The changing face of human resources

The rapid take-up of Web-based recruitment systems by human resources (HR) departments is set to provide IT professionals with...

The rapid take-up of Web-based recruitment systems by human resources (HR) departments is set to provide IT professionals with greater opportunities to find new jobs, writes Antony Savvas

Such systems will see HR departments use external recruitment companies less. As external recruiters focus more on bringing in outside expertise into companies, internally, staff will have more chances to get a better job and realise their potential.

A survey of 1,000 HR managers and directors across 29 European and Middle East companies by management consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 55% of European companies planned to roll-out new IT systems over the next two years, which would include Web-based recruitment for both internal and external applicants.

The empowerment of the internal HR department using IT is also seen as a good way to retain existing staff, by closely monitoring their needs and allowing them to more easily communicate their aspirations to the company.

This business-to-employee (B2E) relationship will see staff provided with direct access to transactional processes and personalised information.

PricewaterhouseCoopers says B2E will allow employees to merge work and life issues, and evolve the concept of employee self-service, online training, and also enhance relationships between staff and the company.

Until now, the main reasons why company HR departments haven't already gone for this e-business approach, are: time availability and commitment (42% of respondents), data access and security (33%), lack of available internal skills (18%), and financial resources (18%).

But Philippe Houssiau, PricewaterhouseCoopers' European HR management consultant partner, says, "We are seeing that the most important enabler of change in today's business is e-business, which is also key to the process of re-defining the HR function.

"By realising the impact which e-business is having on the HR-customer relationships, organisations will be able to keep pace with the new challenges."

The survey found that companies in the Nordic region were the furthest ahead in Web recruitment, while the Benelux companies were the furthest behind.

Not surprisingly, information and communications companies are the most enthusiastic about HR Internet and intranet recruitment and management applications.

The move towards Web-based HR recruitment has been backed by companies including ICL and Oracle. Oracle vice-president of HR Vance Kearney says Web-enabling the HR department offers better career development and staff retention.

Speaking at last month's Recruitment Consultancy Matters conference in London, Kearney revealed that Oracle had poached 15 recruiters from the recruitment industry to help run its HR department.

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