Traditional and Total Quality HRM Approaches

Traditional and Total quality HRM approaches
HR managers can facilitate the introduction and implementation of TQM in several ways:

1) Identify uses of TQM techniques.
2) Develop communication systems for introducing TQM, and improve quality awareness.
3) Select and train people carefully so that they possess requisite skills for implementing TQM.
4) Match appraisals to TQM philosophy.
5) Institute reward schemes for scaling new heights through TQM
6) Carry out employee attitude and organizational climate surveys that highlight weak, spots; point attention towards rectification efforts.
7) Conduct quality and ethics audits.
8) Benchmark TQM applications with the best players in competing units and find ways to get ahead continually.
9) Treat TQM as a systematic and continuous way of doing businesses.
10) Top management must adopt the principles and language of quality, follow the processes, set examples and guide others.

In the total quality HRM approach, all employees participate in the quality improvement processes diligently ad wholeheartedly. There is always a conscious effort to find employee requirements to design benefits and rewards. Company’s employees are treated as customers. 360 degree appraisals are used before picking up best performing teams, whereby each employee is assessed by himself, his superiors and his peers as well as his juniors. Decisions based on facts are encouraged. Importance is given to continuous improvement through small ideas advanced by people working at various levels. Cooperation among all employees is encouraged. Suggestions are welcome from all quarters. Total quality HRM is all about caring for people sincerely. To get people to care about quality you have to care about them.

Implication for managers:

The search for continual improvement it should be noted here, puts organizational members in a race without a finish line. They can no longer afford to rest on laurels and glory won in the past. Complacency becomes a prohibitive word and each one is expected to move ahead, seeking constant improvement while achieving goals. They have to scale new heights year after year. Some people may like such situations where they are made to stretch themselves fully. But to a large majority pressure cooker like environments produce frustration and anxiety. A race with no finish line means that’s never over – producing constant friction and tension. The pressures arising out of an unrelenting search for process improvements may have serious consequences for employees if adequate care is not taken. Employees’ involvement programs therefore have become part and parcel of TQM.


Benchmarking is the first requirement to effective TQM. It is comparatively new to Indian companies. The essence of benchmarking is the striving to be the best of the best in one’s area of operations. It is a continuous process of measuring products, services and practices against toughest competitors or industry leaders with the aim of mutual improvement.

1) Benchmarking is a continuous process. It is not a one shot deal because industry practices change constantly. Complacency may be suicidal.
2) Benchmarking implies measurement of the gap between the practices of two companies so as to uncover significant differences.
3) Benchmarking can be applied to products, services, practices, processes and methods.

Thus, benchmarking is a systematic investigation, a fruitful learning experience which ensures that the best of industry practices are uncovered, analyzed adopted and implemented. Companies such as Modi Xerox, HDFC, IFB, Infosys, Indal, SRF, TELCO, Thermax, Bombay Dyeing have successfully applied competitive benchmarking to meet the rising expectations of customers in their respective areas.

The benchmarking process involves twelve steps: identifying, benchmarking candidates, identifying best competitor, collecting data, finding the gap, projecting the future performance, communicating benchmark findings establishing functional goals, developing action plans, implementing plans, recalibrating benchmarks and integrating into processes and attaining leadership position.

Excerpts from VSP