Technology is changing the way we do almost everything in our personal lives—from ordering lunch to hailing a cab. Similarly, it is affecting our professional lives, making us more efficient and often more satisfied in our work. For years, HR departments have paved the way in the use of technology for the workplace. And, with the proliferation of new technologies, particularly mobile, this pattern should continue since the HR function touches every employee of a company.
Here are four ways HR professionals can use technology today and tips to consider for the future:
Social media recruiting. According to new data from Pew Research and the U.S. Census Bureau, more than one in three American workers today are Millennials (adults ages 18 to 34). Furthermore, this year they surpassed Generation X as the largest share of the American workforce. That’s important because Millennials use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to find jobs. On all social recruiting channels, consider incorporating multimedia, particularly fun and informative videos about the job role and your organization. On Twitter, consider using a dedicated handle for job postings. For LinkedIn, seek out groups whose members are the right fit for a job opening and then craft a headline that is concise but interesting enough to make the potential candidates read more.
Telecommuting. Telecommuting can increase productivity, save money and improve employee satisfaction. However, a remote workforce can present unique challenges, including employees who are absent from company culture. Consider using technology to address this challenge by incorporating social collaboration tools (e.g., Slack, Salesforce Chatter, etc.) or online videoconferencing (e.g., Skype) to simulate the face-to-face office experience.
Native mobile apps. Communication in the workplace hasn’t evolved much since e-mail became widely adopted in the 1990s. And legacy corporate intranets that were created for the PC do not work well on the small screens of mobile devices. With 64 percent of Americans owning a smartphone, according to Pew, native apps or application programs that have been developed for use on a particular platform or device provide a great way for employers to communicate with their employees whenever and wherever they are. Native app technology (as compared to optimized websites) offers easy access to important documents, push notifications, the ability to work offline without an Internet connection and even the ability to take notes directly on a tablet.
File storage. There is no question that the cloud is driving the future of computing. All of the technology behemoths (e.g., Amazon, Apple, IBM, Google and Oracle) either are already in the cloud or are looking to make a business in it. This is particularly true when it comes to file and data storage. As a result, businesses will have a significant opportunity as these services become commoditized and prices fall. While some organizations may be road-blocked by security concerns, this does not need to stand in the way of embracing the cloud. Consider making less sensitive materials (e.g., forms, benefits overviews, directories) available via file storage.
Change can be viewed as a challenge or an opportunity. With the proliferation of mobile technology, everyone—not just IT—has the ability to get in on the action. HR professionals interact with every member of an organization and understand the importance of collaboration, engagement and efficiency in driving overall employee satisfaction and boosting the company bottom line. Given the solutions that now exist, HR has the opportunity to perpetuate its reputation and continue to set the standard for the use of 21st-century technology in the workplace.
Jeff Corbin, a corporate communications consultant for the past 15 years, is founder of theEMPLOYEEapp, a business-to-business/enterprise native app platform for internal communications.
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