A competitive advantage in the marketplace
Although there are numerous debates regarding the immediate value Of human resources in organizations, this paper will examine some Of the reasons why there should be no debate about the value of the HRS team with respect to how effective recruitment and selection increases an organization’s competitive advantage. Some research questions include how would the HRS team operate within an organization to fulfill the goal of gaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace? And, what environmental factors should be considered in order to maintain this advantage?
This paper uses personal observation, ethnographic data, employee anecdotes, HRS theory, scholarly insight, and qualitative research in examining the role that HRS practices and practitioners play in developing a competitive advantage in the marketplace with respect to recruitment and selection efforts and activities.
Defining HRS Concepts Prior to examining the value of the human resources team’s recruitment ND selection activities in achieving an organization’s competitive advantage in the marketplace, it is important to define some human resources (HRS) concepts as they directly relate to the purpose of this paper.
These concepts include human resources, and recruitment and selection. Human Resources There is an interesting degree to which human resources is defined and many of those definitions appear to depend on the source. In conducting research some definitions intimate the value of human resound:sees to an organization within its definition, whereas many other definitions provide a ore fact based description. For example, Wisped provides a fact based definition: “human resources is the set of individuals who make up the workforce of an organization, business sector, or economy. Investigated goes one step further by acknowledging that human resources consists of a whole department within an organization in their definition: “The company department charged with finding, screening recruiting and training job applicants, as well as administering employee-benefit programs. ” And Google’s definition, “the personnel of a business or organization, especially when regarded as a significant asset” indicates that human resources is “a significant asset. In thinking about most of my employment experience, human resources have either derived a whole department, as was the case with Demolisher’s Canada, Henry Ford Health System, and the Windsor Police Service. However, when I think of my involvement with non-profit agencies where funds are slim, human resources has constituted only one or two individuals; as was the case when employed with the Hospice of Windsor & Essex County Inc. , the Victorian Order of Nurses, and with the Responsible Gambling Council.
Often some of the human resources’ duties were spread amongst management within other, non-human resources related departments. For example, as a Manager for a number of departments at the Hospice I had the bulk of responsibility for recruiting and selecting employees and volunteers for the Events Management and Communications Departments. Human resources expert, and Management and Organization Development Consultant, Susan M. Hatfield, discusses human resources on about. Mom: Human Resources evolved from the term: personnel, as the functions of the field moved beyond paying employees and managing employee benefits. The evolution of the HRS function gave credence to the fact that people are an organization’s most important resource. People are an organization’s asset. Employees must be hired, satisfied, motivated, developed, and retained. Similarly, Entrepreneur. Com indicates that”A human resources department is a critical component of employee well-being in any business, no matter how small. Thus an integral component of the human resource practitioner’s job is recruitment and selection, which we will discuss next. Recruitment and Selection Hiring practices involve two interconnected requisites: recruitment and selection. It is important to understand both concepts for the purposes of this paper. The textbook, Recruitment and Selection in Canada, Fifth Edition, defines recruitment as “the generation of an applicant pool for a position or job in order to provide the required number of candidates for a subsequent selection or promotion program. The same textbook defines selection as “the choice of job candidates from a previously generated applicant pool in a way that will meet management goals and objectives as well as current legal requirements. ” When you read this definition of selection it Indicates the need to meet the organization’s oils and objectives with hiring efforts, thus we must also discuss how human resource practices, including recruitment and selection, operate not only for but also within an organization.
The Human Resources Management System The Human Resources Management System (HARMS) is the professional discipline and business function that oversees an organization’s human resources. With the Systems view of human resources, the role of human resources is to support line units pursuing the central mission of the organization. The human resources professional must have an understanding and appreciation of their interdependencies with, and reliance n, other stakeholders throughout the organization. This coincides with Principle 1 of the Systems view of human resources.
Recruitment and selection must be carried out in the context of the system, not simply as an isolated function divorced from other aspects of the org. This is essentially Principle 2 of the Systems view of human resources, and in this sense, the welfare of the whole organization is considered versus one singular organizational department (Octant, Wiser, Hackett, 2013). An ethnographic based example of a professional human resources employment experience I had which directly coincides with the Systems view f human resources is with the Hospice.
As an employee responsible in part for internal communication efforts, I noticed that there was a huge communicational disconnect between medical and non-medical staff, and neither department types had a good working knowledge (or respect) for the others’ roles within the organization. By implementing monthly organization wide meetings where each month a department was given the opportunity to introduce staff to each other and discuss their job duties and roles within the organization, we managed to increase employee morale.
Respect formed between medical and non- deiced departments. Requests from either were processed more quickly because there was a good understanding behind the requests and how it related to the organization’s goals and mission. Another positive result was that staff that were more generally knowledgeable about all of the programs and services of the organization and staff became walking ‘salespeople’ for the organization. Numbers for reports and client intake increased due to faster processing, which later on down the road, justified requests for increases in grant funding.
Through employee surveys administered using Survey Monkey six months after initiating the meetings, we discovered that employees felt like they were part of a bigger picture and felt happier with their coworkers. This increase in positive employee morale also ultimately created a buzz about the Hospice being a good place to work and volunteer. In looking at business more externally, good business sense tells us that upper level and senior management’s experience and abilities with business strategies is key for success in terms of maintaining an organization’s competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Senior level management’s expertise must include the ability to create and enact the strategic vision of n organization (Wee, L, 2006). Human resources managers are often a member of the strategic task force responsible for enacting the strategic vision of an organization. However, the development of a strategy of human resource practices to aid in this vision is affected by corporate values and culture. It’s not enough to view strategic human resources practices alone to be solid determinants and predictors of an organization’s successful competitive advantage in the marketplace.
One must also consider the support of the management team with those efforts. Role of Management Ability and support from senior managers is critical. Based on knowledge and insight from both strategic and business perspectives, top-level managers have an important role in the implementation of business strategy, and consequently, they impose their influence on various functional activities, such as the design of human resources system.
Going back to the Hospice monthly organization wide meetings example, if I had not been given the k from the Executive Director and Directors of all of the departments to take their staff members’ time once a month to attend organization-wide meetings, then the organization would not have enjoyed he illustrated benefits (increases in client intake and faster report processing more grant money, increased positive employee morale, and an increase in volunteer enrollment). In this sense, the human resources team should take an advisory or consultancy role in the management structure of an organization.
If the contribution of the human resources team is deemed as minor or unnecessary, it is difficult for the human resources team to design a series of human resources practices according to corporate strategy. Even if the human resource department is self motivated and ready to provide a set of unman resource strategies, the adoption and implementation of these human resource activities may become problematic due to lack of enough support from the top level managers, who are representatives of the values and the unique culture of a firm (Wee, L. 2006). Additionally, the support of senior management to adopt a series of human resources’ recruitment and selection strategies should be based on best practices. That is that organizational practices should be reliable, legally defensible and fair. Best practices, by definition, “are supported by empirical evidence that has been accumulated through accepted scientific procedures. Increasing Organ sectional Best Practices There are a number of ways to increase organizational best practices.
The textbook, Recruitment and Selection in Canada, Fifth Edition, outlines some practical ways to do this: a) management should maintain an open door policy that fosters a positive work environment where employees are free to ask questions, simple or difficult in scope; b) human resources personnel should advertise employment opportunities in specific national or regional publications geared toward members of designated groups, including women, visible minorities, Aboriginal people and people with disabilities; c) organizations should celebrate specific cultural holidays, such as national aboriginal day for example, and allow flexible holiday policies so that employees can celebrate their own special days; d) organizations should not hesitate to accommodate employees who need special help, such as providing hearing aids, visual aids, private work spaces, and diversity training; e) human resources should work with the Communications team to report the achievement of barrier-free workplaces through accommodation of employees by posting efforts in various internal and external media, including read magazines, at job fairs, on their website, or backbone page, to name a few. Benefits of Recruitment and Selection Best Practices Best practices should be followed within every strategic direction of the organization including recruitment and selection efforts. Effective recruitment and selection equates to the Organization being able to hire people with the right skills who can aid with increased economic success for the organization. Authors, Octant, Wiser, and Hackett of Recruitment and Selection in Canada, Fifth Edition, write that best practices with recruitment ND selection are “responsible for up to 15% of firm’s relative profit. The Authors also express that best practices with recruitment and selection are also responsible for the following benefits: Reduce employee turnover and increase productivity. Correlate with an organization’s long-term profitability and productivity ratios Help to establish employee trust Improve the knowledge, skills and abilities of an organization’s current and future employees (Osaka’s) Increase employee motivation, and help to retain high-quality employees while encouraging poor performers to leave. Model Organization MOM A friend of mine, Stephanie O’Connell, works for a company in the United States called Office of Personnel Management (MOM) and she always talks about what a great place it is to work because the employer really treats their employees as humans versus as a number. As intrigued by her comments and visited the website www. Mom. Gob and read the page on careers. Office of Personnel Management specifically addresses how their employees add to the competitive advantage of the organization in the marketplace. Under the heading “Diversity and Inclusion” the company states: We (MOM) know that having a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace s the best way to deliver results to our customers and stakeholders. We strive to attain and maintain an inclusive work environment that connects each employee to the organization, and encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness so everyone can participate and contribute to their full potential.
According to the organization’s website the Office of Personnel Management is ranked among the best Federal agencies to work. In 2011, MOM was ranked in the Top 10 in all four categories of a government-wide survey: Job Satisfaction, Results-Oriented Performance Management, Leadership and Knowledge Management, and Talent Management. Office of Personnel Management also states that they are “always looking to offer our employees new ways to develop their careers and balance their work and non-work responsibilities! ” Office of Personnel Management “invests in training and development to help employees grow in their current positions as well as develop new skills to maximize their full potential.
We also strive to create flexible, responsive work environments that support personal commitments to family and community. ” Senior Management at the Office of Personnel Management clearly understands the value of recruitment and selection efforts and how it relates o the effectiveness of the organization in terms of keeping a competitive edge in the marketplace. Although this organization exercises excellent efforts internally, one has to wonder if they consider environmental factors with equal weight. Environmental Factors While we have explored much of the internal elements of recruitment and selection that increase an organization’s competitive edge in the marketplace, we need to examine some environmental factors.
In a research paper called “Strategic Human Resource Management: Determinants of Fit,” the writer Lie-Gun Wee states that the strategic human source management view “emphasizes developing the firm’s capacity to respond to the external environment through a better deployment of human resources. ” The author believes that “the strategy of a firm is a reflection of its response to the competitive external changes” and “thus, a human capital pool with a broad array of skills that are compatible with the corporate strategy, is a catalyst for fulfilling the strategic goals. ” An obvious, and probably one of the most strategic goals of any organization, is profit and/or economic sustainability.
Economic Context When we consider the economic context within which a human resources yester operates, one should keep in mind that economic booms often lead to skilled labor shortages, thus recruitment and retention are of high strategic priority. Economic downturns and/or recessions lead to job cuts, pay decreases, and benefits and/or hiring freezes. At this time, highly qualified people conduct job searches so recruitment is a little easier, however there are also more unqualified applicants to screen (Octant, Wiser, Hackett, 2013). In order to maximize a company’s effectiveness in the marketplace, the company needs to fill the limited number Of available positions with the most qualified personnel.
Global Competition Another factor affecting the human resource system and subsequent hiring practices is global competition. In fact, in Canada more than half of what the country produces is exported which makes our country extremely vulnerable to foreign market conditions. For instance, when new competitors enter international markets, trade barriers between countries soften and our economy becomes more global. Also large discount chains have become a serious threat for small shop operations, thus organizations must become more efficient and also find the most efficient and productive employees Octant, Wiser, Hackett, 201 3) in order to remain a strong competitor in the marketplace.
Advances in Technology Along with a larger global economy come rapid advances in information technology which affect human resource activities in terms of recruitment and selection. A large number of employers expect new employees to be computer literate. In fact, many company’s use e-recruiting to gain access to a larger pool of candidates in order to lower recruiting costs, almost eliminate print costs in various media, and allow for the immediate tracking of recruiting efforts (Octant, Wiser, Hackett, 2013). Also essentially, advances in technology reduces the need for labor, and in some industries, it can reduce the need for labor quite drastically.
Culturally Diverse Workforce Along with Canada exporting more than half of what the country produces, the Canadian labor force is more culturally diverse than at any other time in history. The textbook Recruitment and Selection in Canada, Fifth Edition, states that “visible mi minorities possess expertise, skills, knowledge of foreign cultures and business practices, and natural trade links with overseas markets that are of value to employers in today’s global economy/’ (Octant, Wiser, Hackett, 2013). Having such talent increases competitiveness in the marketplace. There are some employers that recruit specifically for positions requiring fulfillment by visible minorities. The Canadian government is one such employer.
Word of mouth by some Ontario Public Service (OPS) employees is that oftentimes, the quality of work produced by employees filling these positions does not have to meet the same standards as a non minority based position. Some OPS employees feel that their employer places more weight on the fact that the candidate is a minority filling the position than the quality f the candidate’s abilities because of a need to fulfill legal mandates and to appear to be a corporate socially responsible employer. Regardless, there is some advantage with having such positions filled because doing so aids in a company’s competitive advantage in the marketplace. Changing Workforce Demographics Another factor affecting human resources efforts with recruitment and selection include a change in work-force demographics.
Consider that during a recession, and with the abolition of the traditional 65 year old mandatory retirement in most provinces and territories, the addition of post-65 workers means there are fewer entry-level positions. This can cause a dilemma for human resource personnel. Human resources staff must consider what incentives or procedures should be put in place to encourage post-65 retirement? Also human resources personnel must develop defensible policies regarding recruitment, selection and evaluation of older workers (Octant, Wiser, Hackett, 2013). Will older employees slow down production and ultimately affect an organization’s competitive edge in the marketplace?
Corporate Culture As evidenced in the earlier discussion regarding the recruitment efforts of he Office of Personnel Management, it is clear that employees want and appreciate it when the company they work for has a positive corporate culture. Of course there are many variables that will affect the company’s ability to create a positive corporate culture including size, monetary strength, history, and experience, but nonetheless it makes a profound effect on a company’s success. I filled a contract position with the Windsor Police Service and could have applied for subsequent positions before and after my contract had ended. However, I chose not to because of the corporate culture.
There was no value UT on personnel’s life and work balance. It was frowned upon if employees held any kind of issue with having to work a ten hour shift until 1 1 pm and then asked to return for work sharply at am. Although the Service adhered to employment standards with allotting the legal amount of time between shifts, practically speaking, it is a move that the average person would not appreciate being asked to work. Also, it was common to work up to three different time shifts in a week, which causes health and sleep issues for some employees. Such health and sleep issues affect productivity and cause employee attendance to be affected negatively.
The Value of Human Resources unfortunately, there is and will most likely continue to be, much debate regarding the value and/or significance of the human resources department’s activities, including recruitment and selection efforts, due to associated costs and the nature and the difficulty in sometimes identifying all of the immediate contribution of the human resources team. I would argue that these costs should be viewed as an investment in capital asset versus an expensive operating expense. Investigated explains the value of human resources well. “As companies reorganize to gain competitive edge, human resources play a key role in helping companies deal with a fast-changing competitive environment and the greater demand for quality employees. ” Investigated also shares some interesting research findings.
According to the research conducted by The Conference Board, there are six key people-related activities that human resources complete in order to add value to a company, which include: 1 . Effectively managing and utilizing people. 2. Trying performance appraisal and compensation to competencies. 3. Developing competencies that enhance individual and organizational reference. 4. Increasing the innovation, creativity and flexibility necessary to enhance competitiveness. 5. Applying new approaches to work process design, succession planning, career development and inter-organizational mobility. 6. Managing the implementation and integration of technology through improved staffing, training and communication with employees (investigated. Com, 2014).
In conclusion, and in response to one of this paper’s questions of what role the human resources team should play in an organization, the answer is that of a consultancy or advisory role and that the team should be involved in an organization’s strategic process to aid in the success of an organization’s competitive advantage in the marketplace. Secondly, some of the most important environmental factors to consider with recruitment and selection activities while also being cognizant of their value in supporting a company’s competitive advantage in the marketplace include economic context, global economy, advances in technology, culturally diverse workforce, changing workforce dynamics, and corporate culture.