Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Human Resources Management Model

In recent years there has been relative agreement among HRM specialists as to what constitutes the field of HRM. Western Society developed the model that provided the focus for Training and Development. In its study they identified following nine Human Resources areas:

1. Training & Development
2. Organization and Development
3. Organization/Job Design
4. Human Resources Planning
5. Selection and Staffing
6. Personnel Research and Information Systems
7. Compensation/Benefits
8. Employee Assistance
9. Union/Labor Relations

These nine areas have been termed spokes of the wheel in that each area impacts on the human resources outputs:

# Quality of work life
# Productivity, and
# Readiness for change

The outputs of this model – quality of work life, productivity, and readiness for change – warrant further exploration.

Let us now take a closer look at each.

Quality of work life is a multifaceted concept. The premise of quality of work life is having a work environment where an employee’s activities become more important. This means implementing procedures or policies that make the work less routine and more rewarding for the employee. These procedures or policies include autonomy, recognition, belonging, progress and development, and external rewards.

Autonomy deals with the amount of freedom that employees can exercise in their job. Recognition involves being valued by others in the company. An individual’s contribution to the organization is noticed and appreciated. Belonging refers to being part of the organization. Closely tied to recognition and individual who belongs to an organization is one who share the organization’s values and is regarded as being a valuable part of the company. Progress and Development refers to the internal rewards available from the organization; challenge, and accomplishment. And, finally, external rewards, which are usually in the form of salary and benefits but also include promotion, rank and status.

Taken together, these components provide for the quality of work life for the individual. If the quality of work life is lacking, then worker productivity may suffer.

Productivity is the “quantity or volume of the major product or service that an organization provides.” In other words, it is the amount of work that is being produced in the organization, in terms of how much and how well. High productivity is what makes an organization thrive. Without a good product or service to sell, problems in an organization are sure to arise. Accordingly, productivity improvement programs are becoming more popular with organizations. Many components constitute the productivity factor; we can condense these components into four categories – capital investment, innovation, learning, and motivation.

Capital investment includes having the best possible machinery available that will help improve the efficiency of the workers. This machinery, or equipment, can be in many forms – from robots to word processors. The concept behind capital investment is to provide the latest technologically advanced equipment that will help the workers to work smarter, not harder.

Innovation is a process whereby new and creative ideas are welcomed, studied for their feasibility and if feasible, implemented. Some of our better-selling products or larger cost savings have come form ideas submitted by employees.

Learning looks at training issues. Not only do we want individuals to work effectively (doing the right things) but we want them to be efficient as well (doing the things right). To be effective and efficient in their work, employees must have the proper skills; and in many cases, these skills have to be taught – especially if we consider the skills needed to use a new piece of equipment.

Finally productivity is contingent on an employee’s motivation. The best-trained employee, one who not only has the ability but also has access to this most-advanced piece of equipment, will not be productive if s/he is unwilling to be so. Attitudes play an important role as to whether an individual has the propensity to work. Accordingly, to increase productivity we must, in part, change an employee’s attitude – or, in academic terms, increase his or her morale.

If one thing in this world could be said that is always true, it would be that things would never remain the same. Change is a fact of life – in both our private and our work lives. At the work site, we must be aware that changes will occur. The change might be subtle, such as getting a new boss. Or it might be a major endeavor, such as an organization installing a computer system for the first time – automating many of the manual operations. But changes rarely come easily for everyone; in some cases, it is resisted. For example, a secretary going form a typewriter to a word processor could be traumatic and, accordingly, that change could be resisted. How do you overcome this resistance? There are few ways, but probably the tow greatest would be to inform the secretary that the word processor was designed to make her job more efficient; it was not designed to take over her job. The fear associated with a possible threat to job security could negate any advantage.

To reduce the fear associated with change, training is important. Once the secretary has been given time to learn how to use the new equipment, and to experience how efficient it is and how it makes her job easier, the fear of change can be reduced.

From an organizational perspective, employers must make changes to remain competitive. But is also their responsibility to communicate the forthcoming changes to their employees, identify why the changes are necessary, and lend their total support in ensuring that the change takes place.


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