Factors Influencing the Personnel Function

There are a number of critical trends affecting the employment relationship that further affect how organizations need to manage their employees. Some of these trends pertain to changes taking place in the external environment of the organization; others pertain to some of the ways organizations are responding internally to such trends . The term environment of business refers to the aggregate of conditions, events and influences that surround and affect it.

External and internal factors influencing the personnel Function:

External factors

1) Technological factors
2) Economic challenges
3) Political factors
4) Social factors
5) Local and Governmental issues.
6) Unions
7) Employer’s demands
8) Workforce diversity

Internal factors

1) Mission
2) Policies
3) Organizational culture
4) HR systems.
5) Organization structure

The external environment consists of those factors which affect an organization’s human resources from outside the organization. Each of these external factors separately or in combination can influence the HR functions of any organization. The job of an HR manager is to balance the demands and expectations of the external groups with the integral; requirements and achieve the assigned goals in an efficient and effective manner. Likewise, the internal environment also affects the job of an HR manger The functional areas, structural changes specific cultural issues peculiar to a unit. HR systems, corporate policies and a lot of other factors influence the way the HR function is carried out. The HR manager has to work closely with these constituent parts, understand the internal dynamics properly and devise ways and means to survive and progress. In addition, to these the personal man has to grapple with the problems of workforce diversity. Let us examine these in detail.

Technologies changes

An organization’s technology is the process by which inputs from an organization’s environment are transformed into outputs . Technology includes tools, machinery, equipment, work procedures and employee knowledge and skills. In the present competitive world, technological break through can dramatically influence an organization’s service markets, suppliers, distributors, competitors.
Customers manufacturing processes, marketing practices and competitive position:

Technological advances can open up new markets, result in a proliferation of new and improved products, change the relative cost position in an industry and render existing products and services obsolete. Technological advancements can create new competitive advantages that are more powerful than existing ones. Recent technological advances as we all known in computers, lasers, robots, satellite networks, fibre optics , biometrics cloning, and other related areas have paved the way for significant operational improvements

Impact of Technology on HRM

New skills required: As new technologies are developed and implemented there is an urgent need to upgrade existing employees skills and knowledge if the organization wants to survive and flourish in a competitive world. Additionally, there will be growing demand or workers with more sophisticated training and skills especially in emerging hot sectors like telecommunications, hospitality, retailing, banking, insurance, biotechnology and financial services. For example service sector employees require different skills than those utilized in manufactured. They need strong interpersonal and communications skill as well as the ability to handle customer complaints in a flexible way.

Impact of technology

The impact of new technology on the total number of jobs available has been quite devastating. It has placed power in the hands of a small group of elite people in most large scale organizations. This has taken place because of deskilling of most jobs, where a few individuals tend to control the organizations through the increased availability of information . Lower and middle level positions are the worst hit in this scenario, because computers do the compilation and processing of information now. Work roles have also become more integrated. New technologies generally compel people to learn a new set of skills altogether and also learn to work together in project teams time and again.

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  • kshantaram

    with competition and globalisation and mergers an acquisitions taking place and the bars of corporate excellence rising higher and higher with global benchmarks with focus on performance management personnel/hr departsments are expected to play the role of strategic business partners participating in business processes and offering viable company specific result oriented hr solutions with emphasis on number crunching, ROI, etc

    while both organisations and hr are in transition stages it is imperative to treat hr with dignity involving them in business processes as colleagues rather than handle hr people as mere service providers at the beck of the call of the top management or the line functions throwing the ball in the court of hr to clear one of headaches related to employee matters. hr needs to be provided on a priority basis the needed support systems in terms of qualified staff or IT support, budgetory support, delegation of powers or rather empowerment, etc.

    with qualified professional colleagues around and the young qualified generation with high expectations and impatience with high attrition rates hr too needs to become proactive and responsive to the needs of the times making itself more available, accurate, error free, aware of business trends, understand numbers and their implications for business, etc the traditional leadership needs to be supplemented with contemporary hr leadership able to manage the change needed in the organisation and within the function in a non-threatening manner in a time bound manner training, educating, coaching the hr teams bringing a paradigm shift offering quality services, advice to the line function, etc showing that the team can offer more in contrast to the image of hr within the organisation while able to make demands on the management for the needed support.

    at the same time the top management and the line functions need to treat hr as colleagues having professional viable discussions rather than expect something at the push of a button like a coffee vending machine understanding the limitations under which the organisation functions. if needed one could advocate with the top management for the support needed by hr to function effectively treating it as a friend and winning the support of hr rather than nagging it away each time.

    human resource management is a people sensitive organisation while hr people too are human beings wanting to achieve self-fulfillment through their roles but could be constrained in offering their best and may need training and exposures, empowerment, budgetory support, staff support or IT support and tolerance of the organisation for human errors – just as other functions could be making errors or producing quality goods deviating from the norms laid down or not meeting the cost standards etc while could be yet striving for quality improvements as a continual journey with the support of the top management and colleagues, so is the case for hr.

    treating hr with amiability enabling advance the needed professional co-operation could go a long way in team building for organisational effectiveness stopping the blame game with high handedness towards hr while treating it as a colleague advocating the needed corporate support while being in dialogue with hr not putting it on the defensive all the while – and recognising the service already provided with large effort under constraints and the improvements already being made and felt. there would always be a gap between the expectations and the current state while the organsiation collectively needs to bridge these gaps on a team work basis with hr as a component to be optimised each time under a set of circumstances. while hr too needs to raise professional effectiveness as a team all the while through knowledge management, reforms and innovation, and offering people friendly systems and services enhancing people engagement and morale at a faster pace.

    hope this puts in perspective the pressures of changing business and organisational environment on hr and the need for a collaborative organsiational effort in optimising hr effectiveness while hr too needs to become a proactive strategic business partner enhancing the competencies of the hr team while boldly asking for the needed support systems to make hr effective under contemporary business scenarios.

    humble regards,