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What is the main trends in the human resource profession?

What is the main trends in the human resource profession?

What is the main trends in the human resource profession? A critical analysis of various companies’ modern practices of managing human capital reveals significant changes (Marchand et al., 2001). Today many organizations have realized that to succeed, they need to do more than merely hire persons with colorful resumes – they need to put in place modern information technology tools to supplement what their employees can offer (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1997). Perhaps this new trend has been advised by the conventional wisdom that organizational success is primarily determined by how a company organizes its social, human, and information resources rather than how it invests in material resources (Wang & Noe, 2010). In this regard, organizations need to integrate their human and information technology capital to ensure the maximum sharing of information between employees, as well as the timely reaction and management of such data (Marchand et al., 2001).

Laudon and Laudon (2003) opine that modern HRM systems must meet the objectives of the highly dynamic organizational tasks and marketplace challenges. In this regard,, HRM systems need to be highly flexible, adaptable, enduring and focused to address these changes (Huselid et al., 1997). In extension, HRM experts need to grasp modern professional skills capable of effectively making sound organizational decisions to mitigate potential organizational challenges (Baloh & Trkman, 2003). All these prerequisites directly impact an organization’s overall competitive edge and hence need to be addressed with utmost concern.

Due to these changing organizational trends, particularly regarding the HRM realm, human resource experts need systems capable of handling these new changes and other conventional tasks (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1997). In this regard, the realm of Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) has been developed to provide a highly interactive interface that enjoins IT and HRM processes in an organization (Ngai & Wat, 2006). HRIS occupies a central position in the overall positioning of an organization at the market ladder. This postulation is based on the espoused notion that, linking key departments in organization helps to reduce duplication of services, redundancy, and above all it eliminates unnecessary bureaucracies (Kovach et al., 2002). A well-coordinated HRIS is capable of transforming a HR department from a mere administrative unit to a vibrant division forming a paramount part of an organization’s strategic plans (Ngai & Wat, 2006).

As Kovach et al. (2002) argue, applying HRIS practices streamlines the HRM department hence making it more effective in the contribution of services towards the achievement of on an organization’s goals. This is possible through the growing technological innovations where new software capable of handling complex HRM tasks such as hiring and training have been successfully entrenched into the mainstream HRM practices. For instance, a streamlined HRM system makes it easy for tasks planning, task equipping, as well as overall workplace coordination among employees. Ngai and Wat (2006) assert that HRIS imparts a greater control of HRM practices by making it possible for experts to easily follow through critical organizational processes. Consequently, through streamlined HRM systems, experts are capable of diagnosing organizational anomalies and hence embarking on the necessary measures to mitigate such.

Part of the core tasks of HRM entails the orientation and training of newly engaged employees (Alavi & Leidner, 2001). Organizations adopt various strategies in achieving this objective, for instance the findings of a study carried out by Laudon and Laudon (2003) on the impact of Executive Information System (EIS) in an organization’s strategic planning indicated that organizations derive a substantial part of their competitive edge from how best they manage information. In essence, the creation of information, storage, protection, as well as putting such information into active use is a critical facet of EIS (Daniels, 2007). Apparently, these processes of managing information can only be made a reality through a highly unified and interactive IT system capable of tackling the day-to-day performance of an organization and presenting such data in meaningful forms to line managers as well as the HRM experts in an organization to enable for strategic planning and normal decision-making purposes (Choo, 1991).

Such integrative endeavours can be enhanced by applying the tenets of HRM and sound knowledge management (KM) practices espoused by IT practices (Turk, & Jaklic, 1998). Since it has been advanced that employees’ morale is boosted by the use of modern IT tools (Skyrme, 1998), organizations can endeavour to create positive and productive environments that will positively stimulate their employees and reinforce positive advancement of worthwhile skills and knowledge towards the achievement of the set objectives. Literally, how information and knowledge flows from one employee to another determines an organization’s overall productivity (Alavi & Leidner, 2001). No doubt, a purposive integration of the best HRM and IT practices can elicit potentially rewarding results at the organizational level.

A fair number of existing studies support the importance of managing information at the organizational level (Chen & Huang, 2007; Daniels, 2007; Tokar et al. 2007; Wang & Noe, 2010). This is an indicator that the concept of managing knowledge and/or information is not new at the organizational level. Indeed the practices of compiling information, and storing it in a manner that it can be easily retrieved and transmitted has a far reaching history, nonetheless, it is fair to assert that the knowledge-based management of information is precisely a contemporary practice. As a matter of fact, (Alavi & Leidner, 2001) assert that practices such as transfer of worthwhile organizational practices, knowledge audits, benchmarking, as well as personnel development and appraisal drills are all new practices allied to knowledge management. Both Rotter (1945) and Bandura (1977), in their respective advancements in social learning theory, opine that, for learning to take place, there must be an impulse behind it. In an organizational context these impulses comes in the form of sound knowledge management practices that enhances positive stimulation, reinforcements as well as the desire to want to excel as some else (colleague) did (Owen, 2001).

On his part, Skyrme (1998) opines that knowledge management plays a core role in keeping the acquired knowledge relevant to organizational challenges. This is very crucial to HRM given that organizational challenges are dynamic and diversified – rigid HRM departments are incapable of meeting contemporary organizational challenges. Modern IT equipments and services ensure that employees are imparted with new and versatile knowledge strands that can be applied in a variety of situations.

Perhaps to understand the application of information creation and management practices in a HRM context it is better to look at it deeply from a social learning theory. In his book Social Learning Theory, Bandura (1977) offers that for the process of learning to take-off successfully there must be sufficient and purposive attention to what is being observed. Such attention and leads to the actualization, retaining, remembrance, and ultimately the comprehension of what has been learned. This can only be achieved if the acquired knowledge is put into active use and most importantly if real-time efforts are made to ensure that there are clear motives for engaging in a learning activity. For example, employees should have good reasons for engaging in collaborative activities at the workplace to learn the spirit of teamwork – maybe because such activities make work easier or even induce meaning to specific tasks. In this regard, employees should be made to yearn to fit into their organizational environments by learning the basic skills and knowledge inherent in the performance of the specific tasks entrusted to them. When utilized well, IT tools and services can certainly impart these skills and knowledge among the employees, through the employment of a barrage of work-specific bonding sessions, training workshops, constant evaluation of employee performance to identify their strong and weak areas.

IT and Employee Development

What is the main trends in the human resource profession? Precisely, IT tools and services can successfully enhance employees’ capabilities to withstand the social and psychological conditions that characterize their immediate at the workplace environment particularly if such environments are against universal individual tastes and preferences (Akers & Jensen, 2010). Given that organizational knowledge and behaviors are mostly learned through observations, imitation and reinforcements such as reward and punishments organizations should plan their HRM departments so that they allow for the smooth transfer of knowledge from one point to another (Alavi & Leidner, 2001). One way of achieving such is through the use of internal information systems established for purposes of storing, organizing, processing, maintenance, as well as sharing of critical organizational information (Turk & Jacklic, 1998).Most software and hardware tools offer information management solutions that makes it possible for critical organizational information to be easily accessed by the employees but also helps to keep such information within the “walls” of an organization (Drucker, 20010). At the long run, organization gains a competitive edge by inducing efficiency on its HRM practices as well as by enhancing the security of information (Marchand et al, 2001).

In enhancement of the roles played by the management of knowledge and information in the overall management of organizational resources Marchand et al (2001) opined that the overall performance of organizations is not only determined by the nature of the IT tools they employ but also how they use such tools in the management of both formal and informal knowledge generated thereof. Chen and Huang (2007) justify this claim by holding that knowledge is the tool that pushes an organization into achieving its objectives. As a matter of fact, Skyrme (1998) holds that organizations that are not ready to embrace modern methods of information management are likely to face stiff competition at the market place from their rivals who have already put in place knowledge management structures. Precisely, Skyrme asserts how organizations manage information and exploit it at the market place greatly determines their overall market positioning. On the other hand, Tokar et al (2007) solidifies this assertion by holding that knowledge (formal or informal) is of no value if it is not shared amongst the employees or even when it is not subjected to the appropriate processing procedures to make it compatible with organizations unique needs .

Such postulations lead to the differentiation of knowledge into three basic facets of data, information, and knowledge. Whereas data is the bare (raw) answers, figures, and numerals, information is the compiled data, while knowledge is the information that has been reacted to and effective put into productive ends (Tokar et al, 2007). Apparently, this conversion of data to information and knowledge is subject to a number of forces – it requires strong IT stimulus to successfully develop and manifest into a “resource” that can be managed for production gains (Davenport, Long & Beers 1998). In essence, the process of converting information requires the collaboration of human mind and both software and hardware tools offered by IT (Huselid et al, 1997). On the other hand, so as to effectively put into effective use of the developed knowledge there must be proper capabilities to channel it from one person to the other (Marchand et al, 2001). Essentially, this is done through three main forms, that is, through spoken, written, and practical activities (Skyrme, 1998).

From an organizational context particularly organizations with large numbers of employees, IT can play a core role in ensuring that critical information and knowledge is quickly and constructively passed through video conferencing, online chatting, electronic messaging, or even through virtual training interfaces (Turk, & Jaklic, 1998). On the other hand, basing on the notion that knowledge only exists within the minds of individuals and its transfer is determined by how best the individual can use it in conversing with others or even carrying out tasks. In this regard, for employees to achieve certain organizational goals they must be able to exhibit a certain level of knowledge (Skyrme, 1998). To achieve this, organizations need to identify worthwhile knowledge codes and establish the most appropriate IT tools for achieving those ends. This may entail identifying a few employees, training them how to handle the IT tools and then using them as imitation and reinforcement models to pass on the skills learnt to the other employees (Davenport, Long & Beers 1998).

While recognizing that the engine of any organization is usually the employees, Wipro develops a wide range of technological service solutions that helps to tap the maximum service from such employees. Through these programs the company successfully links key HRM processes with IT practices and hence helping to reduce duplication of services and hence significant reduction of operation costs. The linking of the HRM and IT processes also plays to create good rapport between experts of the two departments. At the long run, this helps to reduce organizational conflicts between workers, a thing that negatively impacts on the overall production as it reduces the morale and commitments to the organization’s goals. The company also enjoys uninterrupted employee succession planning as it is very easy to identify which employees have left through whichever reasons and duly replace them within an appropriate time frame that allows for continuity of services to its customers (Employee Relationship Management, 2010).

The EPM program Wipro can easily identify new organizational as well as marketplace labour demands and duly arrange for refresher courses to train its employees on how best to achieve such. Again, Wipro also keeps a close tab of the status of the implementation of key HRM policies through the multi-tier response system that accords the employees an opportunity to pass their concerns regarding the effects of new changes and how best such changes would have been implemented. Precisely, such multi-tier response system accords the HRM experts an opportunity to correctly analyze the employee concerns from a wide range of indicators as it would not have been possible if only a few areas were sampled. In a nutshell, working for Wipro has got one important indication, that is, to gradually learn and grow up the organizational and career ladder through the utilization of modern IT tools (Employee Relationship Management, 2010).

IT and Employee Rewarding

In order to gain a competitive edge over their rivals many companies are investing heavily in IT (Baloh, Trkman, 2003). This is in concurrence with (Skyrme, 1998) argument that, a well equipped and staffed IT department can give an organization an upper hand in studying what their rivals are doing to mitigate conventional operational challenges such as increased costs of acquiring raw materials or even increased costs of carrying out market research. These sentiments are shared by (Marchand et al., 2001) when they assert that proper information management practices that are powered by modern IT innovations allow organizations to identify their markets, their product potentials as well as well as their suppliers’ potentials. Moreover, through access to HRM practices databases organizations can easily develop the best methods of identifying and utilizing “informal internal knowledge” that can be used to identify hardworking employees for rewarding as well as those who need to be reinforced (Turk & Jaklic, 1998). These facets of KM as employed by organizations can be very useful in helping a company make short and long term plans and hence make appropriate market decisions capable of improving the overall market share enjoyed by an organization and in extension better terms for the employees (Davenport, Long & Beers, 1998).

Employee satisfaction is one of the critical facets of the complex HRM processes (Nelson, 2005). Organizations seeking to increase their overall productivity, to satisfy their customers, and to shrug off their competition from their rivals acknowledge that they should kick-start such dreams by providing competitive working conditions for their employees (Nelson, 2005). In this regard, strategies provide competitive hiring, training, development, and motivation services to their workers enhances probability of such workers to develop positive attitudes toward serving customers professionally and efficiently (Maxwell & Lyle, 2002). When delineated in simple terms such strategies succeeds in creating a soothing yet realistic environment to the employees and clients alike by offering compensatory services that replaces some of their life values lost during normal tasking daily activities (Nelson, 2005). Apparently this is seemingly a tall order that cannot be achieved by ill-motivated and qualified employees (Maxwell and Lyle, 2002). In reaction to this many focused organizations endeavour to put in place, modern IT tools that makes tasks easy and cheaper to accomplish, that create competitive terms for employees especially those at the low-end of the organizational ladder, as well as those that link the low-end employees with their high-end counterparts (Maxwell & Lyle, 2002).

 

Electronic presence of organization name

 

Wipro pursues a complex and result-driven employee rewarding strategy. It achieves this through a number of appraisal programs that seek to constantly evaluate, reward, reinforce, and recommend on the best course of action regarding the overall employee preparedness to successfully carryout their mandate as expected of them. One such programme is the Employee Performance Management (EPM) which is implemented through two methods – either through the use of a software known as Software as Service (SaaS) or even the use of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Under this program, the company easily, cheaply, and efficiently evaluates its employee’s overall performance vis-à-vis the company expectations. Ideally, this program is very accurate and reliable in terms of highlighting the critical areas that employees must work on, to perfect their general weaknesses in any area identified thereof (Wipro, 2010).

Basically, the company derives many benefits from this program. The company enjoys refined focus on its overall goals as one of the major objectives of the EPM project is to assist the company to stay focused to achieving its set goals through the purposeful engagement of its most valuable resource – human capital. Again, the company also enjoys decreased operation costs as the problem of time wastage and redundancies are completely eliminated. Under the EPM, workers who are not committed to their work can be easily identified and taken through the necessary morale building procedures as well as re-orientation of the company mission and vision. No doubt this serves to boost productivity while at the same time cutting down redundancy which of course is one of the greatest factors that lead to the accumulation of unnecessary operation costs (Wipro, 2010).

The hallmark of Wipro’s HRM and IT strategy is that an organization can provide more value for the products it sells to its customers if it incorporates IT-powered strategies in its overall production processes. In extension, the integration of organizational processes, as well as the management of potential risks through IT-powered mitigation plans is phenomenal to the achieving competitive advantage. Part of the company’s main goals is to offer a wide range of technological business solutions to other companies all year round. In essence, the company can be described as “transformation catalyst” due to its ability to provide to other companies transforming service solutions on how to tackle critical operational challenges such as outsourcing, system overhaul, as well as the integration of various system departments (Wipro, 2010).

 

 

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