Human Resources Management and Workplace Relations

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[Abstract] Employee selection is to identify the best possible employees. Whether an appropriate selection is done will greatly influence the entire human resources management. There is no doubt employee selections is very important in contemporary human resources management and its development. Apart from the selection process, performance management and work place relations seem to be very important to the business as well. HR effectiveness is the foundation for organizational success and company that could emphasize employee development and fulfill their needs could achieve their business goal easier. The human resources related issues will be discussed and a few suggestions are raised against the issues in that I used to work.

In the modern world, there are a few trend of doing business. In order to get more shares in the market, firms would introduce more specifically make or high end product or services. The core idea of this strategy is to fill consumer's needs. Although people argue this process could be achieved by improving techniques, using better customer services or stronger marketing promotion, these activities are inevitably connected to stronger human resources management. The firms who make human resources management polices that based on employee needs and align with corporate business plan, is believed to motivate their staff better. It is in a common understanding that a highly motivated team will facilitate organization's strategy and eventually occupied more market shares. Also, when all the employees are well managed under contemporary human resources management, firm would be able to spare more time and resources to tackle external competitors. In the crucial marketing environment, only those firms who can manage their staff well and form the long-term relationship would be able to champion. The next point of view is inevitably about the globalization. In the globalization market, contemporary human resources management has become the strategic resources that help firms operate successfully and finally defeat competitors. Normally firms armed with professional human capital, strong management team and advanced technology would be able to establish strong business performance. Human resources management is a process consist of human resources planning, job analysis, recruitment, employee selection, performance management etc. in order to retain good performed employees, a well designed human resources polices would normally construct an attractive salary or wage plan, ways to motivate employees, employees training and development. All these processes would ensure the human capital is working efficiently, align with business plan, and eventually achieved business goals

People go to work is simply because they need to satisfy themselves in some ways. Maslow (1943) proposed the hierarchy of needs and these needs are determined by importance. According to Maslow (1943), these needs are physiological needs,. Safety needs, needs of love and belongingness, needs for esteem and self-actualization. These needs cover from the basic requirement such as food, water to relatively higher-level requirements (i.e. stability, social acceptance, recognition) and then the highest level of needs (self fulfillment). Hierarchy of needs existence shows that it is possible to incent employee by providing what individual needs. However, as manager, should not simply use the same incentive to motive employee, for instance, when the physiological needs are filled, then managers should focus on spiritual phases. In other word is to incent employee accordingly as the circumstances and climate changes. David McClelland (1961) proposed "an individual's specific needs are acquired over time and are shaped by one's early life experiences. Most of these needs can be classed as achievement, affiliation, or power." These needs are known as three needs theory. In David's theory, achievement means people constantly want to be successful and wants to receive positive feed backs often. It is important to realize these achievements required higher level of responsibility, trends to tackle challenge task or duties.

Since people have both physiological and spiritual needs, then when managers looking ways to motivate their employees, these two aspects should be focused. In a simply term, to incent employee is to satisfy employee by giving what they deserve based on their contribution to the firm, also to maximize workers contributions towards firm's goals. Generally speaking, whether a firm's human resources management is efficient, will be greatly influenced by many complex factors. Managerial appraisal is among the most important factors. Human resources is distinctively different from other available resources. One of it most distinctive feathers are human resources polices are made by and based on human beings, which imply personal behavior and other personality do make the difference. Therefore, when making human resources polices managers have to realize the human capital itself is the most important unit. Without taking the feature in consideration, implementation of human resources polices would face numerous amount of difficulties. Promoting employee would be challenge and almost impossible. One of the purposes of conducting strategic human resources management is to remain competitive advantage within market place. Competitive advantage is a complex managerial system. It combines the superior nature of the firm, the advance strategy, and the highly skilled human capital. Generally speaking, the corporate competitive advantage is accomplished by conducting low-principle cost strategy, or by providing higher level of products or services targeting at different customers and lastly by conducting contemporary human resources management. Low principle cost strategy is to manufacturing or provides lower cost products or services to stretch organization's business goal. They cost could be lower by using new technology, increasing efficacy. The best and direct way of increase efficiency is to improve human resources management.

The world has realized human resources management is the foundation of corporate management. The core business of human resources is how to utilize employees, and the foundation of using people is how to get the right competent employee from the first place. After having appropriate human resources planning and job analysis, the next and most important step is to implement it. There are certain process and methods to recognize and select people with KSAs. It is also important to analyze whether the candidate has the ability to adapt the organization's culture. This is the only way of getting the competent employee to the firm. After having sufficient information about the employee such as personality, characteristic, knowledge and skills, firm might be able to match this information with the position description. in other word, in order to make the best use of recruitment function, human resources department needs to develop a formal, complete, objective system. In 21 century, human capital is treated as one of the most important resources in world's economy. Therefore, in order to make sure organizations are keeping its competitive advantages, the strategic requirement for organizations (either small or big) to reasonably develop and utilize human resources has become significant. Employee selections as the early stage of human resources management have responsibility to ensure the firm is getting the best possible candidate. It has no doubt that human resources will affect the rest of human resources management processes. How to improve employee selection function has become an important topic to human resources management.

Business units normally consist of many individuals or work groups. Whether a company is operating well and making progress is strongly depends on its employees. As all human being would have different behavior and thought, there is a need of making plans to guide, correct or motivate each individual employee. To acquire or remain competitive advantage in the market, an efficient human resources strategy needs to make human resources planning and job analysis based on the company needs. Churden and Sherman (1988) argued that human resources planning must coordinate with strategic human resource management plan. A well designed human resources planning and job analysis will not only get competent people who is the best at the job, they will also help company to avoid potential managerial and financial problems. In Macky (2008) text he has given the consequences of poor human resources planning. According to Macky, there are two kind of serious consequences of poor human resources planning, they are overstaffing and understaffing. He has listed the bad outcomes of overstaffing, which are not efficient, poor productivity since there is not enough work for every employee, large probably uncontrolled inventory and most employees are not feeling safe due to they believe there might be a downsizing in the near future. Understaffing is not good for the company neither, Macky has also indicated the consequences of being understaffing: poor services and productivity, miss deadlines and targets, hence missing opportunities, higher labor cost since more overtime to pay out, employees might have experienced high stress and might lead to high injury rate.

Another important point that Macky has raised is to make sure corporate select competent employees, since it might cost much more for not getting right employee from the first place. He defined employees selection is about identifying the best possible employees for the company. In a normal firm's operation process, an employee will go through a process like training, working silo, performance appraisal, retraining or promoting. It seems easy to cover up the mistake by getting the un-qualified employee by simply providing more training. In fact, training costs are considered to be one of the highest one among all operation costs. Most importantly, poor hire would simply lower the quality of work, increase stress within the team, even in the company. There are other effects such as making people unsatisfied about their roles, more team members might try to skip work and might even cause higher turnover and many more negative impacts. Therefore, getting the right people form the first place is extremely important, either get it right or not get it at all. And to champion this, would required a very well organized human resources planning and job analysis is done before hand, then follow the formal selection and recruitment process to make sure the firms getting the best possible candidates.

The selection methods used may vary from organizations to organizations depending on the job features and the company's nature. Generally speaking, application forms and CV are required, some practical tests and theory tests might take place before interviews, either structured or unstructured. Some company might ask for physical and drug tests etc. In NZ it is very common to get reference checked before or after interviews. All these processes are thought to be very important since they generally give employers a good overview of the potential employees. Employee selections should include the following activities: resume checking, questionnaires, physiological test, interview, role-play etc. By using these activities to analyze the employee or potential employee's knowledge, character, career prospective, potential. The purpose of these tests is to ensure the right employee is on the right position and to hire or promote those who could perform well in the role. These processes will increase employee satisfaction about their role, therefore, minimize the possibility of employee turnover and minimize the negative effects. Hiring people is a very expensive practice: since hiring includes the salary control, training cost, over time pay ect. Hiring the wrong employee would make this worse, at least the training cost and the over time will be significantly higher.

Performance is the outcome expected from individuals, which is based on their knowledge, skills, experiences, and other factors that required for the job. Katz and Green (1997) defined performance management as a system consists of program that define, measure and improve organizational performance. Another function of performance management is to Diagnose and feedback how well an individual perform. Employee or potential employee would find out about their strength and weakness through this practice. Then act to either correct the weakness or make efficient use of the strength. Appraisal is believed to be one of the most important parts in performance management or even in the entire human resources management process. Macky has called as the central control mechanism of human resources management and workplace relations. It is important since it reflects the outcome of human resources planning and job analysis as well as providing brief ideas of developing and maintaining employees. Appraisal could help employee to realize where they are at when competing with other employees, therefore, encourage employee to improve and develop.

The main difference between appraisal and performance management is that appraisal is the control mechanism of employees' performance by using salary control, reward control (both money related and job related rewards), promotion etc. Appraisal normally focuses on the methods that being used. Whereas performance management is about setting goals, or key performance areas so that employees know what is expected and what will be asked to performed to accomplished the requirement. However, they are closely linked since appraisal is part of the performance management. Personally, I think appraisal is very important in my roles, since they feed back how well I have done, and how much harder I have to work. Based on the needs theory discussed earlier, once people are satisfied about their needs, they are without a question motivated.

For a very long time, many employers see salary is the best way to retain work force, as a matter of fact, it does not hold people's mind sufficiently. Traditionally, human resources management is not sufficiently developed to manage people well to fit in the crucial global markets. Therefore, I think there is a need to give it refreshment and add a few suggestions to the management plan. In the modern society, although money is still very important people are more likely to have a balanced life. While a company is advertising to find the best employees, the candidate with reasonable expertise is choosing suitable employers. Most common things people would consider before they take on a job are: is the money good enough to support life style? Would I have sufficient space and opportunities in this company? What can I benefit from working here in a long term? Is the employer reputable and have a good name of providing equal opportunities. This is the trend of economic globalization. The trend has also implied to the firms that they need to keep up with the latest management techniques or they will be simply out of the game, sooner or later.

However, they are still many firms consider contemporary human resources management is an easy task. A task that they believe is to set up a system, follow the model and work the way through. Most employers have tried to make all sort of human resources polices, and try to implement them. There is noting new about the content: salary, reward, rules, guideline and other limitations. None of the above tools has shown the company has really focus on what the work force really needs, such as how to make people more proactive, how to make people more creative, how to make people to have higher organizational ownership.

Training is one of the very common activities that take place in many companies. However not all of the companies are benefited from this activity. Milkovich et. al (1992) argued that training without enough management support is wasting resources and time and might cause some negative effects. One of the examples I have come across is in Agriquality NZ ltd, where I used to work. In this company employees are scheduled to have at least one training section every month, either theoretical or practical. From managers' point of view, they have spent reasonable amount of resources and money to provide employees with the opportunities to learn. Employees would see these as the benefit for working in the company. However, there is hardly any employees would take the training provided seriously. In addition, there were more people chose to work for other companies whether in the same or different sectors. One of the reasons could be the salary is not quite attracted there; basically most people are getting paid less than the market standard. However, I think there are more serious causes behind the consequences, especially in the case of training sessions. Training supposes to support the work force, add value to employees' skills and knowledge, and eventually align with management plans and business goal. However, in this case, the training is not backed up by some support activities. Workers got trained up; they are more knowledgeable and skilled. Therefore, employees would expect a place for them to use the newly developed skills. Unfortunately Asurequality management team did not realize this hence no other opportunities are provided. From the employees' point of view, they realize they are more experienced and could find better place to work for.

The other issues we are having are the relationship between leaders and staff members and the culture. Definition for Employment relations is "all respect of employment relationship, both individual and collective. It incorporates a range of contextual variables, philosophies, goal and behavior of all relevant practices." (Boxall, 1995). It is in very bad practice but in reality it is happening in the company I worked. Team leaders used to order staff to do what the leaders supposed to do, and the leaders get the recognition of the good work done. The main culture there is people need to do your own work and do what you are told to do, whether it is in your job description or not. Team work does not seem to exist in this company. As far as I know, the teams used to work together very well under the old management, however, since the new human resources and management teams take over, the situation has changed. The turn over rate is one of the highest I have ever seen. It is not hard to understand why people are leaving.

When the company is making a plan to achieve better human resources management, they should first realize the human capital is the most valuable resources in the firm. The contemporary human resources management is to develop people's potential. Once the employees are all agree with the set culture and value of the firm, then the management could be efficient and smooth. Any organizations will not be able to stay in market without competent employees and efficient human resources management. Therefore, how to discover valuable staff, attract best possible candidate and retain key staff has become one of the most important topic among businesses. Therefore we could suggest that in order to survive in the crucial economic world, building up a strong human resources management is the key. Establishing efficient management system to motivate employees is the main way to accomplish human resources strategy.