ABC of Human Resource Management

Humans were never meant for work. They were created to enjoy the abundance of the world and have dominion over all creatures on the earth. . . We all know how that went and whom we all blame for the reverse situation we experience now.

From the onset, work for man was more of an individual thing, something he did to earn a living. Over time, man found he could organise others to form groups and thus manufacture more products and with the invention of machines this became a possibility, hence work moved from individualism to more team-oriented activities.

The organisation of teams of men (this includes women) to perform work for which the reward was wages and salaries, necessitated supervision. Man is a very interesting creature, very easy to work with, yet very complex; this behavior requires oversight, directing and leading.

Eventually, a role was formulated to deal with all matters of men and women at the workplace. This included handling matters relating to recruiting workers to the organisation and everything in between till the departure of workers from the organisation. Also, managing the relationship between the work and the organisation. The workers formed bodies to represent and advocate for their well being- the personnel management office. This was the initial title given for this role, but over time it has evolved to what today we call Human Resources. 

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Human Resource in itself has several functions and some key areas. These can be broadly categorized into two main aspects

      1. Issues relating to the interpersonal relationship of the employee to other employees in the organisations, employee to the organisation,  and all bodies that affect the employer-employee relationship.

   2. All issues related to what the organisation requires from the employee.

The first in general terms is Employee relations, Industrial relations, and matters like payroll, leave administration, work attendance, and so on.

The second part relates to the employer, this is what the employer requires from the employee. First, the employer requires employees to do the work, the HR recruits. It is important, however,  to note that HR in some areas is a contributor to the needs of the other departments. If a department needs an employee, they know what type of skills they need and what type of person they require. They will pass their requirements to HR who will handle the recruitment process, involving advertising for the vacancy in various media. Then they plan and conduct interviews –here the HR plays an oversight role since they are not the user departments and are there to represent the interest of the company.

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Once the right candidate has been selected, Human resource will onboard the new employee, and then hand them to the department that required him.

Employees require good, safe and healthy workplace environments. Employees also need to be satisfied with the work that they do and be fully engaged in the workplace. Engagement, however, is not just being occupied, it is being occupied with a purpose.

Having employed, the organisation constantly needs to develop the skills of their employees to ensure they give optimal outputs. For an organisation to get from employees what they need, they have to invest in those employees and also in the organisation. Human Resource will continuously assess the skills of the employees to discover performance gaps and close these gaps by providing training to the employees.

Performance Management is also another key item falling in this category. Simply put, organisations employ to achieve certain outcomes based on a plan, normally called a strategic plan. The employee has a contribution to these strategic objectives and it is usually the only reason they come to the company, to contribute to that particular strategy. The regular measuring of what each employee is contributing to an organisation is what Performance management is all about. This measuring process is usually handled by those who manage employees- Human Resources.

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Based on the performance management process HR is also charged with rewarding performers, reprimanding low performers and “laying off” the ones with a negligible contribution to the organisation over some time.

The Human resource manager is also charged with forward-thinking, for the future needs of the organisation in terms of its Human capital requirements. HR is charged with playing what-if scenarios in terms of staff. What if our Manager in department X left? do we have someone ready internally to succeed him? how much time would it take to recruit if we don’t have that person ready?’ and what will be the financial implication? Should we start preparing a few successors for managerial positions to avert such situations? These are some of the questions that run through the minds of Human Resources persons.

Human resource is the adviser to the CEO on matters concerning people, these “People” are the Human capital which every  CEO  needs to help achieve the set goals,  and that’s the whole essence of being in the organisation.

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