Technology has greatly impacted human resources and will continue to do so as new technology is developed. Through use of technology, many companies have virtual workforces that perform tasks from nearly all corners of the world. When employees are not located just down the hall, management of these human resources creates some unique challenges. For example, technology creates an even greater need to have multicultural or diversity understanding. Since many people will work with individuals from across the globe, cultural sensitivity and understanding is the only way to ensure the use of technology results in increased productivity rather than decreased productivity due to miscommunications. "Diversity and Multiculturalism" and "International HRM" will discuss some specific diversity issues surrounding a global workforce.
Technology also creates a workforce that expects to be mobile. Because of the ability to work from home or anywhere else, many employees may request and even demand a flexible schedule to meet their own family and personal needs. Productivity can be a concern for all managers in the area of flextime, and another challenge is the fairness to other workers when one person is offered a flexible schedule. "Compensation and Benefits" and "Retention and Motivation" will discuss flextime as a way to reward employees. Many companies, however, are going a step further and creating virtual organizations, which don’t have a physical location (cost containment) and allow all employees to work from home or the location of their choice. As you can imagine, this creates concerns over productivity and communication within the organization.
The use of smartphones and social networking has impacted human resources, as many companies now disseminate information to employees via these methods. Of course, technology changes constantly, so the methods used today will likely be different one year or even six months from now.
The large variety of databases available to perform HR tasks is mind boggling. For example, databases are used to track employee data, compensation, and training. There are also databases available to track the recruiting and hiring processes. We will discuss more about technology in HR in "Recruitmentt" through "Training and Development".
Of course, the major challenge with technology is its constantly changing nature, which can impact all practices in HRM.
How Would You Handle This?
Too Many Friends
You are the HR manager for a small company, consisting of twenty-three people plus the two owners, Steve and Corey. Every time you go into Steve’s office, you see he is on Facebook. Because he is Facebook friends with several people in the organization, you have also heard he constantly updates his status and uploads pictures during work time. Then, at meetings, Steve will ask employees if they saw the pictures he recently uploaded from his vacation, weekend, or backpacking trip. One employee, Sam, comes to you with a concern about this. “I am just trying to do my job, but I feel if I don’t look at his photos, he may not think I am a good employ https://api.wistia.com/v1/medias/1371241/embedee,” she says. How would you handle this?
How Would You Handle This?
The author discusses the How Would You Handle This situation in this chapter at: https://api.wistia.com/v1/medias/1371241/embed.
Cyberloafing, a term used to describe lost productivity as a result of an employee using a work computer for personal reasons, is another concern created by technology. One study performed by Nucleus Research found that the average worker uses Facebook for fifteen minutes per day, which results in an average loss of 1.5 percent of productivity. 1 Some workers, in fact, use Facebook over two hours per day during working hours. Restricting or blocking access to the Internet, however, can result in angry employees and impact motivation at work. Motivational factors will be discussed in "Retention and Motivation".
Technology can create additional stress for workers. Increased job demands, constant change, constant e-mailing and texting, and the physical aspects of sitting in front of a computer can be not only stressful but also physically harmful to employees. "Safety and Health at Work" will deal with some of these stress issues, as well as safety issues such as carpal tunnel, which can occur as a result of technology in the workplace. More on health and safety will be covered in "Managing Employee Performance".