Introduction Human resources are all the employees of an organisation. Human Resource Management is a strategic and logical approach to the running of the most important part of an organisation; the employees. Throughout this assignment I will investigate the different perspectives of human resources mainly focusing on the organisation I am employed by. I will identify any differences between HRM and Personnel and try to back this up with relevant theory.
I am going to research into equal opportunities and ways of developing flexibility within the workplace. Also in this assignment I am going to examine employment legislation such as contracts of employment, redundancy and disciplinary issues. Finally I will research the importance of welfare at work. ? The idea of Human Resource Management is to identify how employees should be treated in the interests of the organisation. Most middle-sized and large companies now have Human Resource Departments.
HR departments are involved with strategic and operational plans and the implementation of an organisations policies and procedures. Strategic HRM can be regarded as a general approach to the strategic management of human resources in accordance with the intentions of the organisation on the future direction it wants to take. It is concerned with longer-term people issues. Strategic HRM is involved with structure, quality, culture, values, and matching resources to the future needs of the business.
It has been defined by Johnson and Scholes (1993) as “the direction and scope of an organisation over the longer term, which ideally matches its resources to its changing environment, and in particular to its markets, customers and clients in order to meet stakeholder expectations” Armstrong (2003) suggests strategic management is; “an approach to making decisions on the plans of the organisation concerning the employment relationship and its recruitment, training, development, performance management, reward employee relations strategies, policies and practices” Strategy, it defines the future of the organisation.
The biggest difference between organisations is the people who work for them this is the main competitive objective; also looking after employees is good business, it is therefore imperative for organisations to ensure their employees are well managed. Human resources is involved with ensuring employees are working to the best of their ability. It is an organisations aim to please their customers as a result It is beneficial to any organisation that there employees are trained in their role.
This results in human resources being a key element in the success of the business. Different perspectives of human resource management John Storey (1989) suggests that employees are an asset rather than a cost, he distinguished between different perspectives of human resource management; hard and soft HRM. Hard HRM is seen as the quantitative, calculative and strategic approach to managing employees, it is more business focused and sees employees as human capital.
It proposes that the main focus of organisations should be to manage and train the employees in ways that will obtain value from them which will also increase competitive advantage. Fombrun, Tinchy and Devanna (1984) agree that workers are a key resource used by organisations to achieve competitive advantage. David Guest (1999) supports this he states “based on a business case of a need to respond to an external threat from increasing competition… managers striving to increase competitive advantage… must invest in human resources as well as technology”
Soft HRM is involved more with the human aspect of the employees, it influences communication, motivation and leadership. Storey said: “treating employees as valued assets, source of commitment through hearts and minds of employees through involvement, communications and other methods… ” It focuses on the idea people are led rather than managed, and employees and management should work as a team to achieve success in the organisation.
Gennard and Judge (1997) support this; “organizations are assumed to be harmonious and integrated, all employees sharing the organizational goals and working as members of one team” Truss, C (1999) believes that although soft HRM is used, the bottom line is the hard HRM, “rhetoric may be soft but reality is often hard” therefore suggesting that whatever the situation soft HRM can be used but the outcome will always be hard. By looking at how the company I work for is managed and I conclude that although there is a slight distinction between hard and soft HRM, a mixture of both is used in most circumstances.
For example redundancy, there are several legal aspects involved when considering redundancy. It is always in the interest of the business when making employees redundant this could be due to various reasons such as economic downturn. The fact that people will lose their jobs is a form of hard HRM. However soft HRM can also be used in this situation, for instance the organisation may offer the employees affected alternative employment or counselling. This is supported by research carried out by Gratton and Hailey (1999); they studied eight organisations and found a mixture of hard and soft approaches.
Guest (1987) similarly supported soft and hard human resource management. He also defined two other types; loose and tight HRM. Loose HRM is involved with the relabeling of personnel practises and tight HRM is the new approach to the management of employees. However Guest suggest that whatever approach is used It is always in the interest of the organisation. HRM vs. Personnel The concept of Human Resource management originated from personnel management which is the management of people within organisations. Some experts suggest that there is no difference between human resources and personnel management.
However others can distinguish between them. Personnel management is seen as a more administrative involved with things such as payroll and employment law where as human resources focuses on managing the workforce as its main objective to the success of an organisation. Human resources is seen as more complex than personnel, it is said to combine and develop personnel management tasks centring on the development of workers for the benefit of the organisation. Human resources main aim is to ensure employees are working to the best of their ability.
Administrative tasks associated with personal management are designed to respond to demands and concerns of an organisation whereas human resource management involves the continuous development of functions and policies aiming to improve the company’s workforce. Personnel management is considered a department within an organisation whereas human resource management is a function of the overall business where managers of the whole business are involved in the decision making process, this enables managers to develop the skills to deal with personnel related tasks.
Personnel management suggests that employee satisfaction comes from motivation through compensation, bonuses and rewards. On the other hand, human resource management suggests the key to job satisfaction is to improve the performance of the employee with things such as work groups, effective strategies for meeting challenges, and job creativity. HRM has been described as “a perspective on personnel management” (Hendry and Pettigrew, 1990) and ”high-concept personnel management” (Armstrong, 1996).
Armstrong (2000) disagrees that there are differences between HRM and personnel management, he doesn’t believe that there has been a revolutionary change since personnel he states that everything develops over time so personnel would be at the same level as human resources if it had not of been introduced. He suggests that only academics believe there is a drastic change, practitioners do not. He said: “Of course, ideas worked up by academics such as Argyris, Boyatzis, Flanders, Kolb, Lawler, McGregor, Tyson, Vroom, Walton and Woodward have influenced personnel practises but they have not revolutionised them. Armstrong (2000) Torrington (1989) similarly agrees there are no differences between HRM and personnel management he remarked: “Personnel management has grown through assimilating a number of additional emphases to produce an even richer combination of experience … HRM is no revolution but a further dimension to a multi-faceted role. ” Henry and Pettigrew (1990) detected “What HRM did at this point was to provide a label to wrap round the observable changes, while providing a focus for challenging deficiencies – in attitude, scope, coherence and direction – of existing personnel management ” (Source: Armstrong, M. 2000), ‘The name has changed but has the game remained the same? ’, http://www. emerald-libary. com) There are various theories regarding the differences between HRM and Personnel. After looking at the organisation I work for I believe that regardless whether there are differences between the two, throughout the years Human Resource management has developed substantially from the days when it was called Personnel although as argued by Armstrong (2000) this may have happened anyway. Flexibility within the workplace Flexible working allows employees to adapt there working pattern to suit their needs.
Progress brings flexibility in all organisations. Labour market flexibility is involved with the need for organisations to adapt to changes in society, the economy and production. Common types of flexible working are: •Part time; working less than the full time hours, perhaps by working fewer days, or less hours per day. •Compressed hours; working your agreed hours over fewer days. •Staggered hours; variable starting and finishing times. •Job sharing; sharing a job designed for one person with someone else. •Teleworking/Homeworking; working from home