Human Resource Management known as managing workforce expectations in relation to fulfil organisational objectives and to ensure the fulfilment of employees' rights along with the management's goals. Human Resource Managers are responsible for developing strategies which have direct impact on performance of the organisation. Increasing competition in the market, globalisation, rapid change in technology, growth of workers diversity, increasing cost, and increasing customer power are current main challenges for every organisation. The role of HR Manager is extremely important, and has become vital for the success of an organisation.
By understanding current dynamic scenario and taking the right decision, HR Managers convert challenges into opportunities resulting in employees' well-being as well as success of an organisation. For instance, recruiting and selecting right person for the right place, providing appropriate training, motivating and facilitating workforce by ensuring right reward, punishment, compensation, and benefit system, establishing appraisal system, and, making sure that everyone works in a safe and healthy environment are key steps to improve performance. According to the Harvard Strategic Human Resource Management model, organisational outcomes are dependent on the Human Resource policy choices. A balanced Human Resource policy can create high commitment, congruence, and cost effectiveness that have long-term consequences on individual well-being and organisational effectiveness … it incorporates recognition of a range of stakeholders. (Armstrong, 2008: 7)
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If an organisation has a better Human Resource Management practice in place, it makes employees more efficient which then reflects on the organisational overall performance.
Human Resource Management has been referred as Personnel Management that began at the end of ninetieth century. At that time, the focus was only to look after employee-employer relations. Employers played a central role during that period. However, the concept has gradually modified a great deal. According to CIPD, today's HR Managers are more employee centred, though they play different specialist and strategic roles including resourcing, employee relations, organisational development and design, learning and development, to mention a few. (http://www.cipd.co.uk).
As stated in Armstrong's handbook of Human Resource Management practice, an organisation's performance directly depends on Human Resource practice. (Armstrong, 2009:144) Human Resource Department has different practice areas and each area is important to organisational success. Attracting, developing and retaining high quality employees contribute towards meeting strategic and operational needs of an organization. To provide for acquisition, development, and retention of talented employees deliver superior performance, productivity, flexibility, innovation, and high levels of personal customer service and, ï¬t the culture and the strategic requirements of an organization. It means If Human Resource department maintains high-level quality practice, it helps organisation to find excellent work force and to retain existing talent thus creating high quality customer service due to high performance. However, Human Resource Department occasionally face difficulties in keeping a balance between different areas / links of an organisation. For instance, Profit oriented organisations always seek for high return in low cost. Therefore, recruiting and retaining talent and competent work force may look costly and not profitable. HR Managers deal with this kind of conflict with investors or owners in an organisation.
In the handbook, Armstrong specified that 'HR Managers must create a high performance management system to develop a performance culture which encourages high performance in such areas as productivity, quality, levels of customer service, growth, proï¬ts, and, ultimately, the delivery of increased shareholder value. Empower employees to exhibit the discretionary behaviours is most closely associated with higher business performance such as risk taking, innovation, and knowledge sharing and establishing trust between managers and their team members'. (Armstrong, 2009: 145)
This, however, becomes complex if there are reservations shown by stakeholders such as shareholders wish to maximize profit by increasing sales but maintaining high quality and productivity at the same time might not be possible.
An organisation's success depends not only on the performance of each member of the organisation but also on the contribution of different types of capital. Mainly, an organisation has four different capitals:
Manufactured capital (infrastructure, technologies and processes), and
Human capital is the key for organisational performance. It involves in every step of converting other capitals into result.
An organisation's good financial condition, quality products, high demand of their product and service in the market can fail due to bad Human Resource Management. Badly managed human capital creates conflict between employer and employee. For instance, absenteeism, strikes, inefficiency, to mention a few. Human Resource department must have strategies, power, and access to improve, control and establish an engagement of workforce, better working environment, and culture, better communication between different departments and employees, innovation, good leadership and management system. In this regard, efficient HR Managers develop a strategy that make a link between each other's interest and create awareness that organisational performance is beneficial not only for investors but also for workforce and for other stakeholders.
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In the context of rapidly growing competition, organizations must become more flexible, strong, and customer-oriented to be successful. In this challenging and dynamic environment, HR Managers play a key role by acting as a strategic partner of an organisation. To achieve organisational objective, they are to be business driven with an understanding of the organisation's goals and be able to influence key judgments and plans. They focus on strategic employees' maintenance, talent development, and retention. They act as a coach, mentor, and succession planner to motivate members of the organisation and promote values, ethics, and beliefs of the work force within the organization.
Due to competition in the marketplace, there are many choices in terms of labour or goods than before. It is becoming extremely hard to maintain competitive advantages. Globalisation and rapidly developing technology has added to opportunities. Companies can buy or sell product and services from and to any corner of the world. Collecting and sharing information is easy and quick via Internet and E-Learning. Multinational and foreign businesses are common. Even small companies are using raw materials from different countries and labour from different part of the world as outsourcing. As a result of more choices, customer has become more powerful. In this situation, HR Managers make sure that an organisation can produce highly committed and competent workforce to respond to fulfil customers' requirements efficiently.
As organisations nowadays need to have workforce with global standards, HR Managers are trained to enforce a strategic plan to make workforce competent and to retain existing talented employees in the organisation. They need to be aware of global context and must review the reward and other benefit system on a regular basis. Otherwise the organisation might not get or lose existing competent and talented employees. For instance, The Nepal Airlines, the government-funded airline in Nepal, has forty percent of vacancies for pilots. It is not getting enough responses because pilots are opting for global market. There, they are offered better employment package than the local market.(www.Nagariknews.com)
In this regard, HR Managers play an important role to build workforce motivation so to contribute towards achieving an organisation's success. Motivation is the influence that makes workforce to do things in order to attain organisation's goals. Every individual has different thought, belief, and needs. HR Managers work on the factors which creates motivation in employees. According to Abraham Maslow's Need Hierarchy theory, motivation factors are dependent on individuals various stages. C:\Users\Raj\Desktop\maslows-hierarchy-of-needs.jpg
When a person's basic needs are fulfilled, he or she then moves to advanced needs. (Harold K., Heinz W., 2007) Human Resource Managers must understand employee's stage to discover motivation factor in addition to create motivation amongst employees by increasing their wages, assigning them challenging tasks with an incentive to promotion, and, by offering franchise in organisation that they work for.
To manage workers diversity is also a big challenge for organisations. Every organisation has workforce with different religion, language, ancestry, race, physical abilities, sexual orientation, geographic location, gender, educational background, income, and age. This diversity brings pioneering thoughts, perspectives, and views together which can be turned into a strategic organizational asset. With this mixture of talents, an organization can respond to business opportunities more rapidly and creatively. In this regard, HR Managers generate equal opportunity and respect their variance as well. They need to implement legislation to protect and motivate diversity. In the United Kingdom, under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, no one must be treated or proposes to treat someone unfavourably because of a personal characteristic protected by law. (http://www.legislation.gov.uk). Breach of law results in hefty fine and in some cases, closure of the organisation as well. Therefore, HR Managers need to be careful when dealing with diverse workforce.
HR Managers not only look after the organisational management and employees but also look after the interest of organisation's other stakeholders. Organisations have different stakeholders such as shareholders, government, competitors, customers, suppliers, bank, and other financial institutions. Organisations cannot survive without addressing stakeholders' interest. For instance, the government of every country seeks companies and organisations to fulfil legal requirements and pay required taxes. In this regard, HR Managers make sure that both employer and the employees are updated on legislation so to avoid possible difficulties caused by changing laws, rules, and regulations.
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Besides, HR Managers provide a direction to organisations to deal with external factors that can affect their organisation's performance such as current political situation, legislations, environmental changes, technological development, socio-cultural and ethical factors. In this regard, Human Resource Managers are trained to keep an eye on the on-going activities and make changes in strategies according to changing requirements shaped by external factors.
Despite the fact that HR Managers contribute a great deal towards an organisation's success, there is lack of understanding when measuring its contribution. Small-scale organisations tend to have no separate Human Resource department because they think that investing in Human Resource department is a cost, not as investment. For example If a company has growth in its sales, the credit goes only to the sales department for growing sale. The reality is that HR Managers play their role as an invisible power in organisations. Reducing labour turnover, increasing productivity, organisational effectiveness and efficiency, and employee empowerment are key success points to measure HR Managers' performance in an organisation.
To conclude, Human Resource department in an organisation is like antivirus software or a computer trouble-shooter that defends and filters possible threat from unnecessary entry of bad applicant and troubleshoots any future incidents caused by human capital. It is able to take action to save organisation from possible damage. The software itself has no power to defend or protect itself. As an antivirus, it can just raise concern about harmful viruses and suggest for action. It needs permission for action from administrator of the computer. Similarly, HR Managers cannot make organisations run successfully on their own. They need support and co-operation of organisation to make appropriate strategic policies that motivate workforce towards corporate goals. By doing so, HR Managers boost value to the organisation's success.