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Basic Human Resource Function plays a crucial role in ensuring that an organization achieves its goals. However, the functions are faced with challenges emanating from within and without the organization. In this respect, this analysis seeks to identify such challenges and the factors impacting on St Joseph's Healthcare System by analyzing its Human Resource Management functions. The analysis identifies the organization to have enjoyed growth over time although its Human Resource management faces challenges in managing relations between different groups within the organization. The challenges range from those related to the groups to the ones related to the organization structure and outside factors. The organization is also subject to laws and regulations seeking to regulate the healthcare industry as well as labor relations. In addition, other factors like union matters, employee related factors and operational matters affect Human Resource functions. In this consideration, the analysis recommends best practices to address the challenges and problems facing the Human Resource Management. The recommendations include best practices in recruiting, positions description and selection interviews through which the Human Resource management can ensure that the organization has the right people for the right jobs enhancing the organization's performance.
Keywords: Human Resource Management, Employee Employer Relations, St Joseph Healthcare.
Human Resource Management is a key function in any organization given the need to optimize Human Resource efficiency in service delivery and production. In these respect, Human Resource departments are tasked with implementation of Human Resource Management functions to enhance productivity and relations between the various interest groups within the organization. Such functions range from recruiting, training & retention, performance & rewards evaluation to employees exit management. In its bid to carry out the functions, Human Resource Management has deals with various internal and external factors which enhances or hinders its effectiveness.
In that respect, this analysis identifies ST Joseph's Health Care System for analysis on the basic functions of Human Resource. This is done by providing the organization's overview which describes its status and position in the market as well as its human resource capacity. The analysis then discusses specific challenges faced in managing the relationship between Human Resources, executive management and other organizational departments within the organization. The discussion also identifies the laws and regulations that affect the organization and it's Human Resource Function. In addition, the analysis identifies three factors that affect the relationship between the employee and the employer in the organization and finally provides a list of best practices regarding: position descriptions, recruiting and selection interviewing while providing a rationale behind the recommendations.
St Joseph's Healthcare is a US based Health Care System owned by Catholic Church as a healing ministry that is sponsored by Sisters of Charity of St Elizabeth. The system focuses on delivery of quality health care services to the underprivileged and the poor in New Jersey. In addition, it is divided into various divisions based on service specialty and location including: St Joseph's Medical Center in Paterson, St Vincent's Nursing Home located in Cedar Grove, St Joseph's Children's Hospital in Paterson and St Joseph's Wayne Hospital. (St Joseph's, 2013)
Currently, St Joseph's Health Care System has over 1,400 physicians and nearly 5,000 employees system-wide hence being the largest employer in Passaic County. In addition, the system is the healthcare provider of choice for New Jersey residents as well as the second largest in Charity care in the region. (St Joseph's, 2013)
Further, the system has grown in its service delivery from the 102 patients it served in its first year of operation to over 1.6 million patients served in the year 2012. The System also operates a 1,000 beds system and continues its lead in healthcare service in the community. The noted growth and performance milestones can be marked by the US News and World Report's recognition of St Joseph's Medical Centre as being among the best hospitals in New Jersey and for its excellent performance in Neurology, Urology, Neurosurgery, Cancer and Nephrology. (St Joseph's, 2013)
Challenges in managing Human Resource relations
Managing an organization's human resource entails management of various divisions and interest groups including: executive management, middle level management, other organizational departments and Human Resources. Thus, Human Resource Management and the other managers are required to closely work together to ensure that employee related issues are resolved. (Neo, Hollenbeck, Gerhardt & Wright, 2009) Therefore, a health relationship between all parties is crucial in ensuring that necessary support required by one from group the other is effectively provided. A perfect example could be where managers would refer employees to the Human Resource Management for placement in a training programme while the Human Resource could in turn refer to the management for approval of disciplinary actions on employees. Thus, cooperation between the different groups is required in order to enhance an organization's performance. (Boxal, 2013) However, the groups' relationships are faced with challenges which can hamper an organization's performance. Some of the challenges identifiable in management of St Joseph's Health Care System employee's relations include:
Lack of cooperation between executives and the Human Resource is one of the challenges that the organization face.
Communications within the organization poses a challenge due to the organization's large size and complicated structure. This requires extensive consultation complicating the process of resolving relationship issues.
Limited information about tasks and jobs specialties by the executives. Being a missionary lead organization, the healthcare's leadership comprises of people whose main focus and qualifications are not in healthcare hence their lack of some knowledge about the industry. This leaves some malpractices unattended to as can be attested by Dr. Midei's case of unnecessary, stents' implants which persisted for a long period of time without any notice or raising concerns within the organization. (xxxxxx)
Being a large organization, there is a great work-force diversity which brings together people from different backgrounds hence making it's difficult to cooperate by bridging their gaps. This results into conflicting interests which complicates the groups' relationships management. (Boxal, 2013)
Laws and Regulations affecting Human Resource Functions
US healthcare industry is highly protected due to the sensitive nature of its service and practices. Therefore, there are several laws and regulations passed by the federal government in order to regulate the industry's operations in relation to labor relations matters and client's relations. (Miller, 2006) Some of the laws regulating the industry and labor relations and which impact on St Joseph's Human Resource's Function include:
Occupational safety and hazard Act of 1970.
The law requires all employers to ensure that employees have access to safe working environment. With healthcare organization's work places being in themselves prone to hazards, St Josephs has to maintain a high standard of safety for its employees which has an implication on costs and management. (National Labor, 2013)
Occupation safety and health Administration (OSHA).
It requires the healthcare organizations to disclose in visible locations and designates an exposure incident that occurred in the past year. The law has forced the organization to disclose malpractices involving its doctors with an example of Dr Midei's case of unnecessary stent's implant on patients. (US Equal, 2013)
Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on race, color, religion, nationality or gender. This has implication on St Joseph's in that, despite being a Catholic owned health care organization with a missionary background, it cannot discriminate its employees for being adherents of different religion. This results into work-force diversity which complicates employee employer relation (National Labor, 2013)
Genetic Information and Non discrimination Act. (GINA).
The law was enacted in 2009 under the Jurisdiction of Equal employment opportunity commission. It prohibits employers from using genetic information including individual and family member's genetic tests. Thus, employers cannot access family member's medical history on disease, conditions and disorder for their decision making regarding an employee. The implication on the organization is that it cannot ascertain its staff's medical conditions that are suitable for the profession using the relevant genetic tests. (US Equal, 2013)
- National labor relations Act.
It was enacted by congress to protect employees and employers as well as encourage effective collective bargaining. The law was also meant to prevent any practices by managements and private sector that could harm businesses, employees, employers and the economy's welfare. The act ensures that organizations have appropriate wage rates as well as engage in effective collective bargaining to avoid strikes and other industrial unrests. (National Labor, 2013)
Factors affecting employee employer relations
Employee employer relations are usually characterized by satisfaction and dissatisfaction depending on the Human Resource Management's ability to address the involved parties' conflicting interests as well as due to external factors with direct or indirect effect on the relations. Such factors with a significant effect on the relations are related to collective bargaining, employment relationships, performance, and rewards as well as employees participation in decision making. (Beardwell & Claydon, 2007) Specific to St Joseph's employee employer relations are three factors which have a significant impact on the relations. The factors include poor collective bargaining, lack of or low employee participation in decision making as well as the changing business and market environment which requires policies and strategies that have sometimes being the source of conflict between the organization and its employees.
An effective collective bargaining should involve establishing the acceptable terms and standards of service defining the employee employer relations. However, St Joseph's Health Care System suffered from poor collective bargain which resulted to malpractice by some doctors with an example of Dr Midei. The agreement should have clearly spelled out what could have been acceptable practice for Doctors avoiding such scenarios which negatively affected the Doctors relation with the organization. (Henderson, 2008)
Changing business and working environment.
In a bid to adjust to the changing industry trends, some employees have had to be laid off due to redundancy. A good example within the Organization was the retrenchment of 17 employees in the year 2012 which was a challenge to the employee relations. (Beardwell & Claydon, 2007)
Low employee participation in decision making
The problem results to employees feeling unappreciated for being sidelined in decision making hence making it difficult to enforce their compliance with management's decisions. (Baron, 1983)
Best practices recommendation.
In order to address the conflicts that negatively affect St Joseph's Health Care System's employees employer relations as well as address the challenges facing the management of relationships between executive management, human resource and other organizational departments, the organization needs to address issues in the recruitment, jobs description and selection interviewing in order to ensure that the right people join the organization and clearly understands the scope and terms of their positions. (Marchington & Wilkinson, 2008) In this respect, some effective practices that can be applied in description of positions, recruiting as well as selection interviewing are as follows.
Human resource management must set in place strategic measures in order to ensure that the organization's labor force needs are met. As the function responsible for branding the organization, Human Resource Management should employ effective corporate branding to make the organization an employer of choice for talented and competent candidates. This can be achieved through application of the best practices in recruiting with an emphasis on matching capabilities, commitment and employee's contribution to the organization's needs and goals. (Mumford, 1772)
Position description should always be preceded by a thorough analysis of the position which should involve effectively analyzing the tasks that the position holder should perform. This is suitable for better and clear identification of key attributes, characteristics, qualities, and attitudes of the right candidate for the position. After the analysis, there should be a clear description of the necessary qualifications, duties, responsibilities, and the degree of the authority that the position holders should possess in execution of their duties. (Marchington & Wilkinson, 2008)
Interview's outcome is usually highly dependent on the validity and reliability of the process applied. In addition, the effectiveness of decision making during and after the selection interviewing is dependent on the processes' reliability and validity. In this respect, making the process more reliable requires consistency in the interviewers' judgment. Consequently, this requires an effective analysis of the job to provide appropriate selection criteria. On the other hand, the organization should increase the selection interviewing validity by ensuring that there is relevance to the job in question. This can be achieved through a prior job analysis by experienced interviewers for the purpose of predicting future performance. (Henderson, 2008)
The analysis has demonstrated the importance of basic Human Resource functions in relation to St Joseph's Health Care System. Although the institution has had tremendous growth since its inception to being a preferred hospital of choice for New Jersey residents, it has had a share of Human Resource Management challenges. In this respect, the Human Resource's function in the organization has to deal with challenges facing management of relations between the various groups within the organization. In addition, Human Resource Management has to be aware of and deal with external factors like the laws and regulations that are meant to streamline the operations in the healthcare industry and in labor relations impacting on their functions. Further, the Human Resource has to address factors that greatly affect the employer employee relation as crucial in determining the success of the organization. Finally, application of best practices by Human Resource Management in recruiting, positions description as well as selection interviewing has been demonstrated as being the remedy to some of the challenges facing relationships management as well as employee employer relations.