Sample Assignment - Human Resources Management (HRM)

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The 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.


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.


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).


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 ( 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).


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.


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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