A lot of organizations fully comprehend the benefits accruing from addressing the issue of staffing. Staffing, just like and is regarded as some of the most crucial functions of the human resource management in various organizations. This is because they play a significant role with regard to strategic business plans. There are a number of issues that affecting the process of staffing in an organization, and these shall be explored to greater details.
Job design and description
Before any recruitment process can be initiated, it becomes important first that the job design and description becomes clear. Several issues become important here, such as the inherent job requirements (Derek et al 2004). This refers to those activities that ought to be undertaken so as to facilitate the execution of a certain job. For instance, it is may be a requirement that a certain employee notes down minutes of a given meeting. In this regard, employees could be limited physically, by lacking the necessary shorthand skills.
Nevertheless, a dictaphone could be provided for recording the necessary information, and which they are later able to transcribe. For this reason, an employee possessing shorthand skills may not pass as an inherent job requirement, seeing that there are other ways in which a certain job may be designed; like using a dictaphone. Even then, it is worth noting that not every task that constitutes a certain job description may pass as an inherent requirement from such a job. For instance, though making coffee could be an added activity for a receptionist; it nevertheless is not the critical purpose of the position.
Job description development
Whenever human resources are developing a certain job requirement, they always seek to concentrate on what the job in hand stands out to attain, as opposed to how the job in question is to be accomplished. When this is job seekers have chance to demonstrate to human resource that they are capable of completing the job’s inherent requirements (Arthur 1995). For instance, while human resources are developing a certain job description, they might opt to use ‘generate quality texts using a word processor’ in place of ‘minimum speed of typing’.
Another consideration while designing a job description is if explicit work skills and educational requirements are vital for the position in question. Under certain circumstances, disabled people could be in possession of reduced experiences of a job since they could have previously encountered difficulties in getting a job (Geraci 1994). Furthermore, a job description should take into account the relationships of reporting, for example, the supervisor. Also, possible progression in career and a review of performance criteria should also be addressed. Additionally, the location of the job should also be addressed, as are the remunerations and any possible benefits and commissions (Garavan et al 1995).
The design of a job entails such aspects as the total number of hours say, in a week that an employee is required to put in, the duration of the job, wages, location, and how flexible the job is. In terms of flexibility, a workplace that allows for flexible working conditions enables both the employer and his/her employees to enhance the operations in the place of work. In the face of a shortage of skills, coupled with a fast ageing workforce, it becomes important that organizations adopt job designs that are quite flexible (Arthur 1995).This way, the organization is best placed to attract a workforce that is quite diverse, and this includes even the individuals who have one form of disability or another.
The design of specific jobs could be utilized in the identification of jobs, and in which the staff has a better chance of either developing novel technologies, or even implementing these (Hamilton 2001). In order to achieve such goals, perhaps it would be wise to integrate these into the design of specific jobs in the high technology organizations. In a case whereby novel innovations and technologies have been identified as some of the objectives of the responsibilities of the job in hand, then chances are that prospective employees are more likely to focus more on such objectives.
The design of jobs for say, scientists or even engineers, and who happen to be the key technology sources within an organization, offers excellent modification opportunities. The scientist and engineers of today essentially perform technical work. This is because they are expected to identify the much needed information by their organizations, and also to solve certain problems which could facilitate in new product development (Farris & Cordero 2002).
If such engineers and scientists are going to be considered for positions in high technology organizations, it is necessary that they be at a position whereby they view their job descriptions from ‘a larger picture’, literary. Technical work that is associated with the solving of certain organizational problems becomes critical, but a better comprehension of the application, implementation, development, and other organizational issues could place such engineers and scientists at a better position to address the specific job demands in the high technology organizations (McKinnon 1987).
Selection, recruitment and placement of employees
Recruitment refers to procedure of probing for and acquiring adequate quality and number of job applicants, so that the human resource department in an organization may select individual who best suits the job vacancies available (Roberts & Fusfeld 1981). At this point, it is important to note that the job requirements of the human resource must be at per with the needs of the labor market.
On the other hand, selection refers to the process used to collect information with a view to assessing and deciding on the individual that best meets the job requirements stipulated, and hence who ought to be hired for filling in those job vacancies. The selection procedure thus seeks to acquire candidates who are most qualified out of a wide pool of candidates that had applied for a certain job (Arthur 1995). These selected potential employees are the ones who have convinced the human resource that they are capable of performing the job at hand to the satisfaction of their employer.
Once candidates have been selected for various posts in an organization, they are then allocated to the posts that they had applied for, and responsibility is bestowed on them. This is the process of placement. At an organization level, the processes of selection and placement are vital; for a number of reasons. First, it enables the human resource to assess potential employees on the basis of their capabilities and differences, without any discriminatory element (Arthur 1995).
Secondly, the process enables an organization to hire the most competent and qualified employees, on the basis of the requirements of the job. Moreover, the selection and placement process allows for the placement of job seekers in such a manner as to serve the best interests of both the individual and the organization (Wentling & Palma-Rivas 1998). In any case, the process assists in the organization planning procedures. Besides, the process ensures that an organization reduces the costs that could come about as a result of a poor exercise of selecting and placement.
If at all high technology organizations are to maintain a competitive edge in the market, then there is a need that their human resource department be able to not only recruit, but also select prospective employees who have a mindset for developing high technology, focus on its potential, come up with ways of implementing high technology in the organization, and also ensure that such a technology is able to succeed (Garavan et al 1995). As such, there is a need that the staff so chosen are at a position to ‘see the bigger picture’.
Furthermore, such a workforce ought to have the characteristics of entrepreneurs. They ought to be individuals who take the risk of the management, organization, and even the business enterprise as a whole, while at the same time being at a position to blend well with teams that are cross-functional, in the organization (Garavan et al 1995). Furthermore, employees meant for positions in the high technology organizations should possess such characteristics as ambiguity tolerance, creativity, and a risk assuming positive attitude.
Moreover, strong self concepts, optimism, self drive, a capability to handle failure, as well as prolonged orientation are some of the other characteristics that could be addressed (Hamilton 2001). Individuals working for high technology organizations should also render themselves easily to organizational change and at the same time are comfortable with such changes. In addition, they ought to place value on various new techniques of working.
Professionals in the human resources department could as well recruit individuals who have experience out of working with innovative organizations. What this means then is that the management realizes the need to ensure that the prospective employees being considered for the positions in hand have a knack for innovation (Hamilton 2001). Novel evaluation means of such employees being recruited should be considered as well. For example, the human resource department should not so much lay emphasis on the job title, but rather, focus ought to be on aptitudes and competencies of the prospective candidates.
It is also important that employees who have experience in for example, a specific industry, be given priority, in place of novel applicants. Clearly, a high technology organization that wishes to recruit innovative employees should be in a position to communicate this with the job applicants, if at all such an organization aspires to obtain a workforce that shall successfully blend well with the innovative environment that is a characteristic of the organization in question (Christensen 1997).
Such an innovation dimension by high technology organization could then be utilized by these organizations to screen the candidates that they would desire to recruit. Employees dealing with the constant changes in high technology organizations could be different from other employees that work with conventional technologies in non-high technology organizations. This includes their mindset as well. As such, the management ought to ensure that they are recruiting the right candidates, from the outset.
As Christensen (1997) has noted, leadership is a very important characteristic of employees being considers fro positions in high technology organizations. In today’s dynamic world, organizations now require that employees be in possession of additional skills, besides what the job specifies. These are the employees who have the potential to take their respective organizations a notch higher.
As such, these employees become sort of technical specialists who are not afraid to utilize their technical skills for the benefits of their organizations. These are the kinds of employees who are needed to work in such high technology areas as information technology, biotechnology, as well as electronic commerce (e-commerce). The latter has almost become the mainstay of the most highly advanced technology organizations, who have now turned to the internet to facilitate in marketing of their products and services.
According to James (2002), the prime objective of such organizations is to facilitate in the development of such technologies as can be commercialized, in effect replacing the less innovative and conventional technologies. The expectations and responsibilities of the employees that could be considers for employment positions in high technology organizations could be said to have been both modified and expanded, so that now organizations expect virtually all the employees to be highly innovative.
Some of the critical functions that the prospective employees may be expected to perform include the generation of ideas, leading of projects, and championing of innovative techniques. In addition, the idea of employees becoming gatekeepers of the high technology organizations has also been addressed by several authors (Markham & Griffin, 1998; McDonough, 2000; Markham & Aiman-Smith, 2001).
It is worth noting here that the selection and recruitment of employees are not the only issues of staffing in high technology organizations. The decisions of placing the employees so selected have to be considered buy these high technology organizations.
In this regard, placement decisions ought to take into consideration the need for these organizations to innovate, and still maintain an edge in technological standards.
For this reason, there is a need therefore, to place employees in those positions that would enable them to realize their full potential, and thus be a real asset to their organizations, as well as for personal growth reasons (Christensen 1997). With regard to high technology organizations, it becomes important that the placing exercise assume both novel and careful techniques of determining the potentials of each and every employee that a high technology organization wishes to consider for a job in hand.
An alternative to placement, and which is seen to be considered today by high technology organizations at an increasingly rate, is the outsourcing of innovation, a move that has been recommended by Quinn (2000). A strategic innovation outsourcing exercise according to Quinn (2000), is bound to enhance the chances of an organization to acquire sustainable positions of leadership, while at the same time also helping in the reduction of innovation costs, reducing cycle time, and also significantly helping to leverage an organization’s internal investments. Organizations could make use of the latest technologies as well as techniques of management to confront potential competitors.
It is a common practice for organizations to use rewards as a positive reinforcement of their employees. In the high technology organizations, this is a welcome respite, bearing in mind that competition is extremely high, and that rival firms are forever enticing employees from rival firms with a better pay package and other fringe benefits. As such, a reward system could be the only way through which the high technology organizations may to motivate and retain their staff in the face of such developments (Gomez-Mejia et al 1990).
Such rewards could include both the extrinsic and external rewards. With regard to the extrinsic reward, these have a connection to the reward or compensation system, and entails equity awards, cash, bonuses, pay rise, or even special policies of pay. This form of reward could be evaluated by techniques such as the manager or even the colleagues assessing the exceptional performances of certain employees, the association of bonuses to certain technological developments that are the contribution of specific employees, a determination of the revenue value that the employee generates, or even by calculating profits that are tied to for example, a certain patent (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, & Milkovich 1990; Geraci 1994; Despres & Hiltrop 1996; Triendl 1998).
It is crucial that organizations take into account the effects of various kinds of rewards. On the whole, any kind of reward that is of value has the likelihood to increase the desire being sought. From the perspective of the high technology organizations, this desired behavior is that which shall enhance the chances of the organization implementing or developing the desirable technology in such a manner as is valued by the organization.
Ordinarily, this translates into observable measures of finances such as market share, of profits. Intrinsic rewards if utilized well could turn out to be quite worthwhile, particularly to engineers and scientists. indeed, a study that involved over 1000 engineers in research and development departments of more than thirty organizations, and which was undertaken by Chen, Ford, and Farris’s (1999) made a conclusion that intrinsic rewards may in fact be more effective, when compared with the extrinsic rewards.
Some other researchers assessing the factors which motivate engineers and scientists identified intrinsic rewards to be more effective in comparison to the extrinsic rewards. In this case, intrinsic rewards includes new skills development, challenging work, and the provision of research interests opportunities (Alpert, 1992; Chen et al., 1999; James, 2002) There is variation with regard to the perception held by various individuals in terms of the relative value attached to either the intrinsic or extrinsic rewards.
Chen et al (1999), through their research study of diverse groups of individual, managed to observe variations in terms of the perceived value of the various kinds of reward types. The connection between the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards and their relative value is not only a complicated relationship, but one that also various from one individual to the next. For instance, Maslow (1970) explains the various levels of needs, and whose value is different from one individual to the next.
The findings by Maslow indicates that such extrinsic rewards as bonuses and base pay would be most rewarding to those persons that are in a dire need of cash. Following success in meeting financial needs, it is the intrinsic rewards that give individual motivation, for example self-esteem. Seeing now that the needs of employees gets satisfied by the provision of extrinsic rewards such as wages, what this means then is that the intrinsic rewards (for instance, work that is challenging) shall seek to motivate these members of the staff of an organization.
Alternatively, they could also be motivated by extrinsic rewards that are a mark of recognition and achievement (Gomez-Mejia et al 1990). Nevertheless, employees whose financial needs are not adequately addressed find the extrinsic rewards quite motivating. It is this relationship between the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that justifies findings regarding the greater value often reported by scientists and engineers working for high technology organizations.
These professionals often get paid well, in order that they may overlook the extrinsic rewards, and instead focus on the value of pursuing intrinsic rewards.
Nevertheless, it becomes quite difficult for the high technology organizations to recognize the sought-after behavior to warrant either of the two types of the rewards. It is common knowledge that employees deserves to be rewarded for the novel ideas or innovations that they bring to an organization, translating into either an increaser in the market share of the organization, or a rise in profit margin (Gomez-Mejia et al 1990).
The problem occurs when employees comes up with for example, a technology that may not translate into a financial gain for a company.
Training and Development
Within the realm of human resource management in an organization, the field of training and development entails those activities of an organization that seeks to better the performance of employees, both at an individual land group level. A couple of names have been used in reference to this field, and these include human resource development, employee development, and development and learning (Harrison 2005).
According to Harrison (2005), the term ‘employees’ development’ is viewed at as being too evocative of slave-master connection. On the other hand, academics have rejected the term ‘human resource development’ on grounds that individual should not be objectified as resources. As Harrison (2005) has asserted, this is a notion that seeks to demean people. The term “learning and development” was not without fault too, as learning is both an ambiguous and over-generalized name. Besides, other names are still widely used to refer to the field (Harrison 2005).
In organizational training and development, three key activities are at play: training as an activity in this field is evaluated against, and focused upon, that job which a certain individual holds at the moment. Secondly, training lays emphasis on future potential jobs for persons in an organization. As such, these future jobs form the basis for the evaluation of these individuals (Garavan et al 1995). Finally, training as an activity is involved with those activities that both the employee and his/her organization could undertake in the near future, and which at face value, could turn out to be quite difficult to evaluate (Harrison 2005).
Both training and development of the recruited members of an organization may be used as yardstick for assessing the potential of the employees to be for example, productive and innovative, in high technology organizations. The two activities require that they be directed towards knowledge and skills development. This is because training and development impacts on organizational design, job design, selection, recruitment, and placement of employees in an organization.
The idea of training and developing employees is to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills so that they cease from asking the “what is” and “what was” questions, and instead focus on asking the “what if” questions. In addition, training and development of employees encourages them to focus beyond an organization, so that they can assess related and unrelated industries, both at the country and global level (Hamilton 2001).
In other words, training and development of employees enables them to thinks globally but act locally. In the high technology organizations, change for ever being experienced and this calls for innovations to deal with or embrace the new changes in the industry. For this reason, it is vital that the employees undergoes further training, so that they can be more innovative and face the prevailing change in an organization.
Performance appraisal is a technique that the human resource department of an organization uses to evaluate an employee’s job performance, using such parameters as quantity, quality, time and cost. There is a correlation between performance appraisal of the employees, and their training and development, so that those employees scoring dismally may be recommended for further training (McKinnon 1987). As such, the appraisal of employees becomes an integral part of the career development of employees in an organization.
By and large, performance appraisal hopes to achieve a number of objectives: give employees a feedback of their performance, identify the training needs of employees, document the decisive factor utilized in the allocation of the rewards of an organization to its employees, establish a foundation for human resource decisions (disciplinary actions, promotions and salary increments, among others), enable an organization to diagnose its problems and develop, ease the communication process between the administration and the employees, and certification of the selection techniques and policies of human resource to conform to the federal requirements for equal employment prospect (Wentling & Palma-Rivas 1998).
A widespread approach to evaluate performance involves the use of scalar or numerical system of rating, in which managers are requested to rate an employees against several attributes. In other organizations, this assessment is done by managers, fellow employees, the subordinate staff, or even by the customers (Derek et al 2004). The employees may also be called upon to self-evaluate themselves. This form of performance appraisal has been termed the 360° appraisal, and has gained popularity in organizations.
Other performance appraisal techniques includes management by objectives (MBO), behavioral observation scale (BOS), and behaviorally anchored rating scale (BARS). It is also common for organizations top use the trait-based systems for purposes of evaluating their employees (Garavan et al 1995). This system hinges on such factors as conscientiousness and integrity. However, available scientific literature on employee appraisal techniques is against the use of these techniques for two main reasons.
First, these systems by designation revolve around the personality traits, and so it becomes difficulty for managers to give feedback that would positively impact on the performance of an employee. The reason behind this is that the dimension of personality is essentially static. Although it is quite possible that an employee can alter certain aspects of their behavior, the same cannot be said of their personality (Derek et al 2004). For instance, an employee deficient in integrity could cease lying to the management once they get caught doing so. However, this does not mean that they have changed their behavior because their integrity is still low. As such, chances are they will still lie in future, once there is no threat of them getting caught.
Secondly, these systems are by nature vague, making them liable to office politics influence. As a result, they cease being a reliable information source with respect to the true performance of an employee. Thanks to the vagueness of these tools, managers gets a leeway to fill out the performance appraisal from of their employees on the basis of who, in their opinion deserves a promotion or pay rise, as opposed to relying on certain behaviors that employees ought not to be involved in (Derek et al 2004). Furthermore, the systems render an organization liable to claims of discrimination since a manager could settle on decisions that are biased with no need for backing these with certain behavioral information.
The issue of staffing is one that organizations do not take lightly. This is because human resource is one of the most important elements of any one organization. Before organizations can start recruiting for vacant positions, there is a need to describe and design the jobs that requires to be filled out. This way, the organizations ensures that there is no conflict of interest between various employees, and that the operations in an organization run smoothly.
When this is done, the next step involves recruiting, selecting and placing the candidates that shall fill the vacant positions. At this point, a lot of ingenuity and managerial skills becomes vital, for a mistake at this point could ensure that an organization endures a costly process, only to end up with the wrong staff. For any organization that seeks to maintain a competitive edge relative to its competitors, strategic change becomes a necessary yardstick.
This entails innovations and generation of ideas, and organizations are called upon to reward their employees on the basis of their input to the organization. The benefits of both training and development reward both the employees and their employers alike. Finally, employees’ evaluation forms the basis for promotions, pay rise, or added status and responsibilities in an organization. Again, there are a number of techniques that are utilized to gauge the performance of individual employees, such as the 360° method. Managers should however ensures that they do not employ evaluation techniques that are in any way biased, as this would not be a true reflection of the performance of an employee.
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