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Ernest Dale (1998) describes management as "A process or form of work that involves the guidance and direction of people towards organisation goals and objectives". Management is a systematic process of handling tasks with efficient utilization of resources to achieve stated objectives.
Peter F. Drucker (1999: P1) defines "Management as a second name of discipline". Management is all about handling single or set of activities in a disciplined manner. Management is increasingly important topic in today's modern business terms. Every day new organisations are coming in being and managing is an essential activity in all organisations. Managers put consistent efforts in order to plan, arrange, direct and control tasks, procedures and operations to achieve organisational goals and objectives. Demand of managers is always there to run business different sectors.
The terms human resource management or human resource have largely replaced the term "Personnel Management" as a description of the processes involved in managing people at work. Human resource management define contracts or recruits professionals, ensures legal issues related to work and establishes policies to employee of an organisation.
This document identifies key activities and role of human resource management in an organisation. Determines how human resource plays an important role in achieving business goals? Discuss different models of human resource management. Review human resource planning and development methods and finally gives recommendations to improve performance of human resource management.
Michael Armstrong (2006: P3) defines human resource management as "strategic and consistent approach to the management of an organisation's most valued assets - the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its goals".
In essence human resource management is "all about management people. It corresponds to all management decisions and actions that affect the relationship between the employees and organisation" (Alan Price, 2000).
Some studies suggest that HRM is a new name of Personnel management but I think HRM is more than personnel management. Today's HRM not only talks about managing employee abut also is about strategic development of organization and has a very critical impact in achieving organisation objectives. Human resource management is a composition of different human resource systems.
Robert and john (2007: P20) explains importance of HRM as "An HRM serve two purposes in organisation. One relates to operational and administrative efficiency and other to effectiveness". HRM in an organisation is responsible for certain activities and I think is the root of any organisation. HRM provides all the disciplines and provides employees a sound knowledge of business terms and ethics. Personnel of human resource management varies company to company, the larger the organisation, the more scope is there to employ people specialized in particular areas of human resource management.
For example, employ and employee relations specialist is to look-after the collective relationship between employees and the managers. Another common area of specialization is in field of training and development. Although, much of this area is provided by external providers, there is still a role for in-house training.
Following is a graphical representation of what human resource management responsibilities or activities are:
HRM Key Terms
Human Resource Director or Manager
Head of department how issues policies and performs management functions
Maintains employee records or human resource information
Employee Relations Manager
"A long standing specialist role with responsibility for collective bargaining and liaison with trade union officials and extends employee involvement and communication" (Alan Price, 2000:P24).
Trained in interviewing techniques but, this activity is also often outsourced to specialist firms like recruitment agencies.
Training and Development Specialist
Internal consultant that determines effective training needs and provides opportunities to employees
Health and Safety Officer
"Ensures compliance with legislation on workplace health and safety" (Alan Price, 2000:P24)
Although, above mentioned key terms require individual specialist but, it again depends on size and structure of an organisation..
The overall and utmost objective of human resource management system is to ensure that the people working in an organisation work to make an organisation achieve its objectives. Michael Armstrong (2006, P8) has remarked HRM systems as a resource of organisational capabilities that helps organisations to learn and capitalize on new opportunities.
Core activities or responsibilities of HRM are:
Recruit or select and retain committed, devoted and loyal with according skilled personnel an organisation needs
Enhance and professionalize existing workforce abilities - their contribution to work and potential of carrying out certain task by providing timely and effective learning and training opportunities
Developing highly committed management and provides harmonious relationship between management and employees so that an environment of teamwork may be established.
Adopt and maintain fairness and transparency in performance measures and rewarding.
Roles of HR
Several roles can be fulfilled by HR management. The nature and level of these roles depend on what upper management want HR to do.
The administration role is the most dominant role of HRM. The administrative role of HR has been heavily familiarize to processing and record keeping if human resource information. "Administrative role has given HR management the reputation of being staffed by paper shufflers who primarily tell managers and employees what can and cannot be done" (Robert & John, 2007: P10).
Administrative role is more clerical like. In this modern era two major factors have affected administrative role and almost completely transformed the administrative role and are:
To improve the efficiency of HR and responsiveness towards employees and managers queries, more and more HR functions are becoming electronically and are being done on the intranet. Web based technology has dramatically reduced the time of HR administrative time. Technology is widely being used to publish job application forms, benefits entitlements etc.
I really agree with the role of technology in transforming HR management. I still remember when I was working at InfoTec; all HR related documents were available on company's intranet. Documents like policy documents, terms & conditions, exchange numbers, leave forms, attendance records, payrolls etc. Every thing was available with just a single click.
Outsourcing is the second major driving shift of HR activities which also has enabled organisations to get rid of finding suitable workforce. Outsourcing HR activities has increasingly spread over past few years and future projections are also very high.
Today we see a lot of consultancy and recruitment agencies, who hire specialist to carry out selection process where suitable workforce is being found with the help of jobs posting companies. "Job site" is UK's major recruitment or job posting site. Companies like "Job Site" or "Monster" help professionals to post their CVs and assist employers or recruitment agencies to search suitable persons.
Company usually outsource this activity sometimes to save time. I have used selection process in my explanation to outsourcing because I think selection and recruitment activity not often but sometimes is considered a two staged process. As in selection candidate is selected by a recruitment agency with a preliminary interview based on his/her expertise and then recruited by organisation after being interviewed by manager of related area.
Operational role requires HR professionals to concentrate and assist operating managers to identity and implement required programs or policies in the company. Operational role also enables HR to maintain ethical and disciplined environment throughout the organisation by managing employees and manager relationship and other activities performed by the employees. Operational role is strategic in nature.
Robert and john (2007: P12) explained operational role of human resource management ensures that compliance with equal employment opportunities and other laws is carried out on routine basis. HR however, do not create business strategies but, carries them out through HR activities.
The strategic perspective of HRM requires the HR personnel to be proactive in fulfilling business realties and focusing on future business needs in terms of workforce planning and performance reviews of existing employees.
HR strategies include giving mission, vision and values to business, documenting HR viewpoint of management, produce business objectives and business strategies, reducing turnover etc. HR strategies are often written in separate document, deriving from the business plan.
I think strategic role also classifies HR to be a strategic partner in organisation when it comes to knowing true cost of human resource and the controlling of employee's turnover (The worst factor affecting organisation achieving defined objectives).
HR Strategic Behaviour
Human resource management agrees organisation's vision, mission and objective or goals as first process or step towards making a business strategy. HR then defines its own vision according to the values and objectives of a business strategy. HR continually analyze organisation's internal environment i.e. what is happening inside an organisation? Decides objectives which fulfil business needs and objectives and set out implementation strategies to evaluate and achieve those objectives.
Models of HRM
A number of scholars develop different HRM models to demonstrate how effective human resource management can be carried out.
The Fomburn, Tichy and Devanna Model of HRM
The HRM model developed by Formburn et al (1984) emphasizes the integration and interrelatedness of different human resource management activities. The human resource management cycle in this model consists of four components Selection, appraisal, development and reward.
These four human resource activities aim to increase performance of an organisation.
I think this model is more close to personnel management as this model discusses HRM in terms of employee evaluation and reward and only focuses to motivate and train employee in order to achieve business objectives.
The Warwick model of HRM
The Warwick model of HRM extends the Harvard model with five elements those are:
The model takes cognizance of HRM business strategy and HRM practices, the internal and external context in which these activities takes place. Outer context is the surrounding of an organisation i.e. economic, technical, political and competitive environment. Inner context consists of organisational culture, its structure and business outputs. Business strategy is vision, mission and objectives of that organisation. HRM context corresponds to HR role, it's polices and output. HR contents define the way HR will work, rewarding systems and employee relationship.
The Harvard Model of HRM
Harvard model of HRM was offered by Beet et at and consists of six component.
Human resource management policy choices
Long term consequences
A feedback loop through which the outputs flows directly in to the organisation and the stakeholders
Harvard proposed model involves strategic decisions and the actions that affect the environment between the company and its employees or other stakeholder.
Beet et al suggested four key HRM policies consist of human resource flow, employee influence, rewarding and alignment of people with the design or nature of work. HR outcomes are the activities that lead towards achieving those policies defined by HR. HR comes defined by Beet et al corresponds to commitment, cost efficient and competent.
Guest Model of HRM
David Guest's (1989) proposed six key elements of dimensions of human resource management, those are:
I think guest has given almost same idea as of Harvard model. Guest also has introduced the strategic behaviour of HR that addresses situational factors as well. HR practices are then same as HR polices because HR practices will govern rules and regulations based on certain criteria and polices corresponds to practice. Behavioural outcomes are the relationship between HR and workforce that leads to performance measurement and then financial outcomes that should be cost effective.
HR Planning and Development Approached
Planning in terms of HR is assessing future requirements to meet objectives, assurance of human resource availability to meet current and future needs and monitoring of system and amending as required. The ultimate goal of human resource planning is to determine the human resource required by the organisation to achieve its strategic goals (Michael, 2006:p365). Change in business trends, increasing adoption of information technology and diverse workforce demands are the key drivers that force organisations to learn and develop and, organisational growth is all about people working in that organisation learn and develop skills to achieve business objectives.
Skill shortage, informational technology, complex business strategies, market competition, globalization and diverse customer needs all put pressure on human resource manage to plan the development of skills and professionalism in people of an organisation in timely and cost effective fashion.
Human resource planning takes place within the context on organisation. Planning depends on forecasting future workforce requirement and implementing plans to satisfy those requirements. The planning approach is also affected by the degree to which it is possible to make precise future forecast. The organisation where future forecast is difficult because of business nature, organisations rely on ad hoc and short and short term measures to recruit and keep people.
Objective of human Resource Planning
The aim of human resource planning in any organisation depends largely in its environment but some typical aims might be:
Attract and retain the number of people required with the appropriate with appropriate skills, expertise and competencies
Anticipate the problems of potential deficiencies of workforce
Develop a well trained and flexible workforce, contributing the organisation's ability to adapt to an uncertain and changing environment.
Reduce the dependency on external recruitment by formulating retention and employee development skills
Improve the utilization of people by developing their skills and introducing more flexible systems of work.
Michael (2006, P527) defines human resource development as "Concerned with the provision of learning, development and training opportunities in order to improve individual, team and organisational performance".
Coaching and Counselling
Coaching and training of employees from top to bottom is a significant factor in any organisation's development. Coaching enhance and sharpen employees' skills so that they can do work precisely and hastily. Employees learn and practice new procedures, new technologies to perform better and that helps in developing organisation with brisk pace.
Coaching is defined by Eric Parsloe (1999:08) as; "a process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. To be successful, a Coach requires knowledge and understanding of process as well as variety of styles, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place". Counselling is very close to coaching but counselling uses encouraging approach. Counselling involves listening employees' concerns over workplace, then giving suggestions to improve.
Coaching and counselling gives employees motivation and a clear view of employee commitment to organisation. Eric pasole (1999:09) has divided coaching process into 4 steps that can be depicted as follows:
Coaching is a directive approach to individual's professional development. Coaching plays a very vital role in business developments, and is usually carried out by senior management. Managers instruct employees according to their job. Coaching usually involves streamlining individual's concerns, solving problems and increasing employees' performance by giving directions to work.
Vocational Education and Training
Vocational education and training also referred as career and Technical education and is very suitable for employees attached to practical based profession and for specific occupation. In vocational education and training learner usually learn a specific area of procedure.
In early days of 20th century vocational education was only considered for lower level employment like welders or mechanics. But as economic demands get higher and workforce diversity increases more and more businesses started investing in vocational training and now vocational training is intensely adopted by industries such as tourism, business management and information technology.
Multitasking enables employees to work on more than one process or department. Multitasking terminology also relates to information technology where multiple processes are carried out at same time but, in business environment multitasking is a strategy where single employee possesses multiple skills called multi-skill.
Multi-skill or multitasking increases productivity and creates flexible workforce with more understanding of business needs. Multitasking helps business during shortage of manpower. Multitasking not only helps business development but also provides benefits to employees in term of increased salary and job security. The more individual is capable & flexible to business the more he is preferable.
It's an effectual approach towards professional development when it comes to a group of people. Workshop & presentation gives a defined knowledge to workforce in a short time with low budget but also has some concerns attached with it i.e. insufficient time to analyze and practice learning outcomes. Benefits of this approach are:
Learner benefits by learning proven behaviours and process
Learner learns new techniques
In order to achieve exception business performance, it is critical for an organisation to keep HRM as a strategic partner. Under the influence of above analysis I think, human resource management operates as backbone of an organisation. Human resource has a very key role in developing organisation's strategy. I explained strategic human resource management. HRM realize what workforce organisation needs and how to retain effective workforce.
InfoTec is a network solution providing company consists of 25 employees with HR Management. HR Management at InfoTec has made strategic efforts in maintaining business needs.
HR department is InfoTec works in accordance with the operational management. HR at INFOTEC has developed major policies throughout the business process and effectively has maintained workforce and management relationship. The performance of HR is monitored by operational management and key factor to measure performance of HR includes recruitment process, human resource record management, appraisal and rewards process and development plans.
No matter how much effective management an organisation has, there is always room and ways to improve performance because, every single day brings technological, behavioural diversity in managing tasks, human resources and machines. There is no doubt that comprehensive management of people can lead organisation to success and high profits.
Trainings should also be arranged for HR department, so they may know what policies they can make and how they could enhance recruitment process. As by achieving those takes HR can play even more strategic role in achieving business goals