More than 90 per cent of companies are using the Web for human resources purposes, according to a Towers Perrin survey.

The human resources (HR) consulting firm released the results from its latest report, called e-Track,

on Wednesday. The poll of 200 companies across North America revealed 91 per use the Web to communicate with employees and 48 per cent allow employees to manage some services like training and benefits.

Minaz Lalani, e-HR leader for Towers Perrin, says the Web has revolutionized the way companies reach employees and deliver services.

“”Before, HR transactions were done on paper. For example, if you were to conduct a performance/management review it would be done on paper, it would be sent off, and by the time you got it back three months had gone by,”” Minaz says.

“”A whole lot of time that was being spent on mundane tasks from an employee perspective and a management perspective has now been eliminated.””

“”I think employees do benefit substantially in that there’s a great level of service available,”” says Paul Hamerman, a research director for Giga Information Group. “”It’s a good communication tool, but I think it also enables employees to be more effective in handling some of these tasks that otherwise might have to be transacted using paper.””

What is unclear, however, is whether companies are recouping their investment. Lalani says most had no idea going into e-HR projects what they could expect in terms of savings. He says companies assure him this can save money, but have yet to see any positive returns.

Lalani blames the ROI challenge on companies trying to fix bad processes with technology.

“”What you’ve got to do is change the process and then apply the technology,”” he says. “”Use technology as an enabler, not to solve your problems.””

Despite hard economic times, Hamerman says companies aren’t shying away from e-HR projects. He says based on his research and customer inquiries the area is hot. He said the surveys shows an average 15 to 18 per cent adoption increase in some e-HR processes.

Other e-Track highlights include: fewer than three per cent are planning cut backs; 65 per cent say they will increase investment in self-service applications focused on recruiting and hiring, and 68 per cent will increase spending on training applications.

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