Tech in HR: Key to increasing Puerto Rico’s global competitiveness
Puerto Rico needs to catch up on the use of information technology in human resource management, a prerequisite for companies seeking to compete in the global economy, Jorge Mejía, founding partner of local firm Fusionworks Inc., believes.
“In Puerto Rico, we still have a long way to go in terms of using those technological advances that are routine in the most competitive markets in the world,” Mejía said. “Our companies must invest in using these technologies to improve their competitiveness and, indeed, to incorporate social development trainings in their educational curriculum.”
Mejía said Mexico, for example, rose to sixth among the 50 most attractive countries for the provision of information technology (IT) and outsourcing, as revealed by the Index of Global Services Location 2011.
“The study (conducted by AT Kearney for the National Chamber of the Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technology), points out that our neighbor Mexico jumped from 11th place in 2009 to sixth last year, driven by quality and human resource availability and attractiveness in costs that this represents,” Mejía noted.
The index ranks the top 50 countries in terms of financial attractiveness, human resources and business environment focused on technology services, contact center and administrative support.
Mexico ranks sixth after India which is in the first, China, Malaysia, Egypt and Indonesia, which is ranked fifth in the world rankings.
Since the first edition of this global indicator, India, China and Malaysia have occupied the top three spots for their high level of human capital and low cost, while countries like the United Kingdom, Mexico and United Arab Emirates managed to overcome their disadvantage in prices.
“Puerto Rico can not afford not to participate successfully in this global competition, especially when we have so accessible this technology applied to human resources,” he said. “E-learning technologies, for example, help us promote continuing education and training of employees, develop dynamic material, reusable and easy to use. It also allows dynamic develop questions that measure student learning.”
While a consensus exists that Puerto Rico’s main challenge is to improve education — culturally, socially, and technically — Mejía said many mistakenly believe that education ends in college, when education “really is an infinite process in this era of constant change.”
Tangible benefits of e-learning
Companies adopting human resources technologies receive a number of benefits, such as the elimination or reduction of costs related to travel expenses and loss of hours of work by staff, as it entails e-learning processes. Employee travel expenses can account for 60 percent of training costs, he said.
One of the basic features of e-learning is its focus on the user. Unlike traditional training, the e-learning programs put the user at the center of the learning process, making the star of their own educational experience.
Another benefit of applying technology to human resource management comes in the form of considerable savings in administrative costs as processes become more automated and faster.
“Within this technological landscape, the Human Resources Department is no longer just an office for permanent complains, but rather an advocate for improving the performance, encouraging creativity, development, retention and employee satisfaction, resulting in higher levels of productivity,” Mejía said.
“Human resources jobs are vital in our economy. These are professionals who are responsible for the continuing education of more than one million workers in our society,” the executive said.