|Title of unit/s||Managing and Co-ordinating the Human Resources Function|
|Assessment method(s)||Written answers to questions|
|Expiry date||September 2020|
1 Understand the purpose and key objectives of the HR function in contemporary organisations.
2 Understand how HR objectives are delivered in different organisations.
3 Understand how the HR function can be evaluated in terms of value added and organisation performance.
4 Understand the relationship between organisational performance and effective HR management and development.
You are required to provide written answers to all five of the questions below.
Question 1· Give examples of the main organisational objectives that the HR function is responsible for delivering and briefly explain how these have evolved/are evolving in contemporary organisations. In your answer, provide a brief justification for managing HR in a professional, ethical and just manner.Question 2· Give a brief summary of two different ways HR objectives can be delivered in organisations.
· Analyse how the HR function varies between organisations in different sectors and of different sizes.
· Give a short explanation of at least two major theories of change management and illustrate how they can be used and evaluated.
· Your CEO has asked for a report on the contribution of the HR function to the business. In preparation for the report, give a brief summary of the criteria and methods available for use in evaluating the HR function’s contribution.
· In consultation with your tutor, select an article that identifies and evaluates research evidence linking HR practices with positive organisational outcomes. Briefly summarise the findings and state how convincing you find these to be. Conclude by explaining how high-performance working and investment in human capital can impact on organisational practice.
|Evidence to be produced/required
Written responses to each of the five questions of approximately 3,900 words in total (divided appropriately across each of the five questions).
You should relate academic concepts, theories and professional practice to the way organisations operate, in a critical and informed way, and with reference to key texts, articles and other publications and by using organisational examples for illustration.
All reference sources should be acknowledged correctly, and a bibliography provided where appropriate (these should be excluded from the word count).
|Managing & Co-ordinating the Human Resources Function (5HRF) LOs 1 – 4
Candidates should provide written responses to each of the five questions of approximately 3,900 words in total (divided appropriately across the five questions).
Candidates should relate academic concepts, theories and professional practice to the way organisations operate, in a critical and informed way, and with reference to key texts, articles and other publications and by using organisational examples for illustration.
All reference sources should be acknowledged correctly, and a bibliography provided where appropriate (these should be excluded from the word count).
AC 1.1, 1.3
Some of the examples you would expect them to include (not all of them) could be: building organisation capability through people and performance, organisation and job design, staffing objectives, performance objectives, contributing to organisation change, promoting good employment relations and employee engagement, developing careers and skills. They should indicate how the role of HR has evolved e.g. they could cite business partnering, strategic partner. In their answer candidates should also provide a brief justification for why HR should be managed in professional, ethical and just manner.
AC 2.1, 2.2
|Candidates should compare two different models for delivering HR services e.g. shared services, outsourcing, or consultancy. They should provide a brief analysis of how the HR function varies between organisations in different sectors and sizes e.g. candidates may choose to address this by comparing the size and role of HR services delivery in an SME with a large multinational organisation.|
Candidates should give a couple of examples of major change theories that may include classical theories such as Lewin’s three-phase model and more contemporary models e.g. Kotter’s eight-stage model. They should select one of the models and illustrate their understanding by showing how the model can be used and evaluated.
Candidates should give examples of different approaches to HR evaluation e.g. metrics, balanced scorecard, benchmarking, SLA’s, KPI’s, benchmarking, surveys.
AC 4.1, 4.2
Candidates should identify the article that has linked HR practice with positive organisational outcomes. They should summarise the main findings and comment on the persuasiveness of the findings. They may include some of the following points: the link between high organisation performance and effective HR services, human capital, human capital perspectives and building organisation capability.
The HR function is responsible for the undertaking some of the organizational objectives to ensure that they are attained. Some of the organizational objectives that the HR function should achieve include building organizational capability, job design, staffing roles, performance assessment objectives, promoting employee engagement and developing careers (Truss, 2008). In regard to building organization capability, the HR is responsible for the maintenance of a human capital in the organization and hence they act to ensure that the performance of the recruited people is measured and contributes to the organizational goals (Truss, 2008). The HR delivers the role of organization and job design to ensure that all the business operations are well catered for. The HR function develops job positions and the requirement for every position based on the organizational operations. Staff contributes to the organizational goals.
The HR functions facilitate the operations for the attainment of the organizational objectives by providing the staffing needs. The HR is responsible for measuring the performance of the workers. This is attained through continuous appraisals and basement where performance of a staff is compared against the set targets and organizational objectives (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2017). In addition, the HR function is responsible in promoting cordial relations between the employee and the employer. This contributes to employee engagement and ultimately leads to attainment of the organizational objectives. Employees in the organization need to improve their knowledge and skills in order to provide solutions to the emerging challenges in the organization (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2017). In light of this, it is the role of the HR function to provide the workers with the chance to gain skills and knowledge through various learning and development programs. As the HR function promotes skill development, they help in the attainment of the organizational goals by empowering the workers.
As the organization matures, the HR practices also changes. The HR function is noted to have three different states in the evolution cycle. The first level is the business function, which then changes to business partner and then the strategic partner (Maheshwari & Vohra, 2015). At the business function level, the HR function is at the very least. The HR is responsible for the management of the employee’s data, facilitate the payroll, and ensure there is attendance and adherence to the HR and company policies. This function is largely based on personnel management and emphasizes on compliance and employee management through proper records. The HR function then evolves to the HR business partner (Maheshwari & Vohra, 2015). At this stage, the HR role is ensuring that the existing business needs are met for the organization to grow (Marler & Parry, 2016). At this level, the HR role function changes to competency based, employee development, and approaches of organization design. This may also require formalizing the organizational structure. The third level of the HR function is the strategic partner (Maheshwari & Vohra, 2015). At this level of evolution, the HR is viewed by the organization as a strategic business partner. As such, the HR function has to provide roles that are focused on attainment of the leadership positions as opposed to the normal operational duties. At this stage, the HR is responsible for the identification of the needed core competency and aligns the employees to the common set objectives. The HR also plays a role in militating against the risk through succession planning and identification of top performers. The Saudi Arabian companies have exerted efforts to grow toward the strategic partner level of the HR, especially the multinationals operating in the country.
Three major change management theories that explain the process of modification are Action Research Model 1945; Lewin’s Three-Step Model 1945, and Kotter’s Strategic Eight-Step Model (Kotter, 1996) (Hayes, 2018). The Action Research model is a combination of behavioral, attitude change, and testing the change method being applied. In the first part of the change process, there must be an action with the ultimate objective being to cause a change (Hayes, 2018). The second part is the application of the different frameworks in order to determine whether really the theories are really working (Hayes, 2018). It is essential to note that the process of action starts with diagnosis of the need for the change, then introducing the required change through intervention before evaluating the effects of change. The theory is in line with the three staged Lewin’s model.
The second theory of change is the Lewin’s model, which is a three step process that leads to effective change management. The first step is the unfreezing, action, then freezing (Hayes, 2018). This model states that if the three steps in a change management are not followed, then the change will not be long lived. This model states that for the change to be permanent there is a need of dismantling the current before moving to the future (Hayes, 2018). The change from the unfreezing to the freezing stage is necessary as it helps the people to accommodate the change. This is common for the Saudi Arabian culture that is commonly considered conservative to change and failure to acclimatize the workers leads to resistance to change. Kotter’s model is an eight step process that was developed to be used at the strategic level of the organization to make a transformation in the entity (Hayes, 2018). Every phase takes specific amount of time and errors committed in the process may have an impact on the success. The eight steps in Kotter theory start with the review of the status quo, interventions, dealing with resistances, rewarding the people due to disruption with the final step being demonstrating a relationship between the behavior and change.
A Lewin’s model can be used in implementing change in an organization. For instance, if the organization is conducting automation, the three phases gets exhibited for a successful take over. During the unfreezing it entails the creation of the perception of change that the firm needs (Hayes, 2018). For instance, during the automation process, the management should demonstrate to the workers the need for change (Hayes, 2018).In the changing phase, the organization implements change by launching the new system. The refreezing phase encompasses solidifying the change by promoting adoption to the new norm. This may entail training staffs on the new system.
In the HR department, ethics and professionalism are essential in daily undertaking of the organization. In this case, practitioners in the HR function have to demonstrate the highest level of integrity when making decisions in order to build a culture of trust as well as transparency. DeCenzo, Robbins and Verhulst (2016) notes that the HR function is responsible in promoting and facilitating fairness and justice to all the employees in the organization. In doing this, the team will be creating an environment that encourages personnel to work to their fullest potential and have greater productivity. There are several reasons for the HR function to practice professionalism and adhere to the ethics. First, this is essential as it helps the organization to be compliant to the law. Concerning this, if an organization breaches the employment ethics, it leads to legal suits, which have an effect on the company. If an organization is said to breach the ethics, the issue is likely to be reported victim s to the Equal employment commissions and other regulatory entities (DeCenzo, Robbins and Verhulst, 2016). Companies that have comprehensive ethics programs and adhere strictly to the professional tenets avoid the huge costs that are associated with discrimination at work, hostility at the work places, thereby lowering the cost of litigation or out of court settlements.
By acting with professionalism, the organization is able to safeguard the reputation of the organization. In the business world, any issue concerning non-compliance to ethics spreads very fast to the news and other watchdogs thereby affecting the business reputation (Collings, Wood & Szamosi, 2018). Adherence to professionalism and ethics helps to keep the employees loyal to the firm. This also conveys huge benefits to the employees as it creates a sense of belonging and value. Employees gain more confident when they are treated professionally and in an ethical manner, thereby promoting greater productivity (Collings, Wood & Szamosi, 2018). It is essential to note that loyal employees become company ambassadors as well as company’s product champions. They market the products to the friends, family members, and other acquaintances over the years. This is common in Saudi Arabia where people live in communities and bad reputation has a huge impact on the company sales.
The HR objectives are delivered through the utilization of models. Depending on the size of the company, the needs, HR strategies that are deployed using different approaches. There are a few models that are used that explain the process of HR delivery in an organization. These models include generalist model, Ulrich three legged model, shared services, outsourcing, or consulting (Harrop, 2017). Each of the models has its merits and demerits. Shared services are one of the renowned models that are used by organizations to deliver the HR objectives. Organizations may choose to implement the model in different ways. The adoption of the shared values has numerous benefits including the rise in the organizational efficiency and handling of the HR administrative processes (Harrop, 2017). By applying the shared values, it becomes possible to conduct workforce planning and other processes.
For an organization that is contemplating to use shared services, it is essential to consider the approaches of change management process. This includes the decision making process and develop career progression map that will allow the continuous HR functions. It is essential to consider the robustness of the measures of performance that are set up to ensure that there is a delivery of high quality HR services (DeCenzo, Robbins & Verhulst, 2016). Implementation of the shared services requires robust measures that will measure the efficiency in delivery of the HR services. In addition, delivery of the shared services in HR function also requires a change in mindset on how employees and line managers treat the customers and services. There are several advantages of the shared values model of HR objectives delivery. First, the shared values help agencies to focus on the mission and hence bring consistency in HR practice. It is applied even in the lower cost based organizations.
Shared values also help in faster decision making and promote the consistency of the data. In addition, it helps to have an improved user experience (DeCenzo, Robbins & Verhulst, 2016). In addition, it is appropriate where there is reduced technology footprint and maintenance and security vulnerability. Further, shared values addresses the legacy system issues and helps in easier record retention. However, the shared values have its demerits. First, the data is not standardized across the agencies. Secondly, there are too many legacy systems in change. The shared values are not supported by the leadership (DeCenzo, Robbins & Verhulst, 2016). Some of the shared services for many organizations include back office operations, IT application development, finance, and accounting, which has delivered huge savings for the companies that are able to manage risk. The use of the shared services arises from the fact that some companies are concerned that some of their operations are very critical to be outsourced. In such cases, companies have opted to execute the processes on their own by developing captive centers. In the Saudi Arabian business set up, shared services is not a common practice due to the demerits that are associated with it.
Outsourcing is another method of delivering HR objectives is through outsourcing. Outsourcing encompasses having a job done by a third party as opposed to the internal employees. Outsourcing as a method of HR service delivery has become a common practice (Abdul‐Halim, Che‐Ha, Geare & Ramayah, 2016). Many organizations have resorted to outsourcing as a method of cost reduction. In this case, many businesses are streamlining their business functions. This involves the process of implementing changes to the internal service delivery model. Outsourcing may be conducted in whole or in part. There are different aspects that should be considered in outsourcing (Abdul‐Halim, Che‐Ha, Geare & Ramayah, 2016). First, the issue of risk management is a major consideration in outsourcing. Some of the common risks that come with the outsourcing include reputation, strategic, financial risks, legal risks, and loss of information security. Therefore, once the executive management have decided on the use of outsourcing as a method of HR service delivery, it becomes necessary to implement a risk management strategy. Another issue of concern for the outsourcing is the issue on contracting is the issue on tax implications. The movement of business operations and personnel, particularly involving services that are offered to vendors outside the country may involve tax implications. As such, it is always essential for the management to make considerations of the tax implications. Outsourcing is commonly applied model in the small businesses in Saudi Arabia.
Culture change management is an important aspect when using outsourcing as a method of HR service delivery. The use of outsourcing as a method of HR service delivery may lead to cultural change among the workers. This may have a negative effect on the productivity among the workers. Therefore, it is imperative to have proper mitigation measures that prevent negative effects due to cultural change. The level of support for the outsourcing strategy by the executive determines the success of the HR function in service delivery. According to Abdul‐Halim, Che‐Ha, Geare and Ramayah (2016) effective outsourcing in service delivery demands that there is an adequate support from the executive. The level of support should be both operation wise and financially. Indeed, the commitment can be more effective when there is a measurement as well as the reward contributions.
The HR function is significantly varies depending on the size of the organization. The HR service delivery differs for an SME with that of a large multinational firm. Large firms whether private or public prefer to use an Ulrich model while small and Medium sized businesses apply a single HR team, use outsourcing approach also rely on the expert advice. Under the Ulrich model as applied by large multinationals, businesses use it to help in transforming the HR functions by separating the different components into policy making, administration, and business partnership roles (DeCenzo, Robbins & Verhulst, 2016). Due to the vast size of the HR department in the multinational companies, it is essential to separate the HR function into different components. The first component is the HR business partner, a section that is tasked with the role of communicating with the internal customers (DeCenzo, Robbins & Verhulst, 2016). This component of the HR function helps in connecting the employees, stakeholders, and creditors. Indeed, the HR business partner is considered as the point of contact between the various members of the organization and within the Human resource department (Truss, 2008). The change agent is takes the role of facilitating for the expansion of the business or alter the goals and objectives. The change agent is the Human resource role that helps in communicating with the organizational changes. It is within this section that an organization is able to organize for training opportunities in order to learn new skills that are necessary for a change in the organizational goals.
The third component of the HR function in a large organization is the administration group. Under this group, the HR is responsible to undertake a spectrum of administrative roles following changes in the legislation, occupational health, and other labor laws (Truss, 2008). The advocate group of the HR function helps in championing for the needs of the workers. This section of the HR department is responsible in gauging the level of satisfaction of the employees in order to improve the morale and create a positive community in the firm. While the large multinationals are using a segregated approach in HR services delivery, SMEs use a single team. In this case, a member of the HR function is required to handle different issues within the organization as long as they are human resource related. This is commonly conducted to help in cost reduction. The Saudi Arabian large firms are laying emphasis on segregation of the HR operations into different operations to help in business operations. This is commonly realized among the large firms in the country.
While the large multinationals seek efficiency in operation, SMEs focus more on growth through cost reduction. In addition, SMEs also use an outsourcing approach as opposed to the shared values. Outsourcing approach entails use of a third party to run some of the HR functions on behalf of the firm (Harrop, 2017). Some of the HR functions that may be outsourced include hiring and performance assessment. This approach of HR service delivery is applied to help in reducing the cost of running the HR department. The HR function in service delivery also varies with the type of the organization. For example, small voluntary may apply an outsourcing method due to the cost of running its business. For a non-profit organization, there is no need of having a permanent HR function hence the need for outsourcing. However, for medium sized business in the private sector may maintain a single team for the HR and also supplement with the experts that are outsourced.
In the contribution towards the HR function, the main criteria and methods for the evaluation include the use Key performance Indicators (KPIs), Service level agreements, balance score card and other metrics (Noe et al., 2017). The process requires setting clear yet appropriate goals for every HR objective. In the recruitment and selection, the use of KPIs becomes necessary. For instance, a KPI should be set that measures the average number of the responses for the vacancies, the average time required to recruit and the average cost of recruitment. In regard the performance appraisals, the implementation of KPI is essential, which entails the use of KPIs to measure the percentage of the employees who are satisfied with the organisational performance as well as determine the number of days that are lost through the absence (Noe et al., 2017). In regard to training and development, some of the metrics that should be set in place includes the average cost of training per every employee, the percentage of the employee undertaking the training and development, the rate of return for the training and development programs. Indeed, KPI can help the business to conduct a proper assessment of the business performance, efficiency.
Metrics are also used in evaluation of the performance of the HR function (Noe et al., 2017). For instance, during the recruitment, the organisation can set the average number of response per vacancies, percentage of the vacancies filled within a specific period, and the new employee satisfaction rate. Other metrics are used in staff management such as percentage of the staff retention after a specified period and the satisfaction survey index. A comparison can be conducted on the level of remuneration in comparison with what is offered by the competitors. In a balance score card, the performance of different employees is assessed on different parameters including attainment of the set target, absenteeism, and other aspects.
Companies also conduct internal as well as external benchmarking in a bid to ensure that their performance is great compared to what the competitors are offering (Noe et al., 2017). Internal benchmarking entails making performance a comparison on different areas within the business and in identification of the best practice. External benchmarking allows the HR department to compare the performance using the various indicators with other entities (Noe et al., 2017). However, when conducting external benchmarking, it is essential to deal with issues of confidentiality to ensure that the business secrets are not released to the public.
Another tool of evaluation is the use of HR balanced score card. The HR department can assess the performance of the workers by identifying the primary priorities through an analysis of the range of the valid and valid indicators that relate to the HR deliverables (Noe et al., 2017). Under the balanced score card, a business should develop a tool that provides for clear understanding, create value to the HR, assess the success of the workers, their abilities, behaviour, and performance. The use of balanced score card in Saudi Arabia is common among the companies in the country as it is considered as more effective and more representative (Alolah, Stewart, Panuwatwanich & Mohamed, 2014).
The HR practices determine the outcome of the organisation. It is expected that an organisation with ideal HR practices should have positive organisational outcomes. In light of this, various scholarly research provide evidence that link HR practices with the positive organisational outcomes. A study by Guest and Conway (2011) is an example of evidence that link the role of the HR department and the output. The study by Guest and Conway (2011) explores the effect of HR practices on the level of employee’s commitment and quality of HR in service delivery. The paper explored the general hypothesis stating that the effectiveness of the HR practice helps in explaining the association between the approaches of HR and business performance. The paper adopted the stakeholder’s perspective claiming that the rate of the HR effectiveness of the senior managers is strongly related to the organisational outcomes. Further, the paper also built to the concept by Bowen and Otroff’s that associate’s strong HR system with greater output. The study was conducted on 237 senior managers, their approaches and a measurement of the outcome in subjective and objective terms. The analysis confirmed that there is great association between the HR practices and the higher performance outcome. According to Guest and Conway (2011) in organisations where there is low levels of agreement and collaboration between the HR managers and operational managers, there are inferior outcomes. This study was appropriate to make conclusions on the association between HR practice and outcome. Indeed, the researcher collected empirical data on a large sample size to come up with justified findings. The findings from this study are backed by the statistical data that clearly shows an association between the HR practices and positive outcomes such as greater employee engagement. As such, the findings are convincing and clear on the positive outcomes of HR practices such as greater employee retention, improved productivity, and increased teamwork.
High performance working is a theorem that emphasises on the approaches that companies should stimulate greater commitment by involving employees (Jiang & Liu, 2015). The human capital encompasses the human ability at work as a factor of skills and experiences that people possess thereby bringing such into projects. The level of commitment and involvement among the workers influences the organisational performance. Therefore, where there are high levels of commitment among the workers, the organisational performance is positively influenced. People enjoy working in instances where there is greater motivation. In line with the high performance working, the CIPD has enumerated different components that constitute the high performance working. The first element is a vision that is based on the increment of the customers’ value through differentiation of the company’s products through a shift toward a customised offering (Jiang & Liu, 2015). This move helps in meeting the unique needs of the customers. The second component is sound leadership that start from the top and spreads throughout the organisation thereby creating a momentum (Jiang & Liu, 2015). The third part of the high performance working is having a decentralised decision making process (Jiang & Liu, 2015). Through this approach, an organisation should base its decision by involving those who are closely to the customers. To attain this, it is essential to continuously renew and improve the products that are offered to the customers by development of the people’s capability at all the levels of the company. Offering a support system is in line with high performance work practices (Jiang & Liu, 2015). Under this approach, there should be a support system that includes performance operations, helps in people management processes, and aligns the goals and objectives of the organisation in a manner that leads to greater trust among stakeholders (Jiang & Liu, 2015). In doing this, employees become enthusiastic and show greater commitment.
High performance work practices propose for fair treatment for those leaving the organisation due to the needs of the community while outside the organisation (Fu et al., 2017). This is considered as an essential component of trust even for the customers. Scholars have confirmed that having a high performance practices motivates employees in a way that they go beyond their job to discover new ways of accomplishing organisational goals (Fu et al., 2017). The knowledge, skills, and experiences that workers possess are relevant to the performance of their duties. Employees who have qualities in higher capacity are able to perform their tasks well and are more innovative. They can also overcome the challenges that they face since they are more experienced. As a result, companies enjoy better performances and ultimately contribute to better relations with stakeholders.
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