Human resource management stops with neither the hiring nor the allocation of tasks to the employees. It is a continuous process which deals with many factors such as remuneration and skills levels. The latter is emphasized mainly to ensure that employees are well qualified to tackle more complex job descriptions and to climb the corporate ladder. This is what human resource development (HRD) is all about and can be defined as formulating procedures for monitoring employees with the sole motive of improving their skills in the long run. The process widely utilizes performance appraisals, development plans, incentive procedures, and promotions.
Human resource development
After a specific duration, which is one year for most organizations, the employees are subjected to annual appraisals. This will signal the levels of their motivation, qualification, strength, and weaknesses among many others qualities that are desired by the organization. It is upon the organization leadership to identify all these factors in the appraisals of individual employees so as to take effective measures that will boost their skills. This is the only way to improve or develop their employees to be more qualified for future complex obligations and for career advancements (Gvaramadze, 2008, pg 470). The level or success of HRD will depend mainly on the leadership model that is relied upon by the organization.
The Traits theory indicates that effective leaders are those with particular qualities. It describes the person by emphasizing on the qualities which enable them undertake leadership roles effectively.. The only short coming of the theory is that it does not consider the situation and seems to suggest that whatever the scenario any person with the identified qualities can pass as a leader which is not true. Furthermore it fails to give the qualities combinations that would make effective leaders or not.
Behavior/ style theory
The behavior theory on the other hand goes beyond the individual to look at how they conduct themselves. It emphasizes their leadership styles or their styles of work which that can generally be categorized into four classes. They include; those concerned with task completions who only seek to fulfill objectives; those concerned with people by attending to their various interest; those who make the decision for others in the name of directive leadership; and those who include others in the decision making process in the form of participative leadership (Toor and George, 2009, pg 540).
The above styles worked in some scenarios but failed in some which led to experts questioning the correctness of the theory. The advent of a new theory formulated around situations was able to describe the above scenarios.
The situational leadership revolves around the context in which leadership is conducted and not necessarily the people. Different situations call for different styles and a leader’s success or failure to a great extent will depend on the degree of compatibility of their styles to the situations.
The theory goes further to include factors which are critical in the success of these styles. These have been described as the leader-follower relationships, task structure, and power position of the leader. The various styles of leaderships under the model have also been classified under four categories. Participatory where the there is the sharing of ideas; selling where the leader explains the decisions, delegating where the employees are left to make their decisions; and finally telling where the leader instructs the followers what to do (Johnson, 2008, pg 88).
The contemporary models have developed from the traditional models and therefore bear some similarities. Over the years, scholars have been able to improve on these traditional concepts and have come up with much more effective models. Like the traditional, the contemporary models also acknowledge that some qualities such as intelligence, professionalism, personality, team players, self awareness, and inspirational must be possessed by the leaders in order to stand out from the rest.
From these we can identify four main trends of contemporary leadership. Ethical leadership is determined to maximize the welfare of the society; leadership programs which nurtures and develops talent; the aligning of leadership with organizational interests to maximize them; and finally mentoring and coaching which creates long term benefits for the organization in terms of better employees and performances (van Eeden, Frans, and Vasi, 2008, pg 260).
Contemporary and traditional models of leadership and their contribution to HRD
- Traditional models are based on transactional leadership whereas contemporary ones are based on transformational leadership.
- Increased learning level
- Hedging against negative market effects
- Increased effectiveness of HRD programs
- Societal benefits
- Aligning employee interests with those of the organization
As it has been stated earlier on the contemporary models owe their existence to the traditional models. The basic framework of concepts invented by earlier figures such as Machiavelli and Sun Tzu has only been developed over the years to make them much more efficient. These traditional concepts were formulated around the employees, tasks, and their relationships with the leaders. They seem to perceive the employees as irresponsible and need coercion in order to attain higher performances. These were transactional concepts which only sought to fulfill objectives.
The contemporary models on the other hand incorporate the employees more into leadership and further goes ahead to include the outside environment in which the organizations operate. By doing this they seek to increase the longevity of effects caused by leadership that can only be attained through better relationships within and outside the organization. This also implies that they are more inclined towards the transformational concepts which consider the future conditions as a result of today’s actions.
The two schools of thought have brought about three main styles of leadership; autocratic, democratic, and laissez faire. All these styles are only suited for specific organizations after the consideration of the prevailing conditions in the internal and external environment. They recognize that leadership is a complex concept that depends on the human resources, tasks, and situation.
The leadership theories have simplified HRD and relatively increased the learning level of employees. Leaders simply need to identify the qualities that are lacking in employees before applying the best approach to increase a particular skill level. The models have also identified that the employees are not as rigid as some people might think. What one needs to do is to get a good understanding of the employees so as to apply appropriate mechanisms. This is supported by the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that categorizes employees according to their interests or needs. For leaders to attain success in HRD, they simply have to fulfill the motivational factors of the employees depending on their position on the organizational hierarchy. Employees at the lower end are motivated more by monetary factors as opposed to those on the upper regions who seek self actualization and career advancements.
Successful HRD has also increased organizations preparedness for future market conditions. These conditions are always fluctuating and an effective organization is one that is able to hedge against their harmful effects. With effective leaders in an organization, they are able to anticipate staffing needs in the near future and make necessary HRD arrangements to avoid low staffing in future.
The models have also been critical in boosting the effectiveness of HRD process. Organizations have identified the primary role played by employees in their success and are going to all extents to ensure that they have highly qualified employees to undertake their roles effectively. This implies that they would like to see the employees acquire additional skills to be of more use to them. HRD initiatives would be in vain should they only result in half baked employees who even after undergoing rigorous training are not able to fulfill the tasks they have been trained for. The models therefore emphasize on learning rather than training. The employees do not need to only be trained but learn. This is what will guarantee internal development of skills in the employees (Zula and Thomas, 2008, pg 20). By the models describing the employees well they are able to increase the effectiveness of the program as the leaders in the organization will know what type of training to extend to individual employees.
Both the effectiveness of the process and higher qualifications of employees are further translated into the wider society in terms of superior goods and services presented in the market as well as economical use of scarce resources. As opposed to the past where organizations were only concerned with maximizing their interests, modern organizations have broadened their interests to include other stakeholders. The current situation places more emphasis on ethics and social responsibility in conducting business. Therefore, effective HRD has incorporated the aspects of these two concepts which maximize the interests of the society.
Furthermore the interests of the organization and the individual employees have been aligned more easily with effective leadership. By applying the effective leadership style in various contexts the managers are able to describe the natures of employees together with the necessary training needed. Should these employees acquire these skills they will become more qualified to the delight of the organization as this translates into better performance and cutting costs of external hiring (D’Annunzio-Green and Helen, 2005, pg 330). On the other hand it will also imply career advancements among other individual benefits to the employee. By the simultaneous fulfillment of the both parties’ interest leadership and HRD will have increased the level of commitment and better performance for the organization.
Reward strategy as a development tool
The reward strategy is one of the HRD tools used by the management to attract and retain employees for their individual benefits as well as that of the organization. It goes beyond remuneration and includes others such as intrinsic factors which have been identified by Hertzberg. These include value of completed tasks, recognition, and growth potential all which motivate employees.
The employees in an organization will first determine whether the rewards that have been enacted by the management will satisfy their needs, it is after this that they will work hard towards their attainment (Coles, 2008, pg 6). The management must therefore strive to ensure that the needs of the various employees have been well analyzed and matched to the reward system so as to have positive effects.
The rewards can further have indirect effects on the employees in some cases. In the event that an employee works hard and receives the promised rewards, the colleagues will also feel motivated and strive to also enjoy these benefits. The other employees are motivated by the fact that they also stand chances of receiving the rewards should they fulfill the conditions that have been stated by the management (Von Glinow, 1985, pg 200). By this the level of employee contribution is increased making them more skillful and better at their tasks. In other cases the rewards might be in the form of promotions which is what every employee dreams of irrespective of their position in the organization.
On the other hand the rewards strategy could impact negatively on team work in the organization as various employees will resort to compete against one another. As employees working for the same company they are supposed to aid one another in attaining its needs but with the introduction of the rewards they might neglect this primary mission for their own individual gains.
Advantage and disadvantage of leadership
Effective leadership in an organization that is able to influence employees towards the common goals and missions can greatly increase level of unity. This is the recipe for success and such organizations stand higher chances of prosperity in the market. They also cultivate better relationships with the employees who will be committed to the organization thus reducing turnover rate. Furthermore the chances of organization surviving into the future are also boosted when there is good leadership which has a vision and is able to anticipate and act effectively towards the fluctuations in the market conditions.
Apart from these advantages leadership can also present some disadvantages to an organization. Instead of increasing the level of employee relations, an irresponsible leadership can increase animosity between employment and management. This is especially when it does not tend to their needs which can lead to the employees either leaving to join better organization or sabotaging its operations. Leadership can also result in losses or ineffectiveness in an organization when the style that has been adopted does not comply with the structure, situation, or internal environment.
Advantage and disadvantage of reward strategy
The reward systems play critical roles in the success of any organization and managers need to be extremely cautious in selecting the appropriate system. Only the most suited alternative should be implemented in order to increase the positive aspects while simultaneously reducing and negative aspects that might be experienced in the running of an organization. The following is an analysis of the advantages and disadvantage of reward systems.
The reward systems recognize the real faces behind the success of an organization. In some cases the prosperity of an entire company might result from a particular department, unit, or even individuals surpassing their targets. With such systems in place, their efforts will be acknowledged which is an incentive for them and others to work even harder in future. This also shows that reward systems impact positively on employees motivating them to increase the level and standards of their performances. Furthermore the systems indirectly act as informal control and regulative measures of the organization which therefore reduces the costs that could have been incurred in doing so.
There are also a number of disadvantages associated with reward systems. Since they are inclined towards recognizing exemplary performance by teams or individuals, the level of unity in the organization might be interfered with. Instead of complementing one another’s efforts each of these parties will start competing by striving individually to attain the rewards. All this will be undertaken at the expense of the organization goals and mission therefore less chances of their attainment. The rewards are also forms of bribing employees to perform which in the long run does not cultivate the desired values in the employees. This only breeds dependency on rewards such that very soon employees will start asking for incentives before undertaking their roles.
Employees are the most important of all the resources that are present in an organization. This calls for their effective management especially from the organization leadership. The style or model which the leadership in the organization will be based will to a great extent affect the effectiveness of the employees and more so the HRD programs. It is up to the leaders to identify the type of employees and various factors that will impact on their learning process in the organization. This is what will increase the impacts that HRD will have on the employee, organization, and the society in general.
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