Human Touch—Maintaining Humanity in Human Resources

Jevin Sackett human resourcesFrom the moment we awake (and check our email) to the moment we log off our computers at night, technology is omnipresent in our lives.

And in many respects, technology has simplified countless tasks that used to be more complex and require far more paperwork.

For example, let’s consider the way companies hire new employees today, versus the methodology used 20 or 30 years ago. Prior to the Internet, the traditional mode for recruiting staff involved posting a job advertisement in the local newspaper or—for somewhat larger employers–perhaps holding a ‘job fair’. So back then, it was not an uncommon sight for job seekers to be found reading through the “Help Wanted” ads, hoping to find a position for which they were well suited.

However, as the saying goes, that was then and this is now. When was the last time you saw someone actually skimming through a newspaper in search of a job—or for that matter, even reading a hard copy newspaper? In the age of Kindle and tablets, reading print newspapers is unfortunately going the way of the horse-drawn carriage; a quaint habit from another era.

Today, most companies—including our own—do most of their recruiting electronically via the Internet. As a rapidly expanding business, Sackett National Holdings is, in fact, quite actively recruiting; I am proud, and pleased, to say that our Human Resources staff are quite busy these days, and their recruiting efforts play a pivotal role in our company’s ability to continue its expansion and success across several business sectors.

Without question, the recruiting efforts of our Human Resources team—as well as that of similar HR professionals nationwide—would be far more difficult, time consuming and perhaps even less successful without the use of electronic recruiting tools. Of course, one hopes that our solid corporate reputation assists HR in their recruiting efforts, but I recognize—and have previously noted in earlier posts—that as the economy improves, the task of attracting the highest quality candidates can become ever more daunting.

These days, in addition to using technology, companies often turn to resources such as employment screening firms to help ensure that they’re employing only the best, brightest and most trustworthy candidates.

In fact, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), nearly 70 percent of employers conduct criminal background checks on all candidates, while 47 percent conduct credit checks. As an employment screening industry leader, our subsidiary—PeopleFacts–is quite busy these days, assisting businesses nationwide ensure that they hire the highest quality candidates by conducting thorough background checks.
Which brings me back to my main point: even with the highest quality technology, the ‘facts’ about a potential employee are ultimately only as reliable as the people who review and present them. While technology undoubtedly can—and does—make the recruiting process more efficient and eliminate a great deal of paperwork, computers cannot replace skilled human resource professionals when it comes to selecting which applicants are best suited for the available positions.

Innovation and technology are at the heart of our company. So I am not in the habit of advocating on behalf of methodologies from past eras. However, too often these days there is a mindset that technology can actually take the place of humans in virtually all circumstances. I part company with those who believe that’s the case.

As CEO of a thriving and expanding business, I can say without fear of contradiction that the individual contributions our employees make each and every day remain the foundation of our company’s current–and future–success.

Ultimately, technology can simplify the task of recruiting the best and brightest, but it’s worth remembering that no computer will likely ever be able to replace the ‘humans’ in Human Resources.