Topic/Contemporary Environment for Managing Human Resources

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From your Human Resources Management course, you have learnt about the evolution of human resources management and its traditional functions, that is, how and when human resources management came into being. Throughout the years human resources has transformed from being a miscellaneous administrative burden to being a strategic function in every modern organisation.

In the past there was a common tendency by organisations to undermine the need to manage their workforce in a systematic manner. For instance, when there was a vacancy, those in charge of hiring would hire a relative or a friend without due regard for the value that the relative or friend is going to add to the organisation. Worse still, positions will be created not on the basis of organisational need but sometimes merely to hire or promote someone in return for a favour. The activity that follows will enable you to appreciate this fact.

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When you take a break from reading, visit or phone three or more old relatives or family friends (over fifty years old) who are either working or had worked before. Ask them how and why they got their first job. Ask leading questions such as:

  • How did you get your first job?
  • How did you know about the job?
  • Did you have a relative or friend working in the same organisation?
  • Did you have the required qualification?
  • Did you have relevant experience for the same job you were hired for?
  • Were you ever promoted?
  • How were you promoted, on merit or favour?

Out of the total you would have interviewed, find out how many were hired for the benefit of the organisation, and how many were hired for personal reasons.

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The modern trend is such that hiring is done on a professional basis rather than favouritism. However, during your mini survey you may have noticed that quite a sizeable number have been hired the unorthodox way.

Due to the complexity within which organisations operate, contemporary human resources management is now the cornerstone for the success of every organisation. Organisations find themselves having to operate within an environment with stiff competition. In order for them to survive the stiff competition organisations have to hire employees who are capable and who have what it takes to make sure that they are the best.

You should now have noticed that ignoring the human resources management function to the administrative miscellaneous by any modern organisation would be suicidal to its core business and functionality. Human resources has no doubt become the most vital asset of any organisation hence compelling executives of organisations to put emphasise on an strategic approach to the management of the workforce. Gone are the days when bosses used to say “any one can employ for the organisation, and anyone employed for the organisation is just okay as long as he/she can do what he/she is told to do.

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Repeat Activity 1A, but this time ask those relatives or family friends who have just got new jobs within the past five years. Ask the same leading questions. Out of the total you have interviewed how may were hired for the benefit of the organisation, and how many were hired for personal reasons? Match the responses from Activity 1A with the responses you got from this activity. Is there any noticeable difference? What can you say about the difference?

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Ordinarily, hiring for personal reasons should be more in Activity 1A while in Activity 1B hiring will be based more on merit or proven capability. This shift from hiring for personal reasons towards hiring on merit or capability is a clear indication that hiring and management of human resources is now being taken seriously.