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Trends And Challenges

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Human Resources Management

Human Resources departments have existed for over a decade. Previously known as personnel departments, organizations' departments specializing in the management of human assets have evolved through the years to address many issues. Change in labor laws, introduction and advancement in technology, and the way mankind has evolved has forced many trend changes in human resources management (HRM). In today's organizations, human resources management has many functions and roles. According to Brannen (2000) human resources management departments include the administrative role of processing benefits and keeping employee records. Human resources management also is required to develop and operate training, recruitment, and safety programs.

With the many changes that have occurred throughout the years, human resources management's challenges for effectiveness and efficiency have also multiplied. Thus, this paper will discuss the following four important topics that HR departments face in today's organizations: how a complete performance management system differs form the use of annual performance appraisals; advantages of managing turnover in organizations; contemporary safety and health management issues in the workplace; and future trends and challenges in human resources management.

Appraisal Systems

The process of analyzing employee performance has been a source for companies to determine how well an employee is performing at his job. This is how raises, promotions, and decisions to keep an employee or let them go can be determined. Traditionally, employee evaluations are conducted by managers or supervisors who annually asses the performance of employees of the company in their management department. An appraisal form adopted by the organization is used to perform the appraisal by managers or supervisors stating a view or opinion of the employee's job performance. The appraisal is comprised mainly of areas in which they feel the employee should improve. This leaves the employee feeling devalued and upset in most cases.

Performance Management Systems

Performance management systems are set in place to fulfill three purposes: strategic, administrative, and developmental objectives of the organization. Administrative purpose helps determine salary, benefits, and recognitions programs. Strategic purpose is effective management to help the organization meet its objective. Developmental purpose is developing employees' knowledge and skill. The process of performance management consists of more than just simple appraisals, it extends to defining performance, measuring performance, and feeding back performance information. Defining performance is being clear as to what task is being evaluated and what is relevant to the company. Measuring performance is determining what performance or aspects of performance are needed by the company.

During feedback, managers give employees information about their performance so they can adjust their behavior to meet the company's goals. The performance management system is a much clearer cut and defined approach to evaluating employee performance. Appraisals conducted in this manner are more productive to the employees and they are aimed at reaching the companies goals. Both the employees and the company benefit from an organized system used to determine an employees' performance.

Control and Measure Results

A HR Manager must conduct regular organizational assessments on issues such as pay, benefits, work environment, management, and promotional opportunities to assess the progress over the long term. There is also a need to develop appropriate measuring tools to measure the impact of diversity initiatives at the organization through organization-wide feedback surveys and other methods. Without proper control and evaluation, some of these diversity initiatives may just fizzle out, without resolving any real problems that may surface due to workplace diversity.

The development of an appropriate organizational reward system is probably one of the strongest motivational factors. This can influence both job satisfaction and employee motivation. The reward system affects job satisfaction by making the employee more comfortable and contented as a result of the rewards received. The reward system influences motivation primarily through the perceived value of the rewards and their contingency on performance (Chan, 2004).

Managing Turnover in an Organization

Managing turnover in an organization can be an indispensable practice to the organization. The advantage of employee retention can have a huge impact on an organization. Employee turnover can effect the organization financially. Research has shown that organizations that have satisfied employees and low turnover tend to retain customers and perform better. Loyal employees lead to loyal customers which maintain the financial stability of the organization. The financial impact of low turnover in an organization is the reduced cost of training and processing of new employees. Drug testing, providing benefits, and training can be costly to an organization.

If turnovers are high it can become a huge expense to the organization which can have a huge effect on the organization's bottom line. Retaining employees also helps the organization by creating more experienced workers. The longer an employee is with the company the better he or she become at their job. The cost of training a new employee can be quite costly and the productivity level is lower.

Safety and Health Management Issues

Safety and health issues are a major responsibility of human resource management departments. According to Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright (2003) there were approximately 15,000 work-related deaths per year.

Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) in 1970 to provide employee safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Act further authorized the federal government "to establish and enforce occupational safety and health standards for all places of employment (Noe, 2003)." Human resources management officials are responsible for the proper implementation of these laws to ensure that the workplace environment is safe and employees are properly protected. No longer is safety and health emphasized only in the obvious dangers in the workplace, like the proper use of legs when lifting or correct posture when reaching for materials. For example, rapid changes in technology have had a major impact in human resource management, just as hardware technology and software applications



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