7 Functions of Human Resource Management

This is broadly defined as any part of the management structure relating to people at work. It involves everything from recruitment to training to performance appraisal and overall employee welfare. HRM is originally an American management term, which has taken over from the more restrictive ‘Personnel Management’. It denotes a more proactive and business-focused role, with an emphasis on good communication and staff commitment, more flexible work practices, and a performance-related reward system.

Once considered a more peripheral activity, HRM has now moved to the heart of business and its many functions are gaining further importance as an expanding economy creates a much tighter labour market. The question facing most organisations now is: How can we attract and retain the best people?

1. MANPOWER PLANNING

This involves charting the future needs of the organization so that the firm has the right people in the right numbers at the right time. It is necessary to conduct both a human resource audit to analyze the skills present in the work force as well as a human resource forecast to predict future needs. Given this information it is possible to establish a recruitment and training programme.

Manpower plans must be flexible enough to allow for changing circumstances such as:

  • §     People leaving the firm in greater numbers than expected
  • §     People’s willingness to work longer or shorter hours per week
  • §     Unexpected increases in the number of males or females entering the workforce
  • §     New technology reducing the need for workers

2. RECRUITMENT & SELECTION

This is the process by which the firm gets the best people to do the jobs necessary to achieve its goals.
There is 3 steps in this process:

I. Preparation is the key to effectiveness in this area.
This includes both job description & person specification

JOB DESCRIPTION

PERSON SPECIFICATION

This includes:

  • ü        Job title
  • ü        Details/place of work
  • ü        Hours of work
  • ü        Duties of work
  • ü        Promotion prospects
  • ü        Responsibilities/duties

This includes:

  • ü        Age limits
  • ü        Educational qualifications
  • ü        Skills/experience required
  • ü        Essential characteristics
  • ü        Interests/attitudes & ambitions
  • ü        Personality traits

II. Recruitment a group of suitable applicants is encouraged to apply for employment in the firm

This is a process of attracting people to apply for vacant positions in the firm. The firm may place adverts in the newspapers, firms website, schools/colleges etc. in regards to internal recruitment the firm may advertise the job within the company itself.

JOB ADVERTISEMENT – must be carefully drawn up so that it attracts the attention of the type of person the firm is looking for. The advertisement must be informative and should contain the following information:

  • §        The job title
  • §        Brief history of the firm
  • §        The job description
  • §        The person specification
  • §        Location of the job
  • §        Salary/benefits being offered
  • §        The procedure for applying & the closing date for receipt of applications

III Selection/screening – the most suitable people for the job are picked from the list of applicants.
Most job applicants will be asked to submit either a curriculum vitae or a completed application form. The most common selection technique is the interview. It allows the employer to acquire information about the candidates and assess their suitability for the job.
A number of tests may be carried out to assist in the selection decision, such as intelligence tests, aptitude tests and personality tests. Checking of references is undertaken to confirm the information already obtained. Once the most suitable person is selected, an offer of the job is made in writing. A contract of employment is drawn up, signed by both parties, and given to the new employee.

3. TRAINING

Provides workers with the skills & skills, expertise necessary for them to perform their job properly. This can be done through- induction – this introduces employees to their colleagues, firms activities, rules and practices, health & safety rules, problem solving measures etc
on the job training – this training takes place within the organisation and may be carried out by existing employees.
It can also be done through off the job training – which takes place outside the workplace and is provided by outside agencies and colleges. All training aims to help employees to grow and develop as people so that they will gain confidence and constantly trying to better themselves.
Benefits of training:

  • Employees are equipped with necessary skills to perform their duties properly.
  • Morale of the workforce increase as they begin to feel part of the organisation
  • A well trained workforce leads to the overall improvement in terms of productivity the firm
  • Employees learn skills and gain experience that will help them when they apply for promotion.
  • The existence of good training & development programme will help to attract good employees to the organisation.

4. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL (P.A)

Involves a regular evaluation of how well employees are performing. The aims of performance appraisal are to show employees the areas where improvement can be made, while at the same time rewarding them for work well done.
Stages in performance appraisal:

  1. P.A takes the form of an interview between the HR manager and the employee once or twice a year
  2. The appraisal will involve a comparison between the employee’s goals for the previous period and their achievements during that period
  3. Goals & targets for the next period will be set during the appraisal
  4. Training and other personal development needs of the employee will be identified
  5. Areas of difficulty are identified by the employee & corrective action to be taken as a result

Benefits of performance appraisal:

  • Helps employees who are not realizing their potential
  • The P.A will identify employees who should be rewarded with either promotion or bonus
  • As employees will work hard to fulfill their target the overall productivity of the company will improve
  • Their should be fewer industrial relations problems as P.A is geared towards quick resolution of the problems.

5. REWARDS

This is payment for work done; it can be a significant source of motivation. The pay package agreed between employer and employee is written in the contract of employment. The main determinants of pay are length of service, qualifications and ability.
Other rewards available to employees is termed as

  • “Benefit in Kind”- Examples of this would include a company car, free canteen, free insurance etc.
  • Profit Sharing – employees are given a % of the profits they have helped to generate, in addition to normal wages, it is a type of bonus. It provides an incentive for employees.
  • Share options – employees are given a option to buy shares in the company, usually at a reduced price. They then become shareholders and receive dividends on the company’s profits.

6. EMPLOYEE/EMPLOYER RELATIONSHIPS

This is all relevant to relations at work. If the atmosphere between management and the work force are good, the workers will be more motivated to work for the firm. However if the industrial relations between the employee/employers are poor, both management &workers will find it a hostile place to work in.

Benefits of good industrial relations:

  • §  Employees/employers work together and co-operate as a team
  • §  Morale/motivation is improved at work
  • § Reduced levels of absenteeism and low labour turnover

Drawbacks of poor industrial relations:

  • § Employees not co-operating with mgt
  • § Motivation/morale of employees is quite poor
  • § High risk of industrial action, as there is no agreed procedures for solving disputes

How a HR manager can help to aid employees in a firm; He/she will be:

  • § responsible for dealing with any employees grievances
  • § ensuring that communication is clear and in place within the firm
  • § responsible for setting up a system of agreed procedures and standard practices for dealing with issues that may arise, including any grievance procedure
  • § ensuring that all employees are fully involved in decision making within the organisation
  • ensure that employees are well treated within the organisation

DISPUTES PROCEDURE

Claim ⇨ shop steward ⇨ HR mgr ⇨ Industrial Relations Officer⇨ Labour Court⇨ Resolution

7. TEAMWORK

TEAMS are set up to achieve a particular purpose. They are formed in order for employees to become involved in the organisation and to feel part of it.

Benefits of teamwork

  • v        access to a wider range of talents
  • v        easier to make difficult decisions
  • v        employees feel a sense of belongingness
  • v        easier to find solutions to any difficult problems

Drawbacks of teamwork

  • v        decision making is slowed up
  • v        some people may dominate too much in discussion
  • v        some team members may not have the necessary skills for effective teamwork
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