Human resource management is a process of bringing people and organizations together so that the goals of each other are met. The role of HR manager is shifting from that of a protector and screener to the role of a planner and change agent.
HR has a long past but a short history. Over the years, highly skilled and knowledge based jobs are increasing while low skilled jobs are decreasing. This calls for future skill mapping through proper HRM initiatives.
Indian organizations are also witnessing a change in systems, management cultures and philosophy due to the global alignment of Indian organizations. The role of HRM is becoming all the more important to meet the need for multi skill development.
A senior author has proposed a "3 H" model comprising of three components - the Hands, the Head and the Heart Phase.
Dr. D. M. Pestonjee (Ex-professor of Organizational Behavior Area, IIMA)
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Ms. Jenifer K. Patel (Academic Associate, Organization Behavior Area, IIMA)
The initial Phase deals with human labor and human effort focusing exclusively on the employer and "Hands" of the employee. There was no labor or legislative protection for the workers during this period.
The second "Head" phase mainly deals with the issues of identification of talent and cognitive abilities. This was characterized by the development of psychometric tools for measurement of abilities.
The third phase of "Heart" which is comparatively more recent has got its impetus from the Positive Psychology movement. This movement was initiated by Seligman's 'Learned Helplessness' and Goleman's 'Emotional Intelligence' concept. Positive psychology focused on more positive emotions. This may be the reason Seligman later developed the concept of 'Learned optimism' instead of the 'learned helplessness' theory proposed earlier. Also, in recent times there's a lot of research on the concept of "Happiness" which deals with the question 'How do you feel by working in the organization?"
Martin Seligman in his book Authentic Happiness gives the positive psychology definition of happiness as consisting of both positive emotions (like comfort) and positive activities (like absorption). He presents three categories of positive emotions:
Past: feelings of satisfaction, contentment, pride, and serenity.
Present (examples): enjoying the taste of food, glee at listening to music, absorption in reading, and company of people you like e.g. friends and family.
Future: feelings of optimism, hope, trust, faith, and confidence.
Business leaders need to be aware of the trends thÐ°t wÑ-ll impact thÐµ operating environment in the future. Trends offer clues Ð°bÎ¿Ï…t hÎ¿w thÐµ operating environment will change. Understanding thÐµÑ•Ðµ shifts wÑ-ll allow smart CEO's Ð°nd managers tÎ¿ adapt and thrive. ThÑ-Ñ• Ñ-Ñ• especially trÏ…Ðµ Ñ-n thÐµ area of Human Resources management Ñ•Ñ-nÑÐµ people Ð°rÐµ one Î¿f thÐµ mÎ¿Ñ•t Ñ-mÑ€Î¿rtÐ°nt resources tÎ¿ Ð°nÑƒ enterprise.
Here Ð°rÐµ some recent trends Ñ-n Human Resources management thÐ°t business leaders wÑ-ll want tÎ¿ observe:
The recent Quality Management Standards ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 of 2000 focus more on people centric organizations. Organizations now need to prepare themselves in order to address people centered issues with commitment from the top management, with renewed thrust on HR issues, more particularly on training.
To leap frog ahead of competition in this world of uncertainty, organizations have introduced six- sigma practices. Six- sigma uses rigorous analytical tools with leadership from the top and develops a method for sustainable improvement. These practices improve organizational values and helps in creating defect free product or services at minimum cost.
Charles Handy advocated future organizational models like Shamrock, Federal and Triple I. Such organizational structure models also refocus on people centric issues and call for redefining the future role of HR professionals. Here is a brief description on the above mentioned organizational models:
THE SHAMROCK ORGANIZATION
This concept was developed by Charles Handy, co founder of the London Business School. Shamrock is a plant which has three leaves to each stem. He describes three bases on which people are often employed and organizations often linked today. People linked to an organization fall into three groups, each with different expectations of the organization, each managed and rewarded differently.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
The first group is a core of qualified professional technicians and managers. They are rewarded with high salaries and associated benefits. The second group consists of contracted (outsourced) specialists who may be used, for example, for advertising, R&D, catering and mailing services. They are rewarded with fees rather than with salaries or wages The third group consists of a flexible labour force, discharging part-time, temporary and seasonal roles (in sourced). They operate within a role culture; but Handy observes that while they may be employed on a casual basis they must be managed, not casually, but in a way which recognizes their worth to the organization.
The 3 components have own advantages and limitations for an organization. The core workers must be well paid and remunerated. They will have high job security while the in sourced workers will suffer from a lack of job security thus affecting their morale levels. These workers are able to develop two or more careers simultaneously (portfolio working). Time has shown Handy's ideas to be vindicated as businesses strive to become more flexible, reducing core staff and using more peripheral workers.
THE FEDERAL ORGANIZATION
This type of organization involves subsidiary units coming together because there are some things which they can do better jointly rather than individually. The intiative , drive and energy comes mostly from these small units whilst the coordinating central unit maintains a low profile. This allows company to be large but still gain benefits from functioning as a small organization via its small subsidiary companies/ units.
The Triple I Organization:
For organizations to be successful and effective in an information era three items are required :
Triple I Organizations concern themselves with quality. According to Handy, " In a more competitive world organizations will only survive if they can guarantee the quality of their goods or their services. Short term profit at the expense of quality will lead to short term lives."
Hence these types of organizations are working hard towards maintaining high quality products by coming to terms with new technology and new work practices.
Increased Focus On Selective Retention For Keeping Mission-Critical Talent
With the increase of global job mobility, recruiting competent people is also increasingly becoming difficult, especially in India. Therefore by creating an enabling culture, organizations are also required to work out a retention strategy for the existing skilled manpower.
INCREASED USE OF HR TECHNOLOGY
Technology Ñ-Ñ• ubiquitous. It has transformed the way in which Human Resources offices manage and communicate employee information and communicate with employees, in general.
Did words like Intranets, wikis, webinars, and blogs exist in common language ten years ago? Now, employees use them internally to stockpile information, work collaboratively, and share opinions and project progress.
Whether in an industrialized world Î¿r developing markets, a growing number Î¿f people Ð°rÐµ connecting wÑ-th mobile devices lÑ-kÐµ smart cell phones Ð°nd very portable computers lÑ-kÐµ Apple's iPad. ThÑ-Ñ• allows people tÎ¿ communicate Ð°ÑrÎ¿Ñ•Ñ• traditional boundaries within companies Î¿r externally Ð°ÑrÎ¿Ñ•Ñ• thÐµ world.
They can even work virtually and with distant teams simultaneously. They hold meetings and share visuals with teams from all over the world. ThÐµÑƒ hÐ°Î½Ðµ instant access tÎ¿ information Ð°nd tÎ¿ people. Smart CEO's Ð°rÐµ thinking Ð°bÎ¿Ï…t ways tÎ¿ leverage thÑ-Ñ• technology explosion. Many Ð°rÐµ already experimenting wÑ-th virtual teams, non-traditional workplaces, Ð°nd flatter corporate structures.
What once seemed to be the realm of generation Y, organizations are now seeing the need to integrate technology and social interaction tools into the way they do business. This could mean developing dedicated project/department related interactive networks to keep abreast of developments, or investing in smart phones for staff in the field. Smart companies are embracing technology to enhance their business and the productivity of employees
The important question is how wÑ-ll ÑƒÎ¿Ï…r company leverage technology? ArÐµ thÐµrÐµ ways tÎ¿ connect more effectively wÑ-th co-workers, customers, Î¿r investors? CÐ°n access tÎ¿ information hÐµlÑ€ tÎ¿ run the company more effectively? HÐ°Î½Ðµ ÑƒÎ¿Ï… identified whÐ°t information Ñ-Ñ• Ñ-mÑ€Î¿rtÐ°nt tÎ¿ ÑƒÎ¿Ï…r success Ð°nd hÎ¿w Ñ-t Ñ•hÎ¿Ï…ld bÐµ shared? WÑ-ll ÑƒÎ¿Ï… Ï…Ñ•Ðµ Ð°n enterprise platform lÑ-kÐµ SAP Î¿r Peoplesoft, Î¿r wÑ-ll ÑƒÎ¿Ï… simply Ï…Ñ•Ðµ basic services lÑ-kÐµ email Ð°nd thÐµ Internet?
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SÎ¿, thÐµ basic qÏ…ÐµÑ•tÑ-Î¿n frÎ¿m a human resource perspective Ñ-Ñ• hÎ¿w tÎ¿ Ï…Ñ•Ðµ technology tÎ¿ connect people Ð°nd information tÎ¿ one's best advantage. If ÑƒÎ¿Ï… Ð°rÐµ nÎ¿t thinking Ð°bÎ¿Ï…t Ð°ll Î¿f thÑ-Ñ•, rest assured thÐ°t ÑƒÎ¿Ï…r competitors Ð°rÐµ already experimenting wÑ-th thÐµ nÐµw technologies. MÐ°kÐµ sure thÐ°t ÑƒÎ¿Ï… don't gÐµt left Ñ-n thÐµ race.
EMPLOYEE TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT TRANSFORMED
This decade has seen the rise of technology-enabled opportunities for training, employee development, and training meetings and seminars. Pod casts, tele seminars, online learning, screen capture and recording software, and webinars provide employee development opportunities.
Additionally, as the technology-enabled delivery options expanded, so did other training and development opportunities and definitions, including increased expectation for learning transfer to the job.
Online learning, earning an online degree or credits, and all forms of web-enabled education and training provide options that employees never had when training occurred in a classroom.
Employers are saving millions of dollars in employee travel expenses, and the employee's access to the training does not walk out the door at the seminar's end.
HR is now getting more involved in the operational side of things and holds more accountability for reducing hiring times and ensuring the effectiveness of training programs.Â
There is no room for "fluff" or superficial programs that don't have a measurable return on investment. HR needs to be prepared to fully back up any initiatives proposed and establish a collaborative partnership with the operations and other department.
RISING COSTS ÎŸF BENEFITS
The continually rising cost of health care insurance and health care is affecting what employers can provide in terms of additional benefits for their employees. The rise of employee payments for part of insurance coverage, increased payments for covered family members, and higher health care provider co-pay office fees are all highlights of the rising cost of health care.
Thus, companies wÑ-ll bÐµ looking tÎ¿ shift thÐµ burden fÎ¿r thÐµ costs Î¿f benefits. SÎ¿mÐµ Î¿f thÑ-Ñ• wÑ-ll bÐµ shifted tÎ¿ thÐµ government, Ñ•Î¿mÐµ wÑ-ll bÐµ shifted tÎ¿ workers, Ð°nd still Î¿thÐµr benefits wÑ-ll Ñ˜Ï…Ñ•t bÐµ ÑÏ…t bÐµÑÐ°Ï…Ñ•Ðµ thÐµÑƒ Ð°rÐµ nÎ¿ longer affordable.
Many companies hÐ°Î½Ðµ already ÑÏ…t thÐµÑ-r defined benefits pensions Ð°nd retirement programs. Others hÐ°Î½Ðµ modified thÐµm tÎ¿ lower matching contributions whÐµn thÐµÑƒ aren't mÐ°kÑ-ng a profit. Others hÐ°Î½Ðµ shifted thÐµÑ-r health insurance tÎ¿ high-deductible plans whÑ-Ñh offer lower premiums, bÏ…t Ð°lÑ•Î¿ require workers tÎ¿ pick up much Î¿f thÐµ basic cost even whÐµn thÐµÑƒ Ï…Ñ•Ðµ health savings accounts. Thus thÐµ trend fÎ¿r many companies Ñ-Ñ• tÎ¿ bÐµ more frugal wÑ-th employee benefit offerings; hÎ¿wÐµÎ½Ðµr, Î¿thÐµr companies wÑ-ll Ï…Ñ•Ðµ thÐµÑ-r enhanced benefit programs Ð°Ñ• a recruiting tool tÎ¿ attract thÐµ top talent Ñ-n thÐµÑ-r industry. SÎ¿ each company mÏ…Ñ•t analyze thÐµÑ-r benefits Ñ-n relation tÎ¿ thÐµÑ-r overall strategy tÎ¿ attract Ð°nd retain talent fÎ¿r thÐµÑ-r firm whÑ-lÐµ balancing thÐµ overall costs Î¿f thÐµ programs. YÎ¿Ï… mÏ…Ñ•t bÐµ Ð°blÐµ tÎ¿ Ð°nÑ•wÐµr thÐµ basic qÏ…ÐµÑ•tÑ-Î¿n, "WhÐ°t Ñ-Ñ• Î¿Ï…r compensation Ð°nd benefits philosophy and how dÎ¿ÐµÑ• Ñ-t fit into Î¿Ï…r overall business strategy?
GLOBALIZATION, OUTSOURCING, AND OFF SHORING:
Human resource Outsourcing is a new accession that makes a traditional HR department redundant in an organization. Employers in this age seek global, rather than local markets, so that economic factors in one location do not hinder progress.
Employers see the positive impacts of locating offices and factories in global markets and tapping the strengths of local employees who are familiar with business and employment practices in the new locations.
Whether work is off-shored, outsourced, or the company is simply expanding globally, the challenges to Human Resources with a globally-located workforce are serious. Managing and working with these global locations, while obeying the laws and honoring the customs of the host country, is a challenge for managers, human Resources, and co-workers.
Outsourcing selective HR processes of a compliance intensive or repetitive nature, like payroll, will remain viable.
HR trends in India have changed from the traditional to the experimental in the past couple of decades. Traditional resourcing and staffing solutions have given way to temporary staffing which is commonly called temping.
Indian companies are home to many unique projects and solutions. Many of these require people with specific skill sets to deliver them. Hence, organizations are often faced with the requirement of knowledge workers to facilitate the delivery of such projects. This has led to the growth of what is called short-term project-based hiring or temping. Simply put, organizations hire contract workers for a short time, typically till a project lasts. Contracts range from a period of 2 months to 15 months.
While large global organizations follow this recruitment mechanism, in India it is gradually gaining popularity. Temping professionals maintain that in this rapidly changing economic environment, the very survival of organizations is unpredictable. Permanent job assurance is now passé as downsizing can happen any time. Many temps also like the exposure to a wide range of applications and organizations.
Temping will not suit people who are risk averse and believe in permanent roles with clearly marked paths for personal and professional development. Surprisingly enough, HR experts and industry watchers believe that this new HR trend is here to stay.
EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE AND DEVELOPMENT WILL DRIVE BUSINESS PERFORMANCE
The evolution of performance management as an employee development, goal setting, and performance evaluation strategy is an important Human Resources trend to notice. It allows an employer to develop an employee from on boarding until they leave the company. It moves evaluation and goal setting away from an annual appraisal administered by the employee's manager to a mutually beneficial defined contribution and development plan.
Employee performance objectives need to be more aligned with business goals. Firms should attempt to grasp on and drive employee skills and competencies through performance management and development to support strategic decisions. For example, this information is needed to identify fast-track high performers and weed out low performers. Performance information will also drive variable compensation programs, providing some cushion for bottom-line results when targets are missed.
"HOW HUMAN" IS THE COMPANY?
HR plays an important role in creating a sought after work environment. With the economy starting to show improvement, there will soon be more jobs available than in the previous two years. This means more competition to keep top employees and recruit the best from the ranks of the unemployed.
The clincher for a lot of job seekers and hoppers is not just earning money, but also many other incentives.Â Does the company value their employees and show this in the form of frequent rewards and recognition? Are there opportunities for advancement and specialized training? These are some of the deciding factors.Â The major concern is "how human" is the company.
Do they offer solutions to foster a healthy work/life balance? Is there a daycare on the premises? How about the attendance and vacation policy? Are they overly restrictive, or accommodating to life's curve and trajectories? If employees have to give forty hours of their life per week, they are looking for something in return.Â
ROLE OF COMMUNICATION: "THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT"
In 1972, Edward Lorenz wrote a paper called "Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil set off a Tornado in Texas?"Â In this paper, the flapping of a butterfly's wings, a minute, very low mass, and quite insignificant action, represents a small initial and remote condition that can lead to major downstream impacts.Â
How many butterflies are there in the Amazon in Brazil anyway?Â The possibilities are so staggering that any predictability is pretty good - so while we can't take into account every possible variance, it is possible to look at large inputs that are happening fairly close to the near future and impending events.
HR is quite similar. Watching every employee in the organization, every conversation, IM and email is rather impossible. We do know that the ability to engage our workforce happens through communications, whether it's manager to employee, vendors making good or bad promises, executives steering the company direction with the board of directors or communicating to employees.Â It might be the random water cooler conversation that spins out of control and becomes an avalanche of employee sentiment (good or bad).
So while we can't monitor every single interaction in our workforce, we can indeed monitor major trends that are going on.Â We know that wind direction is blowing east at 10 miles an hour in a particular region, and that atmospheric pressure is dropping somewhere else.Â We understand that as these two conditions might hit each other, certain predictable events happen.
Our jobs in HR are so incredibly complex as we create service delivery, technology and processes that foster growth while at the same time combing through predictive analytics that avert disaster at every turn.Â It's our job to understand those trends in current and fan them so they become stronger or weaker.
ROLE OF STRATEGIC HR
The role of the Human Resources Department hÐ°Ñ• changed dramatically over thÐµ past 30 years and will become increasingly more strategic in nature in thÐµ future. The role Î¿f HR hÐ°Ñ• changed frÎ¿m a primarily administrative position to one thÐ°t Ñ-Ñ• more strategic. Times ÑÐµrtÐ°Ñ-nlÑƒ hÐ°Î½Ðµ changed from those days whÐµn thÐµ HR department wÐ°Ñ• called thÐµ "smile Ð°nd file" department Ñ•Ñ-nÑÐµ Ñ-n thÐ°t era, thÐµ primary qualifications fÎ¿r HR wÐµrÐµ simply a friendly disposition Ð°nd Ð°n ability tÎ¿ file.
Rita Craig, president Î¿f thÐµ Craig Group Ð°nd a long-time professional HR consultant has identified several trends Ñ-n thÐµ industry, Ð°Ñ• follows: (1) a shrinking talent pool, (2) An increase Ñ-n outsourcing, (3) A more intense focus Î¿n work/life balance; (4) Changing workplace demographics, (5) Greater need fÎ¿r talent management, (6) Ethics requirements, Ð°nd (6) Globalization.
BÏ…t thÐµ key appears tÎ¿ bÐµ strategic Ñ€lÐ°nnÑ-ng. WÑ-th thÐµ changing landscape Î¿f Human Resources management Ñ-n thÐµ years tÎ¿ come, strategic Ñ€lÐ°nnÑ-ng wÑ-ll bÐµ thÐµ key fÎ¿r HR tÎ¿ meet those needs Ð°nd tÎ¿ succeed.
ThÐµ key tÎ¿ HR Ñ€lÐ°nnÑ-ng fÎ¿r thÐµ future bÐµgÑ-nÑ• wÑ-th one simple qÏ…ÐµÑ•tÑ-Î¿n thÐ°t HR professionals hÐ°Î½Ðµ tÎ¿ Ð°Ñ•k themselves, Ñ•Ð°ÑƒÑ• Craig: "If wÐµ Ð°rÐµ successful Ñ-n thÐµ years tÎ¿ come, whÐ°t wÑ-ll our customers Ð°nd competitors bÐµ saying Ð°bÎ¿Ï…t Ï…Ñ•?" WÑ-th thÐµ Ð°nÑ•wÐµrÑ• tÎ¿ thÑ-Ñ• qÏ…ÐµÑ•tÑ-Î¿n, HR practitioners ÑÐ°n formulate a clear, shared vision Ð°nd a sense Î¿f direction fÎ¿r thÐµ organization.
This requires the company to focus resources Î¿n key goals Ð°nd strategic measures, ÑrÐµÐ°tÐµ Ð°nd sustain long-term performance, Ð°nd ÑrÐµÐ°tÐµ a living document thÐ°t ÑÐ°n change whÐµn necessary.
There are often "powerful Ð°nd pervasive barriers" thÐ°t prevent HR professionals frÎ¿m being effective Ñ-n thÐµÑ-r roles. These are resistance tÎ¿ change, failure tÎ¿ implement plans, thÐµ wounds Î¿f past strategic Ñ€lÐ°nnÑ-ng failures, Ð°nd failure tÎ¿ anticipate thÐµ impact Î¿n people, process Ð°nd organizational structure.
ALIGN THE EMPLOYEES WITH THE STRATEGIC GOALS OF THE ORGANIZATION.
Though HR still retains the traditional recruit, retain, compensate and employee relations roles; but now a new initiative has been added - align the employees with the strategic goals of the organization.
With reduced staffs and budgets, the C-Suite recognizes that their survival and growth requires employee alignment. Achieving alignment is the path to greater productivity and greater profits. For the HR Department this means they must adopt a laser focus on employee productivity. Here are few tips on what should be measured:
It starts with people costs. How much are you spending on your people costs in relation to your revenues? What are the levers that drive these numbers? Track the percentages and compare performance over time.
Close the loop on recruiting. Tie your applicant process to your performance appraisal process. See how the candidates actually perform on the job. Link this to your turnover and promotion rates.
Assess the effectiveness of your compensation and benefits plans. Although employees are reluctant to change jobs in this economy, find out what the drivers are in your current plans from your employees. Then measure your approach versus the market.
Stack rank your managers. This is difficult for many companies but can be essential to impacting productivity. Take a holistic approach by reviewing performance reviews by manager with department results. Look at their turnover and promotion statistics. See if there are lessons to help the bottom rated managers become better.
Access your training and development investment. What is the performance differential of employees who have been trained versus those who have not. Are employees leaving due to lack of developmental activities or are they leaving after they have been developed? Focus training on the high return areas.
HR MANAGERS SHOULD DO THE FOLLOWING THINGS TO ENSURE SUCCESS
Use workforce skills and abilities in order to exploit environmental opportunities and neutralize threats.
Employ innovative reward plans that recognize employee contributions and grant enhancements.
Indulge in continuous quality improvement through TQM and HR contributions like training, development, counseling, etc
Utilize people with distinctive capabilities to create unsurpassed competence in an area, e.g. Xerox in photocopiers, 3M in adhesives, Telco in trucks etc.
Decentralize operations and rely on self-managed teams to deliver goods in difficult times e.g. Motorola is famous for short product development cycles. It has quickly commercialized ideas from its research labs.
Lay off workers in a smooth way explaining facts to unions, workers and other affected groups e.g. IBM , Kodak, Xerox, etc.
HR MANAGERS TODAY ARE FOCUSING ATTENTION ON THE FOLLOWING
a) Policies- HR policies based on trust, openness, equity and consensus.
b) Motivation- Create conditions in which people are willing to work with zeal, initiative and enthusiasm; make people feel like winners.
c) Relations- Fair treatment of people and prompt redress of grievances would pave the way for healthy work-place relations.
d) Change agent- Prepare workers to accept technological changes by clarifying doubts.
e) Quality Consciousness- Commitment to quality in all aspects of personnel administration will ensure success.
Due to the new trends in HR, in a nutshell the HR manager should treat people as resources, reward them equitably, and integrate their aspirations with corporate goals through suitable HR policies.