LINE AND STAFF FUNCTIONS

For any dynamic and growth-oriented organisation to survive in a fast-changing environment, HRD activities play a very crucial role. Recent economic restructuring in India at the macro level influenced the need for production restructuring at unit level and production restructuring necessitated labour restructuring vis-a-vis restructuring of HRD activities in organisations. The primary goal of HR manager is to increase a worker’s productivity and a firm’s profitability as investment in HRD improves a worker’s skill and enhances motivation. The other goal of HR manager is to prevent obsolescence at all levels.
DESCRIPTION OF LINE AND STAFF FUNCTIONS
In a sense, all managers are HR managers as they all get involved in activities like selecting, training, compensating employees. Yet most firms, now a days, have the HR department headed by a person with requisite qualifications in behavioural sciences. How do the duties of this HR manager relate to the line managers’ HR duties would be an interesting question to answer. Line managers have the final responsibility for achieving the organisation's goals. They also have the authority to direct the work of subordinates. Staff managers usually help and advise line managers in achieving organisational goals.
HR managers are staff experts. They assist line managers in areas like recruiting, selecting, training and compensating. Managing people, in a broader context, is every manager’s business and successful organisations generally combine the experience of line managers with the experience of HR specialists while utilising the talents of employees to their greatest potential. HR managers have to win the hearts of employees working alongside line mangers and deliver results in a cost-effective manner. HR managers as indicated earlier are assuming a greater role in top management planning and decision making-a trend that indicates the growing realisation among executives that HRM can make significant contributions to the success of an organisation.
The functions of human resource management may broadly be classified into two categories, i.e., managerial functions and operative functions.
Managerial Functions
The basic managerial functions comprise planning, organising, directing and controlling.
i. Planning: This function deals with the determination of the future course of action
to achieve desired results. Planning of personnel today prevents crises tomorrow.
The personnel manager is expected to determine the personnel programme regarding
recruitment, selection and training of employees.
ii. Organising: This function is primarily concerned with proper grouping of personnel
activities, assigning of different groups of activities to different individuals and
delegation of authority. Creation of a proper structural framework is his primary
task. Organising, in fact, is considered to be the wool of the entire management
fabric and hence cannot afford to be ignored.
iii. Directing: This involves supervising and guiding the personnel. To execute plans,
direction is essential for without direction there is no destination. Many a time, the
success of the organisation depends on the direction of things rather than their
design. Direction then consists of motivation and leadership. The personnel manager
must be an effective leader who can create winning teams. While achieving results,
the personnel manager must, invariably, take care of the concerns and expectations
of employees at all levels.
iv. Controlling: Controlling function of personnel management comprises measuring
the employee’s performance, correcting negative deviations and industrial assuring an efficient accomplishment of plans. It makes individuals aware of their performance through review reports, records and personnel audit programmes. It ensures that the activities are being carried out in accordance with stated plans.
Operative Functions
The operative functions of P/HRM are related to specific activities of personnel management, viz., employment, development, compensation and industrial relations. These functions are to be performed in conjunction with managerial functions.
Procurement function: The first operative function of personnel management is procurement. It is concerned with procuring and employing people who possess necessary skill, knowledge and aptitude. Under its purview you have job analysis, manpower planning, recruitment, selection, placement, induction and internal mobility.
i. Job analysis: It is the process of collecting information relating to the operations and responsibilities pertaining to a specific job.
ii. Human resources planning: It is a process of determining and assuring that the organisation will have an adequate number of qualified persons, available at proper times, performing jobs which would meet their needs and provide satisfaction for the individuals involved.
iii. Recruitment: It is the process of searching for prospective employees and stimulating them to apply for jobs in the organisation.
iv. Selection: It is the process of ascertaining qualifications, experience, skill
and knowledge of an applicant with a view to appraising his/her suitability to
the job in question.
v. Placement: It is the process that ensures a 360ยบ fit, matching the employee’s
qualifications, experience, skills and interest with the job on offer. It is the
personnel manager’s responsibility to position the right candidate at the right
level.
vi. Induction and orientation: Induction and orientation are techniques by which
a new employee is rehabilitated in his new surroundings and introduced to the practices, policies, and people. He must be acquainted with the principles which define and drive the organisation, its mission statement and values which form its backbone.
vii. Internal Mobility: The movement of employes from one job to another through transfers and promotions is called internal mobility. Some employees leave an organisation due to various reasons leading to resignation, retirement and even termination. These movements are known as external mobility. In the best interest of an organisation and its employees, such job changes should beguided by well-conceived principles and policies.
Development: It is the process of improving, moulding, changing and developing the skills, knowledge, creative ability, aptitude, attitude, values and commitment based on present and future requirements both at the individual’s and organisation’s level. This function includes:
i. Training: Training is a continuous process by which employees learn skills,
knowledge, abilities and attitudes to further organisational and personnel goals.
ii. Executive development: It is a systematic process of developing managerial skills and capabilities through appropriate programmes.
iii. Career planning and development: It is the planning of one’s career and implementation of career plans by means of education, training, job search and acquisition of work experiences. It includes succession planing which implies identifying developing and tracking key individuals for executive
positions
iv. Human resource development: HRD aims at developing the total organisation. It creates a climate that enables every employee to develop and use his capabilities in order to further both individual and organisational goals.
Motivation and compensation: It is a process which inspires people to give their
best to the organisation through the use of intrinsic (achievement, recognition,
responsibility) and extrinsic (job design, work scheduling, appraisal based incentives)
rewards.
Integration function: This tries to integrate the goals of an organisation with employee aspirations through various employee-oriented programmes, like redressing grievances promptly, instituting proper disciplinary measures, empowering people to decide things independently, encouraging a participative culture, offering constructive help to trade unions etc.
i. Grievance redressal: A grievance is any factor involving wages, hours or conditions of employment that is used as a complaint against the employer. Constructive grievance handling depends first on the manager’s ability to recognise, diagnose and correct the causes of potential employee dissatisfaction before it converts into a formal grievance.
ii. Discipline: It is the force that prompts an individual or a group to observe the rules, regulations and procedures, which are deemed necessary for the attainment of an objective.
iii. Teams and teamwork: Self-managed teams have emerged as the most important formal groups in today’s organisations. They enhance employee involvement and have the potential to create positive synergy. By increasing worker interaction, they create camaraderie among team members. They encourage individuals to sublimate their individual goals for those of the group.
Teams have inherent strengths which ultimately lead to organisational success
at various levels.
iv. Collective bargaining: It is the process of agreeing on a satisfactory labour
contract between management and union. The contract contains agreements
about conditions of employment such as wages, hours, promotion, and
discipline; lay off, benefits, vacations, rest pauses and the grievance procedure.
The process of bargaining generally takes time, as both parties tend to make
proposals and counter- proposals. The resulting agreement must be ratified
by unions, workers and management.
v. Employee participation and empowerment: Participation means sharing the decision-making power with the lower ranks of an organisation in an appropriate manner. When workers participate in organisational decisions they are able to see the big picture clearly and also how their actions would impact the overall growth of the company. They can offer feedback
immediately based on their experiences and improve the quality of decisions greatly. Since they are now treated with respect, they begin to view the job.

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