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Human Resources Management (HRM) Advice

The following are the top 10 most popular expert advice articles on human resources management (HRM):

Top 5 HRM Articles | Top 6-10 HRM Articles | Top 11-15 HRM Articles

Human Resources Management (HRM) Advice 1

Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior in the University System

In every organization, there are three major resources to be managed if the organization wants to achieve its objectives and goals. These resources are Humans, materials and financial resources. And out of these three, human resource management is the most important and difficult to manage. The reason being that every human being is born unique and therefore is bound to have different characteristics-- that is, the ways they think feel reason and act. Secondly, human beings control and coordinate the other resources. They constitute the workforce of an organization and are referred to as personnel. Since human nature plays a very major part in the overall success of an organization, it is therefore important to have an effective working relationship between the employee and the manager as this is essential for the success of the organization.
Human Resource Management, which involves the efficient and effective management within an organization, is one of the vital functions of Educational Administrators. This is because every administrator has a function to perform through his staff and his own abilities. Every university like other formal organizations needs human beings to execute its programmes and achieve educational goals and objectives. To be able to achieve this, the Registrar who is the ‘chief of administration’ has to ensure that personnel with whom he works knows what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Another name for human resource management is personnel management. No matter the name we chose to call it, its basic function is to deal with people who make up an organization. And these people have diverse interest, goals and values.
Akpakwu (2003), regards personnel management as the proper utilization of the people in an organization towards achieving their needs and organizational goals. To this extent, it involves understanding the nature of people in an organization, their needs and aspiration and evolving the necessary strategies to accomplish these needs and aspirations. It also involves identifying the objectives of the organization and creating a conducive atmosphere towards leading staff to achieving the goals of the organization. Armstrong in Akpakwu (2003), sees personnel management as the process of obtaining, organizing and motivating the human resources needed in by an organization. He advocated for the creation of a very conducive and cordial environment in order to satisfy the needs of the workers and achieve organizational goals. Denga (1990), on the other hand, regards Human management as an exercise in human engineering. People have needs, problems, feelings temperament etc which they come along with to these institutions. What ever name it is called, human resource management is the responsibility of all those who manage people. The administrative manager must therefore find ways of satisfying these needs in such a way that the individual, organization and society’s objectives are achieved.

The primary responsibility of a human resource manager is to ensure that human resources are utilized and managed as efficiently and effectively as possible. To this end, the university chief administrator is required meet the following objectives:
1. Recruitment and selection, developing the work place required by the organization.
2. Helping in creating a working environment that is conducive for his members of staff so as to promote maximum contentment thereby motivating them.
3. Ensuring that the abilities and skills of the workforce are used to the optimum in pursuance of the university’s mission and mandate.
4. Ensuring a fair balance between the personal needs of staff and the needs of the Registry and the university in general.
The effectiveness and of any organization is dependent on the efficient use of its resources particularly the human resource. Human resource functions can be generally classified into three basic functions namely:-
1. Personal utilization to meet organizational needs
2. Motivation of employees to meet their needs and organizational needs
3. Maintenance of human relationships.
Other human resource management functions include :-
1. Recruitment and Selection:- This involves searching for a suitable person to fill the vacant position. In the registry department, the least qualification for an administrative secretary is a bachelor’s degree. The basic goal of staffing is to locate qualified applicant who will stay with the organization.
2. Training and Education:- This involves developing staff to professional growth. In the Registry department, training involves induction of new employees, formal training of staff which may include on the job training.
3. Wages and salary Administration:- This refers to the financial benefits that are given to staff for the jobs they have performed. In the university administration, fixing of salaries is a continuous exercise as position and posts keep changing due to growth and functional advancement.
4. Staff Appraisals:- This is the continuous process of feed back to subordinates about how well they have performed on their jobs. In the registry department, members of staff are formally appraised annually by their immediate supervisors and the evaluation ratified by the Appointments and promotions committee.
5. Welfare:- In University administration, the main purpose of welfare is to provide assistance to members of staff and also encourage a positive relationship between staff and the university by providing extra security comforts.
6. Trade Union Relations: - According to Akpakwu (2003), trade unions are “sounding boards” for policies and decisions affecting staff. In university administration, joint committees comprising management team and trade unions have proved to be effective in resolving conflicts. Trade Unions champion the problems and grievances of their members with the view of improving the welfare of their members.
The functions of chief administrative officer in the university are many. Generally though, he is to plan, organize, coordinate, direct and report activities in relation to staff under him.

All organizations including educational institutions are made up of people who chose to work in it primarily because it enables them to satisfy at least some of their personal needs. Virtually everybody works, plays or is educated in an organization. Attempt must be made to define what an organization is. Ede (2000), defines organization as a system of consciously coordinated activities which are deliberately structured for the purpose of realizing specific goals. Dale (1978), views organization thus: “Whenever several people are working together for a common end, there must be some form of organization: that is the task must be divided among them and the work of the group must be coordinated. Dividing the work and arranging for coordination make up the process of organization and once that is completed, the group may be described as an organization.”
According to Unachukwu (1997), the more complex an organization is, the more difficult it is to coordinate activities, predict events or phenomena and attain set objectives maximally. We can therefore view organizational behavior as the systematic study of the nature of organizations; how they begin, how they develop and their effects on individual members. It is also a systematic attempt to understand the behavior of people in an organization; not just human behavior but structural behavior, elements behavior, systems behavior and even policy behavior. Thus for staff in the registry department of the university to function efficiently and effectively, the Registrar must understand the nature of people he is working with and be able to interpret their behaviors. Organizational behavior follows the principle of human behavior: People in an organization are governed by the same psychological mechanisms both on the job and outside the job. Organizational behavior is human behavior in a particular setting. The behavior of an individual in an organization is determined to some extent by internal and external factors. These include learning ability, motivation, perception, attitude, emotions, frustration etc. while the external factors include stress, reward system, degree of trust, group cohesiveness, social factors, office policies etc. Organizational behavior can also be situational. An individual’s behavior cannot be disassociated from the situation he finds himself. For example, a normally calm individual is forced into constant close physical aggressiveness with some other people. The behavior of that individual is therefore a function of interaction between his characteristics and other environmental variables. Organizations are seen as complex systems consisting of interrelated subsistence. Changes or alteration in any part of the system have consequences on other part of the system. Modification in the system leads to desired positive changes called functions. Negative consequences in response to alteration or change in the system are called dysfunction. Therefore the behavior of an individual is borne out of the decisions that have been taken in an organization.
Organizations represent constant interaction between structure and process. To get an assignment accomplished in an organization, we need to define who does what. Structures refer to organizational shapes, definitions and rules. It is what binds an organization together. Process is the sequence of activity in the system. Decision Making, Communication, Leadership and Conflict are few examples of the many processes that take place within an organization. Ocho (1997), aptly suggests that human beings in an organization need to be constantly motivated for adequate production and commitment. Consequently, the primary responsibility of the Registrar is to ensure that human resources are utilized and managed effectively and efficiently to meet the university goals.

Good human relations in an organization, for it to function effectively and efficiently cannot be over-emphasized. It provides knowledge on how people interact and respond in different organizational situations in an effort to satisfy their needs and in the process meet organizational goals. The chief administrator’s ability to understand his staff and their problems, and his belief in and the practice of democratic leadership will go a long way to make him succeed in his supervisory and administrative task. The effective operation of any organization depends on the Human Resources in that organization. Unachukwu (1997), implicitly states that Educational Administration is concerned with the mobilization of the efforts of people for the achievement of educational objectives. It is therefore imperative that the Registrar cultivates the habits of Human Relations in his odious administrative task. Edem (1987), observed that the difference between the ideas of the Efficiency movement and those of the Human Relations movement was that of the former emphasizing getting most out of the worker, even to the extent of requiring him to subordinate his interest and needs of those in the organization, while the latter emphasized the humanitarian aspects which sought to satisfy the needs of the worker, minimize his frustrations and increase the level of job satisfaction.
According to Mary Follet,(1964), a prominent pioneer of the Human Relations movement in the National Society For The Study of Education, she stated that the real service for business men is no t just the production and distribution of manufactured articles, but to give an opportunity for individual development and self-actualization through better organization of human relationships. The process of production is as important for the welfare of society as the product of production. Follet perceives administration as a shared responsibility, asserting that organizational structures should permit a free interplay of ideas in order to minimize the rigidity of hierarchical structures; but warned that shared responsibility should not be construed as being synonymous with laissez-faire and absence of focal points of reference.
Unachukwu (1997), itemized the human relations movement stress as thus:
1. Human relations focus on workers as human beings rather than as
11. It focuses on the development of morale and individual.
111. Human relations emphasize paying attention to workers as human
beings in an informal associations within an organization.
1V. Human Relations led to the policy of consultation of participation by
V. Human Relations approach led to the diffusion of authority which led to
a wider participation in decision making. It led to a decentralized
approach to organization rather than centralization. This explains why
committees are used as tools for decision making.

Without human resource, there can be no organization. These human resources are in two categories: Management and Subordinates.
Okonkwo (1997), is of the view that workers and their needs should be uppermost in the minds of the leadership of any organization. In other words, poor management of human resources in an organization will lead to ineffectiveness or collapse of the organization. Edem (1998), states that the Barnard-Simon theory of motivation recognizes the relationship between the satisfaction by organizations of the needs of workers and the workers productivity. The theory assumes that workers will perform satisfactorily well if their needs are met. Nwankwo (1982), opines that the more the needs of workers are satisfied within the organization, the more they are motivated to work and thus satisfy the needs of the organization. To motivate a worker therefore is to propel, impel and energize him into action that will lead eventually to the achievement of organizational goals. Thus motivation is primarily concerned with spending effort towards a goal. Leavitt (1972), provided motivation model from three basic premises:-
(I) Behavior is caused: The things we do, do not just happen. There
always underlying factors
(11) Behavior is directed: In the ultimate sense, there aimless behavior.
(111) Behavior is motivated: Underlying what we do are motives and
drives which provide us with the energy to attain goals or at least to
move in the direction of goals.
These three premises help a lot in understanding the behavior of workers in an organization. When Adam Smith conceptualized the economic basis of human motivation, it was his opinion that people work primarily for money and are unconcerned about social feelings, and are motivated to do only that which provides them with them with the greatest reward. This approach has been criticized because its view of man is dehumanizing. Money may not be the only primary source of rewarding behavior in an organization as there is limit to which money can be used in motivating workers. According to Argyle (1972), People can become committed to the goals of the organization as a result of participating in decision making in their work place or co-partnership schemes or through their relationships with groups or supervisors. Commitment could also come through the job itself. For example through ones achievements, recognition, responsibility and professional growth. All these are motivators that would energize human resources to meet organizational goals and objectives. The ability of the educational manager to therefore plan and organize human resources effectively, motivate and control the staff is crucial to the effective and efficient management of the university. This is because good human resource management practice not only helps in attracting and retaining the best of staff, but also motivating them to outstanding work performance. Lack of motivation in work situations has serious effect on job satisfaction and when job satisfaction is absent, the worker might soon leave the organization. Saiyadanin (1999), supporting states that advancement or changing one’s status reflects when this growth is not experienced, the staff member becomes frustrated and dissatisfied.

Basically, the Registrar who is the Chief Administrative Manager deals with human beings at various levels. Administration at all levels involves effective planning, organizing, supervising, controlling and evaluating. It is therefore his duty too co-ordinate all activities in the registry to meet the university’s mission and mandate. Attempt has been made to understand the meaning of human resource management as the understanding of human behaviors, their needs, aspiration in an organization and developing strategies to accomplish these needs and aspirations. Knowing that if these needs are neglected, it could lead to failure in achieving set goals for the university system. This paper has also shown that organizational behavior is not just the study of the systems, processes, and structures in an organization. But also the systematic study of individuals’ behavior in an organization. It should be understood that these individuals work with external and internal environments which are psychological and sociological in nature. University administrators should therefore deal with staff individually and collectively with a view of understanding them deeply. To this end, it has therefore becomes necessary for university registrars to advocate the use of good human relations so as to ensure effective and efficient administration in universities. This paper has also traced the need to motivate workers not only through monetary means but also to recognize the individual’s worth and enhance their feeling of responsibility and achievements

Argyle M. (1972), The Social Psychology of Work. Penguin
Akpakwu A.O.(2003), Human Resource Management Towards Stable Higher Institutions. ‘Benue State University Of Education Journal, Vol4 No.1

Dale E. (1978) Management Theory and Practice. Tokyo: Mcgraw-Hill, Kogakusha Ltd.
Y and other work organizations. Calabar, Nigerian Educational Publishers.

Denga, D.I. (1996), Human Engineering for higher productivity in industry

Ede .S. A. (2000) Educational administration and management, Jos, Nigeria: Ichedum Publication Nigeria, Ibadan, Nigeria, Spectrum Books Ltd.

Edem D.A. (1987), Introduction to Educational Administration in Nigeria. Ibadan, Spectra Books limited.

Leavitt H.J. (1972), Managerial Psychology, 3rd Edition. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Nwankwo J. (1982), Educational administration, Theory and Practice. Vikas Publishing house PVT Ltd., New Delhi

National Society for the Study of Education. (1964), Behavioral Science and Educational Administration, The Sixty-third yearbook, part 2 (University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Okonkwo S.N. (1992), An analysis of selected factors in Relation to Academic Staff Utilization: A case study of Anambra state colleges of education. An unpublished Ph.D Thesis, University of Benin, Benin City.

Unachukwu G.O.(1997), Human Relations and School Administration.
“Dynamics of Educational Administration and Management: The Nigerian Perspective”, edited by A. N, Ndu, L.O. Ocho, and B.S Okeke, Awka. Meks Publishers

Okonkwo S.N.(1997), Job satisfaction and the Work Behavior of Nigerian Teachers, Akwa Meks Publishers.

Ocho L.O. (1997), Administration and Leadership in Education
Awka. Meks Publishers

Saiyadain M.S.(1999), Human Resource Management. New Delhi: Tata McGraw – Hill publishing company.

Author: ebi

Human Resources Management (HRM) Advice 2

HRM - Lateral Structural Arrangements in Organizations

Lateral Structural Arrangements in Organizations
In order that the organization can achieve its goals and objectives the work of individual members must be linked into coherent patterns of activities and relationships. This is achieved through the structure of the organization and the nature of relations. Decision about the future strategy of the organization are made by people and strategies are implemented by people. The success or failure of a current strategy will depend not only on decisions made in the past but also on how those decisions are being implemented now by people employed by the organization.
Lateral organizational arrangements include individuals of different departments and groups. These relations exist on the same organizational level and involve coordination and consultation. This type of arrangements depends upon the co-operation activities and of informal relations. It is therefore important to questions about who, how and why people are doing what they are doing and what they should do in strategic implementation. In short effective lateral organizational arrangements add value, manage the business and can contribute to strategic success but, conversely, they can make spectacular errors that can be very costly to the organization (Galbraith, 1995).
Lateral organizational arrangements depend upon the roles of each individual which implies the expected pattern of behaviors associated with members occupying a particular position within the structure of the organization. It also describes how a person perceives their own situation.
The concept of 'role' is important not only to the functioning of groups but for understanding cooperation processes and behavior. It is through role differentiation that the structure of relationships among the members are established. The development of lateral arrangements entails the identification of distinct roles for each of its members. Some form of structure is necessary for team-work and co-operation. The concept of roles helps to clarify the structure and to define the pattern of complex relationships within the group.
Lateral organizational arrangement belong to the formal relationships which can be seen as forms of role relationships. These individual authority relationships determine the pattern of interaction with other roles. The role, or roles, that the individual plays within the group is influenced by a combination of: situational factors, such as the requirements of the task, the style of leader ship, position in the communication network; and personal factors such as values, attitudes, motivation, ability and personality.
The role that a person plays in one work group may be quite different from the role that person plays in other work groups. However, everyone within a group is expected to behave in a particular manner and to fulfill certain role expectations. Also, the role relationships with members of their own group - peers, superiors, subordinates - the individual will have a number of role-related relationships with outsiders, for example members of other work groups, trade union officials, suppliers, consumers, and this patterns determine the nature of lateral organizational arrangements. This is a person's 'role-set'. The role-set comprises the range of associations or contacts with whom the individual has meaningful interactions in connection with the performance of their role (Galbraith, 1995).
An important feature of lateral relations is the concept of 'role incongruence'. This means that a member of staff should not be perceived as having a high and responsible position in one respect but a low standing in another respect. Difficulties with role congruence can arise from the nature of groupings and formal relationships within the structure of the organization. Lateral organizational arrangements help to overcome problems which cannot be solved with the help of vertical relations only. "However, in many modern organizations where conventional communication structures either do not exist or are less formal, communication tends to be horizontal, between individuals and departments, rather than the upwards or downward flow assumed by so many to be the normal case" (Ball, 2001).
Decentralization principle is important in a large corporation, which became the central tenet of so much business practice. The need to coordinate strategic planning from the centre to ensure long-term growth for the company, while allowing the individual units and their managers to get on with day-to-day tactics are also play the crucial role. "The personal relations existing among members of an organization which are not represented by the "blueprint" constitute informal organization or informal relationships. Informal organization plays as important a part in functioning of social organization as formal organization" (Formal & Informal relations, n.d.).
lateral organizational arrangements are achieved when the various HR strategies cohere and are mutually supporting. This can be attained by the process of 'bundling' or 'configuration'. If a deliberate attempt to 'bundle' is made, this process will be driven by the needs and characteristics of the business. In this very case lateral organizational arrangements could be described the process of ensuring that strategies are integrated with or 'fit' business strategies. The concept of coherence could be defined as lateral organizational arrangements - the development of a mutually reinforcing and interrelated set of policies and practices. Lateral organizational arrangements are chiefly about ensuring that the firms has the skilled, committed and well-motivated workforce.
Lateral organizational arrangements are closely connected with functional features of work. The word 'functional' is used to indicate major aspects or departments of the organization such as research, production and marketing. Differentiation describes 'the difference in cognitive and emotional orientation among managers in different functional departments' with respect to: the goal orientation of managers, for example the extent to which attention was focused on particular goals of the department; the time orientation of managers and relation to aspects of the environment with which they are concerned, for example longer-term horizons, or short- term horizons and problems requiring immediate solutions; the interpersonal relations of managers to other members, for example a managerial style based on concern for the task, or on concern for people relationships; and the formality of structure.
It is sometimes suggested that in many organizations the responsibility for employee relations still lies with the line managers who are often skeptical or even hostile towards personnel ideas and techniques, and who frequently reject the concept of an employee relations policy because it hampers their work and limits their flexibility. If line managers are left to handle industrial relations issues for themselves, the pressures of production are likely to lead to ad hoc and contradictory decisions. If a personnel policy is introduced to promote consistent decisions on industrial relations issues, its effectiveness may depend on granting authority to the personnel department to override the natural priorities of line managers (Galbraith, 1995). "Rather than increasing hierarchies, they support the minimizing of vertical structures and the flattening of hierarchies, creating lateral roles and relations. The decision making processes become decentralized and there is a decrease in formalization" (Complex Organizations, n.d.).
As with other aspects of the personnel function it is important that line managers are involved, at least to some extent, with employee relations. But there must be good communications and close consultation with the personnel department. There must be teamwork and a concerted organizational approach to the management of employee relations. This is made easier when top management, who retain ultimate responsibility for the personnel function, take an active part in fostering goodwill and co-operation between departments and with official union representatives.
Top management should agree clear terms of reference for both the personnel manager and line managers within the framework of sound personnel policies. "By creating lateral connections, the information in the organization is allowed to flow more directly. The communication system would be an informal one. This can be achieved through liaison roles and task forces" (Complex Organizations, n.d.).
The purpose of lateral organizational relations is contributed to a nationwide restructuring of corporations, with the multi-divisional form of organization becoming the standard for large industrial firms producing multiple products in multiple markets. He was one of the first management theorists to perceive the importance of creating a strategic plan for a business before framing its organizational structure (Galbraith, 1995).
In general lateral thinking is the generation of new ideas and the escape from old ones. Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way and creativity comes into every aspect of managing a business not only innovation but information systems, communications, finance, marketing, advertising and promotion, labor relations, problem solving, planning, design, R&D and public relations.
According to Ball: "Traditionally, the structure and therefore the communication process is based upon a hierarchy of individual departments, although more and more organizations now see the product and the market as more fundamental to structure than individual departments" (Ball, 2001).
The lateral organizational arrangements is a part of the generality of management. The personnel manager, as a separate entity, operates in terms of a 'functional' relationship, that is as a specialist adviser on personnel matters and on the implementation of personnel policies through all departments of the organization. It is the job of the personnel manager to provide specialist knowledge and services for line managers, and to support them in the performance of their jobs.
In all other respects the personnel manager's relationship with other managers, supervisors and staff is indirect: that is, an advisory relationship. It is the line managers who have authority and control over staff in their departments, and who have the immediate responsibility for personnel management, although there will be times when they need the specialist help and advice of the personnel manager. If the personnel function is to be effective there has to be good teamwork, and co-operation and consultation between line managers and the personnel manager. In this case, "High-quality internal training programs not only give people the skills they need, but also send the clear message that you care about people's career development and are willing to invest in them as individuals" (HRM guide, n.d.)
The lateral organizational arrangements offers the best hope for long-term business prosperity, and he concentrates on the principle that the salaried manager's role is critical. As managers receive power and authority through their official roles, so their careers become increasingly technical and professional. One could use lateral thinking for five per cent of the time and vertical thinking for the other 95 per cent, operating the systems alternately.
The significance of the distinction between jobs and roles is that in the new process-based organization, horizontal processes (which may have been defined in a business process re-engineering exercise) cut across organizational boundaries. Managements are beginning to regard their organizations in some fundamentally different ways. Rather than seeing them as a hierarchy of static jobs, they think of them, as dynamic processes.
Some members may have the opportunity to determine their own role expectations, where, for example, formal expectations are specified loosely or only in very general terms. Opportunities for self-established roles are more likely in senior positions (Galbraith, 1995).
Given the possibility that different demands of the environment are characterized by different levels of uncertainty, then it follows that individual departments may develop different structures. At the organizational level the detailed involvement of the work activities of organizational several departments, available time, and the need for specialization suggest that the personnel manager has a prominent role to play. The ager is the main executor of personnel policies but acting in consultation with, and taking advice from, line managers.
Lateral organizational arrangements are connected with coordination and consultation. Line managers are on hand to observe directly the performance of their staff. They will actually see, and be directly affected by, for example, lateness of staff, unsatisfactory work, insufficient training, low morale, staff unrest, or poor planning of work duties and responsibilities. As an element function, personnel is an integral part of any managerial activity. The extent to which the personnel function is devolved to line managers is a decision for top management, and is likely to be influenced by the nature and characteristic features of the particular industry or organization.
Separate units of differing size, location and mix of skills, means of necessity the personnel function is decentralized and prime responsibility has to be with line management.
An understanding of the capabilities of individuals and groups terms of attitudes, abilities and skills, as well as an understanding how individuals relate one to another, is an important part of the preparation and development of strategy. At the same time there has been a deterioration in lateral relations in many places, and a failure to introduce changes in work methods necessary for effective competition and organizational effectiveness. Personnel departments as such are clearly not to blame for these developments much more guilty are those line managers at the highest level who have opted out of their most important function, that of managing people.
Members may not always be consciously aware of these informal expectations yet they still serve as important determinants of behavior. The psychological contract implies a variety of expectations between the individual and the organization. These expectations cover a range of rights and privileges, duties and obligations which do not form part of a formal agreement but still have an important influence on behavior.
At the departmental or unit level the individuals might assume a prominent role for day-to-day personnel matters, with the personnel manager as adviser, and if necessary as arbitrator. They would be more concerned, at least in the first instance, with the operational aspects of personnel activities within their own departments. For example: the organization of work and allocation of duties; minor disciplinary matters; standards of work performance; safety; on-the-job training; communication of information; and grievances from staff . On-line communication process can reduce waste of time for solving these problems (DeSanctis, Monge, 1998).
Within lateral organizational arrangements many role expectations are prescribed formally and indicate what the person is expected to do and their duties and obligations. Formal role prescriptions provide guidelines for expected behaviors and may be more prevalent in a 'mechanistic' organization. Formal role expectations may also be derived clearly from the nature of the task. But not all role expectations are prescribed formally. There will be certain general conduct, mutual support to co-members, attitudes towards superiors, means of communicating, dress and appearance.
According to lateral organizational arrangements it is made easier when top management, who retain ultimate responsibility for the personnel function, take an active part in fostering goodwill and harmonious working relationships among departments. Top management should agree clear terms of reference for individuals within a framework of sound personnel policies. Within this framework the personnel function can be seen as operating at two levels: the organizational level and the departmental level.
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Author: Andrew Sandon

Human Resources Management (HRM) Advice 3

What Role Does Human Resource Management Play in a Business?

The human resource function has gone from the traditional hire and fire role to a strategic partner at the table with finance, operations and other business centers that are not centers of profit for the organization. The job of HR, as is the job of all such departments, is to ensure that the business gets the most out of its employees. Another way to put this is that the human resource management needs to provide a high return on the business’s investment in its people. This makes it a highly complex function – because it deals with not just management issues but human ones as well.

These 2 polarities are not always easy to balance and the human resource managers specifically try to maximize output from employees by instituting various schemes and policies. The following are some of the functions handled by the human resources team.

Handle compensation and rewards:–
Human resources are responsible for tying incentives and rewards to certain positions and roles in order to maximize performance levels. This is a strategic thinking task because it affects every single person in the organization and has to be planned separately for each position, depending on level, department and goals. Some jobs need to be more goal driven, such as sales so salary can be basic but commission can form the bulk of the remuneration, leading to more incentive to work effectively and close sales. Some firms tie top management’s salary to stock price but this can be risky. It is up to human resources to structure this important aspect to everyone’s satisfaction.

Another important task handled by the human resource function is the selection and retention of employees. If the right type of employees does not enter the organization, its days are numbered, because people drive almost any type of organization towards success.

Performance management:–
Regular, balanced and systematic appraisals must be administered consistently in order to evaluate the performance of each individual in the organization. This allows human resources to pinpoint the weaknesses of an individual’s work style and the strengths. They can then share this information with the employee in order to affect a change in performance. This in turn will lead to more productivity and potentially better returns on human investment.

Point of contact:–
The human resource personnel form the point of contact for an employee with any type of difficulty or query about their remuneration or other aspects of employment with the business. It is essential for someone to be available to answer questions and provide guidance. This communicates to the employee that the business cares about his or her concerns and is available to address them.

Employee expectations:–
The human resources function fulfills a very important ‘soft skill’, unspoken task – that of balancing employee expectations and the organization’s expectations. Both need to be addressed and aligned for a business to be successful and one with satisfied employees. Only a content and motivated employee will deliver good work, so it is the job of human resources to keep track of the expectations of the employee and those of the organization to ensure both are met simultaneously.

Author: William King

Human Resources Management (HRM) Advice 4

Human Resource Management at Microsoft

Microsoft is one of the wealthiest and most successful companies in the world. Even more important, from a human resource perspective, is the fact that Microsoft is an employee-driven organization. While other organizations base their success on better manufacturing techniques, or better technology, Microsoft’s success is based on the effectiveness of their employees. Essentially, Microsoft value their staff and realize the importance of their staff. This focus on employees may, in the future, expand to all organizations. Microsoft then, is worth studying as an example of best practice in human resource management.
This study will focus on Microsoft’s employee management methods including how they recruit and how they retain their staff. By looking at how Microsoft operate, there is opportunity for other organizations to consider how they manage their employees and to consider whether their staff are also valued.
Firstly, the study will present information on the human resource practices at Microsoft. Secondly, the study will analyse these practices with a view to showing why they are effective.
Recruitment and Selection - In the Beginning
Bill Gates is the driving force for Microsoft and from the beginning of the company he believed in recruiting extremely intelligent staff, favoring intelligence over experience, “his preference for hiring extremely intelligent, not necessarily experienced, new college graduates dated from Microsoft’s start-up days, when he and cofounder Paul Allen recruited the brightest people they knew from school - their ‘smart friends’” (Bartlett 1).
From the beginning Gates realized that his employees were his greatest assets, shown by his quotes including “it’s the effectiveness of our developers that determines our success” and “take our 20 best people away, and I will tell you that Microsoft will become an unimportant company” (Bartlett 2).
Microsoft’s recruitment strategies reflect their philosophy. They sought the smartest and the most driven people and did so aggressively, as Steve Ballmer says “whenever you meet a kick-ass guy, get him” (Bartlett 2).
The recruitment strategies in the beginning included sourcing people from the elite educational facilities such as Harvard, Yale, MIT, Carnegie-Melon and Stanford. Microsoft recruiters would visit these universities “in search of the most brilliant, driven students” (Bartlett 2). Experience was not required and it was in fact, preferred that new employees had no experience.
Once selected, these students had to undergo a thorough selection process. The first stage was an interview “by at least 3, and sometimes up to 10, Microsoft employees” (Bartlett 2).
These interviews were designed not to test knowledge, but to test “thought processes, problem-solving abilities, and work habits” (Bartlett 2). Technical interviews are described as being focused mainly on problem-solving, with interviewers posing problem scenarios. To test the composure of the candidate and also their creative problem-solving skills, unexpected questions were also included. Two examples of these questions given are “how many times does the person use the word ‘the’ in a day” and “describe the perfect TV remote control” (Bartlett 2).
After the interview, interviewers would e-mail their decision on the interviewee with the words ‘Hire’ or ‘No Hire’ and comments on the problem area, the future interviewers would then use these comments to further investigate whatever issues there were with the interviewee (Bartlett 3). This interviewing process was essentially a ‘make or break’ one, where interviewees were pushed to their limits, if they thrived and survived this meant they would also thrive and survive in the Microsoft working environment.
After this series of interviews, if the majority of interviewers were favorable the interviewee would finally meet with their manager and this manager would make a final hire/no hire decision. The very last step is an interview by someone outside the hiring group, this person is independent and so unbiased in their opinion. This person is meant as a final check that the person is a good Microsoft person and also to prevent managers from hiring the wrong people because they have a need to fill a certain position (Bartlett 3).
The importance of hiring the right people is also shown in Microsoft’s ‘n minus 1’ strategy which means less people are employed than are required. This policy reinforces that hiring the right people is more important than hiring just to fill a position.
Recruitment and Selection - Later Stages
Microsoft retained the same basic principles as they expanded but had to change their methods when the number of new employees required could no longer be sourced only from universities.
The recruiting practices continued to be active rather than passive, with Microsoft ‘head hunting’ the best staff. These staff were found, monitored and recruited from other companies by over 300 recruiting experts, “once someone had been identified as ‘hard core’ - Microsoft’s euphemism for the kind of highly talented and driven people they sought - the pursuit was relentless, if subtle. Regular telephone calls at discreet intervals, conversations at industry conventions, invitations to formal dinners - recruiting team members employed every means possible to keep the lines of communication open” (Bartlett 9).
Microsoft also took advantage of breaking opportunities such as company layoffs, one example is with the AOL down size, “when we heard AOL was downsizing Netscape’s operations in the valley, we assembled a team to identify the best talent and go knocking on doors” (Bartlett 10).
Employee Satisfaction and Loyalty
Microsoft attempted to cater to the needs of its employees from the beginning. Recognizing that the majority of employees were just out of college, the Microsoft company operated like a campus. The former director of human resources describes this saying, “how do you make young kids who had never been away from home - or only as far as college - comfortable? We wanted to keep the atmosphere at work one they were somewhat familiar with, and also make sure it gave them a sense of social belonging” (Bartlett 4). This environment also included every employee having their own office they were free to decorate as they please and the provision of subsidized food and drink (Bartlett 4).
Employee satisfaction was also afforded by the opportunity for growth, “development also occurred by encouraging horizontal transfers, and employees were encouraged to develop themselves by switching jobs” (Bartlett 6).
It is noted that few employees leave the organization by dismissal, with the majority leaving voluntarily (Bartlett 10). Concern over high attrition rates in the 1990s led to surveys to find the cause of the problem and for changes to be implemented. One of the major changes was the requirement for top management to coach lower levels, assisting in their development by doing so. This became known as ‘turning over the keys’ (Bartlett 11). This is important because it allows people an opportunity to develop further. Also critical to the changes was a new focus on empowering people and of defining clear goals. These changes were all designed to increase employee satisfaction and commitment to the organization, while maintaining the same spirit the small company began with.
Employee Rewards
In the early days Gates was a firm believer that employee ownership was critical in raising motivation and employee retention, in lieu of high salaries he offered employees equity (Bartlett 7). Once listed on the stock exchange, this continued, with the company offering stock options to employees based on performance.
Critical to this is the link between individual performance and reward, with semi-annual performance reviews linked to pay increases, bonus awards and stock options (Bartlett 7). Performance goals employees were measured against were specific measurable ones, these performance objectives shortened to SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-based, and Time-bound (Bartlett 2). This formal review system also included more common evaluations by managers to ensure no unexpected deviations. The system also included the process of employees evaluating themselves, these self-evaluations then being sent to the manager who does their own evaluation. The employee and manager then meet to discuss the review (Bartlett 8).
Stock options awards are based on whether the employee is considered a long-term asset of the company and awarded on this basis. This is an important symbol of Microsoft’s commitment to retaining good employees.
Recruitment and Selection
It is reported that companies must be aware of where they are going in the future and how the current configuration of human resources relates to this (Noe et al., Ch.5).
As we have seen, Microsoft employ different recruitment practices than many organizations based on their need for the very best people. Microsoft actively recruit suitable employs and focus on the right type of person rather than the right type of skill level. In ‘Human Resource Management: An Experiential Approach’ (Bernadin & Russell) human resources are described as an important source of competitive advantage. Microsoft use human resources for competitive advantage, basing their success on having the very best people in the industry and inspiring them to be the best. It is this that leads to Microsoft’s unique recruitment practices. Based on the importance placed on having the best people in the industry, their aggressive ‘head hunting’ techniques are justified.
What is most crucial here is that Microsoft’s recruitment practices meet their human resource needs. It is an important sign of the focused approach of Microsoft, with their actions always leading towards their ultimate goals.
Some important factors to be considered in recruiting staff include that the recruiter should be from the same functional area and that candidates should not be deceived about the negative elements of a job (Noe et al., Ch.5). The interview process at Microsoft reflects this with the new employee being interviewed by the manager. The recruitment process also goes further than just informing the employee about the negative aspects, instead the recruitment process actually tests the employee on the negative aspects, putting them under the same type of pressure they would be put under on the job. This is an effective method, as it can be ascertained, that if the employee is successful in the selection process, they will be successful within the organization.
Employee Motivation
McNamara says that “the key to supporting the motivation of your employee is understanding what motivates each of them.” The important thing about Microsoft is that they employ people who specifically will be motivated by the environment they provide. They do not employ skilled people and expect them to be motivated, they employ intelligent and driven individuals and give them the environment and the opportunity to develop beyond their current level. The fit between employee and organization is important to motivation and this is what Microsoft ensures.
A recent study reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology reports that employees working on projects are more efficient when their goals relate to the overall team goals rather than individual goals (Kristof-Brown). Microsoft ensures that the goals of the organization are understood via its strong culture and by employees being clearly aware of what is required of them.
Motivation can be described as providing a work environment in which individual needs become satisfied through efforts that also serve organizational objectives (Schermerhorn 395). Microsoft achieves this by incorporating their goals into their human resource management programs. The people recruited and the systems within the organization all serve to motivate the type of people that Microsoft values.
Employee motivation can also be related to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. This theory has the top level of the needs theory as self-actualization needs, which is a persons need to be self-fulfilled. It is described that the way to achieve this is to “provide people with opportunities to grow, be creative, and acquire training for challenging assignments and advancement” (Daft 530). This is exactly what Microsoft provides for its staff and also exactly what it expects, for them to be the very best they can be. One employee of Microsoft describes this saying “the only way to achieve here is to push the envelope of what you can do. Every day try to do better. Work smarter. Work harder. Innovate more. People are focused 100% on performing their job as successfully as possible (Bartlett 5). The link can also be seen here between the type of people that are employed and what is expected. Microsoft hires the very best people, for these people to achieve self-actualization they need to be pushed harder than most and given greater opportunity to achieve than most.
Employee Loyalty and Satisfaction
We have seen that empowering employees is one of the new approaches being utilized by Microsoft. It is noted that empowering employees requires a culture that reflects this (Billsberry 292). In the Microsoft case we see that a change of culture is actually the reasoning behind the introduction of empowerment, suggesting that the change is considered and will be successful.
Employee loyalty and satisfaction is also assisted by Microsoft’s consideration of its employees. We saw that in the early days, the company largely consisted of young graduates and the company built a culture around the needs of this group of young graduates. This process has continued, with Microsoft always attempting to cater for the needs of its employees.
The latest attempt is by providing greater opportunity for younger employees, by having older employees coach them.
Three aspects of tasks that affect job satisfaction are job complexity, degree of physical strain and perceived value of the task (Noe et al., Ch.10). Microsoft manages this by providing the high complexity high achievers require and by ensuring the perceived value of the task is high. This high value is communicated via the high-achieving culture the company maintains.
This issue can also be looked at in terms of an employee’s role. There are three factors associated with roles: role ambiguity, role conflict and role overload (Noe et al., Ch.10). Role ambiguity is kept low by Microsoft because of the consistency in the culture and in what is required, role conflict is also kept low. Role overload is kept high, with employees pushed to their limits. In most organizations this would be a concern, but Microsoft’s awareness of this means that they specifically seek employees who will react well with role overload.
Employee Rewards
In ‘Ideas That Will Shape the Future of Management Practice’ (Bohl, Luthans, Hodgetts & Slocum) human resources is described as being the way of the future with it being argued that we will see a more mature articulation of the importance of people as a firm’s only sustainable competitive advantage. The change is described as giving high reward for high performance with the focus on a partnership.
As we have seen, Gates recognized the importance of his people from the beginning and this is reflected in the reward systems, that not only rewards for current achievement but rewards stocks to those that are seen as valuable future assets of the company. This can be seen as a prime example of the focus on a partnership, those that are seen as being valuable to the company, are rewarded with shares that will increase in value even as that person assists in moving the company forward.
Important to the reward system is also the fact that there are two reward paths available, one for those following the technical path and one for those following the management path. The skills of employees can be divided into three areas: conceptual skills, human skills and technical skills. Typically, conceptual skills become more required and technical skills less required as one moves up the corporate ladder (Daft 15). Microsoft is a company valuing technical skills, due to the nature of its product. In most organizations, employees with conceptual skills would be rewarded by moving up the corporate ladder, while those with technical skills would not advance. Microsoft, however, offers two advancement path, allowing those with technical skills to advance as technical experts, just as those with conceptual skills advance as managers.
Reward systems are an important part of organizational culture, they communicate to employees what is valued by the organization (Robbins, Bergman & Stagg 84). By having these two reward systems, Microsoft effectively communicates that both sets of skills are valued. This is also an important sign of Microsoft’s consistency. They recruit people for technical ability and so not rewarding for it would be dissatisfying to employees.

Author: H.silistre

Human Resources Management (HRM) Advice 5

How to Apply Human Resource Management in Several Environments


The Human Resource Management (HRM) is an academic theory and a business practice that is connected with the theoretical and practical techniques of managing a staff . its theoretical discipline is based primarily on the assumption that employees or the staff are individuals with changing goals and needs, and it should not be considered as basic business resources, such as trucks and filing cabinets. The workers, takes a positive view Field thinking that all wish to contribute to the enterprise productively, and that the main obstacles to their endeavors are lack of knowledge, insufficient training, and failures of process. The Human Resource Management is considered to be the part of a business or company which recruits, develops and utilizes an organization's personnel in the way which would benefit the firm's aims and objectives. It creates alignment between an organization's HRM strategy and the core objectives of a business considered as essential. Human Resource Management (HRM) is all about managing people, human capital and culture for business success. The human resources management (HRM) function includes a variety of activities, and key among them is deciding what staffing needs you have and whether to use independent contractors or hire employees to fill these needs, recruiting and training the best employees, ensuring they are high performers, dealing with performance issues, and ensuring your personnel and management practices conform to various regulations. Activities also include managing your approach to employee benefits and compensation, employee records and personnel policies.

The Human Resource Management is seen by practitioners in the field as a more innovative view of workplace management than the traditional approach. The techniques force the managers of an enterprise to express their goals with specificity so that they can understand the workforce, and to provide the resources needed for them to successfully accomplish their assignments. Thus Human Resource Management techniques, when properly practiced, seem to be expressive of the goals and operating practices of the enterprise overall.

Nowadays, it has concerned synonyms such as personnel management are often used in a more restricted sense to describe those activities that are necessary in the recruiting of a workforce, providing its members with payroll and benefits, by which Staff is administered . These activities require regulatory knowledge and effort, and enterprises can benefit from the recruitment and development of personnel with these specific skills.

Academic theory

The aims of Human Resource Management is to help an organization or Institution to meet strategic goals by attracting, and maintaining employees and also to manage them effectively. The academic theory of Human Resource Management is that humans should not be considered machines. Therefore ,we should have an interdisciplinary examination of people in the workplace. The Fields such as psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, sociology, and critical theories: postmodernism, post-structuralism play a major role. Many colleges and universities offer bachelor and master degrees in Human Resources Management.

The activities of Human resource managers are involved such as interviewing applicants, staff training, and dealing with laws and regulations within employment. The Human Resource Management is composed of seven interlinked activities taking place with organizations. The seven major HR management activities are given Below:

(1) Strategic HR Management,

(2) Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO),

(3) Staffing,

(4) HR Development,

(5) Compensation and Benefits,

(6) Health, Safety, & Security, and

(7) Employee & Labor Relations. Within these activities there are external forces involved such as legal, economic, technological, global, environmental, cultural/geographic, political, and social--which significantly affect HR activities and how they are designed, managed, and changed.

“Resource Manager" and that is the only change. Empowerment has been noted as an HRM practice which by critics has been noted more as a pseudo-empowerment, based on attitudinal shaping “___(Wilkinson 1998).

“Other such HRM practices have been noted as hidden within rhetoric, and many examples particularly within call centers are much more Orwellian, and hide the reality, through attitudinal shaping “_____(Wilkinson 1998).

“Today, unions remain a controversial topic. Under the provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, the closed-shop arrangement states employees (outside the construction industry) are not required to join a union when they are hired. Union-shop arrangements permit employers to hire non-union workers contingent upon their joining the union once they are hired. The Taft-Hartley Act gives employers the right to file unfair labor practice complaints against the union and to express their views concerning unions _____(Cherrington, 1995).

The Human Capital : Carmeli, A and Schaubroeck, J argue that “having higher levels of human resources capital was strongly associated with performance only when top managers perceived that these resources provided distinctive value in terms of being highly valuable, inimitable, rare, and nonsubstitutable”

For this reason, motivation of employee is at the heart of how innovative and productive things get done within work organization (Bloisi-W, 2003, p.172). Before studying the different ways to motivate, we have to give a clear definition of the word “motivation”.

Bloisi, W argues that “motivation involves a conscious decision to perform one or more activities with greater effort that one performs others activities competing for attention”.

Human capital is a way of defining and categorizing the skills and abilities as used in employment and as they otherwise contribute to the economy. Many early economic theories refer to it simply as labor, one of three factors of production, and consider it to be a commodity -- homogeneous and easily interchangeable. Other conceptions of labor are more sophisticated

Origin of concept History

“ The term human capital was first discussed by Arthur Cecil Pigou : "There is such a thing as investment in human capital as well as investment in material capital. So soon as this is recognized, the distinction between economy in consumption and economy in investment becomes blurred. For, up to a point, consumption is investment in personal productive capacity. This is specially important in connection with children: to reduce unduly expenditure on their consumption may greatly lower their efficiency in after-life. Even for adults, after we have descended a certain distance along the scale of wealth, so that we are beyond the region of luxuries and "unnecessary" comforts, a check to personal consumption is also a check to investment (Pigou, 1928, A Study in Public Finance, Macmillan, London, p. 29).

Global Presence of Companies

The global debate is on regarding the fair distribution of human capital between the countries . This points to the educated individuals, who typically migrate from poorer places or developing countries to richer places seeking opportunity, making 'the rich richer and the poor poorer'. When these workers migrate, generally, their early care and education is benefited by the country where they move to work and live their lives . And, when they have health problems or retire, their care and retirement pension will typically be paid in the new country.

Historical HRM from 19th to 20th Centuries :

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, The Human Capital in the United States had became considerably more valuable as the need for skilled labor came with newfound technological advancement. These New techniques and processes also required further education than the normally of primary schooling, which hence led to the creation of more formalized schooling across the nation. The early insight into the need for education allowed for provided a Shift to US productivity and economic prosperity, when compared to other world leaders at the time.

The rights and freedom of individuals who travelled for the want of opportunity, despite some historical exceptions such as the Soviet bloc and its "Iron Curtain", seem to consistently outweigh the rights of nation-states that nurture and educate them its worth mentioning that, the ability to have mobility with regards to where people want to move and work is a part of their human capital. They were able to move from one place to an other .

HRM in Several Environments

Being increase in competition, locally or globally, organizations must become more adaptable, resilient, agile, and customer-focused to succeed. And within this change in environment, the HR professional has to evolve to become a strategic partner, an employee sponsor or advocate, and a change mentor within the organization. In order to succeed in this term , HR must be a business driven function with a thorough understanding of the organization’s big picture and be able to influence key decisions and policies. The focus of today’s HR Manager is on strategic personnel retention and talents development. HR professionals can be e coaches, counselors, mentors, and succession planners to help motivate organization’s members and their loyalty. The HR manager will also have to promote and fight for values, ethics, beliefs, and spirituality within their organizations, especially in the management of workplace diversity as compared to the Work Force of various states .

Many companies now have realized the advantages of a diverse workplace. As many of them are going local in their market expansions either physically or virtually (for example, E-commerce-related companies), there is a necessity to employ diverse talents to understand the various niches of the market. If want to take the example of China when it was opening up its markets and exporting their products globally in the late 1980s, the Chinese companies (such as China’s electronic giants such as Hair) were seeking the marketing expertise of Singaporeans. This was due to Singapore’s marketing talents were able to understand the local China markets relatively well (almost 75% of Singaporeans are of Chinese descent) and as well as being attuned to the markets in the West due to Singapore’s open economic policies and English language abilities. (Toh, R, 1993)

Similarly if we take the Example of Microsoft a Global company and No1Software Company has some values to work in different environments. They are adaptable to any Culture or norms and rules of the Country because they employ the local Talent there besides their working capital already they have with. They rely on local Partners as entrepreneurs for their sales and marketing. In this Line

The Google has done remarkable by establishing sites of Various Countries ij their own languages which has really helped them to go forward and become the biggest advertising company for Web . Billion of ads shown on site as ad words . But the main thing they employ the Local talent for boosting their sales .

Yahoo is also an International Company in competition with Google and Microsoft. But it shares went down due to improper Human Resource and improper understanding of the Local markets of the Various Countries .

Conclusion :

Finally , If the Human Resource Management Theory assessed globally , it has really brought revolution in outsourcing and hiring of the staff . It has really opened the Vistas of talent and opened the doors of the talent to the Globe . Now opportunities are not limited to the particular Countries. They HRM has proved vital for the Biggest Companies such as Sony , Samsung , Motorola and LG also .They have the same phenomena of taking the products menus in the local languages to sell and market their Products through the Local Human Resource .

Author: Abdul Rahman Malik


HRM Training Resources

Executive Education: Strategic Human Reources Management SHRM Courses in Las Vegas USA
Executive Education: Strategic HRM Course in
Las Vegas, USA

Harvard Business School - MBA

London Business School

Forbes Magazine

CEO Club - CEO's Global Business Club

Business Sponsorship

Dell Business PCs

Sun Professional Computing

HP Shopping
HP Business Solutions

Cisco Systems
Cisco Networking


(c) HRM Training Courses Online - Self-paced Distance Learning Courses