The Digital Transformation of Human Resources
How Digital Transformation Affects Job Search, Employment and More
Digital transformation is the change businesses are going through to be able to use technology to solve problems. Digital transformation has touched every aspect of your lives. You’ve gone from a world of paper and pens to a world of keyboards and smartphones. Whenever a problem appears, you can say, "There's an app for that."
But how has the digital transformation of the Human Resources department affected employees? Behind the scenes, HR has all of their data digitized, but what does this look like for the average staffer?
The impact of a digital transformation begins with the job search. No one wants you to send in a paper resume anymore—you send it via email or enter your data directly into an applicant tracking system.
You may have an "interview" with a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence to ask you basic questions. Companies like Hirevue, for example, use videotaped interviews instead of face-to-face conversations that are then evaluated by an algorithm. According to The Brookings Institute, Hirevue’s AI attempts to predict a candidate’s performance based on their physical actions and reactions and content of responses.
This is controversial, and the technology is evolving rapidly. The Brookings Institute also points out that this can put people with disabilities at a disadvantage.
People from different cultures may use various hand movements and facial expressions that the artificial intelligence-based application may misunderstand.
To beat the bots, consultants in South Korea will train you on how to act and speak to maximize the probability that the software will find you a quality candidate. In other words, as technology evolves, so do the job candidates.
Your First Day on a New Job
Everyone knows that you have to fill out paperwork when you start a new job, but now much of that is online, along with mandatory training sessions, such as sexual harassment training. However, instead of filling out forms, it's likely that your basic factual information transferred directly over from the applicant tracking system (ATS) to the company's HR information system (HRIS). This saves time and data entry errors. After all, you typed in your own name when you applied, so hopefully, you spelled it correctly.
You may be given access to a company app, either on your company-issued laptop or smartphone, or asked to download the company app to your own equipment. This can be anything from a get-to-know-you app that lets you learn about your coworkers, to a communication-based app that allows you to text your team members before you even meet them.
Digital Privacy Concerns
If your company has a bring your own device policy (BYOD), the company's digital transformation alters your phone as well. You will want to know clearly about what access your company will have to your phone or laptop, and what they can do with the data. Is it okay with you if they track your daily movements? What happens when you quit? Can they require you to erase your phone? Can you get in trouble for not-safe-for-work pictures on your private phone?
What about your digital employee records? In the past, when companies kept paper records, you had to physically go to the records room to read an employee's file—or have HR send it to you. With everything available on the computer, a new manager can likely access your employee file with a few clicks.
And what happens to that information after you leave? California has a new law that went into effect on January 1, 2020, that deals with some of these questions. The law imposes fines on businesses that don't keep their employee information confidential. In 2021, employers will have more responsibilities to keep employee data private. Keeping up with state and local laws helps you understand how your company can legally use information about you.
All of this digital information means that your company can quite easily track everything you do. They can know what time you get up, where you get your coffee, how fast you drive, and everything else about you if they have access to your phone.
The Benefits of the Digital Transformation of HR
While privacy concerns can make digitalization sound quite negative, the effect that it has had on all things HR can make life easier. The HR records people speak directly with payroll so your paycheck is correct. You can easily access last year's performance appraisal so you can work on your goals.
As long as the IT department sets up an appropriate level of security, digital files are password-protected. If you're reading something on a screen, you won't accidentally leave it on a conference room table where anyone can take a sneak peek.
These tools can also free up time, allowing HR and others to focus on building the business rather than handling paperwork.
The Bottom Line
The digital transformation of HR isn't finished. How it will look in five years is anyone's guess. But, you'll want to be aware of what is out there on servers and in the cloud, so you can do your best to keep control of your data.
The Brookings Institute. "For some employment algorithms, disability discrimination by default." Accessed February 7, 2020.
Reuters. "'Smile with your eyes': How to beat South Korea's AI hiring bots and land a job." Accessed February 7, 2020.
SHRM. "BYOD Policies: What Employers Need to Know." Accessed February 7, 2020.
California Legislative Information. "TITLE 1.81.5. California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 [1798.100 - 1798.199]." Accessed February 13, 2020.
The Wall Street Journal. "Meet 'Chet.' His Employer Knows What Time He Woke Up Today." Accessed February 7, 2020.