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BUS 303: Human Resources Management
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Human resource management has been and still remains an integral part of any organization. This is because it concerns itself with the affairs of arguably the most important resource in any organization, the Human beings. Human beings are the force behind any process, which human resource management comes in handy to make sure that they are planned for, coordinated and managed. Efforts of human resource management can’t therefore be underestimated, since it manages the elements of any organization in whose goals and objectives lay in their hands, literally.
Since it is concerned with the affairs of the employees, there are several functions that HRM undertakes. These are the functions that ensure that the most is gotten out of the employees, so that the organization achieves its goals and objectives.
EEO and Affirmative Action
Equal employment opportunity (EEO) and Affirmative action is a function that touches on acquiring employees in the organization. While EEO is a law that requires everyone be considered for employment based on merit without discrimination, Affirmative action is a concept of considering a particular group of people, particularly the often discriminated, for a particular job (Armstrong, 1999). They are both aimed at making sure that every member of the society has an equal chance of being employed, regardless of their skin color, gender, veteran status and disability.
In any organization, it is really important for managers to make sure that their recruiting procedures are free from any form of discrimination, since it also ensures that their workforce is diverse and highly qualified. When all the policies and practices in an organization apply to all the staff consistently, everyone will at least work hard in their own way, a motivation that rests on the fact that others won’t have an unfair advantage over others, when it comes to goodies like promotion and training. It’s really important to adhere to the EEO and Affirmative Action guidelines, also because of the public image. It will go down well with prospective employees in the labor market that the organization is an equal opportunity employer. This will therefore encourage them to apply for the jobs. Here, the organization will have an opportunity to recruit the best, to join the team.
It is however not without controversies, since a disqualifying an often discriminated against member of a group based on merit can easily be mistaken for discrimination. When you have to recruit a minority group person for the sake of affirmative action, regardless of their qualification, then danger lurks.
Human Resources Planning, Recruitment, and Selection
This, I would say is the most important function under HRM. This is because it is the primary function, in my opinion, which is the anchor upon which all other functions pick up from. It is basically assessing the supply of labor in the organization, and putting in place measures to ensure that qualified personnel are hired to fill the gaps in the workforce. It is a chronological process that involves scanning through the labor needs of an organization, advertising vacancies and receiving applications, inviting applicants for interviews and hiring the suitable candidates.
Without this process, there would be no employees to manage. All employees must have passed through this process to be where they are currently. It is the process that either makes or breaks the vision of attaining organizational goals and objectives, as far as employee involvement is concerned. It is the goal of every organization to employ the most qualified people for a particular job, at the right time, since having the right people goes a long way in making sure that the departmental objectives are achieved, and ultimately the objectives of the organization as a whole.
In the era of human rights crusaders, legal issues must be considered in the whole process. This includes laws that govern recruitment such as EEO and affirmative action which have serious consequences once violated. They are mainly protective of the minority groups and ensure that they too get employed, regardless of their shortcomings or any other factor that is not merit-related, as outlined in the civil rights act of 1964. This is a clear indicator that some of the HR roles are intertwined and they are greatly dependent on each other, as seen.
The process of absorbing right employees for the right jobs has evolved over the years in a dynamic way, and changes with time. The traditional recruiting that was done through papers is now changing to a more efficient way, that of internet recruiting. This is due to globalization, and it presents organizations with a larger pool to fish from, which is advantageous.
Human Resources Development
Any organization has a responsibility over its employees’ development in their work life. Human resource development is a framework of having employees advance their knowledge, abilities and technical knowhow of the job (Youssef, 2012). HRD utilizes functions such as training, mentoring and coaching to ensure that the employee’s knowledge of the job is up to standard. Once an employee has been recruited, they may be trained for them to acquaint themselves with how things are done in the organization, and existing employees can also be presented with the opportunity to learn new skills that will make them all round and knowledgeable.
It is aimed at improving the employee, which will improve the general performance of the organization. (Swanson & Holton, 2001) notes that HRD brings success both to the individual and to the organization, which is its primary function. As an academic discipline, it is noted as a fairly new concept, which has only been there for years as a practice. It has gained popularity over the years among managers as a motivator, and a factor that attracts employees, over and above the fact that it is also beneficial in the improvement of the organizational performance. That said, it is important to note that this is generally an important role, because it kills two birds using one stone.
Compensation and Benefits
This is the discipline that deals with reward and remuneration. Compensation is what an employee is offered as direct or indirect pay in return to the contribution he has made to the organization, but benefits are the non wage kind of compensation that an employee is offered in addition to their wage. While compensation is necessary, benefits are only there as a way of motivating the employee or attracting/retaining qualified employees (Armstrong, 1999). Some benefits might be attached to performance, hence the fact that they are used to get the most out of the employees.
Studies have however indicated that the administration of benefits is not a primary motivator. As much as prospective employees will be attracted to well paying companies, there are other factors that are much more important, like job security. For the existing employees, more responsibility proved to rank higher than pay as a factor that motivates employees (Warner, 2010). This is further proven by the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, where self actualization is at the top of the pyramid, and can’t be satisfied with money. It is therefore important to some degree, but can raise the cost of doing business needlessly, if not properly monitored and regulated. I would say compensation and benefits is independent of the other functions, since it deals mainly with employee efficiency, which is secondary to performance.
Employee Safety and Health
While at the place of work, the employer is responsible for ensuring that the staff are safe from any hazard. Employees are generally comfortable working in an environment where there safety is assured. The management can come up with policies that safeguard the safety and health of their employees, as a way of showing their commitment to health and safety laws by the state.
It is a legal as well as a moral obligation, whose benefits can be economical because you won’t have to worry about taking injured employees to hospital. The cost of replacing an injured person who can’t function is so much, thus the urge to prevent such injuries from happening. Legally, organizations want to find themselves in the right arm of the law, since federal laws also require that employees’ safety be safeguarded. Employees can be provided with safe working gear that reduces injuries in case of accidents, and better yet the management should train their employees on safe working procedures. In this way, cost of production will be greatly reduced, hence maximum profits achieved.
Employee and Labor Relations
This is the field of study under HRM that is concerned with the relationship between the employer and the employee. While both employee relations and labor relations deal with the communication and relationship between the employee and the employer, the former is only restricted to non-industrial relationship, while the later is purely industrial. It is a function that aims at attaining a fair and friendly working environment.
Oftentimes, the gap between the employer and the employee seems insurmountable, but employee and labor relations department is there to bridge this gap. Employees can air their grievances, give feedback, and negotiate through collective bargaining about the terms of employment and working conditions. Unionized employees are more likely to produce much more as compared to nonunionized employees, simply because they are well aware that their grievances will be heard by their employers. When an employee leaves the organization, the organization has to spend in replacing the employee. Constant communication reduces the rate of labor turnover because of the many channels of solving a problem other than leaving. This role is dependent on other roles such as compensation and health and safety, because employee dissatisfaction on the benefits received will be addressed to the corresponding manager through the employee relations framework. It is a really important role for the HR department, owing to the role it plays in ensuring a steady flow of information.
Personal and Professional Applications of HRM
The study of human resources management is so much important not only professionally, but also personally. As an individual, you will have people around you, and HRM more or less helps foster beneficial relationships between an individual and his peers. Similarly, within the boundaries of the workplace the professionals have a thing or two to learn from HRM in terms of how to relate with colleagues.
Employee and labor relations can be applied by individuals and professionals to achieve a relationship that is based on constant communication, thus avoiding collision. They can express their expectations, displeasure or satisfaction, which is necessary for a healthy relationship. At the place of work, communication between an employee and the employer can also go a long way in making sure that there is employee satisfaction. The health and safety guidelines that are found in the workplace are beneficial even outside the workplace. They will guide individuals on how to stay safe and avoid accidents, as well as what to do in case of an accident. If properly applied, it will increase their alertness.
Benefits of New Learning Regarding HRM
Being a key department in any organization, HRM is deemed to be a dynamic field. It is important for new studies to be done for practitioners to keep tabs with the changing world. Researchers have been consistent in coming up with new ideas for the general HR practice, something that continues to benefit the management of employees, and making it an easy task.
With the globalization being on the rise, there has been new ways of functioning as a HR practitioner, which makes the field more efficient. New recruiting methods like e-recruitment and talent hunt have made the acquisition of talent much easier. This is due to globalization, which necessitates recruiting methods that are global thereby widening the pool of labor. New studies are important because they come up with new ways of doing things that affirm concepts that were not perhaps taken with the weight they bear previously. One good example is career development, a new field of study that wasn’t taken with the seriousness it deserves. It is now one of the top motivators, thanks to studies that have shown its importance.
There is evidently a place for new research in the HRM field, in areas like Work life balance, processes of decision making in coming up with policies, influence of labor laws on hr practices etc (Warner, 2010) because of the changing times. New learning provides the opportunity for researchers to come up with new cost effective and efficient ways of managing human resources that will ultimately be helpful in the organizations. As it were, the main aim of any organization is to achieve, by all means possible, maximum profits. New studies in HRM are a great potential to reduce operational costs, because people-oriented companies must spend on the efficiency of its employees, and learning might just give the organization value for their money in terms of employee efficiency.
Clearly, HRM is a very important department in any organization’s aim of achieving maximum profits. The above discussed roles are specifically the backbone of HRM, though some rank highly than others in importance. Roles like benefits administration and career development to a great extent shape employee behavior, in that they motivate employees to carry themselves in a particular way for some benefit. On the other hand, employee and labor relations dictate, how employers and employees relate to each other.
All the functions relate to each other in some way, because they all aim at the same thing: maximizing efficiency. However, some of these functions are primary functions, based on the importance attached to them, compared to others. Recruitment is one of these functions, because any organization must recruit since turnover is inevitable. Career development might be necessary for employee efficiency, although it’s not necessary for operations. Based on this paper therefore the importance of any of these areas depends on their primary functions.
Youssef, C. (2012). Human resource management. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.
Armstrong, M. (1999). A handbook of human resource management practice. (7th ed.). London: Kogan Page.
Swanson, R., & Holton, E. (2001). Foundations of human resource development. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.
Shermon, G. (2004). Competency based HRM: A strategic resource for competency mapping, assessment and development centres. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill.
Warner, M. (2010). ‘Making sense’ of human resource management in China: Economy,
enterprises and workers. New York: Routledge.