Human Resource Management (HRM) – Definitions, Objectives, Scope and Importance

Definitions of Human Resource Management (HRM)

Human Resource Management (HRM) is concerned with the “people” dimension in management. Since every organisation is made up of people, acquiring their services, developing their skills, motivating them to high level of performance and ensuring that they continue to maintain their commitment to the Organisation are essential to achieving organizational objectives. This is true regardless of type of organisation – Government, business, education, health, recreation or social action. Those organisation that are able to acquire, develop, stimulate and keep outstanding workers will be both effective, able to achieve their goals, and efficient (expanding the least amount of resources necessary). Those organisation that are inefficient and ineffective risk the hazards of stagnating or going out of business.

Human Resource Management (HRM)

    • According to Thomas G. Spates, Human Resource Management (HRM)  is a code of the ways of organizing and treating individuals at work so that they will get the greatest possible realization of their intrinsic abilities, thus attaining maximum efficiency for themselves and their group and thereby giving to the enterprise of which they are a part its determining competitive advantage and its optimum results.
    • George Terry has succinctly stated that Human Resource Management (HRM)  is concerned with the obtaining and maintaining of a satisfied work force. He further clarified that HRM is concerned with maximizing the effectiveness of the work force through application of sound and proved personnel policies and practices.
    • According to Dale Yoder, Human Resource Management (HRM)  is the function or activity aiding and directing working men and women in maximizing their contributions and satisfactions in employment. It helps ‘workers’ including all those who work, from unskilled common laborers to corporation presidents or public administrators, – combine their efforts with those of others in providing the administrators – combine their efforts with those of others in providing the services and products we all want.
    • In the words of Flippo, Human Resource Management (HRM)  is the planning organizing, directing, and controlling of the procurement, developments, compensation, integration and maintenance and separation of human resources to the end that individual, organisational and societal objective are accomplished.

According to process system view, human resources management is the systematic planning, development, and control of a network of interrelated  process affecting and involving all members of organisation. These process include: – Human resources planningJob and work designStaffingTraining and developmentPerformance appraisal and reviewCompensation and reward – Employee protection and representation – Organisation improvement.  To effectively manage these process, human resources systems are planned, developed and implemented through the combined efforts of all managers and human resources specialists – and frequently all employees – in an organisation. Overall, the systems are intended to achieve organisation-wide  goals and contribute to organisational effectiveness and productivity. From the foregoing definitions it may be concluded that there is no standard definition of the term ‘HRM’, some authorities have defined it in terms of its functions, some others in terms of its objects and some in terms of human relationships.

Thus, human resource management refers to set of programmes, functions and activities designed and carried out in order to maximize both employees as well as organizational effectiveness.

Objectives of  Human Resource Management (HRM)

Since Human Resource Management (HRM)  is an integral part of management, its main objective is identical with that of latter, survival and growth to help the organisation to achieve its objectives, HRM contributes by assuring a rich, and continuous supply of human resources. Further, to make organisation effective and efficient, HRM aims at coordinated efforts of the competent managers and workers towards the ultimate goal. The general objective of Human Resource Management (HRM)  is to contribute towards realization of firms goals. The specific objectives of Human Resource Management (HRM)  include the following:

  1. Efficient utilization of people’s skills and abilities. HRM aims at utilizing the people’s skill and abilities, in order to achieve organizational as well as individual goals. Efficient utilization of manpower is beneficial not only to the organisation but also to the employees and consumers Human resource manager should ensure that necessary action is taken to make the fullest utilization of manpower.
  2. Provision of trained and motivated employees. The human resource manager provides to the Organisation well trained and motivated employees, which is the most valuable asset of an Organisation.  The human resource manager, for achieving this objective, creates an environment which is conducive to the growth of well-trained and well motivated employees. The effectiveness of human resource manager is judged on the basis of right type of person, at right place, at right time for an Organisation.
  3. HRM aims at providing facilities for employees thereby ensures job satisfaction of the individuals. This objective focuses on employees needs rather than organizational needs.
  4. HRM aims at communicating its policies to all concerned in their own language. Effective communication helps in building organisation image among its employees, Government and public in general. Through effective communication, policies, goals of organisation can be achieved.
  5. HRM develops and maintain quality of worklife that makes work environment more meaningful to the employees life. It is a programme of building an ideal work environment to promote maximum employees satisfaction consistent with maximum organisation growth. The premise of quality of work life is having a work environment where an employee’s activities become more important. This means implementing procedures that make work less routine and more rewarding for the employee. These policies includes autonomy, recognition, belongingness progress and development and external rewards. Autonomy deals with the amount of freedom that employees can exercise in their job. Recognition involves being value by others in the company. An individual contribution to the organisation is noticed and appreciated. Belongingness refers to being part of organisation. Progress and developments refers to internal rewards available from Organisation; Challenge and accomplishment. Finally external rewards which are usually in the form of salary and benefits, also includes promotion, rank and status. Taken together,these components provides for quality of work life for the individuals. If the quality of work life is lacking, then workers productivity may suffer.

Scope of Human Resource Management

Following is the scope of human resource management explained by experts in this area.

1. Human Resources Planning

Human Resources Planning is the process of assessing the organisation’s human resources needs in light of organizational goals and making plans to ensure that a competent, stable work force is employed. The human resource planning process includes an analysis of skill levels among employees and in the external labor market, of current and expected job openings, of plans for expanding or reducing staff throughout the organisation, and of the external legal environment. The planning process, then, is, closely related to the staffing process and depends also on the overall strategic plans of the organisation.  The systems designed to control and direct the human resources planning process include such devices and computerized records of employees’ skills and qualification, forecasts of the number of employees with certain skills who are likely to leave over the next year, analysis of the extent to which affirmative action goals have been met; and confidential organization charts showing possible candidates for promotion to various executive positions.

2. Job and Work Design

Job and work design specifies the tasks to be performed by individuals and groups within the organisation, and establishes the rules, schedules and working conditions under which people perform those tasks. Through careful design, or circumstance, or both, events converge to create jobs to which people are assigned and the conditions surrounding these jobs. Some of the systems used to help manage the process of job design include techniques such as time and motion study and work simplification, which aims at making jobs easy to learn and workers more efficient. Other job design systems, such as  job enrichment, involve techniques to restructure jobs to make them more interesting and challenging. Periodic discussions within a work team about the allocation of tasks can be considered a job design system.

3. Job Analysis

Job analysis, an outgrowth of job design, is the process of investigating the tasks and behavior associated with a particular job. Various systems used in job analysis include observations of workers as they perform their jobs, interviews and questionnaires. Typically the information obtained from job analysis is used to write job descriptions and to establish what is required of the person who will perform each job. In turn, job descriptions are useful in the staffing process, especially in recruiting, hiring, and training new employees.

4. Recruitment

An organisation needs people for its present and future vacancies. Recruitment is the process of exploring the sources of suitable people and taking effective measure for obtaining them. It is designed to attract as many candidates as possible from inside and outside the organisation so than an objective selection of the most talented persons can be done.

5. Selections and Placement

Having identified the candidates eligible for the posts, the management should proceed with the selection of right candidates and their placement. Selection is the process of testing the ability, skill and aptitude of the candidates. It is done to find out those candidates who are best suited to the specific jobs. Placement is the process of assigning a job to an accepted individual for which he is best suited. Selection and placement may or may not occur simultaneously. When candidate are chosen for specific jobs, selection and placement go together, But when a large number of candidates are selected for avoid of jobs, placement is generally done only by importing training.

6.  Socialization

After an employee has been selected and placed at a specific job, the next logical step is to introduce him to the culture of the organisation, through  socialization. It is a process of transmitting the key values, norms, policies and objectives of the company to the employees with a view to shaping their attitudes, thought and behavior and assimilating them into the dominant culture of the company. It enable a new employee to understand the organisation better and makes him or her feel at home at his work environment. This is extremely important to his motivation and performance in the organisation.

7. Training and Development Process

Although the two terms are generally put together, they are not identical in meaning. Training is a learning process that seeks to bring about a permanent improvement in the ability and behavior of employees by enabling them to learn new skill, knowledge, attitude and behavior so that they can become better performers. It is mostly intended for operating employees. Development is a much broaden concept than training. It is basically an educational process which is directed to increase the conceptual ability of employees to understand and apply knowledge in terms of cause and effect relationship, in the organizational situation. It is generally intended for managerial, people training and development programmes are essential for enhancing the quality and potential of human resources for improving the standards of performance and productivity of an Organisation.

8. Performance Appraisal and Review

Performance Appraisal  is a process of ascertaining how effectively an employee is performing his job. The object of the performance appraisal is to determine the present state of efficiency of an employee in order to establish the actual need for training and motivation. It also serves to indicate the areas of weakness in employee performance so that measures for skill improvement and prayer motivation may be taken to remedy the situation.  Although performance appraisal is central to training and development programmes, it provides valuable information to the entire spectrum of HRM. It can offer important feedback information on the effectiveness of recruitment, selection, motivation and compensation systems. Hence appraisal methods  should be most carefully chosen and designed to meet the multiple requirements of HRM.

9. Accommodation

The accommodation process refers to the extent to which management listens and responds to or accommodates the needs, wants, and complaints (or grievances) of organization members. People working in organizations expect to be treated fairly; moreover, they feel they have the right to be heard and to be respected as individuals. Morale is severely affected when there is a sense of unfair treatment or when workers perceive that, management does not care about their feelings, complaints, and suggestions. Systems for managing the accommodation process include questionnaires, suggestion boxes, an “opendoor” philosophy and formal grievance procedures. The effectiveness with which the accommodation process is managed varies within organizations and depends on a number of factors, such as prevailing leadership style and management philosophy.

10. Fair Compensation System

A fair compensation system for rewarding the employees is the most important prerequisite to attracting and maintaining the employees. Compensation in a narrow sense refers to the wages and salaries which are paid to the employees in return for their services. But its meaning is often extended to include all kinds of payments and benefits offered to the employees in lieu of their services. However, the amount of money paid to an employee is the most important form of compensation as it enables the receiver to satisfy most of his or her needs. The crucial point about monetary compensation is that it should be fair from the point of view of both the employer and the employee. Although a ‘fair compensation’ is difficult to define, it should be taken to mean the amount that is adequate for the demands and requirements of the job.

11. Employee Benefits and Services

In addition to fair monetary compensation, employees should be provided  with a number of non-monetary benefits and services which are no less important. The benefits are provided mostly in the form of paid holidays and vacations, pensions and retirement benefits, accident and life insurance benefits, etc. Services that are generally offered to the employees include social and recreational activities, medical and transport facilities, housing, credit cooperatives, discounts in purchases and cafeteria. These benefits provided to all the members of an organization regardless of their performance. As such they are intended mainly for the maintenance of employees. Research studies indicate that although employees prefer money to anything else, they strongly desire to take a part of their compensation in the form of benefits and services. In most of the cases an employee’s decision to stay with or leave the Organization will be influenced by the number of benefits and services provided. Therefore, an organization should be to offer as many advantages as possible to its employees.

12. Safety and Health Care Programmes

Safety and health care programmes are essential to the maintenance of employees. Industrial safety implies that the working conditions in or around the factory or mines should be free from the danger of accidents and health hazards. An accident is a tragic incident which has human, social and economic dimensions. It results in tremendous mental and physical sufferings for the injured apart from the loss of earnings. The organizations suffer enormous financial loss in terms of compensation payable to the injured, damaged equipment and loss of production.  Hence, every precaution should be taken to protect the employees from the damage of accidents. In addition to adequate safety measures, training and education programme should be organized to create safety consciousness among the people. The setting up of a separate safety department can go a long way in eliminating or reducing the hazards of accidents.  A part from accidents, workers in an industrial Organization are often exposed to certain health hazards and occupational diseases. Proper steps like  provision for cleanliness, safe disposal of waste and effluents, proper ventilation and lighting should be taken to protect the health of the employees. Moreover, efficient medical service and recreational activities can greatly contribute to the physical and mental well-being of the employees.

13. Collective Bargaining

The collective bargaining process refers to those events that establish a formal agreement between workers and management regarding such matters such as wages and employee benefits, hours of work, working conditions and grievance procedures. The process includes both the negotiation and administration of the labor-management contract.

14. Organizational Development

The integrated approach which is followed for the simultaneous development of people and organization is called organization development (OD). It may be defined as a comprehensive programme of building a climate of improved decision making adaptability and higher performance in an organization the introduction of planned changes. It is, in fact a long-term process of deliberately changing the organization by training and developing managerial people so as to make it more dynamic and effective in meeting the challenge of competition, adaptation and growth. OD programmes are mainly characterized by planned approach to change, emphasis on group rather than individual, participation in external change agents, use of intervention strategy and action research. It includes such complex process as grid training, survey feed back, team building and transactional analysis.

Significance of Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management is of utmost important from at-least three standpoints, social, professional and individual enterprises.

1.  Social Significance

The effective management of human resources is likely to serve the goals of our society. It can serve the following goals:

  • It can help to maintain an even balance of jobs and job holders to raise living standards of individuals in society.
  • It can help people to avail the best most productive and most gainful jobs where they can be most satisfy and effective.
  • It can help to ensure the best protection and conservation of human resources to prevent its wasteful or careless use.
  • It can help people to take decisions with minimum direction and control.

2. Professional Significance

From professional standpoint, the management of human resources is also of great significance. It can provide motivation for effective teamwork by providing desirable working conditions and policies.  Specifically, it can serve following professional goals.

  • It can help in maintaining the dignity of individual members.
  • It can help in providing maximum opportunities for personality development of each participant in the organization.
  • It can help in improving employees working skills and capacity thereby increasing productivity and standard of living.
  • It can provide healthy relationship between different work groups so that work is effectively performed.
  • It can ensure conservation of human resources by correcting errors of wrong placement and proper reallocation of work.

3. Individual Enterprise Significance

The management of human resources has also significance from stand points of the objectives of the individual enterprise. It can help the individual enterprise to achieve its goal by;

  • Obtaining capable people through scientific recruitment and selection techniques. Enterprise can identify proper sources of manpower supply and select the suitable candidates among available personnels.
  • Using proper training and development techniques, the existing manpower can be effectively and efficiently utilized. The proper training and development programmes help the employees to learn new techniques of production, thereby increasing productivity and quality of product. Training programmes also prevent industrial accidents and manpower obsolescence. Thus, ultimately helps in improving organizational climate.
  • Maintaining the willingness of people to work through equal provisions of opportunities for satisfaction of human needs not only physiological and security but also need of love, esteem and self actualization.

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