Any organization is as good and competent as the people it is comprised of. Some would say that with the advent of technological era the role of human being in production of goods is steadily on the decline – that is, machines and high-tech tools replace people in their traditional roles. However, if anything it even increases the role of every human being – although it is quite possible to replace man with machine in a position of manual labor, there will always be need in people performing creative and intellectual tasks.
And Human Resources Management, or HRM, is the function that looks after this issue. In a nutshell, the chief task of HRM is to recruit new employees, manage the already recruited ones and provide direction and development for them.
However, nowadays it is much more than the department that deals with hiring and firing – HRM is supposed to look after the company’s employees, make sure they are motivated to do their best for the company’s sake, define perks and benefits they are to receive in order to make sure they don’t want to leave, manage their general performance, define new ways the entire organization may develop in future, deal with health and safety issues, define training programs that will increase the value of employees.
In addition to that, HRM defines the overall corporate culture in what concerns relationships between the company and the employee, with the main goal being to provide a work environment that would be optimal for maximum performance, fulfillment and job satisfaction on the part of the employee. Truly effective HRM makes sure both the company and its employees are satisfied: employees get good jobs they wouldn’t want to change, self-fulfillment they won’t find in other companies and feeling of being in their right place, and the company gets highly productive, happy and efficient employees who are in no hurry to leave and are going to increase the value of the company in the long run.
All in all, proper HRM aims at using the available limited workforce in the most efficient way possible, increases its amount when necessary while constantly working on improving its quality.
There is yet another function that falls within HRM’s jurisdiction – disputes and problem-solving. No matter how good the general relationships between employees and the company are, how respectful the company is towards its members, how careful it is about selecting candidates for the jobs, there will be problems. It is HRM’s job to make sure there are as few of them as possible, but they cannot be ruled out altogether.
In case of disputes between the company and the employee HRM should, on the one hand, aim at resolving them peacefully, and on the other – has to be prepared for aggression, i.e., maintain compliance with local, federal and state labor laws and communicate with employees on all levels in order to, if possible, prevent the escalation of problematic situation.
While HRM is often perceived as a secondary function of any organization (after all, it hasn’t been created for the reason of moving its own employees around), its importance can hardly be overestimated. Although they may not be immediately evident, HRM mistakes may bring about a host of problems ranging from annoying to catastrophic. High turnover rate, low productivity, discontent among the employees, lawsuits due to discriminatory actions or implementation of unsafe practices, general incompetence – all this and more is a result of poorly organized HRM.
Thus, it can be said that although HRM is always in the shadow of organization’s primary function and goal, it is what, to a very large extent, determines its effectiveness.