Our organisation adopted Ulrich’s three-legged model as the standard model for the delivery of HR practice. The Ulrich model is based on three major functions, including HR centres of excellence, business partners, and shared services (Beatty, 2019). The following are the roles and contributions of HR professionals:
Centres of Excellence (COE)
HR can use COE to enhance their company’s capacity to attain a competitive advantage through innovative HR practices. The organisational resourcing and recruitment processes are diverse, inclusive, and also accommodate for neurodiversity. The interviewing and selection process is guided by data derived from task simulation activities, interviews, and psychometric tests to which ensure only the most qualified candidates are selected. These innovative recruitment and selection practices have contributed to the creation of a strong employer brand that naturally attracts top candidates.
The objectives of the selected candidates must always align with that of the organisation. When personal goals are aligned with that of the firm, the department can strategically conduct human resource development (HRD) with the company’s needs in mind. The HR professionals have succeeded in imparting key competencies and skills to staff. A study conducted by Alhalboosi (2018) showed that HRD improves an establishment’s productivity, effectiveness, and profitability. Therefore, a causal-effect relationship can be established between the workforce productivity observed at the company and effective HRD practices.
The Paauwe model states that human capital is the most critical resource in a company; therefore, the primary objective of the HR professional is to sustain it. The model notes that any firm that seeks sustainability needs to focus on the outcomes of its workforce (Mehta, 2016). For this reason, the HR department focuses on retaining and attracting top talent. We attained this through designing innovative incentives and reward systems for the top-performing individual. We can, therefore, surmise that the ability of the organisation to retain top talent results from effective HR practices.
The HR administrative duties are centralised under a single unit. Most of the administrative tasks are managed through the HRIS system. The department has successfully managed to keep out tribunals, lawsuits, and sanctions by aligning all HR practices within the specified legal framework.
Through the use of the HRIS database, the HR department has improved organisational efficiency and cut down on operational costs. George (2020) showed that HR shared services could reduce costs as well as enhance structural flexibility and quality of service to customers. Automation reduces the need for manual labour and its associated expenses, which can result in significant cost savings. In addition, during the allocation of resources, importance is only given to positions that accelerate the growth of the business.
HR Business Partner
The HR business partner role involves delivering organisational and people capabilities through the use of data. The department collaborates with line managers to influence and steer effective strategy implementation. Through strategic planning, the department can make recommendations on the implications of proposed changes. Strategic succession planning and forecasting have enabled HR to manage the contingencies that may affect business operations. Through HRBP practices, HR professionals can align all HR practices with strategic business goals. These operations create a sense of direction for the department. Additionally, all interventions designed by the department aim to improve organisational outcomes.
CIPD Profession Map
Area of Specialist Knowledge
Talent management involves using succession and contingency planning to identify individuals who are most valuable to the company. After identifying the top talent of the organisation, HR employs strategies to nurture and develop their skills and competencies (Specialist knowledge, no date). Talent is a valuable aspect that can be exploited for the commercial benefit of the company. Talent management is perceived as an essential concept because it represents the gold standard for HR practice in the future.
The role of HRM professionals will shift from the current business partner roles to talent managers. The Centres of Excellence model, which the CIPD terms as the “the future of HR practice”, was designed to dissolve the talent gaps as it mainly focuses on integrating talent management as a core HR competency. Given that HR practice is an evolving field and the relevance of talent management in prospective HR practices, this conceptualisation should be the top agenda for each HR unit and professional.
Analytics and Creating Value
Evidence-based practice involves designing strategies and making decisions that are based on the best data. Analytics and value creation are core concepts required during the making of data-driven decisions to facilitate the development of insights and value measurement (Specialist knowledge, no date). This area involves understanding HR data as a source of evidence that can be used to inform decisions, discover the value input of each staff, and predict future performance. HR can use the data to identify areas of improvement and design change initiatives that will improve an organisation’s performance. Analytics and creating value are perceived as essential because predictive analytics are set to be one of the core roles of HR in the future (Predictive analytics, no date).
HR planning, recruitment, career development, and training will be mediated by data-driven technology (A collection of thought pieces, 2015). HR professionals will be expected to demonstrate competency in translating data insights into interventions that can benefit the organisation. As CIPD put it, an HR professional does not need to be a data scientist but should strive to gain cavernous data analytical skills (A collection of thought pieces, 2015). Therefore, analytics and creating value should be a priority for each HR professional.
Business ethics is a critical component of professional conduct in HR practice. A survey conducted by CIPD showed that business ethics was identified as a highly valuable concept by HR professionals (A collection of thought pieces, 2015). The HR professional that were interviewed thought ethics, at 66%, surpassed change management at 35%, strategic management at 32%, and finance at 2% in importance (A collection of thought pieces, 2015).
Ethical values provide a moral framework for right or wrong behaviours, values, and actions and allow HR to resolve ethical dilemmas during practice. Ethical practice is deemed crucial because it is a mediator for a positive work environment and interpersonal relationships. Given that perceptions of ethical behaviour and treatment are valued by modern society, fostering a culture of ethical practice can help to build a reputation for the organisation.
Project Management Techniques
I have applied project management techniques during the implementation of an HRIS system in the department. The work-breakdown-structure (WBS) technique was utilized to breakdown the project into small tasks. A WBS technique uses a visual outline to generate a task map of what is needed to achieve goals. With the tool, I was able to estimate costs and establish a viable timeline for the project. According to Eby (2016), effective WBS techniques can improve organizational and project productivity. The tool provided each member with clarity on their roles and contribution and prevented the risks of allocating resources to activities outside the scope of the project.
The SWOT analysis technique was used during the transition from the internal shared services model to outsourcing. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that would expedite or impede the project were determined. Furthermore, the analysis of the organisation’s capacity (time and staffing levels) which would be required to effectively outsource HR practices to external vendors was done. I also considered how the outsourcing would fit into our HR strategy and operating model as well as if we had the required skills needed to manage third parties.
Problem Solving Techniques
The 5-Whys problem-solving technique was used when team members actively resisted adopting the HRIS system because of the job changes that would occur during the post-implementation phase. The following questions were then asked:
- Why don’t you want to adopt the system? We are okay with the status quo.
- Why don’t you okay with the status quo? We are accustomed to the routine.
- Why don’t you want to change the routine? Because it will generate extra work.
- Why do you think the system will create additional work? We have limited time.
- Why is that? We already have a high workload.
The brainstorming technique was then used to identify solutions on how we can use the system to without generating extra work. We ended up finding ways of using the system to reduce employees’ workloads.
Group dynamics and Conflicts
Groups typically go through five stages of development, including forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning stages. Conflicts between group members mostly manifest during the storming stage. Disputes characterize the period because group members begin to break free from personal boundaries created during the forming stage at this stage. Different working styles, personalities, opinions, and preferences may strain relationships. Lack of clarity on job responsibilities and role boundaries may also create confusion and stress. Competition for dominance, recognition, or leadership position is also typical during this stage. Since the relationship is still at the infantile stage, team members may lack support or may start creating clique within the group, which may strain team cohesion.
Group conflicts may lead to unproductivity and collaboration within the team. A study conducted by Farland et al. (2018) showed that the team development process had a significant impact on the cooperation and performance of the team. The survey revealed that teams perform poorly at the storming phase in comparison to other stages. Collaboration and inter-team cooperation are critical prerequisites for the optimal performance of a group (Farland et al., 2018). Given that these two elements are lacking during the storming stage, organisational productivity and optimal performance are threatened.
The Thomas-Kilmann model identifies five approaches to conflict resolution: competing, collaborating, avoiding, accommodating, and compromising. I mostly use the competing style when there is a need to make tough decisions in urgent situations. I take advantage of my positional power to create and oversee that my decisions are enforced. However, I use this style sparingly because it can result in a hostile and toxic environment if used consistently.
Collaboration is the main style I frequently use to get to a solution. The process involves analyzing the problem to identify the primary concerns. Once the issue has been identified, the involved persons were guided on the alternative solutions to their dispute through collaborative exercises. Compromising involves reaching a middle group that may partially satisfy one or both parties. Before making a compromise on any conflict element, I always analyze a situation to understand the risks and opportunities of each decision. I use the avoiding technique for petty misunderstanding that has no significant effect on the individual, team, or organization outcomes.
Sometimes, I postpone dealing with conflicts to allow team members to develop conflict management skills through idealised influence. Accommodating requires that I take selfless decisions to yield to another person’s viewpoint. I use accommodating to save time or make an individual feel valuable to the organisation. An adequate balance of the five approaches can result in better relationship-oriented leadership (Altmäe, Türk, and Toomet, 2013). Through balancing these approaches, I have been able to achieve better conflict management strategies.
Interest-Based Relational (IBR)
The IBR approach focuses on respect and mutual understanding to resolve conflicts. The process asserts that the role of a manager extends beyond resolving a dispute. Rather, it involves building meaningful relationships by respecting and appreciating individual differences during the conflict management process. I always strive to separate people from problems when dealing with conflicts. For example, when an employee refuses to concede to my decision, I do not view him as problematic. Instead, I strive to understand their viewpoint and ensure that I make a decision that accommodates their needs. I employ active listening skills to understand the needs and interests of each individual better. Because the approach primarily focuses on individual outcomes, it has been effective in fostering group cohesion and nurturing meaningful relationships.
Eight Causes of Conflicts Model
I have used the eight causes of conflict to resolve the tension between two employees who would not work together because of personal dislike. Both employees cited that they just don’t naturally don’t get along. Because the source of conflict was not known, I used the Bell and Hart eight causes of disputes to analyze its root cause. The model asserts that disagreements in the workplace originate from resources, working styles, perceptions, work pressure, roles, unpredictable policies, and goals (Conflict resolution, no date).
I analyzed each of the identified causes and concluded that conflicting working styles caused the conflict. One employee was tidy, organized, and preferred to keep a clean space while the other employee was naturally loud and disorganized. Even though both were productive, the differing personalities constrained their relationship. The approach prevents investing time and resources on problem symptoms by focusing on the root cause of the problem.
Negotiation, Persuasion, and Influence
The RADPAC model theorises that you can reach a consensus through a six-step process. This procedure involves creating rapport, analysing, debating, proposing, agreeing, and closing. To build a connection, I set an environment that will ensure that the parties involved in the negotiation are comfortable with each other. Rapport helps to develop and maintain positive relationships in the team. During analysis, I provide a platform for members to share and express opinions, ideas, and feelings.
The stage allows members to understand each other’s perspectives and needs. During the third phase, I create a forum to discuss and summarise the interests and opinions shared in the second phase through brainstorming. During the fourth phase, members critically evaluate the pros and cons of each proposed idea; the proposed concepts are compiled into a report. I use voting to arrive at a consensus on the best idea. By the end of the closing stage, I ensure that the needs and views of each member were considered and valued.
I used Robert Cialdini’s six principles of influencing to persuade the senior management to approve a budget for a proposed project. The precepts include influence, reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. Reciprocity is based on the postulation that if you give something of value to someone, they are likely to reciprocate it (Cialdini, no date). I demonstrated the worth and value of the project to the management to activate reciprocity from the administration. Consistency is based on the theory that people are likely to comply with a request when they have publicly committed (Cialdini, n.d.). I involved line managers to ensure that their commitment to subordinates.
To provide social proof, I shared employee’s feedback and perceptions of the company’s social networks. By sharing this information, I can demonstrate how much the involved stakeholders like the idea or are satisfied with the project (liking). All my budget approval requests were backed up with insightful data to support my claims. People are likely to be persuaded when one demonstrates expertise or credibility in the given subject (Cialdini, no date). The use of data is an incredible way of proving the credibility of your project. I applied the principle of scarcity by sharing the uniqueness of a proposed project with the managers.
I have used the McKinsey influencing model to influence employees’ mindsets and behaviours during the adoption of the HRIS. There are four actions needed to guide team members during a change management initiative role-modelling, fostering understanding, developing talent and skills, and reinforcing with formal mechanisms (Basford and Schaninger, 2016). To promote awareness, I demonstrated to employees why we needed to adopt the HRIS. People are likely to change when they understand the ‘why’ behind the project (Basford and Schaninger, 2016). I trained workers on how to effectively use the system to empower employees. When employees have the skills required for the change, they are likely to be motivated to act (Basford and Schaninger, 2016).
I reinforced the formal mechanisms through incentivising processes that supported the change program. Role-modeling theory posits that a leader’s actions inspire the workforce; therefore, I made sure that I was able to demonstrate expertise in using the system to influence and motivate employees.
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