"Human Resource Management is defined as a strategic and coherent 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 objectives." (Armstrong, 2006)
Businesses of the 21st century call upon the HR to play a greater role in achieving their objectives. HR is an indispensible tool in the successful working of any organisation and it is essential to incorporate HRM strategies in the planning of the organisation to attain its goals and objectives.
Organisations now have to deal with a fast changing environment to which they need to respond quickly and innovatively while being constantly faced with a greater amount of risk than ever before. They are constantly searching for and implementing various survival strategies in this highly competitive and dynamic business world. In order to maintain a sustained effort for betterment, organisations now need to recruit people, who can find creative and intelligent solutions. Thus, the employment of an effective HR strategy that develops the organisation's people is essential to facilitate the necessary changes within the business.
Role of HRM:
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Any organisation needs to set goals for itself and strategize how these goals are to be achieved and then structure itself by deciding whom to allot this responsibility. The responsibilities of the HRM or the functions carried out by them within the organisation can be enlisted as follows:
HR Planning: It is the practice by which the HRM reviews the supply of employees. They review whether the firm requires to recruit further or to reduce the number of employees depending upon the status of the firm.
Job Analysis: This is the process by which the HR examines detailed information about jobs. Every available job in the firm and advertises for recruitment purposes accordingly, so as to attract skilled people.
Recruitment: The HR, having advertised for jobs, receives a number of applications from which they identify and recruit suitable employees for the firm.
Orientation: Once the recruitment process is over, the HR begins an induction program during which the new recruits are informed about the organisation, their background, their working methods and ethics, as well as introduce them to the other members of the organisation.
Training: The next step is the development and training of the employees to equip them with technical skills, interpersonal skills and problem solving skills in order to enhance their performance and increase productivity for the company.
Share Information: It becomes the responsibility of the HR to ensure that information is shared uniformly with all employees to increase their knowledge base.
Appraisals: The HR evaluates the performance of the employees in periodic intervals through various methods, such as, multiple comparisons and feedbacks from co-workers and supervisors. These appraisals form the basis of the employees' promotions, pay rises and other incentives.
Motivation: In order to ensure the employees put in their best efforts in their respective jobs, the HR devises ways to sustain the interest of the employees and encourage them in contributing more and more to the firm.
Maintain Welfare: The healthy maintenance of any organisation's human resource largely depends on the working conditions, comforts and facilities provided to its employees. The HR plays a vital role in this area. They are to be readily available and pay heed to the needs of the employees, analyse their problems and find solutions to them.
Retain Talent: This is done through career development, providing job security, compensation programs and skill based pay.
Derecruitment: The HR discharges incapable employees to keep up with the requirements of an ever changing business environment.
Labour Relations: One of the most significant roles of the HR is to ensure the smooth functioning of the firm and preventing strikes by the employees by maintaining good relations between the management and the employees.
The HRM is therefore, responsible for managing the people of any organisation, as assets of that business and harmonizing their capabilities with the needs of the organisation. They encourage team spirit and coordination for smooth functioning of groups of people within the organisation.
They play a key role in ensuring a long-term and sustained competitive advantage for any organisation. They are able to acquire this when the highest amount of value added is achieved by the employees and by creating a culture of innovation that is unique to the organisation.
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As the HRM employs methods that lead to high performance work systems, the beneficial results can be seen on the employee and the organisation end. As the employee is more involved in the organisation and grows in experience, he gains by way of job satisfaction leading to efficiency in work performance. Thus, the organization benefits as the productivity levels go up, the quality improves, more flexibility is infused into the system and finally the customer is satisfied.
However, it also becomes the responsibility of the HRM to assume a more professional role, to maintain its honesty and integrity and keeping in mind at all times the interests of the customers and the employees alike.
Strategic Goals and Objectives of any Organisation:
Every business creates a vision for its future in order to ascertain its both short term and long term goals. This requires creative imagination. It is the strength of this imagination that powers the entire business process. However, a clear definition of the goals is required to be made in order to ensure that these objectives are attained. One of the most important goals is the performance objective and the individual performance strongly needs to be integrated with the objectives of the business. This is where the HR comes in. It is their responsibility to bring out and relate an individual's performance objectives to the performance objective of the business.
'While the HR challenges are greater than ever before, so too are the opportunities of the companies to excel through people strategies.' - (Strack et al., 2008)
Competitive advantages may come from 2 kinds of sources in any organisation:
Traditional ways/sources of competitive advantages
Generic strategies for gaining competitive advantages
Human Resource Management can be used to gain Competitive Advantage:
The idea that individual employee performance can impact the performance of the firm positively has been studied for decades. However, the study has moved forward and put forth the notion that all the employees of a firm can together give a higher competitive advantage and bring about a greater improvement on the firm's performance. This is possible only when a number of criteria are satisfied, namely, the employees are adding positively to the production, they have a unique talent or skill to offer and more importantly, the employees are not subject to replacement or substitution by technology.
It is argued that employees are usually not working at their optimum levels and hence are underutilized. The HRM can play a significant role here in bringing them up to efficient levels and utilizing their potential to the optimum level by facilitating comfortable working conditions, motivating them, developing their skills and providing enhanced product knowledge through regular training, providing an organized structural base and give some amount of independence in their working and a flexible culture within the organization. This is sure to increase the output of the employees over and above the cost of such provisions.
Further, the HRM can ensure better performance of the employees at the initial stage through careful selection and recruitment of qualified and skilled individuals. These skilled employees can turn out to be unproductive too unless provided with sufficient motivation. The HRM can again, motivate the employees to work harder and better by providing them with incentives that are linked to performance, which is assessed on a regular basis through evaluations of individual or groups of employees. Incentives may be provided in the form of promotions.
Again, an organized structural base can be provided through tools such as, cross functional teams, job rotation and greater participation by allowing them the opportunity to freely use better ways of working.
Thus, if the HRM can affect or influence the performance of the employees to maximize their output, they are in turn, improving the performance of the organisation and increasing their productivity.
How is theory linked with practice? Explain with examples.
The HRM today is not only responsible for managing teams of employees but also, for diversity both within the organisation and outside, constant change and increased globalisation. This is not an easy task. The HR when faced with resistance to adapt to change, ignorance by the policy makers as well as political considerations, finds it hard to employ the best HR practices in real terms. Amongst other challenges faced by the HR, we can mention those involving getting the people to accept change. The HR deals with resistance when bringing about any changes in the working methods, attitude of workers or values of the organisation. Moreover, globalisation has resulted in multicultural backgrounds of employees that pose a new kind of challenge for the HR, wherein they need to develop strategies catering to the needs of each of them.
How HRM will help in developing organisational culture?
Organisational Culture -
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Focus on innovative and flexible environment
The HR integrates the needs of the organisation with those of the employees and helps in developing the organisation's culture by creating a positive attitude amongst the employees.
Factors which the management should consider:
Effective HR practices play a significant role in the economic growth of any country. In my opinion, the management needs to keep in mind that their actions have a macro level effect. The policies and training provided by them to the employees not only contribute towards the specific concern they are currently working for, but towards the nation as a whole. They are preparing individuals for the future. The professional development acquired by the employees at any particular firm carries forward to the next employment as well and remains with them for years to come. Hence, with their inputs and efforts, the HRM is not only enhancing the performance of the individual firm, but is augmenting the nation's economy.
Thus, we may conclude that organized HRM can provide a sustained economic growth and a competitive advantage when aligned with the strategic business plans of a company.
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