Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Discuss the changing role of HRM.

Discuss the changing role of HRM. Explain the challenges associated with HRM effective policies and practices in the context of present business scenario citing examples from your organization or any other organization you are familiar with. Briefly describe the organization you are referring to.

In an organization, there are tall people, short people, fat people, thin people, black people, white people, elderly people, young people and so on. Even within each category there are enormous individual differences. Some will be intelligent, others not so intelligent, some are committed to jobs, others are not, some will be outgoing, others reserved and so on. “The point is that these differences demand attention so that each person can maximize his or her potential, so that organizations can maximize their effectiveness and so that the society as a whole can make the wisest use of its human resources” (Cascio). The challenge of HR managers today is to recognize talent and nurture the same carefully and achieve significant productivity gains over a period of time. The enterprise is nothing but people. Technological advances, globalize competition, demographic changes, the information revolution and trends toward a service society have changed the rules of the game significantly. In such a scenario, organizations with similar set of resources gain competitive advantage only through effective and efficient management of human resources (Dessler).

The role of a HR manager is shifting from a protector and screener to the planner and change agent. In present day competitive world, highly trained and committed employees are often a firm’s best bet. HR professionals play a key role in planning and implementing downsizing, restructuring and other cost-cutting activities. They enable a firm to be more responsive to product innovations and technological changes. For example, team based work assignments and productivity linked rewards could replace manufacturing systems. In service enterprises like anking, hotels, insurance firms, etc., discourteous employee responses may ruin the relationships with customers.

Employees who lack the temperament, maturity, social skills and tolerance for frequent contact should not be selected at all for service-oriented activities. HR professionals can help an organization select and train employees for such emerging roles. Employees are the primary pillars of corporate success. Machines neither have new ideas nor they can solve problems or grasp opportunities. Only people who are involved and thinking can make a difference. Through open communications, proper feedback and fair treatment of all employees’ grievances and discipline matters, HR professionals promote employee commitment at various levels. In such a case employees perform the assigned tasks willingly and enthusiastically and thus offer a competitive advantage to the organization. As rightly pointed out by Charles Creer, (Strategy and Human Resources, 1995), “in a growing number of organizations human resources are now viewed as a source of competitive advantage. Increasingly it is being recognized that competitive advantage can be obtained with a high quality workforce that enables organizations to compete on the lines of market responsiveness, product and service quality, differentiated products and technological innovation”.

In the new economy, winning will spring form organizational capabilities such as speed, responsiveness, agility, learning capacity and employee competence. Successful organizations will be those that are able to quickly turn strategy into action; to manage processes intelligently and efficiently; to maximize employee contribution and commitment; and to create the conditions of seamless change. The need to develop those capabilities brings us back to the mandate for HR set forth at the beginning of this article. Let’s take a closer look at each HR imperative in turn, becoming a Partner in Strategy Execution. Strategy is the responsibility of the company’s executive team – of which HR is a member. To be full-fledged strategic partners with senior management, however, HR executives should impel and guide serious discussion of how the company should be organized to carry out its strategy. Creating the conditions for this discussion involves four steps. First, HR should be held responsible for defining an organizational architecture. In other words, it should identify the underlying model of the company’s way of doing business. Several well-established frameworks can be used in this process. Jay Galbraith’s star model, for example, identifies five essential organizational component: strategy, structure, rewards, processes and people.

The well-known 7-S framework created by McKinsey & Company distinguishes seven components in a company’s architecture: strategy, structure, systems, staff, style, skills and shared values. It’s relatively unimportant which framework the HR staff uses to define the company’s architecture, as along as it’s robust. What matters more is that an architecture be articulated explicitly. Without such clarity managers can become myopic about how the company runs – and thus about what drives strategy implementation and what stands in its way. They might think only of structure as the driving force behind actions and decisions, and neglect systems or skills. Or they might understand the company primarily in terms of its values and pay inadequate attention to the influence of systems on how work – that is, strategy execution – actually gets accomplished. In India, the borderless world is shaking the roots of business. While some companies are feeling the excitement and facing up to the challenges, the demand for a tilted playing field6 indicates the anxiety among many Indian business leaders about competition. Increasingly, the mantra of the global economy is performance and competition.

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