Effective Managing Human Resources

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Introduction

Literature on human resources management is gaining grounds. Many aspects of human personality such as self esteem, group belonging, and self-actualization, are gaining grounds as far as management of human resource is concerned. Interest in humanism and humanization has transformed Human resource management over a period of time (Pareek & Rao; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh). Many organizations around the world are facing challenges in the workforce, including professional incompetence and lack of motivation. However, these are not the only problems that face these organizations. Many organizations around the world lack proper human resource management systems.

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Human Resources Management

Human resource management takes consideration of the future needs of the organization. Many challenges as well as dynamic environments have been faced while dealing with human resources management. These issues, for example, have affected extension in agricultural human resource management (Vijayaragavan & Singh). Many aspects of human resource management have been featured in theory.

These includes planning for; personnel development, recruitment of employees, the required skills, among others (Miller, Burack, & Albrecht; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh). Human resource audit and human resource forecasting are two important areas of human resource management. Human resource auditing involves issues of quality of employees in the organization, the type of these employees, and the number of them in the organization.

It is important to formulate the present, as well as the future policies in order to take care of the growth of the organization. Many techniques of forecasting may be employed, including “formal expert survey, and planning analysis and computer models” (Vijayaragavan & Singh). Auditing in human resources helps in the determination of the employees’ abilities, skills and performance (Werther & Davis; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh).

In the recent past, job analysis has been applied in developing people in organizations, in addition to the purposes of recruitment, pay, administration, and supervision. Many techniques have been implemented in collecting the information needed to carry out job analysis, for example, interviews and mailed questionnaires. A profile of human characteristics needed for the job is outlined in the job specifications (Werther & Davis; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh).

The “work overload, seasonality of extension, the range of cropping systems, and distribution of extension services over a large area” are some of the challenges in job descriptions, for instance in organizations dealing with agricultural extensions services (Hayward; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh). Study relating to human resource management has revealed that staff faces a number of challenges including lack of expertise, lack of accountability, lack of job authority among others (Vijayaragavan & Singh; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh). Knowledge about job analysis and the practice there in can help in improving performance and effectiveness of employees in an organization. Some of the techniques that can help in development of personnel include the adoption of the following procedures;

Key performance areas for various categories of personnel

The critical functions which are important in the present and the future achievement of the organizational objectives are featured in key performance areas (Pareek & Rao; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh). This contrasts a bit with job description that entails specifications for the expectations from the current job holder, among many other things. An example of key performance areas in the area of core extension personnel includes;

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  • Village extension workers: in this area, the workers visit villages in order to understand and to help solve the problems faced by farmers. The area also involves carrying out educational activities in form of training sessions, exhibitions among others, and; providing advisory services to the farmers and solving the problems that they face.
  • Subject-Matter Specialists: The workers in this area ensure that contact with agricultural research stations is kept so that it is possible to keep updated on current recommendations and findings relating to farm production. Employees in organizations that require them to be at the field, report the challenges and problems at the field, as well as feedback to the solutions already availed. This will help the rest of the workers be updated on technology and the solutions available in relation to their problems at the workplace.
  • Supervisory staff: May be involved in activities aimed at motivating, evaluating and guiding workers.

Critical attributes for personnel

This aspect focuses on the attributes of the workers, which can help in the determination of an effective and ineffective role occupant. Mental ability, physical ability, as well as moral issues are tested for the employees needed in the organizations. Moral issues are important for those organizations that are seeking to serve people directly (Gupta; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh).

In the selection of personnel, it is important to ensure that assessment for the personal and professional attributes for them is carried out because one of the most serious problems of extension personnel is unsatisfactory educational level. Personnel affected include those in countries such as Zambia, Kenya, Sudan, Botswana, Bangladesh, and Malaysia (Blanckenburg; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh). The levels of education among various categories of workers in various categories vary. For example, developing countries in particular, have been found with the problem of low level of “formal education and training” of field extension agents (Vijayaragavan & Singh).

Recruitment of Personnel

Organizations need to emphasize on the channels required for recruiting people since it determines whether the right people are selected for the organization or not. In essence, this activity determines performance of the organization. Recruitment is a continuous process within organizations because not all workers leave the job at the same time, and not all people come at the same time. In addition, the organization, may want to expand and add the workforce.

The type of workers to recruit depends on the requirements of the organization. These requirements range from the size of the organization, to the number of organization and the type of workforce required, among other things. For example, agricultural extension services require employees to have technical skills, as well as have the willingness to educate the rural people. Qualified and motivated personnel are required in the agricultural extension services.

Organizations recruit staff from several sources, including outside and inside the countries of operation. Government placement agencies may play an important role of helping the organizations to acquire outside personnel. Organizations also utilize other agencies and firms to recruit staff, including governmental organizations.

Most of the organizations have stipulated policy for recruitment of personnel. These recruitment policies vary from one organization to another, and may depend on the type of organization. Governmental or public organizations may for example have a policy that requires top organizations to be recruited through promotion. Other channels of filling vacancies within institutions include promotion (Vijayaragavan; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh).

This strategy can help the organization to achieve employee loyalty to the organization. Other strategies may be applied for other purposes, for example, ensuring that the employees are challenged to work hard. However, the strategies being utilized in selecting staff should be free from corruption so as to ensure that the working staff does not develop negative attitudes against the organization. This practice may however promote complacency and hinder sourcing of talented workers (Vijayaragavan & Singh). The type of recruitment process may have financial implications to the organizations because the qualification of employees (their professionalism), number and type, may have financial benefits or losses to the company.

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Selecting of Employees

Many companies advertise job positions in the public media so that potential employees will make applications. In this respect, the organization may focus on the need for publicity of the job opportunities such as making it known to many people through advertisements. In this respect, the organization may seek the help of governmental agencies, training centers, educational institutions among others to make sure that there is more publicity for the advertisement. In this case, evaluation through tests may be important. (Vijayaragavan & Singh) has theorized a typical selection process that includes “job application, initial screening, testing, in-depth selection interview, physical examination, and job offer”.

The process of selection determines the possibility of the determination of an effective and ineffective candidate. Determination of the right type of candidate to be employed can be done by carrying out brief interviews and simple knowledge tests. These tests and interviews can be helpful in testing the cognitive and non-cognitive abilities of personnel. Different tests may be used to determine different attributes of the individual being recruited.

In addition, non-cognitive attributes require utilization of non-cognitive tests in order to determine such attributes as high motivation of employees, employees’ empathy, orientation of employees to problem solving, among other things. The recruiting agencies may need to determine the ability to work under unsupervised and difficult village conditions, team spirit, persistence and patience, among others.

Training and Development of the Workforce

Training of the workforce is an important aspect of human resource management, and which may have direct or indirect financial effects to the firm. The financial benefits accruing to the firm in terms of training and developing the workforce link to the ability to improve the efficiency of the workforce, which has an impact on the output. Increasing knowledge of the workforce pertaining the jobs they are attending makes them become professionals, thus reducing the likelihood of such damages that would accrue by having unqualified staff on job. These problems include breakages and fires among others, which are directly linked to the financial losses for the company.

Professionalism also reduces the likelihood for wastage. Production is also linked to the number of workers in that a certain number of workers may be targeted to attain certain level of production, and this may help in the management of the workforce in relation to production levels. All organizations find themselves with the need to maintain, as well as improve the current job performance of their employees. This is achieved through application of training programs. On the other side, development programs are applied to develop the skills for the employees in performing tasks in the future (Stoner & Freeman; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh).

The training program of an organization is guided by the training needs of employees. Job analysis may be helpful to identify the training needs of the organization, among other things. Learning situations can be achieved through use of such methods as simulation exercises, games and role playing (Lynton & Pareek; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh). It has been recommended that training should be based on experience. This may be necessary for applications requiring utilization of technology.

Management developing programs

These are aimed at equipping the staff to prepare them for managerial positions. Changing job scenarios require that the management be trained over a wide range of management techniques. In addition, the demanding nature of management requires extensive knowledge. The current job opportunities are faced with modern challenges that require modern management techniques such as application of technology. Organizations need to identify the needs of the management positions through analysis, so as to be able to design effective management development programs. A variety of training techniques may be employed, including classroom instruction and training sessions.

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Performance appraisals

Performance of employees is an important aspect of an organization. This is the step that determines the effectiveness of the human resources. Performance appraisals may be used to determine facts about the employee at workplace, for example his/her potential. The organization is also able to determine the employees’ potential through the performance appraisals. Another important aspect of evaluation of employees is the use of performance appraisals that provide for feedback. This technique offers a chance for managers to reveal much about their employees, including through open discussions. According to Pareek & Rao (cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh);

The performance appraisal which aims at facilitating employee development has the following major purposes:

  1. to provide feedback and guidance,
  2. to set performance goals,
  3. to identify training needs, and
  4. to provide inputs for management of pay administration, rewards, and promotion

Identification of key performance areas and setting yearly objectives; identification of critical attributes for effective performance; periodic review of performance; discussion of performance with employees and identification of training and developmental needs

It is possible, within an organization, to evaluate the future-oriented appraisal of an organization. This analysis provides the employer with an opportunity to identify the weaknesses as well as the strengths of the employee, and to improve on them. There are many techniques employed for appraisals such as “self-appraisals, peer rating, the management by objectives (MBO) approach, psychological test and simulated work exercises, case analyses, and leadership exercises” (Vijayaragavan & Singh).

Performance Review and Counseling

Determination of the effectiveness of the employee at any organization is a very crucial practice in human resource management Problems which relate to job effectiveness can be solved through performance counseling; which can also help in identifying the training needs of the employees and analysis of job performance. Thus a manager providing subordinates with these types of analysis may determine these aspects. A successful counseling process requires the interest of the employees, their openness, and commitment (Werther & Davis; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh).

Supervision

This activity may help the organization to achieve task orientation as well as cater for employee concerns as they arise. Supervisors may have a variety of activities including “direction and organization of activities, motivation of employees, and management of work groups” (Vijayaragavan & Singh). According to Honadle (cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh);

A study of supervisory practices to improve field performance of agricultural extension in Kenya, Malawi, and the Philippines revealed the following effective supervisory practices (Honadle, 1982):

  1. use of collaborative, realistic, and result-oriented target setting and a daily activity plan;
  2. a needs-based participatory evaluation system;
  3. involvement of farmers in decision making and a reachable service target under local constraints; and
  4. effective communication and use of simple proforma and report procedures.

For an effective supervision practice, it is important that the supervisors involve the subordinates in the making of decisions. It is recommended that the supervisors be task oriented, considerate, and make and treat “employees with more interpersonal competence” (Leonard; Vijayaragavan & Singh; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh). Friendship also may be a very essential component of ensuring workers’ reliable performance (Vijayaragavan & Singh). Some of the techniques involved in making sure that there is friendship among the workforce includes ensuring that there are functional work groups as well as ensuring teamwork.

Mainly, all the issues affecting the ability of employees in their work affect the organization financially. Every aspect of the organization is connected to the financial aspects of it, either as income generation or expense.

Employee Motivation

Decreased or increased motivation has an indirect relationship with the financial aspects of the organization. When employees are not motivated to work, it is obvious that the corporation will lose, even financially, because the output may decrease. The vice versa is also true. Supposedly, the tricky part of such an analysis related to financial impact of motivation on an organization would be hard, since the determination of the amount of financial loss to the company as a result of motivation would be a complex analysis. This is because all the operations of the company are not related to the output, which may be directly linked to the calculation relating to determination of the financial loss of the organization.

In addition, all the services of the company are interlinked, and separation of these services would be a problem. Many organizations lack the aspect of employee motivation because of a number of reasons including low motivation, and poor promotional avenues. The effectiveness of the employees depends on the level of motivation given by the organization. Organizations in many countries suffer from poor motivation. Leaders of the organizations are challenged to have knowledge on the theories of motivation, in order to understand the problems related to employee motivation, and the available and applicable solutions to them.

Such theories include the “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, Herzberg’s two factory theory, McClelland’s need theory; theory X and theory Y; and expectancy theory of motivation (Stoner & Freeman; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh). Problems relating to motivation may be specific to specific cases because of a number of issues, such as the specific nature of problems at the work place. Thus, the required type of solutions may be different for each case.

Work-Group Management

The management establishes formal groups that may be used to serve official purposes, while informal ones exist within membership to serve their interests. There is need to have the worker’s group interests represented by the leadership at the highest level of organization. Increased performance may result if there is well-developed group dynamics (Leonard, cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh).

Rewards and Incentives

Rewards and incentives have negative impacts on the organizations finances, when looked at directly. Unfortunately, some organizations judge their operations on a short term basis, and this may encourage them to promote those operations they deem beneficial on a short term basis, while ignoring those services that have a long time benefit. Since financial benefits may accrue from various operations long after these operations have been executed, it is advisable that organizations do not disqualify operations basing on possible short-term gains.

Rewards and benefits can lead to financial benefits to the organization since they can lead to direct benefits of the firm through increasing the output. Incentive systems help in attracting and retaining the workforce, as well as motivating them. In addition, the rewards and incentives program need to provide training and promotional opportunities to the workforce. Issues that will be of important in developing a workable rewards and incentives program includes the pay, time of payment, increase of pay and promotion, among others. In order to reward best performers, it is important to develop a clear job description, performance standards, and performance appraisals.

In this case, it is necessary to base pay on performance. Rewards to the best performers may include sending best performers for higher education, as well as other non-monitory rewards such as recognizing good ideas and awarding titles (Vijayaragavan & Singh). In addition, professional societies can help to communicate innovative ideas and help to boost performance. Another way for rewarding employees is the use of improved working conditions at the field level.

In this case, attention is paid on provision of not only enough but good facilities such as housing and services such as transport and medical services. Working conditions can be tuned with the allowances, for instance, paying field allowances to those officers who are on the ground. Career development can also be used as a strategy to reward employees. Employees will be motivated through career development that seeks to have them future opportunities for promotion.

Improving the Quality of Work Life

The role of the quality of work life and the need to improve it has been felt with increasing complexity of organizations and societies, and it is now appreciated that this works together with training and proper supervision to develop the workforce (individual development). Quality of life refers to making the job more satisfying and productive. Job enrichment, job design, and role intervention present the methods for achieving improved quality of work life (Pareek; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh).

Some of the things that may be focused in increasing job satisfaction includes “a sense of achievement in the job, recognition for the job, the nature of the work itself, and opportunities to learn new things and grow” (Vijayaragavan & Singh). It is possible to achieve job enrichment through a variety of principles according to Herzberg (cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh), including “removing controls while retaining accountability, introducing new tasks, giving a complete unit of work, granting job freedom, and helping employees to become experts in their tasks” (cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh).

Some limitations of job enrichment programs included a greater emphasis on human values and a limited view of the job, which made it necessary to development of job design, which refers to “structuring a job to satisfy the technical, organizational, social and human requirements of the person performing the work” (cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh). The workforce can be included in the development of programs that aim to improve the quality of their work life.

Role Interventions

This involves the improvement of the organizational effectiveness through the studying of the roles performed by various persons in the organizations. The linkage of people (through their roles) can achieve better results for organizational effectiveness if this helps in integrating of the people into the organization. This is because it improves the mental well-being and personal effectiveness of individuals in the organization (Pareek; cited in Vijayaragavan & Singh).

Conclusion

Human resource management is a wide topic that relates to very many aspects of an organization and workforce. Humanism and humanization has transformed the scope of application of human resource management. Many challenges as well as dynamic environments have been faced while dealing with human resources management. These issues, for example, have affected extension in agricultural human resource management.

Many aspects of human resource management have been featured in theory. Many organizations around the world lack proper human resource management systems. Organizations need to emphasize on the channels required for recruiting people since it determines whether the right people are selected for the organization or not. In essence, this activity determines performance of the organization. Most of the organizations have stipulated policy for recruitment of personnel. These recruitment policies vary from one organization to another, and may depend on the type of organization.

There are different methods and techniques involved in the selection of extension staff. Companies advertise positions vacant in the public media so as to have potential employees applying for the job. The process of selection determines the possibility of the determination of an effective and ineffective candidate. Incentives are an important aspect of ensuring that the workforce is retained or drawn into the organization. Most of the organizations have stipulated policy for recruitment of personnel. These recruitment policies vary from one organization to another, and may depend on the type of organization. Decreased or increased motivation has an indirect relationship with the financial aspects of the organization.

The output can be increased if the rewards and benefits are increased though the analysis to determine their influence may not be as direct. The financial benefits accruing to the firm in terms of training and developing the workforce link to the ability to improve the efficiency of the workforce, which has an impact on the output. Increasing knowledge of the workforce pertaining the jobs they are attending makes them become professionals, thus reducing the likelihood of such damages that would accrue by having unqualified staff on job. The financial connection between some operations and others may not be as direct as can be thought, but indirect linkages be able to be figured out.

Generally, all operations have financial implications in the firm, and it is the responsibility of the management to determine how best to achieve financial gains and avoid losses in the best way possible.

The use of information in guiding decisions about human resource management is important. Many techniques have been implemented in collecting the information needed to carry out job analysis, for example, interviews and mailed questionnaires. Different tests may be used to determine different attributes of the individual being recruited. All organizations find themselves with the need to maintain, as well as improve the current job performance of their employees. This is achieved through application of training programs. On the other side, development programs are applied to develop the skills for the employees in performing tasks in the future.

Mental ability, physical ability, as well as moral issues are tested for the employees needed in the organizations. Moral issues are important for those organizations that are seeking to serve people directly. Rewards and incentives have negative impacts on the organizations finances, when looked at directly. Rewards and benefits can lead to financial benefits to the organization since they can lead to direct benefits of the firm through increasing the output.

Incentive systems help in attracting and retaining the workforce, as well as motivating them. The financial benefits accruing to the firm in terms of training and developing the workforce link to the ability to improve the efficiency of the workforce, which has an impact on the output. Increasing knowledge of the workforce pertaining the jobs they are attending makes them become professionals, thus reducing the likelihood of such damages that would accrue by having unqualified staff on job. These problems include breakages and fires among others, which are directly linked to the financial losses for the company.

The linkage of people (through their roles) can achieve better results for organizational effectiveness if this helps in integrating of the people into the organization. This is because it improves the mental well-being and personal effectiveness of individuals in the organization. Mainly, all the issues affecting the ability of employees in their work affect the organization financially. Every aspect of the organization is connected to the financial aspects of it, either as income generation or expense.

Works Cited

Blanckenburg, Von. “Agricultural extension systems in some African and Asian countries”. FAO Economic and Social Development Paper 46. Rome: FAO, 1984.

Gupta, Sen. “Characteristics of effective village level workers”. Unpublished master’s thesis, New Delhi, Division of Agricultural Extension, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, 1963.

Hayward, John. “Agricultural extension: The World Bank’s experiences and approaches”, 1990. In B. E. Swanson (Ed.), Report of the global consultation on agricultural extension (p. 115-134). Rome: FAO.

Herzberg, Frederick. Work and nature of work. Cleveland: World Publishing, 1966.

Honadle, George. “Supervising agricultural extension: Practices and procedures for improving field performance”. Agricultural Administration, 9, (1982): 29-45.

Leonard, David. Reaching the peasant farmer: Organizational theory and practice in Kenya. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.

Lynton, Rolf, & Pareek, Uday. Training for development (2nd ed.). New Delhi: Sage, 1990

Miller, Edwin, Burack, Elma, & Albrecht, Maryann. Management of human resources. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1980.

Pareek, Udai., & Rao, Vnkateswara. Designing and managing human resource systems. New Delhi: Oxford & IBH Publishing Company, 1992.

Pareek, Udai. Making organizational roles effective. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill, 1993.

Stoner, James & Freeman, Edward. Management (5th ed.). New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India, 1992.

Vijayaragavan, Kausalia. Agricultural administration in India. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company, 1994.

Vijayaragavan, Kausalia, Singh, Yogendra. “Managing human resources within extension”. (n.d.). Web.

Vijayaragavan, Kausalia, & Singh, Yogendra. “Job design and unit structural characteristics of department of agriculture”. Indian Journal of Extension Education, 25, (1989): 1-12.

Vijayaragavan, Kausalia, & Singh, Yogendra. “Supervisory behaviour in agricultural departments”. Indian Journal of Extension Education, 28, (1991): 16-22.

Vijayaragavan, Kausalia, & Singh, Yogendra. “Pay administration in agricultural departments”. Indian Journal of Extension Education, 28, (1992): 60-64.

Werther, William, & Davis, Keith. Personnel management and human resources. Tokyo: McGraw-Hill International Book Company, 1982.

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