Human Resource Management (HRM) is a way of managing human resources in a firm. HRM is important because it recognizes the contribution of employees to organizational strategic objectives. HRM has many areas of focus to ensure that an organization utilizes its human resources effectively for the benefit of the organization, employees, and society.
Studies show that HR can add value and influence organizational performances in other organizations than in others. HR functions may aid an organization in many ways depending on changes in economic activities, employees’ challenges, employees, and other factors. Evans and Pucik note that HR has three roles in developing an organization’s culture and performance (Evans and Pucik, 2002). HR performs the role of a builder. HR must get the basics of managing employees’ rights and provide internal coherence. HR also performs the role of realignment. This ensures that the organization caters to the needs of the different external environments.
Variations in market activities, competition, or technological changes need strategic realignment in a firm. Therefore, people turn to HR to change to modern techniques and strategies. The approach needs collaboration with other departments. HR is also the navigator of the organization. HR must concentrate on developing the abilities of the organization and its employees to succeed in a dynamic industry environment. This is a significant role in the organization. HR must control external and competitive factors of an organization such as demographic shifts in the labor market and the effects of globalization on employees.
Human Resource Planning
Organizations can use their workers as sources of core competence based on organizational culture and practices. Workers must share the values and beliefs of the organization to create a strong culture of success. The manager can notice organizational culture in values and employees’ behaviors. Organizations take time to create and establish their cultures. Senior executives of an organization must promote the values and culture of the organization.
The organization should use its missions to create business strategies and concentrate on operational issues. Employees must create a stable culture and practices within the organization. Workers learn about organizational cultures from senior management. The manager should note that some values or cultures of the organization do not promote good performance. Instead, they encourage internal competition, individualism, and struggle for resources at the expense of personal and organizational growth.
Organizational culture should promote the competitive advantage of the organization. Subordinate workers, managers, and external relations should also experience and promote the cultures of the organization. Organizational culture affects the quality of services, productivity, and business performance. Workers consider the culture of an organization as a factor that may affect the attraction and retention of employees. Therefore, HR should align organizational culture and its performance in the selection and retention of competent workers.
Organizations usually have five areas of activities that HRM must concentrate on for the effective utilization of human resources. These include both short-term and long-term human resource planning. HRM must forecast human resource requirements for the future, conduct a job analysis with aim of identifying duties, gaps, knowledge requirements, and skills. Staffing must meet the organizational needs through effective recruitment and selection of employees.
Appraisal and compensation structures should address employees’ assessment and reward systems. HRM must also focus on developing employees’ performance through training and development, work and life balance, improving the working environment, developing performance strategies, and ensuring the safety and welfare of workers. The HRM must also create effective working relationships with employees by recognizing their rights. Effective management of employees’ rights involves proper management of disputes and grievances.
The main objectives of HRM are to attract potential employees, retain employees with positive performances, and motivate all employees in the organization. Therefore, the functions of HRM are crucial for effective management of core functions like attracting, retaining, and motivating employees. Under these core functions, HRM can conduct several activities as follow:
- Conduct a review of recruitment and selection processes.
- Develop effective recruitment processes.
- Enhance selection processes.
- Review organizational appraisal practices.
- Review promotional tendencies.
- Develop effective promotion procedures and practices.
- Review the reward system.
- Improve reward practices.
- Develop an effective retention strategy.
Strategic HRM starts with effective recruitment, selection, placement, training, retention, promotion, demotion, and dismissal or separation. These efforts aim at avoiding poor decisions in using employees’ experiences and skills for obtaining the objectives of the company. HRM process entails recruiting and selecting workers who have the required skills, abilities, education, and training.
The HR department must focus on human resource planning to achieve effective recruitment, selection, retention, promotion. Human resource planning is an extensive practice that accounts for staffing, appraisal, and compensation functions of HRM in the company. Thus, the HRM department must offer an inclusive way of handling HRM as a reaction to the company’s human resource needs, the company’s growth, competitive strategies, the structure of the company, and changes in the industry.
Some of the roles that the HRM department should consider include identification of critical success factors that are significant for growths, planning career growth, creating and maintaining career development systems. Moreover, studies show that the HRM department must also play a strategic role in the development of organizational strategic objectives (Mello, 2010; Stone, 2010). HRM department must also control changes, which occur due to shifts in strategies and HR practices as the organization aims to meet the needs of its workforce and fulfill its objectives (Stone, 2010). The HRM department must also ensure that employees have meaningful duties to ensure maximum usages of the human resources of the organization.
Recruitment and Selection
Recruitment and selection aim to review the current practices, identify gaps in human resources planning, discriminatory practices, and formulate ways of improving recruitment and selection practices. The selection process concentrates on choosing suitable applicants to join the organization and fill different positions. This process also involves the training and development of employees. The training aims at ensuring that new employees have the right skills, knowledge, and attitude that an organization needs to achieve its strategic objectives.
The manager can perform either internal or external recruitment. Internal recruitment focuses on recruitment within the firm while external recruitment focuses on potential employees outside the organization. Internal recruitment reduces the cost of hiring new employees. Also, employees who understand organizational practices and cultures require minimal training to take their new roles. Internal recruitment reduces cases of disruption and time for orientation. At the same time, it also acts as an incentive for many junior employees to work hard and fill management positions. Managers already know the strengths and weaknesses of employees.
On the other hand, internal recruitment does not bring fresh insight for criticism and improvement in the organization. In some cases, internal recruitment leads to internal competition, which may discourage teamwork and overall performance of the organization.
The manager can also conduct external recruitment. This strategy shall enable the firm to attract new talents, ideas, experiences, skills, and attitudes to the firm. However, this process is costly relative to internal recruitment. Moreover, the manager may not get the right talent for the position.
The manager should apply various strategies to improve recruitment. This is usually a job analysis that involves the identification of job requirements. Job analysis shall enable the manager to decide whether to use an internal or external recruitment strategy. It also indicates training needs for recruits. Job analysis also enables HRM to review the experience needed, resources, payments, rewards, and other benefits.
The manager can conduct job analysis through interviews, observation, or by referring to training and development manuals.
A job description shall enable the manager to understand how recruits shall fit in their positions. In this context, the new employee must understand his or her roles, job specifications, job title, and responsibilities. Also, the job description shows a reporting line for the employee. The job description acts as a simple method of showing the duties and responsibilities of the employee.
Job specification differs from a job description. Job specification must account for both cognitive and physical features, which a particular position may need. For instance, all employers must be responsible for their areas of responsibility.
The HR manager should ensure that recruitment and selection processes are current, comprehensive, and concise about the job description. A job description is a requirement that is useful in various stages during recruitment and selection of potential employees.
The manager should also review job description documents to make sure that potential employees can gain access to current contents that do not discriminate against them and are relevant to their positions. Potential recruits have the right to have information about their jobs, qualification requirements, knowledge, skills, attitude, and work experience required for the position. Such details in information enable workers to understand their roles. Also, job description enables employees to comprehend their role in contributing to the growth of the firm. Accessible job descriptions can protect the company from possible legal actions from disgruntled employees. The HRM department must review job descriptions to keep them current with industry practices.
The success of an organization relates to the effective selection of employees. Job performances among employees influence the success of an organization. Job performance depends on the individual’s abilities and effort to do the job. Effective selection of employees provides the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to ensure improved performance in the organization. In this sense, the role of employee selection is to ensure that employees have the right qualities needed to perform the job. HRM must facilitate these abilities with constant training and development. The selection process also establishes a base for HRM functions like compensation, performance appraisal, and promotion. These factors are responsible for employees’ motivation.
HRM has recognized that potential recruits differ in many ways. These differences are in experiences, educational levels, personal traits, and other abilities. Selection processes of suitable employees recognize these differences among potential recruits. HRM focuses on these differences in an individual’s ability to perform his or her task. Therefore, during selection, HRM must focus on the following:
- Review an individual’s knowledge, skills, and attitude required for the job
- Use effective selection strategies that can assess recruits’ knowledge, skills, and attitude
The HRM must ensure that selection processes are not biased or discriminate against people on grounds of sex, nationality, religion, disability, and others.
HRM must ensure that potential recruits understand the content of various positions they seek. The HRM should use job specifications to identify the right employees with the right skills, knowledge, and attitudes for the job. Job specification has all the details of a job, which HRM should use when evaluating candidates’ skills, knowledge, and attitude. Therefore, HRM has to identify the required knowledge, skills, and attitudes under job requirements.
These are requirements, which are essential for an individual to perform a given job. Under job requirements, the employer must consider the education, training, experiences, and innate abilities of the applicant. Moreover, HRM must match these qualifications to the job requirements. At this point, the exact responsibilities and duties of a potential employee must be in the job requirements. Therefore, HRM does not need to include irrelevant job requirements.
After the HRM has identified the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitude for the job, the manager must develop an appropriate selection process. Alternatively, the HR manager can adapt selection systems that other successful organizations in the same industry have applied. The HR manager can use the following methods during the employee selection process.
- Job interview.
- Personality tests.
- Background checking.
- Aptitude tests.
- Cognitive ability tests.
- Drug tests.
The aims of these elaborate selection processes are to ensure that the potential employee has the right skills, knowledge, and attitude that critical for the job. The employer must also identify unfavorable traits that may inhibit the employee from effectively performing his or her job.
The HRM must ensure that selection processes meet legal requirements in the industry. Selection processes must be relevant and accurate concerning the vacancy. The employer must also provide all the necessary job details.
Induction and training
The HR manager must organize an induction program for new employees in the company. Induction programs ensure that new employees learn the skills, culture, and values of the organization. At the same time, they also meet other employees and line managers. HRM must have a thorough training and orientation manual for new employees. Some organizations like Cisco and IBM have their training and leadership development centers. Such centers help HRM to manage human resource recruitment, selection, promotion, and motivation of employees. Most training and development programs take the following methods:
- On-the-job training, which involves acquiring the required skills through experience.
- Learning required skills through recommended courses.
The manager must recognize that the best performing employees look forward to rewards in the forms of incentives. Such incentives may be cash rewards, salary increments, bonuses, promotion, and gifts among others. Still, people who have served the organization for many years also expect promotion based on their long years of services to the organization. HRM must promote the best performing employees regularly. However, the HR manager must recognize that he cannot promote all workers in the firm.
The HR manager must promote employees based on their performances and achievements towards the goals and aspirations of the organization.
The HR manager must ensure that promotion processes do not favor any employee in the company. Studies have shown that unfair promotions often lead to high rates of employee turnover (Heathfield, 2012). It also leads to internal conflicts within the organization. There are many benefits to employee promotion. First, a timely promotion enhances employee retention. The HR manager must promote the best performing employees within a given time. Delay in promoting employees usually results in dissatisfaction and low morale. As a result, dissatisfied employees are responsible for high rates of staff attrition in many organizations as they seek other opportunities outside the company.
The HRM department must have a well-established performance management program. Such performance tools are suitable for proposing any employee for promotion. In this sense, the HR manager must realize that employee promotion is an effective way of enhancing the rate of retention in the organization.
Second, organizations can use promotion as a way of saving and controlling costs. Internal promotion focuses on employees who already understand organizational cultures and practices. Therefore, the organization cuts costs that relate to recruitment, training, and development of new employees. Employees within the company also find it easy to implement organizational initiatives because they have prior knowledge about the operation of the company. New employees usually take time before they can adapt to organizational cultures and values. Therefore, organizations that promote internal talents can motivate their staff and create opportunities for career growths.
Third, organizations can reduce internal resistance by promoting their employees. Many employees tend to avoid new employees who are in management positions. On the contrary, internal promotions reduce cases of employee resistance and encourage teamwork in the organization.
Fourth, promotion enhances motivation levels among employees. Motivation usually increases levels of employee satisfaction. Organizations that have satisfied employees have also noted increased performance within individual and organizational levels.
Finally, organizations that promote employees enhance a sense of belonging. Such employees also help the organizations to such for best talents in various positions within the organizations.
Many workers consider promotion as an attractive move because of its effects on issues like power, pay, responsibility, status, and decision-making roles, which influence the whole firm. Promotion is a formal way of recognizing employees’ contributions to the firm. However, Susan Heathfield notes that repeated promotions may cause challenges due to the authority and management roles of the position (Heathfield, 2012). Heathfield comments that employers should provide alternative career paths for employees who have shown recognizable contribution and warrant promotion. However, the promotion also remains a challenge to future managers because they have to demonstrate the readiness to take new roles.
The organization can engage in informal, structured, or formal performance appraisal. HRM manager must determine employees’ past performance and their abilities to perform best in the future. The manager must recognize that performance appraisal has many roles in the organization, which include improving the performance of the company and showing the employee’s commitment to delivering results to the organization. Managers can use such results for improving or evaluating employees’ performances. The developmental purposes of performance appraisal include:
- Career development.
- HR planning.
- Improving performance.
- Improving communication.
HRM managers may also use performance appraisal for evaluative purposes, which include:
- Payment decisions.
The manager can use performance appraisal as a way of motivating employees. Many organizations use performance appraisal as a way of providing fair distribution of salary and benefits. It also serves as a basis for promoting the best employees to new positions and roles. Therefore, the HRM must have a valid and fair performance appraisal to enable the firm to offer fair rewards and promotions. The HRM can use performance appraisal to draw new pay structures for different employees. At the same time, it can provide controls in pay and performance. The HR manager can conduct performance appraisal in many ways. These may include gathering information from line managers, colleagues, self-appraisal, juniors, feedback from customers, and performance monitoring.
The HR manager must retain the best performing employees when such employees express a willingness to leave the organization. The organization should review work conditions, compensation, and reward structures to retain the best talents.
According to Mello, retention can help the manager to reduce employee attrition, costs of recruiting and training, enhance output, customer loyalty, and profitability (Mello, 2010). Moreover, the organization shall realize efficiency and high standards in the delivery of services. This process entails career development and education programs within the organization. Bernthal and Wellins note that organizations with positive leadership development strategies and succession plans have demonstrated increased business performances (Bernthal and Wellins, 2006). The HR manager should create a practical succession plan that aims at promoting business continuity by retaining talents and developing leadership qualities (Stone, 2010).
The HR manager should create a plan that identifies multiple talents for its future business growth based on industry trends. The organization must review current leaders, possible successors, and their levels of qualifications. This suggests that the HR manager can conduct external recruitment if their current employees lack the required competence for jobs and leadership abilities. Therefore, career planning and development of workers’ skills shall guarantee that the organization has competence for future growth.
Firms have different ways of motivating employees. Employee motivation ensures that employees conduct their duties in the best interest of the organization. Workers with low-levels of motivation do not perform well due to a sense of frustration. Workers perform best when they are motivated to do so. Motivation may be either through internal or external stimuli.
Scholars have claimed that job performance is a product of the motivation and abilities of workers. Workers’ abilities depend on other factors like attitude, skills, education, experience, and training. Therefore, employees can develop their abilities to perform well. Conversely, motivation does not take long to acquire because there are many ways of motivating employees instantly. Some of the strategies that managers can use to motivate employees to include:
- Fair treatment of employees.
- Creating positive reinforcement.
- Proper discipline and punishment.
- Job restructuring.
- Linking rewards and performances.
- Setting realistic goals and targets.
- Fulfilling employees’ needs.
These are the starting points for creating a motivated workforce. However, employee motivation may differ from one organization to another. Motivation serves the purpose of reducing the gap that exists in employees’ abilities to perform well. Motivation encourages employees to work and achieve the desired outcomes. However, the goal of motivation must reflect the organizational culture and best practices. Therefore, the HRM must formulate motivational policies, which reflect the situation of the company.
The manager must also recognize that motivational factors may differ among people, genders, and ages in the organization. However, some studies have identified common motivational factors among male and female employees as follow:
- Career growth or advancement.
- Type of work.
- Type of the company.
Besides, there are also factors like benefits, pay, and working conditions, which influence motivational levels among employees. The cash reward is not the only motivator that a company may use to motivate its employees.
Managers should provide their support to employees to enhance their morale. Hands-off managers are not successful at developing high standards of morale in the organization. Managers should have positive relationships with their employees so that they can monitor employees’ progress, provide recommendations for improvement, career development, and recommend positive performances for rewards and recognition. Moreover, they can manage conflicts that arise on the job appropriately. Workers who think that executives who have interests in their welfare usually have high morale and work hard to grow their careers.
HR Manager must realize that HRM processes can change performance and improve retention and motivation levels of employees. HR functions have fundamental roles in transforming organizational strategic objectives. Therefore, HRM must align human resource needs with the overall objectives and goals of the company.
Therefore, the HM manager must align its organizational goals, business strategies, HRM policies, and employees’ behaviors for the success of the company. Meanwhile, all managers must also adopt the same approach and support the strategic and competitive strategy of the firm. In this regard, implementing HR policies is crucial to the success of the company by promoting a competitive strategy through employees and other resources.
The manager must also provide assurances to support best practices in HRM for achieving the overall organizational objectives. Therefore, HR practices and policies must have good support to create superior performances. The role of HRM in the organization shall focus on improving recruitment, selection, retention, motivation, and promotion among other roles.
Through different topics of human resource management and organizational behaviors, I have learned different theoretical and practical aspects of human resource management in organizations. I have been able to relate theoretical underpinnings with practical aspects of management. The course presented me with many study materials. From these collections, I was able to understand sources that improved my knowledge in the area of human resource management. In other words, I got a clear way of evaluating effective materials for my study. The course also presented me with various opportunities to understand an effective learning environment. The support I received from my fellow students and the professor was overwhelming.
Before joining this course, I have never noticed that HRM theories apply to modern firms. This came clear during case studies in the course. It was fulfilling to know that organizations apply theoretical aspects of HRM in managing people. At the same time, employees also have certain behaviors within the context of the organization. For instance, employees expected a favorable working environment to contribute to the achievement of organizational strategic objectives.
The course also introduced me to important aspects of linking organizational strategic objectives with human resource requirements. I have always believed that any person with higher levels of qualification could perform any job in an organization. However, the knowledge I gained from HRM practices like recruitment and selection showed that HRM needs the right people with the right qualifications and attitudes for the job. It became clear to me why organizations are ready to reward the best talents. The course introduced the concept of talent management to me. It also proved to me that organizational behaviors influence employees’ behaviors. Organizations have their cultures that they want employees to embrace and practice. This is why induction and orientation are necessary for new employees.
I had never considered that large organizations have ‘universities’ for talent and career management. It shows how such firms are keen to shape their employees to be the best in the industry.
As I reflect on the outcome of this course, I note that I have received considerable knowledge. For instance, now I can relate theories and practices within the context of human resource management in the organization. It also shows me why we have many human resource specialists because there were moments when I thought the human resource department was becoming irrelevant in modern firms. However, this course showed me the relevance of the human resource department in any organization. I realized that the department must get it right for the company to succeed.
I also would like to note that the course has been effective in developing my knowledge and preparing me for practical applications of my theoretical knowledge. I hope I shall make the best human resource manager given a chance in any organization.
Bernthal, P., and Wellins, R. (2006). Trends in leader development and succession. Human Resource Planning, 29(2), 31-40.
Evans, P., and Pucik, V. (2002). The Global Challenge: Frameworks for International Human Resource Management. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Heathfield, S. M. (2012). Promotion Is Often a Reward to an Employee for Work Contributions. Web.
Mello, J. (2010). Strategic Human Resource Management (3rd ed.). San Fransisco: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Stone, R. (2010). Human Resource Management (7th ed.). Australia: John Wiley & Sons.