This report evaluates the emergence, growth, and development of HR function over the past decades. More emphasis goes to planning as one of the most important HR functions. Firstly, the rationale for the assignment stands out by outlining the description of the issue under evaluation coupled with outlining the specific objectives of the paper. The objectives act as a guide for the entire analysis. The analysis is conducted with specific reference to DP World, which is an international company based in the United Arab Emirates. Detailed analysis of how the HR functions have developed over the years appears in the literature review section by evaluating the specific human resources issues focused on by organizations at different periods. The importance of HR planning is evaluated by analyzing its strengths. On the other hand, the limitations faced by organizations in the course of undertaking HR planning are also illustrated. Finally, to deal with these limitations, the paper outlines several recommendations on how HR managers can improve HR planning.
Organizations are experiencing extraordinary changes in their operations more than ever. These changes are due to transformations within the business environment such as increased government regulation, economic, political, social, technological, and competitive forces (Richardson and Nigam 54). Consequently, firms’ management teams are increasingly facing the challenge of establishing effective management systems, strategies, and policies. Ineffective integration of HRM can contribute to a firm’s failure. In the course of executing their duties, human resource managers are obligated to undertake several functions, which include planning, staffing, controlling, and directing. Human resource planning enables organizations to plan their needs about different issues such as building, capacity, financing, supplies, and equipment (Bandt and Haines 76). Through effective implementation of human resource planning, organizations can attain their strategic objectives.
As the largest marine port and terminal operator in the Middle East, DP World, which is based in UAE, focuses on attaining a high level of effectiveness and efficiency in managing a supply chain. The firm has a human resource base of more than 6,000 professional and experienced employees. DP World seeks to deliver a high level of customer satisfaction. Consequently, it has adopted a global approach within its local operations. Over the years, DP World has been very successful due to investing in terminal infrastructure, human resources, and collaborating with business partners and customers. The operations of DP World revolve around the well-formulated mission, vision, and values. Its mission entails incorporating a global approach in all its local business operations, to achieve a high level of excellence, profitability, and innovation thus attaining exceptional customer experience. On the other hand, the firm’s vision entails acquiring sustainable value through service, excellence, and global growth. In the course of its operation, DP World hinges on a set of objectives, which include commitment, profitable global growth, innovation, and excellence.
Every objective seeks to enhance shareholders’ value and to maximize profitability ultimately. Operating organizations should not only focus on attaining high profitability, but also enhancing their competitiveness, which is currently a major for most organizations.
This report aims at achieving several objectives as outlined below.
- To conduct a literature review on the HR functions and their development
- To evaluate the current situation of the HR planning function
- To evaluate the strengths of HR planning
- To analyze the shortcomings of HR planning
- To make recommendations on how to improve HR planning
History of HR functions and their development
Human resources function is a relatively old issue, which dates back to the mid-1920s. During this period, managers undertook hiring and firing while other employee-related tasks were the responsibility of delegated employees (Deb 87). By the early 1930s, managers experienced an increment in the number of duties and responsibilities. Consequently, they could not focus on the employment process, which made them outsource other parties to recruit, screen, and hire applicants. Moreover, managers also experienced other challenges emanating from the growth of various tasks such as record keeping and ensuring that firms comply with rules and regulations, as advocated by governments. During this period, the parties charged with the responsibility of undertaking these duties did not have terms of reference. Consequently, they were referred to in different terms such as the central office. Gradually, “the scope of their duties and responsibilities increased to include other activities such as organising social and recreational programs coupled with arranging organisational dinners and picnics amongst other recreational activities” (DeCenzo and Robbins 46).
In addition, the department acquired a name, viz. “the personnel department; however, it lacked cohesion and organisational authority” (DeCenzo and Robbins 46). In most cases, parties in the department mainly included former teachers and supervisors. They could not make decisions and thus were of little importance to most management teams.
During the 1930s, organizations experienced an increment in the number of labor unions. Consequently, the personnel staff became more concerned with negotiating collective-bargaining agreements (Dau-Schmidt 95). The emergence of World War II transformed the personnel function, which arose from the fact that more expertise was required to deal with complex issues such as shortage of skilled employees, compensation, and adhering to government regulations such as wage control. Additionally, safety became another issue that the personnel managers were required to focus on. By executing these tasks, the personnel role began to gain more significance amongst firms’ management teams.
After World War II, the personnel function experienced the greatest growth, which arose from the high rate of industrial development, technological innovation, and an increment in demand for exempt-employees. However, firms could not access highly trained employees. Therefore, they considered training and providing their employees with educational opportunities as an important aspect to thrive (Teiger 78). Another issue that became of importance entailed designing a performance appraisal system and employee relations program to motivate employees. The 1950s came with an increased appreciation of the importance of developing operational policies and procedure manuals. The objective of the procedure manuals was to assist firms’ management teams to identify and deal with burgeoning employee and employer relation issues.
This aspect played an important role in ensuring fair treatment to all employees. Employees were also issued with handbooks “to assist them in developing a comprehensive understanding of what was expected of them and what they, in turn, expect from their employers” (DeCenzo and Robbins 61). This element best illustrates why DP World is committed to developing its policies and procedures manual. The incorporation of manuals and procedures significantly transformed employee-employer relationships (Christiana 57). The 1960s and 1970s introduced issues associated with the provision of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. Additionally, the personnel function became known as the HR function. The 1980s witnessed the emergence of various concepts such as human resource information systems, career planning, employee grievances, organizational development, and implementation of disciplinary procedures in work settings (Dul and Newman 2010).
Human resource management underwent a further transformation during the 1990s whereby more focus was given to various issues such as electronic recruitment, workplace diversity, employment-and-termination-at-will, and negligent hiring and termination. During the new millennium, the HR functions have continued to modify their tasks, which emanates from the fact that the relevance of its function has continued to expand. Currently, more emphasis goes to issues such as work-life programs, diversity, contingent workers, telecommuting, workplace illiteracy, and aligning the function with the business side of the organization. In its operation, DP World focuses on attaining efficiency in its HR functions. One of the ways through which the firm has attained this goal is by outlining key functional areas, which include HR planning, compensation, benefits, policies and systems, employee recruitment, relations and welfare, talent management, HR administration, and medical services. Consequently, the firm has created a favorable environment for working hence its current success.
Current situation of HR planning
Over the past decades, firms’ management teams have increasingly appreciated the importance of HR planning. Consequently, they are increasingly formulating policies and procedures to ensure that their organizations develop sufficient competitive advantage. The firm’s competitiveness is dependent on its efficiency in exploiting and dealing with changes presented in the external business environment (Turner 23). DP World’s management team is cognizant of the importance of aligning its operations with human resources changes due to internal and external reasons. Additionally, the firm is cognizant of the broad nature of HR planning. Consequently, it has formulated policies and procedures aimed at addressing various HR issues such as recruitment, employment conditions, reward management, employee health, and wellbeing through the formulation of leave of absence, employee career management, medical, and insurance policies.
Additionally, DP World is aware of the fact that HR planning has become vital in the development of a strong organizational culture especially in the 21st century. DP World appreciates the issues associated with employee relations, welfare, and human services, and end of employment.
In the course of its operations, DP World has detailed a comprehensive HR procedure manual that details how the firm’s operations should be undertaken. All the firm’s employees can access the manual through DP World’s intranet system. This aspect has played an important role in minimizing inconsistencies in the firm’s operations. Effective documentation and accessibility of the firm’s policies and procedures have played a critical role in strengthening the firm’s competitiveness. Additionally, the firm can renew its workforce by reviewing the manuals regularly and communicating the same to employees and managers. The firm has formulated comprehensive policies and procedures on how to conduct HR audits and recruitment. About HR audits, the firm has outlined the procedures that the firm and its subsidiaries should follow in attracting workforce, assessing and interviewing candidates, selecting candidates, and inducting the selected candidate to the firm.
DP World is also aware of the contribution of HR planning in developing strong employee relations. Consequently, the firm has implemented comprehensive procedures to deal with employee relations, welfare issues such as disciplinary actions, retirement, pension, staff counseling, corporate induction, and staff induction.
Due to the high rate of globalization, the management team of DP World is committed to establishing a strong human capital base, to enhance its competitiveness, and hence its position in the market. One of the aspects that its HR manager has focused on is talent management. The global labor market is undergoing significant transformation leading to a scarcity of talent. DP World has incorporated talent management in its HR planning by incorporating several aspects, which include performance management, reward recognition, learning and development, and leadership development. Additionally, the firm has incorporated a unique talent management strategy referred to as “Emiritisation”. The strategy seeks to design and manage training programs and attract highly qualified trainees and graduates. Through talent management, the firm will deal with changes occurring in the labor market for example aging and increased labor mobility.
Strengths of HR planning
Human resource planning is an important aspect that DP World’s management team should integrate to thrive in the 21st century. Effective implementation of HR planning will enhance the firm’s capability to manage its human capital more strategically. Through the implementation of HR planning, organizations can offset the effects of change and uncertainties experienced in the firm’s course of operation. HR planning is also vital because it directs activities within the HR department. HR planning does not only aim at benefiting the organization. However, the function also seeks to develop employees.
One of the ways through which this is attainable is by integrating career planning. In their operation, organizations should be conscious of employees’ career needs, which form the basis upon which firms incorporate career programs to motivate employees and create a conducive environment for working.
In their operation, firms are subject to changes emanating from business environments. Examples of such changes include the formation of mergers and acquisitions and the downsizing of operations. Through effective HR planning, firms can deal adequately with changes in the external business environment through the integration of various HR processes such as employee recruitment, selection, induction, training, and formulation of motivation and reward systems.
Shortcomings of HR planning
This section will evaluate the challenges that DP World HR managers face in the course of executing their planning function. One of the major challenges facing the firm’s HR managers in planning relates to the existence of uncertainties. In the 21st century, the labor market has increasingly become characterized by a high rate of employee turnover (Turner 23). Consequently, firms are increasingly losing their key personnel. Additionally, the firm experiences human resource challenges due to seasonal unemployment. Consequently, it has become paramount for DP World to improve strategies aimed at increasing the rate of the employee.
In addition to the above challenge, DP World experiences problems in its effort to implement HR plans due to employee resistance. To minimize operational costs, DP World may consider implementing strategies such as outsourcing. Some employees may perceive such strategies as a threat to their job security, and thus they may react by resisting the implementation of such projects (Rothwell and Kazanas 98).
Lack of sufficient market information is another challenge that the firm is facing in its HR planning efforts. HR planning is only effective if a firm has sufficient market information. Some of the most important market information in undertaking HR planning includes human resource trends, changes in the labor market, and the prevailing economic environment. However, such information is not easily available. Therefore, the lack of availability of such information reduces the effectiveness with which DP World undertakes its HR planning (Arthur 40).
Discussion/review of the current issues in line with the relevant literature
Planning is a complex, process and thus firms seeking success in their HR planning should conduct comprehensive market research, which is costly in terms of time and finances. The objective of conducting market research is to collect sufficient market information to aid in undertaking an effective forecasting process.
In a bid to be effective in their HR planning, the firm’s HR managers should appreciate the complex nature of human resources. This move will increase the effectiveness with which they incorporate the relevant human resources issues. Some of the aspects that the firm’s management team should take into account include talent management, human resource administration, payroll, government affairs, and administrative services. Formulation of effective employee recruitment, developing employee relations, and welfare and staff accommodations are other critical HR issues that managers should focus on (Rothwell and Kazanas 98).
Poor HR planning can contribute to significant financial losses and costs. Additionally, a firm may take a long to fill vacant positions, which culminates in the reduction of a firm’s performance and hence its competitiveness. Therefore, to deal with such a challenge, an organization may require its employees to work overtime to address the limitations. This move may overstretch employees hence reducing their productivity (Dul and Newman 45).
The above analysis illustrates that HR functions have undergone significant developments over the past nine decades. The transformation experienced has led to an increment in the relevance of the various HR functions. Additionally, HR functions have become more diverse and thus, the function has become more effective in addressing the changes emanating from the external business environment.
The analysis has also underscored the importance of HR planning in a firm’s operations. An evaluation of the current situation of the HR planning function illustrates that the function will continue to change due to transformations in the business environment. The evaluation of the HR functions illustrates that planning is the most important aspect in a firm’s effort to derive a high competitive advantage from its human capital. However, the function faces several limitations, which call for effective and immediate management to ensure that organizations attain the desired benefits.
Recommendations to improve HR planning
Planning is one of the most important human resource management functions that DP World should take into account in its operation. However, the effectiveness with which firms undertake HR planning illustrates its effectiveness in developing a sufficient competitive advantage. Therefore, to improve HR planning, DP World HR managers need to take into account the following aspects:
- The firm should develop an adequate information system, which will aid in dealing with information scarcity, which is a major limitation in HR planning.
- In executing HR planning, the DP HR manager should ensure sufficient participation amongst the parties involved in formulating the HR plans. Participation will aid in improving the level of understanding between the various stakeholders, which culminates in reducing possible resistance that the process may experience.
- The HR planning should be well organized. One of the ways through which the firm’s management team can achieve this goal is by establishing various committees to aid in ensuring that the entire process is well-coordinated and focused.
- HR planning should occur within the appropriate time horizon to address the specific HR needs and circumstances adequately.
Arthur, Diane. Fundamentals of human resource management, London: AMACOM, 2007. Print.
Bandt, Alan, and Stephen Haines. Successful strategic human resource planning, San Diego: Centre for Strategic Management, 2002. Print.
Christiana, Beulah. “Impact of stress management on human competencies.” Asia-Pacific Journal of Management 34.3 (2009): 56-100. Print.
Dau-Schmidt, Kenneth. “A bargaining analysis of American labour law and the search for bargaining equity and industrial peace.” Michigan Law Review 91.3 (2005): 80-98. Print.
Deb, Tapomoy. A strategic approach to human resource management, Washington: Atlantic Publishers, 2009. Print.
DeCenzo, David, and Stephen Robbins. Fundamentals of Human Resource Management, Hoboken: Wiley, 2006. Print.
Dul, Jan, and Patrick Newman. “Human factors: Spanning the gap between OM and HRM.” ERIM Series Report 20.3 (2010): 32-45. Print.
Gunnigle, Patrick, Jonathan Lavelle, and Anthony McDonnell. “Human resource practices in multinational companies in Ireland: A large-scale survey.” Human Resource Management Journal 26.2 (2007): 130-140. Print.
Makela, Kristiina, Jennie Sumelius, Mathias Hoglund, and Catarina Ahlvik. “Determinant of strategic HR capabilities in MNC subsidiaries.” Journal of Management Studies 49.8 (2012): 1459-1483. Print.
Richardson, Picky, and Ajit Nigam. “New technology introduction and implementation: The case of paging technology in the Ratlam division of Indian railways.” Creativity and Innovation Management 8.4 (1999): 45-78. Print.
Rothwell, William, and Hercules Kazanas. Planning and managing human resources: strategic planning for human resources, New York: Human Resource Development, 2009. Print.
Teiger, Catherine. “Origin and evolution of formal training to movement and posture in risk prevention in France.” Industrial relations 57.39 (2002): 70-89. Print.
Turner, Paul. HR planning and forecasting, London: Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, 2002. Print.
Wadhwa, Vivek, Una Vitton, and Gary Gereffi. “How the discipline became the guru.” Journal of HRM 3.4 (2008): 45-76. Print.