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As part of the formal assessment for the programme you are required to submit a Managing Human Resources assignment. Please refer to your Student Handbook for full details of the programme assessment scheme and general information on preparing and submitting assignments.

Learning Outcomes:

After completing the module, you should be able to:

  1. Explain the meaning and purpose of the theory and practice of HRM within a business and social context.
  2. Appreciate how the main HRM processes of employee resourcing, development, relations and reward support an organisation’s strategy and contribute to organisational effectiveness.
  3. Apply relevant HRM theory to practice in a range of organisational settings using case study examples.
  4. Analyse relevant business issues which have implications for the practice of HRM and appraise the formulation of appropriate HRM responses to these business issues.

Assignment Task 1

Using examples from a minimum of two actual organisations, critically evaluate the impact of contemporary HR practices on employee motivation and productivity. These practices may include areas such as rewards management, employee engagement, training and development and performance management.

Assignment Task 2

Reflect on your learning from the Managing Human Resources module. In what way do you think flexible working practices will have an impact on the role of HR professionals?

Literature Review

Human resource practices refer to the strategic guidance system that is used to coordinate the functionality of human capital within an organization and which tend to be in coordination with the executive business plan. The essential strategic asset for any given organization is the stock of competence. They can be termed as the most competitive advantage when they are given more attention, and the organization they work for is willing to invest in them with the aim of developing their skills in the workplace. These practices are responsible for dictating how your stock of competence will operate on your behalf with the aim of achieving the objectives of the company (Lai, Saridakis and Johnstone 2017).

Human resource practices are normally strategic since they represent a guidance system which is critical and synchronizes with the organization’s business plan. It also forms a base that support the manner in which the organization’s human capital will operate on the business behalf.  The transformation of personnel management into Human resource management is responsible for shaping up into people asset management. The contemporary HR practices involve the development of a transparent and trustful environment which entails the publication of internal policies. This is because employees and managers have the certainty about the equal and fair treatment of all employees.

To some extent, human resource practices may involve the formulation of techniques used for measuring and analyzing the effects of a particular reward program awarded to human capital. It may also involve the creation of programs within the organization to reduce the work related injuries by building a framework which will ensure the laws of employment are adhered to. As opposed to the earlier HR practices which were inflexible, the contemporary HR policies and practices are quite flexible in addition to the fact that they navigate managers and employees (Naveed et al .2017, p. 4). They set realistic expectations.in this case, the contemporary HR policies and practices are in tandem with the corporate values and the cooperate culture.

According to Fiorito (2001), the modern HR policies have created a room which pays close attention to innovation and does not build barriers to the organizational development. In this era of globalization, it is becoming very challenging for firms to acquire, balance by maintaining and optimizing the stock of competence in the organization. There are many justifiable Human Resource practices that affect the retention, productivity, and motivation of the workers in an organization (Fiorito 2001, p.16). These practices include the image of the company, availability of learning opportunities and recognition of performance, rewards and working conditions. Retention services involve the practices put in place to make sure that the stock of competence remains comfortable at work so as to improve their job satisfaction thus retaining them in the organization.

According to Naveed et al. (2017), there are several contemporary HR practices that impact on the productivity level of the human capital in addition to their motivation. These practices as denoted by Lai, Saridakis and Johnstone (2017) include performance appraisal, job satisfaction, and employee turnover, teamwork, training and motivation, employee participation among others. As elaborated below, the above HR practices do impact greatly the motivation and productivity of workers in a firm or organization.

Performance Appraisal

Sarker (2017) argues that performance appraisal generally refers to the comparison between the past performance of workers and the present performance. According to Rue and Byars, (2005), performance appraisal refers to the process of determining and communicating how the human capital does their jobs and come up with a plan for improving the process of carrying out work responsibilities. It provides an updated form of the employee’s performance. Furthermore, it identifies training needs thus coming up with plans for developing the employees. This is a tool used for measuring the performance level of the human capital in any organization within the given standards which are predetermined and is applied across the globe where the performance level of any employee is ranked (Sarker 2017, p.7). It is a systematic, annual and periodic process of evaluating the value of an individual worker’s job performance, his/her productivity and job rotation in relation to some pre-established criteria and the objectives of the organization. It also involves the consideration of other aspects such as organizational citizenship and mode of behavior, whether the employee has potentials for future improvements, strength, and weaknesses which are considered for measuring the standards of the employee (Lai et al. 2017, p.13).

The performance appraisal system is an essential and vital drive that tries to find better and more appropriate and cost-effective method of evaluating job performance. It is responsible for creating a positive working environment and motivating workers to put more efforts so that they can rank higher on the appraisal scale (Sarker 2017, p.11).  If the appraisal process is not accurate enough and based on the description of the current job, it may have adverse effects o the employees thus demotivating them to work leading to low productivity. On the other hand, the use of adequate knowledge and direct experience of human capital performance plays a more significant role in motivating the workers to give out their best.

Schmidt & Pohler (2018) appropriate and competent appraisal of an employee’s performance in a firm can serve to improve the overall productivity of the firm. It creates a learning experience that tends to motivate workers to improve their performance; it also goes a further step of enabling leaders and stock of competence to establish goals to be achieved before the next appraisal. They tend to create job satisfaction in workers; thus they strive to give their best and retain their position in the company (Pfau et al. 2003, p.4)

Appraisal enables employees to discover what is expected of them and thus can set realistic goals to be achieved and in turn, it leads to increased productivity and motivation on the side of workers.

Furthermore, proper appraisal enables employees to realize their faults and strengths thus can adjust accordingly. It creates a profitable forum for providing feedback to workers concerning their personal range of mannerism and also allows workers to give their input to their employees (Sarker 2017, p.11). For example, the Safaricom Company based in Kenya uses the performance appraisal method of HR practices to motivate its workers. This is one of the primary reasons why the company remains at the top of its competitors given the fact that the stock of competence strives to reach their personal goals before the next performance appraisal.

Effects of an Appraiser on Staff Productivity and Motivation

Motivation refers to both external and internal drive that pushes an individual to work to their potentiality when carrying out a given task either personal or in an organization. Training is part of HR practice which according to Lai, Saridakis and Johnstone (2017) which involves both formal and informal modification of the behavior through learning that comes about due to learning, instructions in development and planned experience. Equipping the stocks of competence with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitude to tackle the job responsibilities. Development, on the other hand, refers to the improvement on the competence of the human capital for future demands and adaptability.

Organizations do offer a variety of further training programs to their employees in order to meet their organizational objectives. Viewing employees as adaptable resources aimed for personal growth and realizing the goals of the firm. When the stock of competence are given further training and development opportunities, it leads to increased productivity as the employees will be giving out their full efforts thus making the firm to have a workforce that is competent enough. This, in turn, gives the company an added advantage to compete favorably with its opponents (Fu 2013, p.8).

According to Fu (2013), this kind of HR practice can be traced in the Siemens organization where a zero tolerance institution of research has been built to offer further training to the stock of competence thus increasing their expertise. Through providing training and development opportunities, employees develop their own competitive advantage thus giving them long-term employability. Through offering further training and development services to workers, there is always an increase in the production and motivational levels in workers. It ends up eliminating job discrepancies (Lai et al. 2017, p.11).

Development and training of workers lead to increased rates of motivation among workers. It enables them to set clear goals that lead them to undertake the right actions which lead to the achievement of those objectives. It furthermore enhances the competitive advantage of the firm. Given the fact that the company will be having the skilled manpower, every worker will try to maximize on his potentiality thus enabling the company to avoid threats with reference to its desired position.

Schmidt & Pohler (2018) training gives assurance of productivity increment. As in the case of Safaricom Company and Siemens Company, after offering part of their employees’ further studies and development opportunities, there has been a developed motivation process and working environment which has helped ensure that all the stocks of competence deliver results in line with the expectations of the organization. This has also led to the enhanced customer relation brought in by the presence of good listening skills towards clients leading to good communication (Piening, Baluch and Salge 2013).  Productivity also increases since the employees become sincere with the information they tend to give out and trying to make promises they are capable of honoring thus being loyal to the company, stakeholders and clients.

Reward management can be used to refer to management of expectations emanating from employees. It can also be defined as the process of coming up with strategies, policies, and systems which enable the organization to achieve the stated goals by obtaining the workforce through increasing their motivation and commitment to work. Given the fact that the point of interest has shifted from tangible assets to the stocks of competence who create an essential source of competitive advantage for the organization (Piening et al. 2013, p.6).

Training and Development

Piening et al. (2013) rewards are responsible for building expectations in the employment relationship. In line with expectancy theory, there is a delicate balance of the relationship between the management of reward and performance of the human capital. Performance and reward according to Piening, Baluch and Salge (2013) have high affinity towards each other that is that they depend on each other totally. According to the instrumentalist theory, the basis on which reward management operates through the use of rewards to optimally influence employee performance. Rewards can range from recognition and promotion to monetary.  Selection of the best reward instrument to be utilized at a given timeline.

For any given business arena that is competitive, either local or across the globe it is normal for the organizations to give out lucrative and competitive remuneration packages. These packages are aimed at enhancing the individual’s competence on the job, to maintain a high achievers level which will at the end lead to the general performance of the company. When the company does not offer rewards that commensurate with the performance of the job, it may result in low motivation amongst workers with high levels of attrition which may end up leading to low productivity.

The rewards /incentives have been made for the purposes of enticing workers to increase their production and also retain productive stock of competence in the organization. More than often, rewards and incentives have been considered to be a rudimentary component of HR practices to facilitate the production of human capital in an organization. Well rewarded workers feel appreciated by the organization and thus will put in more efforts as opposed to those who are given fewer incentives. The worker will tend to put in more efforts in his work and will be motivated further since they are aware that their well-being is being taken care of thus increasing their performance (Nikandrou et al. 2007, p.8).

It should also be noted that the willingness of the worker to utilize his/her creativity and skills in favor of the organization is the source of success for the firm thus to facilitate and retain the efforts of this industrious workers, it is necessary to motivate and nourish them by reward practices in place (Nikandrou et al. 2007, p.10). It is also common knowledge that workers who have been rewarded handsomely in line with their efforts tend to work more willingly and efficiently towards the achievement of the firm's objectives.

In the case of Safaricom Company which deals in the line of communication, the company has managed to retain most of its workers by giving incentives such as promotion and good salaries. This has enabled the workers to increase their efforts towards the achievement of the firm’s goals

According to Lai et al (2017) engagement of employees do illustrate the commitment and energy that employees bring to the organization and is a key indicator of their involvement and dedication to their work.  It is apparent that employees who are engaged by their employers in decision making and other major activities within the organization become more productive, committed and are likely to be loyal to the firm. This, therefore, shows clearly that when the right HR practices are put in place by the organization, the stock of competence will be motivated and their productivity will increase since they tend to feel safe, satisfied thus will work to their full capabilities hence staying put (Abdullah et al. 2013, p.28).

Employee Engagement

König et al. (2013) denotes that for the stock of competence to be productive and increase their productivity, it becomes rudimentary for them to be explicitly fabricated within the HR practices. Given the fact that engagement is the fulfillment of work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, commitment, and absorption, the ability to harness people to their work role and efforts made towards the achievement of the state goals of the firm. This enables the human capital to increase their productivity within the organization (Lai et al. 2017, p. 23). The feeling of worth amongst workers when work is disseminated religiously. When an organization involves its workers in decision making and the application of dispersed theory of leadership where the aspect of leadership is not that distinctive thus workers take charge of the duties as they are expected to think and work as the leader thus can lead to increased motivation and productivity in the firm (Najeeb 2013, p.7). As in the case of Safaricom Company, engagement of staff has played a key role in the increase of productivity of the firm. The engagement of the workers has led to an increase in creativity and innovation which has seen the company competing favorably in the market.

Task 2: Reflection On Human Resource Management

From this unit of human resource management and practices, I have learned that HR practice is responsible for the improvement of the company’s performance and knowledge of how the stock of competence rather human resource affects the success of an organization. Firms should strive to hire leaders with expertise in HR management so that they can be involved in decision making that tandem staff assessment and projections for the future workforce.

Furthermore Pfau et al. (2003, p.12) denote that, it has come to my notice that HR practices such as performance appraisal, training, and development, rewards and engagement of workers play a critical role in the motivation of the workers in motivating workers and also improves their productivity.  Kalse Sinha and Thakkar (2016) point out that, human capital plays a critical role in the organization given the fact that they are scarce and provide non-tangible services to the firm, they tend to have become the center of attraction for every firm due to their competitive advantages they possess in terms of skills and expertise.

Workplace flexibility refers to any one of the spectra of the working structures which alters or changes the time and place that work is always done on regular basis by the stock of competence. This include coming forth with a flexible schedule of working hours such as extra working hours, flexibility in the number of hours worked for instance  having part-time work and sharing of the job. Availability of flexible workplace for instance working at home and at the office (Pfau et al. 2003, p.34).

Given the fact that part-time working tends to reduce the working hours workers are forced to work for less than 35hours a week, or change their working location. This kind of flexibility may be beneficial to the workers since they can manage to do other things of their choices, it may be disastrous for the organization. It is not easy for the HR managers to closely monitor their workers who may lead to low motivation amongst workers lowering the productiveness of the firm. Kalse et al. (2016) the stock of competence may end up losing their interest in the work since it is not engaging. HR managers may find it cumbersome to some extend to assess performance and ensure that workers are in the right direction to achieve the objectives of the firm. It can also be costly, and the firm may end up losing client since there may be no direct customer care services hence the client may lose trust in the company since he/ she may not be getting the services to the standards of their expectation (Kalse et al. 2016, p.4).

Human resource practices may involve the formulation of techniques used for measuring and analyzing the effects of a particular reward program awarded to human capital. It may also involve the creation of programs within the organization to reduce the work-related injuries by building a framework which will ensure the laws of employment are adhered to. As opposed to the earlier HR practices which were inflexible, the contemporary HR policies and practices are quite flexible in addition to the fact that they navigate managers and employees. HR practices are vital for any organization given the fact that they are responsible for raising the worker's motivation thus enhancing the productivity of the stock of competence.

References

Abdullah, A, Md, Hossain, M & Rashid, Ma 2013, ‘Human Resource (Hr) Practices: An Evaluation of some Selected Real Estate Organizations in Bangladesh’, CLEAR International Journal of Research in Commerce &  Management, vol. 4, no. 6, pp. 89–93

Fiorito, J. (2001) ‘Human Resource Management Practices and Worker Desires for Union Representation’, Journal of Labor Research, 22(2), pp. 335–354.

Fu, N. (2013) ‘Exploring the impact of high performance work systems in professional service firms: A practices-resources-uses-performance approach’, Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 65(3), pp. 240–257.

Kalse, A., Sinha, M. and Thakkar, N. (2016) ‘Hrm Practices for the Sustainable Growth of Microfinance Industry in India’, BVIMSR Journal of Management Research, 8(2), pp. 145–151. Najeeb, A. (2013) ‘The role of HR actors in designing and implementing HRM in tourist resorts in the Maldives’, Employee Relations, 35(6), pp. 593–612. doi: 10.1108/ER-08-2012-0057.

König, C. J., Bangerter, A., Blatti, S., & Salvisberg, A. (2013) ‘Human resource managers’ attitudes toward utility analysis: An extended and refined update from Switzerland’, Journal of Personnel Psychology, 12(3), pp. 152–156.

Lai, Y., Saridakis, G. and Johnstone, S. (2017) ‘Human resource practices, employee attitudes and small firm performance’, International Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship, 35(4), pp. 470–494

Naveed, S., Salman, Y., Iqbal Jadoon, M. Z., Jabeen, N., & Rana, N. S. (2017). Inside state enterprises: Symbolic compliance to modern HRM as a response to contradictory institutional logics.

Nikandrou, I. and Papalexandris, N. (2007) ‘The impact of M&A experience on strategic HRM practices and organisational effectiveness: evidence from Greek firms’, Human Resource Management Journal, 17(2), pp. 155–177

Pfau, B. N. and Cohen, S. A. (2003) ‘Aligning human capital practices and employee behavior with shareholder value’, Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 55(3), pp. 169–178. doi: 10.1037/1061-4087.55.3.169.

Piening, E. P., Baluch, A. M. and Salge, T. O. (2013) ‘The relationship between employees’ perceptions of human resource systems and organizational performance: Examining mediating mechanisms and temporal dynamics’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(6), pp. 926–947.

Sarker, A. S. (2017) ‘Human Resource Management Practices and Employee Performance in Banking Sector of Bangladesh’, Journal of HRM, 20(1), pp. 68–80.

Schmidt, J. A. and Pohler, D. M. (2018) ‘Making stronger causal inferences: Accounting for selection bias in associations between high performance work systems, leadership, and employee and customer satisfaction’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 103(9), pp. 1001–1018

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