Human Resource Management Functions
The basic seven (7) managerial tasks that human resources (HR) department has to deal with are:
- Performance Appraisals.
- Compensation and Benefits.
- Training and Development.
- Employee and Labor Relations.
- Safety and Health.
- Human Resource Research.
Human resource generalists and specialists can be parts of the big organizations HRM staffing. The HR generalist is part of all the seven HRM functions, while the HR specialist may be part of any one of them.
Prior to the seven tasks discussions, understanding the job analysis is necessary. HR analyses the work proficiency, exact actions and Intelligence requirements of the job executing resources, in Job Analysis.
Three grounds supporting Job Analysis are:
- While new startup
- While new job creation
- While job change.
Two key tools playing vital role in Job definition are:
- Describing the Job: Job description is about specifying not only the job role and job responsibilities but also a list of skill set required and technical/non-technical aspects of the Job.
- Requirements of the Job/ Job Specification (Mondy and Noe, 1996) : Job Specification is about estimating the basic amount of education and required experience to execute the task.
Staff Management is possible with job description and job specification. As per the organizational requirements for hiring new resources, job hire specifications are defined like designation, job post, enrollment date, and department. In big organizations, HR takes care of all these activities. HR posts pre created job specifications, for job requirement, may be Internal job switch or hiring External candidate or both. Technical Manager (s) has to interview the shortlisted candidates, to ensure whether the candidate is eligible for the job post and so to fulfill the requirement.
To motivate the resources whose performance is good and who fulfilling the given responsibilities as per expectations are encouraged by providing periodic increments or Appraisals.
These appraisals are given based on performance evaluation of the resources, to boost up their future performance. HR plays the role of auditing the resource performance, wok accuracy, punctuality, behavior in critical incidents, handling the hectic work situations, and others, to decide the appraisals for the resources. HR can also collect employee reviews from their line managers by asking about their performance. As per the ratings gained by the employee by their managers, or group of managers, and self audit done by HR, the Performance Appraisals are given to the employees.
Compensation and Benefits
Compensation is payment in the form of a hourly wages/annual salaries and additional benefits such as, pensions, vacation, sick days, insurance, modified workweek, stock options, etc. In the ideal situation, employees feel they are paid what they are worth, are rewarded with sufficient benefits, and receive some intrinsic satisfaction .Compensation should be legal and ethical, adequate, motivating, fair and equitable, cost-effective lucrative, and able to provide employment security.
Returns and benefits
HR Activities also include managing the approach towards employee benefits and compensation, employee records and personnel policies.
Returns / Compensation are paid as hourly wages with paid leaves, insurance coverage, retirement fund, type of benefits. This may help the employees to feel that they are getting rewarded for their excellent work and hence may create feeling of satisfaction and security. Providing fair, principled, inspiring, lucrative, encouraging kind of Returns to the employees gives them surety of working at the right place.
Training to improve Performance
Training the hired resources may help to improve the performance level. The resources can update their skills, work techniques, and methodology. Also proper training enables the resources to learn new concepts, mastering the technology, achieve high performance.
Resources can be trained based on certain criteria like the real need of training to the candidate, funds provided for training, necessity of improving the work knowledge, etc. Organizations follows different training methods that includes, Computer-based Training which is cost effective and self learning kind of training, Recreation type of Training which allows the trainee to get involved in practicing the virtually designed environment by using the known concepts in to real situations and Training by Instructor in which the trainer will deliver the required knowledge to the trainee.
HR has to be linked with various practices followed to manage the personals in the organizations in better way. HR has to play key role in identifying employees issues and resolving them, effective communication, administration, settlements, deciding the exact organizational staffing requirements, and to fix whether the employees on contract basis or permanent basis can fulfill the work needs, hiring best resources within available wages, etc.
Human Resource Models
HR strategy consists of five ‘P’s that includesPhilosophy, Policies, Programs, Practices And Processes. It can be executed after fixing the desired business strategy to support the selected spirited strategies.
The HR strategy model’s diagrammatic illustration can be studied
“The policies and practices of an organization’s HRM must be adaptable to its competitive environment and with the business conditions it faces.” The Integration Concept has three aspects.
- Linking of HR policies and practices with the strategic management process of the organization
- Internalization of the importance of HR on the part of line managers
- Integration of the workforce into the organization to foster commitment or an ‘identity of interest’ with the strategic goals.
- Linking strategic management process with HR policies and practices of the organization
- Internalization of the importance of HR on the part of line managers
- Improve the commitment or an ‘identity of intrest’ with the strategic goals through workforce integration in to the organization
The Matching Model
‘‘Organizational structure and HR systems are to be managed similar to that of organizational strategy’. This is close to Chandler’s (1962) distinction between strategy and structure and his often-quoted maxim that ‘structure follows strategy’. In the Devanna et al. model, HRM strategy structure follow and feed upon one another and are influenced by environmental forces (figure 3).
Human Resource Models
This section shows the link between organization/business strategy and HR strategy. ‘Human resource strategies’ here mean patterns of decisions about HR policies used by management in designing work and to select, train, develop, appraise, to motivate and control workers.
It consists of three models:
- Control – Based Model : In this the management monitors and control employee role performance.
- Resource Based Model : It is based on the nature employer – employee exchange and, specifically on employee attitudes, the quality of manager – subordinate relationship.
- Integrative Model : This model combines both Control – Based and Resource Based models
This model is more specifically based on the managerial behavior and to monitor employee performance. According to this view, HR policies and strategies act as a tool and techniques to control all aspects of work and obtain high level of labor productivity. Focusing on monitoring and controlling employee performance has its roots in ‘labor process of industrial sociologist’.
When organizations employ people, they have only capacity to work. To ensure that each and every employee works to his or her full capacity, managers must organize the tasks, space, moment of time within which the employee works. Thomson and McHugh state that ‘control is not an end in itself, but a means to transform the capacity to work established by the wage relation in profitable production’
The choice of HR strategy is governed by
- Variations in organization forms
- Competitive presuure on management
- Stability of labor markets
The variations in HR strategies reflects two logics:
- Process Based control – focuses on efficiency and cost containment
- Outcomes – based control – focuses on actual results
The Resource-Based Model
This model is based on the reward – effort exchange, the degree to which managers view their employees as assets as opposed to variable cost. The sum of people’s knowledge, social relationships serve as a source of competitive advantage.
An organization resource can be categorized as tangible and intangible. Here capabilities mean the effective use of organizational resources. According to SWOT analysis, the resource – based perspective emphasizes on the internal “strengths” and eliminating “weaknesses”.
The Integrative model :
Bamberger and Meshoulam integrated the Control Based Model and Resource Based model to build a new model that characterizes the two main strategies of HR involving “acquisition and development” and the “locus of control”, Acquisition and development are concerned about how the HR strategy increases internal human capital as opposed to external hiring. This is knows as the “make – or – buy” strategy of HR
Commitment HR strategy : focuses on internal development of employees.
Traditional HR strategy : focuses on external hiring.
Collaborative HR strategy : Subcontracting the work to external experts and rating their performance based on the end result.
Paternalistic HR strategy : Providing internal promotions to employees and offering learning opportunities.
Psychological Contract and the Foundation for Adaptive Strategies
In the past employee loyalty and consistent good work were rewarded through varying degree of job security. Presently, stability and permanency were largely replaced by constant change.For organizations continuous improvement, acquiring new skills and employee knowledge play major role. In 1980’s fortune 500 companies faced stiff competition and shed 3.5million man power and this figure may have reached 10million. If the manpower realized that the companies are undergoing a change, the components are:
Manpower planning enables a department to plan its short and long term needs and adjust its man power needs according the requirements. Manpower planning shows
- Available talent and number of new hiring’s to be done.
- Indicating potential recruitments.
- Surplus or deficiency in rankings or grades.
- Availability of qualified and experienced workers
The two key components of Manpower planning are
- Succession Planning
This assesses the likely turnover in key posts, identifying the potential candidates to fill these key posts and ensuring that they have suitable training and exposure in reaching their next level. Succession planning is an important exercise because it gives a branch or department an earlier warning on shortage of skills and finding candidates with suitable skills. A succession plan identifies:
- Key posts and possible potential candidates.
- Causes of turnover.
- Identifying the candidates and providing training.
- Alternative action, if no candidate is identified.
Due to the factors such as resignation or retirement a department may not plan for a turnover. But it can monitor turnover so that less difficulties are faced in retaining the talent. These difficulties can be overcome by motivating, training and providing growth opportunities. When addressing succession and turnover the department needs to consider other factors such as
- external factors
- internal factors
When a department decides to hire manpower, it should identify the kind of staff required, and the time period.The general principles followed in civil services recruitment are:
- Use procedures which are clearly understood by candidates and which are open to public scrutiny;
- Be fair, giving candidates who meet the stipulated minimum requirements equal opportunity for selection; and
- Select candidates on the basis of merit and ability.
- Use procedures which are clearly understood by candidates.
- Providing equal opportunity for candidates who meet the stated requirements.
- Select candidates based on merit.
Recruitment of overseas officers is undertaken only when no or insufficient local candidates are available.
The three key components of recruitment process are :
- Deciding on terms of appointment.
- Selection of candidates.
Deciding on Terms of Appointment
After deciding on grade and time period of the staff, the department needs to focus on terms of appointment, this should be drafted on the basis of nature of duties to be performed and the responsibilities to be carried out. The different terms of appointments terms are:
- Permanent and personable terms;
- Agreement terms;
- Temporary terms (month-by-month or day-by-day);
- Non-civil service appointment; and
Selection of Candidates
- Screening and Selection.
- Roles and Responsibilities.
During probation the candidates are introduced to various departments of civil service and the objectives of these departments are explained. During this phase a regular feedback on performance is provided. It includes
- On the job training
- Supervision and guidance
The objective of Performance Management is to increase the overall productivity and effectiveness of staff by increasing individual potential. It is concerned with:
- Enhancing individual and collective performance.
- Reaching the management expectations.
- Bridging the gap between top management and employees.
- Recognizing and rewarding employee performance
- Identifying and motivating the low performing employees.
- Providing training to improve their existing skills.
The success of Human Resource Management lies in motivating the employees to reach their highest performance levels. The civil service has many programmes to boost employee motivation, which are discussed under “staff relations” section.
Principle: The basic principle in motivation is that an effective employee management will bring out best from the employees naturally.
Procedures: Praising in public, acknowledging a well done task or a positive feed back from top management and letting other staff to know the achievements of their peers.
Performance appraisal will assess an individual performance over the assigned duties/tasks. It helps management in identifying strengths and weakness, whether the candidate can be promoted to next level in the job heirarchy.
The basic principles governing performance appraisal are:
- Jointly carried by individual and supervisior.
- It’s an ongoing and continuous process.
- Relating departmental objectives to individuals performance.
- Outstanding performance does not ensure an increase in rank or grade.
Performance appraisal is done once in a year, except for officers on probation. Each department has their own appraisal ways. During the appraisal process the objectives are clearly listed for appraise and appraising officer. In the end the appraising officer will write the assessment and sends it to countersigning officer for reviews.
Promotion implies that an employee has necessary skills, knowledge levels and attitude to perform well at next higher rank. During assessment skills, experience and potential are considered. The assessment process is fair and transparent .
Department Heads invite employees to apply for promotion and even allows them to opt out of promotion.
As a general rule promotion boards should
- Be transparent
- Provide an equal opportunity for all the eligible officers
Where the staff reports are inconsistent and not transparent, promotional interviews are held to supplement these reports.
Guidance and Supervision
Continuous guidance and supervision will help employees to perform well hence making them eligible for promotion, it also assists underperforming employee.
Guidance and feedback improves the performance and removes the blocks in growth of progress. A feedback should be
- Specific and constructive
Training and Development
Training and development improves the skills of civil servants and makes them to perform well in their duties. A strategic approach has the following characteristics.
- Commitment in training and developing the people.
- Continuous analysis of requirements and staff skills.
- Mapping training and development to departmental goals.
- Choosing experts in training
- Identifying various training and development styles.
Departments have their own training methodology and carry out this effectively.
- Management designs training policies and plans that meet and support departmental objectives and values.
- To ensure staff development occurs, managers identify training needs, activities and provide necessary training resources.
- It is the responsibility of staff to utilize the training to increase their potentials and skills.
The purpose of the career development is to enhance the skills of the staff and prepare them to take high responsibilities. Career development must balance between the needs of an individual and with the needs of service.
To maximize the cooperation from staff and motivate them to bring out best from them, management ensures that there is an effective communication channel between top management and staff. This will enable civil servants be fairly treated and, how decisions affect them. The principles that govern staff relations are:
- Transparency in communication
- Consulting staff on matters that affects them.
- Resolving disputes through discussions.
- The Government should uphold the resolutions of the International Labor Organization conventions
- Planning and encouraging activities for well being of staff.
Management Information System
A Management Information System helps in systematic collection of information so that departments can monitor the effectiveness of various HRM policies. Accurate information helps HRM to:
- Monitor and enhance HRM
- Provide up-to-date information for policy development.
The Way Ahead
Human Resource Management is an ongoing and continuous task, the challenge ahead is to take new initiatives and plans for better management of people, motivating them in reaching the goals, so that they will continue to give their best in these changing times.
Advantages of Human Resource Planning
- Improving the productivity of staff.
- Hiring a well qualified HR.
- Implementing rapidly changing technologies.
- Reducing employee attrition.
- Controlling training and recruitment costs.
- Treat employees as corporate assests.
Limitation of HRP
- Time and Expensive
- Inefficient Information systems
- Resistance from employees
As more number of organizations are participating in international business, the scope and need of HRM continues to increase. Hence it is important for HR professional to cope up with latest trends and technologies in managing the people, giving performance appraisals, providing training and development programs, safety and healthy issues.
- The Management of Human Resources- Cherrington, David J. (1995).
- Human Resource Management. Mondy, R. Wayne, and Noe, Robert M. (1996).
- Managing Human Resource Development.
- Quinn Mills, D, and Walton, R, Beer, M, Spector, B, Lawrence, P, (1984) Managing Human Assets
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