Sample Assignment - Human Resources Management (HRM)
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Sample Assignment - Human Resources Management (HRM)
Key to Strategic Success
The workforce forms an integral part of any organization. A happy and satisfied
workforce will always be successful in delivering positive results. The human resources
are an asset of the organization that needs to be managed efficiently to achieve
business objectives. The mechanism to integrate the human resources policies and
practices into the business strategies is very efficiently accomplished by the Human Resources Management (HRM). HRM is very aptly defined by John Bratton and Jeffery
Gold as “ Human Resource management is a strategic approach to managing employee
relations which emphasizes that leveraging people’s capabilities is critical to
achieving sustainable competitive advantage, this being achieved through a distinctive
set of employment policies, programs and practices(2003). The HRM with its innovative
and novel policies tries to maintain a perfect balance between the organization
and its employees and ensures that the mission and vision of the organization are
met without compromising on the employee security and betterment. The demand of
the HRMs role has undergone a face lift, in the words of management guru and former
CEO of General Electric Jack Welch get out of the parties and the birthdays and
enrolment forms.... Remember! HR is important in good times; HR is defined in hard
times (Fasrch et al, 2009). HR activities need to look beyond its traditional role
and offer innovative changes; the two policies that are in focus are of the latest
trends of telecommuting and flexi- timings. These two activities not only address
the needs of the individual but are also beneficial to the organization.
WHAT IS HRM?
An organization is made up of many things, like machinery, processes, services etc,
but at the center of it all are the people without whom the working of any organization
is impossible. This workforce needs proper planning, recruitment, selection, training
and development, performance management and compensations and all of this in a positive
workforce environment. All these tasks are handled by the Human Resources Management.
Figure 1: A pictorial representation of HRM Duties.
Simply put HRM is the policies, practices and systems that influence employee’s
behavior, attitudes and performance. It is not only personnel management but it
goes a step further by designing special programs for improvisation of communication
systems, productivity and commitment to sum it up HRM involves all management decisions
and practices that directly affect or influence the people or the human resources
who work for the organization (Fisher, et al. 2003). HR is the coherent management
of the most integral asset- people, who contribute to the goal of the company. Proper
attention has to be given to the effective use of this particular resource. HRM
is the strategic approach to managing employee relations which emphasizes that enhancing
the capabilities of people is critical to acquiring a competitive advantage using
integrated policies and practices. By deciding who works, how they work and how
many will work, the HRM contributes to the performance, profitability and customer
satisfaction. HRM involves aspects of employment, training, compensations, and retention
and development policies. The HRM of an organization ensures effective and efficient
utilization of human resources to achieve the desired organization objectives and
goals by employment of long term strategic development of HRM policies and their
implementation. It is imperative to pay special attention the human capital as not
only productivity and profitability but even service quality, customer satisfaction
and competitive advantage of the organization are affected by their contribution.
CONTRIBUTION OF HRM TO organizationAL SUCCESS
The constant changes in the variables of business environment, and ever increasing
competition has placed HRM in an important position in the organization. It is seen
that employees and customers are more satisfied with companies having an efficient
HRM and the innovativeness, increased productivity and favorable community reputation
are the outcomes of such an organization (Tsui and Gomez-Mejia, 1988). Over the
years the face of the HRM has changed, it is no more only about the administrative
role but it is now playing a very strategic role, very crucial to the success of
the organization. A good HRM policy will always keep the vision and mission of the
organization in mind and look into employee needs and betterment as well, keeping
in mind the strengths and weakness of its workforce. The HRM helps maintain a positive
relationship between the employees and the organization. It plays a major role in
the reduction of risks and strategic plans resulting in significant economic benefits
to the organization. The HRM implements the workforce planning in such a way that
there is appropriate and adequate supply both for the present as well as for the
future so that the organization goals are not disturbed. Perhaps the contribution
of HRM in organizational success can be best explained by the example of Fabick
CAT- a company which sells, rents, and repairs Caterpillar construction equipment.
When Doug Fabick inherited the company in 1999 he was perplexed to see low sales
and profits of the company. Upon research he concluded that the company needed the
right people in the right place and who were passionate about their work. The implementation
of new recruitment policies and practices for development of worker skills and customer
relations boosted the morale of the workforce resulting in enhanced performance
of the Fabick CAT (Robinson, 2006).
ACTIVITIES OF HRM
The main activities of the HRM can be divided into three broad categories: transactional,
traditional and transformational (Wright et al, 1998). Transactional are the day
to day activities which majorly involve record- keeping. Traditional activities
involve training, recruiting, compensations and performance management. Transformational
activities involve cultural or organizational change, strategy realignment and redirection
and increased innovation. It is these that need to be focused on to deduce the desired
results. The HRM has gained importance with the increased use of technology and
the focus has now changed to consider that human capital is a strategic asset and
has competitive advantage in contributing to the performance of the organization
(Becker and Huselid, 2006). Considering the rampant use of technology new and innovative
policies need to be introduced time to time keeping the workforce at the core. Two
of such activities that are being focused on are Telecommuting and Flexi- timing.
Both are transformational activities which will add value to the organization by
increasing innovation and strategic redirection.
Telecommuting enables an employee to work from a location other than the office
or project site.
Figure 2: Telecommuting means working away from the place of work
Communication is usually done by phones, emails, video conferencing and faxes. Communicating
to work has become a mammoth task which needs to be battled during office hours.
Volume of traffic, traffic jams and snarls make one tear ones hair out. Telecommuting
cuts down on commuting time which can now be used productively. The employee also
saves on fuel expenses. The benefits to the organization too are multi- fold. The
organization can cut down on real estate costs, electricity bills and health benefits.
Telecommuting also contributes towards protection of the environment. Reduced fuel
consumption, carbon footprints and pollution are all fallouts of this policy. Telecommuting
seems to be the need of the hour with states like Virginia, Georgia and Oregon offering
financial incentives businesses to adopt this policy (www.globalworkplaceanalytics.com/pros-cons).
But a few scholars believe that telecommuting is not such a good idea after all,
as working away for longer durations weakens the interpersonal bonds with co-workers
and superiors thereby creating a negative workplace environment (Golden, 2006, Nardi
and Whittaker, 2002).
Figure 3: A typical example of a flexi schedule
Flexi-timing is an opportunity of availing of flexible working hours arrangement.
The employees have the liberty to choose their own start and finish times completing
the stipulated number of working hours for the day or week. An employee is required
to be at the workplace between the core hours and has the flexibility to clock in/out
between other hours.
For employees flexi-timing is a boon which allows them to balance their work and
family commitments (Haar, 2007). It is especially beneficial to employees having
young children as it allows them to work around school schedules or those having
disabled children and senior citizens to take care of so that they can take time
off as needed for emergencies. An employee can compress his work-week and get an
extra day off, saving fuel cost and commuting time. Absenteeism reduces considerably
as workers are stress free, which increases productivity of the organization, benefitting
it economically. Flexi working hours allows the organization to increase coverage
beyond traditional hours and makes it possible for extended service hours. organizations
also save on overtime costs as workers working in the extended hours are working
within their stipulated time slot. On the other hand it can give rise to workplace
rivalry as not all employees are suitable for such benefits. The overhead costs
for the organization too can be steep due to the increased number of working hours.
The union too may not be very co-operative as the benefit of overtime is lost to
the employees (Rao,2012).
INTRODUCTION OF TELECOMMUTING AND FLEXI-TIMING INTO THE organization
All efforts to introduce a new policy get negated if the implementation is not done
in an effective and organized manner. The HRM has to ensure that all the employees
who are eligible to avail of these benefits are made aware of this facility and
the legislations and the protocols involved. A handbook regarding these details
can be circulated as well as updated on the organization site. The HRM should take
up the responsibility of training the managers and coaching them to be more open
minded while dealing with such requests. The HRM must make certain that the flexi-workers
and telecommuters are not neglected whenever opportunities arise for promotions,
rewards and development and learning. Care should be taken that when flexi-time
is introduced workload for employees working regular hours should not increase.
It should be ensured that there is sufficient staff around to provide the service
required, consider carefully the potential effects on service provision and impact
on colleagues. Accommodating all requests for flexible working can be a challenge;
in case a request is refused the HRM should confirm that the managers have worked
on all alternative solutions.
CAPACITY TO MEET organizationAL GOALS
Telecommuting and flexi-timings is employee centric and contributes positively to
the goals of the organization. The introduction of flexitime work arrangements or
a better work life balance is seen as alleviating many of the inflexibilities resulting
from a demanding and stressful work environment (Arnott and Emerson,2001). Other
than the obvious benefits of employee satisfaction and motivation, operational efficiencies
and cost reduction a flexible working environment also stimulates and promotes the
ability to do things differently (Florida, 2002). It also helps in recruiting a
more innovative and creative talent pool as the flexi policies of a company is one
of the most decisive factors for contenders seeking a job. The chances of enhancing
the competitive ability increases manifold, once these strategies are adopted. Implementation
of these policies will also indirectly result in the retention and attracting new
staff as the work life balance provided by this system is the most sought after
priority even if it means compromising on the pay package. These two activities
also contribute to the ethical and environmental goals of the organization, as employees
are commuting and using office space and equipment lesser resulting in minimum pollution
and energy saving. All these benefits are bound to increase job satisfaction and
create a healthy work environment which definitely has a positive impact on productivity.
HRM can be considered as the backbone of an organization. The main responsibility
of the HRM is to see to it that the employee needs are well looked after without
compromising on the economic and environmental aspects of the organization. A strong
HRM always contributes positively to the organization ensuring that all the policies
are well implemented and within the stipulated framework of the organization. Continuing
concerns over the lack of job satisfaction and welfare of the employees have emphasized
the need for practices such as flexi-time and telecommuting (Perry-Jenkins, Refetti
and Crociter, 2000). Thus considering the actual difficulties of tedious commuting,
added responsibilities and increased costs, telecommuting and flexi-timings seem
to be a perfect solution. Though managers may doubt the loyalty and commitment of
employees who choose these options (Desrosiers, 2001), more and more organizations
are opting for these or variant alternatives. Low costs and increased productivity
are the most widely touted benefit associated with these two activities (McClosey
and Igbaria, 2003), a few analysts feel that it may lower job satisfaction as it
carries minimum dimensions of job characteristics like feed-back and task significance
(Hackman and Oldham, 1976). Changes such as these are not easy to accomplish, the
more the goals of the organization and the needs of the employees are aligned more
the chances of achieving success in the implementation and even greater the success
in the profitability of the organization.
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