Analysis of human resource policies within healthcare settings


Scenario: You have been recently recruited as a 'Human Resource Consultant' by a local Nursing / Care Home in London. The existing human resource activities such as recruitment and selection, performance management, and training and development etc are inconsistent and contradictory to the organisation's aims and objective, thus not only affecting the current and potential business but also causing frustration among the employees. You are therefore asked to device the appropriate compensation and reward policy so that organisational objectives can be achieved and employees are retained and motivated.

Write an essay that 'how human resources management contributes to the achievement of organisational objective in healthcare settings'.

Under its earlier, more narrowly descriptive names, human resources began to develop and independent identity in business organizations. Its importance has steadily increased over the intervening decades, and as the new millennium gathers momentum, human resources continues to grow in relevance and usefulness.

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Non- health businesses, manufacturing foremost among them, were the first to recognize the utility of human resources. Out of necessity, health care provider organizations and affiliations began to rely increasingly on human resource capabilities. For example, public health is a discipline which has been slow to embrace human resources partly as a consequence of relatively small individual work forces and budgets that might limit the ability of public health organizations to afford full -time human resources employees. Similarly, various other health-related organizations such as independent laboratories and free-standing clinics and group practices have insufficient staffing to justify full-time human resources professionals.

The human resource department provides vital services to any organization. Health care providers are no exception to this rule. The origin of most contemporary human resources departments was an overworked administrator who struggles to hire sufficient number of employees to maintain normal operations. Organizational growth and expansion of services provided far exceeded the original administator's ability to hire employees.

Delegating this task created a personnel office. Compensation issues were soon delegated to human resource. As other legal requirements were imposed, the size and complexity of the personnel office increased. The name of the department became Human Resources. Formal college-level training programs for people wanting to spend their careers working in human resources have been developed in recent decades. Contemporary human resources professionals continue to struggle for equal status within the ranks of an organization.

The process of change has been ongoing and is expected to continue in the future..

Growth in a healthcare organization can truly cut into the time administrators could spend most of their time to work on various responsibilities related to patient care and nursing issues.

The human resources department or office, as it is known today, originated and developed in the same manner as other areas of a health care or any kind of organization. That is, beginning from what now are considered to be a set of fairly narrowly defined responsibilities, human resources originated and grew in the same manner as finance, purchasing and other organizational areas. Bits and pieces of necessary work that have some characteristics in common tend to be bundled or gathered together. This occurs partly because they are related to each other and partly because their common tasks suggest the need for specialized skills and expertise. For example, activities that involved money, such as paying salaries, paying bills, receiving payments and maintaining bank accounts, and handling investments have been collected and centralized. Thus, the finance area has evolved, and organizations acquired a division or department known as Finance. Activities that might once have been known as accounting, keeping track of money and reporting on its movements , and payroll, dispensing compensation to workers, were bundled under the broader heading of finance, the name ultimately given to the overall managing of money.

Before the title of human resources emerged, the bundled organizational activities related to people were called "personnel". In what is likely a minority of organizations, this activity remains known as personnel. In some organizations, as the activities related to people have evolved and expanded, the change from personnel to human resources has indicated real changes in overall scope and direction. However, in many organizations, the change from personnel to human resources occurred in name only, which the activities continuing unchanged in depth or breadth. The more preferred title is being used but the scope of activities has not changed.

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It is rather difficult to express the true nature of human resource management. Human resource management is concerned with the management of people at work,. It reflects a new philosophy, a new approach and a new outlook. The human factor plays such an important role in the field of management as one and the same thing. As Appley observers, Management is the development of people and not the direction of things,( Applay, A. 1990).

Human resource management integrates and emphasizes on performances appraisal, career planning, training and development, organizational development, systems development, incentives, welfare measures, etc. The important assumptions of the human resource management are that the members of an organization are reservoirs of untapped resources, top management should take the initiative to tap those reservoirs, it should formulate plans and strategies and create a conducive climate for their implementation, should develop a culture in which emphasis is mostly placed on harmonious relationship amongst all members of the organization, the thrust should be on self- development of all its members and finally the members as well as the organization should be benefitted when the organization undergoes development. Thus, it essentially incorporates all those expectations which are not being fulfilled through the tradition of personnel management.

Human resource management openly lays its claim on a fundamentally different relationship between the organizations' employment function and its strategic role. The assumption lying behind human resource management is that it is essentially a strategically driven activity which is not only a major contributor to that process but is a determining part of it. From this standpoint the contribution which the management of the employment relationship makes to the overall managerial process is as vital and informative as that of finance or marketing.

Human resource management of an organization represents one of its largest investments. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to deal with its human resource sympathetically and tactfully, Peter Drucker in his book, Practice of Management ( Heinemann, 1959), wrote " an effective managmenet must direct the vision and effort of all managers towards a common goal". His concept of a visionary goal- directed leadership is fundamental to human resource management. While Douglas McGregor advocated management by the integration and self-control, he believed that a management philosophy needed to be built up, based on attitudes and beliefs about people and the managerial role of achieving integration.

Thus, human resource management is an approach to the management of people on the premise that human resource is concerned with integration by getting all the members of the organization involved so that they may work together with a sense of common purpose.

Human resources policies of the organization should be fair to all. They should make a major contribution to the achievement of an organization's objectives as well as provide conducive atmosphere of working to the employees so that their output is maximum. Human resources are the most important assets and their tactful management is the key to success of an organization.

The culture and values of an organization exert enormous influence on the organization. Therefore, organizational values and culture should be accepted and acted upon by one and all in the organization.

If the aforesaid principles are followed in letter and spirit, human resource management will tap a reservoir of untapped resources , develop a culture in which utmost emphasis will be placed on the harmonious superior-subordinate relationship, and will create an overall climate in which organization and its human resources will be able to do their best for each other.

Word count (1200 words)

Essay 2

Inscribe the human resource planning and development methods in healthcare setting

The health infrastructure of a country includes the resources available and their organization. Human resources are essential to any health care organization. Human resources are essential to any healthcare system. The supply of personnel and facilities, economic support of the system, management and policy, methods of payment or providers and organization of the services are therefore vital in health planning.

Resources available to health systems include facilities, personnel and financial resources for health care. The organizational and financial structure of a health system determines how these resources are allocated or expended, in public as well as the private health care sectors. Both structure and methods of payment affect how services are provided. Health systems require economic support sufficient for basic an continuing education of high quality human resources , as well as managing their appropriate and optimum use.

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Regulation of health personnel includes licensure and discipline and is an important government function. Measures to control or limit the supply of medical practitioners, along with incentives to promote more efficient health care are important issues in rationalizing health care systems.

There are several issues related to health personnel planning and development. (1) current and projected demographic changes, i.e. population growth and aging of the population, (2) current and projected supply of practitioners and their geographic distribution by specialty. (3) Technological advances requiring new professions, (4) Immigration and emigration effects on personnel supply. (5) costs/ benefits of increasing professional-to-organization ratios versus prevention, health promotion measure, (6) health care systems can shift from institutional to ambulatory and prevention care and (7) shifting of tasks among healthcare professionals from higher level to other personnel specifically prepared for needed health services, increasing range of health personnel.

Resources available to health systems include facilities, personnel and financial resources for health care. The organizational and financial structure of a health system determines how these resources are allocated or expended, in public as well as the private health care sectors. Both structures and methods of payment affect how services are provided.Health systems require economic support sufficient for basic and continuing education of high-quality human resources as well as managing their appropriate and optimum use.

Regulations of health personnel includes licensure and discipline and is an important governmental function, Measures to control or limit the medical practitioners, along with incentives to promote more efficient health care, are important issues in rationalizing health care systems.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined Human resources for health planning as the process of estimating the number of persons and the kinds of skills, knowledge and attitudes they need to achieve predetermined health targets and ultimately health status and objectives (The world health report 2006: working together for health. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2006. )

Human resource planning is an ever changing process which has 3 primary stages such as stocktaking, forecasting and designing temporary workforce. In the first stage of human resource planning is stocktaking- recruitment and selections of key types of healthcare professionals are aligned in the strategic business plan to achieve specific goals. Forecasting is the second stage and is divided into two major phases - demand forecasting and supply forecasting. Demand forecasting is related to the future needs of people being forecasted while supply forecasting is determining the availability of people. The final phase would require the flexible strategy to recruitment temporary employees based on the assessed needs and cost effective benefits.

In a healthcare institution, a quantitative and traditional approach are useful in making enumerative judgements which are based on the subjective managers prediction to allocate specific amounts for employee's salary expenses and need assessment of primary employee potentiating responsive to organizational design and system. Allocation of resources is best done with the help of activity based cost management which can control labor and cost efficiently.

Demand forecasting is defined as planning for the medical workforce is complex & determined by relatively mechanistic estimates of demand for medical care. Dr. Thomas L. Hall (1991) proposed 5 generic methods for estimating demand for health care, such as personnel to population ratio method which calculates the ratio and number of health personnel as compared with the population count.

The health-needs method needs and can translate expert opinion with regards to the needs of people which are related to health to staff requirements. Health needs are from the determination of disease specific morbidity and mortality rates. The staff requirements are evaluated based from the kind, norms and frequency and quality of services as well as staffing standards which convert the services into time requirements in reference to a specific category of health workers to provide healthcare services. This method can initiate the need for sophisticated data system and survey capabilities as well as high level and planning expertise.

The service -demands method accounts for the numbers and kinds of health services by which clients and patients will use at a specific cost rather than professionally defined need for specific services. This approach can specifically provide data regarding the economical regression which might involve the utilization of private healthcare institutions in comparison to government funded health sectors.

The managed healthcare system's method entails a known client population who would have reasonably good access to health facilities and amenities. But flexible socio-political trends & economical recession influence healthcare policies related to reform.

Supply forecasting in human resource will involve the use of information from both the external and internal labor market. The calculation of staff turnover and stability of workforce determines effective measures for internal supply related to human resource planning. The external labor market can provide a detailed perspective on the tightness and significance of supply, demographics and socio-geographical considerations.

Internal supply: - The evaluation of the gross number of people needed for a specific job & arrange for other provisions of HR processes, such as training & developmental programs, transfer & promotion policies, retirement, career planning, & others have crucial importance in maintaining constant supply of HR in an organization.

Replacement charts are useful in planning for human resource purposes. This is a list of employment for promotion, selection and recommendations of high ranking people ( Mello, 2005). Some replacement charts can systematically show skills, competence and abilities as well as the experience levels of an employee.

Modern day healthcare workforce would require outsourcing as a temporary worker planning technique to further address staff shortage among healthcare workers. Outsourcing of healthcare workers would require assessment and evaluation on the cost and benefit decision. Ambulatory and walk-in services, pathologic and diagnostic services, dietary, laundry, billing, medical transcription service and other commonly outsourced services in the health care sector.

Human resource accounting is the process of taking full account of the investments made in relation with personnel and healthcare workforce which can be done through recruitment, selection, orientation, training, development , their placement and replacement while human resource auditing is a systematic assessment of the strengths, weaknesses and developmental needs of the existing personnel of any organization and a health care institution is no exception.

Human resource accounting looks into taking full account of the investments made by the healthcare organization in relation to personnel and human resource development. The process of human resource accounting involves the identification of human resources accounting objectives and goals and the development of human resource accounting measurements.

So far as human resource auditing is concerned, its need emerges from the increasing demand for high quality patient care to be provided by personnel of a health care organization and an increasing demand for training and development of its personnel as well. Human resource auditing can point out deficiencies in human resource management and can forecast future needs and priorities of an organization and can certainly update human resource development plans keeping in view the emerging health care needs and technical advancements.

Word Count (1200 words)

Essay 3

Analyse ways in which performance of human resource management may be enhanced.

Human resource management is a staff function through which managers recruit, select, train and develop their employees and develop the organization as well. It can assure the organization of an adequate, timely and constant supply of skilled as well as unskilled employees. The success of human resources department is largely dependent on the way they treat their employees, formulate policies and recruit personnel. If they formulate just and fair policies, their success will be thirty-three per cent. If they fit round pegs into round holes and squares pegs into square holes, their success rate will be sixty-six percent. It would be better if they treat their employees well with the assurance that they are hiring them to retire in the normal course rather than to fire, their success rate would be hundred percent.

The importance of human factor, the only animate resource in the accomplishment of organizational goals, has been growing rapidly. As Drucker, remarked, the resources capable of enlargement can only be human resources. All other resources stand under the laws of mechanics. They can be better or worse utilized, but they can never have an output greater than the sum of the inputs. Man alone, of all the resources available o man can grow and develop.

The importance of human resource management can also be judged from the following points of view, (a)for the organization - maintaining adequate manpower supply through recruitment, selection, placement and promotion policies, developing right attitudes and required skills among employees through training, refresher courses, workshops and performance appraisals, maintaining high morale of workers through incentive schemes, workers, participation in management and proper grievance handling and redressel policies and procedures, developing good industrial relations by trating the workers as human beings and thus reducing loss caused by unnecessary strikes and lockouts (b) for the employees- improving quality of work life through various welfare measures, enhancing the dignity of labor through worker's participation in management and treating them as human beings, raising workers moral by giving them opportunities for personal development and job satisfaction, (c) for the society - maintaining good industrial relations and thus minimizing loss caused by frequent strikes and lockouts, increasing productivity through worker's participation and motivation, better utilization of human resource through proper recruitment, selection, placement and training, maintaining adequate manpower supply through appropriate manpower planning and training policies and procedures.

It is high time for management of all kinds of organizations such as industries, hotels or hospitals to make full use of high-technology. The advent of technology will truly make operational activities of hospitals and other healthcare institutions smooth sailing. Though these machines may seem costly in some of their areas, yet they can increase efficiency, save time and reduce human bias to a great extent. So far as industries and hotels are concerned, their management had accepted hi-tech machines in all areas of their work quite sometime back because they had the financial resources. However, management of hospitals prefer to utilize hi-tech machines in those areas only where they can increase the output and accuracy of results such as physiotherapy, medical laboratory, x-ray department, operation, theatre, laundry, etc., but not in a department like human resource department where they can work manually. But, the fact remains that by using hi-tech machines in this department as well, hospital management will not only be increasing the efficiency of human resource department, but also minimize the human bias factor to a greater extent. For example, frequently, there are disputes over late reporting on duty between the time office staff and the employees. Installation of computerized electronic time recorder to record arrival and departure time of employees will be of immense use and they will feel that their time has been recorded correctly. Time keeper will have no dispute over the attendance data of employees, and the deparmtne heads also can get daily information about man -hour employed and lost by their employees. Thus, not only bias factor and differences which arise in the minds of employees, department heads, time keepers and human resource manager will get eliminated, but also daily reports of late arrival and early departure will have a salutary effect on punctuality and regularity. Proxy punching by employees can be prevented, data received from the computerized electronic time recorder. Thus, installation of just one such machine can avoid misunderstanding which is generally caused by human bias factor and at the same time many reports required by the time office staff, human resource department and concerned departmental heads can be made available within minutes without loss of time.

A few services affect the lives of people directly and intimately as these are offered by health care personnel. Therefore, effectiveness, of the health care organization depends upon the effective role performed by the personnel from top to bottom. However, defective communication system, reluctance to share information , role ambiguity, absence of accurate job description, wrong selection of employees, lack of promotional avenues, poor policies unattractive salary structures, management action leading to low morale of its personnel, etc., can also be the factors for poor human resource management.

There can be four major caouses - one is discipline, second is high turnover, the third is poor service by the staff and the fourth is low morale of its personnel. Therefore, human resource manager is to see that there is check on all these four causes in his organization. He should make sincere efforts to discharge human resource management functions efficiently and systemically. Care has to be taken to ensure that all the work processes are carried out consistently and correctly. This will obviate the necessity of checking and repeating the processes which will ultimately lead to satisfaction of the patients and they will find no reason to complain against the services received by them from the hospital personnel. In most of the health care organizations, however sincere efforts will have to made to reduce the genuine grievances with regard to poor services rendered to the dissatisfied patients and members of their families. This will not only add to the patient's satisfaction ,but will also reduce the high costs involved in treating them. It shall also go a long way in reducing to a considerable extend mistakes committed by the personnel. Thus, it will lead to improved human resource management.

Manpower planning, identifying the appropriate workforce, training them to perform well, keeping them motivated to put their best and to give them the organization's best are all a vital part of contemporary corporate requirements. The responsibility of the Human Resource manager begins with manpower planning and the effective identification of the right people who would prove to be true assets to the organization. So far as identification is concerned, it takes place at two levels: recruitment of fresh employees who are picked up straight from educational and training institutes. They should be given on the job training and placed under the supervision of established supervisors and in recruiting experienced hands, monitoring and analyzing are important so that they follow the established policies and procedures of the organization where they had worked earlier.

Development of employees is of paramount importance. If the employees of the organization develop, the organization develops naturally. Every individual employees has his own needs, aspirations and abilities. It is the job of the human resource manager to identify them and synchronise them with the broader organizational goals.

Finally, it does not benefit the organization to retain employees through coercion or lure them through perks. Employees who express their desire to leave the organization should be taken in good spirit and allowed to go. A better approach in retaining employees is to seek for the reason for their leaving so that other do not follow suit.

Word Count (1200)