The human resource department is responsible for managing what is perhaps an organization’s most valuable asset: its people. Without workers, most businesses will cease to exist. However, workers are only human. They cannot be programmed to evolve as technology evolves. There are a variety of challenges faced by human resource managers because of technical changes in the workplace. The HR department must develop and implement a variety of strategies to ensure the organization’s human assets can maintain pace with changing technology.
Skilled Workforce Shortage
According to the book "HR Management — Strategies and Environment," available online, "There is a growing gap between the knowledge and skills required by many jobs and those possessed by employees and applicants." Despite the competitive labor market created by the recession which began in 2009, many human resource managers face the challenge of finding workers with the skills necessary to keep pace with technical changes. Increasing levels of education are required for workers to meet the minimum requirements of many skilled positions, but fewer American workers can afford to achieve these high levels of education. Human resource managers face the challenge of either locating skilled workers in this competitive market, or developing existing workers to meet the needs of the organization.
Resistance to Change
Resistance to change is a common challenge faced by human resource managers because of technical changes. Human beings have a natural urge to resist change when they believe, rightly or not, that the change will threaten them on a personal or individual level. According to the Changing Minds website, "Resistance may take many forms, including active or passive, overt or covert, individual or organized, aggressive or timid." Human resource managers must develop strategies for combating this resistance, and obtain buy-in from workers any time technical changes must be implemented.
Technical changes in the workplace often require the implementation of additional training for workers. As training and development are generally the realm of the HR department, this creates yet another challenge for human resource managers. HR must first determine what training is necessary and then implement training measures to ensure all workers can keep up with technical changes. Human resource managers must also determine when it may train existing employees, and when it must search for new workers to fill technical positions within the organization.
By necessity, the human resources department of an organization maintains and has access to vast amounts of personal information and other data related to its employees. Maintaining the security of this information is yet another challenge faced by human resource managers. As new systems are implemented, it is essential for HR managers to ensure employees are able to access the information necessary to complete their jobs without compromising the security of the information.