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Human Resource Management is one of the most crucial functions of the organization for managing people in a structured manner. A vast of array of activities are handled by the human resource professionals ranging from hiring of employees, training and development, retention, pay, perks and other benefits. In today's present scenario, the human resource management has got strategic importance owing to the increasing scrutiny on performance management, growing importance of effective relationships among employees and the management as a whole. In today's scenario, human resource management is a resource centered functional area wherein the importance lies in the areas of planning, monitoring and controls (Huselid 1995).
Additionally, organizations are continually putting in place tremendous efforts to succeed in competitive environment and are also making use of information technology towards managing human resources effectually. Globalization also engaged in recreating an important role in marking its importance within the organization as owing to its implementation, business organizations had to create global policies for the management of employees and workforce belonging to different regions of the world (Huselid 1995).
The aim of the research report is to show and demonstrate how the human resource management has evolved since last couple of years and has now adopted as the strategic partner in the business organizations. The research also aims to trace how the field has evolved to its current state and will also articulate how the field is believed to evolve in the future. Moreover, the review takes a chronological and exploratory perspective on the development and intent of devolution in an order to improve the overall efficiency of management of human resource capital.
History & Emergence of Human Resource Management:
Business organizations operate with multi disciplinary functions and Human Resource Development is the function that is responsible for incorporating tasks together. Earlier, the department was merely considered as a record keeping unit in which employees were assigned the role of preparation of salaries and wages, conducting interviews and management of leaves. With the execution of Civil Rights Act 1964, human resource management, formerly known as personnel department the momentum of growth was attained in the field and in due course of time was given the name of Human Resource (History of HRM 2009).
The area of personnel development was emerged in the 18th century and in that time; it concentrated areas pertaining to welfare of labors in the organizations. With the Factories Act 1833 came into practice, the departments were entirely managed by the "Welfare Officers" who were given the role of administration of tasks of other workers and labor.
Later in the period of 1914, owing to the complexity of tasks and roles, the focus shifted from female to male workers and was scrutinized by the "Labor Officers".
Increased use of best talent into workplace, with special emphasis on bringing females into work during the World War I by Mary Wood in 1916.
Post to the World War II, during the period of 1945-1079, the field of personnel management had got enormous popularity within the industry for the management and administration of employees and their legislations.
Later, in the year 1970, the need to address healthy climate within companies reinforced the importance of specialists managing Industrial Legislations (The Historical Background of Human Resource Management 2006).
Evolution of Human Resource Management in 20th Century - Shift in Focus:
The paradigm shift in the focus have resulted in the decline of several problems pertaining to labor relations and employee administration and thereby the traditional personnel officers have shifted their attention and focus to monitoring compliance and fire fighting industrial relations to the new direction of procedures. These procedures ascertained in the areas of selection of employees, training and development, retention of employees, performance appraisal, communication of employees as well as employee management (Gusdorf 2010).
Source: (Human resource management and personnel management - shift in focus n.d.)
Conventionally, personnel management aimed at non managers whereas on the other hand human resource management views management development as an evenly imperative concern. As per the conservative views, organizational development used to be a major concern for issue whereas HRM takes into consideration the changed perspective and defines responsibility for managing organizational culture and leadership. The core values of the organization are established in consistent with the HRM in order to persuade employees to best upon them (Human resource management and personnel management - shift in focus n.d.).
The Strategic Significance:
The industries during the earlier times were ought to build a correlation of intellectual capital with that of success at marketplace, and in this sense, the companies took HRM altogether to a different area of strategic difference where the primary role of the unit was to achieve strategic goals of the company pertaining to the management of human capital. There were still few companies and organizations who believed industrial relations to be a major concern in the area of human resource and traces of conventional practices of personnel management were identified. The entire industry was going through the phase of changing attitudes towards the aspect that soon gained the strategic importance.
The Distinguishing Factors:
A more strategic approach has been adopted while the development and evolution of human resource management. In this view, key distinguished factors are outlined below -
Human Resource Management
Careful explanation of Written document in prescribed formats
The area goes beyond to build spirit of contract
Devising clear and précised rules
Spread of enthusiastic attitude
Guide to management action
Overall focus on customers, business needs, commitment and flexibility
In line with norms and customs
In line with vision and values
Task of Managers
Development & Encouragement
Speed of Decisions
Personnel & Industrial Relations Experts
Cultural & Structural Issues and Personnel Strategies
Integrated & Key Task
Restricted flow and Indirect
Increased flow and Direct
Division of Labor
Managing Culture and Climate
Training & Development
Controlled Access to Courses
Source: (Human resource management and personnel management - shift in focus n.d.)
The Devolution of Human Resource Management:
The devolution of Human Resource Management down the line has led managers to experience a drastic shift of functional roles the essential strategic roles. The Human Resource Department will then perform the role of an internal consulting organization that will provide continuous support to other authorized officers and line managers through provision of training and advice to strengthen overall functioning of multi disciplinary units.
The primary intention of the devolution is to enhance and improvise the overall efficacy of the human resource capital and enhancement of service delivery. This will also result in the reducing the extent of bureaucracy within the organization and improve the process of filling of job vacancies, management of grievances and provision of career development with the aid of training.
The Human Resource Department will best understand the needs of the departments and units across the organization and the devolution will help to create an environment for the individuals to fulfill their needs. Through minimizing delays, the department will manage the human resource capital and by utilizing the authority, they strive to appoint best talent from the market in the right positions. Also, manage and develop careers of individual employees through designing structured training programs and administering corrective actions for minor faults within the process.
Objective of Devolution:
With the devolution, human resource functions will strengthen the services by enhancing and encouraging capabilities across functional departments, by bringing into action a higher degree of autonomy and responsibility. It is a tool that will be used to make sure that human resource functions are carried out though contemporary approach in a timelier manner.
Characteristics & Responsibilities:
The devolution will lead to the creation of new culture with senior managers are held with the responsibility of the new determined actions. Prior, the executives of functional units tend to blame the human resource personnel for the delays and backlogs of any activities, but the time has changed now and the senior executives turn into accountable for the decisions. Thereby, certain characteristics are developed that has ought to be followed by the managers and executives, those of which are - maintaining transparency, equality and fairness, degree of freedom, independence, loyalty and respect, and ethical conduct.
The introduction of the new concept will be carried out and handled with sensitivity as there always exists a corresponding downside and therefore carried out with key responsibilities -
Recognition of new responsibilities
Reviewing and developing capacity of senior line managers.
Establishing relationship between rewards and achievement of responsibilities.
Continuous Improvement and Implementation of Performance Management Systems.
Devolved Human Resource Functions:
The HRM Department will be responsible for carrying out key functions such as -
Selection, Hiring and Recruitment of Employees
Administration of Disciplinary Proceedings and Handling of Grievances.
Preparation of Written documents pertaining to confirmation of individual employees following a successful training and probation period.
Implementation of Career Development and Development of Succession Plans.
The Evolution of Human Resource Management:
In today's scenario, the Human Resource is referred as a Strategic Partner with a popularity buzz owing to the fact that it has moved its shift from functional to a strategic role. The echelons in the department are now developing transactional relationships across the department and with certain changes taking place in the environment plays a pivotal role in the evolution of Human Resource.
This elaborates the changing attitudes and behaviors of employees towards the organization. Owing to the declining of loyalty aspects as the organizations have went through phases of downsizing and layoffs, managers are now ought to adopt a strategic approach to pick up and retain the best talent from the market. Thereby, these professionals are now investing substantial time in selection of channels for hiring and selection of employees with thorough consideration and creativity.
The era has now revolutionized with the growth and appreciation in value of human capital. The tremendous increase in the intellectual efforts has developed the importance of obtaining knowledge pertains to the skills, performances, behaviors, sharing of feedback in order to gain knowledge for improvement. Say for an instance, number of widgets manufactured by each worker in a single day.
The economic changes certainly have a large impact that influences the role of HR within the organization. The effect of huge economic crises in the year 1991 resulted in the loss of jobs of thousands of baby boomers. The effect was devastating in the sense that during that time organizations used to have a large workforce of loyal employees. This has led to redefining of role of human resource from managing trade union memberships and trade bargaining assignments.
Use of Technology:
The use of technology and software has made several functional tasks of human resource development superseded and due to this human resource professionals have started devoting more time in formulation of strategic policies and strategic roles. Say for instance, implementation of payroll software has automated several administrative tasks such as preparation of salary slips, recording of leaves etc. other programs such as 3600 appraisal and requires professionals to work with diverse skills and sophisticated technologies.
The dimensions of legal regulations have evolved the need for administration of employment relationships. Due to increase enact of government in regard of protection of rights of workers, human resource professionals are now ought to ensure compliance within the organization culture.
The changes underwent by the Human Resource identifies that there were no circumstances when the human resource has stopped to function. From being a personnel function handling administrative tasks to the strategic function, it has been a gradual transition that is influenced by several internal as well as external factors.
In today's era of increased globalization and mergers and acquisitions, human resource need to cope and comply with the changes and has to maintain acquisition of best talent from the market and impart of structured training programs to meet the challenges.