Human Resources Management


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The use of the term personnel management has been interchanged with the terms human resource management and human resources. They refer to activities that entail managing people within organizations. Human resource management (HRM) therefore refers to imperative and systematic way of managing people working within firms. People are the key valuable assets within an organization since they are responsible for collectively and individually reinforcing the achievement of an organizations objectives and goals. Human resource functions refer to all tasks done by the personnel staff in order to provide efficient, dynamic and adequate workforce. Some of the functions of the human resource include recruitment and retention of personnel, predicting and planning, job analysis, performance evaluation, directing and training personnel, managing discipline and grievance as well as career counseling and planning.


The modern human resource management originated from several interconnected sources. Conflict management is a source of HRM that is concerned with differences and constrictions emerging in employment relationship. Other sources include the scientific approach to management, enhanced specialization of labor and employment related policies that have emerged within the last few decades. There are various characteristics associated with HRM. One of the characteristics is that it is commitment-oriented. HRM is also strategic with special emphasis on unification. The basis of HRM is the belief that it is appropriate to treat people as valuable assets. Its approach to employees is unitarist and not pluralist, individualistic and not collective. Diversity is the other characteristic of HRM and finally its focuses majorly on business values (Bratton and Gold, 2001).

HRM holds the view of regarding people as valuable assets and not variable costs, meaning that people are considered to be human capital. HRM approaches employees in a unitary manner with the belief that workers have similar interest as employers. An individualistic approach ensures that the connections between organizations and individual employees are maintained rather than functioning through representative and group systems. It is therefore clear that the HRM is coordinative since it collects all the aspects of line supervisors and the personnel staffs in an attempt to obtain workers that are extremely effective. Additionally, HRM is integrative since it attempts to link the personnel aspects to the objectives of the organization. It is also noteworthy that HRM is advisory due to the fact that it keeps all management levels updated and informed about the policies governing personnel as well as ways through which such policies could be implemented for organizational benefit (Bratton, 2001).

HRM Functions refer to tasks accomplished by the personnel staff with the expectation of providing adequate, dynamic and competent workforce. The first function of HRM is forecasting and planning. Through forecasting, one can determine the configuration of personnel in an entire organization. Good organizational planning requires good prediction or forecasting. The other function is job analysis whereby the HRM plays the role of defining stating and prescribing the various posts and jobs available in an organization through giving a description of the activities and tasks that should be carried out. The consequential outcome of analysis is appropriation of qualities and skills that that a job occupant should have. Job analysis within an organization should be carefully performed by a skilled and competent job analyst (Mathis and Jackson, 2008).

Selection and recruitment of personnel is the other function of HRM. It is the responsibility of HRM to identify potential employees and interview them in order to select the most competent ones for a specific position. The other function is training and orientation of personnel. The initial absorption of an employee into an organizational culture is marked by hiring. New employees need to be directed and oriented about their duties and connections on their jobs. This is an inductive process because employees are given a sense of belonging to a given unit of operation. During orientation and training, new employees are informed about the work procedures and technology in order to attain maximal productivity on their jobs. HRM may train new employees within or outside an organization so as to elevate their competence and skills (Mathis, 2008).

Performance evaluation is the other HRM function. It is the role of HRM to evaluate personnel performance and ways through which their attitudes augment organizational performance. The personnel staff should implement an evaluation system relating to the familiarity of the organization and evaluation goals. Performance appraisals give guidelines regarding advancement of personnel in terms of rank and pay. The fundamental goal of evaluation is to determination of employees attainment of performance target or purpose. Suggestions can indicate more training for employees in cases where appraisal indicates the requirement for employee skills to be upgraded. Generally, performance appraisal most of the times enhance job performance within an organization (Anthony, Kacmar and Perrewe, 2009).

Career guidance and planning is the other role designated to HRM. Most workers lack the knowledge of the right career path to take and ways of navigating through the career system. Such employees need to be directed and guided by the HRM. This process acclimatizes an employee to a current job position and puts him on the right path for successive advancement to higher job rank. Handling discipline and complains within an organization is the other HRM function. When issues arise within an organization, the HRM play a role of policy enforcement on discipline. Human resource staff should handle grievances raised by employees due to negative responses to the enforced policies and rules (Anthony, et al, 2009).

Compensation and wage benefit scheming is the role of HRM. Since classifying job ranks and assigning salary grade is a task of the personnel management, there is an inevitable connection between HRM and compensation planning as well as management. The same case applies to other benefits such as housing, heath, retirement and insurance benefits. Union relations and collective bargaining is the other function of HRM. Through keeping the senior management team informed about union relations and collective bargaining, personnel staff aids in lowering disagreements between management and union. The final function of HRM is retirement guidance and planning. Many organizations ensure that the personnel staff provides optimal benefits to prospective retirees. Moreover, these retirees are advised and guided on investment procedures (Bratton, 2001).

Though HRM requires possession of general skills, it is recommendable to basic fundamental skills. Computerization is one of the specialization requirements in HRM. Most HRM Functions require collection and transmission of data concerning personnel and personnel issues. The use of computers data manipulation is therefore important in HRM. Any personnel joining the human resource office should at least be computer literate. Written communication is the other requirement. HRM requires competence in communication due to the need to pass information regarding the organization and personnel as well as policy issues. Personnel communication should involve the utilization of appropriate terms to promote understanding.  One of the challenges that the personnel staff encounter is that of communicating adequately, properly and precisely to employees and other personnel (Mathis, 2008).

Oral communication is the other requirement since human resource staff most of the time have face-to-face contact with employees. Oral communication is essential during the interview process, getting responses on various policies and conveying ideas relating to organizational climate. The human resource staff also plays a role of training personnel oral communication is inevitable during the training process. It is essential for human resource staff to have language competence in English as well as vernacular. Hence, individuals who claim to be better in writing than speaking need to establish their oral prowess if at all they want to be successful in HRM field. Records management is the other requirement because the human resource office is characterized by a network of records that require maintenance and installation (Bratton, 2001).

According to Anthony, et al, (2009), having knowledge on social and labor legislation is the other requirement since HRM is a field that needs the application of social legislation as well as labor laws. This is the key reason behind several organizations hiring lawyers or law graduates in the personnel staff. Statistical knowledge is also essential since analyzing and assembling data on personnel is a function of HRM. Computerization within HMR becomes helpful when the personnel staff has the ability to utilize statistical data with high competence. Finally, it is essential to have general and industrial psychological knowledge. Relationships are fundamental within an organizational setting and in order to maintain healthy relationship, background knowledge in industrial and general psychology is vital. This knowledge is especially critical during the behavior and attitude analysis in a workplace. Human resource staff can aid in the promotion of a favorable climate when they have the ability to handle psychological features organizational behavior.

Bratton and Gold (2001), postulated that the human resources management is keenly related to organizational development. In order to enhance performance and increase efficiency, it is important to improve the human factor within an organization. Any technological amendments depend on the enhanced performance of the human resource that has to be managed appropriately. In order to attain organizational development, it is essential to increase inputs and their use. Human capital form critical inputs, and resources that need to be differentiated from monetary and mechanical inputs. Human capital comprises of attitudes, skills and flexibility of the workforce, and is a factor enhances the expansion of organizational activities and amendment of operation procedures. Any machinery and methodological amendments that are not supplemented by changes in human capital have no economic importance to an organization.

Organizational development is based on the attainment of organizational goals and objectives. It is possible to improve an organizational structure in order to increase the chances of realizing the set goals and objectives. Hence, he HRM should be closely connected with organizational development because the key factor in attaining objectives comprise of the people. Organizational structure change can be constrained by the ability of the workforce to attain great productivity within the altered management and structure. It is the role of the HRM to get the best out of each and every employee in order to increase productivity within a changed organizational structure and management (Bratton, 2001).

According to Mathis and Jackson (2008), there are basic concepts pertaining to HRM that must be understood in order to execute various HMR functions effectively. One of the concepts states that paternalistic management is disagreeable in HMR. This is due to the fact that paternalistic management results to employee dependency instead of liberation and empowerment. The other concept is that technology limits productivity. It is essential for the human resource personnel to know that though training results to bringing out the best in each and every employee, there is a bottom line to that training effect. Research evidence has shown that even the highly skilled employee on low technology would have a more reduced productivity compared to an average performing employee on high technology. Hence productivity increases with advancement in technology.

The other concept about HRM is that it pays well in order to pay well. Job contentedness is what determines employees’ response to change, their willingness to learn as well as sticking to organizational policies. Good compensation is the chief factor for job contentedness. The HRM needs to ensure that training programs are administered in an environment that fosters job satisfaction among the workforce. The other concept is that of social responsibility of the employer. This refers to the essence of an organization to provide good products as well as fair practices performed in a non-exploitive manner. The HRM as well as employees should also know and regard performance appraisal as a control device. Periodical performance evaluation enables employees to be aware of the need to maintain productivity at optimal level (Mathis, 2008).

The other concept is that personnel polices need to be renewed.  Renewal of organizational policies every now and then is of great importance. Employees frequently neglect the rules and policies of an organization under the claim that they are too rigid. In such circumstances, it becomes necessary to amend or change the policies in accordance with a given set of standards. Finally, HRM holds the concept of labor not being a commodity. Labor is under the protection of law and should not be regarded as a market commodity (Bratton, 2001).

There are numerous approaches to improving and carrying out the HRM functions in public and private sectors. The approaches are utilized in personnel management and trace back from the theory of general management. One of the approaches is participatory management which refers to the association of file and rank in policy implementation as well as ways and programs applicable to personnel management. Participatory management does not only enhance democracy within HMR but it also ensures utilization of employee inputs and enhances acknowledgement of HRM practices and plans (Mathis, 2008).

Conflict reduction is the other approach. Conflict can arise within an organization on several occasions for instance those involving management and labor, between individual employees or between the employee objectives and the objectives of their position (Anthony, et al, 2009).Conflicts are known to reduce organizational efficiency. Efforts that can be utilized in increasing productivity should not be diverted to conflicts. It is the key responsibility of the personnel management to ensure that conflicts are managed and reduced within the organization.

Feedback and control is the other approach whereby the HRM conveys information to the management regarding promotion of organizational control. Additionally, the HRM comes up with the ways through which management control can be carried out in reference to the aspects of management pertaining to HRM activities. The personnel staff also has a role of collecting relevant response data to the top management as well as making use of information collection tools to sort data that should constitute feedback. Feedback refers to any valuable information that enables the recipient to act on it and come up with a choice to impose a given policy, augment returns in utilization of resources or implement an appropriate plan (Bratton, 2001).

The use of incentives and punishment is the other approach. Management or policy styles can be used in an attempt to achieve conformity to organizational policies and rules. Both styles may focus on either the use of incentives to behaving well or punishments to employees who do not comply with the rules and policies. The decision on the method to use relies on what the management deems as desirable and appropriate. In cases that necessitate swaying of employees for better performance, it is recommendable to make sue of incentives. On the other hand, punishment may be used in cases where employees can be made to conform through losing comfort or money (Mathis, 2008).

Synergy in the workplace is the other HRM approach. Through HRM, employees can be made to understand that productivity can be increases through coordination and cooperation. Setting up the essence of team building in the work place is possible through motivating both the line supervisor and the personnel staff. Synergy is enhanced following the realization that team work leads to increased productivity. Management by objective is the other approach, which is the key idea surrounding performance evaluation system in organizations and government. Following the concept of management by objectives, it is possible for HRM to have knowledge of the way performance evaluation systems are implemented and enforced (Anthony, et al, 2009).

The final approach is life-long education. This concept is the principle behind training of the workforce I both public and private sectors. The concept holds the view that it is possible to educate employees within their active age for higher technological ranks as long as they have basic numeric and literacy skills. Moreover, personality development as well as attainment of morally upright values comprises a life-long process. The key object of training programs outside and within organizations is continuing education of employees. After all, the topmost beneficiary of the entire skills and insight gained by employees is a company as a learning organization (Bratton, 2001).

One of the weaknesses associated with the HMR is that of assigning the office to the mediocre. Many organizations view the office of human resources as less important, and hence it becomes a depositing site for those individuals who have been determined mediocre in other fields. Pooling of mediocre in the human resource management sector deteriorates the office as well as its importance in an organization. In order to be of managerial importance HRM needs to be recognized as a relevant and useful sector in the management spectrum. It should also be well-financed so as to increase its effectiveness (Mathis, 2008).


The human resource management is a fundamental field in any given organization. The overall organizational development and performance is dependent on the HRM. Hence, an effective HRM implies increases productivity and development. HRM is coordinative, integrative as well as supportive with regard to carrying out the designated functions.


Anthony, W. P., Kacmar, K. M., & Perrewe, P. L. (2009). Human Resources Management. A Strategic Approach (6th Ed). Cengage Learning

Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2001). Human resource management. Theory and practice (2nd Ed). Routledge

Mathis, R. L., & Jackson, J. H. (2008). Human resource management (12th Ed). Cengage Learning

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