The Evolution of Human Resource Management

After the change of management thinking, the discipline of human resources (HR) management changed from the earliest single administrative role towards a more complex and multiple functional role. In the evolution of these various roles, the advent of the role of HR strategic partners is in line with the changing needs of enterprises.

In my last column article, I have discussed about the findings of a survey where it showed that “strategic partners”, “human capital leaders” and “talent developers” are three influential roles towards enterprise performance. However, enterprise HR personnel are still lack of knowledge and skills to prepare for these three roles. Thus, these shall be the emphasis for developing future human resource practitioners where it also present both opportunities and challenges in professional HR career development.

Providing Assistance and Support to Employees

In the evolution of management thinking, the main prevalence of scientific management theory, such as Taylor’s scientific management during the period of 1890-1940, and administrative science management theory popularized by Fayol’s 14 administrative principles during the period of 1900-1950. Under the aforementioned two main management theories, the main task of HR management is to improve the labor relations (with focus on the management of trade union and group affairs) and industrial relations (emphasizing on labor conditions) between 1900 and 1920. Such period is the starting point of modern HR management where HR personnel play an administrative role in labor relations and industrial relations.

Between the period of 1930s-1970s, a new school of thought on human relations are popularized, such as the famous Hawthorne experiment that led managers to gradually understand the subtle relationship between people in organizational and productivity. Later, “Theory of Needs” as proposed by Abraham Maslow and Fredrick Herzberg divert managers’ attention to the psychological needs of their employees. Under such theory, personnel management emerged in periods of 1940s to 1960s, where the main focus is on how to manipulate or to meet the needs of employees for improving the productivity and profits of enterprises. Staff support elements are key enablers of personnel management, which include recruitment selection, performance management, payroll management, and employee safety and health.

Employee Professional Skills and Knowledge Enhancement

Resource-based theory and human capital theory are the two most representative theories since the 1980s. The resource-based theory indicates that unique resources of the organization are important factors in the development and maintenance of competitive advantage. Therefore, having excellent employees is an important factor of maintaining the competitive advantage of an organization. On the other hand, human capital theory is more focused on employees with skills, experience and knowledge. It advocates that an organization is portrayed by the economic value of the staff, where the skills and knowledge of employees can improve productivity, and therefore is regarded as a form of capital.

The emergence of these new management thinking has gradually change the organizational thinking on manpower value, where employees play an active instead of passive role in achieving the organizational business objectives. The concept and practice of human resource management began to emerge in the early 1980s and early 1990s, where the main feature was the assumption of human resource as a value-added capital. During this period, the role of administrative personnel began to strengthen in the field of employee recruitment, empowerment and training.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, companies were facing challenges, where human resource is given high expectations during organizational restructuring exercise such as cultural integration, organizational design and work design. Under such a background, the role of HR management is to increase the added value through a link with the corporate strategy and to implement HR tasks through cooperation with senior management, which forms the key of strategic human resource management. In this period, the human resources department began to participate in strategic and competitive planning, i.e. actively set the purpose of various HR activities, continuously improve the quality and competitiveness of HR and promote the strategic objectives of the organization.

From Basic Role to Strategic Partners

In order to achieve strategic human resource management objectives, traditional management experts and employee supporters role are inadequate to meet the challenges. A new role, “human resources strategy partners”, is re-focused and re-positioned where enterprise knowledge and human resources management skills is applied to achieve strategic business partners organizational goals. After 2000, the role of HR strategy partners is continuously emphasized. In 1997, McKinsey & Company published a “talent battle” report where two new roles, human capital developers and human capital leaders, have emerged.

In overview, due to the changes in management thinking, the role of HR professionals are changing in line with working environmental changes. From singular administrative roles (e.g., labor relations) towards a more complex role of talent management, the time and resources involved in managing personnel records and employee behavior has significantly reduced. On the other hand, there is a significant increase of time and resources involved in designing the HR system, development of human capital and the role as a strategic partner. Such a role evolution has its significance in modern organizational perspectives, as it is in line with the changing needs and objectives of companies. In future, we can foresee that it is fast replacing traditional way and role of HR, and the evolution cycle will become much shorter.  

Source @Managertoday

Career Development for HR Professionals: The Three (3) Core Competencies of HR Auditing

In today’s competitive business environment, companies are increasingly paying attention towards hiring valuable employees who are able to help in achieving business objectives. The cornerstone to this is HR Auditing, where it ensures companies are able to not only attract talents, but also to retain them. For sustainable career development and competitiveness, HR professionals should ensure that their skills and competencies are in-line with current needs and practices of HR in modern organization. With that in regard, we discuss three (3) core competencies that are regarded as important skills for a HR auditing, as below:

Process Audit and Compliance: Typically, a typical organization shall already have a set of HR procedures or HR system (HRS) in place. In order to ensure good auditing process, a good HR auditor should be able to support the HR Department to govern the HRS compliance, which may include inventorying, assessing, controlling and monitoring important HRS processes. These process include the documentation and fact checking of HR processes such as recruitment, selection, remuneration offerings, training programs, performance appraisal, etc. These are done by monitoring known and emerging risks, measure internal control effectiveness, and develop own action items to re-mediate identified risk issues. As auditing exercise is to ensure good functionality of HR Department, HR professionals should always adapt to possible changes in organizational business objectives, and perform adjustments to existing processes.

HR IT System and Support: It is a common scenario for companies nowadays to adopt information technology (IT) system, aimed at easing the ever-challenging HR duties and tasks, especially in a company with a large number of staff. The aim of adopting an IT-based solution is not only to ensure a more effective and efficient service for internal staff, it is also essential for record keeping and yearly auditing purpose, enabling the presentation of important facts and figures for HR excellence. With this, HR professionals are expected to be well-acquainted with the daily operation of a HR system. This includes, but not limited to, monitoring of change request (e.g., information updating), search and retrieval of HR information, attending to staff request (e.g.,) and even answering service tickets for HR system related issues. To be competent in IT system, a good training on the system is important to learn the essential skills. For high-level efficient handling of the system, apart from everyday practice, HR professionals can also join support forum that is focused on a particular system solution. The point here is not only to foster mutual support, but to establish good professional network as well for career advancement.

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HR Reporting Skills: While HR professionals can have easy fingertips access to essential HR information, making them presentable is a whole other story. Reporting skills include skills that includes the development, analysis and summarization of data in a relevant, meaningful and quality driven manner for supporting business decisions, process improvements, operational efficiency and strategic initiatives. Hence, HR reporting is an essential pillar of a company management, where it can indicate the status quo of a company’s HR practices. HR professionals are accountable for developing and presenting information, findings and results to multiple levels of management, ensuring business objectives are met and also help in decision making at the management level. To learn good reporting skills, a good training not only on the report writing but data analytics skills (e.g., statistical knowledge) is deemed increasingly important.

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What you should know about the Human Resource Management


Functions of HRM
Human resource strategic planning, human resource planning, manpower panning, recruitment / selection, induction, orientation, training, management development, compensation development, performance appraisals, performance management ,succession planning, safety management ,staff communication etc.

Human Resource Planning
HRP is the process including forecasting, developing and controlling-by which a firm ensures that it has the right number of people and the right kind of people, at the right places at the right time, doing work for which they are economically most useful.

Recruitment and Selection
Recruitment is the attraction of capable candidates to a vacancy, whilst selection concerns the assessment and identification of the suitability of such applicants from this pool. Recruitment and selection offer key opportunities for an organization to alter the type of staff it employs.

Compensation and Benefit
Employee compensation refers to all forms of pay or rewards going to employees and arising from their employment, and it has two main components: direct financial payments (in the form of wages, salaries, incentives, commissions and bonuses) and indirect payments (in the form of financial benefits like employer-paid insurance and vacations).

Benefits are forms of value, other than payment, that are provided to the employee in return for their contribution to the organization, that is, for doing their job. Prominent examples of benefits are insurance (medical, life, dental, disability, unemployment and worker’s compensation), vacation pay, holiday pay, and maternity leave, contribution to retirement (pension pay), profit sharing, stock options, and bonuses.

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Training and Development
Training refers to the methods used to give new or present employees, the skills they need to perform their jobs. Provision of training to the management members as well as to employees, with the aim of enhancing their knowledge, skill, and ability in making them always competent and responsive in performing their duties, is considered to be one of the key strategies that enhance the Corporation’s efforts to achieve its objectives.

Employee/Labor-Management Relations
Employee/Labor-Management Relations is a relationship that covers all aspects of employment relations between the employer and the employees in the context of organizational operations. It involves, regulation of conditions of service, collective bargaining, management of strikes, industrial democracy, employer-trade unions’ relations, and organization personnel policies etc.

Safety and Security
Creating a safe, healthy and happy workplace will ensure that your employees feel homely and stay with your organization for a very long time.

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Source @ Tesfamariam Mulat G