Human resource planning is an integral part of any organisation. With the changing times like now Human resource planning has established its importance unlike its past. It has stood out as one of the core part of businesses today. It has left behind the past image of personnel management and evolved in a comprehensive study of people management.
The below report will look in to the current practice of HRM and the factors that influence people management in today's market scenario. It also visits the Atkinson's Flexible firm model and its adaptation by organisations around the world. It shows the changing world in employment and the change in the expectations of the jobseekers.
Human resource management has always been a core to the success of a business. This arm of the business wasn't as popular as it is today. The change in the perception of HRM has been drastic over the years. From being a mere formality in the past it has evolved as one of the crucial ingredient in modern business.
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According to Bernadin, Human Resource Management comprises of the factors like employee policies, managerial functions and practices that affects the workforce. This actually means that anything that affects the workforce falls under the domain of HRM. (Bernadin, 2007)
The below report would identify the key factors that are involved in the further evolution of HRM. It will highlight the changes that have taken place in HRM from the recent past due to these factors and would look in to the efforts of organisations that are changing their traditional styles to incorporate these changes.
3) Literature Review:
Factors affecting HR practices: Human resource planning and management is constantly evolving and some of the factors that are influencing this change are as follows: (a) Demographics - This is where the organisation is located and the population or the workforce of that area affects the Human resource planning exercise. (b) Diversification - The time has changed there are more women in a workforce in comparison to the past. Globalization too has contributed to the diverse nature of the workforce. New themes like part-time hours, casual and seasonal posts have replaced the old permanent timings. Human resource is finding new ways to adjust to the different ethical and legal issues that this has brought. New policies are constantly being drafted to incorporate this diversification. (c) Skilled and qualified labour - With the business environment being evolved a need of more specialized and skilled labour is needed. This has resulted in the organisations offering more training programs and financial aid to the employees and the target population. (Cuizon, 2008)
Challenges in recruitment post recession: Lot of top executives concur that the candidates in the market have become more aware about choosing employers. The recession has given them a sense of reality. According to K Rao, Senior Director - Human Resources, Philips Electronics India limited, Human resource managers now understand the change in the priorities of the job seekers and so are trying to adapt to it by changing their old strategies. They are now focused on informing the potential employees with the benefits of the job and by marketing their organisation in a recession-proof manner. (Timesascent, 2010)
According to Rick Schwartz, Human resource is one of the most important departments in an organisation. He says that it is the only department that caters to employees across the hierarchy and is instrumental in making an organisation much more productive and profitable. (Schwartz, 2010)
4) Changes in HR practices:
The function of Human Resources Development has evolved over the past 2 or 3 decades. It has been refined, studied and now practiced in a more microscopic manner, meaning, in the past large organisations had a personnel department, which primarily managed the documentation for recruitment and payroll of the employees. However, now the HR department is involved in hiring the right people, training them to meet the company objectives, retaining and facilitating a healthy work environment for them which results in increased productivity and managed company ethics. (McNamara, 2010)
Under the new human resource practices a lot of emphasis is given on educating the employees to meet the global standard. There are various initiatives that the human resource departments across the organisations are trying to implement. They have taken the concierge approach for the employees, personalizing the work schedule, compensations, appraisals, etc. They are partnering with education providers to facilitate higher education for the employees; they are prepared to allot equity options as a way of incentive and to retain employees.
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Some of the drivers that influence the change in HR practices could be found below; these are the drivers that have influenced the human resource managers to draft their policies around the employee needs. It is critical for the human resource department to meet these essentials of the workforce to keep them engaged in their roles which results in meeting the organizational goal.
Employee's comfort with the organisation: An employee should feel comfortable staying with an organisation. It is only then that he or she would be successfully engaged.
Variation in skill: An employee finds the need to broaden their skill set. If an employee is challenged with variety of tasks he or she is more likely to remain an employee.
Job satisfaction: An employee is satisfied when he realizes that he is able to identify and meet customer needs and understands that the organisation that he works for has customer satisfaction as its core motto.
Organized operation: An employee is happy when they have a set of rules to follow which does not interrupt their main duty. A well coordinated operation which has clear guidelines and streamlined processes would enable an employee to feel satisfied.
Clear communication: A task assigned with out required information would make an employee feel neglected. A channel of clear communication should be established to keep an employee engaged.
Training and career guidance: Training should not be given for the sake of it; it should be imparted with a view of career progression and development. All the required tools to do the task should be allotted to an employee and a path of career progression should be explained.
Appropriate management hierarchy: An employee should feel the manager or supervisor possesses adequate knowledge and expertise to lead them. (The Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement, 2010)
5) Atkinson's model of flexibility:
Atkinson's flexible firm model is drafted around the basis that the employers face uncertain market conditions and they fulfill their workforce needs in two different ways. First the employers' uses a set of workers that are permanent in nature, meaning these employees posses' specific skill set that is required for the job. This set of staff is trained to meet different circumstances that may arise in doing the task. This strategy provides the organisation with the much needed flexibility. This unit is compensated with secured salaries and full time jobs. The second fleet of workers is the unskilled labour. These employees are on temporary contracts and do not enjoy the privileges of the permanent employees. They have low wages and comparatively less hours of work. This helps the organisation to cut cost and meet the demand ratio.
According to Atkinson the organisations use 4 types of flexibility strategies:
External Numerical Flexibility: This means that temporary workers can be hired from external markets for a fixed term of work or the regulations on the hiring and firing of employees could be eased thus empowering the organisation to hire and fire employees per their needs.
Internal Numerical Flexibility: This simply means that the working hours of the internal employees could be adjusted.
Functional Flexibility: This means that employees could be utilized to perform different roles within the firm.
Financial or wage flexibility: It means that there is no set parameter for the wages and they are adjusted according to the supply and demand needs. (Atkinson, 1984; Atkinson and Meager, 1986)
In today's scenario where cost cutting has become the need of the hour the Flexible firm model has emerged as a preferred practice with organisations. They advocate outsourcing of services, safekeeping their core workforce and hiring temporary help to meet their labour needs. It has become imperative to keep the employees happy and to cater to their growing demands in terms of flexibility in their work life. Atkinson's flexible firm model provides them with just that.
I feel that Human resource has rightly established itself as an integral part of the strategy planning exercise in an organisation. An organisation sets goals and these are to be ultimately achieved by the workforce or the human resource of the organisation. So it is critical that it has the right set of people to fulfill the goals. Having the right people is determined by the strength of its HR department.
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We have seen over the last decade that the top executives from the HR function are active members of the strategic planning committees in large organisations. This seems to be a practice which would further strengthen as we progress in the future.
We can also see that the HR managers are constantly working to adapt to the changing behaviors of the employees. We have seen that the current generations of workers, mainly the ones that are in their late twenties or early thirties are trying strike a balance with their personal priorities and work. This is proving a challenge for the HR managers to keep these employees engaged. They are innovating new ideas in terms of perks and incentives to sustain the talent.
I am of the opinion that Human Resource managers would have an even enhanced role in the future. They would be the key factor in determining the organisations success.