Since the invention of ICT, technology has found increased usage not only in daily life but also in business life. It consequently led to the invention of EHRM and showed its significance. The application of EHRM in solving daily HR challenges in an organization has already taken effect in many organizations. However, its usefulness and the level of support it brings needs to be evaluated. This study aims at connecting the usefulness of EHRM in solving HR predicaments. In doing so, the study made use of exploratory research while also considering two countries -Malaysia and Kuwait. It tried to explore the level of usage of EHRM and its significance in those countries.
Since the discovery of Moore’s law on the development of computers and the electronic world, technology has grown to become more and more useful in daily applications. The famous Gordon Moore showed that the power of computing will increase exponentially with time; an idea that has been proven since he first mentioned it. This has resulted in an increased application of computer and electronic related activities not only in daily normal life but also in businesses as well.
Human resource management as a field has faced multiple phases of development. From the ages it was referred to as personnel management, the area has evolved to the today’s widely known Human resource management. More recent development has extended to include electronic-way-of-life into human resource management giving the world the ever glorious Electronic Human Resource Management. Deshwal (2015) in his powerful research work showed that record keeping and information sharing has been changed so much by the way HR department has involved information technology in its practices. Notably, paperwork has decreased in volumes and the access to data has become excellent.
The question however for many organizations has been on the effectiveness of EHRM in managing human resources. As put by Noursina and Mehrjoo (2013), the question points to the application of information technology in human resource management in solving organization human resource needs. The underlying gap is to discover how well the information technology edge can support human knowledge in studying, understanding, analyzing, decision-making and problem-solving in day to day organization life.
The HR function in any organization is responsible for managing all human resources owned by the organization. In doing this, it responds to issues affecting the employees that regard employment. Policies, practices, laws and procedures have always provided a way through which any hurdle arising should get solved. However, owing to the development of EHRM and its use in everyday organization life, there is an expectation of discovering new ways of solving HR related problems.
View of Literature
The philosophy of EHRM
The integration of EHRM with HRM had many purposes amongst which included to make HRM more strategic (Marler & Fisher 2013). On its own, HRM would not be sufficient in making an organization competitive. New methods must be introduced. With the ever changing business world, new challenges are met, new struggles arise, new scenarios need solutions and even new practices need new styles. In a bid to solve the realm of new challenges EHRM seems to pave the way by providing tangible resolutions to common encounters. Since it involves information based materials, it tries to handle organizations problems, and especially in HR from both a proactive to a reactive manner.
Maatman (2006) explains that he met problems_ as do many scholars, in explaining the scope of EHRM. Taking into account that E-HRM is considerably new, most users are so much ambiguous and even often vague in reference to what is EHRM. Many of those who speak about it rarely meet a common point on where exactly its boundaries lay. However, the source went ahead to discuss some of the common and acceptable philosophy about the capacity of EHRM and also its nature.
It is worth noting that:
i. EHRM is undoubtedly the cheapest way of meeting some of the HR activities.
ii. Through EHRM, an organization gains value through changes in HR systems.
iii. EHRM provides autonomy for employees by giving them a platform to update their own info, make decisions about scenarios without any help form HR professionals.
iv. Effectiveness and efficiency of the organization is enabled by EHRM since it bolsters the potential of all managers by allowing them to have a timely decision making.4
v. Managers use EHRM to send data, retrieve info and upload materials to other departmental heads without the need of a HR professional.
vi. HR systems are made more efficient and effective by increasing precision, reducing redundancy and reducing employees.
The nature of HRM
One of the fundamental justifications of EHRM is that it supports HRM in attaining its goals (Parry & Tyson 2011). HRM as both a field of study and practice has been divided into according to Armstrong (2014). In his book, he divides Human Resource Management into managerial and operative functions. Included in the managerial functions are the practices of management such as directing, controlling, leading, planning, monitoring and others. The operative functions are the day to day tasks done by a HR manager like performance appraisal, recruitment and selection, training and development, separations, job analysis and much more. Thus, EHRM purports to give an upper hand to every of these functions.
Problems and challenges are interwoven in everyday life reality. They appear to be imbedded in the fabric of human course. The common problems often faced by human resource managers routinely according to Alliance (2016) are: change management, staff retention, employee welfare, learning and development, succession planning, compensation, HR effective measurement, recruitment, organizational effectiveness and leadership development. In the diligent search for solutions to these predicaments, various cures have been invented an also discovered. Training for instance appeared to solve many problems with employees’ lack of skills. Improved communication closed the gap of interpersonal conflicts amongst colleagues of an organization.
EHRM indeed has proved to be a real answer to many shortcomings in the workplace. Jaroliya, Pant and Chatterjee (2012) mentioned that it creates a virtual assistance that in turn compliments the materials lacking in the real world. Notably, EHRM is all about the digital world, it’s about data, communication, networks and databases. Therefore, it tries to harness the capacity of the virtual world and find its significant application in the real world.
Materials and methods
This study is about exploring the usefulness of EHRM in solving work related problems. Having therefore analyzed the variety of problems facing human resource management, the methodology to be applied in conducting this exploration will heavily rely on secondary data.
Woerd (2009) did a research in Kuwait regarding the readiness of EHRM in the country. The findings of research found out that:
- Little was known to many organizations about the applications of EHRM in running daily business
- Few of the organizations who implemented were met with the challenges of lack of skilled expertise, as well as costs.
- EHRM was turning out to be a critical tool to fuel organization change_ an idea employees warmly accepted.
Similarly, another research was conducted in Malaysia regarding the readiness for EHRM by organizations. Here, newer thoughts were introduced:
- The size of a firm determined its extent of using EHRM; younger and small sized firms introduced more technical practices.
- The popularity of using EHRM in HR practices of an organization was mostly on communication.
- Employees were glad to have EHRM implemented in their organizations.
Additionally, another research was conducted on the impacts of EHRM on the roles and competencies of HR by (Ha 2011). He noted that EHRM comes to give a new face to the old practices of HR. He showed the following changes and how the happen on HR:
- Recruitment changes to e-recruitment
- Training becomes e-training and e-learning
- Performance management becomes e-management
- EHRM is used in reward and compensation.