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Increased competition both in the domestic and international arena has forced organizations to re-examine all available resources to become more competitive. The potential for increasing competitiveness by using human resources has made most firms to invest much in the management of employees (De Cieri 2008). Human Resource Management (HRM) is a practice that plays the significant role of attaining the goals of an organization. In the process of striving to attain the objectives of the organization it does not exist to achieve some goals of its own goals. Boxall, Purcell and Wright (2007) highlight that management is getting things done through people, this implies that human resource management performs the role of meeting the organizations objectives through using the workforce.
Telstra is definitely one of the biggest Tele-communication organizations in Australia that has had a long History in the country. This paper wills aims at examining and discuss the Human Resource Management Function (HRMF) within Telstra in light to view the human resource management contributes to meeting organizational goals.
The Telstra Corporation Limited (Telstra) offers a wide range of telecommunication services all over Australia including basic access services to many households and businesses local as well as long-distance telephone call services, internet and mobile services. Telstra Corporation has telecommunication networks, distribution channels as well as integrated portfolio of assets such as Bigpond, Foxtel and Sensis (Telstra 2010). Over the recent years the organization has been experiencing a declining performance; however Telstra has been focused on serving its consumers with better and improved telecommunication and information technology services (Trujillo 2006; Butterworth 2007). Human Resource management is therefore an essential management function in Telstra which has facilitated the organization ability to meet customer's needs and maintain its competitive advantage.
The Human Resources Managers
The quality and effectiveness of employees decide the success or failure of an organization. Employing is excellent human resource managers enable firms to compete favourably in the dynamic global market. Such competent managers participate actively in strategic and operational decision-making (De Cieri, 2008; Nankervis, Compton & Baird 2008). Human resources managers play a vital role in ensuring a company achieves its goals. Today, human resources managers are involved in the management of human resources, capital, information and information systems. HRM ensures that there is maximization of profitability, profits and quality of work life via effective management of personnel (Lewis 2007). Thus, HRM is involved in creation of value to the firm. This is done through definition of deliverables of the work.
HRM in Telstra involves the practice and application of various HRM models and strategies. With the aspect of overall accountability for capability and culture, Telstra has various HR corporate functions whereby managers and HR advisors partner in order to establish a culture of high performance and customer satisfaction (Telstra 2010). The customer is actually the key or main cultural priority for every stakeholder in Telstra. HR professionals are required to work with other business partners in order to ensure that customers requirements are attained through the services and products offered. In deed customer satisfaction can be termed as one the essential elements of meeting the objective/goals of any organization. Thus, HRM acts as contributory factor for enhancing customer satisfaction which is basically the center of all activities in Telstra. According to the cowling, Tamkin and Hunt (2008) emphasized that the objectives of human resource management approach focusing on the impact of the labor force for the development of a workforce of high efficiency and productivity. In a situation whereby a lot of effort is utilized by the human resource department to attain customer satisfaction, the role of development of an efficient and productive workforce may be sidelined.
The other key strategy used in Telstra in attaining organizational goals using HRM is the establishment of collaborative partnership whereby other managers and HR managers partner in order to formulate strategies of meeting organizational goals (Jannis 2004). In many cases managers of other department such as the marketing department, finance and the production department do not realize that they are all Human resource managers. This is because they are also involved in attaining organizational results through the use of people. Many a times the managers of various departments leave the role of employee welfare and proper management to the HR department forgetting that, without an effective workforce their outlined objectives or even the overall organization objectives may actually not be met. According to Lawrence (2008) that most of Telstra's declining performance over the years can be attributed to company's casual approach of handling the workforce in various departments.
Telstra has managed to begin various change strategies that can assist in meeting its business goals. Some of the organizational change initiatives undertaken by Telstra to improve it services include; the organization has undertaken innovative change whereby the management has taken the initiative of inculcating changes in terms of innovation to increase the companies' productivity. Telstra controls and provides internet services such as IP networking, servers, email, and network hosting within a wide range of subsidiaries. In addition, Telstra proactive change has been undertaken whereby the organization has formulated strategies that will assist to incorporate major changes in the organization from the development of the organization major activities. Some of the proactive changes undertaken by the organization involve adoption change strategies used to enhance growth, development and efficiency within the organization (Telstra 2010). It is essential to note that all initiatives of enhancing organizational change involve the efforts of the employees. Meaning that employees have to increase their efforts and also increase the time they spend in the working stations in order to boost the organizations change strategies.
Functions of Human Resource Management
Human resource management department of large organizations such as Telstra are involved in various functions, which aid in attaining the goals of the organization. According to De Cieri (2008) human resource management function it include, manpower planning, recruitment and selection of employees, education, training and development and employee motivation, and Some of the functions will be discuss relate to Telstra company.
Human resources management in large organization ensures that the organization is neither understaffed nor overstaffed. This allows the firm to enjoy economies of scale and the advantages that come with specialization (De Cieri 2008). It also ensures that the company can process customer orders in time hence maintaining customer trust and at the same time remain profitable. Avoidance of overstaffing ensures that the firm does not suffer from the wastages and expenses associated with it (Ayoib, Keith & Nor Zalina 2006). This ensures that the business remain competitively efficient since once overstaffed legal processes involved in cutting down manpower are quite costly. To be able to have the required staff levels, HRM department in large organizations is involved assessing the current and future requirements of the firm by comparing the current resources and the predicted future resources (Nankervis, Compton & Baird 2008). Human resource managers and thus participate in the adoption of the first satellite images of the workforce available to personal and modify it to one, three and ten years of rotation through the expected amendments, and planned staff movements and retirement. This should be in line with business plan for the respective time frames (Bush 2003). This implies that the HRM takes into account the goals of an organization while carrying out manpower planning (Nankervis, Compton & Baird 2008). The human resources managers at this stage are expected to scrutinize and modify the prediction of other managers. These include forecasts of sales and reduction, influence of changes in technology on task needs, variations in the flexibility, efficiency and productivity of labour, employment practices change, variations resulting from new legislation and changes in government policies. These factors provide the managers with a thought out and staffing demand schedule, which is logical (Chew 2005). This demand schedule can then be compared with crude supply schedules to enable the managers to take necessary steps to attain a balance between the future demand and supply of labour force. Once this is done, the managers will be involved in planning for recruitment, training, retaining, and reduction of labour or workforce utilization changes. This will ensure that there is equilibrium between supply and demand of workforce.
Employee Recruitment and Selection
Before recruiting the staff, the HR department carries out an analysis of what is to be done by the employee. After the analysis done, then written in the job description to enable selectors to know the characteristics (both mental and physical) they ought to look for in applicants, desirable attitudes and qualities and disadvantageous characteristics. The managers also should to determine whether a replacement is necessary or not (Ayoib, Keith & Nor Zalina 2006). Since selection is like buying an employee, the managers should ensure that bad employees are not bought because this will be costly to the organization. The managers have to be well trained to be capable of judging the suitability of applicants (De Cieri 2008).
HRM department of large company recruit their employee from different sources. They include internal promotion and introductions to improve the confidence of existing personnel, career offices, and university appointment boards, from agencies or through advertisement (De Cieri 2008; Nankervis, Compton & Baird 2008). Interviewing of applicants in large organizations is carried out via sequential interviews by experts of different fields (Bush 2003). Personal skills are usually judged through inclusion of selection testing for aptitudes, attainments, intelligence, leaderless groups, command exercises and group problem solving. For better recruitment the HRM at large organizations are involve the staff in training interviewing and candidate appraisal. Training consists of aiding the interviewers on how to shortlist interviewee and how to rate those chosen (Cheah-Liaw, Petzall & Selvarajah 2003). To ensure consistency, candidates' selection process in large firms consists of their rating based on their experience, physical and mental capabilities, knowledge, intellectual levels, prospective potential, motivation and leadership capabilities (Lewis 2007).
In 2009, thousands of Telstra employees stood up to reject the repeated practice by the management of pressuring them into job contracts that are substandard. One of the key functions of HRM involves selection and recruitment of the workforce, and further allocating their working remuneration and contracts. The utilization of methods such as contracting and outsourcing can be termed as strategies of meeting the organizational goal of cutting costs linked to employee remuneration. However in the advent of the Human resource management department working towards meeting this particular goal of the organization, it may end failing on its part to meet its own goals of ensuring that the organization has competent employees who are committed to the organization. This is because the by Telstra imposing substandard contacts to the employees and also pressuring them into contracts in order to cut costs may actually be a failure on the part human resource management (Mathis & Jackson, 2008).
Education, Training and Development of Employees
Education involves preparation of the mind for the expected task and is usually carried out away from the actual work area. Training involves systematic development of knowledge, attitude, and skill pattern necessary for performance of the task by the employee (Cheah-Liaw, Petzall & Selvarajah 2003). Development involves individual growth concerning ability, awareness and understanding. This way education, training and development are all necessary in large organization for different reasons. First, they help employees to take up higher grade tasks. Moreover, they provide new employees with conventional training. They also increase the efficiency and standards of performance. Finally, education, training and development of employees inform the personnel concerning issues such as how to undertake certain tasks or how to spend their lives after retirement (De Cieri 2008(.
The education, training and development of employees in large organizations by HRM are inspired by various issues. First is common sense. It is common sense that employees will need to be educated, trained and developed on how to operate new machines, use new work systems, pertaining new job requirements and pertaining changes in job content (Nankervis, Compton and Baird 2008). Second, the HRM may be inspired by limitations revealed by statistics (such as individual employee output) and behavioural failures (such as absenteeism). The HRM may also be inspired to educate, train and develop their employees by recommendations from industry training organizations and government. Another inspiration may originate from innovation and inspiration of individual supervisors and managers. This may be informed by predictions and forecasts about staffing needs. The HRM may also be inspired by technical press, experience of others and training journal reports to educate, train and develop their employees. Finally, the inspiration to train employees may come from suggestions made by specialists or change has been happen at the company.
There are many apportion for training courses, to design one, the HRM takes into consideration various issues. This include learning through observation of trained workers, reception of coaching from seniors, discovery, job swaps, learning from experience and undertaking planned reading (Nankervis, Compton & Baird 2008). Large organizations carry out-group training in addition to formal courses via lectures and talks, discussion groups, briefing, role playing exercises and actual condition simulations, computer and video teaching activities and case studies. The HRM are involved in evaluation of the effectiveness of training process (Cheah-Liaw, Petzall & Selvarajah 2003).This helps in ensuring that the process is cost effective and helps the HRM to identify what need to be modified or whether the current process need to be prolonged. It also helps them to redefine and reveal new roles and priorities in addition to ensuring that the objectives of training are being met. The evaluation of the training exercise will be based on the effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility of employees after the training exercise. It is also based on the effectiveness or efficiency use of machinery, work procedures and equipment (Chew 2005). The training exercise reduces accidents at work place, improves the qualification of employees and their ability to undertake roles, which are tougher and improve the loyalty of employees to the firm This motivates innovation and acceptance of change that is vital in attaining the goals of an organization.
Motivation of employees
Another function of HRM in large organizations is motivation of employees. Motivation of employees helps to retain good workers and encourage them to perform their tasks to their best. Motivation consists of paying attention to financial and psychological needs and physiological rewards of employees (Liu et al. 2007). This should be done continuously. The human resource management is charged with devising good personnel policies, which are desirable. The wage package offered to workers in large firms is determined by the management and this ensures that the package is both fair and just to motivate the employees.
The motivational approach has also been implemented by Telstra. Individuals such as Herzberg and Maslow propagated the motivational theory as a fundamental strategy of improving the performing capabilities of people. The motivation theory is linked to one major parameter, which is the aspect of job satisfaction which further leads to a productive workforce who can work hard to attain the goals of the organization. The theory further highlights that job satisfaction is enhanced by factors such as recognition, achievement and personal growth (Jannis 2004). Telstra utilized strategies of enhancing job satisfaction through the Telstra reward program an integrated and comprehensive program that offers benefits that are financial and non financial to its staff, beyond their normal remuneration packages. With such a strategy the employee motivational level is improved. Herzberg highlighted that if the organization maintains the strategy of motivating its workforce then they defiantly become enriched and the need for employee supervision becomes lesser therefore attaining organizational goals becomes much easier (James 2010).
People oriented challenge have been initiated by the organization .Telstra concentrated on people oriented changes, for instances improving employees attitude, behaviors, motivation and employees skill. These factors are important in the growth and development of Telstra Corporation limited. In terms of enhancing the motivation of the workforce, the organization provides a wide range of benefits and rewards available to its employees. For instance the Telstra reward program can be described as an integrated and comprehensive program that offers benefits that are financial and non financial to its staff beyond their normal remuneration packages (Telstra 2010). The benefits include discounts on services and products, and benefits attained from corporate relationship. Just like any other organization Tetra has been faced with challenges when trying to enhance people related change. For instance there have been several attempts of strikes organized by the Telstra Union. The disputes that basically existed between the workforce and the management of the organization involved the aspect of pay rise which most often causes contention in many organizations (Ben 2009).
The human resource management is concerned with the outcomes of payment and other systems that go hand in hand with the attainment of the business goals of the company (Ayoib, Keith & Nor Zalina 2006).The human resource management also applies the findings of behavioural sciences to motivate employees by acting as a source of information and inspiration to employees. The realization of behavioural scientists that the changing mix and nature of jobs require better-educated mobile and multi skilled employees (Chew 2005). Such employees are influenced by things such as job satisfaction, participation and involvement rather than money, which motivate older economically dependent employees. The HRM should thus draw the attention of senior managers on what is being achieved and should educate the middle managers on new views concerning work organization, job design and worker autonomy.
Human resource management enhances manpower management in order to attain the goals of an organization. Also, the strategic human resource management lays focus on the role of employees in increasing the competitive advantage or performance of the firm. In many case human resource management may strive to attain the goals of the organization and later realize that its own goals have actually not been met. Telstra is a good case study that can be used to explain such an occurrence. The organization has over the years experienced numerous challenges which have which have resulted to initiatives of organizational change strategies. The human recourse management and the function of HRM were discussed. They include manpower planning, recruitment and selection of employees, employee motivation, employee evaluation and employee education, training and development. All these function of human resource management are aimed at meeting the goals of the organization and not the individual HRM goals. Thus for an organization to attain its goals effective and efficient HRM is necessary.