The History of HR Tech

January 23, 2020

[Archived from 11/24/19]

The Industrial Revolution brought millions of immigrants coming to the US looking for work. A wealth of vigorous citizens joined the work force and unemployment was dropping; with this came extreme working conditions, over worked and underpaid employees and child labor laws that didn’t exist or weren’t practiced.

Human Resources, or Human Resource Management (this was the original title) began in the early 1900’s. These firms mainly dealt with payroll, hiring and firing employees. In 1935, the Social Security Act was passed. This was a big win for America’s working class. It brought unemployment, severance and retirement packages.



World War II was very economically demanding, the US GDP dramatically increased and the economy boomed. Some form of HR was needed to keep these businesses stable.

The 1960’s brought something new to HR. Led by General Electric, yearly appraisals turned into discussions about employee growth and accountability. At the time, the method was looked down upon. Annual appraisals are still common practice and used by most businesses.

Technology in the HR space was not developed. The available technologies were world changing for the time, but didn’t prove useful for a lot of professions. The world’s first computer, ENIAC was created in 1946 and this was only for simple numerical calculations. The creation of the World Wide Web in 1989 birthed the new generation of HR performance management tech. The use of online job boards made applying to jobs easier than ever.

With the releases of home computers and accessible operating systems, paper files became digital files in a 5 TB hard drive. New technology brought new HR techniques, “…by the early 2000s, organizations were using performance appraisals mainly to hold employees accountable and to allocate rewards. By some estimates, as many as one-third of U.S. corporations—and 60% of the Fortune 500—had adopted a forced-ranking system” (Cappelli and Tavis)

What trends are going to be popular in the new decade? Creating open communication keeps you and your business up to date with the fast moving business world.

Stay ahead of old business.

Topics: History | HR | HR Tech