Paradoxes on the road to e-HR

Implementing
an e-HR system will help HR directors become more strategic but it can also
throw up a number of paradoxes along the way. Here are some you may have to
deal with on the road to e-HR.

Emanating
as they do from the complex interfaces between people, processes and
technology, some dilemmas will increase in urgency and new ones are likely to emerge.
This may be a critical opportunity for the HR function as e-HR begins to embed
– acting as the mentor, adviser, arbiter and counsellor of technology-created
sensitivities. Among others, there are key paradoxes:


Will employees willingly take to technologies if not already
"e-literate"’? What percentage do not have direct access or desktops,
as with "blue collar" and hourly-paid workers? Can the different
needs of the so-called "Generation i", "baby boomers" and
older employees be reconciled?


Has intranet/mobile/IVR technology become so commonplace that people now expect
it? If so, what does that imply for organizations and how they work?


What is the impact of ‘technological creep’ – the so-called ‘24 x 7’ working
model? Do users actually want home access to work issues, conditions of service
and information?


How are data protection, privacy and security issues resolved? How is
confidence in systems integrity built?


Does a balance have to be achieved between the efficiency of remote electronic
HR provision or ‘e-working’ and the human need for personal interaction? Is
this an opportunity for ‘higher quality’ work relationships?


Can e-tools make work a more fulfilling experience for managers and employees?
How might that balance with personal/home influences on work fulfilment?


While the development of HR service centres is bringing both HR and corporate
benefits, what is the value proposition for users? Are they at ease using
interactive voice response and telephony technologies, or indeed the
consumer-type trend for sometimes irritating touch tone menus?


If technology enables on-line feedback and reporting between individuals,
supervisors and managers, does that make for better people management
practices? Can weak managers hide behind good technology and systems?


Given the potential for technology failure, is over-dependency on technology a
real danger? To what extent is outdated technology a barrier to e-HR developments?


As some advanced organizations deliberately introduce innovations at
‘breakneck’ speeds, how is rapid implementation balanced with the need for
consolidation and stability? Is this need naïve in contemporary business?


Should on-line communications and networking become the norm, will that be
complemented by a more open, information-sharing culture based on trust? How
real are the possibilities of information/data manipulation?


As the so-called shift to e-working and the ‘e-enabled worker’ emerges more
strongly, what consequences does this have for the organizational structure and
arrangements? Will it radically change the nature of work and employment?


If e-HR can trigger ‘visionary aspirations’ which inspire others, how are they
balanced with, or shaped into, pragmatic actions? How are expectations managed
in relation to the daily work that has to be done?

Clearly,
e-HR represents a testing agenda for the HR function, considering the issues
and experiences raised.

From e-HR: Transforming the
HR Function
© Business Intelligence 2001 www.business-intelligence.co.uk

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