Reflection Blog Post 2

iStock_Business HR

THE HUMAN RESOURCES FUNCTION

A Human Resources department is important to the functions of an organization where employee relations and resources are concerned. Simply defined, Human Resources are: “The department or support systems responsible for personnel sourcing and hiring, applicant tracking, skills development and tracking, benefits administration and compliance with associated government regulations” (Entrepreneur, 2014). The Human Resources Function of an organization is directly rooted in the concept of the human relations perspective and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The importance of the Human Resource approach deals primarily with the organizational environment and how the organization can cultivate employee participation that will lead to innovation and creativity. As a result, advancement of organizational goals and position in the global marketplace will occur (Eisenberg, Goodall, and Tretheway, 2014, p. 82).

DEFINED
Human Resources as a title or most importantly as a concept, is the arm of the organization in charge with finding, selecting and training talent to carry out the functions of an organization as well as the gatekeeper of employee benefits. A deeper definition also refers to the aspect “job design” to human resources and providing guidance to management in attracting and keeping top talent in order to remain competitive in the global market (Investopedia, 2014).

WHY HUMAN RESOURCES?
Why would an organization need a Human Resources Department? The reason lies in the fact that the “human resource” is a very fragile and variable resource that changes with social and economic conditions. Maslow’s research showed that a human’s need for self- actualization leads toward an individual reaching his or her full potential. Human Resources is the branch that is concerned with the on-going development and enhancement of that variable and valuable resource as described in the Functions section of this post (Eisenberg, Goodall, and Tretheway, 2014, p. 82).

FUNCTIONS
In my views, the essential functions of a human resources division are static across organizations and do not vary: (1) Recruitment (2) Employee Relations, (3) Compensation and Benefits, (4) Compliance (5) Training and Development and (6) Safety (Mayhew, 2014). All six functions are the foundation for the operation of the organization. Without human resources, does an organization really exist? That question may seem irrational but it actually is a valid point. The movement of the 60s and 70s ushered in these six functions and because of this as Miller (2009) found, the human resources function of an organization is seen as the answer to the classical management approach which treated employees as life-less components of the well-oiled machine of an organization. When in fact, it is the employee who is the incentive for which company decisions are reliant upon (p. 51).

COMPLEXITIES AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION
If the past ignorance by management regarding the true essence of the value of the organization’s human resources, it seems now the new-found appreciation of the human resource is backfiring on management. It is as if the role of management is becoming secondary and that is due to the powerful purchasing influence possessed by the consumer and that leads to the view that an employee is no longer hired because he or she can take directions well to build a product, but rather how well the employee is able to perform job tasks which produce products which match consumer expectations. A “real-life application” can be found in many companies throughout the world. Today, organizations are zeroed in on the following: self-sufficiency, goal feedback and revision, hands-on management style, direct access, shared culture/mission. These aspects are found among many organizations such as Aramark, Whole Foods, and IBM, UPS and even Facebook). Therefore, the physical assembly line approach is no longer applicable to the efficiency of organization, it is now taking on a deeper, more conceptualized arrangement of job goals and functions and tasks which will meet those goals (Bersin, 2012).

THE FUTURE
Sadly, it seems the true concept of human resources division of an organization is slowly fading into the past, as human resources is becoming more of an endless cycle of changes due to laws and legislative actions. The “human” in human resources is still emphasized but the need for leadership (i.e. management) seems to be waning. If HR and management is focused on structuring employee and organizational functions, then the HR approach at the organization is truly outdated in an ineffective (Bersin, 2012).

Resources
Bersin, J. (2012, March 26). Have traditional human resources practices become out of date. Retreived from: http://www.bersin.com/blog/post/Have-Traditional-Human-Resources-Practices-Become-Out-of-Date.aspx

Eisenberg, E.M., & Goodall, H.L. & Tretheway, A. (2014). Organizational communication: balancing creativity and constraint. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press.

Human Resources. (n.d.) In Entrepreneurship, Retrieved November 2, 2014 from http://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/printthis/human-resources

Human Resources (HR). (n.d.) In Investopedia, Retrieved November 2, 2014, from http://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/human-resources

Mayhew, R. (2014). Six main functions of a human resources department. Small Business Chron. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/six-main-functions-human-resource-department-60693.html.

Miller, K. (2009). Organizational communication: Approaches & processes. (5th ed.). NY: Wadsworth. Chapter 3.

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6 thoughts on “Reflection Blog Post 2

  1. Very interesting and insightful Rachel! From your point of view, human resources needs to evolve with the changing times. Do you think there will be a time when human resources will not be needed? This seems like the next question for scholars to explore, especially when looking at your point of view. To me, human resources will always be needed. I discussed this topic with a co-worker who just graduated with a human resources degree. She likened HR to Unions which arose to the protect the worker and be their voice as the consequence of classic management practices. Since Unions do not have such a large presence anymore, HR has taken on that role. I believe a lot of the future of HR functions will revolve around job design and focus on choosing employees that fit with the organization’s goals. According to Eisenberg, Goodall and Tretheway (2014), Maslow defines the problem of management as that of setting up social conditions in the organization so that the goals of the individual merge with those of the organization” (p. 82). Miller writes “human relations principles can be seen in today’s organizations in the area of job design” (p. 51). By taking the human resources approach when designing jobs, organizations will have lower turnover and increased productivity because they will “satisfy some of the higher-order needs of workers through jobs that increase autonomy, variety, and task significance” (Miller, 2009, p. 51).

    1. Sara,
      I agree with the thought that HR will definitely not fade away but it will evolve more into the realm of job design and recruitment of employees who fit particular goals of the organization. It is obvious to see that trend evolving if you look at almost any HR Division of large companies today and see the gradual changes going in that direction.

  2. Reflection Blog Post 2| Response 1: Rachel Parson
    Submitted 11-9-14

    Anne M. Mulcahy hit the nail on the head when she said “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” If employers took more time and really listened to the needs of its employers it would be a win, win across the board. Not only would the company get first hand insight, but the employers would feel like their voices were being heard. When employees feel like they are really apart of something they will invest their heart and soul to the companies overall objective.
    I definitely agree with you in particular when you mentioned the fact that the “human resource” is a very fragile and variable resource that changes with social and economic conditions. Eisenberg, Goodall, and Tretheway (2013) As time progresses there will be some ultimate changes within human resources. Eisenberg, Goodall, and Tretheway (2013) state “McGregor argues that the essential task of management is to arrange things so people achieve their own goals by accomplishing those of the organization” (p. 85). Human resources are a fragile thing to handle because the company is on the line and the employees careers are on the line. What changes do you foresee in the near future with the human resources at your place of employment??

    Referenes:

    Anne M. Mulcahy. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved November 9, 2014, from BrainyQuote.com Web site: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/annemmulc424886.html

    Eisenberg, E.M., Goodall, H.L., Jr. and Tretheway, A. (2013). Organizational Communication: Balancing creativity and constraint (7th Edition). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

    1. Courtnee,

      Our organization is a higher education institution and we are part of the University of Arkansas system. The UA system is slowly streamlining all of its colleges and my college is the last one in the system who has now entered into the system’s Insurance consortium. I have a suspicion that soon this will same sort of stream-lining will be applied to the HR division. Not that our HR division is not doing its job now, but I believe that the system will implement new practices and guidelines that will be the same at every HR division in the colleges which fall under the system.

  3. Rachel,

    First of all, while reading your blog, I found it to be incisive! I like how you said “A Human Resources department is important to the functions of an organization where employee relations and resources are concerned.” Also, I like how you gave the original definition of what Human Resources really is, right after you gave your own definition of Human Resources. The Human Resource department plays a major role in the workplace. Many employees do not understand how important the Human Resource department really is. If it wasn’t for the Human Resource department, there would not be any job opportunities available, insurance for employees, retirement opportunities, and so much more. Eisenberg, Goodall, & Trethewey (2014), “Maslow poses the question, What are the conditions, including managerial approaches and employee rewards, that will enable self-actualization? He concludes that the conditions that foster individual health are often surprisingly good for the prosperity of the organization as well. He thus defines the problem of management as that of setting up social conditions in the organization so that the goals of the individual merge with those of the organization” (p. 82).

    How would you define your Human Resource department in your organization? Do you feel like the Human Resource department is similar to a union?

    Reference:

    Eisenberg, E.M., & Goodall, H.L. & Tretheway, A. (2014). Organizational communication: balancing creativity and constraint. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press.

    1. Brittany,

      In my particular organization, to describe our HR Division as a union would not be accurate. My organization is an institution of higher education and part of the University of Arkansas system, so we do not participate in unions. The HR department consists of two individuals (small college, rural area, less than 100 employees) one handles the hiring, recruiting and training aspects and the other person handles the benefits and payroll administration. It’s functions are very non-autocratic. In fact it operates much in the old-style of HR, back when it was known as “Personnel”.

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