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People Resourcing

(by Amartya Basu)


Topics: Diversity is more than just a tick-box exercise. Discuss how people
resourcing can facilitate and promote the development of positive diversity
values in organisations.
Introduction:
In order to analyse how people resourcing facilitates and promotes the development of positive
diversity values, one must first understand what people resourcing is and how it is connected to
organisational activities. Next step will understanding how diversity management is a part of people
resourcing activity and how people resourcing promotes and develops positive diversity values.
Before understanding the functions of people resourcing it is necessary to know origin of the term.
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development(CIPD) invented this term to distinguish the
activities of people resourcing from the other three subjects of CIPD, which are employee relation,
training and development and reward management/employee reward. That is why people
resourcing can be best described as range of activities which do not fit in the above mentioned three
areas. According to Taylor(2008), the functions of people resourcing can thusly be described as
activities which facilitate the four departments of Personnel & Development(P&D) objectives. The
four departments are as follows: (1)Staffing is concerned with making sure that the organisation has
sufficient number of staff to meet with the business objectives and other than that, staffing also
makes sure that the employees employed in different roles are capable of carrying out their tasks
and duties effectively. (2)Performance objectives start right after staffing objectives are achieved.
The aim here is, after assembling the employees, making sure that they are absent as little as
possible and that they are performing to the best of their capabilities. (3)Administration objectives
are formulated to make sure that relation with employees is managed in accordance with law,
professional ethics and natural justice. (4)Change management is the fourth and last group which
falls under the functions of people resourcing. It is now increasingly believed that todays business
environment is changing continuously. The survival of organisations are now based on what Charles
Darwin once stated, that biological species do not thrive because of their strength or intelligence but
because of their ability to adapt to change. That is why organisations now do not wait for episodes
of changes and they are now more focused on managing processes throughout their life-time, so
that the structure and culture of the organisation is evolving continuously.
These objectives do not change although the tools used to achieve them may change to
considerable degree. Thus, the people resourcing specialists must evaluate their activities
periodically if not continually, so that due changes can be made to the practices and policies in order
to achieve better results.
People resourcing is very important part of Human Resource management(HRM) where its main
focus is on recruiting individuals in the organisation and realising them from the organisation. It also
emphasizes on managing performance of employees while they are in the organisation (Pilbeam and
Corbridge, 2006). The people resourcing activities are carried out by HR practitioners/line
managers.In other words, HR professionals are same as people resourcing professionals and can be
used as synonyms. HR strategies are set to align with the business objectives and people resourcing
is part of that strategy, so in other words, the objectives of people resourcing overlaps with the
objectives of HRM.


















Diversity Management and diversity values:
The term diversity management is relatively new compared to equal opportunities. Equal
opportunities has been a part of employment policy since 1980s but has been replaced by diversity
management due to its short comings. Equal opportunity only focuses on groups labelled as
disadvantaged or minorities and has very little to offer to the majority, even if they feel that they
were not treated fairly(Taylor, 2010). According to Gatrell and Swan(2008), diversity is used in two
ways. One is that the notion of diversity includes the ideas of equal opportunities and the other is
managing inequalities of the workplace along with changing demographics of employees and
customers(Farnham, 2010). In policy terms, popular conceptions of diversity emphasize individual
differences over social group-based differences and downplay discrimination and disadvantage,
while being upbeat about the positive dimensions of group based difference(Kirton and Greene,
2005, p. 3). A broader definition of diversity management was quoted by CIPD, from Zurich Financial
Services, which states Managing diversity is about valuing people as individuals. The scope of this
definition includes age, colour, disability, ethnicity, economic status, family/marital status,
nationality, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, spent convictions, part-time working, political
opinion/affiliation and gender re-assignment(Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2006, p. 209). So in other
words, diversity management is a way to value employees and making decisions solely based on
objectives, rather than individual characteristics.

HR strategies


Aligning HR activity with
business objectives
Business
strategy
Learning and
Development
Employee
Relations
Employee reward
People
resourcing
(Adapted from Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2006, p. 17)

Categories covered by diversity policy(Adapted from zbilgin and Tatli, 2008, p. 69)

The chart above shows what respondents/employees believe about what diversity policy covers.
Most of the employees thought diversity covers areas like race(58.2%) and disability(59.6%) more
than others.
Like anything else, diversity has its share of critiques. As Greene(2010) stated, that diversity
management lacks constraints and incentives required to achieve true equality. According to Foster
and Harris(2005), managing diversity is easier said than done. Torrington et al(2008), supported the
concept provided by Foster and Harris by pointing out the fact that men and women have different
needs and pattern of behaviour at workplace. For example, women prefer group work, try to avoid
spot light and form one or two close relationships on the way. They also tend to dislike hierarchy and
favour towards collectivist view of employment relation. On the contrary, men are more
competitive, like to develop high profile, tend to be more individualistic and shallower in nature.
Having said about the critiques, diversity has its positive side as well and any organisation with
positive diversity values will formulate policies and take initiatives to use diversity to their
advantage. The organisation which promotes and implements positive diversity values can be
recognised as Compliant Organisations(adopt good practice, focuses on individualistic approach of
diversity to eliminate social-group based disadvantage/discrimination) and Proactive
Organisations(adopt best practice of diversity, regularly monitors and evaluates outcomes in search
of scope to improve, senior managers endorse diversity and link it with individual performance
objectives). Traditional diversity policies focus on some human resource functions, such as
recruitment and selection, training and development and terms and conditions of employment.
These policies emphasize on creating an fair platform, so that direct(e.g. racism, sex discrimination)
or indirect(asking for higher level of language competencies than required for the job, asking for an
employee with young children to work full-time without any proper business reasons) discrimination
0 50 100 150 200
Disability
Gender/sex
Sexual orientation
Age
Parental status
Trade union membership
Social and economic
Physical appearance
Weight
Accent
Number of respondents
Number of respondents
can be eliminated and rewards can be awarded fairly, rather can then engineering who wins the
competition(Kirton & Greene, 2005 and Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2006).
Now, the policies for each functions needs specific attention and activity, which produces different
benefits for the organisation. According to Gibbon(1990), diversity management policies and
practices in recruitment and selection focuses on developing official procedures which are
justifiable and transparent(e.g. drawing up job descriptions and person specification based on it and
use of application forms in reference to CVs). The kind of policies normally formalized for
recruitment and selection are, selections based on persons suitability rather than acceptability,
relying less on word of mouth, which limits the prospective employees to the friends and families
of current employees and blocks the possibility of employees coming from different
backgrounds(Healy, 1993), advertising for job vacancies in places where it will reach the largest pool
of suitable applicants and social-groups that are under-represented in the organisation, utilize
minority ethnic press, avoiding constructing advertisements which gives an impression that
particular types of candidates will be accepted, so that other social-groups do not get discouraged
from applying for the role. Kossek and Pichler(2007) also advice that interview panels should have
minority group members to show their consistency and organisations commitment towards
diversity. These are some of the policies and strategies that most of the proactive organisations and
some of the compliant organisations follow.
Training and development is very important vehicle to implement and develop diversity policies. It
is used to communicate and aware the managers and employees about the diversity issues, it also
helps to describe their role and duties regarding the policies(e.g. diversity awareness training for the
supervisors and managers who are involved in recruitment and appraisal, inclusion of diversity in
mission objectives, setting diversity goals, embedding diversity into business goals and so on). These
programmes help to manipulate the attitude of the members of the organisation and changes their
behaviour towards other social-groups(both with employment and customer service relation). This
method can also be used to break down different forms of segregation and have a more diverse
workforce. Many organisation adopted this approach to achieve diversity, for example, Royal Mail,
offered women a chance for self-development by devising a in-house training in non-managerial
posts(EOR,1996). British Telecom also started a course for women, which allowed them to develop a
career in management by working as middle manager in a male dominated
environment(EOR,1999b). There are other examples as well, like Lloyds TSBs programme for
minority ethnic workers(EOR,1999a) and Midland Banks summer work placement for disabled
undergraduates(Wright and Storey, 1994).
Another area where diversity policies are regularly formulated and implemented is terms and
conditions of employment. The common factors are related to equality in pay, working hours and
fairness. Here compliant organisation normally just try to avoid discrimination in legal framework
but proactive organisation try to promote family-friendly terms and conditions(primarily intended
for womens participation in employment). This form of diversity policy was primarily for
women(e.g. balancing responsibilities of family and work, childcare provision, maternity provision),
but recently has been labelled as work-life balance where the policies are formulated to benefit all
the employees(not only women). There are some other policies that facilitates diversity in terms of
conditions of employment, as the result of a survey by Taylor(2003) shows, proactive organisations
offer some terms and conditions, focused on other social-groups like, offering minority ethnic
workers time-off for religious observance(other than traditional Christian festivals), extended
holiday to visit family overseas and flexibility in uniforms to support religious/cultural customs.
There are some other policies as well to contribute to the business process and innovation and
learning, for example, Barclays Bank changed their approach by retaining older workers and
removing age related barriers, as a result people over 60 who choose to remain in work increased to
61% of that age group. Murray(2004) also explained the Mutual Monitoring Programme
implemented by BP which was designed to promote understanding between different genders and
backgrounds. The pairing could be with a junior woman who has to mentor a senior male colleague
or different national or ethnic backgrounds are put together. Murray(2004) goes to state that this
process not only motivated the employees but sharing and understanding each other resulted in
better decision taking.
The question that rises now, is whether these policies are of any worth as far as well-being of the
organisation is concerned. To support these policies, Kossek and Pichler(2007), stated that by being
diverse in nature, an organisation is opening up to a much larger talent pool.

Link between diversity policies and people resourcing:





Facilitates staffing

Improves performance






So, all areas of diversity management are linked with the functions of people resourcing(staffing,
performance management, administration and coping with changes). Ddiversity management
activities either facilitate the functions of people resourcing or falls under the responsibility of HR
Recruitment and
selection

Training and
development


Terms and conditions
of employment
Diversity Management
Falls under the responsibility of
administration and helps in dealing with
demographic or cultural changes
professionals, which justifies the fact that diversity management is a part of people resourcing(as
stated by Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2006, p. 4). As the policies and strategies of managing diversity are
connected with functions of resourcing, thus, the formulation of them is a part of duty for the
professionals of people resourcing. The recruitment strategies of diversity provide the organisation
with talents and adequate number of staff, which helps in completing the function of staffing. On
the other hand, training and development programmes in diversity management assist the
organisations in aiming at a large pool of talent and achieve desired performance outcomes(mainly
when the kind of skilled workers the organisation is looking for are rare). The administration
function of people resourcing is responsible of making the terms and conditions of employment
which plays a vital role in gaining employee commitment and in satisfying them.
According to Dobb(1996), HRM strategies(people resourcing being one of them) are one of the most
important areas of intervention in the whole diversity management process. Although diversity
contributes to a wide range of functions, still the structure and procedure of diversity management
is strongly interrelated with HRM strategies(Fine, 2003), and people resourcing is an integral part of
it. All the policies and strategies of diversity are implemented by diversity/line managers(depending
on organisation size) and how effectively they can apply these strategies confides on how much
authority is allocated to them by the senior managers(HR/people resourcing manager). While more
authority in hands of the diversity/line managers indicates the extent of commitment on diversity
management(Parker, 1999), lack of authority reflects lack of commitment(Lawrence, 2000).


Conclusion:
So, diversity is definitely not just a tick box, although it has its negative points but has the potential
of uniting employees, reaching large pool of talents and downplaying discrimination or in other
words, it is capable of making a difference to the outcome of the total business process and people
resourcing promotes positive diversity values in more than one way, as the practitioners of people
resourcing are the one who decide about diversity values, policies and strategies that are to be
adopted by the organisation. In simple words, if people resourcing activities are absent in an
organisation, that organisation will not be bothered about diversity values, as diversity is one of the
activities of resourcing which brings the essay to a conclusion that people resourcing does promote
and develop positive diversity values(by formulating and implementing policies and strategies) as
they are the one in-charge of diversity management and its values.

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