Depending on software to assess employee performance and setting standards to analyse business growth may not present the real picture, according to human resource experts.

Increased adoption of technology by HR managers to deal with staff could be a bane in a volatile corporate world, they said at ‘Shine HR Conclave’ organised by recruitment portal and The Hindu .

Attrition prediction Take the example of an attrition prediction tool, said Richa Pande, Head-HR and Chief Transformation Officer, Ramco Systems. It takes into consideration the average age of the employees, their satisfaction at work, business climate and a few aspects of productivity to predict staff reduction over a period of time. “But basing recruitment decisions on the results of a tool will not be prudent,” she said.

The changing role of HR could be a reason for the tilt towards technology. From being the Industrial Relations department, before economic liberalisation when the function was maintaining cordiality between management and the labour, it became Personnel Management, Human Capital Management, and now the leaders in HR are called Chief Transformation Officers. They have to examine the purpose of technology upgrade, investments and justify hiring.

Renault Nissan Technology and Business Centre India is developing a software to predict the degree of skill gap which a services company might face in the future.

Arokia Sagayaraj, Head-Human Resources at Renault, said such software could work in the long run but making decisions on such tools is not prudent. “At best they are indicative.”

K. Ganesan, Vice-President, Human Resources, Tata Consultancy Services, said technology has been an enabler in communicating policy to each rung of employers. But allowing it to influence decisions of hiring and investments can backfire, he added.

In manufacturing, metric-based assessments, often used to predict whether projects would be completed in time, have given the wrong outcome, said Dharmarajan Narayanan, Head-Human Resources, Larsen & Toubro. “In a certain project to build a bridge, we found that metrics gave a positive result at a time when completion was long overdue,” he said.

Moorthy Uppaluri, Chief Executive Officer, Randstad – India, said there is disparity in adoption of technology for HR solutions. “And while incorporating software to judge people, we may miss the cultural aspects at play.”

To which side should the HR department lend its weight? Caught in a wrangle between a management looking to cut staff and workers’ intent of keeping their jobs, the HR department often seems like a secretive manipulator siding with business and profits, said Ganesan. “The way forward is to align with long-term organisational goals, which should entail employee welfare as one of the tenets.”