Original Research

Information technology competencies for entry-level human resource strategic partners

Renjini M. Joseph, Adele Thomas, Penny Abbott
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1327 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1327 | © 2021 Renjini M. Joseph, Adele Thomas, Penny Abbott | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 February 2020 | Published: 12 May 2021

About the author(s)

Renjini M. Joseph, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Adele Thomas, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Penny Abbott, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Advances in information technology (IT) have prompted the transition of the human resource management (HRM) function from being administrative to strategic. Whilst it has been established that IT has an important role in such a transition, it is not clear to what extent the development of IT competencies would enable HRM professionals to be strategic.

Research purpose: The purpose of the article is to determine the IT competencies that will enable entry-level South African HRM professionals to be strategic partners to business.

Motivation for the study: The findings of this study will contribute to the effective use of HR technology, thereby mitigating risk and enriching the role of the HR function in local organisations. The use of technology within the HRM function can be enhanced leading to improved data-driven people decisions.

Research approach, design and method: A quantitative research design using a cross-sectional survey was employed. Data collected from 252 HR professionals were analysed using exploratory factor analysis (EFA). Multiple regression was used to establish the relationship between the identified factors and strategic business partnering.

Main findings: The results produced a three-factor model consisting of: (1) technologising employee processes, (2) processing data expertly and (3) translating external trends. These factors explained 34% of the variance in strategic business partnering.

Practical implications: The results of this study have implications for organisations with HRM functions and for higher education institutions (HEIs) offering HRM qualifications. Organisations should utilise the identified competencies when hiring and developing entry-level strategic HRM business partners. Higher education institutions should develop curriculum that would prepare graduates to be effective HRM professionals.

Contributions or value-add: This study adds to the limited research on IT competencies required of HRM professionals to contribute as strategic business partners.


Keywords

human resource business partners; exploratory factor analysis; human resource graduate; human resource management; human resource education

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