MBA Made Easy
These essays are an attempt to make an easy to understand the basic modules of an MBA course. This can be useful for anybody. Be it a student planning to take admission in a B-school or an entrepreneur trying to get a glimpse of the much acclaimed degree in the world. Even if somebody has finished his MBA course and wants to refer something to refresh his learning, these essays can be useful.
Human Resource Management
If you focus on three key terms, “Human Resource Management” then it will be easier to find a simple definition of HRM. Humans are different from machines so it is altogether different to manage them. They should be treated as resources rather than as a mere cog in the wheel. Management is about optimizing the competitive advantage and in turn maximizing the return of an organization. In other words it can be said the HRM is managing the most valuable asset of an organization to enhance the longevity of the organization. The longevity can be possible if the organization sustains competitive advantage over a long time frame.
HRM and Organization
An organization needs three main things to function and survive and thrive. They are finances, machines and humans. Many entrepreneurs have proven, by their turnaround performances, that even without machine and finances an organization can be created and finances can be attracted to invest in machines and systems. So it should be beyond doubt that human is the most important component to make an organization function.
Selection of the perfect fit for a particular responsibility is what gives an organization the ability to function smoothly. There should be proper planning to understand the human resource need of an organization before going for the recruitment and selection process. If the senior management fails to plan beforehand it can end up appointing a monkey to guard an orchard.
Once the planning part is over it is important to attract right kind of talent through proper recruitment channels. Newspapers are still popular to advertise vacancies, but because of internet job portals have also grown in their own way. Apart from them HR consultancies also play important role in filtering candidates. Choice of a particular kind of channel depends on the scale of recruitment and budget constraints of an organization.
Although highly unreliable, interviews are still the most widely used method to select a candidate. There can be one to one interview or group interviews. For entry level job, where number of aspirants is on a higher side, Group Discussion and written tests are also used as elimination methods. In certain specialized jobs, like designing, skill test is also conducted to assess a candidate.
Training And Development
Once selection part is over, the next important part is training. Training is important in many aspects. One of them is giving an overview of tasks at hand and the systems in place to accomplish those tasks. Another aspect is it motivates a new employee to get involved in the organization so that he can become a part of the organization.
Training is an everlasting process because of constant change in the external environment. The constant training brings out constant development and evolution of the human resource.
Reward is a gesture either in kind or in cash to appreciate the output which was beyond what was expected of the employee. Reward does not necessarily need to be through a formal announcement. Sometimes even a pat on the back does wonder for the morale. The whole idea of rewarding is to recognize the extra result given by the person. Every human being loves recognition and adulation.
Performance appraisal is like regular maintenance check. Even in plants and machinery regular maintenance check helps reduce the shutdown time. Once performance appraisal has been discussed then future development needs of a particular employee can be planned. From employee’s perspective as well, performance appraisal is important as it gives her an opportunity to introspect and understand what went right and what went wrong in the year gone by.
Usually line manager or immediate boss is the best person to discuss appraisal. Chances of bias cannot be ruled out but this the most prevalent method of appraisal.
Most of the people misunderstand industrial relations with trade union activity. But this is not so. To quote Adam Smith, “I don’t trust you and you don’t trust me that is why we end up cooperating in business. Employees don’t trust employers and vice versa is also true. They live in symbiosis to satisfy each other’s needs. If handled properly industrial relations can work wonders. It paves the way for worker’s participation in management. Since they are near the ground realities so they are best suited to throw new light on certain situations. Given a chance to have their say they also feel to be part of a larger picture enhancing their self esteem.
Line Managers are pivotal in the scheme of things. They are like interlocutors between the higher management and front-line people. They are the one who give on the job training to people. They are the one who remain in the thick and thin with people.
Culture can be understood as the particular way the whole organization behaves. Let us take two contrasting examples to understand this. Visualize a dilapidated building of any government office in India. You will find beetle stained walls, people loafing around, staffs engrossed in endless talks or in afternoon siesta. The whole scene is as if they have all the leisure in this world. Visualize an office of a private bank in India. You will find neat office with well dressed and courteous staffs always eager to do the job.
HRM and Globalization
Globalization has brought new challenges for HRM. Suppose you are expecting an expatriate to come and join your company. Think of what you need to plan to make him feel at home in a foreign land. If he will be juggling with his kids school admission or finding a Hindi tuition for his wife then will he be able to focus on his job. Think about different eating habits. He may be a stickler for time and will be dumbfounded by Indian’s sheer disregard for punctuality. All this will be a cultural shock for him. For HR people it can be challenge to handle a global workforce.
When you are in your twenties you need to earn to become a man from a boy. You need money to splurge on your parties, clothes and hobbies. When you are in your thirties you need money to raise your family. When you are in your forties you don’t just need money. Apart from money you also need a sense of self esteem and self actualization. Nobody wants to start as a salesman and then retire as a salesman. Everyone wants proper career progression at proper stages of life. Apart from career progression people also want to leave a legacy. Proper human resource management means that people can foresee a career for them in the current organization otherwise attrition rate will be on a higher side.
India is a very diverse country. A person from Jammu is as different from a person from Kerala as chalk and cheese. Because of migration every major city is multicultural in make up. But this creates many problems which manifests itself in occasional anti-alien propaganda by politicians. Handling diversity and training people in respecting cross cultural sensibilities is one of the major challenges for HR people.
Many corporate offices are infamous for unusually long working hours. Sometimes ago there was an Email going around as forwarded mail. It was supposed to be written by none other than Narayana Murthy who wonders and thinks about why a nerd is still working in his office till 10:00 pm in the night. Apart from long working hours the longer commuting time is like adding insult to the injury for a harassed workforce of India. It is difficult to imagine when a time will come when actual working hour will be equal to the official working hour in India.
Everybody needs time to rest and recharge senses to be productive the next day. In western countries 8 hours means 8 hours and nobody will give you death penalty even if you have left your office without informing your boss.
If you have visited Qutab Minar in New Delhi you must have scene the iron pillar besides it. Because of the marvelous technology used in that pillar it is still rust free even after hundreds of years. But there is no written record of how it was made. Because of bad knowledge management India trailed behind European nations during industrial revolution. In many SMEs there is still practice of guarding the secret of ‘family recipe’. Sometimes overzealous people don’t share knowledge to augment their position in the organization. HR department should always find ways and means to convert the tacit knowledge into social knowledge so that it can be developed and utilized for years to come.
Let us take example of major fast food brands to understand the importance of knowledge management. Culinary art is a complicated craft and every chef gives his unique signature to a particular food. Mc Donald decoded the art of making tasty burgers and converted the art to simple operational procedure. The result no matter in which part of the globe you are, you will get the same quality and same taste in a burger. This is the power of an effective knowledge management.