Human Resources Management (HRM) is a continually changing process, focusing on an organization’s staffing needs, how to fill those needs, and how to adjust to the circumstances and specifications required. Staffing, training, and managing employees while maintaining performance standards and capabilities requires a knowledgeable and flexible human resources department (HRD). Factors pertaining to globalization, technology, diversity, e-business, and ethics (University of Phoenix, 2010, Syllabus) constantly pull organizations in different directions. This paper briefly describes the role of HRM and its response to trends, and existing factors faced in an ever-changing society.
Changing Roles of HR Management
HRM’s purpose is to manage what is considered to be an organization’s most valued asset; its employees. Hiring people, training them to fulfill specific needs, making good use of employee’s talents, tending to the employee’s needs, and rewarding their services accordingly are tasks HRM must fulfill. When external factors and environmental changes occur, HRM’s decisions must adjust accordingly, preparing not only for the present, but also for the future.
For many years, numerous borders have prevented companies and countries from doing business together. However, many of those borders have vanished, permitting organizations to do business openly and without limitations. By joining forces, and relying on the core competencies of numerous organizations and the people involved, companies can attain higher levels of efficiency and profitability. Although advances in technology, and the desire to cut costs while remaining competitive and profitable exist, organizations must consider how these changes affect HRM and what the long term effects are based on the options available.
One aspect of globalization with respect to HRM is outsourcing. Outsourcing refers to the practice of allowing one company to provide services for another (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhert, & Wright, 2007). Organizations see outsourcing as “a chance to turn around a dying business, speed up the pace of innovation, and fund projects that under normal operations would be unaffordable (Bloomberg Business Week, 2006). To survive and remain competitive, companies must develop new global markets, adjust to new challenges, and incorporate every advantage globalization offers.
“Advances in computer-related technology have had a major impact on the use of information for managing human resources” (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhert, & Wright, 2007, Technological Change in HRM, para. 1). Filing, storing, sorting, and gathering information was previously very time-consuming and tedious. Today, computers permit limitless amounts of data and personal information to be transferred and stored at the click of a button. Communication between suppliers and distributors are almost instantaneous, saving both time and money on numerous phone calls between departments. As technology becomes more advanced however, additional training is required, permitting companies to stay ahead of the competition by acquiring and implementing those changes into their normal operating procedures. HRM prepares an organization and its employees to make that transition as easy as possible. Even though technology is normally very expensive and time consuming to integrate, it is a necessity for growth and sustainability.
“Managing diversity means to manage the various types of matters and employees in the company” (Small Business Bible, 2008, p. 1). HRDs are forced to change the way they attract, staff, and retain a company’s workforce, especially because most baby boomers are now entering retirement. Additionally, more women are now working full-time, up significantly from previous decades. To capitalize on diversity, organizations must embrace the idea of hiring a diverse workforce. Taking advantage of cultural, ethnical, gender and racial differences, and then managing those differences is a task HRM must undertake. Promoting and accepting cultural differences, ensuring involvement in education inside and outside of the organization, and dealing with any resistance to diversification is another aspect of HRM (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhert, & Wright, 2007, A Diverse Workforce, para. 2).
Electronic Business (E-Business) is defined as, “any process a business conducts electronically, especially business involving use of the internet (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhert, & Wright, 2007, p. 50). E-Business has changed the way companies promote, advertise, market, and communicate not only their products and services, but also the company’s main purpose and focus of doing business. However, HRM faces new challenges because e-business and technology constantly changes, requiring constant training of current employees, and hiring qualified people outside of the company. If training is too extensive, then qualified people in the related field require higher salaries because of the supply and demand aspect of the position. Management must weigh their options carefully when providing and conducting e-business in today’s marketplace.
Ethics is one of the most widely discussed aspects of business because every organization operates under specific principles and morals. What defines ethics is the ability to distinguish right from wrong, and good from bad. In business, organizations must operate in good faith with the goal of helping society and the environment within. HRM faces numerous challenges to safeguard the company’s beliefs while ensuring the employees rights and responsibilities are protected. A current discussion among society is an organizations right to outsource labor to other countries. Companies outsource to save money, increase revenue and shareholder value, and to remain competitive. However, in today’s economic downturn, is it right for United States based companies to outsource labor to overseas countries instead of helping the economy by outsourcing labor to companies residing in the United States? This topic is something currently discussed by legislation, requiring businesses to rethink how they do business, and the decisions management makes.
“The most valuable resources for enhancing competitiveness are human resources” (Goetsch & Davis, 2010, Chapter 2, p. 36). Pulling those resources together and capitalizing on each person’s diversity, experiences, knowledge, and personalities is HRM’s goal. A business’s success relies heavily on management’s ability to group talented individuals, and link their abilities so that a specific goal is met. Without this ability, companies tend to struggle, finding it hard to overcome new obstacles found in a constantly changing environment.
Bloomberg Business Week. (2006). The Future of Outsourcing. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_05/b3969401.htm
Goetsch, D. L., & Davis, S. B. (2010). Quality management for organizational excellence: Introduction to total quality (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, MGT449—Quality Management and Productivity Course website.
Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhert, B., & Wright, P. M. (2007). Fundamentals of Human Resource Management. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, MGT431—Human Resources Management Course website.
Small Business Bible. (2008). Human resource management and managing diversity. Retrieved from http://www.smallbusinessbible.org/hr_management_managingdiversity.html
University of Phoenix. (2010). Course Syllabus. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, MGT/431—Human Resources Management Course website.