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Human resource management refers to the strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization’s workforce. An organization’s workforce is the most valued asset that contributes to the goals and objectives of the organization for sustainable competitive advantage. In this regard, human resource management aims at integrating the personnel issues into the company’s strategies. Compared to the past management practices, human resource management is a dynamic and realistic approach of managing people to contribute to the organizational performance and change. Additionally, the past management practices emphasized the process of controlling and directing the personnel as opposed to making the workers feel appreciated and valued. In this regard, employees had no urge to work, but only attended to their duties for the monetary gains. Human resource management has been an undergoing refinement and improvement in order to cater for satisfactorily for the workers’ needs (Bradley 2000, p. 120). Moreover, the understanding of the human resource management roles in an organization assists in outlining the organization’s policies and objectives in relation to the workers efforts and suitability.
Human resource management has several goals and objectives that create its difference with the past management. It serves the interest of management as opposed to the employees’ desires and demands. In this regard, it suggests strategic approaches to the personnel issues by linking the mission of the organization to the human resources goals. Furthermore, it enables the human resource department to pay attention to the perspective of employees’ welfare. This is realized by gaining the employees commitment to the organization’s values and goals. Through an effective human resource management, an organization is able to create a conducive and attractive culture that attracts and retain the existing workforce (Ackers 2003, p. 124). As a result, the organization would gain a competitive advantage in the market improving its overall performance. In this regard, human resource management builds a result-oriented workforce that has commitments for improving the organization as opposed to past management practices.
To achieve the core objectives of human resource management, an organization should identify its distinctive features. These unique features include the definition of the top management, outlining strategic fit, culture and values, reward systems and creation of an understanding that employees are valuable assets. In this regard, the top management involves the formulation of directions and ensuring their implementation. The other features help the organization to outline its responsibility to the workforce. Previously, personnel management fulfilled a staff function that had limited dimensions until the emergence of the human resource management. Therefore, through human resource management, an organization seeks the hearts of the workforce rather than mere consent to management decisions (Noon 1997, p. 240). This whole process demands the organization to outline its strategic values, fit and culture. The strategic fit demands for the appropriate individuals to be selected for every post of an organization. Additionally, culture and values should be instilled in the employees to enhance the realization of the objectives and goals of an organization.
Analyzing the past management practices, human resource management has integrated multiple dimensions into the personnel management while retaining its beneficial components. Personnel management involves the process of organizing the composition of the workforce over time. There are series of steps that make up the process of the personnel management. These include manpower planning, selection, recruitment, orientation, training, development, performance appraisal, compensation, and termination. Each of these activities has its significance and varied dimensions with regard to the workforce. Manpower planning entails the long-term planning of the workforce requirements in an organization taking into account the internal and external factors. The main objective of this procedure is to obtain and retain the right quantity and quality of people that suit an organization’s needs. Moreover, it seeks to make the most appropriate use of the available human resources. Nevertheless, planning of manpower involves the future anticipation in terms of the potential surplus or the deficit of employees. This implies that manpower planning has distinct features of the job analysis and the process of forecasting and matching a demand and a supply of labor. The Job analysis involves the description and specification of duties available in an organization. Meanwhile, forecasting and matching of the demand and the supply of labor reduces the costs involved in case of shortage or surplus of labor.
The process of selection and recruitment of the workforce is a considerably critical activity of an organization. This activity arises when the organization finds the need to hire for particular positions or because of emerging opportunities. Selection involves the identification of available candidates and interviewing. Interviews could either be formal or informal, but they assist in finding some potential individuals to fill the gaps. In recruiting, the candidates could be from either within the organization or external. There exist many pros and cons as to the choice of the policy that an organization uses in sourcing for candidates. On this note, the candidates from within the organization adjust easily and are knowledgeable about the organization’s values and culture. On the other hand, although the external candidates may not be knowledgeable about the organization’s cultures and norms, they would bring in varied skills and knowledge that had not existed in the organization before (Sennett 1998, p. 185).
The training and development of new employees is done after the recruitment. Training is aimed at maintaining and improving the current job performance, while the development programs seek to develop skills for future jobs. Training could adopt an internal or external approach. Internal approaches are conducted within the environs of an organization and could be either in orientation, development by level, job rotation, apprentice training, coaching, acting capacity, and assistant to positions. When new employees get a sufficient exposure, they can be posted to their areas of interest with regard to their skills and talents. Additionally, the external approaches could be undertaken to supplement the internal programs (Ackroyd 1999, p. 221). Consultants, academic institutions or any other professional bodies usually conduct the external programs. For the success of these activities, personnel, both senior and subordinates join in the process. At the same time, the theory and practice should be conveniently integrated. Notably, inclusion of rewards for those who gain a lot in the process adds value to the activity.
Performance management aims at indentifying, measuring and developing a human performance within an organization. This activity could be cumbersome and inaccurate since the process of the performance appraisal is a qualitative aspect. Nonetheless, managers ought to undertake performance management following either formal or informal approaches. The activity aims at identifying the current performance of subordinates and checking for those who deserve a merit promotion. The continuous evaluation of employees’ performance assists an organization in determining its performance standards. In this regard, the organization can offer the promotions or additional trainings to its workforce (Sennett 2006, p. 204). In other organizations, the performance appraisal forms the basis of the rewarding system. Unlike in the past, the employees’ performance is assessed or compensated, thus demonstrating the benefits of the human resource management.
Another key role of the human resource management is compensation. Compensation involves the reward or payment that employees obtain because of performing organizational tasks. The basic forms of compensation include salaries and wages, indirect financial gains, like insurance cover, and non-financial compensation, such as the satisfaction, obtain from the duty performance. In determining the appropriate compensation for an individual, many influencing factors are considered. These factors include the union pressures, the job requirements, the organization’s ability to pay, the competitiveness of the organization, the government policy, and the cost of living. Nevertheless, the demand and the supply of labor influence the wages and salaries that employees receive. Therefore, the appropriate determination of employees’ remuneration influences their commitment to an organization’s objectives and goals.
On the later years of the employment course, human resource management handles employees’ separation. The employee separation could be caused by retirement, death, layoff, dismissal, or resignation of some employees. Retirement of employees occurs when employees reach the stipulated age and have no further intention of committing themselves to work. It could be either mandatory or voluntary. Layoffs refer to the act of organizations terminating the duties of qualified individuals when they are no longer needed. This factor is influenced by the changing business cycles or improvement in the technological structures. Resignation, on the other hand, refers to the willful quitting from the work by an employee due to other better opportunities offered to them or simply due to the lack of interest in work. In this regard, human resource management plays a critical role in the preparation and covering of employees during this transition period (Burchell 2002, p. 285). Nevertheless, an organization, through the human resource department, should arrange the separation activity in a formal and acceptable manner to the workers.
Another critical task of the human resource management is the development of successful and effective managers. This role embodies the offer of giving knowledge and skills to organizations’ managers for them to lead the organizations effectively in all dimensions. This involves the integration of personnel management skills to realize organizational goals effectively.
Similarly, human resource management enhances labor relations demands in order to comply with the law. The labor law defines roles which trade unions should undertake to meet the workforce needs in an organization. Trade unions are formed to handle the various grievances that are likely to occur in any occupation. Some common types of trade unions include craft, industrial, general and occupational trade unions (Kelly 1998, p. 305). Therefore, the knowledge of the human resource management on the trade unions responsibilities with regard to their workforce helps an organization serve the needs of its employees effectively. This fact results from the crucial obligations that the management has to the trade unions.
The management should accord the adequate recognition and facilities to trade unions as being appropriate in the industry and allow them to undertake their core responsibilities. This demands that the employees’ right of engaging with trade unions is not interfered with. As such, the employees’ enrolment as trade unions members should be accepted by an organization with no discrimination, restraint or coercion against them. In this regard, the law clearly stipulates that discrimination, abuse or use of the abusive language should be avoided. This means that human resource managers should guard the rights and freedoms of the employees within an organization. On the contrary, the past management practices considered employees as servants of an organization and had no freedom within the environs (Edwards 2003, p. 244). Additionally, the management should acknowledge the right of every employee to approach the management on personal matters, which should be handled with confidentiality.
On matters of misunderstanding between the management and the workforce, an organization’s human resource department should be in a position to engage with the trade unions in collective bargaining. The negotiation process between the management and trade unions is significantly important as it puts into consideration the crucial factors of employees, like wages, working hours or conditions of employment. Despite the threat on the relationship between them, both parties involved in the negation should understand that a collective agreement is of the mutual benefit. In this regard, the human resource management has the role of ensuring that the agreed settlement of grievances is implemented. This means that orders, settlements, awards, decisions, and any agreement made should be handled as speedily as possible.
Considering the role of the trade unions in ensuring that employees’ rights are not violated, the human resource management should accord it respect in all its undertakings. A major misuse of freedom by the management is usually noted in the manner in which separation or termination of employment is done. The management, therefore, has to ensure that either the dismissal or disciplinary actions taken against the employees are justifiable (Lewin 2004, p. 184). Notably, disciplinary actions should be undertaken rationally, be it warning, reprimand, suspension, or dismissal. Critically, it is the core responsibility of the human resource management to undertake its duties democratically with respect to the personnel. This indicates that the human resource management is far much appropriate with the changing needs of an organization as compared with the past management practices.