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The ICT in Human Resources

Published: 
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Last week’s two-day conference at the Hilton Trinidad explored the intersections between HR and ICT, two departments seem to always be considered at opposite ends of the engagement spectrum in most businesses.

Today’s Human Resource departments benefit from technology developments that are engineered from the ground up to be adaptive to the needs of people and more important, the people who are charged with ensuring both the comfort and compliance of human beings engaged in business.

Social media was discussed near the end of the conference, but it was a conversation that popped up continuously throughout the conference, not only from the podium, but also in the informal discussions that popped up among the audience at the ballroom at the Hilton.

Makoma Lusenga, HR Resources Development and Talent Management Specialist for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa sounded cautionary notes about it as an “enormous presence...a phenomenon that cannot be ignored.”

Among the issues she cautioned about were issues related to cybersecurity, employee relations, employee productivity, confidentiality and potential damage to the company image as a result of either carelessness or deliberate misuse of social media and related technologies.

“What you post can never be taken back,” Lusenga warned, “so prevention is always better than cure.”

Employees, she warned, will offer excuses for such misuse on a scale of accountability.

Protests range from the invoking of a right to privacy and the right to freedom of disclosure (whistleblowing), to the rather feebler claims that they didn’t mean it or claiming technology ignorance.

Lusenga warned employees that the right to privacy is not absolute and cautioned employers to be careful about how they obtained incriminating information, observing the laws governing such acquisition.

A solid part of prevention is preparation and Lusenga advised that employers should implement clear rules and policies that explain and regulate employee’s conduct on social media.

Every company should have a social media strategy, social media policy, staff training and enforcement mechanisms in place to manage that aspect of the company’s business and reputation management.

TSTT’s Executive Vice-president Human Resources, Industrial Relations and Corporate Services, Carol David, touched on an excellent case study to offer about the company’s recent efforts to use social media and IT technologies to measure and recalibrate its existing staff while considering succession, but only mentioned on it on the way to a rather longer statement about the larger issues facing the company’s HR challenges.

On topic for her peers, but missing an opportunity to address the topic at hand rather decisively with a local example. I’d hoped to hear more details about how the engagement projects David mentioned were done and what the results were.

David noted that most jobs in the market today didn’t exist 20 years ago and that 65 per cent of children entering school today will end up working in jobs that don’t exist yet.

That sends up warning flags for our education system, but HR managers are also now challenged to find candidates from a much wider field.

Hannah Ashiokai Akrong described social media as “a game changer in the evolution of HR recruitment” and told the remarkable story of how Vodafone Ghana found her in Minnesota, did her preliminary interview via Skype and recruited her in five weeks.

As the new Human Resources director, Akrong embraced a recruitment process that largely runs on smartphones and makes use of both established technologies like LinkedIn and Skype as well as HR focused tools like HireVue, Taleo and Jobster.

“It takes time to build a network and is costly at the start,” Akrong said, “there are also issues with the genuineness of the candidates, but you have access to a wider pool of talent.”

Vodafone Discover is a recruitment programme for university graduates that makes heavy use of these technologies, not least because they align well with the aptitudes of the target market.

“Recruitment time has dropped from four months to two,” Akrong said, “and applications have come from three continents and seven countries.”