Modern trend of a massive shift from manufacture, towards knowledge economy, has significant applications as far as the organisational resource management is concerned. Where capital and energy have been the primary wealth stacking assets, the place has been taken by a fierce battle among the organisations to fetch the information and knowledge. Building sustainable competitive organisation has become the prime target of today's market that is reined by the wave of change and tough competition. British companies, like their American counterparts, have largely relied on outsourcing of the technical jobs in service sector like IT and health services, an effort to maximise profits by increasing efficiency while maintaining the cost low. The natural consequence of outsourcing was a withering control and lack of effective management. Geographical barriers and lack of direct supervision do cause serious concerns not mentioning the cost of outsourcing with some hidden cost of making legal contracts etc. The companies may find it more of a threat to their confidentiality.
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We have all heard the popular notion about the importance of innovation especially in ever changing business world to combat the unforeseen scenarios brought about by the technological advances, but haven't practically seen the real implementation of the concept and actual use of innovative thinking in situation is lacking. The contemporary models of human resource management emphasises upon the optimum use of all the resources focusing on human resource. Underutilisation of diverse experience from the employees is a common type of waste that needs to be avoided. looking at the example of NHS it is more obvious. The above mentioned organisation faces the challenge of rapid technological changes rendering the customer(patients)ever more conscious informed and always demanding the optimum services at the expected pace, that is clearly not happening currently. This performance Gap has generated public criticism on one hand and the growing trend of low motivation and job dissatisfaction among the employees which has reached to critical levels .The NHS suffers from the high turnover of its leadership with the average chief executive in post for less than two years(Prof Chris Ham, Chief Executive of the King's Fund 2011) .If the current trend continues NHS should expect to meet some major human resource challenges in near future.
We all have heard of the reforms being suggested continuously and the rapid shifts in overall policies have taken place .The most recent of which is the remodelling of NHS by cutting the managers role to minimum and assigning the responsibility to the health practitioners directly. One of the major challenges, in my opinion, is the low level of employee involvement which can be traced back and connected to underutilisation of the experienced work force, directly or indirectly. The NHS lacks in having effective ways to involve the employees fully and that comes from the beaurocratic and sometimes punitive culture surrounding the health care sector. The known problem of complacency has taken firm grounds in NHS and that originates from the long ignored utilisation of innovative potential against the quality conscious, supervision driven theory x style of management.
Thus, In order to remain competitive in corporate world, many employers are trying to find innovative ways to manage their companies. NHS has to work on the aspect of innovation in finding new ways to solve the forthcoming challenges and involve those direct in contact with the situations and giving full opportunity to the creative thinkers to come up with new ideas. Beaurocratic culture needs to be addressed. Creativity and innovation are taken as most akin aspects of a business. In the past, creativity was limited to the arts like music, painting photography and so on. However nowadays creativity is also applicable to business world. "Creativity is fostered in organizational cultures that value independent thinking, risk taking, and learning"(Naiman, L, 2007).
According to Feldman, J, "the corporate environment fails to foster creative or innovative ideas, which results in lost profits and opportunities every day". The structured environment and the culture of work do help in implementing rules and regulations effectively but the price is the loss of innovative potential in the work force. NHS does not put the required effort to increase creativity and innovation in the providers themselves and help them with nourishment that keeps creativity and innovation flourishing in the organization.
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NHS rarely held brainstorming sessions for creative ideas. Even though there are some good ideas brought up but somehow they never get implemented. However, the boring and old ideas seem to be used again and again. This is because top management is unwilling to change at the pace demanded by innovation and most of the organizations do not have a clearly stated policy on innovation. Besides it is believed that the health care is different from the traditional businesses, which is not true for this age. This is due to poor leadership and company structure in the organization. This is the high time to embrace the ever increasing demand of more customer focused style of health care practices against the all knowing all controlling man in white coat style of medical practice.
Even though many companies have invested a lot in creativity and innovation projects, but the executives of those firms have high reservations regarding the return on investment aspect of innovation. One of the reasons is the lack of innovation plan. Organizations have only short-term goals and lack of vision or strategy for innovation.
A list of issues need to be addressed before the implementation of innovation plans. Most important of them is the availability of talented and capable persons for the required job along with the financial resources allocated towards that part of organisational function and to bring it into practice . The need of facilitator to play a role in it needs the financial resources ,along with the incentive programme for the employees involved . Smaller companies are handicapped in a sense that they lack the financial muscle to afford long time period needed in developing the ideas and bringing it to reality.
The IT revolution has drastically affected the whole business world, more unseen challenges emerge every day. NHS is no different .More and more health care professional have started looking towards telemedicine as an emerging trend ,in fact a global shift in the way health care is provided ,is on its way.When there is a shift in economy, a shift in focus, there will be a talent war where organizations will compete to recruit qualified workers for the growing number of "knowledge jobs".We might be on the verge of impending human resource crisis hitting the health care organisations if the organisations donot take the innovation and change the culture and the way work is accomplished and keep up with the pace of information technology changes that require new way of accomplishing things and timely manner while keeping in mind the vital aspects of evidence based practices.. The workforce availability and quality concerns have created new pressures on Human Resource professional to recruit and train workers. The increasing use of computers has lead organizations looking for employees who do not only possess experience but technical skills as well. To determine a person's ability and adoptability with the required pace into different environment might create a new challenge for Human resource to choose the right person. "A recent national survey of employers found that young people are increasingly ill-prepared for today's workforce, lacking basic skills in communications and critical thinking" (Loten, A, 2008).the choice of wrong candidate usually results in drop in productivity wasting the huge investment involved in training that goes waste besides the wasted effort and time taken to replace the wrong person which can be huge loss of precious resources.
Another challenge faced by NHS that influence Human Resource Management is diversity issue. The future success of any organizations relies on the ability to "manage a diverse body of talent that can bring innovative ideas, perspectives and views to their work" (Chan, A, 2008). Diversity refers to any "perceived difference among people: age, race, religion, functional specialty, profession, sexual orientation, geographic origin, and lifestyle, tenure with the organization or position, and other perceived difference". (Mondy, R, 2008). Culture and employees in England are more diverse than ever before .there are trends of more women joining healthcare services one of the numerous reasons behind that trend might be that they receive more higher education as compared to their male counterparts. "Research by the Department of Labor revealed that women now hold half of all management, professional, and related occupations" (Sifma, 2008). The average age of the workforce in United kingdom has changed to much older, not ready for retirement women in the industry. Many organizations are trying to entice them to remain on the job longer as they wish to retain the skills and embedded knowledge base of their senior employees. However this could be a challenge for Human Resource Management as older workers have different needs compared to younger workers. This is because the older employees would have different job preferences, personal interest and working style. Furthermore, there are more different ethnic and racial people working together. They do have relatively inflexible work habits and behaviours as compared to younger population They may encounter misunderstandings, and expectation based on ethnic or cultural differences. This is because people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds possess different attitudes, values, and norms. The need of learning new relationship skills was never stronger than now. All of these issues create new challenge on HR professionals to ensure that diverse groups are managed and treated equitably in organizations.
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The rapid technological changes have given advantages to many organizations but also putting extra pressures on them to keep updated of the technology. In order to keep abreast of the technology, organizations have to allocate large amount of financial resources in buying latest technology, cultivating innovation. Health care is no different . NHS enjoys one of the most advanced technologies in health care practices . But technological change is continually impacting and reshaping the economy which can influence organizations as well. As a consequence of technological change, the economy's demand toward NHS workers with advanced training or education is higher .
In meeting customers' changing demands, companies are struggling to compete with each another. When laptop users said they needed bigger batteries to power large computer screens 3M designers developed a ultra-thin plastic light-enhancement films that made a computer screen brighter and consume less energy. Understanding customers' needs will help organization define new market opportunities and experience revenue growth. Identifying and focusing on consumers' needs and wants can be a challenge for organizations. The reason is consumers' needs and wants is changing rapidly. The product or service that a customer wants(expects) today may not be the same tomorrow. If a discount was given, the customers still want further benefits, if the time to physician was 60 minutes previously ,do expect to find customers asking for 30 minutes target to be achieved and owing to social media and awareness campaigns there is no way avoiding such issues. Traditionally health care organisations managed to avoid them by highlighting quality and patient safety aspect, that too is no longer hidden. Employee satisfaction innovative solutions and serious planning and resource allocation will help NHS a lot. The organisations should be on their toes in addressing these issues and better be prepared for the whole world talking about the unexpected errors uploaded on social media and you tube.
The Commonwealth Centre for e-Governance(2001) 'Tools For The Knowledge Economy:An Overview' [Online] (cited 1 October 2008) Available from http://www.electronicgov.net/pubs/research_papers/tke/introduction.shtml
Naiman, L (2007) 'Creativity at Work: Articles and Tips' [Online] (cited 7 October 2008) Available from http://www.creativityatwork.com/articlesContent/whatis.htm
Feldman, J (2008) 'Four keys to instilling innovation and creativity' [Online] (cited 5 October 2008) Available from http://www.mrotoday.com/mro/archives/exclusives/InnovationCreativity.htm
Loten, A(2008) 'Younger Employees Lack Basic Skills' [Online] (cited 10 October 2008) Available from http://www.inc.com/news/articles/200610/workforce.html
Mondy, R (2008). 'Human Resource Managemnet', (10th edn), Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Sifma (2008) 'The women's market' [Online] (cited 4 October 2008) Available from www.sifma.org/services/hrdiversity/pdf/Women.pdf
Chan, A (2008) "The Challenges of Human Resource Management' [Online] (cited 4 October 2008) Available from www.bizfinity.com/new_articles/e-commerce-article-21.html