Time is the enemy of HR (and its employers)

Time is the enemy of HR (and its employers)

Summary: This 6-part piece story looks at several new recruiting and HR technologies and how each radically changes how time is spent acquiring talent.


This 6-part piece  story looks at several new recruiting and HR technologies and how each radically changes how time is spent acquiring talent:


Part 1 of 6

HR Processes Are Stuck in First Gear - Still

Most HR functions have been automated. Tedious, labor-intensive activities such as payroll calculations and benefits administration were automated years ago through combinations of tools such as ERP technology, IVR, standalone HR solutions, etc.

For the most part, most HR solutions in use today are still at the first stage of Fubini’s Law. That law states:

  • People initially use technology to do what they do now – but faster.
  • Then they gradually begin to use technology to do new things.
  • The new things change life-styles and work-styles.
  • The new life-styles and work-styles change society
  • … and eventually change technology.

Even when you look at how HR technology providers deliver/develop their solutions, the main focus remains on automating an existing function faster. This is why software vendors are gleefully focused on moving HR transaction systems and analytic applications to in-memory database technology. It is why mobile HR solutions are essentially the same or stripped-down versions of the existing applications they already produce. Because it is now in a mobile footprint, workers can do these functions anywhere not just in the office.

But there is a huge missed opportunity in HR technology space. Few seem to notice that the key design assumption (i.e., the original process design was correct or even relevant anymore) is no longer valid. The old processes fit the old world – and – they don’t fit today’s world at all.

Do you really think that when someone who was designing payroll systems in the 1960s, that they had any idea that mobile devices, social networks, the Internet, etc. would even exist? How could they? Al Gore hadn't even invented the Internet by then. But seriously, new technologies, new global competitive environments, changes in the workforce, etc. should make everyone, software vendors and users, rethink and reimagine how HR should function.

And the first thing that great HR leaders should examine is their concept of time in a more interconnected and competitively ruthless business world.

 (Please continue to the next section.)

Topics: CXO, Enterprise Software


Brian is currently CEO of TechVentive, a strategy consultancy serving technology providers and other firms. He is also a research analyst with Vital Analysis.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Great article

    Thank you for the compilation of thoughts and tools. Way ahead of what this industry needs!
  • transactional-driven HR vs strategic-focused HR

    Brian, as always a well-researched thoughtful piece. Agreed, time is crucial for HR but how much is HR’s focus on time a symptom of a deeper issue – that HR is transactional-driven rather than strategic-focused?