Compensation & Benefits
The field of human resources continues to grow as the effects of globalization and technology are being felt all over the world. These positive developments, has come with an increase in competition among individuals and organizations. People and companies are more aggressive to ensure that they get the best out of their talent and employees. Human resources departments of companies ensure that they attract hire and train the best available employees. Getting talented employees is one of the ways of ensuring that an organization maximizes their productivity levels through delivering high quality results. A highly qualified and trained employee workforce is worth compensating highly. The compensation and benefits that employees in an organization are paid should match with industry requirements and expectations. Employees are usually aware of the figure that they should expect depending on the industry that they are in. Employees believe that they are being compensated highly in relation to their qualifications and productivity, then they are bound to work harder to earn even higher salaries and get more benefits such as paid leave, health insurance for the employee his/her children and spouse, allowances and flexible working hours.
Summary of Articles
Different companies have different salary scales for their employees depending on their budget, level of qualification of employees and labor laws in the country. Most countries have labor departments which have guidelines on the minimum amount of money that employees should be paid, and basic benefits that they should also be given such as leave days, minimum health insurance contributions by the employer. In Australia, the government expects employers to have 38 hours as the maximum possible working hours and have an allowance for over time for the employees. Employees are entitled to a minimum of twenty days as their leave days. Failure to go for leave should be accompanied by a payment of the equivalent number of days’ compensation. The productivity of an organization can get by with such conditions, but would be even better if the terms were raised, so that an organization’s terms were higher when benchmarked with other companies in the industry (Thomas, 2014).
Organizations have different ways through which they remain afloat during tough economic times. One of the ways can be hiring interns to work under the supervision of experienced employees. Interns are paid a lower wage rate in comparison to fully qualified individuals. However, most interns are highly motivated to learn and be productive since they are on a job search and would like to learn as much as possible; skills that they can use on real jobs. Most employers ask for experience when hiring; which is why most interns would jump at the opportunity of an internship employment. Organizations that pay higher than the industry and government regulated amount for interns ensure maximum productivity. Such organizations are also highly likely to get a pool of highly qualified and talented interns who it can hire after training. Companies that offer good compensation rates and benefits are able to attract talented and qualified employees who work effectively to achieve the goals and objectives of an organization (Diamond, 2014).
The paper has successfully looked at a human resources parameter; compensation and benefits, and the effects that it has on human personnel. Organizations that compensate their employees highly are bound to attract and retain highly talented and qualified employees. The paper has also looked at two articles posted this week of November 2014 in regards to compensation and benefits.
Diamond, D. Essentials for using Interns in a small business. Arizona Daily Star. 2014/11.
Thomas, O. (2014/11/11). Australia: The key Employment Rules. Retrieved November 12 2014
Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (Ontario)
WSIAT is an agency of the ministry of labor and it is the final level of appeal to which dissatisfied workers and the employees bring disagreements and disputes regarding the workers compensation issues in Ontario and is independent of WSIB (workers safety and insurance board). Its decisions are final and therefore are unquestionable. The public interest mandate of the tribunal is to hear and decide appeals that have been brought before them by the workplace safety and insurance board as well as other matters that may be assigned to them under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act Of 1997
Fundamental guiding principles guiding the Workplace safety and insurance appeals tribunal (Ontario
The tribunal, being a public system adheres to all procedures and guidelines stipulated by the WSIAT (work safety and the insurance appeal of 1997). This being the case, it has laid down principle that guides its operation in the execution of its mandate. Some of the guiding principles include the following.
- To have an accessible appeal in relation to workers and employers disputes
- To Providing superior quality services to the workers, the employers and all the other stakeholders involved
- To have experienced and knowledgeable decision makers who are capable of making logical and informed decisions
- To process a given dispute or case in a timely and efficient manner
- To provide easy access to information regarding the compensation laws and the processes involved as well as
- To effectively and efficiently coordinate with the WSIS partners in the course of an appeal determination so as to ensure fairness and accountability in their undertaking.
Procedures in place for the tribunal
The appeal has laid down practices and procedures in place and some of the latest appeals practices include those practices that are related to the intent to object form as well as the time limit to object, and concept of credibility among other policies are in place. As indicated, the tribunal is guided by section 131 of the WSIAT, this act does not give pre mandated procedures, and therefore gives the board express jurisdiction to determine its own practice and procedure in relation to any appeal, application, proceedings, or mediation. In case during the proceedings a conflict arise between parties as to the practice direction and a given guideline, the practice direction would prevail. But all in all, when a case is brought up, the prehearing process starts, followed by the hearing, and then the post hearing.
All appeals that are brought to the tribunal are decided by the board, and are decided either by the vice chair, or the vice chair, or a panel of three. These three parties include the respondent, the responder and the appeal chamber. Despite this fact, in certain instances, and upon the board studying the appeal, it may decide to advice the members to the appeal to consider alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. In this case, the board advices the parties on the advantages and disadvantages of presenting their appeal to the tribunal and that of the mediation so that the parties can make informed decision on the matter. All in all, the ADR process is an efficient one as the parties can decide ion the pace that they intend to mediate in. at the same time, it is also cost effective meaning that the litigation costs and other costs associated with the appeal like the experts witness account are done away with. Through the use of ADR, the parties are able to hide the company’s privacy details since the mediation does not take place in public but in private.
If the parties opt to undergo the tribunal’s way, the board ensures that there is procedural fairness. This is in regards to various issues regarding the responder and the respondent, in terms of issuance of notices, evidence presentation among other factors like expert witness and witness surveillance. This being the case, the board ensures that there is fairness by requiring the parties to give contact address through which they use to contact them in case they are required at the tribunal. At the same time, prior to attending, the tribunal writes to the participating parties notifying them of the hearing date. The parties are supposed to set a hearing date but if they fail, the board fixes the date. Since the hearings are conducted in English or French, the party which does not speak either of the language is given an interpreter. There is a three weeks’ notice which the tribunals gives the parties to prepare for witnesses in order to produce evidence
Many prehearing procedures take place before the commencement of the appeal hearing. These processes include the notices of appeal (NOA) by the person intending to make an appeal. The confirmation of the appeal through a letter, application for time extension if applicable, access of the information subject to appeal, mediation processes to try and solve the case out of the tribunal, prehearing conferences to update the parties of the expectations of the tribunal, disclosures, surveillance evidence production of documents and summons among other processes.
After the prehearing process, the parties are scheduled to report to the panel at a later date to start the hearing. This is determined by various factors including the workload pending in the tribunals file, the urgency as well as the source of referral. During the hearing, there are various ways in which disclosures are handled. Disclosures enable the parties to the appeal an opportunity to understand the case, to prepare for the hearing, to consider if they can mediate instead of going to appeal, to prepare documents and evidence, as well as identifying another information that should be needed in the preparation of the hearing. Based on the Act, all the parties are supposed to disclose all evidence to the other party three weeks before the hearing date commences. The materials to be presented like the medical reports should be availed during disclosure. The disclosures usually require three weeks but certain exceptions including the submissions for the law and tribunal disclosure of updates apply. The tribunal requires all the witnesses to be disclosed on the COA, including a summary of their evidence and the number of witnesses to attend.
Procedures in place regarding vary depending on the condition. In the determination of jurisdiction, the board has the mandate to jurisdiction on all WSIB final decisions that a party is dissatisfied with (Workplace safety and insurance para). When dealing with a party to the appeal that is absent, or failure to attend by the respondent within 30 minutes, the tribunal may opt to start the proceedings without the said party. In case of failure to attend by theappellant within 30 minutes of the hearing, the board may decide on the case based on the information presented, or may declare the case inactive for 3 months. In case of non-communication within the tree months, the tribunal may withdraw the case or take any other action that may be considered appropriate.
Adjournment requires the hearing to be postponed and occurs when one of the parties writes to the tribunal indicating so. Because of the workload of the tribunals, the parties are expected to prepare for the hearing and be ready to attend on the specified date. The strict adjournment policy does not allow for adjournment and therefore leads to non-expediting of the hearing. All in all, adjournments that are made before the hearing is expected to be made and a copy sent to the tribunal indicating the reason for the request and sent to the other party requesting them to confirm adjournment. In case of adjournments after the hearing has begun, the appealing may refuse to grant one and thereby promoting the party to attend. The absence of one party may not render an appeal to be adjourned, and where the adjournment has been brought, various conditions may be looked at including whether the need to adjourn supersede the hearing, whether there will be any prejudice upon grating the adjournment. Upon request, the panel may impose condition for future conduct but only after the testimony of the available witness is heard.
Admissibility of evidence
The board uses Surveillance evidence and determines whether it meets the board’s requirements. The board scrutinizes all evidence and weighs the admissibility. When dealing with witnesses, any party intending to bring a witness is expected to be presented before three weeks to the hearing or at the earliest possible time. In case of an expert’s witness, the board verifies his credibility and in certain times may use his evidence. In the case of expert witness, the panel considers various factors concerning the person including education, certification, knowledge and skills, training and expertise, affiliations among other factors. If the tribunal is satisfied that the person is an expert, disclosure of the expert must be done soonest possible, but not later than three weeks prior to hearing. In the submission, the expert report will be required, the expert’s CV as well as a letter for the experts report. The party who files for the expert is the one that pays him fully, though the panel may pay where the expert’s opinion is important in decision making. An expert witness is that person who gives opinion based on training, education, or experience (Currier and Thomas 524). The board must recognize the person as an expert before he/she can be given the opportunity to give expert witness.
To determine credibility of the witness, the board undertake investigations and therefore are equipped with some facts regarding the appeal. This helps them in weighing evidence and determining the outcome. They also use the laws set out to determine the weight of the evidence. Documentary evidence in an appeal should be brought prior to the appeal date.
In the determination, hearing and presentation of the case, advocates may be present to represent either of the parties. At the same time, the media and interveners may be present during presentation.
In the determination of alternative dispute resolution, the board usually employs the following process
- The request by either of the party to the appeal to enter into mediation
- The acceptance by the appeal and the issuance of an appropriate mediation process
- Agreement of both parties of the mediation
- Signing of the consent form at the mediation and agreeing to participate and engage in the mediation process. .
- Allocating mediators from the board
Challenges and benefits of ADR the tribunal/board
One of the advantages of ADR is that it leads to efficiency especially when both parties are in agreement. At the same time, it may lead to time savings. With the use of ADR, confidentiality and privacy regarding some company aspects can be maintained. In terms of costs, the ADR process if cost effective since the litigation costs, time wastage would be reduced. It can also lead to the implementation of new strategies to sort the cases under the tribunal.
The challenges however of this approach includes the fact that if the mediator take asides, it may not lead to mutual understanding. The mediator may also act in partiality, thus compromising the outcome. The parties to the ADR who represents the disputes have various skills, but Generally speaking, the practitioner should be well versed with the mediation process and should be aware of the labor laws as well as public relation skills. Generally, university education or higher level of skills in relevant fields can be appropriate for the practitioner.
Decision making by the board
Once the post hearing stage of the appeal is complete, all the materials regarding the case are left with the vice chair or the panel (if there is one). There is no communication between the parties and the chair or the counsel office until such a time when the decision will have been made and released. The decisions are solely made by the vice chair and is not helped by the council staff to write up the decision. These decisions may take time and upon completion are mailed to the parties. In case there is need for post by the tribunal are published at the board’s website where one can gain access through inputting the key word, or searching the required decision by reference, decision number, release date and so forth.
Rights of appeal
The decisions by the WSIB are appealed to the WSIAT before the expiry of six months. It should also be known that the final decisions of the WSIAT can be appealed only after a final decision have been made. A notice of appeal (NOA) is therefore filed to the tribunal indicating the why the made decision is being considered to be incorrect and therefore ought to be appealed (Macintosh, Para).
Code of conduct
There is a set code of conducts for the members participating in the appeal and include
- The fact that the members shall conduct themselves personally and professionally so as to enhance and maintain public confidence, objectivity and impartiality
- That members shall act in accordance to the applicable laws
- That members shall not condone or commit unethical issue and shall not invoke others to the party to do so
- That the members should act in transparency and in an accountable manner personally and professionally
- That the conflict between the parties shall be resolved in the favor of the public interest.
Media and the board
The media is allowed in the boardroom as observers, but in certain cases requiring privacy, they are not allowed. All in all, the mediaprohibited to participate in the proceedings. Various articles about the tribunal have been published in the media. One of such case entailed a man who had gone on a hunger strike for 10 days protesting what he termed as injustice being done by the tribunal for not hearing his case that occurred in 1991 when he used to work at Baycrest arena in New York, and was injured in the process (Inside Toronto para). This is a tribunal decision no. 2159/09 where it was ruled that the limit on mental stress policy of the WSIB violated the charter of rights and freedom (Mondaq para).
Currier, Katherine A, and Thomas E. Eimermann. Introduction to Paralegal Studies: A Critical Thinking Approach. New York: Aspen Publishers, 2010. Print.
Inside Toronto. Man ends 10day hunger strike after WSIB grant appeal request (2014). Web. Accessed on 22-11-2014 from: http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/4235053-man-ends-10-day-hunger-strike-after-wsib-grants-appeal-request/
Macintosh, Jon. VA Disability Claim: A Practical, Step-By-Step Field Manual for Active-Duty Service members and Veterans on How to Prepare, File, Maintain, Win and Appeal a Service-Connected VA Disability Claim Without Going Insane. Adagio Press, 2014.
Mondaq: Canada: WSIAT: Limits to entitlement for mental stress violate the charter (2014). Web. Accessed on 21-11-2014 from: http://www.mondaq.com/canada/x/314584/employment+litigation+tribunals/WSIAT+Limits+To+Entitlement+For+Mental+Stress+Violate+The+Charter
Safety, Ontario Workplace, and Insurance Appeals Tribunal. “[Notice of appeal and revised appeal procedures].” (2001).
WSIAT. Why is WSIAT an Expert Tribunal. Web. Accessed on 21-11-2014 from: http://www.wsiat.on.ca/english/about/expert.htm
Roles of HRM
Human resource management professionals refer to individuals who handle the management processes of the workforce or human resources of organizations. These professionals have a responsibility for attracting, selecting, training, assessing as well as rewarding employees (Kahnweiler & Kahnweiler, p.21). This paper identifies and discusses the basic roles of human resource management professionals. It also explains how their roles have changed over the years.
The basic roles of HRM professionals
It is extremely significant to note that the roles and responsibilities of Human resource management professionals vary greatly from organization to organization. In companies that are small, human resource professionals are usually hired to handle the HR needs of their companies. In organizations that are large, their duties are usually divided between entire departments or several employees (Sims, p.54). Human resource management professionals are involved in hiring employees. These professionals usually advertise for vacancies in order to attract the required people in their organizations. The professionals also interview job candidates in order to come up with the required people. The human resource professionals also terminate employees for various reasons.
Human resource professionals also work to keep their companies efficient and effective in terms of the right human resources. In this regard, the professionals coordinate promotions as well as reassignments. Human resource professionals play a highly significant role of keeping their organizations operating in a smooth and efficient manner (Harris et al, p.32). One way that the professionals ensure this is by having the right people in place who handle the right tasks. They also offer promotions to their current employees. Human resource professionals also manage the relations of their employees. When disputes arise between managers and their employees as well as between employees, they need to be solved fairly as well as equitably by the professionals. The professionals also administer benefits and pay of their employees.
How their roles have changed over the years
The roles of human resource professionals have changed over the years. These roles have shifted from personnel departments to human resources. This has been extremely significant in transforming the way that organizations view the human element. The change has been as a result of employment laws that have improved over the years (Kahnweiler & Kahnweiler, p.17). It has also come as a result of working conditions that have been improving over the years. In addition, the changing roles have been due to economic challenges that have been affecting many industries in the economy. The jobs of these professionals have had to change in order to keep up with various demands of their organizations on numerous levels.
Human resource professionals have become strategic partners in their organizations. The value of these professionals has been rising over the years in the eyes of organization leaders. Human resource professionals are now seen as true resources. In addition, human resource officers have been working in tandem with departmental managers as well as decision makers in forging workplaces for the future (Sims, p.4). Due to economic challenges that continue to bedevil various nations across the world, human resource professionals have been evolving in numerous ways that are unexpected. Instead of handling employment duties that are routine, human resource personnel have also been handling some heavy burden on behalf of their organizations. These include the recruitment, training as well as developing their employees in safe workplaces as possible.
In conclusion, it is extremely significant to realize that human resource professionals play a pivotal role in their organizations. These roles include hiring employees, terminating employees as well as coordinating reassignments and promotions. Other roles include managing the relations of their employees as well as administering benefits and pay. However, the roles of human resource professionals have been changing over the years. Human resource professionals have now become crucial decision makers in their organizations.
Harris, Hillary et al. International Human Resource Management, London: SAGE, 2013.
Kahnweiler, William & Kahnweiler, Jennifer. Shaping Your HR Role, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
Sims, Ronald. Human Resource Management: Contemporary Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities, Chicago: IAP Press, 2007.
Human Resource Management
Performance management programs are plans of action that are established by organizations to monitor crucial aspects of its systems and processes of care. Management of performance enables a company to determine and measure its level of performance. Performance measurement involves data collection which in turn reflects how the organization’s tasks work as well to effect the organization’s decisions. Performance management provides an insight on how the current programs of an organization are working and how it can optimally optimize its resources to achieve efficiency and effectiveness (Crandall & Crandall, 2015). Performance management enables an organization to establish identify a measure to measure performance, determine its baseline, and evaluate performance as well as establish measures to achieve desired performance.
Desired performance in an organization is brought about by the use efficient research and evaluation. Conducting adequate research enables an organization to gain enough and reliable information for decision making. Decisions that are made out of existing and solid information always prove to be the most effective as they address the performance gaps precisely and effectively (Crandall & Crandall, 2015). Organizations can engage in different processes of research to gather the required information for its decisions. Examples of these processes include job analysis and job description which enable an organization to establish the tasks that it needs to complete to achieve certain goals and the skills required respectively.
Job analysis involves an examination of human attributes that are required by an organization to perform the defined jobs successfully (Imran, Cheema & Azeem, 2014). Organizations should accurately identify the human resources that they require in order to remain competitive in their business industry. Strategic job analysis enables an organization to recognize the changes that need to be done to fit the future needs of an organization. It also provides the basis for a major part of human resource management activities in the organization. The human attributes involve knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics and are summarized by the word KSAOC. Knowledge is concerned with the needed information, skills constitute of the required proficiencies, and abilities are the stable attributes possessed by an individual while other characteristics include all other factors that an individual owns that can determine their performance.
The job description, on the other hand, involves the process of identifying the tasks, responsibilities, and duties of a certain job. Job descriptions provide useful information to an organization that includes the statement of different job positions, a summary of the responsibilities covered under these positions, states the essential functions and duties to take care of their responsibilities (Moynihan, 2013). In addition to these functions, job specification provides a description of jobs that constitute and organization. A job specification, on the other hand, provides a listing of the KSAOCs that are required by an individual to perform a given task successfully.
Job analysis, the KSAOC statements and job description are highly related and form a basis for the measurement of performance in a performance management program. Job analysis provides an organization with the examination of those human resources that it needs to achieve a set of jobs successfully. KSAOCs, on the other hand, provide the basic attributes that an individual needs to possess to achieve a specific job analysis. The job description, on the other hand, completes job analysis by stating the different skills required to perform tasks in an organization. These activities contribute towards a performance management program by making their respective specification determine if an organization has the right human resource base to achieve their goals. Job analysis, KSAOCs and job description, therefore, form the basis for measurement in an organization’s performance management program.
Crandall, R. E., & Crandall, W. (2015). How Management Programs Can Improve Organization Performance: Selecting and Implementing the Best Program for Your Organization. Information Age Publishing.
Imran, H., Arif, I., Cheema, S., & Azeem, M. (2014). The relationship between job satisfaction, job performance, attitude towards work, and organizational commitment. Entrepreneurship and innovation management journal, 2(2), 135-144.
Moynihan, D. P. (2013). Advancing the empirical study of performance management: What We learned from the program assessment rating tool. The American Review of Public Administration, 0275074013487023.
Pedagogical and Andragogical Approaches
Given that, the current workforce is a mixture of old and young employees, human resource professionals are questioning whether training both types of workers requires the same approach or whether the two groups should be trained differently. Both types of employees have diverse needs; hence, they should be exposed to different approaches of training. The two critical approaches of training are pedagogy and andragogy, where pedagogy is directed to children while andragogy approach is meant to teach adults. Thus, when an organization plans to enhance awareness of sexual harassment among employees, both pedagogy and andragogy approaches can be utilized, as each method has its benefits, as well as limitations.
The subject of sexual harassment is quite sensitive to some employees, thus, picking the appropriate method of teaching is vital for the benefit of the organization. Traditionally, pedagogy was a teaching technique specifically directed to children. Nowadays, pedagogical approach can teach adults, particularly when the trainer wants to exercise authority and control of the learning process. This form of teaching employs a downward communication approach and focuses more on rules (Werner & DeSimone, 2012). Using pedagogy approach as a training supervisor assists in ensuring that the required topic is covered within the stipulated time.
In contrast, andragogy approach involves teaching adults hypothetically using self-directed method. In this approach, adults are expected to participate actively by asking questions, raising opinions, and suggest how the trainer can meet their needs. The trainer needs to establish a plan to present his topic and set the procedure that would involve the learners, thus, creating conducive environment for learning (Knowles, Holton III & Swanson, 2014). Andragogical approach is flexible, open, and accommodates standards agreed by the parties involved, and, in this case, the employees and their instructor.
Although andragogy seems to appeal more than pedagogy, most Human Resource Development (HRD) professionals advocate for a mixture of the two approaches to enhance a continuous process of learning. It is quite feasible to have both of the approaches in a classroom setup, despite andragogy being an open and responsive approach. While developing a program to teach on sexual harassment within the organization, the training supervisor can utilize both approaches. Pedagogy approach employs principles that are curriculum-oriented, legal-minded, as well as aspects that highlights on justification. On the other hand, andragogy exploits two-way communication principles, focuses on specific problems, and encourages teamwork. According to Werner and DeSimone (2012) andragogical approach encourages self-diagnosis, and involvement of students while evaluating success.
Training on organizational culture is a continuous process, which should be carried out regularly to motivate older employees and to inform the new employees about the organization’s norms. Hence, applying pedagogical approach in the preliminary stages of training can assist employees to understand the topic before they can be allowed to offer their view. Employees should understand that sexual harassment at the workplace is illegal, and any issue that involves legal mechanisms does not encourage individuals’ views. Since employees are expected to cover on penalties involved when an individual is accused of sexual harassment, pedagogical approach is necessary to ensure that every employee is aware of the laws.
The reason why supervisors cannot rely entirely on pedagogical approach is that it ignores the learners’ contribution to the study by turning them into subordinates of the instructors (Bovill, Cook‐Sather & Felten, 2011). Andragogical approach seems to be the appropriate method of training employees because it is normally based on individual’s experience, which is gained from pedagogy training in early age. The supervisor can still rely on the pedagogical approach to establish the andragogical approach for training employees on sexual harassment. Since andragogical approach is a two-way communication, the supervisor can rely on information that the employees are willing to share to motivate others on how to avoid sexual harassment.
One of the benefits of andragogical approach is that employees are able to assist each other, hence, becoming competent and experienced. Employees can be grouped into different categories where employees are expected to play the role of problem-solving, as well as discussing the methods that the instructor should use to deliver the topic concerning sexual harassment. Andragogical approach is driven by the need to know something, thus, adults are capable of investing their time to probe on the benefits they would accrue from the training (Knowles, Holton III & Swanson, 2014). Andragogical approach has worked in numerous settings that include corporate, businesses, industries, healthcare, religious groups, as well as rehabilitation centers.
Enhancing awareness on sexual harassment among employees requires the HRD professionals to adopt the adragogical approach of learning, which encourage participation and is open to other possibilities. However, instructors should not overlook on pedagogical approach, which can assist in building the foundation of the topic under discussion. To understand the law on sexual harassment, instructors need to be strict so that employees can acknowledge the need to observe the law. Issues of employee relations should be discussed openly, thus, andragogical approach is necessary to facilitate participation and encouraging new ideas.
Bovill, C., Cook‐Sather, A., & Felten, P. (2011). Students as co‐creators of teaching approaches, course design, and curricula: implications for academic developers. International Journal for Academic Development,16(2), 133-145.
Knowles, M. S., Holton III, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (2014). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. New York, NY: Routledge.
Werner, J. M., & DeSimone, R. L. (2012). Human resource development. Mason, OH: South-Western.
Organizational development represents an area of research, practice, and theory focused on generation and expansion of knowledge and efficiency among people (employees) for the accomplishment of greater success in organizational performance and change. Originally, the basis of OD was the realization that structures and processes in organizations affect the behavior and motivation of workers, but more recently, the scope of OD has expanded towards the function of aligning organizations with complex and rapidly evolving environments (Anderson, 2011). OD features planned interventions based on knowledge in behavioral science. In this context, OD’s main functions include promoting organizational learning, transforming organizational values and norms, knowledge management, and enforcing efficient organizational strategies in identifying problems, planning actions, negotiating change, and evaluating progress (Anderson, 2011).
Organizational learning concerns the mechanism of creating, preserving, and sharing knowledge across an organization to influence continued competitiveness, profitability, and efficiency in an evolving environment. Knowledge management features the capture, development, sharing, and effective use of organizational knowledge in a multidisciplinary approach to influence achievement of organizational objectives through productive and committed use of knowledge.Other functions include positive management of conflict, enhancing workers’ motivation, commitment, and productivity, encouraging a culture of confronting problems rather than avoiding them, and enhancing the quality and efficiency of interpersonal and organization-wide communication and cooperation (Anderson, 2011).
I feel that the most important issue that HR managers, organizations, and employees face today concerns the challenge of preserving the relevance and competitiveness of their activities and strategies in a highly evolving world. Intensifying globalization and technological development in modern times have expanded the scope and scale of threats to the productivity, sustainability, and relevance of traditional HR, organizational, and employee performance strategies. This has necessitated continuous reevaluations that are costly but critical for organizational performance.
Anderson, D. (2011). Organization Development: the Process of Leading Organizational Change. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications
Strategic Human Resource Management
The human resources function is one of the most important functions in any organization. The role of the function is to ensure that the available human resources in an organization are utilized optimally for the success of the organization. Many studies conducted in the past have shown that the human resources department, if managed strategically, can enhance organizational performance greatly. In particular, the concept of strategic human resources management is currently considered as one of the core organizational practices that can boost productivity among employees while at the same time enhancing the overall performance of the organization. The practice of strategic human resources development is linked to effective management in the organizational context as well as to a variety of challenges. At the same time, it has specific goals within any organization and achieving those goals depends on the level of interaction between the SHRM function and the other organizational functions.
Understanding how SHRM works can be an essential starting point for boosting effective competency utilization in any organization. This begins with understanding what the goals of SHRM are and how they help the function to realize the organizational goals and objectives. The ensuing paper explores the practice of SHRM in organizations with the objectives of:
- Explaining the goals of strategic HRM in an organization
- Providing an overview of the role of strategic HRM in the organization
- Explaining how strategic HRM impacts organizational performance
- Highlighting some of the challenges faced in the practice of HRM in an organization and the potential for solution
- To explore how technology has changed the practice of HRM in organizations
These objectives will be accomplished in three major sections of the paper which include an overview, literature review section, and the results and recommendations section. The literature review section will help to formulate hypothesis for the paper and subsequently to find a clear course of discussion for the same.
The Human resources function performs the role of personnel management in any organization. This role include practices such as advertisement of organizational vacancies, recruitment and hiring of employees, training of employees, assignment of employee roles and responsibilities, management of employee complaints and management of employee behaviors among others (Cania, 2014). With these practices, the HRM function can be said to be in control of the organizational behavior and as such, has the power to influence the organizational culture. Because of these roles in the HRM function, it is considered to be an essential driver of organizational performance both in terms of behavior and in terms of actual asset outcome. Effectiveness of the HR function determines the overall productivity of the work place as well as the discipline of the employees. Where the HRM function does not perform its initiatives optimally, achieving organizational goals can be a challenge as productivity can be reduced. The roles of the HRM function are also interlinked to each other. For instance, the recruitment process may be successful but if the role assignment does not consider the key competencies of each member of the organization, the function may not utilize all the available competencies optimally. Wrong employee placement results in reduced productivity due to lower capability to handle assigned roles (Cania, 2014).
Based on the functions of the HRM department in the organizational context, the function has to perform effectively through any possible strategy. In the contemporary times, the strategy that is encouraged in the organizational context is described as strategic human resources management. This strategy implies that the available competencies are to be utilized to the best of their capacity in order to ensure that organizational goals and objectives are met. Strategic HRM focuses on the use of available opportunities and talents to improve the effectiveness of all the other departments in an organization (Wagh, 2017). This involves various concepts including applying a coherent strategy for the design and management of the organization’s personnel, operations based on an employment policy as well as a work force management strategy; having a workable philosophy underpinning all the systems in operations; matching the function goals to explicit organizational goals and enhancing the organization’s competitive advantage through the use of the available resources (Cania, 2014).
The functions of the HRM department are thus varied and also more capable of resulting in effective or poor organizational performance depending on how the function is managed. The ability to address the challenges faced in the function with effective and sustainable solutions can be the beginning of enhanced organizational performance. The performance of the organization in this regard, is described as the value that can be gained through the organization, both financially and in terms of employee behavior versus relative to the expected value. While the financial value is easy to quantify and to observe, the behavioral value is more difficult to quantify. This brings about a challenge to the HR department in that the organization spends on the employees yet cannot categorize them as assets (Walsh et al., 2010). Instead, the employees appear as expenditures in the company balance sheet yet have great value in the organization, and can even be considered to be the greatest assets to the organization.
Strategic human resource management is applauded as an effective strategy for boosting organizational performance. In the management of organizational personnel, effectiveness in employee handling can translate into better relationships between employees and customers and subsequently greater value in terms of finances. Bagga and Sanjay (2014) assert that the primary goal of strategic HRM is to improve the productivity of employees and to identify operational areas where there is need for long term improvements. The achievement of this goal requires that the HR function be aligned to the goals of the organization making it essential for the function to consider this as one of its objectives. The other key goals of SHRM thus include: to enhance the organizational performance and the management of human capital; to develop a nurturing organizational culture so as to foster innovation, competitive advantage and flexibility in the organization’s operations. Strategic HRM also aims at linking the HR function with the general organizational objectives and goals (Bagga & Sanjay, 2014). Wagh (2017) also describes other goals of the strategic HRM function. These goals include: to create an effective organizational culture; to improve the employee value proposition; and to utilize the available talents and opportunities for the benefit of the organization. Strategic HRM also purposes to emphasize the organizational code of ethics and subsequently enhance employee behavior. At the same time, the function monitors the societal impacts of the business and puts in place strategies to enhance this impact (Wagh, 2017). In its efforts to improve societal impacts, strategic HRM pursues sustainable CSR and also enforces discipline among the work force.
Strategic HRM and Organizational Performance
Organizational performance can be difficult to understand based on the broad definition that is associated with the concept. In all the definitions of the term, it stands as a dependent variable, a function of many organizational features including organizational culture, behavior and the functioning of different departments. At the core of organizational performance, it consists of variables such as behavior and actions that are in alignment with organizational objectives (Cania, 2014). Quantifying organizational performance is thus dependent on the capacity of different functions to perform effectively in aligning the independent functional goals to the overall organizational goals. The organizational performance is evaluated based on a given expected outcome and in comparison to the outcome realized. Cania (2014) defines the outcomes as multidimensional, encompassing the behavioral aspect as well as the results achieved. Monitoring the organizational behaviors is thus a crucial starting point of organizational performance. This is because as the performance evaluation considers the output, directing the organization towards effective performance entails monitoring the system inputs to ensure they can be essential in achieving the desired performance outcomes. Both inputs and outputs are thus important in the organizational performance system.
In tandem with the position provided by Cania (2014), Agarawala (n.d) asserts that the management of organizational performance has to apply a strategy that will be able to check all the business components. Agarawala further describes the key outcomes associated with organizational performance. Such outcomes include: the HR related outcomes such as employee turnover, absenteeism from work, job satisfaction levels and the organizational commitment; the organization related outcomes such as the productivity of employees, service quality, efficiency of service delivery, and customer satisfaction; financial outcomes such as profits return on assets, the sales volumes and returns on investment; and capital market related outcomes such as the market shares, organizational growth and the share prices (Agarawala, n.d). Considering each of these outcomes independently clearly defines the need for effective human resources management as each of the outcomes is linked to the HR department to some extent. For instance, the productivity of the organization is the sum of the productivities of the work force. Similarly higher market shares can only be gained through effective marketing, which relies on the work force available.
Challenges to Strategic HRM
The role of strategic HRM in the organizational context implies that the function also faces multiple challenges when it comes to the need for effective performance. Stankiewicz (2015) highlights some of the challenges associated with strategic HRM. The first challenge is cited to be the organizational culture. On the one hand, the organizational culture is essential for effective performance of the strategic HRM function. Where the organizational culture is supportive, strategic HRM can achieve all its goals when applied appropriately. On the other hand, lack of a supportive organizational culture can hamper the achievement of SRHM objectives in the organization. Furthermore, the needs of organization’s professionals may also hinder the achievement of strategic HRM goals. These are the unfulfilled needs which reduce commitment to the work place objectives and dampen the productivity of the employees. Provision of a suitable work environment entails satisfaction of the needs of the employees while at the same time addressing the organizational needs. Providing sufficient equipment, information and training for employees can be a significant step towards achieving the SHRM goals in the organization.
Walsh et al (2010) also mentions the challenges faced in working with human assets. According to Walsh et al (2010), the characteristics of human assets in an organization can be a challenge to strategic HRM. Stankiewicz (2015) defines this challenge in terms of personal attitudes and values in the work place. The divergence of personal attitudes and values from those encouraged in the work place environment can result in great challenges when it comes to working together. Issues such as employee resistance to change as well as lack of adherence to organizational code of ethics arise due to the lack of tandem between individual values and attitudes and those of the organization. Such challenges can only be addressed through effective employee training and job positioning. In addition to this, the performance of the human capital cannot be effectively quantified (Walsh et al., 2010). Contrary to other departments such as the sales department, the performance of strategic HRM cannot be valued in terms of the productivity of the available man-power. The value added to an organization by the work force cannot be quantified financially. This is made worse by the fact that the employees cannot be indicated as an asset in the balance sheet but can be indicated as expenses. The employees are not company property and cannot thus be considered assets per se, but their contribution to the organization makes them all the more valuable as other assets are. Another challenge to strategic HRM is that it is difficult to predict employee behaviors. Although an inevitable investment, employee behavior cannot be measured, predicted or even observed at times. This not only makes it challenging for the HRM personnel to justify their expenses but also reduces zeal towards employee satisfaction (Walsh et al., 2010).
Based on the literature review, the paper argues that:
- The strategic HRM function is a nexus between the organizational behavior and the organizational performance.
- Despite the challenges faced, several factors can facilitate the performance of strategic HRM.
- The main objective of strategic HRM is to utilize the available human resources optimally for the achievement of the organizational goals.
Results and Recommendations
The organizational performance is linked to various aspects of strategic human resources management. From the literature review, it is observable that the organizational performance, hinges on factors such as employee behavior, financial outcomes, market performance and the organizational culture to a large extent. At the same time, it has been established that the organizational culture is developed to nurture flexibility, innovation and competitive advantage through the strategic HRM function. This implies that the HRM function has to monitor and direct organizational behaviors, provide a blue print for the organizational code of conduct and subsequently monitor adherence to the same. Strategic HRM therefore becomes the central point in the link between organizational performance and the functions of other aspects of the business. In terms of the market shares and the financial accounting outcomes, the strategic HRM function manages to realize connections between performance and the work force through satisfaction of employee needs as well as through proper alignment of the employee goals and objectives to the organizational goals and objectives.
The challenges faced by strategic HRM in the accomplishment of its roles are many. However, the literature shows that the key objective of the function is to bring together the competence and opportunities in the work place, and the organizational goals and objectives. It is recommended that integration at various levels of the organization be pursued to ensure that strategic HRM achieves its objective. According to Wei (2006) achieving integration can be considered a starting point for the effectiveness of the strategic HRM function. Coherence in operations across departments can be beneficial to the organization as well as to the customers. Such congruence can be either vertical or horizontal. The vertical congruence is considered to be the link between the HR measures of practice and the organizational strategies. On the other hand, the horizontal fit is that across different strategic HRM functions. If both types of congruence are achieved, the organization can be able to accomplish the objectives of the strategic HRM function. Wei (2006) purports that some of the factors that contribute to such integration in roles include: individual factors, functional factors and organizational factors. The individual factors mentioned by Wei are aspects such as the knowledge and skills of the employees, the ability of the top managers to support the employee functions, and the capability of the HR function. This implies that these three factors have to work successfully to ensure that the desirable type of fit is achieved. Failure of any of these components impacts negatively in role performance at various stages of the organization.
In functionality, phenomena such as the operational policies, the availability of options and the budget for operations all impact on the level of congruence between strategic HRM and the other business functions. Failure on any of these functions results in negative performance in the overall HRM function as well as in the entire organization. At the organizational level, the strategies and culture put in place are essential in ensuring that the organizational performance is effective. The strategy applied in pursuing organizational goals is also important in the efforts to achieve greater organizational performance. The implication of this is that without a clear and effective strategy, it may be difficult for an organization to accomplish its goals. This explains why organizations have clearly developed strategic plans which they train all employees to work towards. In some companies, the clarity of productivity expectations creates the link between organizational goals and the performance initiatives held by different employees.
Technology and SHRM
To some extent, technology has reduced the implications of various challenges to the SHRM function. The use of technology in the organizational context and particularly in the HR function has widened the role of SHR in an organization. According to Jain (2014), IT has increased the ability of strategic HR professionals to integrate employee databases within the overall organizational databases and to provide information to employees regarding news, policies and new findings in the organization. Moreover, the use of SHR IT has enabled the function to be available to all organizational members online. This makes it easier for employees to edit and/ or update their information online, thus lifting the burden of information maintenance and storage off the shoulders of the HR personnel (Jain, 2014). It can thus be deduced that the use of technology in strategic HR eliminates routine work and also enhances communication in an organization.
Strategic HRM is an essential step towards achieving organizational goals. Based on the arguments presented by the literatures reviewed in the paper, the goals of strategic HRM are clear. The primary goal is to improve the productivity of the employees through the use of the available competencies and opportunities. The ability to understand organizational needs and goals goes hand in hand with strategic HRM practices such as recruitment and selection of employees, training and employee development, enhancing employee job satisfaction, providing a dynamic and motivational environment for employee growth. Through these practices, strategic HRM aims at providing a link between organizational performance and the employees of the organization. This is explained through the relationship between the HRM function and features such as organizational culture, organizational behaviors, employee attitudes and approaches to role performance. These factors have been established before to be determinants of organizational performance. It its functioning however, the strategic HRM function faces many challenges, mainly to do with the variable and immeasurable nature of human resources performance. It is thus important to provide supportive environments at individual, organizational and functional levels of the organization.
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Bagga, T. and Sanjay, S. (2014). SHRM: alignment of HR function with business strategy. Strategic HR Review, vol. 13, no. 4/5, www.doi.org/10.1108/SHR-03-2014-0023
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