According to Armstrong (1997), “Human Resource Management can be defined as “a strategic approach to acquiring, developing, managing, motivating and gaining the commitment of the organization’s key resource – the people who work in and for it.”
Human Resource Management involves the process of recruitment and selection of employees, providing orientation and induction, training, development and performance appraisal. HR also deals with providing compensations, benefits and maintaining proper relationship with the employees in addition to employee safety and health measures. Compliance with labor laws is also one of HR Departments’ responsibility.
Today many experts claim that machines and technologies are replacing humans. However, machines and technologies are built and operated by humans owing to which companies are continuously searching for talented, skilled and qualified professionals to use existing technologies as well as to develop disruptive technologies.
“The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining” by Steven Hawking
Availability of skilled workforce is a major challenge today owing to the rapid changes in technologies. Human resource management involves facilitating optimum utilization of skilled workforce as well as skilling the existing workforce keeping in mind the goals of the organization.
Functions or role of Human Resource management:
- Managerial Functions involve the following:
- Human resource planning: In this function, the number and types of employees needed to accomplish organizational goals are determined. Research is an important part of this function because planning requires the collection and analysis of information to forecast human resources supplies and needs. The basic human resource planning strategy is staffing and employee development.
- Organizing: Tasks are allocated among its members, relationships are identified and activities are integrated towards a common objective. Relationships are established among the employees so that they can collectively contribute to the implementation of organizational goal.
- Directing: Through proper direction and motivation it will be possible to tap the potential of employees.
- Operational Functions are as follows:
- Recruitment and selection: This process brings in a pool of prospective candidates who will be needed by the organization, so that the management can select candidates from this pool.
- Job analysis: is the process of describing the nature of the job and specifying the human requirements such as skills and experience needed to perform the tasks. The final product of this function is job description. It’s a vital source of information to employees & managers, because job content has a profound influence on personnel programs and practices.
- Design: Job design aims at outlining and organizing tasks, duties and responsibilities into a single unit of work for the achievement of certain objectives.
- Performance Appraisal: Human resource professionals are required to implement this process in order to asses and ensure the performance of employees is at an acceptable level.
- Training and development: This function of human resource management helps employees to acquire skills and knowledge to perform their jobs effectively. Training and development programs are organized for both new and existing employees. Employees are prepared for higher level responsibilities through constant training and development.
- Employee Welfare: involves the numerous services, benefits and facilities that are provided for the well-being of the employees and their families.
- Maintenance: Human resource is considered as an asset for the organization. A high percentage of employee turnover is not considered good for the organization. Human resource management always try to keep their best performing employees with the organization.
- Labor relations: Employees come together and form a union to obtain more voice in decisions affecting wage, benefits and working conditions. HR department will co-ordinate with the labour unions on matters that require consultation and co-operation in-order to achieve the organizational goals.
- Personnel Research and records: are done by human resource management team so as to gather employees’ opinions on wages and salaries, promotions, working conditions, welfare activities, and leadership. Research helps in understanding employees’ satisfaction, percentage of employee turnover and rate of employee termination. Record function involves recording, maintaining, and retrieving employee related information like – application forms, employment history, working hours, earnings, employee absenteeism, employee turnover and other data related to employees.
- Industrial Relations: At present the responsibility of maintaining good industrial relations are discharged by human resource manager. The human resource manager can do a great deal in maintaining industrial peace in the organization as he is deeply associated with numerous committees on discipline, labor welfare, safety and grievance. He also gives authentic information to the trade union leaders and conveys their views on various labor problems to the top management.
- Advisory Functions: the human resource manager has specialized education and training in managing human resources and can play an advisory role.
- He advices the top management on formulation and evaluation of personnel programs, policies and procedures.
- He also provides counselling for achieving and maintaining good human relations and high employee morale.
Advice to the Departmental heads on:
- Manpower planning
- Job analysis and design
- Recruitment and selection
- Performance appraisal.
How can mentoring help human resource managers?
Human resource managers at some point of their working period need mentoring for bringing about a change in their organization and their workstyle. Mentoring can help an organization to win in today’s escalating “war for talent”, but will achieve this most effectively if the mentoring program is aligned with the organization’s strategic positioning and long‐term objectives. Mentoring a human resource manager will bring in a lot of changes in the organization and these changes will bring in an enormous impact on the structure of the organization. Mentoring helps the human resource management in the following ways:
- It can support career‐development initiatives.
- Helps firms to communicate its values and behaviors.
Enhance staff recruitment and retention.
- Provide employees with a sense of belonging, communicate and foster a more inclusive environment.
- Provide opportunities to expand networks, increase employees’ sense of empowerment.
- Boost a person’s sense of job satisfaction and personal effectiveness.
- Improve decision‐making skills, augment training efforts and facilitate knowledge transfer.
The practice of HRM must be viewed through the prism of overall strategic goals for the organization instead of a micro approach. A holistic perspective to human resource management helps integrate with the overall strategy to ensure effective use of people and provide better returns to the organizations in terms of ROI (Return on Investment).