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In order to answer this very important question on understanding the importance of performance management among organizations, it is inevitable and necessary to discuss the following sub-topics in this essay.
First, there is a need to identify the job responsibilities of an HR manager. This essay will be discussing in length the main duties and accountabilities of a Human Resource Manager in an organization and how this function proves critical in every thriving organization. Also, there is a need to strongly emphasize on the job responsibilities of an HR manager in relation to people development. This essay will discuss in detail how an HR manager functions in relation to people development.
Second, this essay will delve into a detailed discussion on performance management. This essay will define and explain what performance management means as well as its importance in every organization that aims to flourish. This essay will also explain how the different performance management measures affect the employees in every organization.
Third, this essay will explain the reason why the HR managers must push for the development of people and how pushing for the development of people may ultimately benefit the organizations themselves.
Fourth, this essay will be discussing the various types of policies which are meant to increase the performance of people. This essay will delve into the different effective training systems, practices and strategies that organizations adopt in order to better manage their people.
Finally, the essay will ultimately answer the question on how HR Managers can ensure that the policies regarding developing people for performance in an organization are put into practice and to what extent they can ensure these are put into practice.
The Human Resources Manager: Job Responsibilities vis-à-vis People Development
The job function of an HR Manager is distinct and clearly defined in every organization. While in the past, the job responsibilities of an HR Manager mainly includes various administrative and systematized support function for the executive management and loads of paperwork, the new job functions of an HR Manager has already evolved today.
Today, the job responsibilities of an HR Manager essentially involve the administration and recruitment of employees. But aside from these basic functions, HR Managers are also expected to be sensitive enough to meet the needs of its employees, in terms of compensation and benefits.
According to Healthfield, S. (2009) many organizations today are slowly becoming more customer-centered and more resilient in terms of meeting the needs of its internal stakeholders, the job responsibilities of HR Managers are also affected. The job responsibilities of HR Managers today do not merely involve dealing with employee benefits & compensation administration, or fixing and monitoring the payroll and fixing loads of paperworks. In fact, those are not the job functions of an HR Manager but of an HR Assistant.
Tom Peters (2008), a well known management guru, defines HR as "human remains". HR Managers are known to be the employee advocates or sponsors in every organization. Their role is integral as they push forth the success in organizations by acknowledging the needs of the people and serving as the voice of these employees in terms of meeting those needs. Their role is essentially to make "employees remain inside the organization" and continue sharing their expertise for the success of the organization. Ideally, it is also the role of HR Managers to create and build a happy and positive working environment wherein people will grow and develop in terms of their skills and expertise, be motivated and be satisfied with what they are doing.
The HR Manager's role is therefore crucial in every organization as they serve as stewards of the company's most important assets which is its employees. They are the ones who empower these employees to develop their competencies and professional skills and continue contributing to the success of the organization. The end goal therefore of the role of HR Managers is to build an organizational climate and culture wherein employees can improve and develop their skills, grow professionally and career-wise and become exposed to more opportunities for their further career development (Peters, T., 2008).
If one is to prioritize and summarize the important roles of an HR Manager, it would only boil down to one and that is "people development". HR Managers exist because of the employees in the organization who need to be motivated and to be maximized more in terms of delivering more outputs for the organization's benefit (Peters, T., 2008).
According to Purple Line Consulting (2008), the role of an HR is mainly centered on maximizing the contributions of every employee for the success of the organization. This role, centered on adopting people development and management strategies are achieved in various ways by the Human Resources department. One way of putting these strategies into practice is through the provision of a framework made up of procedures and policies which are meant to develop and enhance the competencies and skills of the employees as well as the provision of the tools and guidance needed for the strategies' implementation.
It is a fact that acquisition of new employees is more expensive than maintaining or retaining employees and so the main task of the Human Resources Manager is basically to ensure that job turnover is low and the performance, morale and productivity of existing employees is high. These abovementioned job objectives of an HR Manager can only be achieved if the whole human resources department knows the importance of their role in the organization as well as possess a strong knowledge on the most effective strategies in developing people (Purple Line Consulting, 2008).
Performance Management and its Importance
Bacal, R. (1999) recognizes the importance of performance management among employees as a vital requirement for the success of the organizations. The said author also points to the fact that HR Managers can actually take advantage of performance management in order to maximize its function of people development in the specific organizations they serve.
Performance Management is defined as the one of the major and critical processes in an organization that, when effectively utilized, may lead to tremendous successes in the organization.
Specifically, performance management refers to the communication process that takes place between employees and their supervisors in partnership with the human resources department to clearly establish the understanding and expectations on the employee's functions in the organization, the importance of the job role of an employee, how an employee will successfully contribute to the organization's success, how the employee's performance will be rated and measured, how the barriers on the effective employee performance may be addressed and how the employees and their supervisors can work together to achieve the organization's goal (Bacal, R.,1999).
In order to effective achieve the organizational goal of success, it is inevitable for employees to perform at their best and produce at the maximum level outstanding outputs that their companies expect of them to deliver. Hence, one way of directly motivating these employees above company expectations is through the application of the performance management process.
According to the University of California, Berkeley (2007), the performance management system is an important process, not a mere step to motivate employees. Moreover, there are certain important elements that are included in the performance management system in order to properly and effectively execute it.
The elements comprising an effective performance management system involves the planning process which involves the setting of the performance standards & objectives that the company expects of an individual. An effective performance management system specifically defines what organizational excellence means and how employee success contributes to this aim. Also, it identifies the company expectations on their employees and the specific steps these employees need to undertake in order to meet these expectations (Bacal, R., 1999).
Another important element in an effective performance management system is the checking in or communication of the said organizational standards of excellence and performance goals and objectives that these employees need to achieve. Finally, the assessment on whether these goals, objectives and standards are met by the employees completes the essential elements of an effective performance management system which the leaders and managers of the organization closely monitor to ensure that their employees are complying with the organization's mandated standards of performance (Bacal, R., 1999).
Constant monitoring and assessment of these organizational goals are important in every organization whose goal is to prosper and flourish in this increasingly competitive industry and business environment.
The Importance of Employee Development: an HR Manager's Role
The sad fact is that today, many organizations still do not recognize the role of HR Managers in an organization. Apparently, this lack of awareness on the crucial role of human resources in developing people affects the way employees and organizations themselves view the importance of the human resources department (Purple Consulting, 2008).
In order to permanently destroy this lack of understanding among organizations on the true role of HR Managers, the organizations need to be more concerned on their internal stakeholders, particularly their employees. Some top companies in the world like for instance, Google Inc. recognizes the importance of employee development. In fact, one of the most notable statements of Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google Inc. is that "Google invests in people" (Sullivan, J., 2007).
According to Simpson, G. (2001), in this highly competitive business environment, it is important that companies recognize the importance of investing in their people and considering them as important assets of the company. In terms of managing people development, the burden rests more on the HR Managers as that is one of their most important and basic functions.
Given this, there is therefore a need for HR Managers to constantly update their approach in managing people and do away with the old practices and habits that the company has practiced for so long. As organizations need to be customer-centric, paying close attention to the needs and expressed wants of their customers to be able to effectively respond to them, the HR Managers on the other hand also need to be employee-centric, paying specific attention to the development needs of their employees in order to immediately respond and properly manage them (Simpson, G., 2001).
There is a strong need to constantly remind HR managers and the entire human resources department to focus more on the evolution of their people management programs, policies and methods in order to effectively respond to the existing employee needs and avoid disjointed, ineffective people management methods and practices.
Moreover, in order to motivate the HR managers and the whole human resources department accordingly, it is also important for the organization to put more emphasis on the importance of employees within the organization. It is important that the top management is able to explain to the HR that increasing productivity, motivation and employee satisfaction are one of the simplest keys that the organization possesses in order to successfully achieve its objectives (Simpson, G., 2001).
Furthermore, it is also important to stress to all business managers and leaders in the organization the fact that one of the best competitive advantages of an organization versus its competitors is its ability to increase the productivity and performance level of all its employees from top to bottom. Indeed, employee management and development is one of the most effective long term strategies that any organization can freely adopt in order to achieve its goals (Simpson, G., 2001).
Effective Employee Development Strategies, Systems, Practices and Policies
Since it has now been established that increasing the performance of employees is highly-critical in the success of any organization, HR Managers must therefore begin thinking of the different policies, practices, strategies and systems that the company can adopt in order to increase their productivity and motivational level in producing results for the organization's benefits.
According to the University of California, Berkeley (2007), there are six categories or aspects in employee development and people management that the organization must focus on in terms of developing and adopting strategies, practices, policies and systems for the employees.
These aspects or categories wherein employee development strategies must be centered into mainly include the employees': 1.) Management Development 2.) Job/ Career development 3.) Basic Skills 4.) Professional Skills 5.) Technical Training and 6.) Supervisory Skills.
One of the most essential aspects that all employees from all levels must be able to develop is the capacity to manage and lead people. Although management and leadership development is typically a long process, some management development programs offered by organizations to their employees give them the opportunity to broaden their leadership and management skills. Oftentimes, comprehensive management curriculum and workshops for employees are arranged by the Human Resources in order for them to develop their core competencies allowing them to become outstanding leaders. Management development is therefore an important part of the training process that all employees must undergo in order to grow professionally (University of California, Berkeley, 2007).
Just like management development, career development is also a necessary aspect which every employee must grow in order to develop professionally. Although career develop is also a long and dynamic process, the organization wherein these employees apply their professional skills play a vital role in helping their employees develop career-wise. Normally, the role of the Human Resources is important in this aspect as they are the ones who are in the key position to give feedback and advice on the career steps and opportunities available for a specific position as well as provide some valuable advice on how an employee's career goals and objectives can be achieved. Oftentimes, companies also provide different seminars, classes and trainings which would broaden the career development information of all employees (University of California, Berkeley, 2007).
In terms of improving the basic skills of their employees, such as the communication and writing skills, organizations often conduct learning and development tutorials and seminars to expose their employees outside of the company and interact with other people outside of the company. There are also various skills development labs, workshops and training programs that are mandated by the company for the employees to attend to in order to enhance their basic skills. These types of development seminars are often part of the employees' benefits from the company (University of California, Berkeley, 2007).
In the same way, professional and technical skills and training are also provided by the company. Typically, the company, through the Human Resources Department, possesses a wide variety of networks from other groups and associations conducting such employee trainings. One company for instance, offers free computer skills training program outside of the company bounds but is paid for and provided by the company for their employees benefit. These are simply one of the manifest ways that the companies are able to show that they do invest in their people and are genuinely concerned of their professional and personal development (University of California, Berkeley, 2007).
Out of these innumerable ways of practicing strategies for employee development and training, a number of benefits are reaped out of these company endeavors. One of these immediate benefits is an increased job satisfaction and a higher morale and confidence from the employees. Others proved that conducting such training and development programs have indeed increased the employee efficiencies and employee performance at work thereby resulting into financial gains which the company can benefit from. Moreover, since knowledge has been transferred to these employees, they are most likely to apply what they have learned at the workplace. This increases confidence and motivation among employees as this proves that they are still highly capable in performing job functions (University of California, Berkeley, 2007).
Nevertheless, the extent to which HR Managers can ensure that these policies on developing people for performance in an organization are put into practice is very limited. This is because according to Simpson, G., (2001), the extent to which these policies, strategies and systems for employee development are not solely facilitated by HR Managers but practically by all business and line managers in the organization.
While it is the direct responsibility of HR Managers to come up with such employee development and management programs in order to motivate and increase the productivity of employees, other leaders, supervisors and managers in the organization also has an important role to play. The monitoring of the activity, progress and outputs among employees are mostly seen by the direct and immediate bosses and managers not by the HR Manager. Hence, it is important that all the other leaders in the organization are aware of the rationale why these policies & strategies are being put up and implemented by the company in the first place. It is only in this way that these strategies and policies will be effectively utilized for the ultimate benefit of the company (Simpson, G., 2001).
On top all, the higher management must also act as the main driver in advocating the implementation of these kinds of policies and strategies that the employees and the company will benefit from.