technologies. Thus, the whole digitalization of HRM crusading it’s all functional areas; those are labelled as e-recruitment, e-selection, e-employee development, e-performance and e-evaluation, etc. even saturate up to all areas of activities of HRM, which is being labelled as virtual HRM, now a days. The emerging technologies have been enabling the HR processes selling companies today to create a wide array of products brewing of both hardware and software that resulting in making a complete, smooth and affordable HR processes and technology business. Thus, HR technology has become instrumental in shaping the framework for tremendous business opportunity with a capacity to leverage of employees power to enhance the organizational performance.
No doubt, the growing use of technology in human resource has significantly been increasing the efficiency of HR management processes. It increases the speed of work and enables in cost reduction. HR-Tech is today vital to creating effective and efficient information and communication system, to elevate high level of employee engagement, advanced talent management, increased employee development, high level of performance management, digital training and learning. Also, human resource technology is successful in raising the value to the organization and ultimately raises HR professionals’ status in the organization. HR Tech, nowadays, has been the major source for imparting value addition to the organization regarding high quality and valued services to the users.
CAPTURED POTENTIALS HR-TECH FOR START-UP
Human capital forms a vital asset for an organization to have a competitive advantage. A study of new businesses by Bamford, Dean, and McDougall (1996) identified that acquiring competent human resources was critical for a venture’s success or failure because HRM practices influence and may determine if a firm does well in developing its products/services it offers. Therefore, the development of HRM is crucial for the firm to grow in this cut-throat competition. This integration of technology with the functions of HRM has contributed to increasing workforce performance and greater involvement by HR in organizational strategic decision making.
With the increasing digitalization, there has been the tremendous need for more HR-Techs to provide enhanced employee experience with increased employee engagement. With the demand for more and more corporations to impart advanced HR tools to simplify their HR workflow, we could notice the emergence of new entrepreneurial ventures which have been successful to enable organizations to deliver state-of-art HR tech services. We see that big companies are turning to outsource or software-built services for improved HR solutions, where these HR-tech start-ups have paved the way to fill these gaps and adapt to those HR needs.
Techno-entrepreneurship in the HR tech space is defined as, setting up of a new technology venture or system through which an entrepreneur draws on resources and structures to develop technology opportunities to make the HR services delivery faster with enrichment experience. These HR tech start-ups have been driving many large organizations to be more innovation oriented and lessening the weights of old and formal personnel management. All these HR tech start-ups have been able to ‘brand’ HR technologies which have been resulting in imparting innovative practices in HRM which ultimately leads to the sustainable development. Today, branding of HR-Technology is vital for corporate HRM and corporate success.
The picture of applications of human resource technology and its status in the business world have immensely changed during the fourth industrial revolution. The impact of high digital HR impact has forced organizations and HR leaders to turn to the tendency toward high investment in HR technologies to improve HR experiences in businesses. HR technology has the amazing opportunity for unique tech-venturing, requires a prolific mind, ideas, creativity, innovation ability on the human aspect of work and technology. There is a long future of human resource technology, human resource tech-venturing, and the promising level of entrepreneurship through the human resources.
THE DOMINANCE OF HR-TECH BUSINESSES
In the past few years, HR-Technology around the globe has evolved significantly, as a consequence of transforming HR portentously to align with the business needs. As the businesses are gradually becoming global in nature, competitive, and thriving to keep best-in-class industry practices, HR-tech has gradually been identified as the crucial enabler in enhancing effective HR service delivery that have been posited as the spike for boosted business performance.
Even during the last decade, HR function and professionalism both are at a crossroads, which was once designed primarily as an administrative and compliance function in the history. However, today’s HR function is very much embedded to the heart of any large organisation. This trend of changing business imperatives is demanding not only a new organizational model for HR itself but also a massive reskilling of HR professionals. It has been presenting an unprecedented opportunity for HR to play a leading role at the highest levels of business strategy, its execution, and the results. To have an impact, HR must develop advanced capabilities of human being in the organization to align HR structure and the services with the business needs that facilitate business growth and operational excellence. Advanced HR capabilities enabling an organization to execute its business strategy more effectively with the consequence of improve performance across the entire enterprise i.e. it is not just within the HR department but anywhere in human led activities.
HR tech businesses are emerging at the forefront to intervene in HR operations of large organizations to help them grow, as they continue to transform HR by focussing on capabilities within the center of excellence. These HR Tech businesses are driving a range of various HR business initiatives, to help in setting the direction of HR transformation by continually providing core HR services with a very high level of efficiency, through the reduced costs; and also to set a talent agenda to successfully drive high employee performance laterally instilling the high employee engagement. Organizations implementing the latest HR technologies are more inclined to be successful in responding to the fast-emerging business challenges, compared to organizations which are happen to stay away from transforming from their traditional HR processes. Adoption of HR technologies has continued to increase as organizations in taking advantages of the evolving marketplace and availing the opportunities for experimentation for an improved value delivered by investing in new solutions. A few years ago, organizations traditionally used technologies to automate the processes and to drive operational efficiencies; but now, using it for empowering improving the overall customer experience(s) those resulting in fostering more connected workforce in the contemporary workplace.
We attempted to examine the dominance of businesses of HR-Technology on the operational areas of human resource management empirically (figure-1, in the appendix). Out of 100 selected tech-firms involving in the business of HR-technology, 60 percent of the firms are involved or dominated the activities of recruitment and selection of employees. The quantum of these firms is dominating through HR outsourcing activities for the other large firms or business houses. 21 percent of the firms are directing the area of career building, followed by 20 percent of the firms engaged in the employee engagement operations. Training and development is the fourth area of operations in the market of the HR-Tech businesses. The performance and motivation, payroll; and the HR analytics are equally dominated areas of HR-tech businesses.
V. HR-TECH IN BUSINESS/ORG TRANSFORMATION
Innovation has long been considered as the crucial factor for the survival, growth, and development of firms. Innovation in business processes has always been the key factor for organizations to have the competitive advantage and to survive in this thriving competitive environment. Innovation is an issue of utmost importance when it comes to the questions of human resources management in an organization. Thus, in order to sustain competitive advantage, in a context of intensifying competition and shortening product life cycles, fresh human resource management practices need to be addressed to generating and developing firms’ innovation capabilities (e.g. Dean and Evans, 1994; Tidd et al., 2005; Diaz-Diaz and De Saa-Perez, 2010).
No doubt, technology is the precondition for innovation. Human resource technology has been pivotal in bringing about HR transformation and also instrumental in evolution of a high impact digital HR. Technological innovation has been the guiding path for firms to respond to the fast rising strategic business challenges which are surrounded by an overlapping HR processes, systems, and the structures, which are not comprehensible in the direct context of the business growth. Thus, firms are in greed of the HR-Tech innovation, implementations of which can result in simplified work structure with high performing workforce and contributing more on the strategic decision making. In other words, technology has been disrupting in the field entire field of human resource management and human resource development. Thus, the technological disruption has fetching as the crucial driver for HR transformation as a part of the corporate restructuring and bringing corporate competitiveness. This has led the technological transformation of HR impacting on firms investment drive in emerging new HR-Tech businesses to supply a wide range of HR transformational initiatives to support the firm’s strategic objectives. HR transformation has been leading to restructuring of HR operations and processes- thus, transforming the ways of HR services is considered. Our analysis from table- 1 revealing that, the objective of this HR transformation is to address the fast-emerging HR challenges, which are typically developing the good leaders (79%), productivity and performance (68%), Data management and analysis (45%), employee attrition (38%), learning and development (30%), simplification of work (28%) and compliance and risk management (13%). (as per the Deloitte Report 2016, realizing the impact of HR as the Business Enabler). HR transformational programs finally continue to evolve rapidly as more and more firms are opting to embrace the high impact digital HR businesses including HR cloud, HR analytics, and automation technologies. These ever-evolving HR transformations have led to the emergence of more and more HR-tech enterprises that are diving into the human resource technological innovations and ultimately giving an escalation to the tech-based HR professionalism in the world.
HR – TECH: AS AN EMERGING FIELD OF HRM
HR technology is still an evolving subject embryonic through the faucets from the human science- based knowledge and technology. While in the course of this study, we found that there are more than 125 numbers of HR technology start-ups in the world demonstrating “HR technology” is not a buzz due to innovations and inventions of information and communication technologies. Today, it is a reality in the context of work in an organisation. Mahendara K. Bodduluri in the work of Syed. N. (2018) commented, “We believe that HR tech tools help in driving the employee experience with the company”. Signifying HR-tech is a combination of tools that affecting in operations of HRM and workplaces too. As the HR-Tech is an evolving technology field integrating selective HRM activities, the on-going trend of HR-Tech has the tendency tends to incorporate the Cloud Computing, Analytics, the Service extension, Robotics Process Automation and the Huge Application of Artificial Intelligence (HR- Technologist, 2018). Whatever be the technology trends regarding adoption by HR and HRD, HR-Tech is a bandwagon only. It is that professionalism where HR operation will be operated by the technologists without knowing the base of HRM. So HR-tech may be considered as the pseudo-technological issues but usually considered as the deep Hi-technologies in human and organizational process operation. The core competency for adopting HR-technology in an organization will be dependent on the six basic skills. They are, innovative reasoning based on data, a business-oriented mind-set, design thinking ability, cross-cultural and technological competency, creative inquiry, new media literacy along with the core HR and relevant computing technologies.
FUTURE HR TECH-BUSINESS
Future of techno-entrepreneur based HRM and HRD will have to face a multipronged attack of humanities and sustainability. Can technology cum techno entrepreneurs and profit-oriented innovation continue to serve the requirement for enterprise human resources in future will be the central questions as well as the determinant of HR-tech businesses? Human resource management and HR-Technology will be impacting by the future disruptors- they are- changing values of employees in future, anytime and anywhere requirement of skill delivery issues, future disruptive internet and future cybercrimes, zero hour contracts and similar flexible arrangements and communication spying. Thus, the prerequisite for HRM to adopt HR Technologies would be rolling by the 4 stage of future HRM models, i.e. Breaking Out, Seeking Out, Reaching Out, and Venturing Out. Digital consciousness may disrupt the whole humanities and the future HR world. However, a few technologies, such as the future mobile technology, data analytics software and big data, automation, real-time tools, cloud computing, and technology would capture the HR landscapes. Technology development will capture these areas with more professional services in intercourse of outsourcing functions. Finally, technology will force to push the demand for employees’ well-being as the buy-able function is a question to ponder. But, the mix of advanced technology and professionalism would put in the momentum for further application of brain science, neuro-sciences, and human sciences, which exhilarate the more innovations; consequently, there will be the businesses in the conjugation of Humanities and Technologies in the impending future.
Whatever is the level of technology or innovation, but the future HR professionalism will demand to reconnect the ancient DNA of human resource management. Tech-based, entrepreneur-led HRM practices may end up the characteristics of universal of HRM professionalism; instead much individualization of HR innovations may create much chaos. The way the technologies parallel to human complexities are sprouting, in place of human there will be the majority of robots in just near future; thus, the use of human being may squeeze to the limits of requirement in the days to come. There are chances of happening a serious disorder too among human being in the future corporation, in contrast, will have feared and perplexity for uncontrolled robots too. The HR professionals and HR as the discipline must have to evolve out of the chaos and order, i.e. the chaordism (chaos plus orderism) will be an ultimate path for the sustenance of HRM professionalism than entrepreneurism in the near future.
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