Human Resource Systems

December 30, 2008

If organization has got systems to punish but not to reward people, the former too become defunct over a period of time because a manager who does not have the power to reward forfeits his right to punish, at least in course of time.


Organizations vary in regard to the degree to which they provide careers to their employees, encourage participation, promote from within and orient their systems toward collective, group based performance. Many will have a mixture of the two choices mentioned above. In some cases, the system is a matter of choice and is meant to support a cultural orientation towards a cooperative rather than competitive climate. But most organizations covered by Peter and Waterman (included in Fortune USA 500 companies) seem to stress on “challenging and meaningful work” with stress on participation, upward mobility and group performance. In the Indian context social compatibility becomes a relevant issue.


We should also be careful in generalizing and in being prescriptive. For example, the concept of life-long employment and preference to employees’ children in employment which seem to work well in the case of Tata Steel proved to be disastrous in those of some other companies. Hence the need to be wary about the organizational context regarding strategic choices in human resource systems.



December 16, 2008

Personnel should adopt the language of business and relate its effectiveness in relation to the business objectives concerning output, profit, and contribution to society. Peers in other functions focus on income, assets, liabilities, sales, costs and profits while personnel continue to talk about feelings.  


The traits which characterize personnel function today are: 

·         It is largely a reactive service

·         Employees are viewed as adversaries, not as partners or stakeholders

·         Employees constitute an element of cost, not an asset 


There is need for a change it personnel perspective to develop common interests and common language. Peter F. Drucker observes that few factors are as important to the performance of an organization as measurement. And, especially in personnel, measurement is the weakest area. Personnel should know how to objectively measure their activities, to get over the subjectivity myth and overcome the values conflict.


Until this happens, personnel would mean many things to many people and respect for and recognition of personnel would remain a far cry. Personnel should use information about their performance to gain recognition and acceptance. Numbers are important because words are imprecise. The role of personnel in strategic planning would be substantial if a personnel manager’s results guide has some of the examples as performance standards which we discuss in next post.


December 15, 2008

Managing in turbulent times requires organizations to raise basic questions as to their nature and purpose. Strategic management involves consideration of the following aspects:

·         Mission and Strategy

·         Formal Structure

·         Human Resource System

These three aspects are discussed there from the personnel management point of view.


Mission and Strategy 

An organization needs a reason for being i.e. mission, and a sense of direction as to how to carry it out i.e. strategy. Most of our organizations, particularly in the public sector, have multiple objectives. The loose definition of objectives and their plurality often provides an excuse to dilute accountability. The paucity of data on human resources often makes it difficult to include it in the process of strategy formulation. 

The macro-objective pf Gross National Product (GNP) an the standard of living and the micro-objective of Return on Investment (ROI) and quality of work life provide enormous opportunities for the personnel function to make significant contributions. Personnel should adopt the language of business and relate its effectiveness in relation to the business objectives concerning output, profit, and contribution to society. Peers in other functions focus on income, assets, liabilities, sales, costs and profits while personnel continue to talk about feelings.

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December 12, 2008

Today we continue our talk on political as part of environmental aspects. Nevertheless, technological changes have reduced the dependence on muscle power in manual jobs, and manual labour in clerical and other white collar occupations. The advent of modern technology has rendered work on the shop-floor and the office more alike. Job content and methods of production are changing.


Modifications occur in the size and composition of work groups. The network of social relations among employees is also affected. Secular shifts in consumption patterns and technological developments have displaced artisans such as weavers, potters, fishermen, washermen, etc. Technical training institutions began to impart training in skills such as carpentry and weaving which once used to be the exclusive domain of people belonging to certain castes.


In retrospect, these changes had the following effects on the individuals: the link between caste and occupation was broken, the skill of artisans which was more personal and manual was replaced with the skill of technicians which is more impersonal and mechanical; job performance depended more on dexterity in handling machines than exercising one’s skill or craft and thus individual’s pride in his contribution to final output, for which Indian artisans were renowned was reduced.


December 11, 2008

As a part of our talk on management still today we have discussed on so many important factors of the management like Concept of Human resources management, Human resources development, HRD mechanism, HRD planning, career planning, Organizational development, Quality management, HRD system, etc… Today we continue our discussion on one important environment aspects as political and we have already started our talk on this in previous post.  While legislation did play a positive role in bringing about desired changes in the direction of social and natural justice, it has also made employers and employees themselves legalistic. Over 1.5 lakh labor disputes are pending in courts.


In the organized manufacturing sector alone, over 3,000 man days per every 1000 persons employed are lost every year in the industrial disputes where both the parties seek to assert their respective rights. Litigation has grown due to increase in number of disputes and delays in adjudication.


Technological imperatives are limiting the options available. However, more number of jobs are lost due to sickness than due to modernization and automation. Delays in absorption, failure in adaptation, absence of economies of scale, high costs and cost-push tendencies due to the nature of competition have restrained the positive features of technology.


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December 10, 2008

Political independence and democratic forces have raised the expectations of our people. Compared to most other developing countries in Asia and Africa, the democratic institutions in India are more developed, strong and active. There is an increasing demand from our people for a greater degree of involvement and participations in matters that concern and affect them.


Government intervention to regulate employment relationship and organizational performance has been on the increase in pursuit of the ideals enshrined in our Constitution and the objectives of Five-year Plans.


We have had much progressive legislation since independence to regulate working conditions and employment relations, abolish bonded labor, check contract labour, ensure equal pay for equal work, guarantee minimum wages, provide social security, etc. We also some stringent legislations like Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA), which trade unions and civil liberty organizations abhor.


Employers and unions are critical about much of the legislative framework because it does not enable them to function the way they want to, but seeks to control. Non-compliance of legislation is fairly widespread because ‘state ways’ alone cannot change ‘folkways’; besides, weaknesses in administering the laws and loopholes in the provisions have aggravated the situation.


November 17, 2008

The HRD subsystems or mechanism discussed so far should be thought of in isolation. They are designed to work together in an integrated system although any of them may exist in an organization that does not have an overall HRD plan. In isolation, these mechanisms do not afford the synergistic benefits of integrated subsystems. For example, outcomes of performances appraisals provide inputs for training needs, assessments, rewards, career planning, and feedback and performance coaching.  



Of course, HRD systems must be designed differently for different organizations. Although the basic principles may remain the same, the specific components, their relationships, the processes involved in each, the phasing, and so on, may differ from organization to organization.  

Designing integrated HRD systems requires a thorough understanding of the principles and models of human resources development and a diagnosis of the organization culture, existing HRD practices in the organization, employee perceptions of these practices, and the developmental climate within the organization. There are some principles related to focus, structure, and functioning should be considered when designing integrated HRD systems, we will discuss on each principles in our next post.

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