Initial human resource information system (HRIS) applications dealt primarily with transaction processing systems, such as managing benefits and keeping records of vacation days. As organizational systems have moved to intranets and the Web, however, so have HRIS applications. Many HRIS applications are delivered via an HR portal. For example, numerous organizations use their Web portals to advertise job openings and to conduct online hiring and training.
Recruitment involves finding potential employees, evaluating them, and deciding which ones to hire. Some companies are flooded with viable applicants; others have difficulty finding the right people. IT can be helpful in both cases. In addition, IT can assist in related activities such as testing and screening job applicants.
With millions of resumes available online (in particular, LinkedIn), it is not surprising that companies are trying to find appropriate candidates on the Web, usually with the help of specialized search engines. Companies also advertise hundreds of thousands of jobs on the Web. Online recruiting can reach more candidates, which may bring in better applicants. In addition, the costs of online recruitment are usually lower than traditional recruiting methods such as advertising in newspapers or in trade journals.
Human Resources Development
After employees are recruited, they become part of the corporate human resources pool, which means they must be evaluated and developed. IT provides support for these activities. Most employees are periodically evaluated by their immediate supervisors. In addition, in some organizations, peers or subordinates also evaluate other employees. Evaluations are typically digitized, and they are used to support many decisions, ranging from rewards to transfers to layoffs.
IT also plays an important role in training and retraining. Some of the most innovative developments are taking place in the areas of intelligent computer-aided instruction and the application of multimedia support for instructional activities. For example, companies conduct much of their corporate training over their intranet or via the Web.
Human Resources Planning and Management
Managing human resources in large organizations requires extensive planning and detailed strategy. The following three areas are where IT can provide support:
- Payroll and employees’ records: The HR department is responsible for payroll preparation. This process is typically automated with paychecks being printed or money being transferred electronically into employees’ bank accounts.
Benefits administration: Employees’ work contributions to their organizations are rewarded by wages, bonuses, and other benefits. Benefits include health and dental care, pension contributions, wellness centers, and child care centers.
Managing benefits is a complex task because of the multiple options offered and the tendency of organizations to allow employees to choose and trade off their benefits. In many organizations, employees can access the company portal to self-register for specific benefits.
- Employee relationship management: In their efforts to better manage employees, companies are developing employee relationship management (ERM) applications. A typical ERM application is a call center for employees’ problems.