HRM : MEANING, FUNCTION AND ROLE

MEANING OF HRM :

Human Resource Management(HRM) is a process of bringing people and organization together so that the goals of each are met. It is that part of the management process which is concerned with the management of human resources in an organization. It tries to secure the best from people by winning the whole hearted cooperation.

HRM2HRM may be defined as the art of procuring, developing and maintaining competent workforce to achieve the goals of an organization in a effective and efficient manner.

According to Invacevich and Glueck, “ HRM is concerned with the most effective use of people to achieve organizational and individual goals. It is a way of managing people at work, so that they give their best to the organization.

CONCEPT OF HRM :

HRM is a strategic approach to the acquisition, motivation, development and management of the organisation’s human resources. It is a specialized field that attempts to deriving an appropriate corporate culture, and introducing programmes which reflect and support the core values of the enterprises and ensure its success.

Broadly there are three meaning attached to the concept of HRM. In the first place, persons working in an organization are rewarded as a valuable source, implying that there is a need to invest time and effort in their development. Secondly, they are human resources which means that they have their own special characteristic and therefore, can not be treated like material resources. The approach focuses on the need to humanize organizational life and introduce human values in the organization. And thirdly, human resources do not merely focus on employees as individuals, but also on their social realities, units, and processes in the organization. These include the role or job a person has in the organization, the dydadic units (consisting of the person and his superior), the various teams in which people works, inter-team processes, and the entity of the total organization.

In its essence, HRM is the qualitative improvement of human beings who are considered the most valuable assets of an organization – the sources, resources, and end-users of all products and services. It is scientific process of continually enabling the employees to improve their competency and capability to play their present as well as future expected roles so that the goals of a organization can be achieved more fully and at the same time the needs of the employees are also met to a adequate extent.

HRM essentially emphasizes and incorporates those expectation which aren’t being fulfilled through traditional personal management. It integrates in a meaningful way the various sub-systems like :

  • Performance appraisal
  • Potentiality appraisal and development
  • Career planning
  • Training and development
  • Organization development
  • Research and system development
  • Rewards
  • Employee welfare
  • Quality of work life
  • Industrial relation
  • Human Resource Information

HUMAN RESOUNCE FUNCTIONS

The role of human resource management is to plan, develop and administer policies and programmes designed to make expeditious use of an organization’s human resources. The major functional areas in human resource management are :

(1) Planning

(2) Staffing

(3) Employee development

(4) Employee maintenance

These four areas and their related functions share the common objective of an adequate number of competent employees with skills, abilities, knowledge, and experience needed for further organizational goals. A brief description of usual human resource functions is given below :

Human Resource Planning : In the human resource planning function, the number and type of employees needed to accomplish organizational goals are determined. Research is an important part of this function because planning requires the collection and analysis of information in order to forecast human resource supplies and to predict future human resource needs. The basic human resource planning strategy is staffing and employee development.

Job Analysis : Job analysis is the process of specifying the nature of a job and specifying the human requirement such as skills, and experience needed to perform it. The end product of the job analysis process is the job description. A job description spells our work duties and activities of employees. Job descriptions are vital source of information to employees, managers and personnel people because job content has a great influence on personnel programmes and practices.

Staffing : Staffing emphasizes the requirement and selection of the human resources for an organization. Human resource planning and recruiting precede the actual selection of people for positions in an organization. Recruiting is a personnel function that attract qualified applicants to fill the vacancies.

In the selection function, the most qualified applicants are selected for hiring from among those attracted to the organization by the recruiting function. On selection, human resource functionaries are involved in developing and administering methods that enable managers to decide which applicants to select and which to reject for the given jobs.

Orientation : Orientation is the first step towards helping a new employee adjust himself to the new job and the employer. It is a method to acquaint new employees with particular aspects of their new job, including pay and benefit programmes, working hours and company rules and expectations.

Training and Development : The training and development function gives employees the skills and knowledge to perform their jobs effectively. In addition to providing training for new or inexperienced employees, organization often provide training programme to experienced employees whose jobs are undergoing change. Large organizations often have development programme which prepare employees for higher level of responsibilities within the organization. Training and development programme provide useful means of assuring that employees are capable of performing their jobs at acceptable levels.

Performance appraisal : This function monitors employee performance to ensure that it is at acceptable levels. Human resource professionals are usually responsible for developing and administering performance appraisal systems, although the actual appraisal of employee performance is the responsibility of supervisors and managers. Besides providing a basis for pay, promotion and disciplinary action, performance appraisal information is essential for employee development since knowledge of results(feed back) is necessary to motivate and guide performance improvement.

Career planning : Career planning has developed partly as a result of desire of many employees to grow in their jobs and to advance in their career. Career planning activities include assessing an individual employee’s potential for growth and advancement in the organization.

Compensation : Human resource personnel provide a rational method of determining how much employee should be paid for performing certain jobs. Pay is obviously related to the maintenance of human resources. Since compensation is a major cost to many organizations, it is a major consideration in human resource planning.

Compensation affects staffing in that people are generally attracted to organizations offering a higher level of pay in exchange for work performed. It is related to employees development in that it provides an important incentive in motivating employee to higher level of job performance and to higher paying jobs in the organization.

Benefits : Benefits are another form of compensation to employees other than direct pay for work performed. As such, the human resource function of administering employee benefits shares many characteristics of the compensation function. Benefits include both the legally required items and those offered at employers discretion. The cost of benefits has risen to such a point that they have consideration in humane resource planning. However, benefits are primarily related to the maintenance area, since they provide for many basic employee needs.

Labour Relations : The term ‘labour relation’ refers to interaction with employees who are represented by a trade union. Unions are organization of employees who join together to obtain more voice in decision affecting wages, benefits, working conditions, and other aspects of employment. With regard to labour relation, the personnel responsibility primarily involves negotiating with the unions regarding wages, service conditions and resolving disputes and grievances.

Record-Keeping : the oldest and most basic personnel function is employee record-keeping. This function involves recording, maintaining, and retrieving employee related information for a variety of purposes. Records which must be maintained include application forms, health and medical records, employment history (jobs held, promotion, transfer, lay-offs), seniority lists, earning and hours of work, absences, turnover, tardiness, and other employee data. Complete and up-to-date employees today have a great interest in their personnel functions. More than ever employees today have a great interest in their personnel records. They want to know what is in them, why certain statements have been made, and why records may or may not have been updated.

Personnel Research : All personnel people engage in some form of research activities. In a good research approach, the object is to get facts and information about personnel specifics in order to develop and maintain a programme that works. It is impossible to run a personnel programme without some pre-planning and post-reviewing. For that matter, any survey is, in a sense is research. There is a wide scope in the areas of recruitment, employee turnover, terminations, training and so on. Through a well designed attitude survey, employee opinions can be gathered on wages, relations, and the like. Inspite of its importance, how ever most companies research is the most neglected areas because personnel people are too busy putting out fires. Research mentioned here is not done to put out fires but to prevent them.

Research is not the sole responsibility of any one particular group or department in an organisation. The initial responsibility is that of the human resource department, which however should be assisted by line supervisors and executives at all levels of management. The assistance that can be rendered by trade unions and other organisations should not be ignored, but should be properly made use of.

Apart from the above, the HR function involves managing change, technology, innovation, and diversity. It is no longer confined to the culture or ethos of any single organisation; its keynote is a cross-fertilisation of ideas from different organisations. Periodic social audits of HR functions are considered essential.

HR professionals have an all-encompassing role. They are required to have a thorough knowledge of the organisation and its intricacies and complexities. The ultimate goal of every HR person should be to develop a linkage between the employee and the organisation because the employee’s commitment to the organisation is crucial. The first and foremost role of HR functionary is to impart continuous education to employees about the changes and challenges facing the country in general, and their organisation in particular. The employees should know about their balance sheet, sales progress, diversification plans, restructuring plans, sharp price movements, turnover and all such details. The HR professionals should impart education to all employees through small booklets, video films, and lectures.

The primary responsibilities of a human resource manager are:

  • To develop a thorough knowledge of corporate culture, plans and policies.
  • To act as an internal change agent and consultant.
  • To initiate change and act as an expert and facilitator.
  • To actively involve himself in company’s strategy formulation.
  • To keep communication lines open between the HRD function and individuals and groups both within and outside the organisation.
  • To identify and evolve HRD strategies in consonance with overall business strategy.
  • To facilitate the development of various organisational teams and their working relationship with other teams and individuals.
  • To try and relate people and work so that the organisation objectives are achieved effectively and efficiently.
  • To diagnose problems and to determine appropriate solution particularly in the human resources areas.
  • To provide co-ordination and support services for the delivery of HRD programmes and services.
  • To evaluate the impact of an HRD intervention or to conduct research so as to identify, develop or test how HRD in general has improved individual or organisational performance.

The following are the nine new roles of HR practitioner as suggested by Pat McLegan:

1) To bring the issues and trends concerning an organisation’s external and internal people to the attention of strategic decision-makers, and to recommend long-term strategies to support organisational excellence and endurance.

2) To design and prepare HR systems and actions for implementation so that they can produce maximum impact on organisational performance and development.

3) To facilitate the development and implementation of strategies for transforming one’s own organisation by pursuing values and visions.

4) To create the smoothest flow of products and services to customers; to ensure the best and most flexible use of resources and competencies; and to create commitment among the people who help us to meet customers’ needs whether those people work directly for the organisation or not.

5) To identify learning needs and then design and develop structured learning programmes and materials to help accelerate learning for individuals and groups.

6) To help individuals and groups work in new situations and to expand and change their views so that people in power move from authoritarian to participative models of leadership.

7) To help people assess their competencies, values, and goals so that they can identify, plan, and implement development actions.

8) To assist individuals to add value in the workplace and to focus on the interventions and interpersonal skills for helping people change and sustain change.

9) To assess HRD practices and programmes and their impact and to communicate results so that the organisation and its people accelerate their change and development.

There are four roles which HR play, according to Dave Ulrich. The first, strategic partner role-turning strategy into results by building organisations that create value; the second, a change agent role-making change happen and, in particular, help it happen fast; the third, an employee champion role-managing the talent or the intellectual capital within a firm; and the fourth, an administrative role-trying to get things to happen better, faster and cheaper.

Human resource management has received tremendous attention in recent years. Its role in organisations has also undergone a substantial change and many organisations have gradually oriented themselves from the traditional personnel management to a human resource management approach, although many see it as the “old wine in a new bottle.” The basic approach of HRM is to perceive the organisation in its totality. Its emphasis is not only on production and productivity but also on the quality of life. It seeks to achieve the fullest development of human resources and the fullest possible socio-economic development.

ROLE OF HR MANAGERS IN THE CURRENT SCENARIO :

In an organization there are tall people, short people, fat people, thin people, black people, white people, elderly people and so on. Even within each category there are enormous individual differences. Some will be intelligent, others not so intelligent, some are committed to jobs, other are not, some are outgoing, some are reserved and so on. “the point is that these difference in demand attention so that each person can maximize his or her potential, so that organizations can maximize their effectiveness and so that the society as a whole can make wisest use of human resources.” (Cascio)

The challenge of HR managers today is to recognize talent and nurture the same carefully and achieve significant productivity gains over a period of time. The enterprising is nothing but people. Technological advances, globalised competition, demographic changes, the information revolution and trends towards service society have changed the rules of the game significantly. In such a scenario, organization with similar set of resources gain competitive advantage only through effective and efficient use of human resources (Dessler).

The role of HR manager is shifting from protector and screener to the planner and Change Agent. In present day competitive world, highly trained and committed employees are often firm’s best bet. HR professional play a key role in planning and implementing downsizing, restructuring, and other cost cutting activities. They enable a firm to be more responsive to product innovation and technological changes. For example, team based work assignment and productivity linked rewards could replace manufacturing systems. In service enterprises like banking, hotels, insurance firms etc, discourteous employee response may ruin relationship with customers. Employees who lack the temperament, maturity, social skills and tolerance for frequent contact should not be selected at all for service-oriented activities. HR professional can help an organization to select and train employees for such emerging roles.

Employees are primarily pillar of success. Machines neither have new ideas nor they can solve problems or grasp opportunities. Only people who are involved and thinking can make difference. Through open communications, proper feedback and fair treatment of all employee’s grievances and discipline matters. HR professionals promote employee commitment at various levels. In such a case employees perform the assigned tasks willingly and enthusiastically and thus offer a competitive advantage to the organization. As rightly pointed out by Charles Creer, human resources are now viewed as a source of competitive advantage.

…… increasingly it is being recognized that competitive advantage can be obtained with a high quality workforce that enables organizations to compete on the lines of market responsiveness, product and service quality, differentiated products and technological innovation.”

Becoming a partner in ‘strategy execution’. Strategy is the responsibility of the company’s executive team- of which HR is a member. To be full-fledged strategic partners with senior management, however HR executives should impel and guide serious discussion of how the company should be organized to carry out its strategy .Creating the condition for this discussion involves four steps.

First, HR should be responsible for defining the organizational architecture. In other words, it should identify the underlying model of the company’s way of doing business. Several well-established frameworks can be used in this process. Jay Galbrath’s star model, for example identifies five essential organizational components – Strategy Structure, Rewards, Process and People. The well known 7-S framework created by Mckinsey and company distinguishes seven component in the company’s architecture : Strategy, Systems, Structure, Skill, Staffs, Style and Shared values.

It is relatively unimportant which framework the HR staff uses to define the company’s architecture, as along as it’s robust. What matters more is that an architecture be articulated explicitly. Without such clarity managers can become myopic about how the company runs- and thus about what drives strategy implementation and what stands in its way. They might think only of structure as the driving force behind actions and decisions and neglects systems or skill. Or they might understand the company primarily in terms of its value and pay inadequate attention to the influence of the systems on how work- that is strategy execution – actually get accomplished.

In India, the borderless world is shaking the roots of business. While some companies are feeling the excitement and facing up to the challenges, the demand for a titled playing field indicates the anxiety among many Indian business leaders abut competition. Increasingly the mantra of global economy is performance and competition.

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