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Use of technology in HR management

Views 13 Views    Comments 0 Comments    Share Share    Posted by Harsha 01-12-2008  
Use of technology in HR management

In view of the fact that HRM centres on an organisation’s unique human and “inimitable” component, whereas technology is more standard and replicable, incorporating technology into HRM introduces some interesting and relevant concerns for practitioners. For example, to what extent is it productive to invest in technology relative to investments in employee development, mentoring, or career management? Or can technology actually support or accelerate management? Or can technology actually support or accelerate positive outcomes in these areas? Does success depend less on how firms manage their technology than on how they manage their human assets?

In short, the contrast between “content” concerns and “process” concerns confronting HRM are intriguing issues to explore, as these contribute uniquely to the way organisations manage and develop their members.

Increase in productivity

The use of technology in performance management has the potential to increase productivity and enhance competitiveness. We believe that appraisal satisfaction is a key concept that is central to any discussion of technology and performance management. Clearly, gains technology makes are Pyrrhic victories if appraisal satisfaction does not improve as well. Contemporary attention to psychological variables such as appraisal satisfaction that underlie the appraisal process and user reaction to the performance management system have supplanted previous preoccupations with appraisal instrument format and rater accuracy. In view of the uniqueness and competitive advantage that human resources provide, it is appropriate that organizations pay greater attention to questions of employee satisfaction and with how firms evaluate their performance.

We believe that appraisal satisfaction will remain a relevant concern, even when technology is a primary mechanism for the feedback process. Beyond this, appraisal satisfaction is also a critical concern when technology actually becomes the appraisal process. This is because an important link exists between satisfaction with appraisal processes and technology’s potential as an effective force for change and improved performance.

Performance feedback

Given that high-quality performance feedback should be one factor that helps organisations retain, motivate, and develop their employees, these outcomes are more likely to occur if employees are satisfied with the performance appraisal process, feel they are treated fairly, and support the system. Conversely, if ratees are dissatisfied or perceive a system as unfair, they have diminished motivation to use evaluation information to improve performance . In the extreme, dissatisfaction with appraisal procedures may be responsible for feelings of inequity, decreased motivation, and increased employee turnover.

Furthermore, from a reward standpoint, linking performance to compensation is difficult when employees are dissatisfied with the appraisal process. Noting this difficulty, Lawler (1967) suggested that employee opinions of an appraisal system might actually be as important as the system’s psychometric validity and reliability. The question of appraisal satisfaction is a relevant concern in discussions of how technology interacts with performance management systems since absent user satisfaction and support, technological enhancements are likely to be unsuccessful.

Technology as content

Technology may contribute to performance management and thus to appraisal satisfaction in two primary ways. First, technology may facilitate measuring an individual’s performance via computer monitoring activities. This frequently occurs as an unobtrusive and rote mechanical process that relies on minimal input from individuals beyond their task performance. Jobs that incorporate this type of appraisal technology are frequently scripted or repetitious and involve little personal judgment or discretion. Working in a call centre or performing data entry are examples. In this instance, the very act of performing a job simultaneously becomes the measure of how well a jobholder accomplishes it. Keystrokes, time on task, or numbers of calls made are recorded and at once become both job content and appraisal content.

A second approach to technology and performance management changes the emphasis so that technology becomes a tool to facilitate the process of writing reviews or generating performance feedback. Exa-mples here include multi-rater appraisals that supervisors or team members generate online, as well as off-the-shelf appraisal software packages that actually construct an evaluation for a manager. This particular technological approach occurs more often in the context of jobs that involve personal judgement, high discretion, and open-ended tasks for which real-time performance monitoring is not an option.

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