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Chapter: Business Science - Human Resource Management - Perspectives in Human Resource Management

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Role of Human Resource Management(HRM)

The role of HRM is to plan, develop and administer policies and programs designed to make optimum use of an organizations human resources.

Role of HRM

 

The role of HRM is to plan, develop and administer policies and programs designed to make optimum use of an organizations human resources. It is that part of management which is concerned with the people at work and with their relationship within enterprises. Its objectives are: (a) Effective utilization of human resources,

 

(b) Desirable working relationships among all members of the organizations, and (c) Maximum individual development.

 

Human resources function as primarily administrative and professional. HR staff focused on administering benefits and other payroll and operational functions and didn‘t think of themselves as playing a part in the firm‘s overall strategy.

 

HR professionals have an all encompassing role. They are required to have a thorough knowledge of the organization and its intricacies and complexities.

 

The ultimate goal of every HR person should be to develop a linkage between the employee and organization because employee‘s commitment to the organization is crucial.

 

The first and foremost role of HR personnel is to impart continuous education to the employees about the changes and challenges facing the country in general and their organization in particular. The employees should know about the balance sheet of the company, sales progress, and diversification of plans, share price movements, turnover and other details about the company. The HR professionals should impart such knowledge to all employees through small booklets, video films and lectures.

 

The primary responsibilities of Human Resource managers are:

 

To develop a thorough knowledge of corporate culture, plans and policies. To act as an internal change agent and consultant

 

To initiate change and act as an expert and facilitator

To actively involve in company‘s strategy formulation

 

To keep communication line open between the HRD function and individuals and groups both within and outside the organization\

 

To identify and evolve HRD strategies in consonance with overall business strategy.

 

To facilitate the development of various organizational teams and their working relationship with other teams and individuals.

 

To try and relate people and work so that the organization objectives are achieved efficiently and effectively.

 

To diagnose problems and determine appropriate solution particularly in the human resource areas.

 

To provide co-ordination and support services for the delivery of HRD programmes and services To evaluate the impact of an HRD intervention or to conduct research so as to identify, develop or test how HRD In general has improved individual and organizational performance.

According to Dave Ulrich HR play‘s four key roles.

 

1. Strategic Partner Role-Turning strategy into results by building organizations that create value;

2. Change Agent Role- making change happen, and in particular, help it happen fast

3. Employees Champion Role—managing the talent or the intellectual capital within a firm

4. Administrative Role—Trying to get things to happen better, faster and cheaper.

 

The role HR in organizations has undergone an extensive change and many organizations have gradually oriented themselves from the traditional personnel management to a human resources management approach.

 

The basic approach of HRM is to perceive the organization as a whole. Its emphasis is not only on production and productivity but also on the quality of life. It seeks to achieve the paramount development of human resources and the utmost possible socio-economic development.

 

Current Classification of HR roles

 

According to R.L Mathis and J. H. Jackson (2010) several roles can be fulfilled by HR management. The nature and extent of these roles depend on both what upper management wants HR management to do and what competencies the HR staff have demonstrated. Three roles are typically identified for HR.


1. Administrative Role of HR

 

The administrative role of HR management has been heavily oriented to administration and recordkeeping including essential legal paperwork and policy implementation. Major changes have happened in the administrative role of HR during the recent years. Two major shifts driving the transformation of the

administrative role are: Greater use of technology and Outsourcing.

 

Technology has been widely used to improve the administrative efficiency of HR and the responsiveness of HR to employees and managers, more HR functions are becoming available electronically or are being done on the Internet using Web-based technology. Technology is being used in most HR activities, from employment applications and employee benefits enrollments to e-learning using Internet-based resources.

 

Increasingly, many HR administrative functions are being outsourced to vendors. This outsourcing ofHR administrative activities has grown dramatically in HR areas such as employee assistance (counseling), retirement planning, benefits administration, payroll services, and outplacement services.

 

2. Operational and Employee Advocate Role for HR

 

HR managers manage most HR activities in line with the strategies and operations that have been identified by management and serves as employee ―champion‖ for employee issues and concerns.

 

HR often has been viewed as the ―employee advocate‖ in organizations. They act as the voice for employee concerns, and spend considerable time on HR ―crisis management,‖ dealing with employee problems that are both work-related and not work-related. Employee advocacy helps to ensure fair and equitable treatment for employees regardless of personal background or circumstances.

 

Sometimes the HR‘s advocate role may create conflict with operating managers. However, without the HR advocate role, employers could face even more lawsuits and regulatory complaints than they do now.

 

The operational role requires HR professionals to cooperate with various departmental and operating managers and supervisors in order to identify and implement needed programs and policies in the organization. Operational activities are tactical in nature. Compliance with equal employment opportunity and other laws is ensured, employment applications are processed, current openings are filled through interviews, supervisors are trained, safety problems are resolved, and wage and benefit questions are answered. For carrying out these activities HR manager matches HR activities with the strategies of the organization.

 

3. Strategic Role for HR

 

The administrative role traditionally has been the dominant role for HR. However, as Figure 1.4 indicates that a broader transformation in HR is needed so that significantly less HR time and fewer HR staffs are used just for clerical work.

 

Differences between the operational and strategic roles exist in a number of HR areas. The strategic HR role means that HR professionals are proactive in addressing business realities and focusing on future business needs, such as strategic planning, compensation strategies, the performance of HR, and measuring its results. However, in some organizations, HR often does not play a key role in formulating the strategies for the organization as a whole; instead it merely carries them out through HR activities.

 

Many executives, managers, and HR professionals are increasingly seeing the need for HR management to become a greater strategic contributor to the ―business‖ success of organizations. HR should be responsible for knowing what the true cost of human capital is for an employer. For example, it may cost two times key employees‘ annual salaries to replace them if they leave. Turnover can be controlled though HR activities, and if it is successful in saving the company money with good retention and talent management strategies, those may be important contributions to the bottom line of organizational performance.

 

The role of HR as a strategic business partner is often described as ―having a seat at the table,‖ and contributing to the strategic directions and success of the organization. That means HR is involved in devising strategy in addition to implementing strategy. Part of HR‘s contribution is to have financial expertise and to produce financial results, not just to boost employee morale or administrative efficiencies. Therefore, a significant concern for chief financial officers (CFOs) is whether HR executives are equipped to help them to plan and meet financial requirements.

 

However, even though this strategic role of HR is recognized, many organizations still need to make significant progress toward fulfilling it. Some examples of areas where strategic contributions can be made by HR are:

 

Evaluating mergers and acquisitions for organizational ―compatibility,‖ structural changes, and staffing needs

 

Conducting workforce planning to anticipate the retirement of employees at all levels and identify

workforce expansion in organizational strategic plans

 

Leading site selection efforts for new facilities or transferring operations to international outsourcing locations based on workforce needs

 

Instituting HR management systems to reduce administrative time, equipment, and staff by using HR technology

 

Working with executives to develop a revised sales compensation and incentives plan as new products

 

It is the era when for the competitive triumph of the organization there is a need to involve HRM significantly in an integrated manner, which demands such capabilities from the HR specialists.

 

The role of HR shifted from a facilitator to a functional peer with competencies in other functions, and is acknowledged as an equal partner by others. The HR is motivated to contribute to organizational objectives of profitability and customer satisfaction, and is seen as a vehicle for realization of quality development. The department has a responsibility for monitoring employee satisfaction, since it is seen as substitute to customer satisfaction.

 

According to McKinsey‘s 7-S framework model HR plays the role of a catalyst for the organization. According to this framework, effective organizational change is a complex relationship between seven S‘s. HRM is a total matching process between the three Hard S‘s (Strategy, Structure and Systems) and the four Soft S‘s (Style, Staff, Skills and Super-ordinate Goals). Clearly, all the S‘s have to complement each other and have to be aligned towards a single corporate vision for the organization to be effective. It has to be realized that most of the S‘s are determined directly or indirectly by the way Human Resources are managed, and therefore, HRM must be a part of the total business strategy.

 

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