Human Resource Management Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Human Resource Management

Description of the overall operations and role of the HR department

The HR manager interviewed gave the following points as having the most priority in his department and the functions performed (Campbell Clark, S (2001))

Recruitment and selection

How to follow best practice in drawing up the relevant documentation from advertising a vacancy and formulating a job description through to interviewing and making a sound

Decision in appointing the correct candidate.

Engagement procedure

Providing contracts of employment, written particulars and a staff handbook to meet all legal requirements and give employees all the information they need.

Record keeping

The collection of information in manual or computerized form to enable the company to plan and monitor.

Performance management range of activities to develop and reward good performance and manage poor performance and disciplinary issues.

Dealing with absence

Monitoring and controlling short- and long-term absence to ensure good attendance.


Looking at salary and benefits packages to reward and motivate staff.

Dismissal and other termination

Looking at valid reasons for dismissal, procedures and employment tribunals.

Description of the HR function you explored in-depth

Increasingly it is recognized that the motivation and development of staff, and the retention of high performing staff, are critically important in giving all companies, small, medium or large, a competitive edge in being efficient and in providing superior quality products and service.

A major challenge for companies is to develop HR strategies and practices that will support the business objectives.

As companies grow in size it therefore becomes important to set up their HR function. In medium sized companies this can mean establishing an HR department. In the case of smaller companies, it may not be possible to justify setting up an HR department. In the case of smaller companies, setting up the HR function can mean that one senior person in the company is entrusted with setting up and coordinating this function as part of his or her job, or purchasing HR services from an external source. (Fletcher, J and Rapoport, R (1996))

At XYZ, an express carrier and package delivery company, service is the name of the game and its employees are the star players. Motivation can take different forms, when seeking to establish a career. "You look for a company that is innovative enough to create new business and people opportunities by promoting from within," Mr. emphasizes.

XYZ is a company that keeps its promise to promote from within," says Mr. "I've seen junior XYZ employees work their way up to senior management. In a service industry, an employee can make lateral moves. With each move, you learn and acquire experience.

Through careful career planning, coaching and counseling, the company identifies employees who are ready to take on bigger challenges," he explains. This policy of promoting from within has not only resulted in extremely low turnover among XYZ staff; it is also an important motivator when it comes to building employee morale.

The present chairman of the company, the ex-chairman and the ex-, ex-chairman all started with XYZ 30 or 40 years ago as a driver or customer service representative and rose through the ranks. At XYZ the human resources department fuels employee motivation through the various programmes it implements. The recruitment department not only identifies a talent pool for the company, but also keeps abreast of market development.

The compensation and benefits team administers day-to-day salaries and benefits. At the same time, it develops an understanding of the market, best practices and ways to develop employee incentive schemes.

The type of interaction between HR and line managers

With the rise in the array of activities like expansion, divestments, mergers & acquisitions in the face of competition, the HR activities have grown many folds. Perhaps the most striking change in the HR's role is its growing importance in developing and implementing strategy. Traditionally strategy - the company's plans of balancing its internal strengths and weaknesses with its external threats and opportunities - in order to maintain a competitive advantage, was the job primarily of the company's operating (line) managers.

Thus the company's top management might decide to enter new markets, drop product lines or embark on a five-year cost cutting plan. The personnel implications (such as retrenchment, recruitment, redeployment, transfer of human assets, outplacement) of such strategic moves are to be take care of by the HR department.

Since all such activities need to be handled by the HR department of a company it is of importance that the department be given a strategic decision making role instead of remaining silent observer and reacting only when the strategic decisions have been finalized and implemented. (Currie, G and Proctor, S (2001))

This is where comes the role of the line or functional managers to help the HR department by carrying on the administrative task of HR and letting them move into a strategic function in terms of helping the management to take important business decisions. It is now increasingly important to involve the HR in developing and implementing the strategic plans at the earliest.

At XYZ, we communicate in many ways and we communicate more effectively than most other companies," Mr. ...explained. "The company's organizational structure is very flat and is divided into corporate, regional, district and country offices. Standards are set at a corporate level and the same set of policies and messages is sent down to the regional offices and is drawn down the ranks.

The corporate office is the driver and initiates the systems and methodologies. Once applied in the field, all the results are sent back up the chain." Every department manager communicates with employees for at least three minutes before they begin work each day, says Mr. Feedback is important and "talk, listen and act" is the approach that encourages communication between different levels of staff. "My door is never closed and I encourage people to come in," he points out.

Mr. XYZ also holds regular breakfast meetings with employees, where they can communicate directly and receive immediate answers to questions. In an effort to raise morale and further motivate employees, he and his senior staff make a point of periodically visiting employees at each of the local offices.

Roles like job analysis, recruitment, selection, compensation, rewards, appraisals and training and development are now increasingly being shared between the HR and line managers. In this way the line mangers are more involved with the process of monitoring training and evaluating the people who work under them. It has been seen for sometime now that bad management is the key reason for sickness absence and lack of job satisfaction among staff (Campbell, I and Charlesworth, S (2003))

The relationships that employees have with their bosses are fundamental to their well being. However traditional bosses either use the carrot or stick model to get their employees to work or ask the HR to clean up after the relationship has been damaged - in terms of transferring the employee or laying him off. HR thus has to train line managers in people management skills if the firms are to retain their best employees.

The extent to which the organization's HRM practices conform to HR theory as learned in your textbook. If differences are found, discuss why they exist.

Arguably, HRM has become the dominant approach to people management in most countries. However, it is important to stress that human resource management has not 'come out of nowhere'. HRM has absorbed ideas and techniques from a number of areas. In effect, it is a synthesis of themes and concepts drawn from over a century of management theory and social science research.

There is a long history of attempts to achieve an understanding of human behavior in the workplace. Throughout the twentieth century, practitioners and academics have searched for theories and tools to explain and influence human behavior at work.

Managers in different industries encounter similar experiences: businesses expand or fail; they innovate or stagnate; they may be exciting or unhappy organizations in which to work; finance has to be obtained and workers have to be recruited; new equipment is purchased, eliminating old procedures and introducing new methods; staff must be re-organized, retrained or dismissed. Over and over again, managers must deal with events which are clearly similar but also different enough to require fresh thinking.

We can imagine that, one day, there will be a science of management in which these problems and their solutions are catalogued, classified, standardized and made predictable. Sociologists, psychologists and management theorists have attempted to build such a science, producing a constant stream of new and reworked ideas.

They offer theoretical insights and practical assistance in areas of people management such as recruitment and selection, performance measurement, team composition and organizational design. Many of their concepts have been integrated into broader approaches which have contributed to management thinking in various periods and ultimately the development of HRM

HR continues to balance the demands of several different roles: business partner, internal consultant, operational and administrative expert and both…

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