Saturday, March 13, 2010

Human Resource Management (HRM)

"People are our most valuable asset" has become a cliché these days, but it will be very hard to find an organization that will disagree with this statement. In this blog post, we will look at some of the aspects of Human Resource Management (HRM). A complete coverage of all aspects of Human Resource Management is, however, beyond the scope of this blog post.

According to Wikipedia, Human Resource Management (HRM) is the strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization's most valued assets - the people working in the organization, who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the business. Wikipedia goes on to explain that Human Resource Management involves employing people, developing their capacities, utilizing, maintaining, and compensating their services in tune with the job and organizational requirement.

The rate of change in business scenarios in recent times has increased largely and in order to be successful, organizations need to absorb and manage change at a fast rate than in the past. This implies that organizations faced with the need to respond to changing business scenarios should implement a successful business strategy and the organization should be staffed with the right people capable of implementing the business strategy. Hence, recruitment becomes a priority for any organization and is often considered a key human resource management activity. Finding the right kind of people to be bought ‘on board’ is often an expensive activity and the job market for qualified candidates is very competitive. Further, new employees can sometimes disrupt the activities of existing employees and new employees take time to synchronize with the work culture, product knowledge, and process knowledge of the organization. Briefly, the recruitment function of Human Resource Management can be described as the process of ensuring that at all times the business is correctly staffed by the right number of people with the skills relevant to the business needs.

The recruitment function ensures that the right numbers of the right kind of people are bought into the organization at the appropriate time. Once the employees join the company, the focus is to retain them and keep them motivated to perform at their best, in tune with the business needs of the organization. As discussed above, recruitment is often an expensive process in terms of time, cost, and effort and hence it is very important to retain the recruited employees. For retaining good employees and to motivate them to perform well, careful and continuous attention need to be paid to the tangible and intangible rewards offered by the organization. Basic rewards and conditions of work like number of hours to be put in per week may be decided by regulations prevailing in a country. In general, it can be said that about half of the rewards and terms of conditions are negotiated by the human resources department and the employee and hence varies from organization to organization. Good personnel policies, which guarantee good work environment and employee benefits, are crucial in motivating and retaining employees. It is important to keep in mind the limitations of money as a motivator and the importance of factors like job satisfaction, avenues for professional growth, involvement, etc., while planning for activities aimed to improve employee motivation. It is an acknowledged fact that the influence of behavioral science discoveries is becoming important in employee motivation. Hence, it is essential that Human Resources department acts as a source of information for the application of the findings of behavioral science in educating managers about the new perspectives of job design, work organization [Job design and work organization is the specification of the contents, method, and relationships of jobs to satisfy technological and organizational requirements as well as the personal needs of job holders] and employee autonomy.

An organization should continuously evaluate the performance of its employees for three reasons:

(a) to improve organizational performance by improving the performance of individual contributors
(b) to identify potential candidates for promotion to higher levels in the organization or for transfer to other positions where better use of employee skills can be made
(c) to provide a basis for linking rewards to performance

A human resource department supports the employee evaluation process in several ways such as:

(a) designing and establishing an evaluation system suited to the organization
(b) define targets for achievement
(c) explaining how to quantify objectives
(d) introducing self assessment
(e) eliminating complexity and duplication
(f) providing training related to employee evaluation system
(g) monitoring the evaluation system

Another key function of human resources department is employee education, training, and development. Employee education can be defined as preparing the employee for training, training involves the systematic development of attitude, knowledge, skill pattern required by a person to perform a given job adequately, and employee development is the growth of the individual in terms of ability, understanding, and awareness.

Employee education, training, and development are needed in an organization in order to:

(a) develop employees to undertake higher job positions in terms of responsibilities
(b) provide training for new employees
(c) raise efficiency and standards of performance
(d) meet legal requirements
(e) as a means to inform employees

Evaluation of the effectiveness of training is done to ensure that it is cost effective, to identify needs to modify what is being provided, to reveal new training needs, and to redefine priorities and most of all to ensure that the objectives of the training are being met.

This brings us to the end of this blog post on Human Resource Management (HRM). Thank you for your interest.

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