One of the most important ingredients for consistently high performing entities is the presence of an excellent human resource management (HRM) system. A board level Human Resource strategy backs the development of the HRM systems in any organization. A good HRM policy helps address the issues of the employees by communicating work, establishing channels for employee views, cater to their needs of self-respect, in turn motivating them, and ensure the provision of mechanisms that help in intellectual / skills advancement. Where HRM constitutes a disjointed and a discriminatory activity or where quality people to manage these systems are not available, it is likely that HRM may fail to deliver according its true potential.
Human resources date back to the early agro based-civilizations. The present day human resource notion emerged at the start of the 20th century. While Taylor argued for maximum efficiency disregarding the social element involved, the human relations movement was set up by a group of psychologists and people specialists in 1920. Originating from the USA, this forum negated the Taylor’s theory, which viewed workers as a commodity that lacked psychological needs. (Craig, 1987)
The rise of this forum was gradual and steady throughout the last century. There ideas were based on empirical evidence that key ingredients in the success of business entities were human resources, which if led effectively could result in a united force. However, the efficiency focus of Taylor never lost ground and the 1960’s saw a number of highly numerically based methodologies trying to negate the human resource concept. However, human resources are globally recognized as an essential element within an organization.
What is Human Resource?
In the modern era, entities use the words “human resources” to highlight the clerical support activities of the personnel section mixed with coherent tasks including futuristic planning, setting targets, monitoring and control and worker relationship management. The terminology has its roots in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. (Richard and Elwood 2001)
What is a human resource depends on the perspective in which we speak about it. While classical economics classes it as a factors of production, modern day usage refers to the workers in the entity in general and in particular the specific set of people who deal with workers, from joining to leaving. In very broad terms, human resources prioritize the achievement of the highest return from funds spent on the workers while at the same time reduce any adverse circumstances that may harm the entity in monetary terms. Ethics, professional conduct and sustainability of the two are paramount for human resource managers.
Human resource management involves the following activities:
Long term planning with regard to hiring of human capital.
The recruitment process
Instruction and skills improvement.
Dealing with labor turnover and resultant issues.
Worker Relationship Management
Worker Data Management.
Remuneration and other matters related to monetary aspects.
Counseling and/or consultancy to aid workers in overcoming problems at work.
Human Resource Development
Employers don’t want to hire workers that do not suit the criteria for the job. Thus, it is essential that human resource managers are able to match the expectations of the entity with the relevant applicant. Worker hiring is dependent on both interior and exterior reasons. While the exterior portion deals with the environment in which the entity operates and considers macroeconomic issues and thus lacks control over them, the interior portion deals with controllable mechanisms like the culture and/or the hierarchy of the entity itself.
The combination of instruction, structural and intellectual advancement endeavors is called Human Resource Development (HRD). The idea is to raise efficiency at every level of the entity.
HRD uses organized study mechanisms that aid in the creation of required skills and tools that help workers to carry out their tasks effectively. Another important mechanism utilized is teams that help introduce and supervise new techniques and structures.
Usually, HRD activities comprise monitoring of career advancement, instruction, training in the field of sales, marketing and client relationships to ensure good code of conduct and professional behavior, providing support to freshly hired workers through a basic organization 101 course of study and creating awareness amongst employees with regard to health and safety hazards.
Strategic Human Resource Management
Strategy is long term planning and thus strategic human resource management refers to the future aspirations and plans of the firm with regard to human capital. It takes a macro economic view of the firm’s objectives and the required human capital to help them achieve them, paying specific regard to the values, norms and culture of the firm itself. SHRM includes all those efforts on behalf of the management that employ a course of action for the gradual recruitment and continued professional development of human capital and the use psychology to align worker interests with strategic objectives. (James, 2005)
However, sadly the distinction between human resource management and human resource development is not so clear cut. While the argument is that management and development of human resources are two distinct activities and should be kept separate, with HRD being outsourced, many organizations today have human resource departments that deal with the administrative traditional functions as well as attending to continued professional development.
Integration of HRD into the HRM Programs
Strategic planning is concerned with attaining and sustaining a long standing competitive lead on the competitors of the firm. HRD is an important tool in this respect as it helps in the creation and nourishment of the required skills that help in the achievement of strategic objectives. HRD may be described as bringing out the best out of every worker through systematic instruction and continued professional development and thus creating synergies at every level of the entity strata.
Through the years, HRD has been known to target training and instruction, structural education and career advancement. While these are essential ingredients to success as far as human resource management goes, other tools are also equally necessary. In the modern business environment, a well rounded set of professional techniques are necessary for effective HRM. However, HRD instruction and professional development play an important role towards the achievement of the entity’s strategic vision.
Training and Development
At all levels of human resource management and development, the importance of training and development cannot be ruled out. Specialists educated in the field of training and developments are necessary to carry out programs dealing with instructions and professional development for workers. (Beeby and Rathborn, 1983)
The attitude of management towards training has been changing over the years. Today training is viewed as an important and effective mechanism which helps in raising the quality of the workforce and brings economies in the use of skills. This helps in the achievement of the entity’s strategic objectives. Training is seen as a service to the worker. However, since it reaps benefits for the entity itself, its importance as a strategic tool cannot be discarded.
The development of a business or a commercial organization is related to the training and development (T & D). The design and the outcome of the trainings performed at an institution amends and meliorates the performance of the company. After hiring of employees at an organization, the next prominent and presumptive step is the training and development of the team to polish their skills and break the ice among them to co-ordinate. It is axiomatic that some of the new hired employees are not going to be experienced with the work so they would need extraordinary training to bring their guts out so, they can act and work efficiently in the new environment. Numerous organizations held contrary trainings and development programs according to their forthcoming resources and necessities.
On the opposite side the most important fact is that the training and development programs helps to forefend the managerial obsolescence. Organizational troubles either macro or micro can be solved by these trainings. These programs play a vital role in bringing off the changes in organizational structure caused by merges, amalgamations, enormous growth, imbibing and off shoring.
Employee Training and Development: Reasons and Benefits
Being viable is the solution to keep going. Training and developing the employees, keeping them motivated to propel and advance further and updated with the industry and the upcoming and present technologies is essential to achieve the plans and goals.
Training is any activity where expertise and amateurism is brought together and spheres of skills and expertise flow from the expert to the untrained workers. On the other hand, a multi pronged strategy for pushing the overall level of the entity’s performance to another level or milestone is referred to as development.
Typical Reasons for Employee Training and Development
Usually, entities engage in training and development in order to bridge the gap between actual work and expectations as identified by performance appraisals. Other reasons may include developing an internal benchmark for desired performance levels, continued professional development, to mitigate succession risk, to serve as a tool for testing performance management or to provide valuable operating instructions with regard to a business activity.
Typical Topics of Employee Training
Usually, employees require training with respect to certain key areas. These include Communications (to overcome linguistic barriers), Computer skills (for effectively managing office tasks, Customer service ( to help employees understand the needs of the client and figure out ways to solve them), Diversity ( to encourage the acceptance of varying ideas and/or values), Ethics ( to ensure the highest possible code of conduct) Human relations ( to encourage a better perspective with regard to coping with work pressures), Quality initiatives ( To provide guidance on ideal standards for products, processes and procedures), Safety ( to guide on the measures to be taken to help prevent work and product hazards) and Sexual harassment (to ensure responsive, modest behavior). (Beeby and Rathborn, 1983)
General Benefits from Employee Training and Development
Benefits of training are numerous. Various sources (as cited at the end of this paper) provide diverse views as to the advantages workers derive from this activity. From the organization’s perspective, employees find greater job satisfaction, higher motivation, higher acceptability of change and creativity. This would result in mitigating reputation risk, result in monetary gains for the firm as a result of higher efficiency and present a better image of the entity for the outside world.
Role of Training and Development in SHRM
The entity needs to mold its core business activities with its expectations from human capital and thus bring about an integrated plan of its training requirements. Delegation and empowerment at lower levels is one way to achieve an overall increase in performance levels. Thus, a highly qualified and empowered unit of individuals catering to the training needs of the whole entity is a must for SHRM.
The HRM department caters to three levels of strata and / or spheres; the ordinary worker, the entity and the career. While the focus on workers is to lend an ear, hear their problems and at the same time advise/aid them in overcoming their problems, entity level activities include aligning human capital with overall business strategies in order to achieve an overall improvement in the bottom line. The tool employed here is mainly a mechanism which helps in the acceptance of change due to interior and exterior environmental changes. Career development is a matching strategy which helps in delegating that work to the workers that best utilizes their true potential.
The HR department also caters to training and development. Analyzing and highlighting areas for improvement and coming up with appropriate structured training programs for eradicating these shortcomings is an important role that HR plays in the entity. Orientation and education programs are examples of the types of training mechanisms that might be employed by HR.
Gubman writes “After getting the right talent into the organization, the second traditional challenge to human resources is to align the workforce with the business—to constantly build the capacity of the workforce to execute the business plan.”(Gubman, 1996) Expanding on his statement, a rigorous system of monitoring, assessing and control procedures help in the formulation of effective strategies to harmonize human capital with overall corporate strategy. Another step would be the use of monetary aspects to align personal interests with overall corporate objectives. Overall, this would helps in achieving set objectives while at the same time reducing the risk and the cost of non compliance with ethical and legal standards.
With authority flows responsibility and the HR department is accountable if it fails to deliver quality structured mechanisms for training, like educational programs. The responsibility is not just to deliver but also to effectively execute these programs. Understanding the inherent intellectual abilities of the workforce and the suitability of a particular training program for the entity are essential knowledge for the HRM professional.
“The quality of employees and their development through training and education are major factors in determining long-term profitability of a small business…. Research has shown specific benefits that a small business receives from training and developing its workers, including: increased productivity; reduced employee turnover; increased efficiency resulting in financial gains; [and] decreased need for supervision.” say Roberts, Seldon, and Roberts in their book titled human Resources Management. (Robert et al, 1996)
Businesses provide training to workers in different spheres of business activity. These include policy assurance, relationship management with stake holders and effective management. Training is either on-the-job or off-the-job. Where workers are required to learn through experience in real life situations, the training is said to be on-the-job.
Within on-the-job training there are a variety of tools at the disposal of the training manager. These include instruction, coaching and job rotation. The use of artificial work situations and focus on theoretical aspects is referred to as Off-the-job training. Classroom lectures, artificial scenarios involving experiments, testing and role play are examples of off-the-job training methods.
The advantage thus follow as a result of higher productivity, cost savings due to lower monitoring requirements, mitigate the risk of occupational hazards and contributes to overall tranquility in the work place. As career advancement takes place gradually, entities should also develop mechanisms to help mitigate the risk of running out of effective and experienced managers by constantly focusing on management development procedures. These procedures are a set of integrated processes that help in the nourishment of managerial skills in the workers of today.
This technique is itself divided into two branches; on-the-job development, and off-the-job development. Coaching, job rotation, under study assignments and multiple management are examples of on the job development procedures. On the other hand, the use of artificial scenarios, theoretical training through conferences, seminars and lectures are the examples of off-the-job development procedures. Note that these programs are dynamic and their effectiveness would be reviewed constantly to ensure the best possible output.
Career development, monitoring and control of performance, remuneration and training are by far the key areas for any HR department. However, unfortunately, career development is not given due importance. This is because it is seen in individualistic terms, thus failing to recognize that by focusing on this area, firms can ensure a readily available set of quality skills while at the same time tend to the self actualization needs of the employee. Arguments also tend to explain the relationship of career development with the establishment of worker networks outside the formalities of the corporate world and thus ensure out reach to potential resources via these informal channels (Edström & Galbraith, 1977).
Active team exercises are an example of HRD being aligned with SHRM. Through the use of this method of training, firms can develop their staff to actively cope with, understand and solve problems that result from being part of a community. Moreover, with the advent of technology, HRD professionals today have access to more innovative tools for dynamic training and development of employees; these include, for instance, the “color blind” game. It is an exercise that presents a particular problem and helps highlight the barriers which exist in simulated/virtual team structures with respect to communication and consensus. (Mager, 2005.)
Other such processes and experiments are also available to highlight potential problems in the group dynamics of the corporate entities. Thus, paying higher attention to these problems by actively applying a wide variety of tools could help in the removal of barriers to business success, improve the bottom line and at the same time tend to the self actualization needs of the employees. Moreover, a coherent strategy in this regard would contribute to overall objectives.
Transfer of Training
Transfer of training is a phenomenon of persistent application of the learned behavior by the trainees in the training process to their job. This learned behavior comprises of knowledge, skills, cognitive and creative strategies. The generalization of training and the maintenance of learned skills form an important component of transfer of training. Generalization is the trainee’s potential to utilize all the skills and knowledge (verbal knowledge and motor skills) on the work related problems and situations which are somewhat similar but not completely identical to the problems and situations encountered during training. Maintenance of the learned skills is to incessantly bring into play all the newly acquired capabilities.
There are several factors contributing in the whole process such as training design, trainee characteristics and work environment. Training design, as the name suggests refers to the physical characteristics of the learning environment as well as the sources utilized to train the trainee. Another ingredient, which along with training design, influences learning trainee characteristics i.e. the attitude of the training participants. Last but not the least; work environment plays a highly crucial role in determining the learning, retention and transfer of training. The execution of whatever the trainee has grasped during his training depends largely on the manager’s support, peer support, technology support and the conducive climate for transfer of training. (Carolyn, 2003)
Several aspects have been recognized that manipulate the degree to which understanding gained from the training program transfers to the work. These includes factors such as, the environment at work; the qualities of the learner, etc. It has been seen that an important factor manipulating the transfer process is the degree to which the learner is given the chance of practice and provided with productive opinions from the trainer. Training on One-to-one basis can endow the trainee with this opportunity. Monitoring the employees once they get back to the work can smooth the progress of the transfer of training, particularly if the training promotes the progress and use of comprehension passed on during coaching.
For transferring the training, the element of self management should also be taken into account since the trainee can be confronted with various obstacles in the work place which can thus impede the process of transfer. Other than the trainee’s ability, some outside forces also come into place. These forces may include disobliging the management and peers, time pressure, curtailment and cost cutting prevalent in many companies.
These impediments make pose negative effects on the transfer weight of learned capabilities. Thus not only the learner’s own positive attitude but also the management cooperation is greatly demanded. With the ever increasing global competition, organizations are giving considerable importance to training and transfer of training. Many companies are now recognizing the value of human, social and structural knowledge in order to bring the maximum out of trainees. (Mary, 2005)
Humans are different from projects, financial matters and business activities, and thus human resource management has a unique role in the management of human capital and its needs for training and development. Human capital forms the back bone of any organization and thus the importance of a separate dedicated function to manage them is not deniable. Failure to effectively manage human capital is an indication of corporate failure itself and must be predicted, verified and rectified.
There are essentially three types of resources:
Physical – machinery and stock
Financial – Monetary resources in any form
Human – Capital to convert the other resources into profitable assets.
It is essential to have a coherent and proactive human resource development function in any organizations as they help you fulfill the provision of a healthy, vibrant, ethical and intellectual human capital which uses the other resources available in the best possible manner and thus helps in the achievement of corporate objectives and goals. Human resource development needs to be part of the overall corporate strategy (SHRM) as the long term growth prospects of any company are dependent upon the quality of its labor, which can be greatly enhanced through the use of training and development.
Gubman, L. Edward.1996. “The Gauntlet is down.” Journal of Business Strategy.17 (6). 33-36
Roberts, G, Gary, S, and Carlotta, R. 1996. Human Resources Management. Washington, D.C.: Small Business Administration
Edström, A. & Galbraith, J. R. 1977. ‘Transfer of Managers as a Coordination and Control Strategy in Multinational Organizations’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 22, 248-263.
Beeby, J.M., and Rathborn, S. 1983. “Development Training – Using the Outdoors in Management Development” Management Education and Development 14 3, 170-181.
Craig, Robert L. 1987. A Guide to Human Resource Development, 3rd Ed. New York, New York. McGraw-Hill.
O’Connor, J & Seymour, J. 1994. Training with NLP: Skills for Managers, Trainers, and Communicators. London, England: Thorsons.
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Johansen, K., Kusy, M., Jr., & Rouda, R. 1996. The Business Focus of HRD Leaders: a picture of current practice. Minneapolis: Academy of Human Resource Development.
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Laurie, B and Darlene, R. 1997. What Works: Training and Development Practices. Washington, DC: American Society for Training & Development
Neal, C and Carnie Ives, L. 1982. Up the HRD Ladder: A Guide to Professional Growth. New York: Addison-Wesley Pub.
Ronald R. S. 1998. Reinventing Training and Development. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.
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James, G. 2005. Strategic Human Resource Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Ltd
Carolyn, N. 2003. How to Manage Training: A Guide to Design and Delivery for High Performance. Miami, FL: AMACOM.
Mary, B.L. 2005. Beyond Transfer Of Training: Engaging Systems To Improve Performance. Houston, TX. Addison-Wesley.
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