Human resource management can be referred to as the coherent and strategic move towards management of the most valuable assets of an organization. These valuable assets are supposed to be taken care of by people working either collectively or individually in the organization with the aim of contributing to the achievement of the objective of the enterprise. The terms “human resource management” and “human resource” have in the long run replaced the term “personnel management” as a reference to the process involved in ensuring that individuals within an organization are managed. In simple terms, HRM refers to offering employment to people, developing their capacities, using, maintaining and paying them for their services in accordance to the work and requirements of the organization.
Generally HRM can be used in describing the formal system devised to manage individuals in an organization. Further, the human resource responsibilities are split into three major parts: staffing, employee compensation, and defining work. The major aim of resource management is to maximize the rate of productivity within an organization. This is only done through optimizing the usefulness of the employees of a given organization. This concept is not likely to change in any essential manner, despite the major changes experienced in the business world. According to the Journal of Business Strategy, the main purpose of human resource will always be to acquire, develop, and retain talent; aligning the workforce with the business; and become excellent contributor to the business. It is important to note that the above mentioned three challenges will never be altered with in any way.
Human resource management (HRM) is a move toward management of people that is based on four essential principles. These fundamental principles include:
Features of Human resource management (HRM)
According to Dent, & Radcliff, (2003, pp 160) Features of Human Resource Management include: Secretarial management, Personnel administration, Manpower management, and Industrial management. All the above mentioned traditional expressions are becoming less common for the speculative discipline. Sometimes even member of staff and industrial relations are confusingly listed as synonyms, despite the fact that these more often than not refer to the relationship between management and workers as well as the behavior of workers in companies whether small or big.
The conjectural discipline is based first and foremost on the hypothesis that employees are personalities with different objectives and needs, and as such should not be thought of as basic company resources, such as trucks and filing cabinets. This field ensures that the worker is viewed positively with the assumption that all are working towards contributing positively to the business as well as being productive. It is also assumed that the major hindrance is lack of knowledge, inadequate training, and failures of procedure.
In various business organizations, human resource management is viewed by practitioners in business fields as a more innovative view of workplace administration as compared to the traditional approach. Its techniques are likely to force the managers of entrepreneur to specifically express their objectives so that an understanding can be guaranteed by the workforce to allow for the provision of resources required to successfully accomplish the defined assignments. Human resource techniques if efficiently put into practice, usually appears to be expressive of the goals and operating practices of the business as a whole.
Dent, & Radcliff, (2003, pp 160) asserts that synonyms such as personnel management are usually used in a more restricted sense with the aim of giving a description of the activities that are necessary in the recruitment of a workforce by giving to its members payroll and benefits as well as administering the work-life needs of the employees. Actually, when we move to the most appropriate definition of personnel management is a series of activities which: firstly, enable workers and the organization employing them to agree on the objectives of and the nature of the relationship of their work, and secondly, ensuring that these objectives are and agreements are reached or met.
Generally, HRM relates to those decisions and actions which concern the management of the employee at all levels in an organization or entrepreneur. They must also relate to the process of implementation of the strategies that are aimed at developing and sustaining the competitive advantage of the organization.
Human Resource Theories
Human resource theories planning stem from the basic of human resource management. So to speak, these types of theories are adjuncts of the general human resource approaches as the main theories of human resource management imply approaches for planning. These theories are discussed below in details:
One of the standard textbooks written by John & Jeffrey (1999, pp 264) entailing information about human resource management led to the reduction of types of management and planning to five theories. Generally, these major theories seek to decipher how HR policies affect business and the manner in which the organizational culture affect the manpower planning issues. For instance, the storey model emphasizes on extra-contractual relations as the basis of planning. It also gives emphasis on the process of hiring worker which it states that hiring new workers and business plans all revolve around building of trust and this trust can only be built around the general managers of a given organization and floor managers as key human resource players. In this study also we come to learn that planning is functionless without employing the required management inputs.
According to the theory of David Guest, commitment and compliance is stressed as the basic component within an organization. In this case, compliance is all about the basic “contractual” relationships between the employer and the workforce. In relation to planning, this can be viewed as a simple manpower approach that seeks to fulfill only the terms of contract. In this theory even though it is equally important in the management of business organizations, it does not stress on development plans. However, with commitment, it is definite that planning evolves around a determination to build the firm around its employees and their respective talents. Most of the HR planning or management models move around the above mentioned concept of worker development (Kirkpatrick, & Ackroyd, 2003, pp 749).
Beaumont, (1993, pp 34) argues that the theory of human resource planning works hand in hand with the nature of the business plan. In the Harvard model, planning is based around the projected relationship among stakeholders and employees. Stakeholder satisfaction is equally important just like worker development in the Harvard model even though some models of planning does not stress on stakeholders. The most important part in the Harvard model is long-term planning, although there is constant feedback loop between human resource and the stakeholders. In this model, workers satisfaction is usually put aside as it is relative to stakeholder’s income.
The main purpose in the function theory is to identify with the manner in which HR models relate to business planning and vice versa. For instance, in the model of Warwick concerning human resource management, the element of planning is based on balancing of two things; the business model, including things like competence of current employees, business plan, work culture, among others,; and the external environment such legal and market context of the firm. Planning is likely to rationally move forward as a result of the two variables being balanced (Kirkpatrick, & Ackroyd, 2003, pp 747).
In the Fombrun, Tichy and Devanna model, whereby all forms of planning theories develop around the coherent of the business model. In the say way, there can be not distinction between human resource plans and the general context of the business whether external or internal issues are involved. The major selection-appraisal-development reward theory of Fombrun is really at the foundation of all the other planning theories. More variables have been added to the mix as a result of later development. But in due course, planning theory is little other than what is implied in general human resource management which is based around the development over a given period of time. Harvard’s theory is the one that hold that development is the key to realizing profitability of a company or a business organization. Generally, in more modern times, beginning from 1980-2010, employee development accompanied by trust has been the major center stage and contracts have seized to be seen as major and the beginning of the very fundamental nature of human resource (Kirkpatrick, & Ackroyd, 2003, pp 745).
It is vital to note that until fairly lately, an organization’s department of human resource was mostly considered to lower rungs of the corporate hierarchy, despite tae fact that its mandate was to replenish and nourish the workforce of the firm that is usually cited – justifiably- as the only greatest resource of the organization.
In general, lately the recognition of human resource management to a company’s general health has been considered to have grown dramatically. The recognition of the significance of the human resource management has been extended to even the small businesses, although they do not need all the requirements of human resource that other huge businesses need, but they also are faced with business issues that may affect the general performance and health of the business. According to the comments of Irving Burstiner in “The Small Business Handbook”, hiring of the rightful individuals and offering training services to them in the most appropriate manner can always create a difference between scratching out of the barest of livelihood as well as steady business growth. Problems of personnel generally do not discriminate between small and huge businesses but rather they are found in any business regardless of the size of the business (Kirkpatrick, & Ackroyd, 2003, pp 752).
Principles of Human Resource Management
It is also important to study and understand the principles of human resource management as this may be useful in both small and huge or big business organizations. Modern business consultants have it that the current human resource management is guided by a number of overriding principles.
Position and Structure of Human Resource Management
The department of human resource development can be classified in accordance to their responsibilities such: individual, organizational, and career area. To begin with, individual management involves helping employees to identify their strengths and weaknesses, correct their shortcomings in order to contribute to the organization in the best of their ability. Such responsibilities are carried out through various activities including performance view, training and evaluation. Organizational development is usually aimed at fostering a successful system that is likely to maximize human and other resources as part of larger business strategies. In this process we also include the creation and maintenance of a change program that is likely to enable the organization to respond and be competitive in the evolving business world as well as coping with the internal influences. Career development which is the third responsibility entails matching people with the most appropriate job and career path within the business (Beaumont, 1993).
Near the theoretical center of the organization or business is where the human resource functions are ideally positioned but with access to all areas of the business. Given that human resource manager, or the HRM department is charged with the mandate of managing the productivity, innovation and the development of employees at all levels, human resource personnel must therefore have access and support of the key decision making body. Additionally, human resource managers must therefore be in a position to communicate with all sectors of the company.
Generally, human resource management structure differ widely from entrepreneur to entrepreneur, shape, type and size depending on the governing philosophies stipulated by the organization that they serve. Most organizations organize functions of HRM just within the cluster of individuals to be helped by conducting recruiting, administrative, and other duties in the central location. Various worker development groups for every department tend to train worker in specific areas such as: engineering, sales, marketing, sales and executive education. Contrary to this, some of the departments and usually independent and are purely defined by the function. The same training department in most instances serves all the divisions of the organization.
In recent years, nonetheless, researchers have cited a decided trend towards fundamental reassessments of HR structures and positions since it has been proved to be vital. Most of the organizations at times are forced to change the human resource departments according to their perspective on their duty and functions due to a cascade of changing business conditions, changing organizational structures, and changing leadership styles as noted in the “Business Quarterly” according to John Johnston. Long ago, companies structured themselves in accordance with the compartmentalized and centralized basis - head office – marketing, shipping, marketing, and shipping among others.
Currently, they seek to decentralize and ensure that they integrate their operations, developing diversification of teams. In the current business world, it is clear that most of the senior management expect human resource to integrate beyond its tradition, compartmentalized “bunker” approach to a more integrated decentralized management functions. Provided that the change in expectation as indicated by most of the researchers that, “an increasing trend in human resource is to decentralize the human resource functions by making it more functional and accountable in accordance to specific lines of management.” Such an increase is likely to look into HR as most integral component of the business process, similar to its marketing, monetary, and operation counterparts. Nonetheless, HR is likely to retain a more centralized functional relationship in areas where specialized expertise is truly required, including compensation and recruitment responsibilities.
Human Resource Management—key Responsibilities
Human resource management is concerned with the development of both persons and organization in which they carry out their operations. HRM is therefore engaged not only by the effort to develop the talents of workers but also engaged with implementation of programs that enhance communication and cooperation between individual employees with the aim of developing the nature of the organization.
Some of the responsibilities that are related to human resource management include: analysis of the job and staffing, organization and utilization of workforce, measurement and appraisal of workforce performance, implementation of reward systems for employees, professional development of workers, as well as maintenance of the workforce (Beaumont, 1993).
In management of the organization, job analysis consists of determining with the aid of other companies’ the nature of responsibilities of distinguished employment positions. This can entail the determination of the skills and experiences necessary to adequately perform in a position, or identifying job and industry trends, as well as anticipating future employment levels and skill requirements. This part is the cornerstone of HRM practice since it provides valid information concerning jobs that are aimed at hiring and promoting people to establish wages, determine training requirements, and make other important HRM decision as stated by various management function and strategies of distinguished research. Staffing, meanwhile, is one of the most appropriate processes of managing the flow of personnel t within and out of the business (Cascio, 1992). The moment both staffing and recruitment process is complete; selection is accomplished through posting of job, interviews, reference checks, evaluation and other components.
Armstrong, (1999) argued that organization, utilization, and maintenance of a company’s workforce can be another key function of HRM. This at times involves designing an organization framework that provides optimum use of a business human resource and establishment of a system of communication that aid the organization to operate in a more unified manner. Other responsibilities in this area comprise of safety health and worker-management relations.
Human resources maintenance activities that are closely linked to safety and health usually entail compliance with federal law that offers protection to all employees at workplace in case of hazardous occurrence. Such workplace regulations are usually handed down from various agencies among them being the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including other related state agencies that participate in the implementation of laws protecting workers, compensation of workers, and other areas (Solomon, 2002). Maintenance duty is related to worker management relations that based primarily on discharging their duties in corporation with labor unions. They handle grievances presented by employees such as misconduct, sexual harassment, and also devising a system of communication that will in the long run foster sharing of responsibilities within the workforce.
As a human resource manager, it is important to ensure that performance appraisal is used in the assessment of employee job performance through provision of feedback to those employees about both positive and negative aspects within the organization. Performance measurements are very important both for the employees working in the same organization and the organization as a whole. This is due to the fact that the main data that is used in determining salary increments, promotions, and in case workers perform unsatisfactory work.
Reward system within an organization are typically managed by human resource management is also another important aspect to put into consideration if you are human resource manager. Reward system as an aspect of human resource management is very essential since it is the mechanism that enable organizations to give rewards to worker in accordance to their past efforts and incentives for high productivity that is bound to occur in future. This is also another way that an organization can employ in order to address some of the problems being experienced in the business and this can be achieved by a means of instituting a disciplinary actions. In these areas it is also vital for human resource manager to be able to align the workforce with the goals of the organization through making workers feel that they own the business plans through good relationship as this is a motivating factor in business (Roberts, 2000).
Another important responsibility of human resource personnel is employee development and training. It is the task of the HR personnel to be in a position to carry out research and find out the organization’s needs or areas that require to be rectified. This aspect also is essential tool in initiating and evaluating the development plans set for the employee. It is also through this program that the business stands a chance of providing educational opportunities to the hired employees. This is usually aimed at ensuring that workers are acquainted with information concerning new software system in the company (John 1999, pp 19).
As a human resource manager or personnel, after ensuring that the right and talented people are within your organization, the second traditional challenge to human resource is to create alignment between the workforce and the business in order to build the capacity of the workforce with the aim of executing the business plans. This is always achieved through performance appraisal, education, training activities, etc. In the realm of performance appraisal, HRM professional must devise uniform appraisal standards, development of review techniques, and training of managers in order to administer the appraisal, and follow by evaluating the effectiveness of the performance of the company as a whole. Compensation and incentive strategies must always be linked with the appraisal processes, and work in ensuring that federal regulation are put into consideration (Truss, 2003, pp 51).
Thomason, (1990, pp 174) affirms that human resource managers are always informed of the responsibilities related to training and development activities, meanwhile include determination design, execution, and the analysis of these programs of educating the workers. All the same, human resource managers should also be able to understand the significance of learning and motivation and for that reason they must carefully design and monitor training and development of such programs within the organization and the workforce. This is an essential aspect since business operations can never be over-stated. The quality of job provided by the workforce, including their training can lead to increased productivity in a business enterprise. Some of the benefits that can be realized from small businesses as a result of offering training services to their employees include: high productivity, reduced employee turnover, increased efficacy resulting in financial profitability of the organization, and reduced rates of supervision at work.
John (1999, pp 19) argues that generally, meaningful contributions to business process are increasingly being recognized as within the purview of the human resource management practices within the organization. Of course, human resource managers are entitled with the general contribution into the process of ensuring that business is moving on as required or projected. They have always done this by disseminating principles for monitoring the conduct of the employees. This can be done by ensuring that the organization is in line with the guiding regulation as defined by various agencies. Also through increasing the number of entrepreneurs and posting other human resource managers in different organizations can also help in understanding of these guidelines since upon opening of the enterprise, the guiding principles must be reviewed.
Long ago, human resource managers were emitting supportive role in which they based their thinking on benefit justification and other related operation aspect within an organization (Rao, 1994). Generally in the current business world, due to changing character of business it has become difficult for the business executives or managerial personnel to pay a lot of attention to human resource aspects of operation. The duty that we as human resource managers slotted once into well-defined and narrow job descriptions have created a leeway to broad job descriptions or even role definitions. In some instances, new work relationships have completely developed such as: outsourcing, permanent part time tasks, and telecommunication that also outsource most of the non-strategic functions. This is a trend that is really growing in field of business. All of the above changes if put in place can help shape business performance.
The Changing Field of Human Resource Management
Recently, various businesses organizations have really changed and have had an essential impact on the broader field of business HRM. The major problem causing all these has been noted to be technological advancement around the globe. These new technologies have, particularly the area of communication whereby information dissemination has been made possible. Satellites, communications, computer networking, fax machines that have made business organization to be more productive. Today, most clients have the opportunities of buying goods just a click away as a result of technology. Therefore there has hunger for human resource mangers to develop new guidelines for the emerging subset of employees (Green, 1999).
Changes that have been made to the organizational culture have altered the face of human resource management. Continued erosion as a result of various industrial innovations has also led to the loss of the importance of workplace. This has been witnessed in countries such as United States where there is erosion of manufacturing industries and also coupled with a rise in service industries. The decline in union representation in various industries that are commonly looked at as interrelated. Furthermore, philosophies of organizations have gone through an outstanding change that has really affected the business world. Various companies have thus scraped or adjusted their traditional, hierarchical structures in favor of the current developments and innovations. Human resource managers thus have sought the need to reassess the job description, elements of personnel management, and appraisal systems within organizations (Clarke, 2006, pp 199).
Another factor that has altered the business world which human resource mangers must look into is globalization. This is a phenomenon that has led to an increase in competition for both customers and careers. The latter development has forced some business organizations to be in line with higher performances from both employees and employers or managers. Human resource management nature have been changed by recent innovative management theories such as Total Quality Management (TQM), the rapid change in population, insurance companies and federal laws legislation.
Small Business and Human Resource Management
A small business human resource management usually does not necessarily require complexity that is applied in the large business organizations. Also, the business career is two to may be four people who manage their business and thus must be able to handle the simple and imperative personnel management issues. It takes small business organization a simple task to recruit employee as compared to huge business organizations. It is also not vital for management in small businesses to have a burden in the process of decision making. All the same, there is various considerations that even the small business must account for (West, 2002, pp 34).
There several steps that a small business owner must consider that include: looking into payroll of the employees with honesty with the aim of maintaining the status of the organization, needs of the organization that requires to be met, spending money in the most appropriate manner, and making arrangements for other contactors. Small businesses also require talented and prospective employees in order to meet the business needs. This can be administered in various ways: taking part in recruitment processes, devotion of energy and defining the job, and engaging new employees. The work of human resource management does not end just there but it goes up to the job of selecting workers. But also, it is vital to note that the hiring of employees marks the beginning of human resource management for small business owners.
It is also vital for small business owners to be able to consult strongly in order for business enterprise to carry out implementation and documentation of policies appropriately. Small business owners also stand a chance of fledging personnel department in the beginning of its operation. In accordance to the owner of the businesses comfort zone or desire and involve the employees in such an endeavor. Moreover, there must be small written record to help for future reference in order to determine the business progress and also help in the legal framework.
In management of the business enterprise, it is also important to establish and maintain a productive working atmosphere. This is usually done through training employees on development needs. All in all the training process may also vary in accordance to the nature of the small business. For instance, a bakery owner may not require various resources and employee training but rather concentrated on the manpower. On the other hand, a business that provides electrical wiring services must ensure that the workforce undergo through training with the aim of remaining viable (Buchan, 2000, pp 77).
Finally, human resource of a given business represents one of the largest investments of the organization. The general objectives of human resource management as already mention in the paper are: provision of efficient motivation and leadership, recruiting and training workers, paying and treating workers appropriately, getting worker to discharge their duties with the aim of improving the productivity. Consequently, the accomplishment of these objectives must be followed by the performance of different functions. The major human resource management system include: training system, appraisal system, self-renewal system, career system, training system, cultural system, among others.
All the above mentioned systems must be in line with the objectives of the business organization and must be fostered by human resource manager. This will increase the meaningfulness of the functions of human resource management. Human resources functions are: human resource planning, compensation management, and employer-employee relations, recruiting, counseling employees, selecting and finally training of the employees. In small organizations, most human resource functions are performed by the operating managers (Ulrich, 1998).
Large organizations habitually have a human resource or personnel department that ensures that the coordination of the above mentioned functions are met. Generally, thriving human resource management is indispensable to organizational growth, productivity and success. As a result of new challenges, there are signs that human resource mangers will play an increasingly imperative responsibility in an organization’s long-range development and policy-making activities. Finally, small business owners must exercise various responsibilities in order to achieve high level of production (Bach, 2001).
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