Management of people has become a vital aspect of business management. People are the biggest resource of any company. Previously, employees were viewed as dispensable aspects of a company. One of the reasons this was so is due to the fact that many people did not have the needed knowledge and skills to complete many of those tasks. Today, the job market is flooded with qualified individuals looking for work. Additionally, due to their level of education, the modern employee also understands his or her rights.
While comparing traditional and modern human resource management, one of the key things that comes out is the fact that the modern approach looks at both the employee and the employer. For the employer, modern people management strategies ensure the identification of the best talents in the market. Additionally, modern human resource management ensures that employers get value for their money (in this case, salaries, rewards, and incentives).
On the other hand, the employers are also protected by the fact that the human resource department becomes the custodian of their rights. Issues of salary increment, sexual harassment cases and even promotions are (in modern people management strategies) spearheaded by the human resource department. It is arguable that different companies have come up with different modern strategies to manage their staff. However, critics argue that there are several universal strategies that can be employed in all human resource departments across different fields and industries.
Human resource management is a critical aspect of any business. The way the department manages its workforce will determine how successful the company will become. It is arguable that human resource management is a key shared service for all departments within an organisation. The human resource department is tasked with various functions. Some of these functions include hiring and firing, training and development and employee relations. These functions relate directly to how the employers and the employees interact with each other. Needless to state, human resource management has been used to also control employees.
It is essential that employees also judge how a company treats its staff through their first interaction with the human resource department. Organisations that do not appear to have a fully functional and autonomous human resource department often also have cases of ill-treatment of the employees (Grossman & Burke-Smalley 2017).
Over the years, critics have come up with several elements that not only make human resource management easier and better but also ensure that employees are well taken care of within their organisations. As stated in the past, human resource management only focused on the employers and neglected the employees. Whereas the said practices have various advantages, one can also highlight a few disadvantages for some of the proposed best practices. The essay analyses human resource management and specifically discusses seven best practices. The seven best practices are employment security, teams, communication and information sharing, identification of differences, compensation, training and development, and purposeful hiring.
What is the definition of human resource management, and what are the seven best practices in human resource management?
Definition of Best Practices in Human Resources
There is no single best practice in human resource. In fact, as Naidu and Chand (2014) note, different companies employ different strategies when dealing with best practices in human resource management. Oppong (2018) defines the term (best practices in human resources) as a culmination of ideas that revolve around positively impacting the human task force in a workplace. At times, what might appear to be a best practice in one organisation might not be in a different place (Hinds 2016).
However, as Rabenu et al. (2018) note, many organisations that work within the same space also share the same best practices in human resource management. Thus, these practices seek to not only make employees more productive but also to motivate them. Loo-See and Leap-Han (2013) argue that the best forms of best practices in human resources seek to further both the company and the individual’s personal goals. There have been arguments and debates over the decades that the practice of human resource has often been biased against the employees. Previous studies have indicated that there are many employees that agree that their human resource department was not a friendly place.
It is crucial to state that the human resource department is a crucial element in any type of organisation. The department ensures that the right people are hired and that the relevant talent is reserved within the organisation. Additionally, the same department is tasked to ensure that employees’ rights are always upheld. The department, thus, largely contributes to the productivity and profitability of an organisation by ensuring that employees are well motivated. This essay looks into some suggested best practices in human resource management. A brief history and modern focus of human resource management will also be provided to put the arguments presented into context.
As mentioned, there is no single definition presented of best practices in human resource management. Ika (2015) argues that the term refers to practices that are often applied by companies and businesses working within the same space and with similar goals in an attempt to realise their goals and objectives. This brings in the argument that best practices can be shared. It is also important to note that the suggested sharing is only applicable to companies that work within the same space. According to Love and Singh (2011), however, there are some best practices in human resource that can be applied across the board.
Towards this end, one can therefore state that best practices in the human resource are universal. This suggested definition also makes it easier for people in different companies and even cultures to work together as they have been trained on the same concepts (in regards to engaging with colleagues). Globalisation has made it that much easier for people from different cultures to work in different countries (Kaufman 2016).
It is crucial to mention that many HR best practices are normally closely tied to the local cultures. Today, many organisations prefer to borrow from different cultures in order to have an all-inclusive working environment. It is for this reason that human resource departments are tasked with training new employees and offering refresher courses for other employees on organisational culture. Therefore, a universal definition of best practices in human resources is required to ensure that all employees work comfortably and conveniently in said organisation.
Historical Background and Modern Focus of Human Resource Management
Morley (2018) defines human resource management as the coordinated management of company staff for the benefit of the organisation. Towards this end, the main objective of the human resource department is the management of employees in a way that they realise the goals set by the organisation. There is evidence of the use of strategies to manipulate and motivate employees to achieve a company’s objectives as early as 1913 (Gorman et al., 2017).
According to Ibrahim and Zulkafli (2016), the history of human resource management is tied to former industrial and labour relations. In the early 1900s, many labourers were made aware of their rights. A few years prior to this, the issue of human rights was expounded by the end of slavery. Since the war had also ended, many young men did not have jobs. The burst in the industrial sector, however, provided an opportunity for these young men. Despite this, many employees still found themselves earning little money. Trade unionists introduced the idea of industrial strikes, and it is this action that significantly led to the development of human resource management strategies.
Looking at the history of human resource management, one can argue that it was based on controlling employees (Poplia, Ladkania & Gaur, 2017). It was used as a way of ensuring reduced strikes. At this point in time, human resource departments only served the owners of the companies. The employees were replaceable (but not in large numbers). The additional fact that many employees were not “skilled” and were treated as casual labourers also made them easily replaceable. Indeed, many of the policies and strategies used by human resource departments then were highly associated with political goodwill, racial and gender bias. Šikýř (2013) argues that modern human resource management started to take shape in the mid-1900s.
There are many differences between the initial human resource management concepts and the modern ones. For instance, as stated in the beginning, human resource management did not stress human rights as much as it does today. Today, there are policies on bias of any kind in the workplace that protects both the employees and the company. In the same breath, there are policies on how employees are to be treated by management and what is expected of them in return. All these policies are guided by the human resource management department. One can argue that modern human resource management is beneficial to both the individual and the organisation, unlike the initial human resource management concept that only focused on the organisation.
Interestingly, the rise of the concept led to the decline of trade unions. Morley (2018) states that the decline was due to the better treatment of employees at the workplace. Initially, trade unions were meant to monitor how managements treated employees. Therefore, with better treatment, the employees had no reason to still be actively involved in trade unions (Rajeb & Sabet 2016). Modern human resource management has four main functions.
The functions are staffing, motivation, training and development and maintenance. It is also important to mention that the human resource department is charged with culture and leadership. Indeed, one way of motivating staff is through proper leadership structures and the ability to rise up one’s career ladder based on merit. It is due to these definitions and descriptions that scholars have come up with best practices that cut across different sectors of the economy for proper human resource management.
Additionally, it is interesting to note that many international organisations have also included a component of psychology in modern human resource management. Ryan and Wessel (2015) argue that employees are more productive if they are in the right state of mind. According to Randela et al. (2018), a person’s psychological construct will not only be visible in his or her work but also positively or negatively affect this or her work. An example can be given to explain the premise better.
Many people in the workplace have different beliefs based on their personal experiences and cultural beliefs. Due to this, people will react differently even when in the same situation. Managers cannot predict their employees’ different behaviours. However, using psychology, they can ensure that these different reactions still work for the benefit of the larger organisation.
Shore, Cleveland and Sanchez (2018) go further to state that psychology in the workplace also enhances interpersonal relations. People are able to talk to each other about their feelings and ideas in a controlled manner to ensure productivity. Conflict management strategies are also easily implemented in such an environment. Whereas there are some companies that have employed an in-house psychologist, some have one on retainer and are only called in once in a while.
Brower, Kashmiri and Mahajan (2017) add that psychology in human resource management has been recently used for motivational purposes. The psychologists act as the employees “cheering team” and encourage them to put more effort and to believe in their own abilities. It is prudent to note that anything that employees discuss with their psychologies is protected by the law. The psychologist has no right to tell on the employee due to patient-doctor privileges. Such assurances encourage employees to speak their minds and get viable solutions for situations they find themselves in freely.
Various and Different Approaches to Human Resource Management
There are many different approaches to human resource management. For the purpose of the assignment, they will be combined into five main approaches. These approaches are behavioural, critical, systematic, normative and transactional.
According to Kazanas and Rothwell (2003), the behavioural approach is pegged on the contingency theory. Towards this end, the approach seeks to monitor and control employee attitudes and perceptions for better productivity. Arguably, this would mean that any company that adopts this approach to human resource management does not necessarily focus on skills and knowledge but rather on behaviour.
There are several companies that have used this approach successfully. Ceri-Booms, Curseu and Oerlemans (2017) explain that it is important for management to understand the industry they are in and their own workforce in order to employ the right approach to human resource management.
This approach can also be referred to as the traditional approach as it puts the interests of the organisation above those of the employees. The main task of the human resource department in this approach is to hire and fire the relevant people. Employees often find themselves being overworked with little pay. However, many legal companies that use this approach ensure the employees understand their working conditions. According to Bartlett, Johnson and Schneider (2016), many industrial factories employ this approach and define their employees as casual labourers. Casual labourers do not get as many benefits as regular employees, yet they are required to put in as much effort as possible.
This approach looks at the input and output of the workforce. The inputs refer to the collective efforts of the employees, while the outputs refer to the result of the said efforts. Duhigg (2012) explains that this approach to human resource management tasks the human resource department to identify employees with the best talents, skills and knowledge to ensure they achieve the desired results (outputs). The human resource department is also charged with ensuring the right employees have the right tools needed to do their jobs well. Communication is a key element in the systematic approach as it ensures each member of the team understands their job and does it to the best of their ability.
This approach proposes two dimensions in human resource management. The two dimensions are hard and soft human relations management. Indeed, the approach is also based on the Harvard model of human resource management. The Harvard model acknowledges that there are different stakeholders in every workplace and their interests have to be included in human resource management (Armstrong 2006). The normative approach, to some extent, is the opposite of the critical approach. In the same breath, the approach views the workforce as a replaceable asset. Therefore, whereas the interests of the employees are considered, much of the decisions favour the management and the company.
According to Bartlett, Johnson and Schneider (2016), this approach focuses on close monitoring of employees and the use of motivation (incentives) to increase performance. The core task of the human resource department that embraces this approach is to lower the level of transactional costs the company endures. It is essential to state that this approach does not wager employees and the company against each other. Instead, it looks for solutions that will lead to maximum production and performance levels. Bartlett, Johnson and Schneider (2016) explains that there are some companies that have used this approach successfully to both attract and retain essential talents and personnel in their workforce.
Pressures and Constraints Faced by Organisations Today in Managing People
One of the major constraints faced by organisations in managing people today is globalisation. Despite it being one of the key drivers of the global economy, globalisation has caused many challenges in human resource management. This is due to the fact that it introduces new people and cultures into an already established culture. As stated, human resource management is also affected by leadership structures and policies.
Collins (2001) argues that whereas things evolve, there are key principles of those evolved elements that remain the same. Towards this end, whereas globalisation has affected the workplace by introducing new cultures and ways of working, the principles of collaborative working remain the same. Companies just have to find ways to incorporate different cultures to create the best organisational culture for them. Also, the management, human resource, in particular, has to ensure that all employees buy into the company culture. Human resource managers can take advantage of globalisation and use it to create a free, flexible and creative organisational culture. If employees fully embrace this culture, they will also incorporate it into their work leading to more creative productions.
Visser (2018) notes that attracting and retaining the best talents is also a common challenge faced by organisations today. Companies attract and retain talents in many ways. One of the common ways is by offering competitive packages. Another way is through being a monopoly or major shareholder in the affected market. However, the generations getting employed today view the workplace as a temporary solution to their career objectives. Thus, they often work for two years within an organisation before they move to a different organisation. The additional fact that the traditional way of working has evolved and people can now also work remotely makes this challenge more complicated. This is due to the fact that many companies are still struggling to embrace the idea of working at home (remotely).
Visser (2018) confirms that generation X have commitment concerns in the workplace. They believe they can work from anywhere and still deliver as expected. The same generation also prefers to earn a lot of money quickly, and it is for this reason that they leave organisations within two years. This is different compared to the expectations of the older generations, who currently form the senior management teams of many organisations.
The constant and frequent change can also be seen as a challenge to human resource management. Ryan and Wessel (2015) argue that today’s workplace changes in various ways. For instance, technological changes can affect the production of both goods and services. This type of change affects the core business of the company. The same can be said with policy changes, which can be both internal and/or external. According to Visser (2018), such changes are difficult to ignore (as they affect the core nature of the business). However, change due to employee turnover is rarely taken seriously.
Visser (2018) explains that the hiring and firing process changes the construct of the workforce. It introduces new people with new ideas and beliefs who might affect day-to-day activities. Change can also come in the form of a different leader. Despite the principles of leadership remaining the same, different leaders have different strategies to motivate employees and also push an organisation forward. Human resource departments rarely consider this type of change as well. It is important that the human resource department of an affected company engage with the staff (in regards to change in leadership) and smoothen the transition process.
In-service training has been used as an incentive to both attract and retain talents. However, it is also one of the common challenges faced by human resource departments when managing their workforces. Often, employees are eager to learn and advance their knowledge. However, in many organisations, the employees feel overwhelmed by both work and studies (Visser 2018). Visser (2018) argues that many companies offer one-week intense training on different important topics. However, employees that take time off to learn also go back to a backlog of office work. Visser (2018) confirms that this challenge has led to dislike for such training.
A possible solution for this challenge is the use of online platforms to train employees. ELearning can be done at one’s own pace and at one’s own time. Employees should also not be forced to study or attend training. However, human resources have to ensure they (employees) understand the importance of such training.
As mentioned, there are many human resources best practices. However, this section will present only seven as recommended by Schultz, Lamberton and Nielsen (2017). These practices work globally and can be implemented in any company in any industry.
Employment security. Love and Singh (2011) define employment security as measures that ensure employees are protected against any fluctuations in the market that in turn affects their company. Love and Singh (2011) argue that many people who have good working experience choose the company they would like to work for, and they do this in line with their own career objectives. One of the things these people look for in a company is employment security.
Employment security does not mean staying in the same position or office throughout one’s career. It refers to the ability to grow within the organisation and be treated fairly in such a way that one does not fear losing his or her job unceremoniously. Older generations have often agreed that employment security is much better than a hefty salary with no security. Both the attracting and retaining of talents is also linked to this best practice. It is important to note that even though the younger generations prefer to work for a few years at a time, they also require job security. This means that the choice to leave an organisation is purely based on the individual’s preferences and not external fluctuations that have affected the organisation.
There are several things that threaten job security in a company. One of the most common factors is organisational culture. This is with particular emphasis on office politics. Rosen et al. (2017) argue that there are different types of office politicians. The different types are the team player, street fighter, manoeuver and the purist. The team player, as the name suggests, is more productive when working with others. In regards to office politics, the team player is loyal to his or her team and will often work even with others who are not in their immediate team. On the other hand, the street fighter will do whatever it takes to get to the top.
In regards to office politics, the street fighter can start gossip and rumours just to discredit an individual he or she deems a threat to their career objectives. The manoeuver will shift allegiances to suit his or her own needs while the purist rigidly follows the company structures given to get ahead. The presence of any of these types of office politicians can lead to the loss of jobs for other types of office politicians. Love and Singh (2011) explain that part of the aptitude tests done also determine the type of office politician a candidate is to balance the office to ensure the hiring and retaining of viable talents.
It is crucial to note that employment security is beneficial for both the employee and the employer. Many times, people do not consider the impact of losing an employee on the company. Love and Singh (2011) assert that companies that fire people end up losing more money than anticipated. This is especially the case if the person who has been fired was on a regular or permanent contract. The company in question would have assumedly put in a lot of money and efforts in training the person over the years. Additionally, the person will have to be compensated through gratuity schemes and so forth. It is for this reason that companies are keen on retaining employees as long as possible.
It is also important to mention that trade unions exist mainly to ensure job security for their members. Candi et al. (2017) confirm that companies are wary about laying off individuals in trade unions. This is due to the fact that such unions carefully investigate the reasons for their member getting fired. Many companies have been accused of various types of biases and discriminations that led to the firing of some of their staff. To ensure job security, it is crucial for the human resource department to hire the right people. This refers to skill, knowledge and personality. It is these attributes that will ensure such subordinates remain loyal to the organisation and still give their best in ensuring that the organisation is successful.
A company will realise several outcomes if it employs this best practice. The first outcome is that it will attract better employees (Comer & Sekerka 2018). As mentioned, one of the things employees considers when taking a job is job security. In turn, the second outcome would be that the company will be able to retain its employees. Indeed, there are times when companies have to let employees go due to one reason or the other.
Even though employees might not like the idea, it is a reality. Often, the nature of the firing is the reason employees sue their former companies. The assumption here is not that companies will not lay off individuals but that they will have valid reasons to do so and will lay off employees in a way that all other employees understand. Another outcome of this best practice is that productivity and employee performance levels will be boosted. The company will have the best people for the job. This, combined with proper management, will lead to the recording of impressive profits for the company.
The term “purposeful hiring” is used to refer to the deliberate selection of individuals who add value to a company. According to Love and Singh (2011), there are two main ways in which companies recruit the best talents. The first is through an interview process where potential candidates send in their curriculum vitae and are vetted according to a set standard. The second way is through headhunting.
The human resource department is tasked with seeking exceptional employees who are working in other companies and convincing them to join their company. Both ways are purposeful. However, the standards set in a first way have to be clear to ensure that the right candidates are selected for the job. On the same note, there are various ways in which people can add value to an organisation. The first is through the incorporation of needed skills. The second is through infusing new ideas, while the third possible way for people to add value is to bring people together through proper leadership skills.
It is important to state that companies have tried to ensure they attract and maintain the right employees through comprehensive recruitment metrics. Love and Singh (2011) define recruitment metrics as measurements that not only optimise the recruiting process but also monitor the success rate of recruitments made by the human resource department. Thus, recruitment metrics are important for human resource management.
Human resources should be in a position to explain why a company does or does not attract the best employees (Albert, Ambroise & Valette-Florence 2017). The results should then be used to streamline the hiring process to make it better.
Love and Singh (2011) argue that there are three main elements that should be used to ensure valid and purposeful hiring. The first component is ability. Here, the human resource department has to investigate whether the candidate can do the job well. Some of the things that are to be considered in this element include a school degree or diploma, technical skills, soft skills, and work experience. The second component is trainability. Duhigg (2012) explains that even though many people have the ability to do the job, not all of them can be due to the different unique ways each company or department likes the job to be done.
The element of trainability ensures that the individual can use what has been described in the ability element alongside a customised way of working that is specific to the organisation effectively. A good candidate must, thus, be trainable. It is also expected that in-service training will be done for the given position every now and then based on a needs assessment. The third and last element is commitment. Love and Singh (2011) reveal that there are two types of commitment that are crucial in human resource management. The first is a commitment to the work one does, and the second is a commitment to the organisation one is working in at the time. No company wants to hire an individual who is there to train to full capacity and then leave.
It is important to note that selective hiring has been proven to increase productivity and employee morale. Love and Singh (2011) argue that this type of hiring also seeks to fill the gaps in the workforce. Thus, like a puzzle, each employee has to fit within their set space and work with other “pieces” for a complete and viable finish. This best practice looks at organisations as a whole entity, with the employees being parts that then come together to make the said entity functional.
Towards this end, the right people will be more productive working together as a team as opposed to individually. In the same breath, selective hiring also increases morale. Duhigg (2012) argues that employees of the same level will push each other to greater heights. In this day and age, such challenges keep employees on their toes, especially when they are offered incentives for tasks well done.
There are several outcomes that can be realised through this best practice. One of the possible outcomes is an effective workforce. Love and Singh (2011) explain that a great workforce is a key to ensuring the success of a company. Not only is such a workforce effective in terms of production, but also in terms of creating a calm and comfortable working environment for all others. A second possible outcome will, thus, be a great working environment (Gill 2018).
This is critical for any new employees that join the workforce. They will be motivated to stay as the environment encourages both personal and corporate growth. One can argue that the third outcome of this best practice is a reliable recruitment metric that can be used every time a position has to be filled within the company. It is crucial to point out that even though recruitment metrics are used often, they have to be revised from time to time based on the changes in the industry in question. Currently, industries change based on technology and even policies. All these have to be considered when revising recruitment metrics.
There are numerous studies that show how teamwork has helped organisations become successful. In fact, one of the very key elements that employers look for in potential candidates is their ability to work in a team. One of the reasons why teamwork is important in the workplace is the fact that it makes work easier. The different ideas that people have will be pulled together to allow the development of a sustainable and viable solution within a short time.
Additionally, teamwork allows individuals to learn from each other and gain more traction in their careers. Isabella, Mazzon and Dimoka (2017) explain that human resource management values teamwork due to its potential to both unite a workforce and also encourage productivity. The second advantage of teamwork is that it lowers the amount of time needed to do a task. This fact is based on the fact that teamwork allows for proper allocation of resources and also a delegation of duties. Each team member has both strengths and weaknesses. The best teams ensure that each member strengthens the weaknesses of other members. In turn, work becomes easily manageable.
Phau, Phan and Lwin (2017) add that in human resource management, teams are fully dependable on the work environment. There are work environments that allow teams to thrive, while there are some that do not. Montag-Smita and Maertz (2017) note that one of the crucial factors that support a comfortable working environment for teamwork is respect. Human resource departments have to ensure their workforce respects each other. The main reason behind teamwork success is that all members of the said team feel comfortable enough to share their opinions and ideas. At the same time, the rest of the team should be patient and open-minded to accommodate different opinions. The whole team can then work together to combine the presented ideas into one viable solution.
It is important to also note that a good environment for teamwork allows for individual growth as well. It is important to note that even though many people do prefer working in teams, there is a need for employees to also grow individually. In an ideal setup, individuals will aim to achieve organisational goals, departmental goals, team goals and personal goals. The issue of personal growth comes into play, especially during the delegation of duties in a team. Indeed teams normally have a leadership structure that oversees the running of things. The choice of leaders can be seen as a personal goal as it gives the involved persons the experience they need managing a group of people.
It is also important to note that human resource management is responsible for tools that make teamwork easier and more successful. For instance, communication tools and software are needed to ensure the successful implementation of teams in a workplace. Arguably, communication is key in ensuring employee productivity. The human resource department has to ensure that proper communication frameworks and tools are put in place. Employees have to be trained on how to use the said tools and frameworks to reach their goals. Additionally, this training has to be done frequently to ensure the employees understand their importance.
Also, it is the human resource management department’s job to form the right type of teams. Browera, Kashmirib and Mahajanc (2017) explain that the formation of a team is very complex. In the workplace, teams are not formed based on random selection. The teams should be formed based on individual strengths and weaknesses, and also personalities. As mentioned during the discussions on office politics, different employees have different personalities. Whereas some employees prefer to work alone, others prefer to work in a team. Teamwork can become strenuous if a team is not well balanced.
One can argue that proper management can encourage employees to work in teams even though some might not like the idea. An example can be given to illustrate further. If an employee does not prefer teamwork, he or she can be asked to do research on particular aspects of the work assignment and present the findings to the group. Therefore, the individual can still prove important in a team setting. Having said so, it is important for human resource managers to fully understand the behaviour of their workforce. This is both at an individual and organisational level. Such an understanding will ensure that people are put in the right teams for effective collaboration.
Ideally, human resource management also encourages different teams within the workplace to work together. This is especially beneficial if the two identified teams have the same goals. At times, teams from different departments work on similar projects. In some organisations, teams are usually combined to ensure that each department is represented in a given project. Regardless of how and why the team was formed, a collaboration between teams from different departments offers diversity and enriches the production process of any organisation. It is crucial for the human resource department to come up with strategies on how departments can tap into each other’s personnel to get a task completed.
One of the outcomes that can be achieved through this best approach is efficiency. As stated, teamwork ensures a fast and reliable way of working (Dheera & Lenartowicz 2018). Apart from these, teamwork also ensures accountability and transparency. All team members are accountable for the part of the task they have been assigned. Additionally, they have to work together, meaning that each task has to be done at the right time to achieve a certain goal.
This mechanism of working ensures efficiency. A second outcome that can be realised with this best practice is satisfied and content employees. One of the factors that lead to high employee turnover is dissatisfaction with the work one does. This feeling comes on, especially when employees are tasked with assignments they do not understand or thrive. This problem is resolved through teamwork since it works on the strengths of different people.
Compensation and remuneration
Organisations that recruit the best talents often feel the need to compensate them accordingly as well. There are two ways in which organisations can compensate employees for their time and effort. One is through monetary appreciation, and the second is through non-financial appreciation. Monetary appreciation refers to both salary packages and financial incentives.
Stone and Rosopa (2017) confirm that the human resource department is tasked with analyzing the strengths of an individual, his or her experiences and skills, and the job at hand when analyzing how much salary a specific person gets at the end of each week/month. It is important to note that many human resource departments offer a salary range for every position in the organisation. This is due to the fact that different individuals will have various skills, experiences and knowledge in the same position.
One of the reasons compensation and remuneration is a best practice is the fact that it encourages and motivates employees (Kianto, Sáenz & Aramburu 2017). The right amount of money offered as a basic salary can maintain the best talents in the industry. Indeed, it is important to note that employees also look at other factors, such as the ability to grow and the working environment, when thinking about working for an organisation. However, the number one priority for any employee is the amount of money they will be earning. Human resource management dictates that the level of effort put in a job position also be used to determine the right salary. Thus, it is important for human resource management to also be linked to the financial department of a company. This way, the first department can offer competitive salaries to their employees but still work within the company budget.
The second way in which organisations compensate employees is through non-financial remuneration. In this day and age, employers opt to offer free services as a way of maintaining and motivating their employees. For example, there are employers who offer free vacations for their top-performing employees. Other employers pay school fees for additional certificates and academic qualifications for their employees. All these are non-financial compensations. Indeed, it is up to the human resource department to determine which type of non-financial compensations are used. It is crucial for the department to also ensure that the reward system is a fair and unbiased one.
One can rightfully argue that an organisation’s reward system should not be monetary (financial) in nature. One of the reasons this is so is the fact that there is no clear way of calculating the exact and correct value of an extra effort (Shen, Choi & Chow 2017). Indeed, there are some human resource departments that have developed customised algorithms to allow them to calculate how to give financial rewards. However, it is also important to note that the human resource department should protect the interests of the company. Financial rewards prove to be much costly than non-financial compensations.
For example, it is difficult for multinational organisations to give out USD $50 as a reward for a job well done to any of its employees. However, the same multinational can offer the same employee a USD $50 meal voucher in a renowned hotel that the company has been doing business with over the years. The example is given highlights two things. One is the fact that financial appreciation will often appear insignificant compared to other forms of appreciation. The second thing that can be denoted from the example is that companies can take advantage of partners and other people they have been working with to give non-financial rewards to their employees.
It is also important to point out that fair compensation and a good reward system can help the human resource department identify weak employees (Batistič 2018). In a highly conducive and positively charged working environment, all employees will earn significant amounts based on their position and the work that they do. Additionally, the same employees would win the normal rewards from time to time, and the prices would not only be given to specific employees.
In the event that some employees never win the compensations and rewards, the human resource department can determine the employee’s value to the organisation. Indeed, such critics have led to the firing of several weak employees. At times, such employees opt to leave the organisation entirely as they feel victimized. It is important for human resource departments to show transparency and accountability in order for all employees to trust the system.
One can identify several outcomes from this best practice. One such outcome is that employees will be highly motivated. As stated, one of the main concerns for employees is the salary and rewards they get when they work for a given company. There are several things that should be taken into consideration when determining salaries. Overall, however, the salaries offered should be competitive compared to other organisations working within the same space. A second outcome is that there will be lower employee turnover. The business will be able to not only attract but also maintain the best talents.
Training and development
The current world of business changes every day. To add to this, the various elements and aspects that control a business are also changing at their own pace. It does not matter which field a business is in, as all fields have been affected by both technology and globalisation. Towards this end, Ulrich and Dulebohn (2015) advise that companies should heavily invest in the training and development of their staff. There are two types of training and developments that each human resource department has to consider. The two are induction training and in-service training.
The induction training should ideally be done for all new employees. This training is normally done by the human resource department, and it introduces the new employees to the organisation. The employees are normally introduced to their colleagues and the various departments in the organisation. Additionally, they are also trained on how to behave and on the organisational culture. One of the factors that human resource personnel look into when hiring employees is their ability to fit within the organisation’s culture.
Once this potential is noted, the new recruits have to be trained on the exact organisational culture to ensure they work within the set expectations. A proper induction should leave the new employee more knowledgeable about the organisation, the goals set and his or her role in realising the set goals. Indeed, one can argue that companies have to use induction training to protect themselves from any weak employees who might disrupt the normal way of doing things around the department.
The second type of training that is also managed by human resources is in-service training. In-service training is usually to help employees learn new skills. The constant changes in each field of business ensure that employees need in-service training. Whether the training is on a soft skill such as communications, or a technical skill such as new software for production, human resources have to keep up with the new teachings and to ensure that they (the new training) are made available to their employees. Another advantage of offering training to employees is that it ensures that the trained personnel are the best they can be at that time. This means that they will record better performance levels than employees who have not been trained.
On the same note, it is up to human resources to ensure that the employees can be trained according to the pace of change in the industry. This best practice requires that human resources hunt for the best and most relevant training for their employees. It is important to note that employees can train each other and exchange knowledge (Baur et al., 2018). The idea of employees training each other on their strengths is crucial as it does not cost much. Additionally, it ensures employees feel valued for their skills and knowledge. For this to work, the human resource department has to do a needs assessment to figure out the training the employees need. Afterwards, the right trainers can be identified among the staff. To minimize costs, the human resources department should only take up a consultant trainer when a new skill has to be learnt.
Harari and Rudolph (2017) argue that there are many other ways employees can learn that are cost-friendly. One such way is learning through doing. In this approach, the employees are given tasks they would normally not do and requested to work with their colleagues on these challenges. It is important that those that form a team be able to solve the challenge using their individual skills.
Apart from showing the other team members their skills, individual members will also be able to learn from others. Additionally, it is critical that the human resource department also provide a viable environment for the creation of strong employee relationships. These relationships can be with a staff of the same department, different departments, of the same level, or even of different levels. The importance of such a working environment is that it allows for people to learn from each other even when they have not been paired by the organisation.
One of the outcomes that a human resource department can achieve through this is well-learned employees. Such employees will incorporate what they have learnt into their daily jobs, ensuring more productivity. Additionally, the added skills can be used to further achieve the goals of the organisation. Like the other best practices, this best practice also ensures that staff are motivated. Arguably, staff should get certificates for the training courses they get while at a particular position.
These certificates assure the employer that the staff is easily trainable and that they have kept up with the changes in the industry. The third outcome of this best practice is that it ensures all employees in an organisation are on the same level in regards to skills and expertise. Therefore, no single employee or department lags behind. This is important as it eases the work for all other employees and departments.
It goes without saying that there are some employees that are deemed more valuable than others. One of the things that make such employees so outstanding is their performance (Marchington & Grugulis 2000). For example, a valuable employee in a shoe company might be the one who brings in long-term new clients on a monthly basis. However, this does not mean in any way that other employees are not valued. It is understandable that some people will thrive in some areas than others. It is these differences that make the workplace an interesting and productive place for people of different backgrounds and abilities.
O’Brien and Sasson, (2017) argue that despite the fact that some employees are valuable than others, human resource departments should maintain a fair and balanced working environment. The most valued persons should not be identified openly due to the fact that others might feel discouraged, or the best staff might become egocentric. Having said so, it is important to appreciate outstanding employees.
One way of subtly doing so is through the reward system. The best employees will always strive to win the different prices that might be on offer. This might motivate the rest of the staff to also make an effort and try win the incentives. Additionally, it is critical that the best employees be grouped with the struggling employees in teams. The advantage of this is that both groups will learn from each other and their differences.
Kanga and Shen (2018) argue that there are very many ways in which good employees can be appreciated. However, there is still need to lower the status difference among the staff (Liua et al. 2017). The teaming of the staff in groups is a good way of lowering the status difference among staff. Companies have come up with other strategies of making all employees feel equal. For example, in manufacturing industries, both engineers and casual labourers wear similar uniforms. The differences can be noticed through colours. For example, in a hospital setting, nurses wear blue scrubs while doctors wear white coats.
Despite the colour difference, both wear uniforms. This best practice also dictates that the human resource department offer similar additional services to all employees. For example, all employees should get the same medical cover and gratuity scheme. It is important to mention that such a system will lead to a respectful working environment. All employees will respect each other despite their position in the company. Also, they will agree and appreciate that they can learn from each other. In the work place, learning should not be rigid. The premise suggests that people should be comfortable learning from each other despite their area of expertise.
One of the outcomes of this best practice is the development of a conducive working environment for all employees. A respectful working environment will allow different individuals to give ideas to different challenges. In turn, the whole organisation benefits due to diversity and creativity that will be associated with such a working environment. Secondly, the best practice will lead to the cultivating of a trustworthy workforce.
This is due to the fact that all individuals will understand their role in the organisation and will do whatever it takes to achieve the goals set. The human resource department will also record fewer employee turnover as the staff will be comfortable working for the organisation. Just like the previous best practices, this best practice will also motivate the workforce.
Communication and information sharing
The last best practice in human resource management is communications and information sharing. Scholar A confirms that communication is an important element in any business. Both internal and external communication should be monitored keenly to ensure the right messages are being pushed across. One of the key aspects of this best practice is information sharing among employees. It is critical to state that employees communicate and share information amongst themselves and also with their supervisors or line managers. The communication plan should ideally be flexible to allow different people to be able to speak and share information that they deem relevant to the right people. The right flow of information can cause efficiency and be effective in solving problems.
One can argue that it is important for all employees to know the custodians of different types of information. For example, employees should know the right person to talk to in regards to the company strategic goals. Secondly, employees should also know the right person to talk to when discussing their employee benefits and rights. Indeed, despite the whole of human resources being responsible for such knowledge, there is normally one or two employees within the department that are tasked with employee relations and so forth.
Employees with knowledge also feel more obliged to contribute to the development of the organisation. They feel like they have the right information to also talk about the impact of a certain change or even help in the decision making process. It is important for all employees ton have access to any knowledge about the organisation that would help them achieve their department and personal goals. It is ideally the task of the human resource department to ensure that employees can communicate well and effectively. Many organisations realise that their employees need frequent training on communication skills. The human resource department should also encourage a conducive environment and organisational culture to allow for free and fast communication. This would discourage gossiping and hear-say among the staff as well.
Additionally, the human resource department is responsible for explaining some of the changes and decisions made by the company that affect the staff. For example, the decision to change a medical cover service provider is normally communicated through the human resource department. This type of communication should be timely and detailed to ensure that all employees understand the different changes that are to be implemented. Correct and timely communication can also make the change process that much easier. This will ensure that employees feel like part of the process, and accept the change willingly.
One outcome of this best practice is a flexible communication strategy that allows for free flow of information among the relevant parties. Communication is critical in decision making. Therefore, fast communication can help companies manage their businesses well. Respectful communication is also important in ensuring a good working environment. A second outcome of the best practice is the development of a good organisational culture. Through a free-flow communication plan, where employers on the lower ladder can still freely and easily communicate with employees in the upper level of the communication pyramid, the organisation will be able to manage both its reputation and productions.
Outcomes of the best practices
There are various outcomes of the best practices that have been presented. As explained, one such outcome is that the employees will be motivated. One of the key functions of the human resource department is to attract and maintain the best talents. Motivation plays a big role in ensuring this goal. All the seven best practices will encourage employees in one way or the other. Another key outcome of the best practices is that they help in the development of a conducive working environment. Together, the seven best practices in human resource management can craft a viable working environment for ultimate production levels.
The best practices also ensure that both the employees and the owners of the business are protected against biases from both sides. Human resource management represents both the employees and the employers.
Synergies between the best practices
It is important to note that the best human resource departments combine all the seven best practices into their strategic plans (Armstrong, 2009). Indeed, the seven best practices are also closely related. For instance, the only way of ensuring employment security is through hiring the right people who add value to the organisation. Also, the right type of compensation and remuneration will ensure lower employee turnover and encourage employees to stay and work.
This, in turn, leads to job security. Additionally, fast and reliable communication and information sharing can ensure proper functioning of developed teams, which in turn have an impact on the productivity level of the company. Again, it is also important to note that there are some elements of the best practices that contradict with each other. For instance, whereas training and development is important, it can also lead to employee fatigue if the trainings do not directly affect the employee’s work.
In conclusion, there are many strategies that human resource managers employ to manage a workforce. The term best practices is defined as a combination of activities that allow a human resource department to engage with its workforce in a productive manner. Looking at the history of human resource management, one can argue that it initially sort to only fulfill the desires of the employer. Modern human resource management, however, caters for both the employer and the employee.
The human resource management theory proposes seven best practices that human resource managers can use to ensure their staff are well motivated and productive. The seven best practices are employment security, purposeful hiring, teams, compensation and remuneration, training and development, differences, and communication and information sharing.
The seven mentioned best practices can be used together to ensure a conducive environment. For example, one way an organisation can ensure employees have job security is through providing the right type of compensation and remuneration. Additionally, communication and information sharing is critical in ensuring a conducive working environment. With a good place to work, employees do not need to look for new jobs. Therefore, they will have job security.
Interestingly, there are several concerns that have risen over the years in the implementation of the said best practices. One such concern is the fact that some of the practices contradict. For instance, there are some studies that show that too much in-service training for employees is detrimental to job security. The premise is based on the fact that there are many employees that have gotten better offers in other firms after being fully trained by their previous employers.
ARMSTRONG, M., 2009. Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice. London: Kogan Page.
ALBERT, N., AMBROISE, L. & VALETTE-FLORENCE, P. 2017. ‘Consumer, brand, celebrity: Which congruency produces eﬀective celebrity endorsements?’ Journal of Business Research, 81, 96-106.
BARTLETT, K.R., JOHNSON, K.R. & SCHNEIDER, I.E., 2016. ‘Comparing strategic human resource development approaches for tourism and hospitality workforce planning’. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism. 15 (4), 440–461.
BAUR, E.J., HALL, V.A., DANIELS, M., BUCKLEY, R., ANDERSON, J.H., 2018. ‘Beyond banning the box: A conceptual model of the stigmatization of ex-oﬀenders in the workplace.’ Human Resource Management Review, 28, 204-219.
BROWER, J., KASHMIRI, S. & MAHAJAN, V., 2017. ‘Signaling virtue: does ﬁrm corporate social performance trajectory moderate the social performance–ﬁnancial performance relationship’. Human Resource Management Review. 81 86-95.
BROWERA, J., KASHMIRIB, S. & MAHAJANC, V., 2017. Signaling virtue: Does ﬁrm corporate social performance trajectory moderate the social performance–ﬁnancial performance relationship? Journal of Business Research, 81, 86-95.
CERI-BOOMS, M., CURSEU, L.P. & OERLEMANS, A.G.L., 2017. ‘Task and person-focused leadership behaviors and team performance: a meta-analysis’. Human Resource Management Review. 27, 178-192.
COLLINS, J., 2001. Good to Great. New York: Random House.
DHEERA, R.J.S. & LENARTOWICZ, T., 2018. ‘Career decisions of immigrants: Role of identity and social embeddedness.’ Human Resource Management Review, 28, 144-163.
DUHIGG, C., 2012. The Power of Habit. Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, New York: Random House.
GORMAN, C.A., MERIAC, J.P., ROCH, S.G., RAY, J.L. & GAMBLE, J.S., 2017. ‘An exploratory study of current performance management practices: Human resource executives’ perspectives’. International Journal of Selection & Assessment. 25 (2), 193–202.
HARARI, B.M & RUDOLPH, W.C., 2017. ‘The effect of rater accountability on performance ratings: A meta analytic review’. Human Resource Management Review, 27, 121-133.
HINDS, P., 2016. ‘Research: why best practices don’t translate across cultures’, Harvard Business Review Digital Articles. 2–7.
IBRAHIM, H.I. & ZULKAFLI, A.H., 2016. ‘An empirical inquiry into the relationship between corporate governance and human resource management’. International Journal of Business & Economic Sciences Applied Research. 9 (1), 7–17.
ISABELLA, G., MAZZON, A.J. & DIMOKA, A., 2017. ‘Impacts of product type and representation type on the perception of justice and price fairness’. Journal of Business Research, 81, 203-211.
KANGA, H. & SHEN, J., 2018. ‘Antecedents and consequences of host-country nationals’ attitudes and behaviors toward expatriates: What we do and do not know’. Human Resource Management Review, 28, 164-175.
KAUFMAN, E.B., 2016. ‘Globalisation and convergence-divergence of HRM across nations: new measures, explanatory theory and non-standard predictions from brining in economics’. Human Resource Management Review. 26, 338-351.
KAZANAS, C.H. & ROTHWELL, J.W., 2003. Planning and managing human resources: strategic planning for personnel management (2nd ed.). Amherst: HRD Press.
LIUA, T.M., WONG, A.P., TSENGC, T., CHANGD, W.A. & PHAUE, I., 2017. ‘Applying consumer-based brand equity in luxury hotel branding’. Journal of Business Research, 81, 192-202.
LOO-SEE, B. & LEAP-HAN, L., 2013. ‘Human resource management best practices and firm performance: a universalistic perspective approach’. Serbian Journal of Management. 8 (2), 155–167.
LOVE, L.F. & SINGH, P., 2011. ‘Workplace branding: leveraging human resources management practices for competitive advantage through “best employer” surveys’. Journal of Business & Psychology. 26 (2), 175–181.
MARCHINGTON, M. & GRUGULIS, I., 2000. ‘Best practice’ human resource management: perfect opportunity or dangerous illusion?’ International Journal of Human Resource Management, 11, 1104–1124.
MONTAG-SMITA, T. & MAERTZ, P.C., 2017. Searching outside the box in creative problem solving: The role of creative thinking skills and domain knowledge. Journal of Business Research, 81, 1-10.
MORLEY, T., 2018. ‘Making the business case for diversity and inclusion’. Strategic HR Review. 17 (1), 58–60.
NAIDU, S. & CHAND, A., 2014. ‘A comparative analysis of best human resource management practices in the hotel sector of Samoa and Tonga’. Personnel Review. 43 (5), 798–815.
O’BRIEN, J. & SASSON, A., 2017. ‘A contingency theory of entrepreneurial debt governance’. Journal of Business Research, 81, 118-129.
OPPONG, N.Y., 2018. ‘Human resource management transfer challenges within multinational firms’. Management Research Review. 41 (7), 860–877.
PHAU, I., PHAN, M. & LWIN, M., 2017. ‘Introduction to the special section: The mystique of luxury brands’. Journal of Business Research, 81, 155.
POPLIA, M., LADKANIA, M.R. & GAUR, S.A, 2017. ‘Business group aﬃliation and post-acquisition performance: An extended resource-based view.’ Journal of Business Research, 81, 21-30.
RABENU, E., TZINER, A., OREN, L., SHARONI, G. & VASILIU, C., 2018. ‘HR strength as a mediator or a moderator in the relationship between HR practices and organizational innovation? The Romanian study’. Journal for East European Management Studies. 23 (2), 203–233.
RAJEB, M. & SABET, D.M., 2016. ‘Entrepreneurial Satisfaction with HR Performance: what really matters to entrepreneurs?’. Journal of Knowledge Globalization. 9 (1), 41–59.
RANDELA, E.A., GALVIN, M.B., SHORE, M.L., EHRHART, H.K., CHUNG, G.B., DEAN, A.M. & Kedharnath, U., 2018. ‘Inclusive leadership: realizing positive outcomes through belongingness and being valued for uniqueness’. Human Resource Management Review. 28, 190-203.
ROSEN, C., KACMAR, K., HARRIS, K., GAVIN, M. & HOCHWARTER, W., 2017. ‘Workplace politics and performance appraisal: a two-study, multilevel field investigation’. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. 24 (1), 20-38.
RYAN, M.A. & WESSEL, L.J., 2015. ‘Implications of a changing workforce and workplace for justice perceptions and expectations’. Human Resource Management Review. 25, 162-175.
SHEN, B., CHOI, T. & CHOW, P. 2017. ‘Brand loyalties in designer luxury and fast fashion co-branding alliances.’ Journal of Business Research, 81, 173-180.
SHORE, M.L., CLEVELAND, N.J. & SANCHEZ, D., 2018. ‘Inclusive workplaces: a review and model’. Human Resource Management Review, 28, 176-189.
ŠIKÝŘ, M., 2013. ‘Best practices in human resource management: the source of excellent performance and sustained competitiveness’. Central European Business Review. 2 (1), 43–48.
STONE, D.I. & ROSOPA, J.P., 2017. ‘The advantages and limitations of using meta-analysis in human resource management research’. Human Resource Management Review, 27, 1-7.
ULRICH, D. & DULEBOHN, H.J., 2015. ‘Are we there yet? What is next for HR?’ Human Resource Management Review, 25, 188-204.
VISSER, A., 2018. ‘How to manage that person on your team: There’s usually one employee who makes your life as a manager hell. What’s the best way to deal with the troublemakers on your team?’. Finweek, 44–45.
GROSSMAN, R. & BURKE-SMALLEY, A.L. 2017. ‘Context-dependent accountability strategies to improve the transfer of training: A proposed theoretical model and research propositions.’ Human Resource Management Review, 28, 234-247.
CANDI, M., JAE, H., MAKAREM, S. & MOHAN, M., 2017. Consumer responses to functional, aesthetic and symbolic product design in online reviews. Journal of Business Research, 81, 31-39.
SCHULTZ, E.A., LAMBERTON, C. & NIELSEN, H.J., 2017. ‘Does pulling together lead to falling apart? The self-regulatory consequences of cooperative orientations for the self-reliant.’ Journal of Business Research, 81, 70-79.
GILL, C., 2018. ‘Don’t know, don’t care: An exploration of evidence based knowledge and practice in human resource management.’ Human Resource Management Review, 28, 103-115.
COMER, R.D. & SEKERKA, L.E., 2018. ‘Keep calm and carry on (ethically): Durable moral courage in the workplace.’ Human Resource Management Review, 28, 116-130.
KIANTO, A., SÁENZ, J. & ARAMBURU, N., 2017. ‘Knowledge-based human resource management practices, intellectual capital and innovation.’ Journal of Business Research, 81, 11-20.
BATISTIČ, S., 2018. ‘Looking beyond – socialization tactics: The role of human resource systems in the socialization process.’ Human Resource Management Review, 28, 220-233.