How to make the best of HR in the Information Age

As companies reorganize to gain competitive edge, human resources plays a key role in helping companies deal with a fast-changing environment and the greater demand for quality employees. It is primarily focused on maximizing employee productivity and protecting the company from any issues that may arise from the workforce.

HR responsibilities include compensation and benefits, recruitment, firing and keeping up to date with any laws that may affect the company and its employees. It the digital age, all this responsibilities are easier to maintain, but other challenges appear each year. The digital age, also called the information age, is defined as the time period starting in the 1970s with the introduction of the personal computer with subsequent technology introduced providing the ability to transfer information freely and quickly. Jason Hanold explains that online labor platforms make it easier to find, and harder to retain, talented people. They give companies a real opportunity to transform the way they recruit, develop, and engage their employees.

Hunting for the best candidates

Digital labor platforms have also created a more transparent job market. Companies that don’t manage their workplace reputations carefully or engage their employees appropriately will find themselves on the losing side of an increasingly digital war for talent. A new wave of digital tools can help companies to focus not only on hiring but also on managing, retaining, and developing employees. Such tools, and the platforms that include them, can put the right person in the right job, identify gaps in skills, help employees as they gain new capabilities, chart career paths, and nurture the development of the next generation of leaders. To date, many of the gains achieved with digital labor platforms have come through the external ones, such as LinkedIn.

Said platforms make it easy for competitors to pick off the best people inside companies, but they employees to be more empowered and to announce themselves to the world in previously unimagined ways. Companies that have relied on large, closed internal labor markets will be under the most pressure. Many companies rely on familiar data points to determine the potential of their existing and prospective employees, but these can be crude indicators of actual performance. Using sophisticated algorithms to assess innate capabilities as well as IT knowledge, the company now hires, trains, and places a wide range of people, regardless of their educational credentials. Digital tools can also help companies recruit candidates who are not actively job hunting. Online tests, games, and analytics also improve the recruiting process. In fact, online labor platforms are already useful for more than just recruiting. Companies can use digital tools to develop a pipeline of employees with diverse skills. As a result, organizations can not only get smarter about the workers they team together and deploy for specific initiatives and tasks but also address the capabilities they will need in the future.

Taking the workforce to the next level

Using technology to maximize your workforce productivity creates the platform to realize true business success. Business productivity software ensures organizations have the tools to overcome the challenges of executing on strategy every day and prospering in today’s economic times. Labor platforms help create a more comprehensive, personalized, and rapid onboarding experience so that new employees add greater value more quickly. And this way, workers become more engaged, more fulfilled, and more effective as their careers progress. In a business environment where technology is evolving swiftly, it’s not enough to offer one-time training. Companies need mechanisms that support ongoing, self-directed, and virtual learning. The impact of digital labor platforms and tools is significant and measurable: companies can realize an increase of 275 basis points in profit margins. The extent of a company’s benefit will depend on the mix of people and skills it needs in its workforce and on its specific operating model.

With every challenge comes opportunity

Most organizations lack integrated systems to manage their current or potential employees, or to develop long-term plans for the needs of the workforce. Human Resources´ visibility into such issues is limited. But companies that adopt digital labor platforms early and develop a more analytic and integrated approach to the workforce stand to gain significant advantages. New technologies can demonstrably improve the customer experience while holding down the costs of attrition and training, and improving the workplace experience.

Digital employee training

Each day, the workforce is more easily distracted than ever. For some companies, the answer is short digital learning sessions that are available at employees’ convenience. Employees are not necessarily engaged by sitting down in a classroom and looking through hundreds of slides all day. The digital training approach can be used to teach workers both hard and soft skills, like how to use a particular piece of accounting software or factory equipment, or how to manage conflict and motivate teams.