Technological changes in the workplace have streamlined HR processes and made it much more efficient and work more collaborative.

But at the same time, technological advancements have made it difficult for certain aged individuals to keep up.

The knowledge upgrade needed to manage the complexity of new technologies has led to a variety of challenges for the HR function.

For instance, technology affects individual productivity; it also has ethical ramifications in terms of how information is used to make HR decisions (for example, use of credit or medical history data to decide whom to hire).

The use of social media for recruiting and building an employer or business brand and the impact of its widespread use among employees are other trends HR professionals identify as having a key impact on the workplace and HR profession in the years ahead. Internally, the advent of social media has forced employers to develop policies regarding its use in the workplace. Though many companies are using the likes of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to expand their brands and broaden their appeal, the increased exposure has also ramped up the opportunities for criticism and poor reviews from disgruntled former workers and unhappy consumers.

TECHNOLOGY

Although technology is changing rapidly in many areas, such as robotics, one area in particular is revolutionising human resources: information technology.

Telematics technologies—a broad array of tools, including computers, networking programs, telecommunications, and fax machines—are now available and affordable to businesses of every size, even one-person companies. These technologies, coupled with the rise of the Internet, have impacted businesses in a number of ways, specifically:

■   The rise of telecommuting technology makes information easy to store, retrieve, and analyse, the number of company employees working at home ( telecommuters) at least part-time has been increasing by 15 % annually. Because telecommuting arrangements are expected to continue to grow in the future, they raise many important issues, such as performance monitoring and career planning. A recent survey uncovered that almost half of off-site employees believe that people who work onsite get more recognition than those who work off-site. And more telecommuters than onsite employees reported that “they would be very likely to leave their current company if they found a similar job and compensation elsewhere.”

Rather than being easy work, telecommuting makes it difficult for most telecommuters to draw a line between personal and work life, sometimes making these jobs very stressful.