This special issue on Electronic Human Resources Management (E-HRM) in an E-Business environment looks at opportunities and challenges associated with recruiting and developing a firm's workforce in a digital world characterized by endemic talent scarcity, changing values and shifting on- and offline behaviors of candidates and employees.
We first draw on a Delphi study with leading HR executives from 25 internationally renowned large firms and on a quantitative survey with 144 HR managers from German top 1,000 firms to delineate the key trends and issues for modern HR executives. Demographic challenges and the war for talent are seen as the most important trends in firms of all sizes and in all industries, even ahead of, for example, social media or the global economic crisis. Resulting from these trends, our survey reveals that HR managers' most pressing challenges are staff retention and internal and external employer branding. Overall, the results emphasize the importance for an E-HRM that needs to be both effective - adequately fill vacancies - and efficient - make best use of scarce resources.
The papers in the special issue address some of the open issues identified. Overall, in a peer-review process two out of nine submitted articles were selected for the special issue (22 per cent acceptance). The first paper by Stefan Strohmeier scrutinizes how e-portfolios can improve e-recruiting and talent management. The second paper by Sharna Wiblen, David Grant and Kristine Dery uses a single case study to learn how a shift from HRM to E-HRM can affect talent management and people in an organization and transform a firm's IT and HR function.
Keywords: E-HRM (Electronic Human Resources Management), HRIS (Human Resources Information Systems), talent management, recruiting, e-recruiting, talent management, computer personnel research
1. From HRM to E-HRM
The global demographic development, the imminent retirement of the baby boomers generation [Frank et al. 2004] and, more recently, changing values, norms and behavioral patterns of Generation Y force firms to open up to new approaches for managing their personnel. Other related drivers of a need to change the human resources management (HRM) in organizations include the economic downturn over the past three years, increasing scarcity of a variety of skill profiles on the labor market and new ways how people want to balance their work and private life [Gueutal 2009]. In fact, these trends merely aggravate the challenges in many firms that have long suffered from a scarcity of qualified employees, or 'talent'. And the unavailability of certain candidates in many skill areas has long been identified as a major obstacle to firm success and growth even in times of economic downturns [Trevor and Nyberg 2008; Laumer and Eckhardt 2010]. Talent availability has become a hot topic as globalization has increased both, supply of and demand for certain skills [Dolan 2004]. The resulting recruiting challenge for firms has been called war for talent [Chambers et al. 1998]. While almost all HR executives are boldly aware of the problems of finding talent, especially in the IT domain [Luftman and Kempaiah 2008], there is no consistent insight on how to cope with it. At the same time, advances in information and communication technology and the ubiquity of the internet can offer substantially new ways to attract and recruit talent and to organize firm's entire HR function. Hence, Electronic HRM (E-HRM) can give a firm a substantial competitive edge in a tough market for skills by establishing a better talent management capability.
The four major areas of talent management are talent attraction, recruiting, development and retention. First, ('attract') talent has to be attracted and the organization has to establish itself as the employer of choice for external (job seekers) and internal talent (employees). Second ('recruit'), new employees can be selected from incoming job applications. …