Human Resources (HR) Management is a multifaceted function. This entity has an important place within companies in helping key personnel decide on the best staff for their needs, among other things. Sometimes, the employees chosen are full-time employees already working for the company or they could be contractors. Regardless, the goal of HR Management is to choose the most qualified person for the job.
Again, HR Management is a group of professionals that wear many hats, some of which include employee benefits and compensation, hiring and terminating employees, and managing personnel policies and employee records. While smaller companies will often perform the tasks of HR Management on their own, most, larger corporations choose to hire professionals to oversee the entire HR department so we can say that the key to effective human resource management is human resource planning, as it is stated by Mark and Cynthia, it involves strategic plans, then devising ways to meet these objectives . In this essay I will try to focus on strategic planning which is a major factor of planning.
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Aims of strategic plans
The history of strategic planning begins in the military. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, strategy is “the science of planning and directing large-scale military operations, of maneuvering forces into the most advantageous position prior to actual engagement with the enemy” (Guralnic, 1986). In an address to the strategic planning workshop director-general of kwazulu-Netal RK Sizani said “employees must be able to advise, facilitate, support, consult, guide, monitor, resolve disputes and recommend strategic interventions to government and departments. They must be capable of producing rules, procedures, norms, frameworks, standards, draw common plans and goals which will enhance co-ordination. They require people who are experienced and somewhat capacitated and not junior entry level officers.”
As organizations vary in size, aims, functions, complexity, construction, the physical nature of their product, and appeal as employers, so do the contributions of human resource management. But, in most the ultimate aim of the function is to: “ensure that at all times the business is correctly staffed by the right number of people with the skills relevant to the business needs”, that is, neither overstaffed.
The second area should be about identifying which of these plans and strategies are so fundamental that there must be clear plans to address them before the organisation can achieve on any of its goals. These are likely to include:
- Workforce planning issues
- Progression planning
- Staff skills plans
- Motivation and fair treatment issues
- Pay levels designed to recruit, retain and motivate people
- A grading and remuneration system which is fair
- Employment issues which impact on staff recruitment, retention, motivation etc.
- A performance management framework – which is designed to meet the needs of all sectors of the organisation.
- Career development framework – which look at development within the organisation at equipping employees with “employability” so that they can cope with increasingly frequent changes in employer and employment patterns
- Policies and framework- to ensure that people development issues are addressed systematically: competence frameworks, self-managed learning etc.
The HR strategy will need to show that careful planning of the people issues will make it substantially easier for the organisation to achieve its wider strategic and operational goals.
Recruitment of staff
Recruitment should be preceded by an analysis of the job to be done (i.e. an analytical study of the tasks to be performed to determine their essential factors) written into a job description so that the selectors know what physical and mental characteristics applicants must possess, what qualities and attitudes are desirable and what characteristics are a decided disadvantage;
- In the case of replacement staff a critical questioning of the need to recruit at all (replacement should rarely be an automatic process).
- Effectively, selection is ‘buying’ an employee (the price being the wage or salary multiplied by probable years of service) hence bad buys can be very expensive. For that reason some firms (and some firms for particular jobs) use external expert consultants for recruitment and selection. Equally some small organizations exist to ‘head hunt’, i.e. to attract staff with high reputations from existing employers to the recruiting employer. However, the ‘cost’ of poor selection is such that, even for the ordinary day-to-day jobs, those who recruit and select should be well trained to judge the suitability of applicants.
The main sources of recruitment are:
- Internal promotion and internal introductions
- University appointment boards;
- Agencies for the unemployed;
- Advertising (often via agents for specialist posts) or the use of other local media (e.g. commercial radio).
The organization put its trade mark for rapid attraction and it must take care not to offend the sex, race, etc. antidiscrimination legislation either directly or indirectly.
Interviewing can be carried out by individuals (e.g. supervisor or departmental manager), by panels of interviewers or in the form of sequential interviews by different personal skills techniques to aid judgment include selection testing for:
- Aptitudes (particularly useful for school leavers);
- General intelligence.
(All of these need skilled testing and assessment.) In more senior posts other techniques are:
- Leaderless groups;
- Command exercises;
- Group problem solving.
(These are some common techniques – professional selection organizations often use other techniques to aid in selection.)
Training in interviewing and in appraising candidates is clearly essential to good recruitment. Largely the former consists of teaching interviewers how to draw out the interviewee and the latter how to rate the candidates. For consistency rating often consists of scoring candidates for experience, knowledge, physical/mental capabilities, intellectual levels, motivation, prospective potential, leadership abilities etc.
4.1 Setting the strategic direction
This process focuses on aligning human resource policies to support the accomplishment of the Company’s mission, vision, goals and strategies. The business’ goals sit at the heart of any HR plan and in order to align business and HR you need to answer one key question, “Can your organisation’s internal capability deliver the organisation’s business goals?”
Many organisations cite their people as their primary source of competitive advantage. Successful companies continuously identify and adopt innovative human resource management policies and practices to sustain that advantage.
More importantly, they structure work and design training, performance management, pay, and reward policies to help members of the organization succeed in achieving desired organizational outcomes. In other words, they integrate and align HRM policies and practices to reinforce employee behaviors that can best realize the leaders’ strategic intent. In the most successful companies, the set of policies and practices that collectively make up a company’s HRM system is the critical management tool for communicating and reinforcing the leaders’ strategic intent.
While Human resource management strategies must be developed to support the achievement of the organisation’s objectives, it is a two-way process. These strategies can themselves be critical inputs in determining the strategic initiatives for the organisation. A fatal error, however, is to develop and implement Human resource management strategies without thinking of the organisational strategic planning process.
A common mistake is the development of workplace skills plans which are not linked to any strategic goals or objectives or which have no affirmative action components. So, Human resource planning is the key to effective human resource management.
- http://www.searchbites.com/docs/HR_MANAGEMENT.asp (28th December 2004)
- Mark Lengnick-Hall and Cynthia Lengnick-Hall. (22 December 2003) Human Resource Management in the Knowledge Economy: New Challenges, New Roles, New Capabilities,
- Guralnik, D. (Ed.). (1986). Webster’s New World Dictionary (2nd ed.). Cleveland, OH: Prentice Hall Press.
- R K Sizani, Workshop of the on implementation and action an address to the strategic planning, (02nd December 2001)
- Behrman M, (2004), A guide to strategic human resource planning, Workinfor bulletin, south Africa
- http://www.accel-team.com/human_resources/hrm_02.html, (31 December 2004)
- A Strategic Human Resource Management System for the 21st Century. Naval Personnel Task Force, September 2000, Story Number: NNS040406-02, 04th June 2004
- Human Resources, Pay & Trends Bulletin ,The employers’ organisation for local authorities in the south east,(June 2004),