The central focus for HR management must be on contributing to organizational success. Key to enhancing organizational performance is ensuring that human resources activities support organizational efforts focusing on productivity, service, and quality.
-Productivity: As measured by the amount of output per employee, continuous improvement of productivity has become even more important as global competition has increased. The productivity of the human resources in an organization is affected significantly by management efforts, programs, and systems.
-Quality: The quality of products and services delivered significantly affects organizational success over the long term. If an organization gains a reputation for providing poor-quality products and services, it reduces its organizational growth and performance. An emphasis on quality requires continuous changes aimed at improving work processes. That need opens the door for reengineering the organizational work done by people. Customer value received and satisfaction become the bases for judging success, along with more traditional HR measures of performance and efficiency.
-Service: Because people frequently produce the products or services offered by an organization, HR management considerations must be included when identifying service blockages and redesigning operational processes.
Involving all employees, not just managers, in problem solving often requires changes in corporate culture, leadership styles, and HR policies and practices.
To accomplish these goals, HR management is composed of several groups of interlinked activities. However, the performance of the HR activities must be done in the context of the organization. Additionally, all managers with HR responsibilities must consider external environmental forces—such as legal, political, economic, social, cultural, and technological ones—when addressing these activities. These external considerations are especially important when HR activities must be managed internationally. The HR activities for which a brief overview follows are:
-HR Planning and Analysis
-Compensation and Benefits
-Health, Safety, and Security
-Employee and Labor/Management Relations
HR Planning and Analysis
HR planning and analysis activities have several facets. Through HR planning, managers attempt to anticipate forces that will influence the future supply of and demand for employees. Having adequate human resource information systems (HRIS) to provide accurate and timely information for HR planning is crucial. The importance of human resources in organizational competitiveness must be addressed as well. As part of maintaining organizational competitiveness, HR analysis and assessment of HR effectiveness must occur. The internationalization of organizations has resulted in greater emphasis on global HR management.
Compliance with equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws and regulations affects all other HR activities and is integral to HR management. For instance, strategic HR plans must ensure sufficient availability of a diversity of individuals to meet affirmative action requirements. In addition, when recruiting, selecting, and training individuals, all managers must be aware of EEO requirements.
The aim of staffing is to provide an adequate supply of qualified individuals to fill the jobs in an organization. By studying what workers do, job analysis is the foundation for the staffing function. From this, job descriptions and job specifications can be prepared to recruit applicants for job openings. The selection process is concerned with choosing the most qualified individuals to fill jobs in the organization.
Beginning with the orientation of new employees, HR training and development
also includes job-skill training. As jobs evolve and change, ongoing retraining is necessary to accommodate technological changes. Encouraging development of all employees, including supervisors and managers, is necessary to prepare organizations for future challenges. Career planning identifies paths and activities for individual employees as they develop within the organization. Assessing how employees perform their jobs is the focus of performance management.
Compensation and Benefits
Compensation rewards people for performing organizational work through pay,
incentives, and benefits. Employers must develop and refine their basic wage and salary systems. Also, incentive programs such as gainsharing and productivity rewards are growing in usage. The rapid increase in the costs of benefits, especially health-care benefits, will continue to be a major issue.
Health, Safety, and Security
The physical and mental health and safety of employees are vital concerns. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) has made organizations more responsive to health and safety concerns. The traditional concern for safety has focused on eliminating accidents and injuries at work. Additional concerns are health issues arising from hazardous work with certain chemicals and newer technologies.
Through a broader focus on health, HR management can assist employees with substance abuse and other problems through employee assistance programs (EAP) in order to retain otherwise satisfactory employees. Employee wellness programs to promote good health and exercise are becoming more widespread.
Workplace security has grown in importance, in response to the increasing number of acts of workplace violence. HR management must ensure that managers and employees can work in a safe environment.
Employee and Labor/Management Relations
The relationship between managers and their employees must be handled effectively if both the employees and the organization are to prosper together. Whether or not some of the employees are represented by a union, employee rights must be addressed.
It is important to develop, communicate, and update HR policies and rules so that managers and employees alike know what is expected. In some organizations, union/management relations must be addressed as well.