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Trace out the growth of human Resource Management in India.
The historical background to the management techniques of human resources are in vogue since ancient times. Its only in the past 100 odd years that the techniques and study of human behavior at work has become formal and structured with certain basic practices established as core and a host of other practices left to each organization to design and implement as per their individual business driven practices. As per Fisher, Schonfeldt and Shaw, in their book titled Human Resources Management, they have characterized the history of HRM as having evolved through four broad phases, the Craft system, the scientific system, the human relations approach and the prevalent organizational science-human resources approach. The Craft system refers to early trends noticed in Egypt and Babylon, where skills based training was provided to people to ensure a steady flow of craftsmen required to build huge monuments. By the 13th century, subsequently the trend was noticed in Europe and later craft guilds evolved to ensure not only the skill acquisition but regulate the conditions of employment, level of skill and improved production techniques. Most relevant in the domestic industry where generations of skilled workers trained and became experts in a particular skill. The Scientific Management approach was a key part of the industrial revolution typical of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It was instilled in the principles of mass production and organization of work simple work skills and supervisory/managerial skills. This rapidly emerged as the assembly line approach to managing workflow, which later Fredrick Taylor (1856-1915) pioneered based on the philosophy that employees wanted to be used efficiently and money being the primary motivator. Over a period of time this was proved wrong as employee dissent grew and union issues surfaced. It was during this phase that employee welfare as a key HR practice emerged which redressed employee issues like recreational facilities, medical program and employee grievance systems. The Human Relations approach was an outcome of the famous studies undertaken by US social scientist Elton Mayo and Fritz Roethlisberger at the Western Electric‟s Hawthorne plant in Chicago. The Hawthorne Studies: As described in virtually every book written about management, the human relations or behavioral school of management began in 1927 with a group of studies conducted at the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric, an AT&T subsidiary. Curiously, these studies were prompted by an experiment carried out by the company's engineers between 1924 and 1932. Following the scientific management tradition, these engineers were applying research methods to answer job-related problems. Two groups were studied to determine the effects of different levels of illumination on worker performance. One group received increased illumination, while the other did not. A preliminary finding was that, when illumination was increased, the level of performance also increased. Surprisingly to the engineers, productivity also increased when the level of illumination was decreased almost to moonlight levels. One interpretation made of these results was that the employees involved in the experiment enjoyed being the centre of attention; they reacted positively because management cared about them. The reason for the increase in the production was not the physical but the psychological impact of the employee‟s attitude towards the job and towards the company. Such a phenomenon taking place in any research setting is now called the Hawthorne effect. As a result of these preliminary investigations, a team of researchers headed by Elton Mayo and F.J. Roethlisberger from Harvard conducted a lengthy series of experiments extending over a six year period. The conclusions they reached served as the bedrock of later developments in the human relations approach to management. Among their key findings were the following: • Economic incentives are less potent than generally believed in influencing employees to achieve high levels of output.
For instance. increased participation alone could satisfy their emerging social and ego needs. couples groups. has been the burgeoning of techniques and programmes to foster human growth off the job. Based upon work with clerical and production employees. During the early 1970s. you also have to understand the climate that exists in the work group and the leadership style of the superior. to understand the impact of pay on performance. Concurrent with the growth of human relations in work organizations. More likely to exercise general rather than close or light supervision. Both are designed to deal with the problem of job discrimination against women. Hence. The individual has a lot of freedom of choice and the idea of decision-making by oneself is deep-rooted in the national tradition. • • • • • • • • A significant increase in the general educational level of employees who.plan. A child is brought up to value independence and encouraged to think on his own and not to be dependent on parents. • • • More likely to pay a differentiated role . Shortage of labour led to skilled labour being treated as nearly irreplaceable. Assertiveness training has been widely used to help women to be more direct in making known their demands for equal opportunity. In the last two decades. to study those principles of leadership that were associated with highest productivity. Leadership Style and Practices: As a consequence of the Hawthorne Studies. Strong organizations of labour. A notable development of the nature occurred shortly after World War II at the University of Michigan. but not become directly involved in work tasks. and group influences became a concern of researchers.Leadership practices and work-group pressures profoundly influence employee satisfaction and performance. • . the human potential (meaning development of one's potential) movement began to appear in work settings. much greater care in utilising this scarce and valuable resource had to be thought of in the form of "Human Relations. Management awareness training and assertiveness training represent two other techniques related to the development of human potential. Among the differences in style noted were that supervisors of productive groups in comparison to their lower producing counterparts were: • More emotionally supportive of subordinates. A group of social scientists formed an organization.S. Virtual disappearance of owner managers and the growth of professional managers capable of managing according to professional code. as a result. In management awareness training. such as Recognition of the dignity of the individual and his personality. and transactional analysis. later to be called the Institute for Social Research. marriage enrichment groups. Since their physical and security needs were generally satisfied. requiring managers to develop new attitudes towards labour. • Any factor influencing employee behaviour is embedded in a social system." Higher standards of living of American labour.A. managers are made more sensitive to their sexist attitudes (such as thinking of all engineers are male) and in changing their attitudes. The origin and progress of the human relations movement (particularly in U. morale.) has been due to certain social and cultural forces working there. regulate. an important conclusion was that supervisors of high-producing units behaved differently from those of low-producing units. worker attitudes. The possible weakening of work ethics. The changing work environment-greater specialization and a large scope of operations – which require a greater degree of managerial effectiveness with and through employees. and coordinate the activities of subordinates. calling for higher skills in communication and participative behaviour on the part of the management. at all levels. millions of people seeking personal growth (or sometimes simply emotional arousal) have participated in programmes such as encounter groups. seminar training. demanded more from their employers.
though not to the same intensity. Increasing use of flexible work schedules. work from home options. Although varying widely in content.Career development programmes in industry are more prevalent today than at any time in the past. While the general notion is that most Career development programs are often instituted to meet the unique needs of particular employees.constantly reviewing the effectiveness of the recruiting methods and the selection tools used. Few factors that impact the nature of recruitment: i. it is assumed that the person will make a better contribution to the organization. vi.the smaller the organization the more the need to carefully scrutinize the candidate for a job and the fitment to the organizational culture. do engage in recruiting activity. fast track employees and managers. The level of seasonality of operations and future expansion and production programmes – ensuring that the recruitment numbers come form a well-planned Human Resource Plan is critical to ensure that there is no over-hiring or under-hiring of the required talent to achieve the organizational objectives. . and less on just the individual. And is truly amazing is the increasing pattern of companies holding managers accountable for meeting these goals. (v) The rate of growth of organization. There are also more focused programs that focus on managing gender diversity at the workplace and set goals for advancing women into senior management positions. late-career employee. ii. whether large or small. entrenched employees.State the major career development activities found in organizations. The methods for recruiting. all these programmes are designed to help the individual make career decisions that will move him or her toward self-fulfillment. What are the factors that impact recruitment in organizations? All organizations. disadvantages employees. The affects of past recruiting efforts which show the organization's ability to locate and keep good performing people.the phase in the life-cycle of the firm is a measure of the recruiting effort v. Finally the Organizational Sciences approach to human resources management has brought the focus to the scientific process within organizations that can impact employee experience. The risk in case of job-candidate mismatch can prove equally expensive for a smaller organization as compared to the larger one.critically impacts the recruiting strategy. outplacement. The employment conditions in the country where the organization is located. evaluating the success at-work of the new recruits are some methods used by organizations to ensure that quality hiring practices are in-place. global work assignments and internal job postings and world class workplace infrastructures from in-campus cricket grounds to gymnasiums for employee wellbeing. economic and legal factors – these too affect the recruiting and selection methods that are used. the selection tools that are most suited and the legal framework that bear on the employer are some aspects that need to be considered. iii. some of the more common programs are those that focus on work-family issues. opening of more on-site or company-sponsored child-care centers. Q3. This is one reason why organizations continue to invest time and resources on it despite the fact that it does not offer immediate measurable benefits. Q2. and greater use of paid leave for fathers and adoptive parents are some common practices in this area. Today‟s organizations focus on building their processes and policies and compete to emerge as „preferred employers‟ (best employer). In the process. Although many different groups and issues may be targeted for career development. iv. Cultural. It is not uncommon for competing organizations to woo the employees through advertising more and better employee-friendly initiatives like work-from-home jobs. The size of the organization. There are specific workshops and training programs mandated for managers to help them initiating and implementing them. working conditions and salary and benefit packages offered by the organization – this may influence turnover and necessitate future recruiting. the benefits for the organization are immense. careers for married couples. • Work-Family Programs focus on supporting employee manages their personal as well as work related challenges in a balanced manner. This is the HR that we now see around us.
. Such programs enable employees to address their work and family concerns and reduce their potential stress or conflicts between their various life roles. working from home. travel. part time work. These include flextime. In designing Benefits packages organizations need to pay attention to the following aspects: • Legal and local laws of the land that require statutory compliance • The positioning of Benefits in the total compensation strategy • Are the benefits provided consistent with the long term strategic business objectives and plans • Are our benefits meeting the needs and expectations of the employees and their dependents . Among other activities that target this group they are offered quicker job changes and more challenging job assignments. Organizations are also changing their practices for recruitment. Outplacement programs stress the importance of self confidence and individual career planning beneficial for middle or late-career employees who are being laid off. The objective here is to enable them to move to senior positions quickly. and benefits to meet the needs of the larger number of dual career couples. The support provided by firms in assisting spouse of employees with opportunities within the company. Fast Track employees are now being increasingly identified as „stars‟ with high potential for bright future in the organization. Outplacement Program during retrenchment and downsizing is a professionally managed process in most organizations.exercise schedules‟ are practiced to help employees cope with stress. linking them with job placement consultants as well as sponsoring the cost of re-training or picking up a new skill. more employees in these special categories are entering the workforce. Companies might tie up with training institutes and provide the skills training. Some difficulties with telecommuting are communication problems with other employees.• Relocation Assistance and hiring practices redresses the challenges associated with employee relocation on account of a career move. As is with all other such initiatives. Work Life balance Seminars and flexible HR practices wherein organizations design programs to help employees manage their work-family conflicts and coping strategies. promotions. compressed workweeks. Various stress management workshops and „stretch. Outplacement services would also involve working with placement agencies and recruitment firms to provide interviewing opportunities for the employees. This calls for special focus on the importance of assisting these employees with their career needs. transfer. This provides for organizational as well as employee related advantages. more relevant skills per market demand so finding a new job is easier. Lifestyle management workshops too are becoming popular in larger organizations. The objective here is to assist the effected employees in making the transition to new employment. • • • • • Q4. Special Programs for Women. Minorities and Employees with Disabilities: With organizations increasingly tapping into this critical talent pool. Else the company might prefer to reimburse the cost of re-skilling directly to the impacted employee for a course of his/her choice. job sharing. limited access to necessary supplies and equipment and family interruption. The amount and nature of support could vary from company to company. The identification and development of these employees requires organizations to exert efforts to build and monitor special programs that cater to this special audience. scheduling hours. Especially prevalent in the ITES/BPO organizations where the work-life balance is a concern. Some firms have altered their policy to allow for hiring both spouses while they may not be allowed to work in the same department/team. It could involve re-skilling for new. this initiative helps in retaining this critical talent. There is no scientific way of ascertaining its impact on factors such as employee satisfaction and employee retention or productivity for that matter. What are the major problems faced in benefits management? Managing employee Benefits is a critical part of the entire compensation policy and particularly so as the cost is completely borne by the company. This practice is now part of most organizations where the increasing work pressure is driving companies to help employees cope with personal pressure. Flexible Work schedules are being increasingly instituted at the workplace.. temporary workweeks etc. These employees are identified in a formal process and are placed on a fast track program. Telecommuting has become very popular.
Severance Pay etc. While the larger companies can afford a on-campus or adjacent crèche which is for the children of only the employees. Assume yourself as an HR Manager of publishing house. Like for Compensation. It focuses on to remind the employees that they are part of the ‟total compensation package‟. Also included are catering of lunch and snacks in addition to sophisticated on-campus food-courts and even departmental stores. the industry / our competitors The components of a benefits package are commonly practiced as. You find that the morale of the employees is generally low. Dental Camps and other employee wellness initiatives. other medical coverage.r. Employee can enrol on-line for the benefits. Q5.life balance. Security and Health Benefits . while some other companies provide for on-campus employee assistance kiosks manned by professional counsellors visiting the facility 2-3 times a week. Organizations like Cognizant and IBM go a step further by organizing for Children‟s camp during the school vacations. Creation of whole jobs – Under this method. some might include parents as dependents. 1. What steps would you take to improve employee morale? As assume myself an HR manager there are a number of measures which can be used to control the warning signals of low morale. other companies allow for the reimbursement of the cost of crèche for their employee‟s children. Organizations might even have other health benefits programs like Health Check-up Camps. The challenge in managing benefits is that while it costs a lot it is often taken for granted by the employees.• Are we competitive w. This brings a lot of empowerment to the employee as well as awareness of the total benefits that he/she and their dependents are eligible for. Most large and medium sized organizations manage compensation and benefits through state-of-the-art HRMS (Human Resource Management Systems) and the corporate intranet portals. some might limit it to spouse and children only). complete jobs are assigned to the employees. Another popular benefit is the provision for crèche facilities for the infants of employees. . Provident and Pension Plans. providing clarity on how to apply for and claim benefits.which focuses on the provisions made by the employer w. Some organizations might insist on few benefits to be contributory where the employee might need to bear part of the cost. adequacy and equity and costs vs.. The complexity of a job should be increased so that it may appeal to their higher needs. The key to leveraging the investment made by organizations on benefits can be got by adequate communication making employees aware of them. Life Insurance. the choice of benefits. as well as hold road-shows show-casing the benefits and what the employee can avail of. Accident Insurance. look up the policies and review the outstanding and balance status of the various benefits. They can view deadlines.t.r. The following are the positive measures to be taken to bring job satisfaction to the employees and reconcile individual interests with the interests of the organization.t. ask queries. Reimbursement of conveyance costs including providing for pick-up and drop facilities for their employees. Medical Insurance for self and dependents (where different companies could differently categorise dependents. apply for the various benefit claims and track reimbursement status on-line. Some might tie-up with professional counsellors to provide remote/ over phone/email counselling services. The modern organizations of today provide for on-campus gymnasium facilities or the reimbursement of gymnasium / health club membership. Worker Compensation. Organizations also provide for employee counselling/ assistance programs and facilities. Some common metrics used to assess the investments made by a company on Benefits: a) Annual cost of benefits for all employees b) Cost per employee per year c) Percentage cost of payroll d) Percentage cost of total costs In these times of economic challenges organizations are closely tracking the investments and driving efficiency. Benefits too are benchmarked by organizations and implemented keeping the market practices and trends in view. Other reimbursement plans like reimbursement of telephone bills and broadband bills where these facilities might not be entirely used for business purposes alone. It includes. all with the objective of helping the employee manage better work . The dilemma of finding the right balance of benefits and cash compensation is a on-going one.
a policy. it is essential to gather all the facts about it.This can be achieved by: i) Developing work groups. to determine whether a request or order has been ignored or broken.time away from work in team building and fun activities. Under this. special recognition and awards to long service employees and training the managers in how to manage people. When. and/or for deciding on the best way to perform a particular task 3. d) Identify corrective action to implement. Flexing working hours – Flex time / work from home provisions allow employees to arrange their work hours to suit their personal needs and life-styles. a regulation. Managerial effectiveness . or how often. Under what-conditions did it occur? 4. A thorough examination of the case should be made within the .Morale can be improved by effective incentive and profit-sharing schemes. Does this case call for a disciplinary action? 2. Building responsibility into a job – Employees should be encouraged to participate and if possible be held responsible for taking decisions. What. b. Some delegation of responsibility from the manager tot he employee could be useful in improving employee ownership 4.Explain the general procedures followed in the case of a disciplinary action. Incentive schemes are effective in improving workplace morale. Finally. It is also necessary to know exactly who and what was involved in the violation-whether a particular individual or group. 7. for concerning their own errors. or at least partially the fault. Rotation of jobs – This reduces employee's boredom which arises out of the monotonous nature of his work. Morale can also be improved by adapting several other measures such as employee contest. individual employees may be given responsibility for setting their own work pace. Which individual or individuals were involved in it? 5. The following steps are recommended a) An accurate statement of the disciplinary problem. Incentive and Profit-sharing plans. Job enrichment – Job enrichment tries to deal with dissatisfaction by increasing job depth. of one or more subordinates. ii) Improving the social contacts of the employees. Q6. an executive must first find out that a violation has occurred and that is entirely the fault. exactly.2. b) Collection of data or facts supporting the report of the offence. did the violation occur? In other words. it is desirable to know when and/or how often the violation occurred. Different organizations use a variety of formal and informal methods to resolve these matters. profit-sharing has also psychological aspects relating to friendly move by the management in providing the employees an opportunity to participate in the profits. 6. This is particularly suited to situations with fluctuating workloads. Accurate Statement of the Problem: The first step is to ascertain the problem by seeking answers to the following questions: 1. and assess the seriousness of the specific offence which has been committed. is the nature of the violation or offence? 3. take legal counsel to ensure that the local laws of the land are not in conflict e) Apply the action f) Follow-up on the disciplinary action. The next step is to determine and state the nature of the alleged violation of a rule. a. Collection of data or facts support the report of the offence: Before any action is taken in a case. Flex time employees are responsible for co-ordinating their functions with other employees and thereby have more responsibility and autonomy. They need to carefully designed (preferably by experts) well communicated and implemented to be effective. c) Review policy and past similar incidents. Though there is no specific procedure to be followed. iii) Managerial coaching discussed above iv) Employee stress management activities 5. In addition to its economic aspects.
temporary lay-off or outright discharge? d. Follow-up on Disciplinary Action: The ultimate purpose of a disciplinary action is to maintain discipline. . take legal counsel to ensure that the local laws of the land are not in conflict: When a decision has been taken to impose a penalty. if it is greater than it should be. c. it may encourage the violation of the same rule or another. the punishment to be awarded should be such as would prevent a recurrence of the offence. if and when needed. serious and determined attitude is highly desirable. the executive should calmly and quickly dispose of the matter. If the punishment is lighter than it should be. be evaluated in terms of its effectiveness after it has been taken. there should be a more careful supervision of the persons against whom a disciplinary action has been taken. The facts gathered should be such as can be produced before a higher authority. A disciplinary action should. a fortnight. But when severe action is called for. Review policy and past similar incidents: The kind of penalty to be imposed for an offence should be determined beforehand. a financial or non-financial penalty? Or should it be demotion. therefore. In other words.stipulated time limit. f. and avoid a repetition of the offence. Identify corrective action to implement. "If the disciplinary action is a simple reprimand. Should it be simple reprimand. Apply the action: The application of the penalty involves a positive and assured attitude on the part of the management. to ensure productivity. e. it may lead to a grievance.
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