Functions of HRD practices in an organisation should be to put efforts to develop and realise the full potential of the workforce, including management and to maintain an environment conducive to total participation, quality leadership and personal and organisational growth. In an organisation, there are six units which are concerned with HRD, namely person, role, dyad, team, inter-team and organisation. The effectiveness of one contributes in turn to the effectiveness of the others.
Human Resource Management is a process of bringing people and organisations together
so that the goals of each are met. It tries to secure the best from people by winning their
wholehearted cooperation. In short, it may be defined as the art of procuring, developing
and maintaining competent workforce to achieve the goals of an organisation in an effective
and efficient manner. It has the following features:
i. Pervasive force: HRM is pervasive in nature. It is present in all enterprises. It
permeates all levels of management in an organisation.
ii. Action oriented: HRM focuses attention on action, rather than on record keeping,
written procedures or rules. The problems of employees at work are solved through
rational policies.
iii. Individually oriented: It tries to help employees develop their potential fully. It
encourages them to give their best to the organisation. It motivates employees
through a systematic process of recruitment, selection, training and development
coupled with fair wage policies.
iv. People oriented: HRM is all about people at work, both as individuals and groups.
It tries to put people on assigned jobs in order to produce good results. The resultant
gains are used to reward people and motivate them toward further improvements
in productivity.
v. Future-oriented: Effective HRM helps an organisation meet its goals in the future
by providing for competent and well-motivated employees.
vi. Development oriented: HRM intends to develop the full potential of employees.
The reward structure is tuned to the needs of employees. Training is offered to
sharpen and improve their skills. Employees are rotated on various jobs so that
they gain experience and exposure. Every attempt is made to use their talents fully
in the service of organisational goals.
vii. Integrating mechanism: HRM tries to build and maintain cordial relations between
people working at various levels in the organisation. In short, it tries to integrate
human assets in the best possible manner in the service of an organisation.
viii. Comprehensive function: HRM is, to some extent, concerned with any
organisational decision which has an impact on the workforce or the potential
workforce. The term ‘workforce’ signifies people working at various levels, including
workers, supervisors, middle and top managers. It is concerned with managing
people at work. It covers all types of personnel. Personnel work may take different
shapes and forms at each level in the organisational hierarchy but the basic objective
of achieving organisational effectiveness through effective and efficient utilisation
of human resources, remains the same. “It is basically a method of developing
potentialities of employees so that they get maximum satisfaction out of their work
and give their best efforts to the organisation”. (Pigors and Myers)
ix. Auxiliary service: HR departments exist to assist and advise the line or operating
managers to do their personnel work more effectively. HR manager is a specialist
advisor. It is a staff function.
x. Inter-disciplinary function: HRM is a multi-disciplinary activity, utilising knowledge
and inputs drawn from psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, etc. To unravel the mystery surrounding the human brain, managers, need to understand Human Resource Function and appreciate the contributions of all such ‘soft’ disciplines.
Continuous function: According to Terry, HRM is not a one shot deal. It cannot
be practised only one hour each day or one day a week. It requires a constant
alertness and awareness of human relations and their importance in every day
Scope of HRM
The scope of HRM is very wide. Research in behavioural sciences, new trends in
managing knowledge workers and advances in the field of training have expanded the
scope of HR function in recent years. The Indian Institute of Personnel Management
has specified the scope of HRM thus:
i. Personnel aspect: This is concerned with manpower planning, recruitment,
selection, placement, transfer, promotion, training and development, lay off and
retrenchment, remuneration, incentives, productivity, etc.
ii. Welfare aspect: It deals with working conditions and amenities such as canteens,
creches, rest and lunch rooms, housing, transport, medical assistance, education,
health and safety, recreation facilities, etc.
iii. Industrial relations aspect: This covers union-management relations, joint
consultation, collective bargaining, grievance and disciplinary procedures, settlement
of disputes, etc.
Objectives of HRM
The principal objectives of HRM may be listed thus:
i. To help the organisation reach its goals: HR department, like other departments
in an organisation, exists to achieve the goals of the organisation first and if it does
not meet this purpose, HR department (or for that matter any other unit) will wither
and die.
ii. To employ the skills and abilities of the workforce efficiently: The primary
purpose of HRM is to make people’s strengths productive and to benefit customers,
stockholders and employees.
iii. To provide the organisation with well-trained and well-motivated employees:
HRM requires that employees be motivated to exert their maximum efforts, that
their performance be evaluated properly for results and that they be remunerated
on the basis of their contributions to the organisation.
iv. To increase to the fullest the employee’s job satisfaction and self-actualisation: It tries to prompt and stimulate every employee to realise his potential. To this end suitable
programmes have to be designed aimed at improving the quality of work life (QWL).
v. To develop and maintain a quality of work life: It makes employment in the
organisation a desirable, personal and social, situation. Without improvement in the
quality of work life, it is difficult to improve organisational performance.
vi. To communicate HR policies to all employees: It is the responsibility of HRM to
communicate in the fullest possible sense; tapping ideas, opinions and feelings of customers, non-customers, regulators and other external public as well as understanding the views of internal human resources.
The early part of the century saw a concern for improved efficiency through careful design of work. During the middle part of the century emphasis shifted to the availability of managerial personnel and employee productivity. Recent decades have focused on the demand for technical personnel, responses to new legislation and governmental regulations, increased concern for the quality of working life, total quality management and a renewed emphasis on productivity. Let us look into these trends more closely by examining the transformation of personnel function from one stage to another in a chronological sequence:
Growth in India
Early phase: Though it is said that P/HRM a discipline is of recent growth, it has had its
origin dating back to 1800 B.C. For example: the minimum wage rate and incentive wage plans were included in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi around 1800 B.C. The Chinese, as early as 1650 B.C. had originated the principle of division of labour and they Human Resource Function
understood labour turnover even in 400 B.C. The span of management and relatedn concepts of organisation were well understood by Moses around 1250 B.C. and the Chaldeans had incentive wage plans around 400 B.C. Kautilya, in India (in his book Arthasastra) made reference to various concepts like job analysis, selection procedures, executive development, incentive system and performance appraisal.
Legal phase: The early roots of HRM in India could be traced back to the period after 1920. The Royal commission on labour in 1931 suggested the appointment of labour officer to protect workers’ interests and act as a spokesperson of labour. After Independence, The Factories Act 1948, made it obligatory for factories employing 500 or more workers.
“In view of legal compulsions and the enumeration of duties the entire approach of
organisations toward their personnel was to comply with the laws and keep the welfare
officers busy with routine functions” Meanwhile two professional bodies, viz., the Indian
Institute of Personnel Management (IIPM) Kolkata and the National Institute of Labour
Management (NILM) Mumbai have come into existence in 1950s.
Welfare phase: During the 1960s the scope of personnel function has expanded a bit, covering labour welfare, participative management, industrial harmony, etc. “In this period, the human relations movement of the West had also had its impact on Indian organisations”. The legalistic preoccupations slowly gave way to harmonious industrial relations and good HR practices.
Development phase: In 1960s and 70s the HR professionals focused more on developmental aspects of human resources. The emphasis was on striking a harmonious balance between employee demands and organisational requirements. HRD has come to occupy a centre stage and a focal point of discussion in seminars, conferences and academic meets. The two professional bodies, IIPM and NILM, were merged to form the National Institute of Personnel Management (NIPM) at Kolkata.

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