Technology and its uses in HR – Guest blog by Neil Buck‏

When, where and how we work is more flexible today than ever before. A flexible business needs to be equipped with the right tools, technical knowledge and support. We asked Neil Buck at The Personnel Dept to share his HR expertise to help you manage your HR function in a practical and efficient way.

With the advancement of the cloud over the last two or three years, managing the human resources function, and the employee’s ability to work wherever and whenever, has never been easier.

Those employers that have embraced the cloud can now use it to their advantage; a robust and cost effective HR Information Systems (HRIS) now means employees, line managers and the leaders of that organisation can have access to all the records of their staff, wherever they have an internet connection. Data storage and retrieval is now simple and fast and gone are the days where a locked filing cabinet at Head Office is the only place to store all the important HR information.

Such HR systems, like the one I use with my retained clients, will typically include personal details, work details, bank details, sickness records, holiday records, training records, disciplinary records; basically any information relevant to any employee/ worker that the employer may need or want. It can automatically create diagrammatical organisation charts, staff can book their own holidays through it, if required (SaaS), reminders can be set for such things appraisals and probationary periods meetings due and so on to ensure things aren’t missed (even birthdays!). Important documents can also be uploaded e.g. contract of employment, staff handbook, training certificates, DBS checks etc etc.

Another benefit of having all the data stored electronically means it can be manipulated for creating bespoke management reports so that certain things can be measured, analysed and acted upon if necessary e.g. gender, age, sickness stats showing lost time and so on. Getting to the information quicker and smarter means wasting less time and hence reducing costs so there is a very real commercial justification for looking at using such systems rather than the typical large spreadsheet!

Another area that has developed through technology is online recruitment and online job boards/ CV websites, making it easier for employers and candidates to find each other quicker and cutting out expensive traditional recruitment agency and printing costs. Plus, there’s all the social media streams now that employers can now check out in advance of an interview or appointment (rightly or wrongly) which may have a bearing on the recruitment decision.

The use of smart phones, tablets, laptops, cloud storage and free teleconference systems like Skype etc also means remote workers can now access their work and records from home or other locations across the globe so work can be done wherever they are situated – flexible working is fast becoming more acceptable because technology has enabled it to happen. This can reduce costs dramatically for switched on firms that are comfortable with using new ways and means of workings.

This article is just scratching the surface really and the technological uses are increasing but the fact is that technology has made managing HR more efficient and more effective as well. It can only be a good thing!

This guest blog article was written by Neil Buck, MD of The Personnel Dept, an award winning HR Consultancy helping employers manage their HR function in a practical and commercially savvy way.

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