Although there is no widely acknowledged definition for the term Human Resource Management, as far as I can understand it Human Resource Management is an approach to personnel management that sees people as the key resource of a company. In short it is a system that believes it is important to communicate well with employees and include them in what is going on with the organization, to increase the commitment and help them to identify with the organization.
HRM specifically is a body of functions and policies that shape the work environment and control the relationship with employees. Some functions contain alternative methods or practices from which managers can choose. The key functions in HRM are; Planning the HR needs of the organization, particularly for the future. Integrating HRM with the organizations strategic management process and co-ordinating clusters of HR practices to achieve the desired goals. Staffing correctly; obtaining the correct people with regards to their skill set, abilities, knowledge and experience. Some practices involved within this are HR planning, Job analysis, Recruitment and selection. Developing skills, to ensure that workforce can perform satisfactorily in their jobs and can advance within the organization. To identify employee’s key skills and where they are competent the ‘Performance appraisal’ practice can be employed. Motivating employees through reward system, this can be done through performance appraisal, job evaluation. Designing and maintaining work systems that are safe and promote workplace wellness and employee health so as to fulfil health and safety legislations and retain a capable workforce. Managing relationships between employees, it covers a wide range of practices that can be used to create a better co-operation between employees and also a better feeling of involvement/participation. It also extends to co-operation with unions if they are involved. Managing change for the future by helping others be able to envision and understand the change, along with setting expectations for performance and helping develop the capability to reorganize and reallocate resources (including people). Evaluating the value of the entire HR system by designing procedures and processes that measure it. All of these functions and practices are underpinned by legislation.
In a practical application typically a company would set out organizational objectives and then decide on a strategy in order to achieve those objectives. In the context of an Engineering company/business the strategic focus could, for example, be on the following:
• Ensure effective training and development of all staff in order to ensure flexibility and competence within roles.
• Develop effective communication between employees and between departments/functions.
• Develop mechanisms to cope with future environmental change including social, political and technological.
In this example strategic focus is on developing a flexible organization that can adapt to change in the environment and has a good communication structure in order to achieve this. Intel is a good example of a company in the Engineering business world whose business competitive advantage is its speed and flexibility in meeting the changing needs of various market niches. Given the extremely short product life cycle in this industry, there is a pressing need, according to Andy Grove, CEO of Intel, to channel resources swiftly from declining areas into emerging/growing areas. In these scenarios technological and financial resource transfer can be done quickly, but people are the hardest part of the system to redeploy. In order to develop and encourage continuing success the business must develop a HRM strategy that focuses on the correct HR areas in order to maximise competitiveness.
To develop a successful HRM strategy, the...