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Human resources is fully defined as the overall knowledge, skills, innovative abilities, talents and aptitudes expressed in an organization's workforce in conjunction with the principles, attitudes, approaches and values of the persons involved in the running of the organization. This is therefore the aggregate of all depicted inherent abilities, knowledge and skills gained via experience reflected in the talents and aptitudes of the employees in the firm. Human resources are by nature multidimensional. (Armstrong, 2003, pg. 39).
It is vital to investigate the objectives of Human Resource in the attainment of any organization's goals. Objectives are chiefly the pre-determined goals in an organization towards which all employees direct their efforts so as to fulfill. So as to generate maximum profits, organizations must acquire human resources commonly referred to as labor. There is therefore a need to manage and direct these resources towards the goals of the firm else the core objective of the firm shall fail. Further, management must meet the basic needs, values and aspirations of the employees. Having considered this, the objectives of Human Resource management in an organization are as follows.
First, the firm must create and continuously motivate an able workforce which efficiently and effectively fulfills the desired needs of the organization even in the face of diverse challenges. This can only be achieved only if the optimal organizational structure and desired working conditions are met in the workplace. Secondly, a human resource management methodology must securely integrate individuals and groups in the organization through proper co-ordination with the person's and groups goals and those stated by the organization. This facilitates the creation of opportunities in which the individual or group can develop in order to match with the growth of the organization.
Thirdly, so as to achieve organizational goals, the management process that has been put in place must satisfactorily utilize the workforce. This can be promoted by first satisfying the workforce itself so as to ensure maximum output which can be done by intrinsic rewards such as equitable salaries and monetary incentives or extrinsic rewards such as social security, prestige, recognition, status and other employee benefits. Further, employee morale and management-employee relations can boost productivity if conditions and facilities are continuously improved. This can be carried out through offering training and development programs such as workshops.
Fourthly, a proper human resource process must recognize and contribute to the reduction of related social evils such as under-employment, un-employment and income and wealth distribution inequalities through the equitable provision of employment to women and minority groups. (Bratton & Gold, 2003, pg. 45) Finally, a human resource management process also aims at providing a platform through which employees can express themselves and be heard without the fear of victimization. By so doing, the organization is able to solve employee problems and come up with grievances and further grow via the important views aired by the employees.
Human resource planning and development methods range from recruitment, development of these assets and their retention so as to achieve organizational goals. A workforce analysis is vital in creating a comparison of the existing workforce as to the future needs of the organization. This creates innovative methods such as in attraction, training and retaining of vital employees. Gaps or existing surpluses can also be detected by conducting an analysis on present versus future employee needs in the organization. This allows the Human Resource department to plan for necessary adjustments in the workforce. For instance, if the organization plans on increasing sales by 50 percent, there is a need for a proportionate increase in employees by a possible 5 percent. After considering all changes that are necessary, evaluation plans should then be put in place to ensure the workforce in future meets its objectives.
Seminars and Job Fairs are vital in attracting and recruiting employees in their expertise and number. These avenues offer employers the opportunity to introduce their companies, advertise and promote the organization. Further, social events such as fund-raising can be used to popularize the firm to future employees (Mullins, 2005, pg. 12)
Employee development is best modeled via training. This ensures the firm's current and future workforce is improved so as to meet diverse objectives that are laid down by the firm. This can be aimed at improving general skills such as customer service and sales optimization or focus on specific workplace skills. Further, training and retraining programs are vital in meeting any liabilities on employee safety.
Retention programs are crucial in ensuring rival firms do not poach employees from the organization. This may focus on recognition and employee benefits conducted through performance appraisal. By indicating a sincere need to see the employees grow and further valuing and using their contributions in the firm, employees feel fulfilled and satisfied, thereby sticking in the firm. If these programs are not satisfactory and crucial employees are found to be exiting, exit interviews as to the causes of departure are vital in reversing such trends.
Finally, management development can be conducted via on the job and off the job techniques. On-the-job techniques are such as coaching, understudy, position rotation, committees and multiple management techniques whereas off-the-job techniques are such as lectures, case studies, group discussions, conferences, role playing, management games, sensitivity training and in-basket games. These are not only vital in boosting productivity but also in employee bonding (Belbin, 2010, pg. 17)
In analyzing how human resources performance can be improved, a possible SWOT analysis has been examined together with porter's 5 forces analysis. In human resources a SWOT analysis is vital in determining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the organization.
A SWOT carried out on a Human Resource Department should address the questions such as: The practices and policies that have already been put in place and those that have not; trends in hiring, retention, government policies and technological advancements; opportunities offered to employees that the competitor doe not and vice versa; the opinion expressed by customers and suppliers as to the nature of service offered by employees and the management; are the weaknesses detrimental in employee relations, succession and hierarchy issues; strengths offered by employee skills and qualifications and finally evaluate whether the right people have the right positions(Armstrong, 1982, pg 197-211)
In Strengths: Techniques that have been developed so as to deal with major areas of Human resources such as job evaluation, basic training and psychometric testing are evaluated and any further improvement means are analyzed. Strengths identified are such as the firm's specialist marketing experience or highly innovative management.
In weaknesses: reactive rather than pro-active employee habits are analyzed. There is need to institute a proper feedback system if there is the development of unsolicited ideas. Poor utilization of employees, which may be resulting in under-employment, should be examined. Common weaknesses are poor marketing expertise and a damaged reputation in service delivery.
In opportunities: A new management team striving to enhance overall organizational effectiveness through organizational development and cultural management programs should be analyzed as to the opportunities presented there-in. Opportunities that could be implemented by human resource are occupation of new markets vacated by a competitor or the use of new experts where experience is minimal.
In Threats: The contribution of Human Resource may be ignored by higher management who might be by-passing it in favor of external consultants. Major threats involve the possibility of loss of vital employees from the firm.
A SWOT analysis can be used in conjunction with the Porter's Five-Forces analysis. This is an analytical management process that can be strategically used to analyze the environment the business is in. It comes with the way forward on the development of marketing strategies, planning and development of the organization and indicates how crucial decisions can be made. The five forces are analyzed as follows in relation to human resource.
Competitors: This entails such companies that are offering similar products to those produced by the organization. All competing forces are hereby analyzed and critical decisions made such as those in human resource.
Potential new entrants: This involves an analysis of future entrants that would otherwise pose a threat in competition. Ways as to how the firm can face-off such threats in the future are formulated here-in.
Customers: An analysis should be carried out not only on the firm's consumers and retailers that rebrand or resell the organization's products or services, but also on competing firm's customer trends and ways to create a wider consumer base.
Suppliers: Companies and individuals key in supplying the firm with the raw materials, ways to reduce cost or achieve a reliable supply base are examined.
Substitutes: Products and services unique and different from the products of the organization but satisfy the same commodity needs are examined as to how they could be purchased and incorporated into a firm's products.
The aggregate of all Porter's five forces serves to illustrate the business environment. A comprehensive study and analysis of these factors comes up with opportunities and alternatives in the improvement in marketing strategies (Porter, 1980, pg.14)
In conclusion, human resource management is a vital tool that the organization cannot afford to dispense of. It is crucial for the firm to constantly re-evaluate its human resource plan and consequently develop its resources so as to acquire or sharpen capabilities required in the performance of the various functions associated with their present or expected future roles and further develop a sustainable organization culture in which a sustainable relationship can be founded.