Human resource issues need constant attention

By Derek Stockley.

Human resource management is directly related to the overall performance of the organisation. Identifying and planning for training can be linked to many corporate processes.

The level of intense activity continues in most organisations. Many managers and team leaders find themselves working hard on a myriad of activities. However, effort can be wasted if it is expended in a vacuum. If each activity is treated as a separate action, its intended impact on the organisation may be lost.

Many important initiatives are undertaken by organisations. These can include technology upgrades, quality processes, industrial issues and the like.

These initiatives are important, but they must be related to an underlying theme that ties them together.

Performance is the underlying basis of many organisational and human resource (HR) programs and initiatives.

Total quality management, benchmarking, re-engineering and the move to self-managing teams, are all concerned with performance. In human resources management, training, performance management (including performance appraisal and salary administration), recruitment and selection, and employee relations' activities are all concerned with performance. Each makes an important contribution. Often these initiatives are regarded as separate programs. Often, when they are, they fail.

If organisations lose sight of the basic goal of performance improvement, if they treat these or other programs as the ends rather than the means, then they are doomed to difficult times, if not outright failure. All activities need to be regarded as complementary rather than separate, with the underlying principles and vision clearly established.

The first step to a sound organisation is to keep all programs and initiatives aligned to a framework of increased performance. This ensures that each activity complements the others occurring at the same time. The relationship between internal and external factors is also important.

Within the performance framework, the second step is to achieve the best outcome from each activity. Improvements and achievements can be made in all areas, even the traditional ones such as training:

The sources of training need provide a diversity and complexity of training requirements.

To be at best practice level, you should be managing and coordinating the training necessary to satisfy, in priority order, all of the needs shown. All personnel involved in training should be skilled and effective. All the training should dovetail into your performance improvement efforts.

The training effort is at an optimum level when every area is addressed. The importance of training in performance management is clearly shown by the similarity of the two diagrams. Training is an important foundation of success.

Recruitment/selection is another traditional HR area. The best possible recruitment/selection processes should be in place.

High quality candidates should be attracted to your positions. The person and position requirements/competencies, including the appropriate balance, should be clearly established. A variety of selection methods appropriate to the situation should be used. Selection decisions should be free of bias and discrimination. These are just some of the benchmarks to be considered. The processes used need to reflect the latest thinking. The staff involved need to have, and more importantly practice, high-level recruitment/selection skills.

After training and recruitment/selection, the third and final traditional area to highlight is salary administration.

In some organisations, a whole variety of different salary and pay arrangements have resulted. Opportunities exist to bring these different systems into a new framework that may overcome the difficulties of the past. Staff need to have confidence in the salary administration system. They want the rewards to be shared fairly and equitably. Dissatisfaction can cause severe morale and performance problems. Some enlightened Councils may establish an improved salary administration structure which is developed specifically to meet local requirements. It is possible to develop a simple structure that overcomes the difficulties of the past, yet is simple enough for everyone in the organisation to understand. This can be tied to a completely new performance management approach, including better performance appraisal mechanisms.

Organisations have many change programs in place at any one time. All should be related.

A co-ordinated approach understood by staff leads to confidence. Confidence leads to trust. Trust provides the foundation for a positive cultural environment, which in turn provides the driving force necessary to achieve performance improvements.

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Performance and performance management is a key aspect of the human resources consulting service provided by Derek Stockley, see: Human Resources Services.

For information about organising a TNA, see: Training Needs Analysis. Derek Stockley can organise an in-house, comprehensive TNA/trainer project, see In-house Training Needs Analysis Project.

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