At one time in history, “Liking people” appeared to be sufficient for choosing to work in the field of known as “Human Resources (or Personnel) Management. Preferring to work with humans rather than objects is still important; but it is grossly insufficient in these modern times.
Human Resource Management one of our most complex and challenging fields of endeavor. Not only the firm’s requirements for an effective work force be met, the human resource manager must be greatly concerned with the expectations of both employees and society in general.
Society at large has proclaimed it human resources to have vital needs that move beyond a ‘work force’ status. The employee is simultaneously an instrument of the firm, a human being, and a citizen.
In this first lesson of the course, we discuss the definition of human resource management, and look closely at the major components of the definition. We also discuss the major challenges facing the modern human resource manager.
1.1 Definition of Human Resource Management
It is appropriate to offer at the beginning of the discussion a definition of the subject to be covered.
Gary Dessler (1997) defines human resource management as the policies and practices that you need to carry out the “people” or personnel aspects of your management job.
These aspects include:
- Conducting job analyses (determining the nature of each employee’s job)
- Planning labour needs and recruiting job candidates.
- Selecting job candidates
- Orienting and training new employees
- Managing wages and salaries (how to compensate employees)
- Providing incentives and benefits.
- Appraising performance
- Communicating (interviewing, counseling, disciplining) and safety policy.
- Implementing the organizations safety policy
- Training and developing
- Planning and developing
- Planning for the effects of change on staff.
- Building employee commitment and creating conditions for high morale.
- Implementing grievance and disciplinary machinery
- Negotiating with employee representatives.
A more detailed definition of human resource management is presented Edwin Flippo (1984), and we will use that definition to present an outline of this entire module. In the first place, we are dealing with two categories of functions, managerial and operative.
A manager is one who exercises authority and leadership over other personnel; the president of a firm is certainly a manager, and so also is the department head or supervisor. On the other hand, an operative is one who has no authority over others but has been given a specific task or duty to perform under managerial supervision. Thus, the human resource manager is a manager and as such must perform the basic function. Yet a comprehensive definition of human resource management much include also the operative functions in the field. In outline form, the definition would appear as follow:
1.2: Management and Operative Functions:
1. Management functions
2. Operative functions
Human resource management therefore can be defined as the planning, organizing, directing and controlling of the procurement, development, compensation, maintenance and separation of human resources to the end that individual, organizational and societal objectives are accomplished. A brief elaboration of the component parts of this definition follows