In the business world today, businesses have one need that cannot be overlooked that is their workforce. Research has shown that the human aspect of resources within an organization contributes a large portion of the organization's value. If the Human Resource Department's main objective is to bring out the best in their employees and contribute to their success, the Human Resource Management directs the "people practices to be considered to maximize their influence on company performance" (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart & Wright, 2009, p.5).
The Human Resources play a key role in finding the best activities that fit each stage due the relationships of human resource management and their particular functions. These functions are becoming progressively more significant for the company success and also have a great impact on their human assets. In order to illustrate the most important aspects of Human Resources(HR) this paper focus on the understanding of the Employee Life Cycle (ELC) through HR diverse roles and functions, and answering some key questions for the company and its employees during the employment period. Buller, McMullen, and Rutherford (2003) found that HR problems can vary over the organizational life cycle -stage model. This approach is indented to determine inputs that need to be given to the employee based on the stage in the employee life cycle to ensure employee's optimum performance while maintaining an optimum motivation level. The difficulty with this Employee Life Cycle (ELC) model as it is with the Organizational Life Cycle (OLC) is that there has been no agreement upon the correct number of stages in a life-cycle. "Life-cycle models typically reflect a sequential progression through stages such as birth or start-up, growth, maturity, and even decline. There is no clear evidence regarding the number of stages a firm experiences-scholars have submitted models varying between three and ten stages" (Buller et all, 2003, p. 322).
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This paper focus in main three stages proposed by Dess and Lumpkin who argue that a company in order to be successful must continually enhance their human capital through three primary sets of HRM activities or practices: hiring/selection (including recruitment and selection), development (including training, employee involvement, and performance appraisal), and retention: including compensation and a stimulating work environment" (as cited in Buller, et al., 2003). Next I will outline the important aspects of the three defined stages and explain why I support these three stages from traditional personnel functions to major company management members. Then I will conclude with some ideas for taking action like provide administrative functions such as benefits enrollment and changes while having the time and energy to do the equally important, but more time and thought consuming, strategic tasks.
Human Resources Cycle
The Human Resource Department deals not only with management of people within the organization. This management supposed a number of responsibilities that come with this title. First of all, the Department is mainly responsible for hiring members of staff; but also will involve attracting employees, keeping them in their positions and ensuring that they perform to expectation. Human Resource Management and Human Resource activities are strategically important to creating and sustaining competitive advantage for all stages of development (Buller et all, 2003, p. 324).
Stage 1: Hire/Selection
Recruitment is of the most fundamental roles of the HR department. This is because this function ensures the company's selects the most skilful and competent person from a wide variety of applicants present at that time. The recruitment process could be internal or external
or could also be online and involves the stages of recruitment policies, advertising, job description, job application process, interviews, assessment, decision making, legislation selection and training. This function involves evaluation of ability and competency of potential employees in relation to what the employer needs.
Ira Wolfe (2002) illustrated in her article "The High cost of work Deficiency Syndrome" an employee called Sue, since the time she left her job, applied for a new one, got hired, but after a period then she decide looking again for other employment. Sue's first day on the job: "Although Sue was very upbeat, optimistic, and enthusiastic about her new job; she knew she had a lot to learn. Sue just entered the first stage in the life cycle of an employee - motivated but not yet competent" (para. 3).
Employee: How can I get the job? (Selection)
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
In most of the organizations I worked, the company notifies the public about vacancies on their website. Then posts an application questionnaire where interested parties fill it at that time. Then, this process is evaluated and those who fall within their minimum requirements are invited for an interview. In the interview, applicants are asked a number of questions and those who did extremely well are further analyzed and retained. Those who did moderately well are not immediately eliminated; instead, their interview questions are kept on file then these are reviewed after an undefined period of time. Most employees begin their employment cycle here. And through this process of elimination, employees start with an approach of some degree of enthusiasm and "some have more and some have less motivation, but most people arrive on the job with good intentions" (Wolfe, 2002, para.4).
Employer: How we attract right potential employees for our company? (Recruitment)
Effective recruitment can be done through a number of ways. First of all the company can conduct educational and psychological measurements. This task will involve assessment of abilities, skills and character evaluation of applicants. Through psychometric evaluation, the company can ensure that employees have the right attitude necessary to fit into the organization (Smith, 2010, para.5). The most common method used by companies is to recruit members of staff through interviews. The Department can also employ the use of written interviews where applicants answer questions addressing key issues in the organization. Through these channels, the Department contributes towards organizational performance.
If the company fails to plan well for the kind of employees it recruited, for example, the HR Department employs people who may not contribute towards organizational principles this problem could have been prevented if the HR department had evaluated this employee before hiring her and also evaluation should have been done during her performance. That is the reason why former General ElectricÂ CEO Jack Welch (2005) is his book Wining recommends to every manager to hire the 'right players on the field' and to look for those at entry level candidates that possess traits as integrity, intelligence and maturity. But in a senior level managers have to look further and seek for authenticity, foresight and resilience (Welch, 2005, p.0).
Stage 2: Development
For the employer this is one important aspect of planning for employees in the where the organization ensures that all the employees under its wing are just enough to increase value to the organization. The organization typically responds to these problems by adding a more formal structure and functional specialists, including HRM managers (Buller et all, 2003, p. 324).
Employee: How well I am doing it? (Performance appraisal)
Performance is considered to be a function that evaluates employee's ability and motivation, which is why the value of this powerful interaction between a supervisors and subordinate should not be underestimated. Most companies have the called" 90 day probation period and by this is completed; the new employee had learnt the basics of the job and becomes somewhat skilled in the position. The employee now enters to the second stage, now is more motivated and certainly competent. The longer they stay motivated and competent, the more productive and profitable this employee is for the company (Wolfe, 2002). This is the stage where employees reach maximum productivity and peak performance and an employer reaps the greatest return on his/her investment for this employee. Appraisal offers a valuable opportunity to focus on work activities and goals, to identify and correct existing problems, and to encourage better future performance. Thus the performance of the whole organization is enhanced. Should be noted that performance appraisal can have a profound effect on levels of employee motivation and satisfactionÂ
Employer: How to improve my employee's skills (Training and internships)
It is not necessarily a guarantee that a candidate who did well in the recruitment exercise is the best in performing an organization's functions. New employees need orientation into the company's functions and can also improve some inefficiency that these new employees may have in relation to their skills. Training is also essential for members of staff who have been working for the organization for a long time. This is especially so in the wake of technological advancements, legal changes and changes in service delivery. It t is very important that training should not be restricted to improvement of skills; it can also involve improvement of attitudes and situational management. This is normally characterized by attendance of workshops and other forms of talks. Training also increases motivation of employees and gives them that extra boost of energy needed to get them through tough times in their jobs.
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Jack Welch (2005) is in chapter 00 titled "I got the right players, now what?" argued thatâ€¦.Most companies experience a growth stage, the demand for new employees increase; this demand exceeds the owner/founder's capacity to manage effectively (Buller et all, 2003, p. 324). In order to create competitive advantage the employer must plan adequately to ensure that staff members are not too few either, otherwise they will be overworking those who are already in place. Consequently, there will be poor motivation resulting from fatigue. The HR department is also granted with the responsibility of planning organizational goals in relation to people or clarifying these same goals to staff members. This function of the department ensures that people in the organization have a general direction which they are working towards.
Stage 3: Retention
Employer: How do we retain our human assets? (Compensation)
One of the major functions of the HR department is to motivate employees. This can be done through rewards especially for those who have done well. The HR department needs to evaluate performance of employees and those who have exceeded expectations should be compensated for their actions. Some research has shown the involment of the employees in the company's ventures as rewarding employees for good performance is the number one incentive for keeping up this trend (Smith, 2010, para. 7). These compensation packages can come in the following ways; holiday offers, end of year bonuses, equities, awards, salary increments, provision of flexible working hours or better yet, straight forward promotion schemes and career developments within the company. If the HR department includes these incentives, then it will ensure that employees are satisfied with the Company. It will also contribute towards good staff retention rates. This is especially crucial in increasing stability within the organization.
Employee: What I value from my company or why I love my job? (Motivation and Satisfaction)
There is no doubt that without motivation and a stimulating work environment; there is no room for more productive and creative employees and it is essential for any business to survive and succeed. Research and observations have shown that the benefit and moral value of an altruistic approach to treating colleagues as human beings and respecting human dignity in all its forms, results in more motivated and more productive and creative employees. The inverse also holds true in some studies, factors such as pay, benefits and working conditions were given a low rating and contrary to common belief, money is not always the prime motivator.
Not just the performance appraisal provides employees with recognition for their work efforts, but also the power of social recognition as an incentive has been long noted. The job of a manager in the workplace is to get things done through employees. In order to accomplish motivation and productivity the manager should be aware that." Individuals may accept less money for a high-growth environment; however, if the environment is not sufficiently stimulating, these individuals will not make the same trade-off" (Buller et all, 2003, p.331).
Jack in a convention was asked about what is the role of HR in a company. He replied that "without a doubt, the head of HR should be the second most important person in any organization" and even he suggested that the director of HR "should be as equal to CFO" (Welch, 2005, p. 100). The executive audience reacted with silence, after the session audience told him how underutilized was HR in their organizations due its impact is "hard to quantity" maybe because the Human Resource Management team's main function is to manage people.
The HR cycle shows how though all the stages of employment HR also ensures that members of staff follow a general direction by frequently clarifying and reminding them of the organization's goals. Besides this, they are also responsible for organizing incentives or compensation packages to motivate employees. All these functions contribute towards organizational effectiveness. Hence, the functions of an HR professional should focus on the company's greatest resource of all - its employees. Without good employees, the best business plan and ideas could fail; this implies that if people are not managed properly, the organization faces a serious chance of falling apart.
Recruitment is however not just a simple selection process and requires management decision making and extensive planning to employ the most suitable manpower.
Debloping people to drive change