The General Role Of Human Resource Management Business Essay

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There will be a change in the different approaches of managing human resources by the improvement of employee relations with a new model of human resource management. This new model will be focusing mainly on key areas like

Boninelli and Meyer (2004) mention that a new model for human resource management will lead to a shift in approaches toward the management of human resources by, amongst others, improving employee relations.

In this chapter, the literatures relating to the topics of recruitment and selection processes of organisations will be assessed.


Human resource management is most commonly defined as being the strategic, integrated and intelligible method to employment, development and well-being of the people in organizations.

Beer et al. (1984) define human resource management as being the management actions and decisions which are susceptible to influence the characteristics of relationships existing between the different employees and the organization. According to Guest (1987), human resource management is made up of a number of policies which will enhance organizational integration, flexibility, and the work quality and employee commitment.

Legge (1989) states that in order to strengthen the organizational culture, human resource policies should be integrated in the planning of the organization. He recognizes that human resources hold a high value within organisations and that they are a source of competitive advantage. To make the most out of human resources, Legge firmly believes that they should be effectively recruited, in order that they match the company's culture. This will in a way assure some degree of commitment from the side of that particular employee. Also, when human resources have been effectively recruited, there won't be any difficulties for them in adapting themselves to the organisation's excellence quest.

The general role of human resource management is to make sure that the organization is achieving success through its people. HRM main objective is to maximize organizational efficiency and ability - the ability of an organization to achieve its objectives by making the optimum use of the resources available for that particular purpose. Ulrich and Lake (1990) stated that: 'HRM systems can be considered as the source of organizational abilities that enable firms to learn and exploit new prospects.' However, human resource management also has an ethical facet. It is concerned with the rights and needs of individuals in the organization. This is made possible through the exercise of social duty.

According to Dyer and Holder (1998), the human resource goals of management have to be analysed by considering:

the kind of behavior employees are expected to have

the composition of the organization

the competence of the employees, that is the level of skills and abilities required, and

commitment; the degree to which employees identify themselves to the organisation


Recruitment and selection is an important process in the creation of a concrete psychological contract between employees and employers. The psychological contract is the basis of good organisational commitment, and also helps a lot in employee motivation. The distinctions in the practices of recruitment and selection vary across organisations, and they are mostly in line with the organisations' strategy.

As per Anderson (1994), recruitment and selection is a process consisting of a set of integrated activities, having as main objective the effective, efficient and continuous staffing of people, even though they are different from each other in their scope. Recruitment is the set of activities and processes used to obtain a wanted amount of people at the right place and the right time, allowing organisations and individuals to select their own interest (Costello, 2006). From this point of view, it can be deducted that the recruitment process provides organisations with an arena of qualified potential employees, from which they are going to select. For a recruitment process to be successful, human resource department of organisations have to engage themselves in a proper strategic planning of employment, where plans are made based on the discovered future need of the organisation and on the external and internal talent pool.

Recruitment is defined as being the process of generating a pool of talented individuals to seek employment in an organisation. Selection is the process whereby managers make use of specific instruments to choose from the arena of applicants the number of persons which they believe are more expected to succeed in the post (CIPD, 2010).


Nowadays, recruiting has become multifaceted, regardless on the type, size or location of the organisation. This assumption is applicable to all levels in an organisation.

Recruitment is not just concerned with selecting individuals in an organisation. It also includes analysing both their social and professional skills, in a way that they match with the organisational culture. This is one of the reasons why it is very important to have the right person at the right place. Having the wrong person for a job would bring about much imbalance within the organisation. Recruitment can be done internally as well as externally, and it is mostly the task of the human resource department.

The main objective of the recruitment process in organisations is to attract talented people. The process is designed in a way that many persons are attracted to it. The first stage in the recruitment process is about conducting a job analysis, in order to determine the requirements of the job being offered and where the job fits within the organisation. After having done the job analysis, the job description is advertised so as to attract the best talents. The recruitment process is based on the present and future requirements of the organisation. It is very common that the recruitment process takes place internally, selecting candidates from other departments within the organisation itself.

As stated above, recruitment can be done in many ways, be it internal, external or referral. Recruitment plays an important role in the growth of the organisation, and whatever the type used, it always has the same objective. Its importance has to be understood, as well as its needs. Within the recruitment process, the organisation has access to a great pool of skilled potential candidates in the same place, and it is thus possible to make a choice between those skills for the present and future.

To have best suited candidates, organisations must ensure themselves that they have well designed the recruitment process, in order not to have to process job applications of those who do not match to the organisation's requirements at all.


It has been seen earlier that the level of capability of individuals is determined at the recruitment stage itself. The next stage will now be the selection process, which always proves it to be a very complex one.

It has been argued that many decision making practices by managers are faulty as those managers do not give much importance to these decisions being made (Gould, 1984). Many times the managers blame the person who has been appointed when there are those failures, when instead it is the methods used which are not the appropriate ones. This happen mainly because the methods chosen for the decision making process are not relevant enough. On one hand, recruitment is seen as a rather positive practice as a great number of job applicants will respond to it. But the negative point here is selection, as this process involves the rejection of many of those applications (CIPD, 2010).

The selection decision should be most importantly based on a number of tools which have proven to be the most effective ones. When making selection decision, most organisations based themselves on the results of the interview they will be having with the job applicants. Here, if organisations want their interviews to be valuable, they should ensure that these interviews are being conducted by professionals, who would be conducting the interview using a prepared list of questions which would be reflecting the job profile.

From this, it can be seen that the interview is a way for organisations to communicate information about the job to the job applicants, giving them a concrete view of what is expected from them and what the job is made up of. When wanting good results at the selection stage, organisations should use interviews more efficiently, and use psychometric tests with them so as to ensure their effectiveness to a greater extent.

It is a known fact that in any selection method being used, strengths are going to be found, as well as flaws. The extent to which the used selection method would be more profitable will depend mostly on its consistency.


To meet actual and future business needs, organisations need to know the number of people that would be needed and the skills that they should possess so as to meet those needs. This is the main function on human resource planning.

Bulla and Scott (1994) define human resource planning as being a process where it is ensured by organisations that the various requirements of the human resource department are being met, and that the necessary plans are being made so as to satisfy these requirements. Human resource planning forms part of the general planning of the organisation. While the organisational plan will determine activities for the whole business, human resource planning will be defining plans too, having as core interest the requirements of the employees. In some ways, the human resource planning does influence the business plan as it will affect the ways in which employees will be developed and to what extent their skills are being used to their highest degree. In this way, there is a better assurance that business goals are going to be met

Quinn Mills' definition of human resource planning (1983) indicates that a decision making process should be made up of three main components, namely:

finding and gaining the adequate number of people with the appropriate skills

motivating those people to attain high level of performance within the organisation, and

creating interactive connections between organisational goals and human resource planning activities.


Job analysis is concerned with the collection, analysis and providing information about the specificities of a job so as to provide enough information for the creation of a job description. It also provides information for recruitment, job evaluation, performance management and training. The main aspect of a job analysis is that it is based on what employees are expected to do. A job analysis usually consists of information like:

the job title

to whom the employee is responsible to

a brief description of the roles and duties of the employee within the organisation


In decision making processes like recruitment, selection, job design, job evaluation, compensation and performance appraisal, the process of job analysis is very important helps. It is also used in defining training needs, and when deciding about salary. It helps in the assessment of the value of the job and increases employees and the efficiency of the organisation.

Figure 1 shows the uses of the information gathered by job analysis.

Source: Richard J. Henderson, Compensation Management: Rewarding Performance, 2nd ed., 1985, p. 158. Reprinted by permission of Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, N.J.

Job analysis is usually done by observing people at work, so as to gain information about the questions which might be asked during the interview process. When wanting information on a particular job, human resource specialists ask for the information directly from the employee. It may be found that some companies, especially those who are able to afford it, seek the services of job analysts organisations, although job analysis forms part of the skills of a training officer.


As shown in Figure 1, the information gathered by a job analysis will be used in the various activities of the human resource department. RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION

A job analysis gives details about the necessities of that particular job, and also about the skills and experience required to execute the tasks of that job. These details are then translated in job descriptions and job specifications, which would in turn help management to decide about the people that should be hired. COMPENSATION

Job analysis is very important when deciding about the salary of a particular job, as most frequently salaries and bonuses will depend of the skills, experience and academic level of the employees. In other words, I can be said that job analysis helps in determining the worth of a job. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL

Job analysis is used by managers at the level of performance appraisal so as to determine the standards of performance that should be associated with the job as well as the activities involved in that particular job. In other words, a job analysis can be used in performance review so as to develop:

performance standards

goals and objectives

evaluation criteria

duties to be evaluated TRAINING

Since the job analysis will be showing the activiteies and skills of the job, it can be used to easily identify the trainings which would help employees to execute their jobs in a better way. Job analysis would help in identifying:

the training content

tests to measure the effectiveness of training

equipment used in the delivery of the training

training methods that would be used


There are several methods which are put in place when doing a job analysis. The method can be used either individually or combined with each other. Some of the methods include:


check lists

task inventory

structured questionnaires

expert panels


When deciding about which method or methods should be used, managers need to take into consideration the time it would take, the cost which would be incurred and the efforts that would be needed in the process. The method used will also depend on the type and the number of the job. The most three common methods of job analysis used are:

Observation method : within the observation phase, a job analyst will be observing an employee and will record the tasks being performed, the responsibilities given to him, as well as the way used to perform the tasks. The observation method may prove itself to be quite difficult as each person has their own way of observing and interpreting what they see. So, this method will contain biases and will not generate true results. This can be avoided by giving the adequate training to job analyst.

The observation method consists of three main techniques, namely work methods, direct observation and critical incident technique. Work method is about the study of time and motion, and is mostly used for blue collar jobs. Direct observation is about the recording of employees' behaviour within the workplace. Critical incident technique is concerned with the job analyst identifying the performance of employees, taking as basis their work behaviour.

Interview method: here, the employee is interviewed so as to get information about his or her styles of work, the problems encountered at work, the job insecurities concerning their career, and the use of techniques and skills to execute their tasks. With this method, the job analyst will get the information about a particular job from the employee himself. This is an important point as it will prevent the results from being biased. To ensure that the information collected is the good one, the job analyst should interview more than one employee, only then will it be possible to make generalisations.

Questionnaire method: in this method, employees are required to fill in questionnaires. It may not be surprising if this method does contain biases, and the language or terms used for the questionnaires should be in line with the different categories of employees.

Also, it is very important for the job analyst to ensure the employees that the information that they will be giving will not be used against them, but only for organisational purposes.


A job analysis usually contains information on the following aspects of a job:

Duties and tasks: this concerns the basic elements of a job.

Environment: the work environment is known to have an influence on the execution on jobs for employees. This may be due to the presence of unpleasant conditions such as exposition to odours, or even the presence of aggressive people at the workplace.

Equipment: some jobs require the use of specific tools and equipment at the workplace. This has to be mentioned in the job analysis.

Relationships: in a job analysis, the relationship of the employee to the different people in the organisation needs to be specified.

Requirements: to perform a job, employees need to possess a certain number of skills, experience and abilities (KSA's). In a job analysis, the minimum requirements needed to perform a job are stated.


A job description determines what employees are expected to do within that job, in terms of responsibilities, duties, purpose, task and activities (Armstrong, 2009). The main components of a job description are:

The title of the job

To whom the employee reports to

The main purpose of the job

The main tasks of the job

The ways in which the responsibilities are to be executed

Brief conditions of work

Brief depiction of the role of the worker within the organisation

In general, a job description provides information about the job to the potential employee as well as to the organisation. It can be used as a guideline (a) to the employer when wanting to know whether the responsibilities of a particular employee have been fulfilled, and (b) to and employee when wanting to know what is expected from him / her.

To the employer : the job description enables the employer to:

Write personnel specification

Get an overview of the job

Know which training programmes have to be implemented

Use it as an additional information source during performance appraisal.

To the employee : with the help of a job description, an employee will be able to:

Know if his / her qualifications match those of the job description

Set personal goals and objectives in line with what is stated in the job description.

Job descriptions are often referred to as being a guideline to help employees achieve their tasks daily. It is also a fact that job descriptions are not final, that is they may be amended whenever need be. Job descriptions vary in content depending on the composition of the job, and all job descriptions follow two rules. They should be:

Unambiguous - this means that they should be set in the simplest language. Terminologies are not expected to be used as this may create misunderstandings among employees.

Brief - the job description is expected to contain very straightforward information.


A person specification, which is also known as a job role specification, outlines the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to execute a job, the educational level and the experience required to gain the necessary KSA's. Usually, a person specification will be described under the following headings:

Knowledge - the details that the employee should have to be able to carry out the job.

Skills and abilities - the capabilities of the individual to carry out the job

Behavioural aptitudes - the type of behaviour needed to be able to perform the job. The behaviour should be matching the job, and should be linked to the values of the organisation. This is important so as to ensure that the candidates fit in the organisation's culture. Purcell et al (2003) stated that there are some companies who establish person specifications in a way that there is cultural fit between the organisation and the potential employee.

Qualifications and training - the technical, academic and professional qualifications needed, as well as the training that the potential employee should have undertaken to be eligible to the job.

Experience - past work experiences, activities or achievements that potential employees should possess in order to be successful in the recruitment process.

Particular demands - the responsibilities of the potential employee, depending on the nature of the job.

Special requirements - some aspects of the job to which the potential employee should be able to adapt to, like for example being able to work for odd hours, travelling, etc.

Recruiters usually make use of two famous models when setting up person specifications, namely:

The Seven point plan

The Fivefold grading system.

The Seven-point plan was developed by Professor Rodger in 1952, and consisted of the following elements, believed to be the criteria under which individuals should be assessed during the selection process:

Physical make-up - a person's physical appearance, health and speech

Attainments - the individual's educational qualification and experience

General intelligence - the individual's general knowledge. It is also about the individual's 'mental' status, that is how they would respond to problem solving, decision making, their thinking capabilities, etc. at this level, psychological tests might be used by some organisations.

Special aptitudes - this is about an individual's skills and his / her responsiveness to words, important for a journalist or with figures, for accountants.

Interests - this concerns an individual's social interest, as well as intellectual and practical ones, like for example an interest in writing or painting.

Disposition - this is about the person's personality, like for example if the person has a sense of humour, if he / she is introvert or extrovert, the influence that the person has over others.

Circumstances - this is mostly about the different aspects of the job, like for example details that would make the job look quite demanding and unusual in its scope. Some examples would be working at very odd hours, travelling very frequently. This will also depend on the individual's availability for the job and mobility preferences.

The Five-fold grading system was developed by Munro-Fraser (1954). It is quite similar to Rodgers' Seven point plan and is destined to be a guide for recruiters. The five points are as follows:

Impact on others - this point is the same as Rodgers' 'physical make-up'

Acquired qualification - includes the individuals educational level, his / her working experience, and is similar to 'general intelligence' in Rodgers ' seven point plan

Innate abilities - this is about the individual's readiness to learn and understand

Motivation - this is about the goals set by the individual and his / her ability to achieve those goals. It is also related to the concept of determination.

Adjustment - this point is about the individual's readiness to access other people. It is related to Rodgers' 'disposition' in the seven point plan, and is about the individual's emotional health, and his / her ability to control stressful situations.

It is clear that both the Seven point plan and the Fivefold grading system have common points in their models. These models are commonly used by recruiters as a benchmark, especially when they need to create organisational-driven personnel specifications.


At the start of the recruitment process, human resource specialists have to decide about the recruitment methods that they are going to use during the whole activity. The methods selected must to some extent match their objectives. Also, the specialists have to determine which approaches they are going to use when attracting applicants. The most commonly used approaches are:

Employee referrals






The recruitment process can be done either internally or externally for any organisation. INTERNAL RECRUITMENT

Recruiting candidates internally is quite a very direct activity. It can be done by putting the details of the vacancy on a notice board, or by circulating an official memo. Internal recruitment has both advantages and disadvantages, which are going to be discussed below. ADVANTAGES OF INTERNAL RECRUITMENT

A first advantage of internal recruitment is that it is cheap. Much savings can be done with this practice as the employee would be someone of the organisation, and would not need as much training as someone from the outside would have needed.

A second advantage to internal recruitment will be that it will act as a form of internal promotion. This will be seen as an incentive by the employees, who would be more motivated to work harder within the organisation.

A third advantage to internal recruitment is that it will save the organisation from having to form an outsider, as the person which would have been employed had the recruitment method been external could have been someone who did not match with the organisation's culture, thus being only qualified 'on paper'. DISADVANTAGES OF INTERNAL RECRUITMENT

One great disadvantage of internal recruitment is the fact that the employee who has been promoted will have to be replaced. Again, this will need either internal or external recruitment.

Also, promoting an employee in an organisation may upset other employees who had been applying for that same position. This may have a demotivation effect on some of them. EXTERNAL RECRUITMENT

External recruitment is when the recruitment process takes place outside the organisation, that is, when management has to look for talents among the public. Some sources of external recruitment are:


Employment exchanges

Employment agencies

Educational institutions


When organisations engage in external recruitment, they gain some advantages as:

New ideas will be brought in the company by the new recruits. This will help the organisation in having ideas for innovation, for example.

The organisation will be getting the needed skills from people, as only those corresponding to the job specification will be employed.

The organisation will be gaining competitive advantage as the new recruit might be someone coming from a competitive company, or even from a totally different industry. So, by the way he / she used to be working before, the organisation could gain some form of innovation as stated above. DISADVANTAGES OF EXTERNAL RECRUITMENT

Organisations might face some disadvantages when engaging themselves in external recruitment, like:

A great recruitment cost

Morale instability of the actual employees due to the arrival of the new recruit

Training costs

Long adjustment and orientation time