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On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

o Define what human resource management involves.


o List the expectations employees desire in a workplace environment.
o Explain the importance of producing employee policies.
o Describe the role of the human resources manager.
Human Resources Management

Just about every organisation today claims that their human resources are their most important
and valuable assets.

So what is it about the staff, employees, workers, and operatives that make them so important to
the management of any organisation?

Human Resources Management involves the process of managing people to perform various
tasks within the organisation so as to achieve organisational goals.

Human resources managers are responsible for creating 'win-win' relationships for both the
individual employee and the organisation as a whole.

Employees are seen as the key to organisational success as they are the ones who implement
management's policies and practices and they are usually the ones at the coalface dealing with
customers or physically making the products.

If employee performance is not up to the benchmark, then the organisation will not be working
in synergy and will not be able to meet the standard set by the industry leader.
Organisations have often tried to obtain a competitive advantage by various means - by use of
specialised natural resources, by use of technology and other capital resources, or by
entrepreneurial resources or 'street smarts'.

Employees Expectations

 A safe and secure working environment


 A career path
 Flexible working arrangements
 Personal satisfaction
 Open communication
 A team environment

Management Responsibilities

Employee productivity (as measured by output per employee per time period) is important to
every organisation.

By developing policies that cover every aspect of the employment life cycle of an individual
employee, management hope to retain and maintain an employee within the organisation and lift
their performance level to the optimum level.

Organisations must ensure that they comply with these laws and regulations otherwise they face
a fine, imprisonment or closure of the organisation.

Also, the Human Resources Manager must be sure that the policies and practices put into place
are consistent with the strategic long-term objectives of the organisation.

Organisational Objectives
There is a direct correlation between the management of the human resources of an organisation
and the achievement of organisational objectives.

The attainment of organisational objectives will require the co-operation of employees and a
concerted effort on their part to achieve the objectives.

Employment Legislation

Management must also take into account various legislative enactments which impact on the way
that employees are actually employed.

Laws dictate the minimum (or 'safety net') terms of employment and the conditions of
employment:

 They dictate what employers can and can not do in the workplace;
 Whom they can and can not employ;
 The nature of the environment within which employees work and
 What happens when employees want to leave the workplace voluntarily or are forced to
leave the workplace by management.

Employee Productivity
Managers of organisations look to enhance employee performance in order to increase employee
productivity.

Enhancing employee performance means that management must look at every aspect of the
employment cycle of that employee. Management must ensure that employees are suitably
selected, correctly trained and also appropriately remunerated and motivated to stay on the job

Role of the Human Resources Manager


In most organisations, the role of planning, organising, leading, controlling, creating,
communicating, and motivating employees has become the sole responsibility of the Human
Resources Manager.

The role of the formerly titled Personnel Manager has been extended and has moved beyond
basic data collection relating to such things as payroll, sick day entitlements and holidays taken.

The role of the HR Manager involves every aspect of the employment cycle of each individual
employee and it involves the implementation of policies and practices designed to enhance the
performance of these employees.
HR Managers are mainly responsible for implementing change in workplace procedures and for
ensuring that employees are fully informed of the changes and are willing and able to accept the
changes being implemented.

In many organisations, this role is outsourced to external change agents or facilitators

Management of organisations can see that their relationship with employees is capable of giving
them a competitive edge over their competitors and, hence, an increase in their market share, if
the relationship is managed effectively.

Human Resource Managers of large-scale organisations need to be aware of the factors that
influence both the size and the quality of the workforce available to supply their services for
employment:

 The demographics of the local population


 The diversity of the workforce
 The skill level of the workforce
 The education level of the workforce
 The training made available to workers
 The motivation of the workforce to work full-time
 The provision of child-care facilities
 The working conditions
 The security associated with the employment contract
 The level of remuneration associated with the job
 General employment trends e.g. job sharing, tele-commuting etc.
 The role of technology in the workplace

The key points from this module are:

Human Resources Management involves the process of managing people to perform various
tasks within the organisation so as to achieve organisational goals.
Organisations have often tried to obtain a competitive advantage by various means - by use of
specialised natural resources, by use of technology and other capital resources, or by
entrepreneurial resources or 'street smarts'.

Today, the human resources factor is really the only viable choice to achieve that competitive
edge or advantage over corporate competitors

Employees expect the following the the workplace:

o A safe and secure working environment


o A career path
o Flexible working arrangements
o Personal satisfaction
o Open communication
o A team environment

Employee productivity (as measured by output per employee per time period) is important to
every organisation. By developing policies that cover every aspect of the employment life cycle
of an individual employee, management hope to retain and maintain an employee within the
organisation and lift their performance level to the optimum level.

Organisations must ensure that they comply with these laws and regulations otherwise they face
a fine, imprisonment or closure of the organisation.

In most organisations, the role of planning, organising, leading, controlling, creating,


communicating, and motivating employees has become the sole responsibility of the Human
Resources Manager.

HR Managers are mainly responsible for implementing change in workplace procedures and for
ensuring that employees are fully informed of the changes and are willing and able to accept the
changes being implemented.

In many organisations, this role is outsourced to external change agents or facilitators.


On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

 List the reasons for using HR consultants.


 Explain why choosing a service provider is difficult.
 Describe the difficulties organisations are faced with in choosing a consultant.
 Distinguish between the advantages and disadvantages of approved lists from the
perspective of the provider and the purchaser.

Human Resources Consultant

This section looks both at sub-contracting particular human resources services which could
otherwise be provided internally, and at change consultancy, where the consultant brings an
external perspective which could not be obtained in any other way.

Human resources consultants are often called in initially for their specific
expertise but many find that, even in this case, diagnosis is important, and
there are often follow-on opportunities for broader organisational
development.

There are a number of reasons for using HR consultants. These include:

 The provision of interim or other temporary services, specialist expertise such as


employment law, and general support such as coaching.
 They also include more substantial involvement with change, either just at the diagnostic
stage or throughout the change process.

There are different modes of consulting, of which the process mode is preferable whenever
problems are at all complex.
Choosing a Human Resources Consultant
Choosing a service provider tends to be far more difficult than choosing a supplier of goods.
While there may be tangible components in the service an HR consultant offers, what HR
consultants provide is largely intangible.

Imagine that you are considering using consultants for one of the reasons given in the
introduction to this unit. What issues would you want to consider before deciding to go ahead?

There are major issues of control and risk to be taken into consideration. Thus you may have
raised questions similar to those which follow.

Issues to be addressed when deciding whether to employ consultants include the following:

o What risks are associated with use of a consultant? Where would the power lie in the
relationship?
o What expertise does the consultant bring that you lack?
o Would it be better to develop this expertise internally rather than seek it externally?
o How can you be sure that the consultant has the claimed expertise and will actually deliver
as promised?
o What other advantages are there to using a consultant and are there alternative ways of
achieving these?
Organisations are faced with the following difficulties in choosing a consultant:

o Determining the precise nature of the consultant's services in advance - what exactly is
being offered?
o Comparing this service to the services offered by other providers (and identifying these in
the first place)
o Knowing what to pay
o Evaluating the service afterwards.
o Knowing the nature of the service that you wish to purchase

While a good consultant, and one who is suitable for your context, can be hugely successful, the
cost of a poor choice may be substantial. A failed change intervention is not only more
expensive than a bad haircut but seriously more disastrous.

Clients seeking HR consultancy often face real and urgent problems to which they are expecting
consultants to provide a solution. When major change exercises are being planned, any changes
made in the light of consultant recommendations are likely to be extensive, expensive and
irreversible.

For this reason, evaluation of provision is important throughout the consultancy, to allow for
adjustments where necessary during the process, to ensure that the consultant has delivered what
was promised, to identify what else needs to be done and, most importantly, to inform future
involvement with consultants.

Using Approved HR Consultants

Organisations are increasingly seeking to ‘rationalise’ provision of services. Such rationalisation


often includes keeping lists of ‘approved’ HR consultants from which choice must be made and
standardising procurement procedures.

There are potential advantages and disadvantages of such ‘approved lists’, from the perspective
of both purchaser and provider.
Advantages for the organisation as purchaser may include:

• Vetted suppliers
• Economies of scale
• Leading to potentially better deals
• Speedier provision of services as there are fewer stages in the tendering process
• Greater control over quality
• Increased bargaining power over costs

Disadvantages for the organisation as purchaser may include:

• Working from a list which features only the ‘big’ players - major names who tend to have a
range of fairly standardised packages that may not fit your particular needs

• Being faced with different consultants each time, even though you are using the same
consultancy, which makes it difficult to build a relationship

Advantages for the HR consultant as provider may include:

• Less time/cost spent in the tendering process


• Less time wasting as the purchaser more likely to buy from you
• The ability to build up knowledge of the client
• Greater likelihood of being paid if a formal agreement exists
• Improved forecasting/knowledge of where future business will come from

For a HR consultant as provider the disadvantages will depend on whether they are on or off the
list!

Traditionally, there have been few barriers to entry to offering consultancy. A move towards
approved lists' constitutes a major barrier, which means that new entrants will need to focus on
organisations not operating such a list or on open invitations to tender.

Assessing the Human Resources Consultant


Once you have a reasonably clear idea of what you are looking for and have identified potential
HR consultants, you may need to find out more about them before you can choose.
Ideally, you will gather information from as many sources as possible, and, as with any such
information, evaluate its reliability and relevance to your particular context. The clearer you are
about the nature of the intervention that you require, and the key features of the context in which
this will occur, the better placed you will be to select an appropriate provider.

A list of questions for your HR consultant would include:

 Can they do the task as described and do they add something extra beyond my own staff?
 Can they listen as well as talk?
 Can they write well?
 Will they fit into the organisational culture? If not, can they be adapted or will I need to
find a ‘bridge'?
 Are their presentation skills good enough to be convincing in front of the most senior
levels of the organisation?
 Is the team of the right mix, and is there other expert back-up if necessary?
 Are they local enough that they can attend regular meetings? If not, have they good
electronic links?

One of the more visible parts of the service many HR consultants offer is the model or
models on which they base their work. The HR consultant will normally start by trying to
understand the client perspective, but then seek to expand that perspective, using theory and
experience from elsewhere.
Such models may look superb in publicity material and may impress the majority of ‘naïve’
purchasers. You should be able critically to assess both individual models used and the ‘package’
they comprise.

If a model does not make sense to you or feels ‘wrong’, and questioning does not enable you to
understand it, then it is unlikely to form a useful basis for working together.

Relevant questions include:

o Is the model meaningful?


o Does it make sense to you in the light of your own experience?
o Is there relevant and adequate empirical evidence for the model/theory?
o Does the proposed approach include an element of diagnosis?
o Is the model or set of models likely to include all the key elements in the situation which are
likely to need addressing?
o Having started to discuss the situation with the consultant, have I already come to understand
it better?

HR Consultant as a Coach or Mentor

A fast-growing area of HR consultancy in recent years has been coaching or mentoring.

Let us consider what is involved in choosing a consultant to work as a coach/mentor for a chief
executive.

You would clearly need to ensure that both parties felt they could work productively together,
and that the HR director or other selector was convinced that the coach had the credibility and
experience to be successful in the role.
The nine stages of the selection process:

Stage 1:

Identify and specify the exact issue to be addressed with the CEO (e.g. this might include their
management style).

Stage 2:

Identify consultancy firms who have experience of working successfully with top managers.
Stage 3:

Ask these consultancies to indicate how they work in general terms, how they would approach
the specific issue, and what they would charge.

Stage 4:

Draw up a shortlist of two or three possible coaches on the basis of this information.

Stage 5:

Interview the coaches on this shortlist and arranging for them to meet the CEO.
Stage 6:

The CEO selects their preferred coach.

Stage 7:

Give the chosen consultant a more in-depth briefing about the organisation and the issues, and
arrange for them to have a much longer meeting with the CEO.

Stage 8:

Go back to an earlier stage if at any point the HR personnel involved, the CEO or the consultant
have reservations about the possible success of the relationship and/or assignment.
Stage 9:

Once no reservations remain, draw up any necessary contractual arrangements, and arrange a
first session

The key points from this module are:

There are a number of reasons for using HR consultants. These include:

 The provision of interim or other temporary services, specialist expertise such as


employment law, and general support such as coaching.
 They also include more substantial involvement with change, either just at the diagnostic
stage or throughout the change process.

There are different modes of consulting, of which the process mode is preferable whenever
problems are at all complex.

Choosing a service provider tends to be far more difficult than choosing a supplier of
goods. While there may be tangible components in the service an HR consultant offers, what HR
consultants provide is largely intangible.

While a good consultant, and one who is suitable for your context, can be hugely successful, the
cost of a poor choice may be substantial. A failed change intervention is not only more expensive
than a bad haircut but seriously more disastrous.

Organisations are increasingly seeking to ‘rationalise’ provision of services. Such rationalisation


often includes keeping lists of ‘approved’ HR consultants from which choice must be made and
standardising procurement procedures.

There are potential advantages and disadvantages of such ‘approved lists’, from the perspective
of both purchaser and provider.
One of the more visible parts of the service many HR consultants offer is the model or models on
which they base their work.

If a model does not make sense to you or feels ‘wrong’, and questioning does not enable you to
understand it, then it is unlikely to form a useful basis for working together.