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The marriage of modern human resources information system (HRIS) technology with time-honored concepts of job satisfaction and employee motivation--often called "empowerment" in today's quality improvement environment--can provide unprecedented improvements in performance and productivity. When HRIS applications are designed and implemented with this in mind, the benefits of computerized systems can far exceed efficiencies that may permit the company to "do more with less" in human resources. Instead, HRIS can support a corporate mission that focuses on improvements in the capabilities, motivation, and continuing commitment of its most valuable human resources, the men and women whose skills and talents represent critical corporate assets.
Particularly for "knowledge workers" in today's environment, motivation and job satisfaction emerge from the work itself, along with individual perceptions of achievement, responsibility, recognition, and personal growth. A guiding principle of the quality improvement movement is that people perform at higher levels when they become fully involved with the organization's mission and feel empowered to continually improve their own capabilities and value to the organization. HRIS can provide the enabling technology that makes this idea part of the fabric of the organization, in applications that permit, for example, the following:
* Job enrichment (which expands a person's responsibility, sense of participation, and value to the organization) can be a key outcome of reengineering projects that include process consolidation. Not only are processes improved, but the people performing the processes are improved by additional responsibilities and involvement in corporate goals.
* Performance support technology that makes people smarter can add job satisfaction through improved expertise and performance levels.
* Systems that automate management skills development help make continual improvement a year-round, individually controlled process.
* Computer-based training supports self-controlled learning at all levels of the organization, empowering employees to learn at their own pace.
REENGINEERING AND JOB ENRICHMENT
One of the most radical ways in which information technology permits …