HR professor

Human Resource Management

Simran Khurana
Human resource management is the process that involves everything that has to do with staff in an organization. This includes everything from writing a job advertisement to arranging a golden watch for someone who is leaving after many years of service. Human resources can really be arranged into three main categories: recruitment, induction and retention.

Recruitment is the process of finding new staff. It will start with a manager requesting a new position to be filled, or a position to be filled following someone moving on. Human Resources will then initially review the request. If it is felt that the post is or remains necessary, processes will be followed to write a job description and person specification that is suitable for the position. Then, decisions need to be made about where best to advertise for the role itself.

It has been said that hiring a person based on an application form and job interview is still only about as effective as throwing a dart at pictures of applicants whilst wearing a blindfold. More and more organizations choose to enlist the help or organizational psychologists. Through a process of aptitude tests and role play, they will decide which candidates are most suitable for the position. Human Resources will then be responsible for determining interview questions (usually by working together with the manager) and expected answers. In order to remain fair towards all applicants, a list is usually made with expected answers, each of these answers scoring a number of points. This is to ensure that personal feelings towards an applicant will not determine the outcome of an interview.

Generally, during an interview, a representative from the Human Resources department will be present to explain issues such as pay, holiday entitlement, lines of management, etc. Once this process has been completed and the position has been appointed to an applicant, Human Resources will be responsible for ensuring all the contracts are signed, relevant paper work has been seen (such as identification and qualifications) and details have been taken.

Once a person has been appointed, the process of induction will begin. In most organizations, induction is a half day course where the organization is introduced. The remainder of the induction, such as learning about the job role and job location, is left to the line manager. Most organizations will use a check list of points that a new member of staff should be made aware. This process generally takes around six weeks.

Recently, however, research has shown that induction should go much further than that and should last much longer (six months to a year at least). A good induction program should be comparable to a training course. In fact, certain organizations now have accredited induction programs, giving people a qualification in their organization. This has also been instated to improve relations with outside organizations, ensuring that everyone can work together on a baseline of similar skills.

It is the responsibility of human resources to ensure that the induction program includes all necessary information. Induction really includes everything in an organization, from a floor plan demonstrating toilets, kitchens, first aid locations and fire escapes, to how colleagues are expected to communicate with each other, other staff and outside organizations.

Within induction, it is important for human resources to explain what the organizational goals are and to make it clear how each member of staff (existing and new) fits into achieving those goals. Members of staff should be able to view organizational plans, for example, to help them better view their position and how they contribute.

Going through a proper process of recruitment and induction is a real investment in a person, and it then becomes important for an organization to ensure that this person stays within the organization and is allowed to grow to their full potential. An employee should be seen as an asset and needs to be treated as such.

Retention is a human resource process in which officers determine what makes staff stay and what makes staff leave. Common reasons for members of staff leaving are:
  • Pay that does not reflect the work that is done.
  • Few opportunities for training and further development.
  • High workloads.
  • Retirement.
  • Incentives offered by other organizations to attract staff.
There are many other reasons, but these are some of the most commonly found and good human resource management addresses each of these issues, and more.

For example, many people choose to leave an organization because they are able to get a higher position with a different organization. The reality is that often, they are only able to get this position because of the investment in their training and development that was made by the first organization. Human resources need to recognize the potential people have following the skills and knowledge that they have been given and allow them to use these new skills.

Pay is always a difficult issue. People need to feel that they are paid what they are worth, but it can be very difficult to achieve this, particularly in the climate of economic slumps. However, a good human resources department will monitor pays with different organizations to ensure theirs reflects that.

Many people who form part of the workforce want the opportunity to develop and human resources should be fully involved in scoping out and delivering training. This should go beyond mandatory training that is required for a specific position but should make employees feel that they are valued and are allowed to learn outside of the tight perimeters of their current position. Investing in the workforce equals investing in the future of an organization and meeting the long term goals.

Other Human Resource Related Processes
Human Resources are also involved in payroll processes, although this is usually handled by a separate department. Other issues that Human Resources are heavily involved with are disciplinary and grievance procedures. Retirement and planning for the future is another process that falls on human resources.

As you can see, human resources management covers a wide array of subjects that can be discussed in great detail. However, the three main issues are: recruitment, induction and retention. These are the three issues that ensure the right staff is hired and that staff feel part of an organization that values them for their skills and knowledge.

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