The HR Function in the 21st century has evolved from Human resource management to HR partnerships; that is supporting activities, wanting to add more value to the business, having a voice at the table, partnering with the business while producing business solutions before the need arises.
The Human Resources Manager is a strategic partner with knowledge and practical experience in human resource management who manages both the people and performance units. (Williams Recognition , 2011).
Human Resource department should be able to work closely with both line managers and senior management and be able to align its strategies to the business needs putting into considerations the organisation’s culture and style in order to achieve set objectives. The Internal and external environment has impacted the HR roles in so many ways. The SWOT analysis is a very important tool which can be used in measuring HR function in a business environment.
SWOT Analysis of a Human Resources Department in a business environment.
Strength: This involves the HR looking at how well it staffs handles employee request; if they welcome questions from staffs, if they take extra time to sort out employee issues and by so doing, employee enjoying a good customer service experience from them. This shows efficiency in the display of the HR duties to its employee. other potential strengths include how well the HR staff know their jobs in the area of their functional expertise and knowledge of the discipline.
They should be able to carry out functions that supports the HR department’s goals as well as the entire business of the organisation.
Weaknesses: This highlight the Internal weaknesses that HR has in terms of tools required in effectively carrying out their duties. For example, if the HR department doesn’t have the necessary technology for processing employment actions, it results in an HR department that isn’t capable of fulfilling its obligations. Also, HR practices suffer when staff doesn’t have the required knowledge and skills as well as the technology expertise to process the employment actions. Other significant internal factors which threaten the competences of HR practices might be financial constraints, which may prevent HR from outsourcing activities that can be more efficiently handled by an outside provider.
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Opportunities are external factors that affects HR ability to improve or maintain effectiveness of its practices. An unlikely factor that can have a tremendous impact on HR practices is a labour market saturated with HR practitioners. In a situation whereby there is a greater availability of HR experts in the labour market , it means wages will likely be lower than if there were fewer HR experts available in the labour market. Therefore HR should be able to secure talent that brings innovative and creative solutions for improvement into its business so as to be a player in the competitive market. By so doing, the HR department would be able to increase revenue or its organisation and this be an additional fund for the smooth running of the HR activities
Threat: The factors that threaten HR practices can occur from business loss and insufficient funds to run the HR activities. In addition, threats to the efficiency of services to employees are competing businesses that might be offering more competitive wages and thereby recruiting talent from your organization. Also, external factors such as ineffective outsourcing services that forces HR practitioners to wonder why HR activities were outsourced in the first place. Emerging competitors, economic uncertainty in the market the company serves, diminished labour pool and lack of training and development opportunities for HR staff are all threats to the HR practises. ÂÂ© 2013 azcentral.com BY Ruth Mayhew.,
HR as a strategic contributor to business growth.
HR should be able to improve the expertise of people working in its department by constantly developing them through training courses, on the job projects and mentoring. HR should engage in activities that would drive employee engagement and these are achieved by putting written Policies and processes in place. Examples are staff employee handbook that contains work ethics like dealings with grievances, Holiday and sick pay, Maternity pay, recruitment policies, etc. Also, there must be processes in place that will take employees through their career from recruitment and selection, to pay satisfaction, to training and development, career development, to work life balance as well as job security.
The most common area of expertise for the HR is training and development, recruitments, reward and employee relations. For HR to be more effective, it should be able to define new roles, have sufficient resources(both financial and human) to smoothly execute plans, develop competencies and maximizing employee involvement and engagement in the roles they play in the organisation. Businesses with fewer employees tends to outsource their HR activities so they can save cost.
HR Outsourcing can be defined as purchasing the services of the HR from a third party supplier. The reason why an organisation will want to outsources some or all part of its HR activities focus on their core business . The type of service the organisations need too will determine whether they are better with outsourcing or not. It may be for legal advice, discrimination claims, redundancy, grievances or dismissals.
Benefits of Outsourcing in-house HR activities to a third party.
Gaining better and quality support rather than what the business can offer in-House
Access to skills and knowledge:- When HR expert are hired, you are rest assured of a world class capabilities. they will not only save time, they will also give you a edge in the market amongst other competitors.
Cost savings on training time, operation cost and other task that could easily be dealt with by a HR vendor rather than hiring a full time HR Professional.
Confidentiality of processes – away from in-house leaks.
Gain new insight and strategy:- By hiring an outsider, it will help HR within the organisation have access to new insight which will in turn strengthen the HR and their overall business objective.
Time advantage – timely process completion commitments and easier
time-to-market processes, products/services for the organisation they represent.
Branding/credibility enhancement by associating globally renowned
outsourcing Companies (Nicola Goodridge Guardian Professional, Tuesday 6 November 2012 10.21 GMT)
However, as HR activities are outsourced, the HR department should be able to monitor and measure the quality of the transaction and services provided by third party to keep a tab on business improvement. This could be achieved through “Service Level Agreement” (SLAs’). which could be measured by the following:
Company Drivers: HR must fully understand the role that the business drivers plays in the organisation and how they can impact on this role in order to contribute to the development of the organisation.
Domain Expertise: HR must be able to tap into the domain expertise of its service provider, the employees must be allowed to be part of the growth of the organisation by allowing them to function as true business partner.
Defining Success: HR should ensure quality services are been delivered throughout the organisation and this must be experienced by all employees.
Measuring Quality: HR should be able to measure quality through Service Level Agreement and its engagement in terms of organisational success.
Ongoing Dialogue: HR should maintain openness and transparency in their dealings with both internal and external clients. By so doing they can mitigate risk.
Value Intuition: HR should always base its decision in conflicts resolution on hard fact and tangible evidence. This shows the quality of its service delivery initiative.
(FIDELITY INVETMENT – SMART MOVE. FEB 2007 OUTSOURCING BNEFIT ADMIN OR HR.)
According to Kaplan and Norton in Harvard USA , The hr Balance Scorecard is a framework development which balances the value of strategic inputs with financial output to enable an organisation to improve the way it plans, measures and communicates success. It is a regulatory model that helps different organisations to identify Key Performance Indictor that support their strategies as well as aligning people’s strategy and performance in a work place. examples are Loyalty, productivity, knowledge and skills and innovation. (Becker, Huselid and Ulrich, 2001)
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The objective of every organisation is to exceed customers expectation through committed and highly skilled employee who are efficient and effective in the discharge of their duties as well as achieving organisations set objectives. The saying ”A Customer is king” helps the organisation realise the fact that every customer’s experience must be excellent. Customer’s feedbacks also enable the organisation to know their expectation and to serve the customers better.
Every employee involved in a process should realise that other People next to them are to be treated as a customer. involved in each process need to treat those next to them as their customer. They could be an external or an internal customer. Services rendered to the internal customer within the organisation is the one which will help gear up the organization to deliver finally the required service to the customer. For example a marketing department who organises marketing events for the Sales department in order to increase sales and meet their bottom line should see the Sales department as a customers whose expectation must be met. So are other departments like the finance, the protocol /corporate affairs, purchasing and supply, etc that are involved in making the event a successful one. The role of the HR here is to ensure that it has in place total quality people with positive and ‘can-do’ attitude who value the organisations’ mission and demonstrates the spirit of team work.
HR practitioner must be customer-focused in the sense that they should see all other units as customers who wants to be treated like a business partner and shown some level of respects and dignity which will equally be given to external customers. HR in their dealings with employee should give a first-call solution to their issues. A customer-Focused HR would build a loyalty and long term commitment from its employee in terms of employee engagement and this in turn will add value to the organisation. (DAWN The Internet Edition By Syed Imtiaz Hussain Feb 11, 2002 – Title; Customer-focused human resources)
In conclusion, HR function has gone beyond the “Transactional” HR to the “Transformational” HR in the sense that it has become a more strategic contributor, business focused and has places more importance on people management issues.
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