The functions of Human Resource Management

About four decades ago the Human Resources department did not exist, at least not in India. There used to be personnel department which in turn was bifurcated into labor department and staff department. In addition to pay roll the labor department was responsible to control the timing of workers. The personnel department in addition was recognizing the properly elected Union and negotiating with the union every three or five years, the wages and other related matters.

The staff section of the personnel department was smaller and mostly looked after the payroll. It is very rare that the staff forms the union and the management has to negotiate with that union. The staff was also bound by discipline and had to follow the timings and other procedures as laid down by the management.

The training of staff and workers was the responsibility of the departments. So were the rewards, incentives or promotions. The personnel department was only playing the role of a watchman and objecting to the increase in pay or promotion if it was not in line with the policy as directed by the management. The outlook was not progressive and the policy was to extract the maximum from the staff and workers.

Managers were supported by the higher management in their task of extracting the maximum and they were given special privileges in terms of pay, allowance, residence and other perks.

Then gradually many organizations started coming up and competition for the same products increased. Experienced employees from workers to managers were in demand by other organizations. Therefore the companies had to gradually switch over from personnel management to Human Resources Management (HRM). The HR Department combined into one and they were made responsible for manpower supply (Recruitment), administration, payroll, training and development. The training, rewards and promotions were in concert with the departments concerned. The higher management was only giving the guidelines.

The HR department had to design and develop a policy covering right from  Managing Director to the unskilled worker. Of course the policy had to be approved by the Board of Directors.

Managers have to perform the function of planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling.

Planning function includes establishing goals. Organizing includes giving each subordinate a specific task and establishing a department, delegating authority to subordinates and establish channels of authority and communication.

Determining what type of people should be hired, recruiting employees, selecting employees, setting performance standards, and evaluating performance. Counseling employees, training and developing employees are also the functions of a manager.

It finally evolved and the Human resource management became the process of recruiting the required man power, Training, appraising, compensating and rewarding employees, attending to their labor relations, health, safety and work related concerns.

Why is HRM important to All Managers?

Some of the personnel mistakes managers make while managing are,

1)   Hire the wrong person on the job

2)   Experience high turnover

3)   Have people who do not give their best

4)   Waste time with useless interviews

5)   Have some employees think their salaries are unfair and in-equitable in relation to others in the organization.

6)   Allow a lack of training to undermine your department’s effectiveness

It is more important for a manager as you get the results through people. Remember that you can do everything else right as a manager –but still fail, by hiring the wrong people or by not motivating subordinates. .

The authority exerted by an HR manager is by directing the activities of the people in his or her own department and in service areas.

In other words, he or she exerts the line of authority within the HR department. While they generally can’t wield the line authority, they are likely to exert implied authority. This is because line managers know the human resource manager has top management’s ear in areas like testing and affirmative action.

HR must take responsibility for clearly defining how management should be treating employees, make sure employees have the mechanisms required to contest unfair practices, and represent the interests of employees within the framework of its primary obligation to senior management.

HR managers also coordinate personnel activities, a duty often offered to as functional authority (or functional control) here he or she acts as the right arm of the top executive to ensure that line managers are implementing the firm’s human resource policies and practices.

An HR manager advises the CEO to understand the personnel aspects of the company’s strategic options in a better way. HR assists in hiring, training, evaluating, rewarding, counseling, promoting, and firing employees. It administers the various benefit programs.  It carries out the role of an innovator, by providing up to date information on current trends and new methods for better utilization of the company’s employees, or human resources. It plays an employee advocacy role, by helping to define how the management should treat the employees.

The size of the human resource department reflects the size of the company. For a very large company, contains a full complement of specialists for each HR function. At the other extreme, the human resource team for a small manufacturer may contain just five or six staff. There is generally about one human resource employee per 100 company employees.

Comments are closed.