The Great Divide
There has been much conversation about the digital divide – the widening gap between those who have the latest technology and those who do not. And specifically internet based technology. The activities and access we have simply because we have internet is astounding. And that’s coming from me, a gen-x’er, who grew up with the internet, but still remembers life before computers and using the dewy decimal card catalogue system at the local library before Google became the all-knowing entity it is today. Technology has made, and continues to make, leaps and bounds – in all aspects of our lives, not just in business. But it is important to consider the implications of keeping up with the current technology, and what that could mean for your organization.
The kind of technology your organization uses can say a lot about your company. From one viewpoint, it may be more cost-effective not to purchase the latest and greatest, but it’s worthwhile to ponder what alternate message that might send, both internally and externally. If your business is using old hardware and software, top talent candidates might assume your company is behind the times. Is that a message you want to send?
If technology helps employees work faster and smarter, does a lack of current technology send a message about the company’s view on employee development? Not implementing hardware or software that improves day-to-day operations may be perceived as not caring about employee morale and wellbeing. Why make employees do double or triple the work if a technology solution can help employees become more efficient? And theoretically produce even more? Having the right technology in place can increase efficiency, productivity and actively contribute to employee engagement.
I believe it is imperative for organizations to ask themselves if technology is keeping them from attracting, engaging, and retaining the best talent. Also taking into consideration that technology-raised millennials make up more than half of the current workforce — and predicted to make up 75 percent by 2020 — HR needs to embrace and build on technological advancements to meet both employee expectations and business requirements.
Rapid changes in technology have affected businesses in more ways than we can count, from globalization and organizational practices to a workforce clamoring for remote and mobile job opportunities — and human resources has had to adapt quickly. If HR wants to continue to play a critical role in helping businesses anticipate and manage organizational change, it must have technology at its core.