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Human resource management and its functions

Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management is an area which, plans schedules, organizes, directs, and controls the different aspects of obtaining, training, maintaining and utilizing the work force in a manner that the goals at each and every level are met.

Human Resource Management Functions

They are 7 managerial aspects of human resources (HR) department which shall be explicitly discussed:

1. Recruitment.

2. Appraisals in terms of Performance.

3. Benefits and Compensation.

4. Training and Development.

5. Employee and workforce Relations.

6. Health and Safety.

7. Human Resource Research.

The human resource generalists and specialists are also included in large organizations An HR generalist engages in all seven HRM functions while the HR specialist get involved in one of the seven job responsibilities.

Before discussing seven functionalities, it is of prime importance to comprehend and understand the analysis of the job which forms is a significant part of the HR department. Here the HR is required to define and create a job descsription which includes activities, and Intelligence necessary for the resources to become employable. The Job analyses is done: 1 when there is a new venture, 2 when a new job opportunity is created or generated and 3 when a job requirement has been modified or requires an enhancement in the applicants skill set

To define this there are two critical tools:

· Job Description: Job description gives an insight into the job role and responsibilities to be taken for executing the tasks defined in the JD (job description) It also enlists of skill technical/non-technical skill sets

· Job Specification: Job Specification outlines the requisitions for the job in terms of basic qualifications and experience (Mondy and Noe, 1996).


In staffing, job description and specification are very important determiners. Certain events or occurrences within the organization usually set the bench mark or the qualifying criterion for recruitments. In well established large organizations, an employee requisition HRs key like the job title, the department/section/, and the date of interview in other words the date f hiring These specifications are then posted or hosted online ( as per the customs of the organization) for job requirements—both internally, externally or as per the requirement. the short listed applicant is then interviewed by the concerned technical manager who looks into technical knowledge in terms of the subject matter and then takes a decision based the candidates performance. The internal job posting involves changing the current portfolio.

Appraisals in terms of performance

Performance Appraisals are periodic monitory increments given to the employees for their good performance in terms of work and certain other factors. In short, an organization's motivation for well deserving candidates/employees who have executed their responsibilities efficiently and effectively. To decide/determine appraisals, the HR department conducts performance audits which monitor employees performances in terms of conduct, work efficiency and effectiveness One way of gauging an employees performance is by conducting formal evaluation periodically i.e., performance appraisal or performance evaluation. This can be done by interacting or taking the line managers into confidence (the employees direct manager) since they interact with the employees on a daily basis and will be able to give a true and fair statistical picture about their performance. Other determiners or evaluators can be a conversation with the employees colleagues who may be subordinates, peers, group, or an interaction with more than one manager

A few well known appraisal methods are

· Rating among the work force

· Application of rating scales which defines performance of an individual.

· enlisting positive and negative performance i.e, critical incidents

· organizing, by objectives or MBO (Management Buyout) .

Benefits and Compensation

Compensation is payment made in the form of hourly wages/annual salaries along with extra benefits such as, pensions, vacation, sick days, insurance, modified workweek, stock options, etc. In an ideal state of affairs, the staff sense that they are being well compensated and rewarded with ample benefits, and get an intrinsic sense of satisfaction . The Compensation given must be legal and principled, sufficient, inspiring, just and reasonable and should be able to provide ample security for its employees

Training and Development

Training and Development is a vital game changer devised to enhance current resources to help them hone new skills, and their present position.

Help training can give

1. Orientation of the work force towards new concepts

2. Learning the required skills

3. Familiarization of professional and technical aspects and

5. Facilitation management training for the executive level

The training can be delivered based upon the need and requirement in terms of knowledge and its practical implementation which can be and usually is like to the funds allocated and available for training. Instructor-led Training is a methodology which permits trainees to network or interact with the trainer and simultaneously apply the training practically. On-the-job training is for those employees have to become experts in a short span of time on the organization structure, project training etc. Computer-based Training a scientific methods of imparting and acquiring knowledge where the candidates can afford to have access the training materials from different places.. Simulations enhance and build individuals practical knowledge of a product or software gives by giving them a virtually designed atmosphere.

Employee/Workforce Relations

An HR is a prominent player who is responsible for resolving conflicting issues to and brings about negotiations in the employment arena. For example, scheduling and conducting meetings for extension/closing A business deal covers issues like pay/wages, remuneration, safety, corrective actions, management rights, and the period of contract

Human Resource Models

Once the business strategy has been decided upon an HR strategy is executed to maintain and support the chosen competitive approach. This type of immediate course of action is depicted in Figure 1. In short an HR strategy or approach is related to the challenge of corresponding the philosophy, policies, programs, practices and processes - the 'five Ps' - in a manner that will inspire and strengthen diverse roles of the employee behaviors apt for each competitive approach (Schuler, 1989, 1992).

The significance of the atmosphere as a determinant of HR strategy has been included in a few models

The HRM policies and practices of an organization' should blend with its approach towards a competitive atmosphere .and also with the instant business conditions is faced with'. The notion of combination has three aspects:

* Linking HR policies and practices with the calculated management procedure of the organization

* Internalization of the significance of HR to be done y the line managers

* Integration of the staff into the organization to build a sense of assurance or an 'identity of interest' with the premeditated goals.

The Matching Model

'HR systems and organizational arrangement must be dealt in a manner that is in harmony with the organizational approach' . This is close to Chandler's (1962) dissimilarity between approach and structure and his most popular and oft quoted maxim which says 'structure follows strategy'. In the Devanna et al. model, HRM strategy structure trails and nourishes upon one another and are subjective to environmental forces (figure 3).

Human Resource Strategy Models

This section scrutinizes and examines the connection between organization/business strategy and HR strategy. 'Human resource strategies' are often meant to be and understood as the patterns of decisions concerning HR policies and practices put into practice or used by management to plan and design work so as to choose, instruct and guide, develop, assess, encourage and mange the employees. It has three models. The first model assessed is the control-based model This is a a tried and tested methodology where the management tries to supervise and have apower upon an employee performance. The second model which is the resource based model, is also grounded in nature. Here the employer and employee exchange ideas in a more structured manner in regards to the employee behaviors, approach and in the excellence of the manager-subordinate relationship. The third approach creates an integrative model which merges resource-based and control-based typologies.

Control-Based Model

The very first step to represent various kinds of HR strategies are purely dependant The first approach to model different types of HR strategy is based on the nature of workplace control and more specifically on managerial behavior to direct and monitor employee role performance. According to this perspective, management structures and HR strategy are instruments and techniques to control all aspects of work to secure a high level of labor productivity and a corresponding level of profitability. This focus on monitoring and controlling employee behavior as a basis for distinguishing different HR strategies has its roots in the study of 'labor processes by industrial sociologists.

When organizations hire people, they have only a potential or capacity to work. To ensure that each worker exercises his or her full capacity, managers must organize the tasks, space, movement and time within which workers operate. In an insightful review, Thompson and McHugh comment that, 'control is not an end in itself, but a means to transform the capacity to work established by the wage relation into profitable production'.

The choice of HR strategy is governed by variations in organizational form (for example size, structure and age), competitive pressures on management and the stability of labor markets, mediated by the interplay of manager-subordinate relations and worker resistance (Thompson & McHugh, 2002). Moreover, the variations in HR strategy are not random but reflect two management logics (Bamberger & Meshoulam, 2000). The first is the logic of direct, process-based control, in which the focus is on efficiency and cost containment (managers needing within this domain to monitor and control workers' performance carefully), whereas the second is the logic of indirect outcomes-based control, in which the focus is on actual results (within this domain, managers needing to engage workers' intellectual capital, commitment and cooperation).

The Resource-Based Model

This second approach to developing typologies of HR strategy is grounded in the nature of the reward-effort exchange and, more specifically, the degree to which managers view their human resources as an asset as opposed to a variable cost. The sum of people's knowledge and expertise, and social relationships, has the potential to provide non-substitutable capabilities that serve as a source of competitive advantage. The various perspectives on resource-based HRM models raise questions about the inextricable connection between work-related learning, the 'mobilization of employee consent' through learning strategies and competitive advantage.

The resource-based approach exploits the distinctive competencies of a work organization: its resources and capabilities. An organization's resources can be divided into tangible and intangible (brand-name, reputation and know-how) resources. To give rise to a distinctive competency, an organization's resources must be both unique and valuable. By capabilities, we mean the collective skills possessed by the organization to coordinate effectively the resources. According to strategic management theorists, the distinction between resources and capabilities is critical to understanding what generates a distinctive competency . Putting it in terms of a simple SWOT analysis, the resource-based perspective emphasizes the strategic importance of exploiting internal 'strengths' and neutralizing internal 'weaknesses'. Figure 4 summarizes the relationship between resources and capabilities, strategies, and sustained competitive advantage.

The Integrative Model

Bamberger and Meshoulam integrate the two main models of HR strategy, one focusing on the strategy's underlying logic of managerial control, the other focusing on the reward-effort exchange. Arguing that neither of the two dichotomous approaches provides a framework able to encompass the ebb and flow of the intensity and direction of HR strategy, they build a model that characterizes the two main dimensions of HR strategy as involving 'acquisition and development' and the 'locus of control'.

Acquisition and development are concerned with the extent to which the HR strategy develops internal human capital as opposed to the external recruitment of human capital. In other words, organizations can lean more towards 'making' their workers or more towards 'buying' their workers from the external labor market. This is called as the 'make-or-buy' aspect of HR strategy. As

The commitment HR strategy is characterized as focusing on the internal development of employees' competencies and outcome control. The traditional HR strategy, viewed as focusing on the external recruitment of competencies and behavioral or process-based controls. The collaborative HR strategy, involves the organization subcontracting work to external independent experts giving extensive autonomy and rating their performance primarily in terms of the end results. The paternalistic HR strategy offers learning opportunities and internal promotion to employees for their compliance with process-based control mechanisms.

Psychological Contract and the Foundation for Adaptive Strategies

Employment relationships in the past assumed a fair day's work for a day's pay under relatively stable business conditions. Loyalty and sustained good work were rewarded through varying degrees of job security. Now, however, constant change, uncertainty and temporariness have largely replaced stability, predictability and permanency. Continuous performance improvement, acquiring new skills, employee flexibility, cost options and adding value have assumed great importance to companies. For example, in the 1980's, Fortune 500 companies, faced by stiff(er) foreign competition shed over 3.5 million manpower and nationally this figure may have reached 10.0 million. These reorganizations continue today and many are expected to continue for years to come. Yet, if manpower recognized that "their" company was undertaking creative and consistent actions to. The component areas are:

Manpower Planning

Manpower planning enables a department to project its short to long term needs on the Basis of its departmental plans so that it can adjust its manpower requirements to meet Changing priorities. The more changing the environment the department is in, the more the department needs manpower planning to show:

* The number of recruits required in a specified timeframe and the availability of talent.

* Early indications of potential recruitment or retention difficulties.

* Surpluses or deficiencies in certain ranks or grades.

* Availability of suitable qualified and experienced successors.

Manpower planning comprises two key components:

* Succession Planning.

* Turnover.

Succession Planning

Succession planning assesses the likely turnover in key posts, identifies suitable candidates to fill these posts in future, and ensures that they have the right training and exposure for their next work. Given the effort and support required for undertaking succession planning, it is normally confined to the directorate and those ranks immediately below, plus any grades with high turnover or anticipated expansion. Succession planning is a very important exercise because it minimizes the impact of turnover in these key ranks and gives a branch or department prior warning of any skill shortages or likely difficulties in finding suitable candidates. The succession plan should identify

* key posts and possible successors.

* causes of turnover.

* competencies of successors and the training required for them.

* posts for which no apparent successor exists and the remedial action planned.


Turnover refers to retirement, resignation and redundancy. While a department cannot plan turnover because there are factors, such as resignation, which are beyond its control, it can monitor turnover carefully to ensure the department will have minimal difficulties in retaining staff. If such difficulties are envisaged or experienced, the department will find out the causes for them and take early steps to address them by improving, such as, motivation or training and development opportunities. When addressing the aspects of succession and turnover, the department also needs to consider other manpower planning factors:

* external factors.

* internal factors.


Before a department takes steps to employ staff, it should work out the type of staff it needs in terms of grade and rank, and the time scale in which the staff are required. The general principles underpinning recruitment within the civil service are that recruitment should:

* Use procedures which are clearly understood by candidates and which are open to public scrutiny;

* Be fair, giving candidates who meet the stipulated minimum requirements equal opportunity for selection; and

* Select candidates on the basis of merit and ability.

Recruitment of overseas officers is undertaken only when no or insufficient local candidates are available. There are three key components to the recruitment process:

* Deciding on terms of appointment.

* Selection of candidates.

* Probation.

Deciding on Terms of Appointment

Having decided on the grade and rank of the staff required, and the timing concerned, the department should consider what the most appropriate terms of appointment would be. This should take into account the nature of the duties to be performed and the overall manpower deployment of the department. The different terms of appointment that can be offered are:

* Permanent and personable terms;

* Agreement terms;

* Temporary terms (month-by-month or day-by-day);

* Part-time;

* Non-civil service appointment; and

* Consultancy

Selection of Candidates

1. Advertising.

2. Screening and Selection.

3. Roles and Responsibilities.

4. Flexibility.


During probation staff is introduced to the mission, objectives and values of the civil service and their departments. Probation is a serious process which provides regular feedback on performance and assesses suitability for employment in the civil service. It includes:

* On-the-job training.

* Supervision and Guidance.

Performance Management

Performance management is a very important Human Resource Management function. Its objective is to improve overall productivity and effectiveness by maximizing individual performance and potential. Performance management is concerned with:

* Improving individual and collective performance.

* Communicating management's expectations to supervisors and staff.

* Improving communication between senior management, supervisors and staff.

* Assisting staff to enhance their career prospects through recognizing and rewarding effective performance.

* Identifying and resolving cases of underperformance. and

* Providing important links to other Human Resource Management functions, such as training.

Key Components


Motivation is in many ways the key to the success of Human Resource Management development. Managers should aim to increase performance through self-motivation, rather than having to use external motivation to bring about higher standards of performance. The civil service has many formal programmes to enhance motivation, and these are discussed in the "staff relations" section of this booklet.

Principle: The basic principle underpinning motivation is that if staff are managed effectively, they will seek to give of their best voluntarily without the need for control through rules and sanctions - they will eventually be self-managing.

Procedures: Some of the most effective ways for managers to motivate staff include giving praise; recognition; and positive feedback; passing on feedback from more senior managers; and letting other staff know which staff have been responsible for praiseworthy work and/or effort. Performance Appraisal

Performance appraisal assesses an individual's performance against previously agreed work objectives. It serves two functions. First, it enables management to evaluate an individual's performance in the current job to identify strengths and overcome weaknesses. Second, it provides information to assist management plan postings, transfers and promotions.

The basic principles governing performance appraisal are:

* It is a joint responsibility of the individual and the supervisor;

* It is a continuous and ongoing process;

* It should relate individual performance to departmental objectives;

* Checks and balances should be built into the system to ensure fairness and objectivity;

* Outstanding performance at one rank does not necessarily indicate suitability for promotion to a higher rank.

Except for officers on probation, performance appraisal is normally carried out once a year. Different grades/departments may have their own performance appraisal form which enshrines the principles set out in the preceding paragraph. The list of objectives or responsibilities should be reviewed between appraise and the appraising officer during the reporting cycle to see if changes are necessary. At the end of the reporting cycle, the appraising officer will write his assessment. He will pass his assessment to the countersigning officer for the latter's views.


Promotion denotes that an individual has the competencies, i.e. the skills, abilities, knowledge and attitudes, required to perform effectively at the next higher rank. The competencies reflect the knowledge and skills exhibited in observable behavior in the relevant areas of work. Promotion provides motivation to perform well and is an important part of performance management. The principle of merit or the best person for the job is key to promotion. Ability, potential and experience are taken into account in the assessment. The process of assessment should be fair and transparent. It is kept separate from the day to day management of performance and from the annual performance appraisal.

Promotion Procedures: Heads of Department/Heads of Grade have flexibility to invite certain officers to apply for promotion, or allow officers to opt out of promotion.

As a general rule promotion boards are convened to:

* Increase transparency and impartiality; and

* Provide an opportunity to consider eligible officers' potential and organizational succession planning.

Where necessary and appropriate, promotion interviews are held to assist in assessment to supplement information provided in staff reports. This will apply to situations where staff reports are insufficient and questionable in terms of fairness or consistency.

Guidance and Supervision

Day-to-day guidance and supervision is necessary to provide direction and feedback to staff. It reinforces the annual performance appraisal, helps groom officers for promotion, and assists staffs who are not performing well.

Guidance and supervision reinforces behavior that contributes to good performance and discourages behavior that blocks progress. Feedback should be:

* Frequent .

* Balanced .

* Immediate Specific .

* Constructive .

Training and Development

The objective of training and development is to enable civil servants to acquire the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes necessary to enable them to improve their performance. A strategic approach has the following characteristics:

* Commitment to training and developing people;

* Regular analysis of operational requirements and staff competencies;

* Linking training and development to departmental goals and objectives;

* Skilled training personnel;

* Regular evaluation;

* A continuous learning culture;

* Joint responsibility between managers and staff for identifying and meeting training needs; and

* A variety of training and development methods for different circumstances and learning styles.


Departments manage their own training function and have varying levels of responsibility to do this effectively:

· Management formulates departmental training policies and draws up training and development plans to support departmental missions, objectives and values.

· Managers identify competencies and training needs, implement training activities and provide coaching and supervision to ensure staff development occurs.

· Staff takes responsibility to make the most of the opportunities provided to maximize their potential.


The purpose of career development is to identify and develop the potential within staff, to build existing skill levels, and to prepare staff to take on greater responsibility during their career. Career development has to balance the needs and aspirations of the individual with the needs of the service - where this conflict, the needs of the service should prevail.

Staff Relations

The purpose of staff relations is to ensure effective communication between management and staff, to secure maximum cooperation from staff, and to motivate staff to give their best by ensuring that they are fairly treated, understands the overall direction and values of the Civil Service and those of their departments, and how decisions that affect them have been reached. The principles that govern staff relations are that, where possible:

* Management should communicate regularly and openly with staff;

* Staff should be consulted on matters that affect them;

* Problems and disputes should be resolved through discussion and consultation;

* The Government should uphold the resolutions of the International Labor Organization conventions; and

* Management should devise and encourage activities that contribute to staff's well being.

Management Information System

An effective management information system enables various levels of information to be systematically collected about human resource matters so that departments, policy branches and Civil Service Branch can monitor and predict the effectiveness of H R M practices. Accurate management information enables forward looking Human Resource Management by providing the means to:

* Monitor and improve on-going Human Resource Management performance.

* Provide up-to-date information on which to base policy development.

* Verify and demonstrate departmental effectiveness in Human Resource Management create service-wide checks and balances to safeguard delegation and provide true accountability for Human Resource Management.

The Way Ahead

Human Resource Management is a long established task. However there is a new emphasis emerging and greater importance being placed on finding ways of managing staff better, so that they can and will continue to give of their best in these times of changing community needs and expectations.

The challenge ahead in Human Resource Management is not to effect cultural change overnight, but rather to take initiatives which will lead to continuous improvement and show a more planned approach to managing people. It is our collective responsibility to motivate, develop and manage staff in such a way that their contributions to the service are maximized.

Advantages of Human Resource Planning

* Improvement of labour productivity.

* Recruitment of Qualified HR.

* Adjusting with Rapid Technological Changes.

* Reducing labour turnover .

* Control of training & recruitment costs.

* Mobility of labour.

* Facilitating expansion programmes.

* To treat manpower like real corporate assets.0

Limitations of HRP

* Inaccuracy .

* Uncertainties .

* Lack of support.

* Number's Game.

* Employees Resistance.

* Lack of Purpose.

* Time & Expense.

* Inefficient Information System.


In Research, part of all the other six functions of human resource management. With the number of organizations participating in some form of international business, the need for HRM research will only continue to increase. Therefore, it is important for human resource professionals to update on the latest trends in staffing, performance appraisals, compensation-benefits, training- development, employee-labor relations, safety and health issues.


1. The Management of Human Resources- Cherrington, David J. (1995).

2. Human Resource Management. Mondy, R. Wayne, and Noe, Robert M. (1996).

3. Managing Human Resource Development.

4. Quinn Mills, D, and Walton, R, Beer, M, Spector, B, Lawrence, P, (1984) Managing Human Assets