Rhonda S. Culvahouse Human Resource Management and Its Importance to Businesses Today MGT 445 Human Resource Management Professor Robert Borger June 4, 2009 Human Resource Management and Its Importance to Businesses Today Introduction In order to understand what Human Resource Management is, one must understand what a resource is. Resources are assets that one has access to, and therefore, can rely on. In our own personal lives we rely on resources of various types such as our money, our vehicles, and our families, all of which are personal resources.
Businesses also rely on assets such as money, equipment, and personnel or employees in order to be successful. Therefore, Human Resource Management (HRM) is the management of a business’s employees. HRM is handled differently by every business with larger businesses utilizing an entire department dedicated to this function; however, smaller businesses may combine their HRM functions with other tasks of the company.
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One definition of HRM that I found quite fitting is: “Human Resource Management is the function performed in organizations that facilitates the most effective use of people (employees) to achieve organizational and individual goals” (Ivancevich, 2010, p. 4). (I like this introduction. Your writing is clear and concise. ) So, the question arises – Why is HRM so important to businesses today and which human resource management task(s) is the most important to an organization’s success?
For organizations today to be effective there are three elements that are critical: “(1) mission and strategy, (2) organizational structure, and (3) HRM” (p. 9). Thus, HRM plays a major role in everyday business practices and in the effective use of personnel or employees of the company. “Every business issue has HR implications” (p. 11; Rendero, 1990, p. 24). There are a variety of HR areas in every organization, no matter the size, from laws put into place by our federal and state governments to salaries as well as others that are critical.
Let’s take a look at these tasks and see if there is any one that is more important than the other. Before jumping into issues involving employees directly, I would like to touch on an area that businesses must comply with in order to be successful with minimal law suits. This area is called Equal Employment Opportunity or EEO. This is the area where policies and procedures begin and involve every aspect of the organization (Ivancevich, 2010, p. 65). Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits covered entities from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The act prohibits discrimination with regard to any employment condition including hiring, firing, promotion, transfer, compensation, and training programs” (p. 67). Organizations that Title VII applies to are private and labor organizations that have more than 15 employees, federal, state and local government employers as well as employment agencies (p. 67).
Some areas under Title VII that employers must comply with are sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, religion minorities and English-only rules (p. 67-74). The Civil Rights Act of 1991 expanded many rules of Title VII which added compensatory damages to plaintiffs who were involved with the violations of these Acts. Other laws that have been put into place are the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which was updated by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (p. 4-77). As to state laws, “Virtually every state also has some form of equal employment law” (p. 77). (Good use of text research and information on the required topic. ) During the many years that I worked as a paralegal for various law firms, several cases come to mind that I worked on involving discrimination. The cases that seemed to play out largely against an organization were those involving racial discrimination and sexual discrimination.
Employers must take an active role striving for compliance to the law governing discrimination of any type in order that the organization does not incur large liabilities due to discrimination practices. (I am sure you were able to see interesting cases where employers did not act as they should. ) Further, HRM needs to be aware of affirmative action plans and what is lawful and what is not. Affirmative action is “those actions appropriate to overcome the effects of past or present practices, policies, or other barriers to equal employment opportunity” (p. 0). Many government contracts with private organizations require an affirmative action plan. In Johnson v. Transportation Agency (1987) and United States Steelworkers of America v. Weber (1979), the U. S. Supreme Court held that the following criteria must be met in a voluntary affirmative action plan: * The AAP must exist to eliminate past imbalances based upon a protected group category. * The AAP must not necessarily trammel the rights of the majority. * The plan must be temporary. * The plan must not provide for set-aside positions. (p. 81).
An article in Personnel Today which I found interesting stated, “It could be argued that the acceptance of Obama by the American public is precisely down to the success of positive or affirmative action in raising the profile of women and people from ethnic minorities within the workplace and government” (Paton, 2008, p. 20). The article also pointed out that positive discrimination, such as women not having certain IT skills, could be conducted by providing extra training to those women (p. 20). (I am glad you were able to bring more resources into the research, it balances the paper. Rules, regulations and/or policies and procedures must be implemented in the successful organization based on the above laws plus many more. HRM’s job is to keep apprised of any changes and supplement or amend the organization’s policies to be in compliance and make all employees aware of the new laws and/or procedures. Planning is another area that HRM is a part, and it is critical to an organization’s success. This is a process utilized by HR to determine what the “supply and demand” is now and will be for human resources in the future. Effective planning includes: 1.
Situation analysis or environmental scanning. 2. Forecasting demand for human services. 3. Analysis of the supply of human resources. 4. Development of plans for action. ” (Ivancevich, 2010, p. 127). Strategic planning involves the Human Resource Management Department of the non-profit agency that I currently work for. A recent planning meeting was held and the following is a sample of notes taken for one section of the meeting: Education ; Awareness Mission: Work with communities, practitioners and caregivers to promote protective factors that strengthen families and protect children from abuse.
E-Learning Q1. Positives: Staff strength Funding relationships Reputation Customer base Cutting-edge programs (Still? ) Instructor-led niche Negatives: Lack of administrative support Growth limited by staff/inst Hard to do new – new course development Must meet specific MQs Lots of work beyond 40 hours per week Opportunities – Seem limitless; hard to focus Prioritize revenue generation? Must be unique Need a business plan Need focused marketing? Find new ways in for childcare providers Threats – Competition National agencies cheaper, easier, faster
Lower quality KACCRA partnership – friendly competition Lack of computer literacy Too much free stuff on the web (Racine, T. , 2009. Strategic Planning Notes, KCSL) In the notes above, it was noted that in the E-Learning Program possible new positions could occur due to the excessive work hours anticipated, training and possible new technology may be needed. This sample gives an idea of what is discussed at a strategic planning meeting although, since it was the first in anticipation of next year, it leaves many gaps. These notes were interesting, but some of the topics were not a part of the flow of your paper or required in the assignment. ) As we are seeing in our adventure through the world of HRM, there are many areas in an organization that involves a HRM department or employees with HRM expertise. When thinking of HRM, many have had contacts with the recruitment and selection side of an HRM office. In fact, if anyone applies for any type of position, the hiring for someone to fill that position will have an encounter with the Human Resource office of some sort. Recruitment is the “. . . rganizational activities that influence the number and types of applicants who apply for a job and whether the applicants accept jobs that are offered” (Ivancevich, 2010, p. 185; Breaugh, 1992, p. 4). Recruiting today involves the use of internal recruiting or external recruiting. Job postings are utilized in different ways for internal recruiting. With computer technology as it is today and employers’ areas being worldwide, job boards are utilized via the Internet for internal recruiting. The old bulletin board still works; however, only within the realm of the very small business. (Ivancevich, 2010, p. 190).
External recruiting is the more popular way of hiring employees today given the electronic technology and information systems being utilized. However, the media, such as newspapers, are still used very frequently, but they, too, usually post jobs on a website (p. 191). In particular, HotJobs. com is used by the Topeka Capital Journal where I live for their Internet postings. E-Recruiting has become, by far, the most frequently used form of “job hunting” and “job posting” (p. 103). Some of the more popular web-based “head-hunter” companies who post jobs for employers and help applicants locate jobs are: www. otjobs. com, www. CareerBuilder. com, www. Dice. com and www. Jobs. com, to name a few. (Posting the job on internet sites are only the first step, the entire selection process must follow. Also, I see that you covered selection below, which is good. I am glad you covered all aspects. ) There are also employment agencies or executive search firms that employers hire to search for the right applicant for a position. (p. 193). College recruiting is very expensive, but “. . . recruiters generally believe that college recruiting is one of the most effective ways of identifying talented employees” (p. 195).
Most of my job searching in the past recent years has been done utilizing an employment agency which seemed to be the way most law firms went when hiring. In fact, in Kansas City, Missouri there is a company that specializes in paralegals and legal secretaries with some jobs being permanent, but many are “perm-to-hire. ” The selection process is a very time-consuming and difficult task in HRM. Applicants fill out applications, many times on a website today, and provide other necessary information such as a resume, references, college transcripts and/or any other information HRM may legally request.
The six steps in the selection process is: (1) Preliminary Screening which involves filling out an application or sometimes a telephone conversation is used; (2) employment interview that can also be more than one interview as the selection process narrows down the applicants; (3) employment tests which can range from typing tests to job sample performance tests such as programming tests for computer programmers, cognitive testing and even psychomotor ability simulations; (5) selection decision; and, (6) examinations which can include drug testing (p. 220-234). (Drug testing where appropriate. I realize that this is from the text, but not all employers have mandatory drug testing. ) * With information technology changing every day and organizations running at such a fast pace due to competition in the global environment, human resource development is an ongoing task having to be dealt with. “This is the age of the learner and the training and development of people is essential for any organization seeking to create and sustain competitive advantage. The challenge for trainers is to choose the most appropriate approach. . . ” (Anonymous, 2007).
For human resource training and development to be successful, the following must be followed: * Defining the best approach to take to training and development in an organization, given its characteristics and strategies. * Selecting the most effective delivery strategy. * Selecting training methods that will achieve the learning goals. * Selecting a style of delivery that best matches the skill level and personal characteristics of the trainee. * Making effective decisions about how best to evaluate the activities and to calculate a return on the organization’s investment in training. Anonymous, 2007). At my place of employment, training and keeping up with credential requirements is of the utmost importance. This is what keeps our social workers correctly licensed, apprised of new technologies and new assistance programs, and situations that are dealt with by our communities’ poor families and children. (I would have liked to have seen more detail how the training is provided, but glad you mentioned training. ) Why do we go to work each day? Is work a means by which we gain self-esteem and a feeling of helpfulness?
Our professions can definitely define a person as to what type of person he is as well as what type of legacy he desires to leave behind. Unfortunately, our professions are designed to provide a means for us to live. Nothing is free. Voluntary work is always needed and giving back is important; however, we work and what we get back is compensation by way of a salary. HRM has another very detailed task when it comes to compensation due to the need to be competitive as well as to provide fair salaries for its employees. Investigations are done by HRM by way of various databases and other Internet websites memberships in order to valuate job positions and make sure the pay is fair for the service. Many organizations combine salaries and benefits into one package. In today’s economy crunch, salaries are being frozen by some organizations as well as benefits being let go. In difficult times, HRM may determine that a salary freeze is more cost- effective than a lay-off due to the cost of hiring employees when times are better. My organization has a salary freeze in effect at this time, but annual evaluations continue to take place and when times are financially better will provide additional benefits and/or larger salary increases.
It is extremely important that employees feel appreciated and not taken for granted and so HRM, along with upper management, need to keep their interest in the employees so that production is good due to the environment continuing to be positive even in a dark economy. Organizations have very complex rules and regulations to abide by when it comes to its employees. The degree to which these regulations apply depends upon the type of business an organization is. My employer requires certain online training classes regarding such things as HIPPA laws, sexual harassment, and violence in the workplace.
By HRM educating the employees regarding these various areas, the employees gain knowledge as to what to do in certain situations and the company’s liability risk is much less. Physical fitness is a very popular topic in our country these days. Many organizations have implemented wellness programs in order to maintain a healthy environment, thus, healthier employees and better production leads to better services on behalf of the organization. “. . . – the continuous relationship between a defined group of employees and management” is known as labor relations. The relationship includes the negotiation of written contract concerning pay, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment as well as the interpretation and administration of this contract over its period of coverage” (Ivancevich, 2010, p. 473). Throughout our history labor unions fought for the rights of workers and fair treatment with fair wages and work hours which our many of our labor laws are based on today. Today, unions still exist but their power has been “eroded” due to competition today, the massive numbers of immigrants coming into the U.
S. , less demands by employees for union representation, and the number of workers today. “In the 21st century, union organizers are devising new organizing tactics and are becoming more effective in organizing different types of workers (Ivancevich. 2010, p. 495). (I agree with this comment and especially in our current crisis, they have lost even more power. ) In reviewing all of the elements of HRM, it is very clear how HRM is involved in every aspect of an organization and it is very difficult to determine which area is most important.
Taking out one area hinders another area. It, then, is my conclusion that as long as “humans” are running businesses successfully, all areas are equally important. HRM is about people, keeping them interested with positive goals in a good working and safe environment brings about a successful organization. HRM must be in tune with laws, regulations, jobs, compensation and benefits for those people of the organization. Human resource management is a very diverse area and assists in planning, organizing and hiring personnel.
Every area they are involved in is critical to a successful company. The future of the company relies on good judgment, training and positive attitudes which are but a few of HRM’s tasks. As laws are enacted, more people are working, and technology grows, the human resource area will be a growing department of any successful business. References (Anonymous, 2007, Aug. 10, Making Training and Development Work – a Best Practice Guide, Business Wire. Retrieved on May 19, 2009 from ProQuest (DOI: 1318173111).
Breaugh, J. (1994), Recruitment: Science and Practice, Boston: Kent. Ivancevich, J. (2010), Human Resource Management, 11th Edition, New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Johnson v. Transportation Agency, 480 U. S. 616 (1987), Paton, N. (2008), Accentuate the positive, Personnel Today, p. 20. Racine, T. , 2009, May 5,. Strategic Planning Notes, KCSL. Rendero, T. (1990, Aug. ) HR Panel Takes a Look Ahead, Personnel, p. 24). United States Steelworkers of America v. Weber, 433 U. S. 193 (1979).