Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management
This report examines the role of human resources management function in helping deliver the ?modernizing agenda? for abc, a County Council in England. The transformation process discusses the shift from a bureaucratic and inefficient County to one that is customer driven and values its employees. This is elaborated further in context of the external environmental changes in the government. abc had to cope with two major reorganizations in six years. A study of the impact of external change on the County Council, especially in respect of its hrm strategy and policy, the report analyses the overall Human Resource strategy of the case study organization. This was further related to ABC?s business strategy. In the next part, the linkage between performance management and reward policies and practices has been established with respect to both core and peripheral workforce. The last part of the report suggests collective measures for changes in the linkage at both the core and the periphery.
The concept of these proposals adding value has also been established. This part also suggests various steps under the heads of resourcing, performance management, communications, rewards and recognition etc. A new structure and hierarchy has also been suggested along with necessary links with theory and models. Introduction abc, a county council in England functions with a budget of over 500 million pounds, and employs about 3000 people (excluding schools) in five locations. The County, under the local government has 4 district councils below it, followed by the Parish Councils is a part of the three-tier system. abc was rated ?good? on the Comprehensive Performance Assessments (cpa) carried out by the Audit Commission and had a score of 3 on its ability to improve. The Council?s overall aims are to move on from a cpa ?good? to ?excellent?. The intention is to lead for the benefit of the whole community by being open and accountable, continuing to work in partnership with other local agencies and improve the quality of life in the area. The local government could be characterized as bureaucratic, inefficient and incompetent. There was a need to work across boundaries and break away from the use of irrational traditional controls. The Conservatives legislation introduced the concept of compulsory competitive tendering along with placing constraints on budgets and spending caps on overly extravagant authorities. Also encouraged was the involvement of parents? in the education of their children. Impact of External Change especially on the hrm Strategy and Policy hrm Strategy and Business Strategy Two major reforms in six years had brought about a radical change in abc County. Changes in the Central Government Policy and the structure had further led to a loss in revenue and major downsizing. In addition to this there was a limited focus towards ones service area leading to a ?silo-mentality?. Policy making process was limited to the leader and a few powerful council members. Senior managers had strong professional ties to their areas of influence thus making it difficult to exercise control over them. The boundaries between departments reflected the boundaries between professions responsible for particular services. Policy determination is a complex procedure in the abc County Council involving direct and indirect links at various levels. The abc County?s officer/member structure (view appendix) has established links between the corporate and political aspects of the county. The members of the political hierarchy and corporate hierarchy have similar members sharing similar responsibilities along the same lines. The overall structure of abc could be simplified and made more receptive be replacing the middle level by multi-functional teams for processes and people oriented community services. These would be the clearly identifiable points of interaction with the public and responsible for coordinating the various services. The hrm function has assumed a more important role since reorganization. The earlier small central policy making team where the loyalties of personnel staff were with the service areas and not the function was brought together and renamed as the Human Resources department. The fact that the Head of HR reports directly to the Chief Officer rather than the head of the corporate services highlights the rising significance of HR. Performance management being the focal point of local government reform emphasized the need for effective people management practices. There was a need for management of change; this led to a search or organizational development. Organizational development is a vast and complex procedure involving aspects ranging from structure and design, communication, work groups and multi-disciplinary teams, clarification of responsibilities to objective setting, stimulating innovation, decision making and managing conflicts. Environmental turbulences are bound to have an impact on the culture of any association. The Chief Officer and Council Leader considered cultural change as being instrumental in the transformation of abc County from a bureaucratic, unproductive council to one that recognized that services should add value and be cost effective. For this, a vision was formulated involving the following key elements:
Focus on the customer
Valuing employees
Being adaptable to change
Working in partnership and developing a performance management
A strategic framework was formulated to critically develop, monitor and control the previously neglected Human Resource function. It is must for employees to be well developed and valued to maximize performance. Participation and involvement in the decision-making processes along with employee empowerment in relevant service areas would facilitate this. Well-articulated outcomes and expectations, defining clear standards of behavioural working patterns and conditions would provide a direction that aligns individual targets with that of the teams and county. Having work planning integrated into the overall council?s long term planning process, clarifying the roles and responsibilities for the management of people would enhance productivity of employees. This should involve an analysis of the future needs, keeping the future prospects flexible. Benchmarking against other councils scoring high on the Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPI?s) would indicate comparative progress and performance. As a tool to monitoring performance, the council does an internal assessment (not linked to the government set BVPI?s) involving one year and three year measurable outcomes. Many of the three-year outcomes deal with continuous improvement and change, through the implementation of the new Information System (IS). The council also focuses on delivering effectively and efficiently the ongoing and new operational HR activities that are more closely linked with customer requirements. The hrm issues needing to be addressed are resourcing, organizational and employee development, communication and consultation, performance management and reward recognition. Performance and Reward Management ========= Performance management systems are increasingly seen as a way to manage employee performance rather than relying on appraisal alone. (Torrington & Hall, 2002) The system should not be limited to just the setting of individual or team performance standards, measuring performance through appraisals and reviews and identifying training and development needs. At abc County, the cascade of strategic aims of individual performance is mapped. One and three year outcomes using measurable targets are used as an internal assessment of the progress. The Best Value Review carried out the previous year highlighted the areas of concern: =================
Local priorities over powered by central government targets.
Professional visions and values were at discord with that of the
county council?s
Inconsistent Performance management culture with examples of good
and poor practice identified.
Irregular Individual performance appraisals.
Poor performance were not backed by strong leadership
Language tough to comprehend
Relevance of performance monitoring not communicated to all levels
Performance monitoring considered tedious and distracting by line
Improper use of information gathered- ?blame culture?
Good performance not encouraged through rewards.
These issues can be tackled by an effective performance appraisal system such as the mbo (Management By Objectives) technique. " Performance appraisal data can determine employee rewards and are also used as predators in the human resource planning, recruitment and selection process". -Bratton & Gold (1999) The reasons for performance review are many:
Assessment of training and development needs
Improvement of current performance
Review past performance
Asses future potential and promotability
Assist career planning decisions
Set performance objectives
Asses increase in pay -Bratton & Gold (1999)
In general, a performance appraisal includes firstly, the determination and communication of certain performance standards. This is followed by the measured performance that is then compared with the set standards to consequently take required measures. These may be either corrective or rewarding. An effective performance appraisal system must incorporate the following essentials, these include mutual trust; clear objectives; standardization; training; job relatedness; documentation; feedback and participation; concern for individual differences; post appraisal interviews and review and appeal. The system must be open and participative encouraging employees to be part of the goal setting process and giving feedback. It should be easy to understand and administer along with being reliable. The system can ideally contain a follow-up mechanism to identify personal growth needs and if it is established by all line managers, it?s easy to review and update. - Gupta C.B (2003) Performance must be backed by an able reward system. Employees delivering extraordinary skills who were making valuable contributions to abc County did not feel rewarded. This resulted in the County loosing its competent professionals. A prominent de-motivating factor at abc was the proportional pay increase for all the employees, not conditioned by their performance. Lack of recognition and rewarding of outperforming employees The reward review at abc was on an individual basis, irrespective of whether the task was individual or team. This ruined the performance of both. Reward management is vital to effective HR management. A fair reward influences an employees development and career plan while a performance related pay could motivate an employee to undertake a course or a training program. A reward system linking pay to performance will require an appraisal system, which is reliable and valid. The Morale of senior managers can be boosted through the concept of flexibility. Is an idle concept for the county because abc regularly looses valuable employees to the private sector where bigger levels of responsibility can be rewarded with higher levels of pay. Thus, a hike in pay along with flexible working hours can act as an incentive to stay in the county. In addition to this job swapping and appropriate workforce planning can be implemented to have the right number of people and the right type of people at the right place. Recommendations === Resourcing HR planning is aimed at coordinating the requirements for and the availability of different types of employees. It is an overall process of determining and assuming that the organization will have an adequate number of qualified employees at the proper time doing jobs which meet the business objectives. Since abc County is on the verge of becoming a HR oriented organization it needs HR planning as a guide to the HR Function. Effective HR planning can take place if:
HR objectives are balanced
Adequately organized at various levels
Receives senior managements support
An adequate database for employees is in place
Any organizations recruitment process aims at locating the sources of human resource and attracting them toward the organization. The management at abc County indulged in online recruitment process which generated a high number of applicants most of them being unsuitable. The council also had a policy to reply to each one of the applicants thus making the process tedious and cumbersome. In addition to this the line managers were not well trained and thus ended up selecting inappropriate employees. An idle recruitment process should integrate organizational needs and employee needs and provide each employee with freedom and opportunity to develop his knowledge skill base. Flexibility of an organization is also a pre-requisite. Line managers who are effectively trained for the same should do the selkection of applicants. Several tests can be taken before finally selecting an applicant. For example, aptitude test, achievement test, personality test and interest test. Adequate training by involving employees for countywide projects can help them gain experience and deliver their maximum to the organization. Organizational and employee Development Senior management is a valuable asset for any organization. A research project carried out by an external academic at abc County highlighted the need for a cadre of professional managers. There is a need to develop the core competencies and induce the process of continuous learning. The main objective of the recruitment of senior managers should be to improve the level of performance at all levels in their present jobs. The approach of knowledge management should be introduced to improve though process and analytical ability so as to uncover and examine problems and ultimately take decisions in the best interest of the County. Communication gap should be eradicated throughout the organization and should acquire greater responsibility and involvement at all levels. Performance and Reward Management Job analysis is an essential element of a sound HR management. It can provide valuable information for taking right and adequate decisions about the County?s human resource. The job analysis can be used to
Organizational design ? wherein job analysis is useful in
classification of jobs and their interrelationship. It also
improves organizational efficiency.
HR Planning ? Job analysis can provide useful information for
forecasting manpower requirements in terms of knowledge and
skills. It also facilitates decision of work.
Recruitment and selection ? it provides understanding also what an
employee is expected to do and information relating to tasks,
responsibilities, knowledge and skills become a realistic basis
for hiring people.
Training and development ? job analysis can provide valuable
information required to identify training needs, design programs
and evaluate training effectiveness. Employee development is also
taking care of.
Performance appraisal ? job analysis can help in determining
performance standards in critical parts of the job and employee
performance and then be evaluated against known standards and
critical activities.
Job evaluation is an important of job analysis so as to develop equitable salary structure. abc County uses a point method of job evaluation, which is too complicated to be applied to managerial jobs wherein the work content is not measurable in quantitative terms. Job classification or job grading method is a group of different jobs that require similar skills. Here, job classes or grades are established, a job grade being a group of different jobs of similar difficulty. Mentoring is a technique of HR development whereby a senior managers acts as a friend philosopher. It is essentially an emotional support and takes care of the knowledge base and skills of the young manager. Mentoring reduces training times, ensures individual attention to problems and makes learning flexible rather than structured. It is a valuble tool for developing self-confidence and empowered managers who can work under stress while maintaining their quality standards and values. abc County has also introduced this method a s a part of its training program and can be beneficial for the employees if the senior managers impart their knowledge to other. There is only one specific bvpi, which is ?owned? by human resources, which is diversity. Certain approaches of diversity are:
Internally driven not externally exposed
Focuses on the total culture of the organization and not just
Focused on a specific individual
Is the responsibility of all in the organization and not just the
human resources
Hence, abc can work towards development of its measure in order to achieve it organizational objectives. Total Quality Management This refers to a continuous process of involvement in all aspects of organization with the involvement of all the employees of the organization. It is basically about changing and reforming so as to prevent failures. Its features are:
Customer satisfaction
Efficiency of internal customers
A continuous process
Management by analyzing facts
Requires teamwork
Thus tqm at abc can guide work team in quality improvement, design and develop communication systems, at the same time benchmarking performance with that of others and aiming to improve. abc County can gain competitive advantage only if it aims to have non-substitutable resources. Humana resources are that part of an organization that cannot be easily replicated by competing firms and hence the most appropriate source of competitive advantage. As even if a competing firm recruits a group of individuals from a competitor it would not be able to produce the same outcomes in the new firm. This is because the context in both the organizations is different. [image] [image][image] Sustained Competitive Advantage [image] Human Resource Behaviour Human Capital Pool Human Resources Practice Model of Human Resources as a source of sustained competitive advantage (Torrington and Hall, 2002) The various recommendations given above can aid abc in its aim of moving towards an HR focused organization and thus gaining competitive advantage. The above-mentioned procedures would add value and have a positive impact on the workforce. Conclusion The external changes in the environment had a significant impact on abc County, mostly relating to its human resources strategy and policy. The current status, areas of concern and possible recommendations for performance and reward management for both the core and peripheral workforce was examined successfully in relational with the available literature. Details in all areas of resourcing, organizational and employee development, performance management, reward and recognition, and communication and consultation in the County were analyzed. This made clear the steps required in making abc move from a bureaucratic to customer driven, adaptive, innovative county that values employees. There is stress on developing management culture.

Human Resource Management 7.5 of 10 on the basis of 2357 Review.