Emerging Dynamics in Human Capital Management (HCM)

The days of HR departments being solely a “people” skills arena have been over the better part of a decade. Hardware, software and the people who manage those technologies are as firmly rooted in the Human Capital Management field as they are in any other business area. Still, these technologically savvy, HR people cannot get complacent as their area of expertise changes as rapidly as any other.

The Future is Now

2012 saw a remarkable shift of HR into the realms of social media and mobile device accessibility and the trend shows no sign of slowing in the coming year. The newest generation of computer users demands that companies provide access to their HR resources through these platforms. In many ways, it is how the newest generation “touches” a company’s HR department.

The Value of Social Media and Mobile Technologies for HCM

While the social media presence of a company can, obviously, contribute to its recruiting and hiring efforts, it is far more valuable as a collaborative tool used by its present employees. Communities on social media sites can be established and coordinated by the company’s HR department for the dissemination of information, support functions and anonymous, two-way communication.

Social media and mobile devices will never completely replace the traditional methods of communication between an HR department and a company’s employees. It can, however, facilitate better, more convenient and faster information transfer between employers and the employed. The results are bound to be better as no one involved likes to wait for an answer.

Do We Still Need Traditional HCM?

Sit back down, HR professionals. While somewhat facetious, the question does need asking and the answer to it will determine how most HR functions are performed in the future. The real question is not whether a company needs HCM but what its essential functions will be. Here are several key ones that will become more important, not just over the next 12 months, but in the coming years as technology continues to evolve:

  • Integrating HR strategy into other business functions to develop a coordinated and coherent overall business strategy.
  • Embracing social media and mobile devices to leverage the newest advances in HR technology for maximum exposure and effect.
  • Identifying key customer segments and focusing HR efforts towards satisfying their needs.
  • Managing the risks associated with social media. Any, essentially public, open forum has the capacity to do great harm and a company must monitor and exercise control over any of its social media channels.
  • Facilitating the exchange of information at every level. HR has the unique position of representing the employer and the employees. It is essential that the HR department moderate (but not control) all internal discussions about company business.
  • Continuing to evolve and improve. Social media and mobile devices are just the tip of the coming technological iceberg. HR professionals must remain one step ahead of the crowd.

    What’s the Next Step?

    Recognizing that social and media technologies are at the forefront of developing HR technology is a good first step. Understanding that they are probably not leaving anytime in the near future is also prudent. Leading HR professionals will take their cues from these two facts and keep an eye on the burgeoning HR technology field. One does not need to exactly foresee all the changes coming down the road but one must anticipate the need to accommodate them before your competitors do.


About the Author
Carolyn Sokol writes about issues that may affect small businesses such as human resources, HR management software, and HRIS systems. She is a founder of PEOcompare.com and contributor to compareHRIS.com, both of which help match businesses to the right HR or payroll service provider for their particular needs. Her background is in marketing and communications, employee education and training, development of policies and procedures and the ongoing delivery of outstanding customer service.