Human Resource Management - An asset or an expense.

The changing face of HRM

Cubs Corner

When we talk about Human Resource Management , it means how to manage the people in an organization to be the most effective and the most efficient workforce. We need to manage the right person for the right job at the right place on the right time. To be a long distance runner every organization requires extra ordinary efforts from its people. It is the people’s efforts that separates the mediocre organization from the outstanding ones.

Evolution of the concept of HRM:

1. 1920-1930 Emphasis was on welfare management and paternalistic practices

2. 1940-1960 Emphasis was on expanding the role to cover labor, welfare industrial relations and personnel administration

3. 1970-1980 Emphasis was on efficiency, effectiveness dimensions added on human values, aspirations, dignity and usefulness.

4. 1990-2000 Emphasis was on incremental productivity gains through human assets

5. Post 2000 Emphasis is on aggressive cost cutting in order to compete in a global environment

Shift in HR Management in India:

If we talk about traditional HR Practices in India the main focus was on performing the administrative role of managing the human resources in the early sixties. The paycheck management methods were designed to reduce the cost to company by hiring a low cost workforce and tailoring and training them to do the work. Human resource was separate and isolated from the company mission and it was principally having a production focus, where people were treated as expense.

But if we look into the present scenario it is totally opposite of what it was in the traditional view. In today’s time HR Practices focuses on performing a more strategic role. Human resource is the part of an organization and is service focused, people are treated as an investment and as an asset.

Real life examples

To justify this we can consider the example of the 40 year old ordinary employee, Karambir Kang, General Manager of 105 year old TajMahal hotel, Mumbai. Over 30 people lost their lives in the grenade attacks on TajMahal Hotel on 26/11 including Kangs wife and two sons. Speaking to BBC later Kang brushing away his loss said  "Personally, it was important for me to finish rebuilding the hotel. The re-launch of Taj was the biggest challenge. And we did reopen the hotel 21 days after the incident. All of our staff returned to work and made it possible. The whole world took notice. The aura of the hotel has gone up to a different level post-26/11."

To get the best out of people, organizations must create a healthy work environment, where the employees can exploit their talent fully and realize goals assigned to them.

Research has shown that people with knowledge, skills and experience are hardest to find and easiest to loose if not treated properly. We need human resource management at all the levels of an organization (Top level, Middle level, Lower level) and it needs to be pervasive, continuous, people oriented, future oriented and development oriented.

Human resource in an organization helps to achieve the organization’s goal with full effectiveness and efficiency. If an organization wants people to achieve an organization’s goal with full efficiency and effectiveness then the organization should motivate their employee, should praise or reward the employee for their achievements, should develop and maintain the quality of work life and should be ethically and socially responsible to all the needs..

People have always been central to the organizations, but their strategic importance of growing in today’s knowledge based industries is unique. An organization’s success increasingly depends on the knowledge, skills and abilities of employees, particularly as they help establish a set of core competencies, that distinguish an organization from its competitors.

HRM acts as a central subsystem in an enterprise right from the finance sub system followed by the Marketing, technical and product subsystem. A company cannot work without the right human resources therefore they need to be treated as an asset/investment in an organization and not as an expense.

It can be better understood by the quote written below-

“The real opportunity for success lies within the person and not in the job”  Zig Ziglar

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