The purpose of this reflective paper is to demonstrate learning attained in classroom on comprehension and use of information in the area of human resource management. It aims to capture issues related to equal employment opportunities (EEO) and affirmative action, human resource planning, recruitment and selection, as well as human resource development, compensation and benefits, safety and health, and employee and labor relations. In addition, the reflective paper highlights specific current and/or future applications and relevance at the workplace, and potential impacts on future career and personal life.
Human resource management reflects attempts to enhance the efficacy and role of workforce in the achievement of firms’ strategic goals and objectives (Youssef, 2012). The focus of HRM is on strategic objectives geared to support a company’s workforce. Employees are valuable to any organization and they constitute the most important asset. Organizations use their employees to execute their plans and achieve their goals. HRM functions, therefore, focus on employee management, development and growth supported with fair compensation to ensure achievement of organizational goals (Youssef, 2012).
EEO and Affirmative Action
Affirmative action and EEO reflects attempts aimed to ensure improved employment of women and other minority groups at workplaces. Based on affirmative action, the HR managers should not discriminate against employees because of their diverse characteristics such as sex, race, color, religion, disability and nationality among others. As a result, potential employees have equal opportunities to get jobs. Both EOO and affirmative action strive for fair benefits and opportunities at workplaces and employees therefore must be subjected to the same standards, practices and policies, but with consideration under special cases. The EEO has legal backing under the federal laws (Mathis & Jackson, 2011). HR managers must observe fairness and avoid previously noted workplace discrimination against employees.
EEO and affirmative action have significant impacts on career aspirations of any employees and therefore individuals must strive to ensure HR managers implement them to promote employee welfare. As a result, the minority groups and other disadvantaged employees will advance in their careers and realize personal success and self-fulfillment.
On the contrary, the EEO and affirmative action may also compromise the quality of workforce and reduce competitive advantage derived from human resources. On this note, the HR manager must adhere to labor laws and promote social acceptance in an organization. At the same time, employee compensation and remuneration must promote productivity, fair, recruitment and retention to achieve organizational goals.
HR planning, recruitment and selection
The HR department must have a plan to guide its practices and processes. The plan shows intended goals against organizational HR objectives. Employees’ achievements can only be effective if the HR department can measure them against certain targets. It is the role of the HR department to plan its workforce to create competitive advantage for a company. HR planning, therefore, must account for both current practices and potential future outcomes with the aim of achieving strategic human resource goals and overall organizational objectives. Planning must account for employment recruitment, selection, training and development, performance and retention (Mello, 2010). Given the massive changes in the workforce demographic characteristics globally, HR planning remains a significant factor for HR managers and individuals. For instance, both current and potential future employees must gauge their career growths against these changes and determine if they can work effectively in the global dynamic labor market. Employees must therefore strive to improve their skills in order to be competitive in the global labor market. Training and development could assist the HR manager in developing the required skills and knowledge in employees while helping employees to avoid possible retrenchment due to redundancy.
The HR department must conduct recruitment by advertising for the available vacancies to attract and select the best talents. The HR manager may use various methods to advertise, recruit and select employees. Selected employees must be inducted into an organization. While organizations strive to recruit and retain the best talents, they must also observe labor laws and regulations in various jurisdictions and offer equal opportunities to all candidates. These are contemporary issues, which all HR managers must observe to avoid unwanted negative outcomes.
Compensation and Benefits
Organizations offer compensations and benefits to employees in different ways (Mathis & Jackson, 2011). Employee compensation could be in monetary, non-monetary or other indirect forms. These forms of compensations offer some advantages to employees. They could be promotion, job security, flexible working schedules, recognition, increased salaries and other offers such as medical cover, child support and leave among others. Compensation and benefits account for job analysis and job design of employees.
While forms of compensation and benefits may vary in an organization, there is always the need to link compensation and benefits with employee performance. This approach aims to promote effective practices and fairness. Linking pay and performance could be limited in industries in which performance depends on other factors beyond individual or organizational control.
Employers must use compensation and benefits to motivate their employees (Youssef, 2012). Organizations must understand their financial capabilities and industry pay structures before assigning pay packages. Employees tend to associate pay package with their contributions or worth in an organization and therefore the assigned package should be able to motivate employees to meet their performance expectations.
At the individual levels and personal career aspiration, potential employees and other employees tend to avoid organizations with poor compensation and benefit structures. These are factors with direct impacts on personal status and mobility in economic status. In some cases, organizations offer career development support for their employees, particularly employees seeking for further education. Employees should look for organizations with better remunerations to improve their personal status and career advancement through training and further education.
Human Resources Development (HRD)
Recently, it has been noted that there are widespread changes in the demographic characteristics of employees globally (Evans & Pucik, 2002). As a result, there is also a need for increased human resource development through training and education to equip employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet job expectations and performance requirements. Human resource development is a model developed by organizations to aid their employees in acquiring skills, promoting personal growth and knowledge for the job.
In most cases, however, HRD tend to focus on employee performance, career growth, training, mentoring programs to improve productivity of employees and overcome daily work challenges. HR managers must strive to have quality employees who would meet organizational strategic objectives and individual set targets. Employees must exhibit superior qualities when relating with both internal and external customers. Organizations may have formal or informal HRD programs.
Performance management is critical for any organization and employees. It requires employees to perform optimally. In the process of performance management, employees must understand their job descriptions, actual performance and performance review processes. Feedback is vital in managing performance among employees. Employees should focus on their own performance by ensuring continuous improvement in productivity, which must be reflected in outputs and outcomes. Performance management must also be supported with appropriate rewards and recognition to boost employee morale. An organization may wish to retain best performing employees and reduce challenges associated with high rates of employee turnover (Mello, 2010). Retained employees tend to perform better and become loyal to an organization.
The HR department, therefore, must ensure that employee appraisal is conducted regular. It is imperative for personal career development and acts as a measure of employee potential against set targets. Employees who wish to improve their performance may seek for further training and education to acquire required skills and knowledge. HRD offers such opportunities for employees, and organization should support individual employees’ effort as they strive to improve their performances. Employees who tend to perform exceptionally well also attract higher compensation and other benefits based on a firm’s policy.
HR and labor relations
The HR department must ensure that an organization adheres to different labor laws, regulations and practices in various jurisdictions. These labor laws may however be complex. Labor relation should provide for mutual respect and interaction among employees in an organization.
Organizations should have labor relation policies and practices to address potential issues. Such policies are responsible for employee administration, procedures and expected industry standards. They give employees opportunities to address their grievances when they arise. At the same time, they provide harmony and unity in an organization. Labor relation also offers a platform for employees’ participation in decision-making processes. Organizations rely on labor relation policies to promote positive work culture and discipline among employees. Policies contain legal issues and procedures of tackling them. In this regard, employees can use these policies to solve their issues, including legal and disciplinary ones with their organizations. Any disciplinary actions must follow organizational policies and procedures to find amicable solutions for involved parties. On the other hand, if a firm infringes on employees’ rights, then labor relations will apply to solve the issue. Organizations depend on labor relation policies to communicate contentious issues to their employees and other external representatives such as unions. Labor relation policies ensure that employees keep their jobs and they are not dismissed on flimsy grounds in cases of disputes. At the same time, they ensure that employees remain productivity at their workplaces.
Labor relation activities have direct impacts on employees. It promotes coexistence and tolerance at workplaces. Therefore, HR managers should develop labor relation policies that meet their unique characteristics with employees’ issues. This would allow employers and employees to appreciate each other’s efforts and contributions to organizational goals. Improved labor relations promote employee productivity and improve social elements at workplaces. These developments in labor relations could facilitate future career growth for individual employees.
Employee Safety and Health
HR department must ensure employee safety and health as required by different laws. Healthy employees are highly productive and cost-effective for an organization. As such, any organization must ensure health and safety of its employees.
Employees’ health and safety should be demonstrated in mental, emotional and physical aspects. In this regard, organizations must minimize potential health and safety risks to their employees. The HR department must observe safety and healthcare programs for employees. At the same time, individual employees also have personal responsibilities to observe their health. The current demanding workplace environments have resulted in some health complications for employees. As a result, there have been calls for work-life balance in organizations. Employees are only capable of advancing their careers when they are healthy and productive.
HRM functions are critical elements of any organization. They ensure that human resources and organizational goals are aligned and achieved. HR managers and employees must therefore work together to ensure that human resource management principles such as planning, recruitment, selection, development, labor relations and safety issues are observed. These functions are closely linked and must be executed as required to support other roles. Hence, no HR functions could be said to be superior to others.
There are notable future implications for HR managers and employees, particularly with the changing demographic characteristics, labor relations, knowledge and skill requirements and globalization among others. These factors continue to present opportunities as well as challenges for both employers and employees and therefore organizations and employees must continuously improve their practices.
Evans, P., & Pucik, V. (2002). The Global Challenge: Frameworks for International Human Resource Management. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Mathis, L. R., & Jackson, H. J. (2011). Human Resource Management (13th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Mello, J. (2010). Strategic Human Resource Management (3rd ed.). San Fransisco: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Youssef, C. (2012). Human Resource Management (6th ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.