The times they are changing. New technologies, ways of thinking, consumer needs, and younger generations are driving changes in the way we all do business. Companies are adapting, leadership is having to come up with strategies to keep up, and it’s no different when it comes to HR. Between following the hottest new trends and trying not to be left behind, HR departments everywhere are affected by disruptive technologies.
Disruptive technology is a term coined by Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen to describe “a new technology that unexpectedly displaces an established technology.” Think of how our at-home movie watching experience has changed in the last few decades – from Betamax to VHS to DVD to Blue Ray to Netflix. New technologies have swept in and replaced old ones so quickly that young people today don’t even know what VHS is, let alone Betamax!
Disruptive technology has also had an impact on HR, and chances are it will continue to change the way we do things. The “cloud”, new web and mobile platforms, and the many different ways candidates and recruiters are communicating with each other have all had an impact on HR. The question then becomes: should you always replace your established process to keep up with the disruptive technology?
Not necessarily. Just because some new system or technology is all the rage doesn’t mean you should drop what has been working for you, just to be on-trend. However, there are a lot of new ways to recruit and manage talent and it might be remiss of you not to try them out. Here are a few examples:
- Social media. Social media networks exploded onto the scene more than a decade ago, and today it’s hard to think of a world without them. Millions of people turn to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and more every day to keep up with their families, friends, trending topics, and in many cases, jobs too. Many recruiters have taken advantage of social media networks by posting their job openings there instead of (or as well as) on job boards. They’ve also taken advantage of the platforms offered by social media to position themselves as experts, sharing relevant industry content and showcasing their work and culture, in an effort to attract potential candidates. Out of all of the disruptive technologies affecting HR today, the use of social media is probably the most widespread and the easiest to try. Starting a page on a few social media networks to promote your company to job-seekers and posting available jobs is a relatively simple and cost-effective way to try the technology out for your purposes. However, be prepared for what it entails, since starting a social media presence but not doing it properly (i.e. never posting updates or spamming your followers) can actually work against you.
- Mobile technology. Mobile websites and apps that can be easily and quickly accessed through a smartphone are changing things for organizations and their HR departments alike. With mobile accessibility, talent management can be done on the go, anywhere and anytime. From having candidates complete pre-employment tests on their phone, to conducting preliminary interviews via FaceTime, to developing an app for employees to request time off or track invoices — mobile technology has many different applications in the HR world.
As with social media, venturing into the world of mobile technology and applying it to your HR and recruiting process should be done well, if at all. Maybe your company is small and there’s no real need for mobile access, or maybe you can’t justify the expense. Determine whether your company could truly benefit from a mobile presence before jumping in.
- Cloud computing. Ah, the cloud. Many still don’t understand what it is, much less grasp why or how it’s a disruptive technology. Put simply, cloud computing is any software solution that allows you to access information on your browser over the Internet. Your email, Facebook, and Amazon accounts are all examples of cloud computing. Your information lives and exists in the cloud and can, therefore, be accessed from any device with an Internet connection, anywhere in the world. In talent management, cloud computing offers a way to centralize information so that it can be accessed by recruiters, candidates, and employees conveniently and quickly. It’s a definite investment and can be daunting to explain to the higher-ups, but it can be a worthwhile shift that helps streamline your HR processes.
- New skills. Finally, some disruptive technologies that affect HR may not do so directly. Think about all the rising needs within your company: from social media experts to web developers, the disruptive technology that affects how your organization operates can also affect the way you recruit. You basically have to change your recruiting strategy in order to find the top talent to fill these new roles that are driven by disruptive technologies.
Given the needs of your company, your recruiting functions may have to adapt so you can better attract the type of talent and skills you need, most likely by incorporating some or all of the other technologies mentioned.
Do you think HR and recruiting professionals should change with the times and any disruptive technology that emerges, or should they wait out the trend period to make sure they’ll really be effective for their purposes?
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