To get the job done being the basic function of management, it remains its constant endeavor to find better ways to accomplish the same. From daily wages to temporary to permanent workers followed by contractual workers, employers continued to explore better ways to get the job done efficiently and effectively. Not so long ago, outsourcing became the buzzword. It was found economically beneficial to outsource different functions of the organization to external specialized agencies. The trend continued and now crowdsourcing has entered the arena. James Surowiecki and Jeff Howe are the two people who discussed and introduced the term crowdsourcing. James Surowiecki in his book “The Wisdom of Crowds” discussed it, and Jeff Howe in 2006 introduced crowdsourcing as a method of sourcing people who are willing to help or work on a project. While outsourcing stipulated outsourcing of work to specialized external agencies, crowdsourcing has opened the door for specialized people the world over to give their services to carry out functions, jobs and tasks. The whole process from soliciting help to offer from interested people, negotiation between the parties, finalization of contract and payment after successful completion of the contract takes place online. oDesk. Kickstarter, MinuteWorkers, Innocentive, CloudCrowd, and Elance are some of the important websites engaged in providing crowdsourcing services to the interested parties.
During all these developments human resource department’s role continued to change and adjust to the new requirements. With the advent of outsourcing some functions of human resource department, mainly administrative in nature, like health care and pension or those relating to payroll and benefits were outsourced. The main reason was their nature as it involved a great deal of documentation and little discretion. The remaining functions were found to too critical to be outsourced. The introduction of crowdsourcing has broken new grounds for its use in functions like recruitment, employee surveys, talent assessment, learning and even performance reviews. According to a survey conducted by Timesjobs.com, more than 60% of companies who were using crowdsourcing for HR functions were satisfied due to efficiency and cost effectiveness.
Crowdsourcing being a new source of selecting people for specific jobs or tasks it will require a lot more effort and innovation in the beginning to select the right person. In this regard, the right mode and effective communication with and verification of the expertise of the person to be engaged for any project or task will be of vital importance. Similarly, a complete understanding of the rules and conditions, as well as a clear idea about the reputation of the source acting as a medium, will be essential. Crowdsourcing has brought new challenges for Human Resource Departments in its wake, and it must rise to the occasion and develop new competencies to cater for the requirements of crowdsourcing.