The human resource management function revolves around numerous activities, and amongst them is the decision of what staffing requirements that is available at your disposal and the decision as to whether to hire external hand or contractors or employ people to fill these spaces which includes recruitment and training the best employees, making sure that they are performers, are able to deal with performance issues as well as making sure that the personnel and management practices are in tandem with the regulations of the organisation.
The human resource management activities include the proper management approach to employee's benefits, compensation, employee's records and personnel policies.
In simple terms, an organisations human resource management strategy should maximize good returns in the organisations human capital and maximize financial risk. What this seeks to ensure is that human resources achieves success by combining the supply of skilled and people who are qualified and the capabilities of the workforce that the organisation already have, with the organisations pursuance of its ongoing and future business plans and requirements to ensure the full maximization of returns on investment that it had made and also to secure the survival and success of the organisation for the future. If all the objectives of the organisation is to be achieved, the human resource functions purpose in this context will be to ensure the implementation of the organisations human resource requirement effectively but pragmatically, taking account of legal, ethical and as far as practical in a manner that makes room for the retention of support and respect of the work force.
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Taking a cursory look at human resource function, it is very clear that they set strategies and develop policies, standards, systems, and processes which implement these strategies in a wide range of areas. The following are typical of a wide range of organisations:
Recruitment, selection, and onbardding (resourcing)
Organisational design and development
Business transformation and change management
Performance, conduct and behaviour management
Industrial and employee relations
Human resources (workforce) analysis and workforce personnel data management
Compensation, rewards, and benefits management
Training and development (learning management)
The human resource policies have the capabilities to change the processes and its outcomes in a number of ways. It ask that if staff with the right capabilities can be recruited, if employees can be given the needed training and also rewarded in a manner that they will be motivated to perform very well and stay? It is also asking if agents can be trained to implement change and are they able to handle sensitive emotional responses, will senior management succession plans be in a position to produce a new top teams which shares the same objectives and methods? Whittington and Mayer (2002) argue that, for change to be successful, the soft human issues needs to be integrated with hard structures and systems. It goes on to say that this requires skilled change agents and organisation characteristics such as a culture which welcomes change, appropriate management styles and supportive human resource policies.
The human resources function directly manages the implementations of such policies, processes or standards itself or indirectly it may supervise the implementation of these activities by managers, other business function or may be through third party external partner organisations.
It is very necessary in organisations to determine the current as well as the future organizational needs for the main employees and the contingent workforce in the organisation in terms of their skills, technical abilities, competences flexibility and others and this is where the human resource person plays the influential part because the analysis demands the consideration of the internal and the external factors which will have a good effect on the resourcing, development, motivation and the retention of workers and other employees.
Smaller businesses and non profit organisations do these themselves because it is very expensive and as such are not able to afford it, be it part time or full time assistance. The must however make it a point that employees are made aware of the issues of personnel policies which conforms to the current regulations and are normally found in the forms of the manuals of the employees.
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It must be taken into account that some have tried to distinguish between human resource management which is a major activity and human resource development which is a profession. Those making that distinction may influence and might want to include human resource management in human resource development with the explanation that human resource development involves the broader perspective and a range of programs that have the capacity to develop and nurture personnel within an organisation e.g. Career development, training and organisational development just to mention a few.
There has also been a long standing debate in terms of whether human resource related functions should be organised into large organisations e.g. Whether human resource should be in the organisations development department or it should be the other way round.
Over the past 30 years the human resource development profession and the human resource management function has seen significant changes in their structure because in the past big organisations had its focus on personnel department which was mostly in the management of paperwork in the hiring and paying of people but it has become more evident in recent times that organisation and companies large and the smaller ones that can afford payments have considered the human resource department as being in the forefront and playing a major role in the recruiting, training and also the helping in the management of people in the organisation so as to perform at its maximum level in a very top level fulfilling manner.
The human resources function is called by some industrial commentators the last bastion of bureaucracy. Clearly the human resource person's role in an organisation is cut out in a way to operate as the systematizing, policing arm of executive management, they serve executive roles
The role of the human resource person is to meet the needs of the changing organisation and it must run parallel to the needs of his or her changing organization. With the help of the human resource person organizations are becoming more successful through the adaptive, resilient, and quick in the changing of direction and are also becoming custom-centred.
The human resource person, who is considered as very necessary within this environment by line managers is seen as a strategic partner, an employee sponsor or advocate and a change mentor.
For organisations to guarantee their viability and ability to of today's success in doing business, a human resource person will have to consider themselves as strategic partners because the role they play contributes greatly to the development as well as the accomplishment of the organisations wider business plans and also its objectives.
The human resource objectives in business are established and also to make sure it supports the attainment of the overall strategic business plan and objectives of an organisation. The human resource person must be a very tactical representative who is deeply knowledgeable about the design of work systems in which people succeed and contribute. This strategic partnership impacts on human resource services such as the design of work positions; hiring; reward, recognition and strategic pay; performance development and appraisal systems; career and succession planning; and employee development.
As an employee sponsor or advocate, the human resource person plays an integral role in organizational success through his knowledge about and advocacy of people. This advocacy includes expertise in how to create a work environment in which people will choose to be motivated, contributing, and happy.
Fostering effective methods of goal setting, communication and empowerment through responsibility, builds employee ownership of the organization. The human resource person helps in the establishment of the organizational culture and climate in which the employees have the competency, concern and commitment to serve customers well.
In this role, the human resource person is in the right direction to provide employee development opportunities, employee assistance programs, gain sharing and profit-sharing strategies, organization development interventions, due process approaches to problem solving and regularly scheduled communication opportunities.
The constant evaluation of the effectiveness of the organization results in the need for the human resource person to frequently champion change. Both knowledge about and the ability to execute successful change strategies make the human resource person exceptionally valued. Knowing how to link change to the strategic needs of the organization will minimize employee dissatisfaction and resistance to change.
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The human resource person contributes to the organization by constantly assessing the effectiveness of the human resource function. He also sponsors change in other departments and in work practices. To promote the overall success of his organization, he champions the identification of the organizational mission, vision, values, goals and action plans. Finally, he helps determine the measures that will tell his organization how well it is succeeding in all of this.
Human resource has continued in balancing the requirement of several different roles: business partner, internal consultant, operational and administrative expert and both employee and employer advocate. This may sound like business as usual, roles that aren't likely to create a mad rush of human resource people arming themselves for the future. In reality, however, they are new. Although the questions may be the same, the answers most assuredly are not. The ongoing challenge is to establish new deliverables and to sustain strong partnerships with both internal and external customers. The capability and ability to see the big picture and also to deploy the resources to address the big picture will be more important than ever.
A Profession is an occupationally related social institution established and also maintained as a means of rendering very essential services to the society as well as the individual and it can be said that every profession is critically concerned with the identification of need or function in a particular area of expertise. A profession can also defined as a specialized kind of work which is practiced through and by use classified knowledge, a common vocabulary, and also which requires standards of practice inclusive of code of ethics which has been established by and an institution that is recognised. A profession collectively, and the professional individually possesses a host of knowledge and a various behaviours and skills needed in the practice of a profession. Such knowledge, behaviours and skills are mostly not possessed by a person who is not a professional. It has to be noted here that members of the profession are very much in the taking of decision taking in the service of the client and these decision are usually made in accordance with most valid knowledge available and also a background of principles as well as theories, and within the context of possible impact on other related conditions or services and within this context it can be concluded that a profession is based on one or more undergirding disciplines from which it builds its own applied knowledge and skills. A profession is usually organised into various groups and associations, which, within wide limits of social accountability, are granted autonomy in control of the main duty of the profession and conditions that surround it i.e. admissions, educational standards, examinations and licensing, career line, ethical and performance standards and professional discipline. One particular characteristics of a professional is that they have total control over their own work comes a certain level independence. These controls come with a certain level of independence and that is why professionals are referred to as independent practising accountants. It has to be taking into consideration that the independence allows the professional a certain amount to power as well as some prestige with the reason being that they maintain control over their work. An ordinary person may want to consult other professions before they might take actions on issues that they will take, but the ultimate decision lies with the individual who has the control and the responsibility for his or her action, but with a professional there total autonomy over what they do and speaking of autonomy there is total independence of taking decision as well as the imposition of responsibility for the decisions that these professionals take.
With the argument from above it is time to assess whether human resource can be called a profession or not and it will become clear if comparison is made of its features with the characteristics of recognized profession such as accountancy, law, medicine, etc, which will be discussed below. It should be noted here that every profession has its area of organized knowledge and taking a critical look at human resource, it is empirical to note that its function also deals with distinct area of knowledge which is developed just around the functions of management. With the techniques of human resource function being developed by co-opting knowledge from other areas such as mathematics, economics and others, helps human resource managers to perform their task obligations better. And also coordinated decision making in organisations is normally made possible by applying the same theory which used my all managers in taking decision that will in the long run go a long way to help the organisation to achieve its set objectives. Human resource managers should do everything in it area of operation to possess experimental attitude in acquiring new ideas and knowledge in a manner that it will prove successful in the ever changing organisational environment. Looking at the trend now it will be very important for present day human resource managers to go through formal education, training and upgrading as it is an important source of knowledge.
The transferring of knowledge gained through experience from one living mind to the other or intuitive knowledge are no longer considered enough for practicing managers. Human resource manager's roles or status in the organisation today is directed to its performance rather than other extraneous factors like family or political connections and in this way human resource management is exacting the role of philosophy with performance orientation. It is to be made clear that professionals must abide by the strict code of ethics that has been formulated and is being enforced by professional organisations in the main interest and integrity of its members. So far it has not been easy to identify clearly the membership of human resource functionaries associations and their roles, managerial code of ethics has not yet evolved so as to be acceptable to all practising human resource managers.
Through professional serve their clients' interest with dedication and commitment and interestingly financial reward is not the measure of their success. Human resource managers are today expected to serve the long term organisational interest but in doing so they will also have to be conscious of their social responsibilities and apart from that they are mostly entrusted with the wealth producing resources of an organisation which they widely expected to put to the most effective use. It is time for Human Resources practitioners to rethink their role and that of the HR department, not only for the purposes of contributing to the organization's bottom line, but also for their own survival.
It may be concluded from the above that human resource management cannot be regarded as a profession though debatable in all respects but it has some traits and characteristics of a profession.