changing role of human resource management in the global competitive environment. The paper begins with evaluation of the global competitive environment, particularly with its contributing factors. The influences of information technology, corporate communication, and very strong marketing on HRM function in this environment. This is followed by a discussion on the changing role of human resource managers in this competitive environment that has also been impacted by harsh economic conditions. The other parts discuss the recession challenge, impact of recession on HRM function, and how to overcome the challenges.
HRM in the Global Competitive Environment:
Human Resource Management basically involves conducting several activities and functions that are directed towards attaining, retaining, engaging, and motivating employees. In order to achieve these goals, the most significant roles and responsibilities HRM include performing routine tasks like recruitment, interview schedules, retention, performance evaluation, negotiation, training, employee development, and compensation and benefits. Notably, in the modern business environment, Human Resource has developed as a strategic function that works closely with the strategic management team in adopting and establishing strategic plans and actions. The significance of the human resource function has developed to an extent that it has become a common characteristic of today's business, particularly with the beginning of global competition. Consequently, human resource managers are not only required to think more strategically but to also deal with abstract and hard issues regarding the impact of increased competition on employment stability. The global competitive environment has resulted in major changes like mergers, rapid growth, and downsizing that make attaining, retaining, and motivating workers a challenge.
The Global Competitive Environment:
The global competitive environment has mainly emerged from increased globalization, which is not simply a recent phenomenon. According to various analysts, the global economy was just as globalized a century ago like it is in the modern world. In the recent years, the main contributing factor to the development of the global competitive environment has been the integration of financial markets through the contemporary electronic communication (Bhagria, 2010). The global competitive environment originating from increased globalization has elevated the significance of the development of human resource management in an organization and across businesses. As a result of the changes in the significance of HRM development, the concept of human resource system as a strategic asset has emerged.
The human resource function has mainly been influenced by Information Technology, corporate communication, and very strong marketing. As a result, the HR function is continually realigning itself in reaction to the process cross-function cross-function globalization. In this case, the human resource function is developing new alliances with the globalization functions, which result in the creation of new role and skills and new activity streams. As the transformation of the HR function is regarded as a pre-requisite for survival and growth, business organizations are continually experiencing significant change. Actually, for human resource management, the main challenge would be handling the complexities of change and transformation. However, human resource management is currently playing a leading role together with other business functions in developing necessary internal capabilities and momentum.
Global competition forces organizations to function more efficiently as a business manages its resources effectively. Such an organization is also able to lessen costs that permit either high profit margins or significant flexibility while achieving acceptable levels of returns.
The Changing Role of Human Resource Managers:
As the human resource function continues to experience tremendous changes in the global competitive environment, there is also a significant change in the role of human resource managers. The global competitive environment has not only forced human resource managers to think more strategically in line with corporate planning managers but it has also necessitated them to deal with abstract and hard issues, particularly on the effect of increased competition on employment stability (Santiago, 2003).
In order to safeguard against the disadvantages of global competition, the human resource managers need to be increasingly practical and maintaining an efficient and responsive workforce. Moreover, the human resource managers are required to plan human resource strategies that would be appealing to flexible and dynamic employees. This should be followed by selecting, trained, and encouraged to be increasingly productive than the underlying competitive forces. In this case, human resource managers are no longer regarded as mere implementers or administrators but as strategic partners.
As the modern business environment is expected to be increasingly challenging, the issues facing human resource managers are also anticipated to be change significantly in the coming decades. Consequently, the human resource professionals must play crucial roles in handling these changes and develop certain competencies to support the roles. Some of the major challenges for human resource professionals include diverse workplace, recession, and productivity and quality of work (Lane, 2012).
Under the diverse working environment, HR professionals need to deal with managing the differences in communication preferences, cultural differences, working styles, and religious holidays. On the contrary, the challenge of productivity and quality of work entails the need to try and acquire total employees' satisfaction for them to continue providing high quality products. There is also the need to motivate workers to cautiously focus on the quantity and quality of their work at all times. The third major challenge of recession is the need to attain, retain, and motivate employees undergoing significant changes in various operations like downsizing, speedy growth, and mergers.
These challenges have been coupled by certain demands originating from the global competitive environment. First, since the global competitive environment results in workplace flexibility, the human resource managers are required to embrace employees in their virtual work locations and identify ways for managing employee orientation, corporate culture, and socialization. Secondly, the competitiveness has led to the demand of the concept of global business since HR specialists are needed to design and manage a global workforce. Third, the changing role of human resource management because of global competitiveness requires the HR professionals to develop new skills, especially learning capabilities. During this process, organizations must critically consider the cultural differences that influence managerial studies in order to establish multi-national management programs.
As previously mentioned, the recession challenge can be regarded as the difficulty of attaining, retaining, motivating, and engaging workers who are experiencing huge changes in their operations such as mergers, speedy growth, and downsizing. Recession has emerged as one of the major topic in the modern business environment since it has contributed to the slowing down of economies after some years of constant growth. One of the major reasons with which recession has become a major issue in today's business world is that it has not only made many people to lose their jobs but it has had significant impacts on HRM function.
Generally, recession has forced the human resource management function to increasingly focus on cost cutting and sustaining the organization in shape. As a result of the impacts of recession on the working environment, the HRM function can no longer afford to be a passive aspect in organizational change. Actually, recession presents an opportunity for this function to demonstrate the possibility and benefits from the effective work with the organization's human capital. However, organizations, workers, and labor unions have experienced significant turmoil from the impact of recession on HRM function ("Impact of Recession," 2011).
During recession or an economic downturn, managing the business or organization and employees is increasingly challenging. Since workers are usually the biggest cost, workforce planning is the most important aspect in managing the organization or business. In most cases, organizations have reacted to the impact of recession in HRM function to control or lessen headcount and pay while seeking to maintain the current approaches to HRM and industrial relations.
In the past few years, human resource managers have been stimulated to play an increasingly strategic role in their companies or businesses. These managers are increasingly involved in making strategic decisions and engaging in tremendous organizational changes like merging processes (Al jerjawi, n.d.). The need is more urgent and acute because the last decade has mainly been characterized by huge growth in the operations of employees such as mergers, rapid growth, and downsizing.
In the development of a human resource strategy to handle challenges originating from the recession, organizations have not sought to either maintain or shed labor. On the contrary, these organizations have conducted various policies such as curbs on overtime, pay cuts or freezes, redundancies, short-time working, and increasingly thorough work regimes. One of the major methods that have been implemented by several organizations is retrenchment programmes that are geared towards helping to deal with impact of recession on HRM.
Impact of the Recession on HRM Function:
According to the findings of a survey, the current economic situation or recession has had a significant impact on the human resource management function. Despite of the expected financial performance of the organization, evidence suggests that a huge majority of organizations are either lessening or freezing their human resource budget. These organizations are particularly doing so to training and development, recruitment, external training, human resource systems, and external consultants. The…