HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES IN THE GHANA WATER COMPANY.
Human resources refer to the knowledge, skills, creative abilities, talents, aptitude, values and beliefs of an organization's workforce. The more important aspects of human resources are aptitude, values, attitudes and beliefs. But, in a given situation, if these vital aspects remain same, the other aspects of human resources like knowledge, skills, creative abilities and talents play an important role in deciding the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization's workforce.
However, enhancement of utilization value of human resources depends on improvement of the human resource aspects like skill, knowledge, creative abilities and talents and molding of other aspects like values, beliefs, aptitude and attitude in accordance with the changing requirements of groups, organization and society at large. This process is the essence of human resource development. It is clear from this interpretation that human resource development improves the utilization value of an organization. RD assumes significance in view of the fast changing organizational
Environments and need of the organization to adopt new techniques in order to respond to the environmental changes. The changing environmental factors include unprecedented increase in competition within and outside the country consequent upon the announcement and implementation of economic liberalizations.
Trends towards market economy are more prevalent in most of the countries including the erstwhile communist countries. These trends towards marketing economy resulting in severe competition not only among the industries in the globe but also industries within the nation. This competition allows only the industries strong in all respects to continue in the market and the other industries are forced to withdraw from the market.
The vitality of human resources to a nation and to industry depends upon the level of its development. Organizations to be dynamic, growth-oriented and fast changing should develop their human resources. It is needless to say that the organization possessing competent human resources grow faster and can be dynamic. HRD is not Training and Development. But many personnel managers and organizations view HRD as synonymous to training and development.
Leonard Nadler formally introduced the concept of HRD in 1969 in a Conference organized by the American Society for Training and Development. Leonard Nadler defines HRD as, "those learning experiences which are organized, for a specific time, and designed to bring about the possibility of behavioral change." i) Acquire or sharpen capabilities required to perform various functions associated with their present or expected future roles.
A ii) Develop their general capabilities as individuals and discover and exploit their own inner potentials for their own and/or organizational development purposes.
The outcomes of HRD are four-fold, viz., to the organization, to the individuals, to the groups and to the society. HRD benefits the organization by developing the employees and make them ready to accept responsibilities, welcome change, adapt to change, enables the implementation of the programmers of total quality management, maintenance of sound human relations, increase in productivity and profitability. The HRD also benefits the individuals in achieving of potentials, increase in performance, fulfilling their needs and enhancing social and psychological status.
The benefits of implementing HRD can be highlighted as follows.
Training makes people more competent. They develop new skills, knowledge and attitudes.
There is greater clarity of norms and standards. People become better aware of the skills required for job performance and the expectations, which other members of their role set have from them.
People become more committed to their jobs because now there is greater objectivity in the administration of rewards. The databased appraisal system reduces subjectivity to the minimum.
People are assessed on the basis of their performance against agreed objectives and their team spirit, risk taking and creative qualities. They become more proactive in their orientation.
People develop great trust and respect for each other. They become more open in their behavior. Thus, new values come to be generated.
There is great collaboration and teamwork, which produces synergy effect.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Ghana Water Company, formerly Ghana Water and Sewerage Corporation was established by an Act of Parliament, Act 310 of 1965 to be responsible for:
The provision, distribution and conservation of the supply of water in Ghana for public, domestic and industrial purposes.
The establishment, operation and control of sewerage system of such purposes
However, in spite of the reforms measures introduced in the Ghana Water Company as part of the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) and the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) to expand its operations and make quality water accessible to an average Ghanaian at any point time, the GWCL has not been able to deliver and fulfill its obligations to the great majority of Ghanaians. There are reports that the GWCL cannot account for about 53% of water produced, that most areas do not enjoy water supply facilities due to GWCL inefficiencies.
The inefficiencies have been attributed generally to the management issues such as internal control of staff, revenue collection and information although there may be other extraneous factors
In Ghana, there is no evidence on which organizations are implementing effective modern management practices, particularly HRD in their operations, even though there is cause to believe that it is done to some extent since most organizations see the need for such strategic management principles. HRD has traditionally been seen as a cost rather than investment hence at the organizational level training and development has been relegated to the background that most institutions do not have any training policy. Western management principles are also perceived by many organizations in Ghana as an alien cultural practices which dwells on individualism as against Ghanaian traditional ways of life, the emphasis of which is on collectivism which is translated into the workplace (Nadler 1990:258). This has been one of the potential causes inefficiencies in many Ghanaian organizations particularly Ghana Water Company.
The study of the Ghana Water company is an effort towards highlighting the importance of HRD in an organization.In today's world, human resources to be dynamic acquire capabilities continuously, adopt the values and beliefs and aptitude in accordance with changing requirements of the organization. Similarly, when employees use their initiative, take risks, experiment, innovate and make things, happen, the organization may said to have an enabling culture. The competent human resources can be dynamic in an enabling culture. Thus, the organization can develop, change and excel, only if it possess developed human resources. Thus, HRD plays significant role in making the human resources vital, useful and purposeful.
It is against this background that this study seeks to investigate:
How human resource development is known and practiced in the Ghana Water Company?
Whether the inefficiencies are due to ineffective human resource development strategies or other contextual issues or factors.
What changes can be incorporated in the company's HR policies to enable them to survive.
Human resource planning for HRD should plan for human resources not only for he present and future jobs but also roles. Further, human resource planning should plan potentialities. These base actors influence the analysis of roles of employees as individual, as members of teams and organization, along with the ever-changing environment. The positive base factors exert positive influence on the analysis of role and vice versa is true in case of negative factors.
Analysis of roles of employees as individuals, members of teams and members of organization helps the organization to know the employees' present capabilities and potentials. Further, performance appraisal and potential appraisal techniques help to evaluate the present capabilities, performance and potentials more accurately
The Ghana Water company lacks in the development practices for Human resources and would benefit by implementing HRD strategies both in the short- and long-term ranges.
The growth survival of any organization depends to a large extent on efficient and effective utilization of its human resources. The increased rate of environmental, social, economic and technological changes, the increased internationalization and the increased scarcity of natural resources have made this need even more pronounced. Organizations will need to systematically co-ordinate their resources- land, labor and capital towards achieving their objectives. It is in this context that Human Resources Experts stress that the single most valuable resource of any organization is its human resources (Odiorne 1985:4-5;Barham et al. 1988:28;Armstrong1992: 152)
Human resource development has yet to gain a foothold in most developing countries. As mentioned earlier HRD is viewed as a cost not an investment. Africa, Ghana in particular does not have a modern infrastructural base for HRD.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) Guide G.8/1/9 on Human Resource Management in the Public Services in Africa also attributes the inefficiencies and low productivity of the public services in African countries to overstaffing due to socio-political and economic factors. It call for a review of policy regarding the public services, particularly, in relation to recruitment, training, career management and pay in view of the mounting pressure form the World Bank and other donor agencies.
This may have brought to light the restructuring and readjustment of economic policies in many African countries, with the latest being privatization of public corporations. Nevertheless, the…