Managers involvement in planning human resources

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Executive Summary

It is my pleasure to present this report as part of my academic module of Human Resource Planning. The word 'Change' is now a constant term that takes place in every in every part of organization. Time has brought a huge change with broader invention, new techniques of implication and human feelings and willingness. The Human Resource Management (HRM) has been well diversified and enriched with information resources, development of technology and globally acceptable policies. So we need to find approaches to managerial involvement in developing efficient HR Planning and Management.

In this report I tried to critically evaluate Managerial role in HR strategy development and practices including barriers preventing Line Managers(LMs) from getting involved in HR Planning and Management (HRP&M), Measures to overcome the barriers, Risk of involving LMs in HRP&M to extensive extent and easiness resulted by the development and uses of Technology in involving LMs in HR practices.

Acknowledgement

I would like to offer my earnest gratitude to my course coordinator Hannah Moore and my course tutor Brian Blundell from RDI for their continuous support and cooperation. In addition I would like to thank my store managers and my personnel for giving me authentic information about HR role and Practices.

I specially want to thank RDI for designing such a pragmatic course with great contents including models outline and techniques in such a way that inspired and helped me a lot to prepare this report.

Md Shahidul Islam

Introduction:

Planning Human Resource is a critical aspect within overall organizational framework. Time has brought a great extent of change in policies, theories, techniques, HR equipment and in planning and practices if Human Resources to achieve enterprise goals through establishing wide range of successful management and designing efficient HR strategy.

Critical evaluation of the role of senior managers in developing an organization's overall Human Resource Strategy

Senior managers play a pivotal role in developing an organization's overall Human Resource (HR) strategy.

Before starting the development of Human Resource (HR) Strategy, the managers need to realize Human Resource Management (HRM) activities and their integration to each other and the HR cycle as because of the strategy is designed to perform those activities efficiently to achieve a set of predetermined objectives. HRM activities and HR cycle are shown in the following diagram with their relationship to each other.

HRM Activities

Investigation and analysis

The managers need to investigate and analyze current situation and of internal and external trends of the organization as the first step of planning HR. The managers should mainly focus on the following key issues:

  • Identify which works need to be done
  • Selecting the approach of performing those works effectively and efficiently to achieve the organization's objectives
  • Identify the skills and experience the organization will need
  • Identify the internal and external factors affect the supply and quality of labor, the demand for labor, and the likely people gap

Forecasting

Senior managers need to forecast beforehand to develop HR strategy where they will:

  • Predict the likely demand for labor
  • Predict the likely level of labor supply
  • Considering both those levels in relation to the numbers of staff and also to the skills and experience that are needed.

Based on those predictions, organizations can assess whether the required numbers of people, with the relevant competencies, are likely to be available. If not, then the organization must carefully identify where the skill gaps are likely to occur and decide what it is going to do about those.

Planning and Resourcing

The Human Resource Strategy Cycle in an organization

Senior managers need to start-up with human resource cycle as depicted by the Michigan School's 'matching model' of four generic process can be graphically presented by Harvard framework as shown below:

The senior managers needs to plan the four generic process of Human Resource cycle in organization where. The components of this process are:

  • Selection: matching people to jobs
  • Appraisal of performance
  • Rewards: emphasizing the real importance of pay and other forms of immediate and long-term compensation in achieving results
  • Development of skilled individuals

According to the Harvard Framework the senior managers must develop two aspects of strategic vision.

  • Employees must be involved in and developed by the organization; and
  • HRM policies must be developed to achieve those goals.

The approach of senior managers emphasizes the importance of two elements as:

  • Line managers in ensuring that competitive strategy and HR policies are aligned
  • HR managers in setting policies that fit well with the organization's overall aims.

The key components of Harvard Framework are shown below:

In the first instance, senior managers will carefully identify the fundamental issues, which are important to develop an organization's Human Resource Strategy.

Strategic Planning

This approach identifies six specific steps for senior managers in developing HR Strategy:

Analysis

Implementation and control

Using the process model discussed earlier, the Managers need to design specific components of the HR Strategic Plan as described below.

Setting the strategic direction

Through this process managers focus on aligning human resource policies to support the accomplishment of the Company's mission, vision, goals and strategies.

In this regards the following actions are recommended for the senior managers:

  • Perform external scanning evaluating its impact on the organizational objective
  • Identify organizational vision, goal, mission, objective and principles for guidance
  • Identify strategies

Designing the Human Resource Management System

In this stage managers focus on HR plans, policies and practices. In this regards senior managers are recommended to do the following:

  • Identifying relevant HR practices
  • Conducting a system review for an employment

Planning the total workforce

In this regards senior managers are recommended to do the folloeing:

  • Determining appropriate structure to support objectives
  • Designing key activities
  • Developing workforce planning

Generating the required human resources

In this process senior managers focus on recruit and hire of people, classify them, train them and assign employees on the basis of strategic plan.

It requires a comprehensive workplace skills planning which will identify appropriate training priorities based on the organizational requirements within the context of present and future.

In this regards senior managers are recommended to do the followings:

  • Evaluating recruitment practices and selection procedure
  • Implementing leadership strategy
  • Adopting occupational techniques

Investing in HR Development and Performance

Through development responses and reward strategies managers will aim to increase business skills, the application of business skills and the behavioral elements to an organization's effective performance. In many ways, the Skills Development legislation has required managers to re-engineer their developmental methods and practices.

In this regards senior managers are recommended to do the following:

Determine the appropriate policies, procedures and practices in respect of

  • Designing career path
  • Initiating performance appraisals
  • Planning reward management
  • Designing promotional activities

Assessing organization's competencies and performances

Finally, in this regards senior managers are recommended to:

  • Evaluating organizational culture
  • Implementing succession plan
  • Revising and adapting Human Resource strategies

Making the HR Strategy integral to the organization

The senior managers also should make sure that the strategies of Human Resource are integrated with overall organizational goals. To achieve these goals, the senior managers should:

  • Discuss with all stakeholders about the nature of the strategies;
  • Focus on benefits derived from the strategies;
  • Giving feedback on the implementation of the plan;

The barriers which may prevent line-managers becoming more involved in HR Planning & Management and Measures can be take to overcome them

Principal Barriers

HR hierarchy shows LMs are key persons to run the organization where all other department and their activities and success depend upon responses and performance of LMs. So LMs are prevented by many seasons and amongst the two principal barriers to most line managers supporting the HRP&M are:

Heavy workloads

Line Managers (LMs) are always assigned with extensive workload to keep operation department running to achieve predetermined targets. In a study shown that 96% Line Managers agreed that Heavy workload keep them always busy to concentrate somewhere else. As a result, LMs heavy workload prevents LMs from taking part in HRP&M as a principal barrier.

Short-term job pressures

87% LMs agreed that Time constrain in respect of short-term job pressure as second principal barrier which prevent them from involving with HRP&M.

To overcome these barriers proper utilization of technology to minimize the workload or increase the number of Line Managers to share short-term job pressures so that there is enough people to take over while another is working in HR.

Other barriers to line managers and relevant measures are:

Human Resource Planning and Management (HRP&M) is a difficult process

Line Managers (LM) are designated and assigned for operational activities and performance appraisal through practices of already designed and managed activities HR activities. HR planning and Management is a technical approach where HR manager is specialized with the knowledge and skills to perform the HRP and HRM activities. But the line managers may not have this skills and knowledge. So they most of the times are reluctant to be involved with the process.

In this regard, senior managers should design the roles and responsibilities of a line manager very carefully where there are scopes of being involved with HRP and HRM. As a mandatory process top managers may include special training session to enrich them with HR ideologies and management practices so that the line managers without HR background may learn about the technical approaches involved in the HRP and HRM.

Lack of desire

The fact that LMs are not always sufficiently willing to take on HR responsibilities or that their motivation to do so is lacking highlights a lack of personal incentives for using HR practices. So lack of desire for any reason including lack of incentives, workload, time constraint is one of the barriers that prevent them to be involved with HRP and HRM.

Institutional incentives can persuade LMs to give HR activities serious consideration. So adapting such a business policy where line managers are motivated enough to prioritise HR roles or by making HR responsibilities an integral part of LMs' own performance appraisals, their job descriptions may improve their attitude towards being invloved with HRP/HRM.

Lack of capacity

LMs need time to learn and implement HRP/M successfully. Because HR tasks are generally devolved to LMs without reducing their other duties lack of their capacity to deal with challenges involved in HRP/M. This implies, lack of capacity is another constrain hindering Line Managers taking part in HRP/M.

The design of line managers responsibilities should apply variability approach where there should be enough room for them to act with HRP/M. they are usually given a short-term target to be achieved and their time is appropriately aligned with other responsibilities. So there should be alternative choices for them to be involved e.g. if a line manager is getting involved with HR practices, their other jobs are shared with other managers i.e. compromise with their workload or extra facilities may attract them to get involved with HRP/M.

Lack of competencies

There is a need for HR-related competencies for successful HRP/M implementation. LMs lack specialist knowledge and skills in terms of labor law, HR strategy, HR technology etc. So this lacking may prevent them from getting involved with HRP/M.

Through a comprehensive training program this barrier can be overcome. There are specific legal requirements and practices and it is evident that many organizations arrange HR training program for Line Managers.

Lack of support

There is a need for support from HR managers for successful HRP/M implementation. If HR specialists are unable or unwilling to provide clear and proactive support, LMs will lack sufficient HR skills (Gennard/Kelly 1997; Renwick 2000) and proper encouragement to plan and manage the workforce effectively. So this barrier may also prevent the line managers to take part at HR activities.

In these circumstances, senior managers have make sure that the HR managers properly cooperate with Line managers. Senior managers can design a certain set of alternatives that the line managers may follow including IT enabled automatic systems in case of HR managers' limitations including inability, unavailability or unwillingness where they will be appreciated instead of being criticized.

Lack of policy and procedures

There is a need for a clear overall HR policy and accompanying procedures to coordinate which practices LMs should use and the way they should take part in HRP/M. This may prevent line managers to take part in HRP/M.

In this case senior managers can consult with LMs about the devolution of their responsibilities and design an agreed set of terms and condition for line mangers which will specify their roles and mechanisms they will be willing to be involved in the process of HRP/M.

Role and opinion conflict

The conflict of roles, responsibilities and opinion may hinder LMs to get involved with HRP/M. Because In this case taking part in the HRP/M by a line manager is monitored and authorised by HR Manager.

In this case, senior managers need to improve information sharing between the managers and top-level management may involve to assure and recognize LMs involvement.

Rapid Change

Rapid change business policy, economic environment and technology also may prevent the Line Managers from getting involved in HRP/M. Because the changes have impact on HR planning and Management practices.

Arranging the frequent employee forum discussion or meeting about the changes so that there should not be any ambiguity or conflict about the changes took place in HR practices due to the above changes.

The legal framework

There are some legal bindings in HR practices which may de-motivate LMs to take part in HRP/M. This may arise from labour and mercantile law relating to nature of business, demographic issues and managerial roles.

This is the fact of limitation of knowledge where only the way to overcome this is arranging proper training sessions for LMs about the implications and consequences.

Additional Measures

In addition to above measures to overcome those barriers, the following steps are recommended to get line managers involved in HRP&M:

Employment security

Pfeffer considers that this is the essential HR outcome. People cannot be expected to offer their ideas, commitment and hard work unless they have job security. Realising that job security for life is not a realistic aim, Pfeffer goes on to describe the benefits of offering internal job transfers rather than sacking people during a period of organisational change.

Extensive training, learning and development

The aim is to encourage learning that benefits both the individual and the organisation. There are thus implications for the amount of training provided, the types of training, and the ways in which that training facilitates wider employee development.

Employee involvement and information sharing

By openly sharing information on performance, financial matters, and so on, organisations may show that they trust their employees and may also encourage them to focus on ways of improving future performance. Many modern approaches to teamworking encourage open discussion of current practice and planning ways of creating improvement. This discussion and planning can only be effective if people have the relevant information.

Pay and performance-related rewards

There are two key issues relating to rewards. First, high-level employees can be retained by giving higher-than-average rewards. Second, rewards should reflect different levels of contribution particularly successful individuals, teams or departments should be rewarded for their efforts.

Harmonization

Again based on Japanese production companies, some organisations have tried to make their workplaces more egalitarian, for example through the use of uniforms, shared canteens, harmonisation of working conditions e.g. paid holidays, extensions to share ownership and so on.

Risks inherent in line-managers becoming more involved in HRP&M

An analysis showed that giving a major role and influence to LMs in HRM can be problematic and even counter-productive.

In this context tested hypotheses is that the organizational performance is weak for companies in which decisions regarding major HRP&M policies are influence more by LMs than by HR specialists.

Line managers are assigned with a critical set operational responsibilities which involves day to day operation with a short-term target. Achieving this short-term target is a basis of overall organisational goals. So if line managers get involved more in HR practices, there is a risk of overall failure to achieve organisational goal due to negative impact on operational success.

Despite the positive impact may resulted from Line managers involvement in HRP&M, recent research has shown that delegating HRP&M responsibility carries a number of challenges and risks of line management involvement in HRP&M and there are certain complications. The responsibility for HRP&M is not very often included among line manager's performance objectives. Also, it might be difficult for line managers to play two opposing roles of assessor and coach.

In respect of Employment law the work of Human Resource functions is increasingly controlled by the requirements of the law. There is an extensive risk of avoiding laws that relate to employment, for example laws on health and safety, on diversity and equality, on employment rights, on rights to strike and so on.

Roles of Employment Law

The state and the law perform three primary roles in relation to employment as:

A restrictive role

The state provides a set of rules which limit is what is, and is not, allowed in industrial relations. For example the state defines in what situation workers can go on strike and also defines what management can and cannot do in those situations.

A regulatory role

This defines the basic rights of all workers. This began with rights for relatively safe working for those employed in mines but has expanded to cover everyone in the workplace. It now also covers many aspects of employment, for example legislation on unfair dismissal means that organisations have to keep careful records on performance, disciplinary procedures and grievances.

An auxiliary role

Many government bodies give advice, for example on health and safety or equal opportunities, that goes beyond the strict statement of the law.

Conflicts

As a result of above employment law being involved in HRP&M, excessive involvement of Line manager may result to several conflicts as described below.

Conflict with line managers

The focus of many line managers will be towards achieving their own, and their team's, targets. This may lead to the manager ignoring guidelines and legislation on working hours, bullying, safety and other issues.

Those working in an HR role need to focus on the long-term needs of the organisation: good employee/management relations; working within the legislation, and so on. These long-term needs are of greater importance than achieving a team's short-term targets.

Employment and conflicting priorities

Managers have a primary aim of adding value to their organisation. By LMs short-term benefit may be gained by sacking employees during periods of low activity. In the long term, however, this is likely to adversely affect staff morale and will also incur costs when new recruits must be found in the future.

Freedom and control

Conflict may occur between managers' wishes to exert freedom in how they run their teams and the strategic need of organisations to exert control and work for at least some degree of consistency. As an example think of policies towards overtime. Line managers may want freedom to use overtime as they think suitable resulting inter-team conflict or problems when employees move between teams.

Disputes and grievances

The ambiguous nature of HR work is perhaps most clear when disputes occur between employees and management. This may involve a grievance by an individual Line Manager (LM); it may involve a major dispute such as a strike.

Technological developments assist the process of facilitating greater line-manager involvement in HRP&M

Technology

Technology refers to the information, equipment, techniques & processes required to transform inputs into outputs. It is considered as the basic factor in the process of development. The use of technology lead to increase in the productivity of labor, capital & others factors of organization.

Role of Technology

  • Increasing the productivity of the workers
  • Utilization of the resources
  • Higher level of output per worker.
  • Creation of the employment
  • More profit for the organization
  • Cost minimization

When Human Resource Management (HRM) involves Information Technology (IT) then it is called HRM Information Systems (HRMIS) or in short HRIS. In this modern period of time technology is widely used in HR practices even in developing HR strategy and in their implementation.

HRIS is an organized approach for obtaining relevant and timely data, analyze and disseminate data and use them in HR practice and management. We now have the technology to allow us to reduce HR administration and to provide improved levels of service to our internal customers. Through HRIS the managers are able to access up-to-date, accurate, concise, relevant and complete information.

Changes in HR roles

Impact of Technology

Thus, development of Technology played a significant role to overcome barriers preventing LMs from getting involved and it contributed positively to minimize the risk of LMs being more involved in HRP&M which illustrated below:

More efficient and time saving approach

Uses of technology save lots of time in the process where Line Managers are involved. The LMs' workloads is minimized and there is availability in time to get involved in HRP&M.

Better Communication

Technology made it easy to communicate internally and externally with other managers especially with HR manager to share information and the specific areas of HR practices where he can take part. In addition the LMs can learn necessary techniques through web conferencing, multi-media training, Tele-conference etc. So they will more willing to take part in HRP&M.

Global Accessibility

Technology enables LMs 24/7 local, global and international access to the area of HR practices. So LMs can take part in HRP&M regardless time, place and resource constraints.

Competence

Technology increases the level of LMs's competence through availability of wide range of information, easy access to training, better communication etc. So they will like to take this challenge in addition to their regular responsibility.

Improving Record Management

Technology widely assists to improve record keeping from manual to electronic system in operation and HR department. Technology ensures maximum output with minimum time and resources which enables LMs to get

Promoting internal Stakeholders

Technology increase analytical ability of LMs leading them to integrating the activities which is widely taking place now a days.

Conclusion

Now a days HR and Operation departments are integrating their activities to boost up their results of activities and gain competitive advantage. In this case both Senior Managers and Line Managers play a pivotal role to HR Development and Management. In this regard, integrating departmental works and improving technology utilization will contribute to achieving the set of stakeholders' goals in organization.

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Web resource:

www.rdi.co.uk

http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.wales.ac.uk

www.londonmet.ac.uk/library

http://www.scribd.com

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