Human Resources Management (HRM) is the function of the organization that deals with the issues that relate with people. These are performance, management, hiring, motivation, training and communication. In other words, HRM is a department that is concerned with the employment of people, resource development, maintenance and reimbursement for the services offered. They decide on whether to use independent contractors to carry out these activities or to manage them from within. Small firms have to carry out these activities themselves since they cannot meet the expense of external contractors. HRM also aims at ensuring that all employees are comfortable in their working environment and, that they are satisfied with the compensation they receive.
Definition of human resource management
The organizational practices may cause difficulties for the human resources department. Human behavior in the workplace is difficult to understand since managers in different firms are faced with the same employee behaviors. For decades, organisations have claimed that the most valuable resource is people. HRM is closely related with operational management, which deals with the management of operational processes. Organizational effectiveness can be in the terms of the achievement of organizational goals, or the immediate results. The achievement of goals is assessed by factors such as revenues, profits, costs, or the investment returns. The human resource managers get involved when they are required to evaluate the values of employees on the achievement of these factors. Earlier HRM was only concerned with the policies of employment and the effectiveness of the firm but lately, they have taken up the evaluation of the effectiveness of employee practices. Other factors may alter the end goals and therefore, it becomes difficult to review the relationship between the effectiveness of the organization and the HRM practices (Gerald 1995, p. 636).
During the 20th Century, the approaches, methods and ideas of managing people were developed and, HRM came out as a model of managing people to enhance improved performance of the organizations. The human resources management can be hard or soft. The ‘hard’ approach insists on the need to base the policies of management on the organizational needs. On the other hand, ‘soft’ means that the policies are based on the needs of the people to provide a favorable working environment. Theories that tend to relate organizational performance and HRM practices are grouped as contingency, constituent and best practices. However, there is no clear basis of arguing that the performance of an organization results from proper implementation of the HR policies. Although formal policies exist, their implementation is affected by various factors leading to the discrepancy between the intended policy and the practice (Robin 2002, p.3).
The concept that people are the most important asset of an organization has led to a lot of literature on the HR practitioners. Thus, there has been links between Organizational performance and HRM practices, which has drawn attention in the past decades. Guest proposed a model for performance and HRM. It states that the level of employee commitment is influenced by the HRM practices, which in turn affects the financial status of the organization. Guest’s model is based on the assumption that human resources are different from the traditional methods of management. It is a model based on ideas and it is aimed at establishing a basis between the high performance and the levels of commitment. It also utilizes the ‘flow approach’, which views the strategies leading to various desired outcomes. This model tries to tie the commitment of employees and their behavior in achieving the goals of strategic management (Laura 2004, p.1).
The Storey model shows the differences between the industries and the workforce by coming up with an ‘ideal’ type of management. Storey views HRM as to entail the involvement of line managers and, a practice of assumptions and beliefs. The employment relationship depends on certain forces for it to be achieved. This model emphasizes on the need of commitment and a strategic oriented system for the desired performance to be achieved. Storey’s model shows that human resource is a strategy to achieve the organization’s goal unlike the evaluation of management’s achievements. In addition, the employment relationships are individualized unlike the traditional industrial relations where, collective bargaining power was exercised. The focus is shifted to the business objectives where the employees achieve them together with the management (Chris 2009, p. 2).
The Harvard model is the management of human resources by policy choices and the long term goals are put in place. The interests of stakeholders are put in the forefront when carrying out the organizational practices. The situational factors that affect the attainment of the human resource goals are considered and, the feedback process should flow to the stakeholders and, the organization directly. The Harvard model is analytical and prescriptive and their strategic decisions are based on numerous and difficult variables. It tends to ignore the issues relating to employee motivation, the work environment and labour negotiations. This model assumes a HRM model of one policy fitting all in the work environment. It further suggests that the well-being of individuals is evident in the outcomes and thus it should come first in the strategic plans. The status of employees shows the outcome of competence and commitment (Beer et al. 1984, p. 5).
Employees’ perspective of HRM techniques
Since employees are, the most valuable asset of an organization they must be listened to and their demands met in order to achieve the organizations goals. Employees’ attitude towards the HRM policies tends to determine the effectiveness of the policies put in place. This is because, if they get a negative attitude towards the management patterns, they tend to carry out their duties in a very reluctant manner. This will increase the turnaround time and the set objectives may not be met on time. The satisfaction of employees is essential because they will be needed for the set targets to be achieved. If they are demoralized, they tend to decrease their productivity and they view the policies put in place as an oppression and misuse to them. This makes them lose their morale and seeks employment elsewhere and, since high turnovers are not healthy for an organization, the productivity tends to reduce. On the other hand, a high turnover portrays a negative image of the organization and thus the customers will start to lose confidence in the organization. The HR policies might result to affect the outcomes of the businesses rather than the opposite. The employees like it when they are involved in decision-making. Therefore, it is advisable that the management takes up a policy of consulting the employees on various issues especially those that affect them (Koys 2001, p. 101).
The employers are the designer of the human resource policies and they determine a lot in the effectiveness of the organization. When designing the policies and the procedures for an organization, employers usually have the desire that organization becomes successful. Employers at times view the diverse management activities as an additional cost. However, they have come to realize that it is necessary to create a working environment where all the employees feel comfortable, and they utilize their skills fully. Employers have also come to realize that the organizational goals cannot be achieved without the employees. This makes them put the needs and demands of their employees first to create a better working environment. There are laws in the US against discrimination in the workplace where, personal characteristics like age, disability, race, gender and other factors are considered when making employment decisions. There are laws in place, which call for equal employment rights in the industries. Employers should aim at hiring well-educated individuals, train them and remunerate them well so that they can be motivated. In addition, the employers need to be aware that not only monetary benefits are a motivation and therefore, they should come up with non-monetary benefits like promotions. This will help in improving the morale of employees and their attitude towards their jobs (Neil 2001, p. 207).
Therefore, the human resource management policies might be reflected in the effectiveness of the organization and could have a positive or a negative impact. The management should ensure that the needs of the employees are met and incorporated in the policies. Policies that are employee oriented will tend to improve the morale of the employees and this will be reflected in the implementation of the activities. This will ensure that the objectives of the organization are achieved with ease and in turn, the productivity and profitability of firms and companies is increased.
Beer, M. et al. 1984, Managing human assets, free press, New York.
Chris, M. 2009, HRM in an Organizational context: Contribution to organizational performance, Web.
Gerald, R. et al 1995, Handbook of Human Resource Management, Blackwell, UK.
Koys, D. 2001, ‘The effects of employee satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior and turnover on organizational effectiveness: A unit-level, longitudinal study’, Personnel Psychology, Vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 101-104.
Laura, H 2004, HRM practices, employee, and organizational performance: A critique of the research and Guest’s model, Crewe Campus, Crewe. Neil, A 2001, Handbook of industrial, work and organizational psychology, Sage, London.
Robin, K 2002, ‘Human resource management in Australia: is a hologram?’, Employment relations Record, Vol. 2, no. 1, p.3.