Human Resource Management Paper

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This paper was developed by the student Bernardo Mateus, for the subject of Human Resources Management, with the porpoise of commenting the following statement: “HRM functions must be integrated with each other and with strategic issues if they are to make a contribution to HR outcomes or the ‘bottom line’ for the organisation. ” Being so, throughout this essay, I will be going through a brief definition of “organisation” and how the importance of the Human Resources Department in every industry, has grown in the last years.I will be also describing the various Human Resources functions and strategic issues, and explaining how they must connect with each other in order to achieve results compatible with the organisation’s bottom line. Part I – History of Human Resources Management Professor Carter McNamara describes an organisation as a person or a group of individuals that intentionally organised in order to achieve one or various common goals. Being so, all organisations regardless of the dimension or porpoise, have human resources, and those human resources are all different, ave different needs and require a different management, in order to achieve in the most efficient way the goals of the organisation (McNamara, n. d. ). But this hasn’t been always seen like that, In the past, employees and HR departments were regarded as necessary but expensive overheads, the costs of which had to be borne by the organisation (Nankervis, et al. , 2011) This vision was changed in 1933 when Elton Mayo reported in his book, The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilisation, the results of an experiment he conducted in a factory in Western Electric’s Hawthorne Works in Chicago from 1927 to 1932 (Budhwar & Aryee, 2007).This experiment consisted, in a first stage, in studying how the workers from that factory would react when manipulating various variables, such as increasing the illumination in the work place, being given scheduled work breaks and shorter working weeks. The results from this first stage were very positive, since production and productivity increased during the experiment period (Mayo, 1933). On a second phase, Mayo spent considerable time interviewing the workers in order to realise why when the physical and environmental condition were improved, an increase in productivity was noticeable.Turned out that the main factor was not the physical changes, but the social and human factors, because during the period of experiment, the employees felt a genuine care from the company. It was then born the Human Relations School, that believed that management is a people-oriented business, and to insure high levels of productivity and morale, the organisation must provide a good working environment, offer fringe benefits, social benefits and appear to show genuine concern for workers at work and away from work (Mayo, 1933).And with this “revolution in management”, almost every organisation developed a Human Resources Management Department. This section of an organization focuses in ensuring that the company’s goals are achieved the most effective and efficient way, by the human resources available to the organisation (Budhwar & Aryee, 2007). “Successful organizations will be those that are able to quickly turn strategy into action; to manage processes intelligently and efficiently; to maximize employee contribution and commitment; and to create the conditions for seamless change. (Ulrich, 1998) Part II – HRM Functions In this stage of the essay we will be presented with the nine functions of a Human Resources manager in an organisation, and we will see how some functions can influence the strategies of other functions. The first one is Industrial Relations systems and processes, according to Dunlop(1958), this is “the process by which human beings and organizations interact at the workplace, and more broadly in society as a whole to establish the terms and conditions of employment” (Dunlop, 1958).In order to succeed in this field, the Human Resources Manager must have a wide understanding of the labour relationship, the laws that cover any work related relations, and all the dynamics, contradictions and tensions of the employment relationship (Nankervis, et al. , 2011). The Industrial Relations scenario, must be taken into consideration, when designing jobs for the employees, when creating remuneration strategies and most importantly, when resolving conflicts within the company.A good management of this relationship can prevent a strike (avoiding extra costs for the company) and improve the morale of the employees, creating a better work environment for everybody. The second function is Job Design strategies and processes; this is the process of gathering several elements required to form a job. While doing so, the Human Resources Manager must always bear in mind both the organization’s and the worker’s requirements, as well as considerations of health and safety procedures. Harley, s. d. ). The success of this task will influence the attraction and retention of employees, being so, the Human Resources Manager, while designing a job must also take into consideration not only the organisational objectives but also the human capabilities and limitations, the quality of work life and the environment (Nankervis, et al. , 2011). Also a correct job-design will permit effectiveness in the company and subsequently cost reductions with unnecessary labour.Another function is the attraction and retention strategies and processes; this function contains two main processes, the first, the attraction process, refers to the “idea that people’s preference’s for particular organizations are based upon an implicit estimate of the congruence between their own personal characteristics and the attributes of potential work organizations ” (Schneider, et al. , 1986). Which means, someone will consider a job attractive (or not), based on the analysis of both the organisation’s goals and culture, as well as the employee’s own personality nd needs (Schneider, et al. , 1986). The second process of this function is the retention process. It’s the company’s goal, to keep current motivated workers on their staff line, in order to increase productivity and reduce hiring costs. It’s the Human Resources Manager’s job to build and maintain good retention ratios in the organisation, in order to do so, a retention strategy must be designed. The employer must try to meet the career and personal needs of the employees.This function is usually connected with the remuneration strategies, so that the Human Resources Manager must find a balance between a motivating pay-rate for the employee and low costs in wages for the employer (Garcia, s. d. ). Every worker in an organisation is going to require training in a certain stage of his “job-life” within a company. This training can be applied to a new worker who still lacks the skills to help the organisation or to a staff member that wishes to acquire new skills. That’s when the fourth function of the Human Resources Manager comes in to action (Nankervis, et al. 2011). Learning education and development strategies aim to help the organisation improve the productivity by having more skilled and motivated employees, so when designing a learning and development program, the HR manager must take into consideration the job design and description and also all the health and safety procedures. Performance management strategies and processes is another of the HR functions, and it’s the HRM’s job to review all the employee’s performances throughout a determined period (usually a year), and evaluating their performance based on some pre-designed criteria (Anon. s. d. ). This will have an affect not only on the remuneration process but also might help the company understand flaws in their methods (i. e. if an employee is having trouble performing a task, the HRM might figure out that it’s not the employee’s fault, but instead realise that the procedure for that task is faulty. He might be able to re-design that job, not only improving productivity but also ensuring the Health and Safety procedures).Effective performance management requires: Identifying and controlling system influences on performance; developing an action plan an empowering works to reach solutions; directing communication at performance rather than at the performer (Gomez-Mejia, et al. , 1986). This is probably the most known HRM’s function, remuneration strategies and processes it’s the financial part of the reward practices. This practice serves as a porpoise to attract, retain, develop and motivate employees (Nankervis, et al. , 2011).The remuneration budget must be approved by the company’s manager, since it has to be according to the business plan stipulated in the beginning of the year. It’s the companies remuneration strategy that will dictate the basic remuneration factors for all the organisation, as well as all the rules applied to those factors (i. e. Each employee gets a pay raise every two years). Once again this function will affect the performance of every employee on the organisation, but also the design of every job/position (Anon. , s. d. ).According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the HRM is responsible for the following activities: “Encourage employers and employees to reduce workplace hazards and to implement new or improve existing safety and health programs; provide for research in occupational safety and health to develop innovative ways of dealing with occupational safety and health problems; establish separate, but dependant, responsibilities and rights for the employers and employees for the achievement of better safety and health conditions; maintain a reporting and record-keeping system to monitor job-related injuries and illness; establish training programs to increase the number competence of occupational safety and health personnel; develop mandatory job safety and health standards and enforce them effectively; provide for the development analysis evaluation and approval of state occupational safety and health problems” (Ledgerwood, 2005). The above mentioned act, must be taken into consideration any time any department decides to make any physical our procedure changes.A more safe work environment will create a more motivating atmosphere, subsequently increasing productivity and reducing any accident related costs. Work related conflicts are very common in any type of organisation; usually they are born from different opinions or points of view. Although most commonly seen as negative, sometimes good outcomes can be provided after a dispute is settled (Nankervis, et al. , 2011). It’s the HRM function to be able to identify those conflicts and try to resolve the issue bringing up from that a positive outcome for the organisation. If successful, the HRM might be able to not only improve professional but also personal work relations, which will lead to a better work environment (Anon. , s. . ). One of the challenges an HRM must face, is to try to justify the HR department’s costs. Since the Human Resources department doesn’t generate profit itself, the HRM must provide a way to evaluate the success of his department through the use of Evaluation Strategies and Processes (Nankervis, et al. , 2011). One of the ways to do so, is using Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Score Card. This document allows the managers to monitor the accomplishment (or not) of the tasks settled at the beginning of the year. It’s divided into 4 perspectives: Financial, Internal Business, Costumer Perspective; and Learning and Growth (Nankervis, et al. , 2011).In the BSC, the manager with the help of the HRM, establishes the goals for that period (one year, three years), for the four perspectives, and designs the measures to achieves those goals, so that the BSC can be presented to the stakeholders. The HR department must provide a plan for the Internal and Learning perspectives in order to help the organisation achieve its final goal. As already mentioned through this essay, all this functions have to meet the company’s/organisation’s goals. It’s the HRM’s job to make sure that the organisation’s human resources reach the maximum productivity, at the minimum costs. The administration is expecting that the HRM helps the organisation deliver high levels of Performance, Productivity and Flexibility while being Effectiveness Cost effectiveness to reach the final outcome of the organisation: Profitability (Nankervis, et al. , 2011).As seen, some examples of that are: the attraction and retention process, must keep the workers motived enough so that they will have high performances, and at the same time, must be cost-controlled, so it doesn’t exceed the budget; the job-design must guarantee task effectiveness and cost reduction. Now the organisation must decide at the beginning of each year, which strategy will they follow in order to gain competitive advantage In 1985, Michael Porter pointed three strategic issues for competitive advantage in the marketplace. Those were Cost Reduction, Innovation and Quality Improvement (Porter, 1985). If an organisation wishes to lead through a Cost Reduction strategy (having the lowest price for a product/service in the market), it’s the HRM job to minimise costs, by reducing training and development in the organisation, and highlight external comparability. Porter, 1985) If the company chooses to lead through Innovation (the organisation is recognized as an unique producer), then the HRM must facilitate, motivate and create the best work conditions possible, in order to make the employees’ morale high and subsequently the performance at a maximum. (Porter, 1985) Finally if an organisation wishes to differentiate from its competitors through Quality Improvement (The quality of the product or service from the company is unique to the costumer) then the HRM must, in this case, invest in training and development in order to create the perfect staff, and also guarantee the healthiest and safest work conditions. (Porter, 1985) ConclusionTo summarize, the Human Resources department wast so relevant in an organisation, until a few years ago after Elton Mayo and his discovery. Now the HRM plays one of the most important roles in an organisation, seeing that the human resources of a company are one of the most valuable components, it is the HRM’s job to keep those resources motivated, with high performance and morale, in order to help the organisation achieve profitability. All nine Human Resources department functions are connected between each other and, if well applied, they can help the company achieve its goals. Reference List Anon. , n. d. Executive Education University of Florida. [Online] Available at: http://essentialsofbusiness. ufexec. ufl. du/business-education-resources/conflict-resolution-strategies/ [Accessed 15 February 2013]. Anon. , n. d. Management Study Guide. [Online] Available at: http://www. managementstudyguide. com/hr-performance-management. htm [Accessed 15 February 2013]. Anon. , n. d. Simple HR Guide. [Online] Available at: http://www. simplehrguide. com/compensation-strategy. html [Accessed 15 February 2013]. Budhwar, P. & Aryee, S. , 2007. Study Mode. [Online] Available at: http://www. studymode. com/subjects/pawan-budhwar-and-samuel-aryee-2007-an-introduction-to-strategic-human-resource-management-page1. html [Accessed 15 February 2013]. Dunlop, J. , 1958.Industrial Relations Systems. New York: Holt-Dryden. Garcia, R. , n. d. eHow money. [Online] Available at: http://www. ehow. com/list_6473602_hr-retention-strategies. html [Accessed 15 February 2013]. Gomez-Mejia, L. R. , Balkin, D. B. & Cardy, R. L. , 1986. The transformation of American Industrial Relations. New York: Basic Books. Harley, M. , n. d. University of Guelph Human Resources. [Online] Available at: http://www. uoguelph. ca/hr/hr-planning/job-design [Accessed 15 February 2013]. Ledgerwood, D. E. , 2005. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management – Human Resources. 2 ed. Manchester: Manchester Business School University. Mayo, E. , 1933.The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilisation. New York: Macmilan. McNamara, C. , n. d. Free Management Library. [Online] Available at: http://managementhelp. org/organizations/definition. htm [Accessed 15 February 2013]. Nankervis, A. , Compton, R. , Baird, M. & Coffey, J. , 2011. Human Resource Management Strategy and Practice. 7 ed. Melbourne: Cengage Learning. Porter, M. E. , 1985. Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. New York: Free Press. Schneider, B. , Goldstein, H. & Smith, R. , 1986. The ASA framework: An Update. s. l. :Personnel Psycology. Ulrich, D. , 1998. Delivering Results. s. l. :Harvard Business Press.

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