Human resource management is a vital tool in any organization. Employees are vital assets of these organizations if their goals, targets and aims are to be met. If properly managed and taken care of, employees may well contribute to an organization’s improvement and success using their specific capacities and knowledge. The main challenge facing HR managers in handling and administering employees is that each person has their specific characteristics and capacities which must be adjusted in line with the prevailing operating environment within the organization. The organizations must consider also the behavior of the employees’ colleagues and superiors in order to promote a smoother and more efficient working relationship. I would like to argue in this paper that many current human resource management practices are of help to the young adults working for the first time, albeit these practices may still be improved.
Who we will hire?
Browsing through researches and studies, I have noticed that a critical factor in human resources management is hiring the right kind of persons for each position. Out of the dozens or even hundreds or so applicants who passed their resumes to the HR office, only a few of them managed to pass the written and/or oral exams, get to be interviewed by a panel, and get a slot in an organization. But even hiring them may not be an assurance that a firm/organization got the person up to the challenges of his position, depending on his ability to relate well with colleagues, has the ability to deliver amid issues which may arise in the workplace. More importantly is to ensuring the stay of an employee. As pointed out in various studies such as those of (Calvasina, Calvasina, Calvasina, 2008), fresh graduates may face problems related sexual harassment, racial discrimination and similar issues brought on by unethical behavior by colleagues and even superiors. Determining these factors is important especially when hiring fresh graduates who may or may not have any working experience related with their courses. Browsing through Calvasina et.al (2008) study reveals that some government agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have filed charges against firms suspected of harassing their first time young employees. In addition, the EEOC has also conducted seminars orienting young adults on their rights as employees and even engaging with employers to provide a conducive environment for young adults to be employed for the first time.
Calvasina et.al (2008) also cites several court decisions pertaining to sexual harassment occurring in various states. The study had concerning sexual harassment of young employees by some of their older colleagues. Specifically, many cases ended in payment of damages, attendance of seminars or out of court settlements. Some of these incidents involved older employees asking for sex, or sexual favors from younger and newly-minted colleagues for some periods of time. Many of the firms were also accused of inadequate and slow action in resolving these cases. At the study’s end, Calvasina, et.al (2008) concluded that while many employers have agreed to conduct trainings on sexual harassment among their employees, it is still vital that these trainings be formally done and documented, the trainings should be expanded to include other forms of harassment, the trainings be followed up by refresher courses, and personnel handling the trainings should be qualified. The EEOC also came out with a series of guidelines for employers aimed at preventing workplace discrimination against young workers (Cavasina, et.al 2008): These include facilitating employer-young worker interaction, encouraging various modes for young employees to air complains on harassment and discrimination, formulation of a organizational policy dealing with harassment and discrimination issues, publicly and clearly enunciating such policy to all employees, and conducting training sessions for supervisors on harassment/discrimination prevention. The commission also encourages employers to reach out to parents of young employees so that they can be better informed on workplace issues which may involve their children
Related to this issue is the policy on affirmative action which may affect younger colored, Hispanic and white employees. With racial concerns still underlying employment issues, it is important for firms to try balancing its employee population based on color. At the same time, it is vital that this proportioning be done according to merit. If there are cases of discrimination, firms may implement pertinent policies based on affirmative action. I also think that the EEOC’s policy on discrimination and harassment may be applied to issues on affirmative action specifically on employer-employee communication and a clear policy on merit-based affirmative action.
Human Resources Hiring Planning and Development
It is also important for HR managers to critically consider the hiring, planning and development processes corollary to acquiring and retaining new employees. It is during these processes when an organization gets new manpower, develop their skills according to their specific capabilities and at the same time, craft specific measures aimed at streamlining human resource management. However because these processes also entails costs and time, organizations must be able to estimate beforehand the HR’s needs and requirements.
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Ivancevich (2009) points out specific characteristics of the current HRM system such as emphasis on action, focus on individual employees, ability to adjust with global employment conditions and capability to foresee potential changes in how things are being run. This dynamic paradigm necessitates critical analysis among HR practioners if their respective units are to survive in the current competitive world.
Citing experiences from the cooperative sector, Freeman (1993) details ways by which an organization can develop a systematic way of developing long term plans for HR management. In her study Freeman suggests that a management formulate a long-term human resources plan in line with the organization’s strategic plans.
The human resources plan should be able to address the employees’ long term goals, requirements and needs, their growth opportunities, employees’ placement considerations, the organization’s hiring and promotion practices, as well as legal matters. Freeman adds the management can formulate such plans by conducting consultation sessions with labour, where both sides can review each other’s perspectives on the issue.
A quantitative review of employees’ performance can be made to assess their capabilities in light of current human resources practices of the organization. Ivancevich (2009) also discusses the importance of planning and development in human resources practices. In the context of considering HRM as a profit center, human resource managers should solve related issues according to the profit-oriented paradigm, “assessing and interpreting costs/benefits” of HR issues,” and formulating planning models to empirically determining viability in attaining goals, among other tasks. (Ivancevich, 2009)
In terms of attaining goals, Ivancevich (2009) points out companies are primarily suggested to implement intra-organizational reforms. These include: producing well trained and highly-motivated employees, improving job satisfaction among the employees, achieving a balanced quality of work life mix, mitigating negative effects of change and compelling faster processes within the organization. In order for firms to accomplish most if not all of these goals, companies should be able to develop a systematic way by which organizations can promote well-planned and highly organized HR practices.
Ivancevich (2009) explains organizations should clearly enunciate their HR strategy, policies and procedures. Doing so will enable them to know what will be their thrust in human resources
(i.e. retaining old employees vs. hiring new employees) and how these will be specifically implemented. The first major step will be determining employee satisfaction with their advancement/growth opportunities. Organizations may conduct surveys among them. The management may use the results from the surveys to craft changes in HR policies if possible. Then they can formulate ways (“procedures”) to implement these revised policies.
Ivancevich (2009) also tells HR specialists and managers of the other important factors governing HR hiring, planning and development phases. First, they must consider the size and extent of the HR department. The larger this unit is, it has more manpower and resources to implement systematic, clear and objective HR practices according to specific sectors. Secondly, HR managers and operational managers need to work together in order for the practices to be smoothly implemented. However, Ivancevich himself admits that relationships between the two kinds of managers have not always been smooth due to their differing views on operations and concepts.
Ivancevich (2009) also points out that the increase of “Generation Y” or young employees born in relatively recent decades may affect the efficacy of HR practices be implemented in an organization. Correlating with a study mentioned earlier about young employees’ problems with harassments, the members of the “Y Generation” may also have challenges in adjusting with their older colleagues’s perceptions on work, life and even religion. HR managers should consider these differences in behaviour since they are subjective, something which must be carefully treaded on in crafting workplace policies.
HRM practitioners need to consider the changing demand in the kind of skills needed in the market. As pointed out by Grugulis (2009) in response to a review, today’s job market has more complicated and complex definition on whether a skill is “soft” or “real”. This is because of the “diversity of level and practices” being sought for by employers and are available in the market. This, she says, is part of the development of job skills from technological or “muscle-based” work to one that is more social and communicative in nature. Grugulis recommends HR practioners and labor experts to carefully study these skills so that they can determine the specific needs which may be addressed.
I think this is also an important subject to be studied upon by HR managers since many of the young applicants-and employees- may possess some of these “soft” skills. The challenge will be to sift through them so that only the best talents can be hired and retained for the firm’s benefit.
Compensation and Benefits
If the employees are young and are relatively new on the job, compensation may well focus on the performance of their jobs. Human Resource personnel need to objectively determine who among those young adult employees deserve higher pay and who among those employees need to paid the standard rate. A similar situation exists for benefits, primarily those being offered by the company for excellent performance.
Safety and Health
Another very vital issue in HR management is keeping employees safe. Ivancevich (2009) cites the example of Aaron Feuerstein who decided to hand out benefits and salaries to his employees after the Malden Mills plant in Massachussets burned down in 1995. For three months, the firm paid out salaries to its 1,400 displaced workers. Feuerstein also continued to give benefits to these employees for nine months. When the plant was rebuild, 90% of the displaced employees opted to return to Malden Mills. Feuerstein’s example showed how HR management can mitigate an othewise disastrous/bleak incident into a showcase of concern and goodwill toward its employees. It is also important that the organization instil safety concerns among the employees right at the beginning of their employment. At the same time, firms should be prepared to set aside money in case any work-related accident occurs among its employees.
We can surmise that an efficient management of human resources greatly helps promote cordial employer-labor relationships. Because they stand in between the two parties, human resources specialists can view each party’s concerns and interests more objectively. This is very helpful when the employees are primarily young and newly hired, who may have to adjust with their jobs.
This discussion had shown that Human Resources practioners have formulated new concepts and procedures in handling new and old employees. Young, newly hired employees have more opportunities to work in the jobs of their choices. However, policymakers as well as employersneed to do more on a.) protecting young newly hired employees from possible abuse from colleagues and b.) addressing possible conflicts in behaviour and ideas between the young employees and their older colleagues. On the other hand, the young, newly hired employees need to adjust in thier working environments by changing their mindset that their workplace’s ambience will be to their liking. This paper just reiterates my earlier assumption on areas of improvement in the way employers hire and retain young employees.
Calvasina, G.E., Calvasina, R.V., Calvasina, E. (2008). Creating Positive First Work Experiences for Young Adults: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (Eeoc) Youth @ Work Initiative Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, 11(2).
Freeman J.M. (1993). : Human Resources Planning – Training Needs Analysis. Management Quarterly, 34(3).
Grugulis, I.(2009). Skills, Training and Human Resource Development: A Response. Economic and Labour Relations Review, 19(2),
Ivencevich, J. (2009). Human Resource Management (11th ed). United States: McGraw-Hill.
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