Last updated: February 24, 2020
There is a lot to be excited about in the field of human resources today. For one thing, technology is providing new tools and options that would have merely been the stuff of dreams not too long ago. Unfortunately, many of these things are a double-edged sword, bringing potential disadvantages to the table, along with the obvious advantages.
Technology taking over every aspect of the HR process
To say that technology has been taking over the processes and, more importantly, the whole system we call human resources, would be a huge understatement.
But what is coming in 2018 (if it’s not already here) is an almost complete reliance on technological tools and processes in finding the best qualified employees, hiring those persons selected, evaluating them, fostering them, and, when necessary or inevitable, disciplining them or firing them. Already, for example, the employment process is being handled almost exclusively electronically. One of the many positives is that it’s virtually impossible for anyone to hide anything from employers anymore; one of the many negatives is that the hiring process has become (and is likely to get worse) increasingly clinical, impersonal and highly efficient—perhaps too efficient?
A remote workforce
Although it may have once been difficult to convince employers that allowing employees to work from home was a good idea, a remote workforce is becoming more popular—even among large, traditional employers. And this goes not just for part time employees, but also for full-time employees at all levels of the company.
Take nurses and doctors, for example. While doctors and nurses made house calls decades ago, for the most part, both professions have been restricted to one place—usually a private practice or a hospital/clinic. Now, traveling nurses are not only a common thing—they may soon become the norm; and, whereas nurses have traditionally worked under the direct supervision of one doctor in one setting, we’re also seeing more independent, entrepreneurial, self-managing nurses, especially the “Nurse Practitioner” varieties. Doctors are also becoming more mobile as they now do more consulting, write, produce videos, preside over ocean liners, or work independently for private parties/clients.
Even personnel at traditional business settings have seen drastic changes. Social media and on-line marketing specialists have supplemented, and even replaced advertising department personnel; IT, business equipment maintenance and human resources departments are being outsourced; and automation, as has been predicted for years, is replacing many jobs (cashiers, operators, manufacturing workers, etc.).
Completely redefining job descriptions
In the past, employees were usually given a job description that clearly outlined their specific duties, skills and responsibilities. Today, however, look for some drastic changes to that kind of thinking. In a world where employees are required to do more with less, businesses are increasingly asking employees to handle a wider variety of tasks, often, far outside of what they were originally hired for.
Today’s office manager may have to do all of the things we’ve always expected of them, but now may also be expected to pitch in when it comes to writing blog posts and managing social media accounts. The lines between jobs are becoming blurrier than ever as businesses are forced to become more flexible and competitive, which will lead more employers to seek highly-adaptive employees who can fill multiple roles within the company.
A more fluid employee performance evaluation
The days of sitting down just once or twice a year for performance reviews are fading into the rear view mirror as today’s employers opt for more continuous, real-time course correction enabled by data analytics, project management systems, customer relationship management systems, and other technology. Employees are now expected to be aware of, and proactively address their own performance to help keep the company humming along at peak efficiency. This isn’t to say that managers won’t still conduct performance evaluations—in fact, they most certainly will. But by employees taking the initiative to course-correct independently, the team can achieve far more.
Relying on social media to find, screen, and hire
Although there are still some hold-outs—people who think that they can function in the workplace without social media—most employers will reach out for the many benefits it provides like their business depends on it. And it does. Social media, like it or not, is essential to business today, and those who won’t embrace it will be crushed by those who do.
HR professionals today are beginning to use social media as an effective tool to rapidly reach a massive candidate pool and engage with them in ways that were previously both difficult and expensive. On top of that, social media makes it easy to see through the facade a potential employee may put on during an interview, because their entire life is on display on their social profiles. You can see exactly how they conduct themselves, what kind of people they associate with, and what they value, giving you insight that was unavailable in the past.
Employers will continue to look for the mythical “perfect employee”
While being able to pass a background check, having excellent credit histories, never having been fired or disciplined from previous jobs, and being able to pass regular drug screenings are all good criteria in a job candidate, they’re not necessarily the most efficient and effective ways to find the most qualified employees.
Now, thanks to pre-screening employment services (which are very cost effective and used by most major organizations), though, these criteria are used to eliminate many people who might have gotten hired had they survived the early stages of the now-almost-100%-electronic screening process.
You might think with the wave of marijuana legalization sweeping the nation, that drug testing would die a quiet death, but the opposite is true. Because of marijuana legalization, the number of people using drug is increasing for the first time in a long time, which has employers rightfully concerned about workplace safety. The results of this are more apparent in places like Denver, where marijuana use has been legal for quite a while, but it’s becoming evident all over America, and that’s especially problematic in transportation hubs like Atlanta and Houston.