Sample HR Management Research Paper on Developing Professional Practice

Developing Professional Practice

Activity 1: What it means to be an HR Professional

Based on the CIPD Professional Map, HR professionals are mandated to exercise their responsibilities to build their HR capability at the individual, team, and organizational levels. It is expected that the HR professional will facilitate value-addition within an organization. The Map is categorical that an HR professional has to continuously develop outcomes by employing appropriate behavior in order to reinforce positive business relationships. It is important that the HR professional maintains the highest standards while conducting business because the principles of HR professionalism dictate that one has to commit to being customer-oriented, be ethical, accountable, and reliable. It is also indicated that the HR professional has to be proactive and be always ready to stimulate action.

The Map is based on three key elements of the HR profession. These are the professional areas that the HR professional should be competent in, the behavioral element that defines how the HR professional should carry out their mandate, and the bands and transitions element that dictate how an HR professional should micro-manage different roles in an organization. Based on the three elements of the profession, it follows that an HR professional is expected to come up with actionable insights as well as strategic plans to provide effective solutions. This responsibility by an HR professional means that the insights and solutions have to be organization-oriented. This is not possible if the HR professional does not have the appropriate leadership and management competencies to actively provide direction in an organization.

The Map sets the HR profession as business discipline project. This means that an HR professional has to link business targets and objectives in his/her leadership role. It means that HR professionals have to facilitate organizational performance by not only delivering solutions but also influencing followers and staying agile. To achieve this, the HR professional has to be collaborative, decisive, skilled, courageous and committed to deliver. These are special attributes that require a special dedication and competence to the HR profession. In turn, a dedicated and competent HR professional is responsible for ensuring the organization is always managed by the right set of resources and talent to sustain the operations now and in the future. With the capability of a competent HR professional, it is possible that the professional takes time to align strategies, resources, and processes to optimize effectiveness. Therefore, an HR professional can be argued to be directly responsible for developing a culture of performance based on sound planning and management of resources. The Map directs that the HR professional should also sustain performance by delivering programs that motivate, reward, and appreciate employee capacity, capability, and skills-set. This sums up part of the business discipline principle that the HR professional is tasked with in an organization.

Looking at the concentric circles of HR professionalism, the scope of an HR professional begins and ends with sustaining efficiency in terms of managing resources. Evaluating this mandate, the HR professional’s interventions are essential and critical to service delivery. In fact, an in-depth look at the responsibility of an HR professional, according to the Map, reveals that the HR professional is an active determiner of an organization’s performance since they link all aspects of employees. Therefore, HR professionals have a huge role in ensuring that there is a positive relationship between the firm and the human resources. This requires that the HR professional provides a clear framework informed by organizational culture and policies. This responsibility is driven by the need to sustain organisational performance and ensure that innovation is promoted at all times. This is what would be expected of a competent HR professional.

Activity 2: Elements of Group Dynamics and Conflict Resolution Methods in HR

The interaction between different people in an organization who have a common objective can be influenced by various factors. The business setting of the 21st century is defined by a diverse workforce that may follow specific behavioral patterns or completely different ones. Different people will assume different roles subconsciously within a group setting. The group roles are dictated by a combination of an individual’s personality and the experience with the group settings. Binder (2016) states that group dynamics is not only a complex process but also a multidimensional one that can run out of hand if group expectations, individual needs and requirements of carrying out tasks are not handled appropriately.

Group dynamics has several elements. Individuals begin by showing interest toward forming a group. It is in this formation stage that various issues such as leadership are planned out. This stage mostly involves setting the personal identities clear and creating links with acquaintances. The second element referred to as storming comes out during a conflict between members. Some individuals challenge the roles of the group in a bid to reveal the actual identities and trust among members (Lussier & Hendon, 2015). With this element in place, the group dynamics takes the form of norming where patterns of tasks are set within the members. Issues such as structure are established to define responsibility. Eventually, the performance stage sees the group members work in harmony toward the accomplishment of set targets (Burke & Noumair, 2015). This element in involved with the orientation of issues such as culture and norms.

An effective group in an organization will have the capacity to maintain harmony, resolve conflicts, and appreciate compromises. However, HR professionals have to deal with conflict situations from time to time. For the professional, it will be important to identify when conflict is likely to arise and act quickly to resolve the underlying issues positively. One of the ways that a conflict can be resolved is through a win-win approach. According to Kerzner (2013), this approach seeks to maximize the goals of involved parties through collaboration. The identified conflict is viewed as a problem meant to be solved. The feuding parties face the problem by focusing on their needs and constraints. This process of conflict resolution begins with defining the problem fully and developing alternatives before coming to an amicable solution. The involved parties work closely on goals that can only be achieved by their indulgence. It is important to note that the win-win approach focuses on the long-term relationships of the parties in conflict. Therefore, communication is direct and open with an emphasis on directing attitudes towards levels of mutual respect and acceptance. This approach is mostly effective when the parties practice patience.

Another common conflict-resolution method is the win-lose approach. It is defined more as a zero-sum game where the gain of one party leads to the loss of the other. According to Burke and Noumair (2015), this approach emphasizes on the capitulation of the other party. Several methods are used to facilitate this approach including the intervention of a judge or the authority of a leader. The targeted outcome of the parties in conflict is getting a superior who will be noted as the victor and another party that will withdraw to face the superior in another session. The common ground for this approach is that everyone loses. Although this approach could provide a quick resolution, it may negatively affect the relationship of the parties in the long run (Roper & Higgins, 2016). This is different from the lose-lose approach which is defined mostly by looking for the easiest of compromises. There is no chance given to productive resolution because disagreement is viewed as inevitable. The parties tend to smooth over the contentious issues in a painless way. The involved parties are resigned to a fate of partial satisfaction. What the parties do not know is that going a step further would bring them closer to a satisfying solution.

Activity 3: Project management and Conflict-resolution

Project management can be a complex undertaking if an organisation decides to change its structure. Our organisation was facing performance problems due to aged employees who  were more subjected and suffered from certain health issues related to old age. This affected the performance of the organisation due to frequent absenteeism and lack of required energy and motivation to work. I was in the project team that undertook the business project within my organization. Apart from crafting a list of employees to be assessed and replaced, I was also involved in ensuring the human resources understood what was required of them by using benchmark goals. Some of the techniques of project management we used may have been basic, but everyone individually worked extra hard and did more and additionally ensured the project was completed on schedule. Being the responsible team member who contributed  to efficient operation of the project, I understood that developing strong skills in work would require other fundamental competencies to support organizational goals.

In particular, the project brought together several members to form a team. The team was gaoled in sending 115 employees to early retirement and replacing them with 75 fresh graduates. The aim was designing a new business design for the organization which would be adopted within one year and six months from the onset. The project was to restructure the organization to include competent and health workers.  Therefore, the project took a systematic process that began with project definition, planning, management, and project close. One of the significant steps our management took was ensuring that we had a strong understanding of the project purpose as well as the targeted outcomes of every project phase. This step allowed us to understand the purpose and outcomes of different project phases which helped us to be aware of the progress of the project and  also know when there were variances from the plan that needed more of our competence and efforts. The project did the replacement  phase by phase and consistently. This was to ensure that the functioning of the organisation did not come to a hold or a stop because the organisation was filled with new workers that did not understand their duties. The phases approach was effective and new workers could learn from experienced workers who would then teach new ones in future and in that process, the function of the organisation was not affected. I ensured that I provided the required list timely for assessment.

The outcomes at every phase of the project were unique. In the project definition stage, our management defined the scope and deliverables, determined the budget, and validated everything with the stakeholders. They also assigned specific team members based on their experience and set team leaders. They proceeded to break down the project into manageable tasks given they were dealing with the restructuring of workers that meant to replace a significant number of employees. Replacing 155 employees with 75 employees also looked into relieving the company of financial burden and generally improving the performance of the organisation. Specific tasks were assigned to team members and I was  part of the team that was assigned the function of providing a list of employees that would retire and doing all paperwork for their retirement process. We also were involved in the recruitment of the 75 graduates and arranged for interviews and medical check-ups. It is at this stage that different project risks were determined and the governance process was constituted. I observed that some reporting channels were identified before moving on to ensure different activities were executed and also controlled. At this stage, more groups within the organization became more involved.  There were instances that conflicts arose between the project leaders and the old employees. However, the project proceeded to its last stage that involved finalising retirement process and absorbing new workers in the organisation. By the end of one and half years the projects had successfully ended.  The team eventually celebrated its success as the new staff structure was considered an achievement we even won the IFTDO ward.

Despite the successful project close, there were instances when conflicts arose to threaten the project. However, with the use of situational analysis, problem-solving, decisiveness and creative thinking, the situation was solved. The issue was that some employees complained that they were not taken seriously when they voiced their opinions. They accused project managers of shutting them out of the decision-making. They felt that some employees were given preferential treatment while others were discriminated. To solve this situation, the management decided to mitigate the problem by using our HR competency. The HR began by confronting the problem of  false perception, misrepresentation, and misinterpretation. His focus was on ensuring there was collaboration among members and, therefore, he designed a forum where the management would meet with the aggrieved party face-to-face. It was at this meeting that the needs of all parties were brought forward. Eventually, it was agreed that the appropriate communication channels would be used any time a member had something to offer. We also passed that there would be weekly team meetings that would be used as forums to evaluate progress, listen to opinions and suggestions, and make revisions accordingly. This method was successful as members began to see their inputs put to use progressively.

There were more instances when I had to step in to influence, persuade, and negotiate with my fellow team members for the sake of the project. This was done through collaboration with the team members in an active role. When the workers demanded a different schedule than had been planned, I used my negotiation skills to influence their actions. One of the most effective approaches was being flexible and allowing others to share in the role of managing some tasks that they felt they were strongly competent. I was able to stimulate a sense of trust and genuine respect among the workers that raised their commitment and dedication to the project. I noted that my genuine actions had a direct influence on ensuring workers were positive about the benefits of the project. It raised some levels of project ownership among them to the effect that they improved their participation levels. However, I think using logic to persuade the them also played a huge role in creating a positive working environment. As I incorporated data and facts, the workers understood and felt their concerns were valid and could still be managed with time.

I learned that in every task, it is important to undergo a personal development plan. Good communication skills are important to improve on in order to work well with others. My special ability to handle the interdependent units of a project cannot be questioned. My administration skills in the organization have also been one of my strongest areas. I also have a good mind-set as I am consistent with my duties in achieving functional, individual, and organizational goals. The most important thing is to participate fully in any project by first ensuring you do your duties effectively and promptly and also helping solve conflicts to the best of your abilities in the course of the project. This is important because conflicts may directly affect your work.

My development Obj.Activities required to achieve my Obj.Resources needed to achieve my Obj.How to measure successTarget Date for achieving my obj.
Greater depth in project managementComplete project management courses/programsJoin a training institute for further learningCourses assessment Project managers assessment reportMar. 2017
Developing conflict resolution and negotiation skillsPracticeAssign briefs that exercise such skillsFormal appraisalMar.2017
Good communication skills  PracticeProject managerProject managers assessment reportFeedback from colleaguesMar.2017
Build confidence as a leader and decision-makingImprove my knowledge on business analysis processesTraining opportunitiesRely on training outcomesMar. 2017
Future Development Needs
Acquire the skills of a line managerAcquire the skills of a HR Project Evaluation Manager

References

Balliet, D., & Van Lange, P. A. (2013). Trust, conflict, and cooperation: a meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 139(5), 1090.

Binder, J. (2016). Global project management: communication, collaboration and management across borders. CRC Press.

Burke, W. W., & Noumair, D. A. (2015). Organization development: A process of learning and changing. FT Press.

Kerzner, H. R. (2013). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.

Lussier, R. N., & Hendon, J. R. (2015). Human Resource Management: Functions, Applications, and Skill Development. SAGE Publications.

Roper, I., & Higgins, P. (2016). What most makes HR a profession? The difference of views at national and organisational levels.