Computer Application and Human Resource Management!
The computer application in human resource management is the managerial applications of computer use which is usually known as management information system. In case of Human Resource Management, it is known as Human Resource Information System (HRIS). Computer converts the data into meaningful information needed by the manager to make decisions, planning and control.
Today HRIS is computer based information system. Manager as a decision maker is a processor of information. He must possess the ability to obtain the information, store the information, process and retrieve the information and use it for the right decision.
Today knowledge is increasing with the tremendous speed. There is an explosion of knowledge. Current information is very essential for right decision.
Speed and accuracy is the special feature of computer. The machine does not get bored or fatigued. It can handle any quantity of data. The speed and accuracy of computer has led to speedy transactions and other business operations. The information is made available to management more quickly Computer provides large and sophisticated database to the manager that can be used at appropriate time for making decisions.
Today’s computer languages are user friendly that allow manager to learn enough skills in a short time ranging from a day or two to have an access to the most of their demand for immediate and ad hoc information provided data are properly collected, organized and stored in a computer. Management must insist on economic quality the quality which is cost effective. It should establish quality standards that reflect needs of the organisation. It can be easily done through “Quality Circles’. They should focus their attention on programming techniques, documentations, new technology use etc. Computer is a time saver device.
Data and Information:
There is a distinction between data and information. Data are facts and figures in the form of historical records that are not used in making decisions. Information on the other hand consists of data which are retrieved and processed and used for making decisions, forecasting and argument. Processed data is information.
Decisions Support System:
Decision support system aids the manager in decision making. According to R. H. Sprague and E. D. Karlson, decision support system is, “an interactive computer based system that helps decision makers utilizes data and models to solve unstructured problems.”
A decision support system can be created in which senior and experienced manager’s procedures and methods of decision making can be replicated. It will help the managers immensely to arrive quickly at a decision on any problem related to human resources of the organization.
DSS facilitates the present executive to have experts’ advice at his finger tips. The system is user-friendly. It provides a readymade advice to the executive. DSS for several human resources problems can be developed and kept ready. DSS helps an executive to plan for future.
Data base Management System:
It is a collection of software for processing interrelated data. In large organizations, there is an expansion in succession at the bottom structure. They face a problem of integrating the organizations human resources information.
Their activities should be integrated. The information about their activities should be integrated. There are several software packages that are developed to integrate the data contained in a data base. Such software packages are known as database management systems.
The data base management systems are special computer programs enabling the user to create, manipulate, retrieve and maintain file data. The database management system facilitates the creation, addition, deletion and modification and sorting of records.
It also helps in preparing printed reports as per required specifications. It helps in arranging the data in the desired sequence. It acts as an interface between an applications program and the office files.
The figure given below is an illustration:
Data base management system provides access to file inquiries and information, other details regarding employees, updates records, creates reports etc. It makes efficient use of computerized storage space.
Management Information System:
Management information system or MIS is the old concept. The computerized MIS is new. Executives used MIS for planning and control. Computerized MIS added new dimensions by way of increased speed and accuracy. The use of computer has made the management information system feasible. It is not necessary that management information system should be computerized. There are host of tasks that are performed perfectly by employees and executives but there are certain tasks that can be speedily and accurately performed by this electronic machine” computer.
According to Gordon B. Davis and Margrethe H. Olson management information system is, “an integrated, user machine system for providing information to support operations, management and decision making functions in an organisation. The system utilizes computer hardware and software; manual procedures; models for analysis, planning, control and decision making; and a data base.”
MIS helps in integrating organisational information. In respect of human resources management it helps in having the integrated information in respect of human resources of the organisation. The information can be utilized by anyone needing it for which the knowledge of computer is not essential. Simply knowledge of using it will do. MIS is a support system for various functions of management.
Organisation is a techno-economic and social system. MIS draws upon the organisation, organisation theory and management. If helps in understanding organisational structure and design, organisational change processes, motivation, decision making, organisational behaviour pattern etc.
Organisation is a system consisting several subsystems based on functional activities such as Production, Marketing, Personnel, Finance, Sales, Accounting, and Materials etc. MIS tries to bring about their integration for smooth working. Human resources are used in each system manning respective positions.
MIS helps in providing integrated information in respect of all human resources of the organisation. The information system should match managerial needs of the organisation. Computer Applications in Human Resource Management programme and the office files. The figure given below is an illustration.
Management’s Needs and Information Systems:
The information systems come to the rescue of employees and executives while performing their jobs at their workplace. The system helps them to improve their performance leading to complete job satisfaction. The information needed by the executives differ in quantity and quality according to their position and level in the organisational hierarchy.
Traditionally the management of organisation has a pyramidal shape, i.e. narrower at the top having flattened base. This organisational pyramid can be divided into three levels; top, middle and lower. Top management consists of top level managers such as managing directors, chief executive officer etc., the middle level management consists of middle level management i.e., the departmental heads and lower level of management consists of the front line supervisors, superintendents and other operational staff. For performing the works they require different types of information. The information for performance can also be divided, according to these levels because the decisions to be made differ according to the managerial hierarchy.
It is shown in the diagram given below:
The top level management requires Decision Support System or DSS to frame organisational strategy in respect of various aspects of organisation. They may frame the strategy in respect of human resources of the organisation. They have to take strategic decisions requiring an interactive computer based system which is known as decision support system.
The middle level management has to make tactical decisions for which they need the data base system known as management information system or MIS. Lower level management has to make operational decisions for actual work performance, the system they require for the purpose is known as the electronic data processing system or EDP system.
The information needed by the executive depends on the technical background, decision making ability and managerial leadership style adopted nature of the corporate body structure of organisation and executive’s perception of requirements of information.
Human Resource System:
Human resource is actually a subsystem of a system, the organisation. Human resource system includes acquisition of human resources, their training and development, compensation, other benefits, health and safety, job analysis, job description, job specification, performance evaluation, job evaluation, other information relating to human resources such as skill, competence, experience, their yearly increments, bonus, cost of acquiring human resources, cost of training, composing skill inventory, strategy in respect of acquisition, retention of human resources etc.
The complete information in all these respects is to be kept ready at hand. Computers aid in keeping all these information and make it available at the fingertips of human resource manager. Human resources are the part of the whole system. They are working in all functional areas of the organisation manufacturing, marketing, sales, finance, logistics, research and development, advertising, etc.
Complete information is to be stored, compiled, processed, retrieved along with the external agencies like government, dealers, wholesalers, financers, suppliers etc. A system oriented human resource function integrates and interrelates with other functions of the organisation. The computerized human resource system is known as human resource information system or HRIS. It is dealt with in the chapter Human Resource Planning earlier.
HRIS maintains the up to date information relating to all aspects of human resources of the organisation and works as decision support system. Its input is raw data and output is information. It is a system that acquires, manipulates, analyses, stores, retrieves and makes available the instant information in respect of human resources of the organisation. The information is finished and structured one. Some personnel’s are required to work with the system. They include Systems Manager who is responsible for planning, monitoring and controlling the activities relating to computerization.
System Analyst is another personnel required in the system to study and analyze the problems and prepare solutions and programme specifications. The third personnel in the system and in the hierarchy are the Programmer. More programmers are required to prepare computer programmes based on specifications prepared by system analyst. The fourth personnel in the system who works at the lowest level in the hierarchy is the Data Entry Operator.
More such operators are required who are responsible for entering the data into computer system. This man machine interface is known as human ware or livewire. These people prepare several software’s and databases and pass on the information on line by making these systems accessible. In this way eliminating waste and achieve significant improvements in data quality, thus helping the line managers to solve their human resource problems.
The computerized systems have added value to the human resource development and management giving an opportunity to emerge as power base in the organisation. Now the electronic mail, computer to computer links and videoconferencing have brought about transformation of human resource function. It has also brought down the overhead costs incurred.
The human resource management system consists of several inputs and outputs and other activities and processes working through information media. The system possesses a computerized data base management system, programme for cross checks for accuracy, modules for performing specific functions and a facility for special information to be provided on query.
Computer use in HRM:
The modern technology has brought in sea changes and transformed the organisational structure, working and culture. Computers and computer programmes have flooded into the organisations of all kinds and types giving no chance to escape from their influence. They are widely used in human resource management.
Human Resource Planning:
The vast data is required for human resource planning. Top management wants to prepare a long-term strategic planning for human resources. Human resource information system provides necessary information required for making essential projections regarding human resources requirements. The information can also be utilized for acquiring human resources, their promotion, transfer and career planning. Job analysis information helps in human resource planning.
Acquisition of Human Resources:
Acquisition of human resources is done through recruitment and selection. Human resource information system is a tool that provides a lot of help in internal posting of jobs which is done through recruitment. It is an internal source of recruitment. The complete information regarding skill, competence, knowledge, experience, training, educational qualification, age, sex etc. available to the human resource executive through HRIS enabling him to fill up the vacant position by way of promotion or transfer.
External recruitment also made easy with the help of computerized information’s maintained by the organisations by way of keeping a track record of unsolicited applicants and at times taking the help from private employment agencies who maintain databases regarding various types of human resources available in different organisations and or other persons in search of jobs.
The acquisitions of human resources by way of selection are quite lengthy and complicated procedure is adopted. All these complications are made easy by way of using computerized information. Test and scanning of applications are accurately performed through computers hence saving a lot of time and cost.
Training and Development:
In the area of training and development the computer has been used to a greater extent. There are computer assisted instructions that are widely used training techniques. Computer assisted instructions (C.A.I.) are the programmed learning methods.
Earliest in 1924 the use of rudimentary teaching machines were made but with the advent and availability of computers the programmed training is in vogue now. The computerized training system is utilized for hosts of job holders that include mechanics, clerks, pilots etc. Computer simulation of real job situation is of particular importance. It is on the job training method. It helps trainee to gain practical experience.
Under computer managed instructions the trainees’ competence is assessed by the computer before start of the training. The assessment continues till the end of the training. The assessment makes the trainer to modify training contents to suit the trainee’s needs.
Under computer based training, the facilities of computer aided instructions and computer managed instructions are combined together. Being comprehensive it provides many advantages to the trainee through effective learning. Computer -based training (CBT) provides immediate feedback. A commoner gets more knowledge through CBT than in classroom training. The training through CBT can be provided at the place of working or where the trainees assemble. It is cost effective.
No costs are incurred on trainer as it is the programmed-based training. There is an improvement in CBT with the addition of video which is high tech training technique and is known as interactive video training. CD-ROM is also used for executive development. It is up to the organisation to make a choice of appropriate computerized training technique depending upon the availability of funds and the type of employees and executives undergoing training.
The high tech training methods have high initial investment but once purchased it is very cost effective. The evaluation of trainees and training programme can be immediately available which is not possible under other traditional training techniques.
Computer can store the information relating to trainees, their performance and their needs for further training. Up to date information in this respect can be made available as and when required by the human resource manager or any executive for that matter.
HRIS modules can be used to record the training received and cost of training can be monitored. There is a constant need to update the skills and knowledge of the employees and executives to meet the growing needs of the organisation. The computerised training programmes fulfill these needs of the organisation.
Career and Succession Planning:
Career planning requires thorough check up of one’s own preferences, abilities, skills, competence, knowledge and expertise and values and their matching with the job requirements at the higher level available in the organisation or in other organisation. This is easily and accurately done by the computer for the individual employee and executive and organisation.
The organisation can keep track of such ambitious employees and executives. Such personnel’s are very conscious of their career and career path. They do not hesitate in leaving the organisation if an opportunity in their career path is denied to them.
One can say that career planning and computer applications are made for each other. The detailed inventory in respect of human resources of the organisation and the job details can be stored in a computer. Succession system is another area where computer play an important role in suggesting a suitable person to succeed a retired one at a position. This can be easily maintained for employees and executives both.
Compensation is yet another area where computer applications can be made. The compensation includes salary, wages and other benefits. The information required in this system is payroll and financial records. Human resource information system aids in wage and salary administration.
Several software packages are available in this respect to maintain and monitor the compensation administration. The employee gets the information relating to the salary drawn by him and compulsory deductions from the salary along with his leave records till date every month.
It saves manual labour of maintaining the large and heavy ledgers. The details regarding employees’ contribution to provided fund, the interest thereon is also maintained and at regular interval the employees are handed over the details.
If merit or performance is rated by an individual may be superior in rank and hierarchy, there is a scope for biased attitude. Computer can provide unbiased solution to the problem. Modules are available to help in evaluating performance. There are several software’s available in evaluating the performance of the employees and executives having several rating scales in critical areas of performance. The organisation can make use of the relevant scales of evaluating the performance of its employees of various grades and ranks by varying the rating scale provided by the software.
Safety and Health:
Safety and health at workplace is very essential. Healthy employees free from any disease having all the parts of body intact and safe are the assets of the organisation. The organization having such human resources should boast upon itself. It deserves credit for excellent provisions in respect of safety and health of its employees.
It is a dream away from facts. But organisation can take utmost care of its employees keeping the records of occupational diseases, injuries and make the employees aware of them from time to time and also draw attention of the employees towards hazardous chemicals and other such materials and their use.
Human resource information system can develop a software and maintain the records of various categories of occupational diseases, their dangers, how people suffer from them, medical treatment available, methods of prevention, safety measures at the workplace, the cares to be taken etc.
The employees can be, through computer network at regular intervals or daily, made aware of all these and warn of the hazardous after effects. Computer in this respect can provide a healthiest system for safety and health of the human resources of the organisation. The computers aid in respect of maintaining health, cope up with stress, change in lifestyle and adopting the one that suits to his or her health, dieting etc.
Maintaining better human relations is a problem faced by many organisations. Every organisation expects better human relations and smooth functioning. The relations between union and management should be smooth and of cooperation. The computers can help in keeping the records of negotiations between unions and management, the agreements reached between the two.
Computer network helps in reminding the executives of the agreements and agreed terms between the management and unions. Executive’s personal computer can be connected to an on line information search and retrieval system human relations information network. Employees can also have the access to the system knowing fully well what their leaders agree or disagree to. This promotes complete transparency in human relations or industrial relations in the organisation.
In modern times giant corporate bodies are coming up with global network employing lacs of employees and other officials across the world. They have different points of views and demand. To maintain them efficiently and satisfy their needs, it is therefore necessary for the organisation to develop an expert system that enable to have opinion survey of the employees, their perception, and advice. Computers help in streamlining the process.
Through this network executives have at hand information and close contacts with the employees. Any problem crops up at any plant anywhere can be immediately attended and nipped it in the bud. Expert system can be developed to keep qualitative information along with quantitative one. In this way computers play a vital role in human resource management. Computers aid in facilitating smooth working and worry free environment at the plants, offices and at homes. They aid in restoring industrial peace and harmony.
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