Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Friday, May 23, 2008

Right people at the right time at the right place

The business success is about taking right people to the right place on right time. So what is the problem? Actually, if you need to manage not one, but five employees or better five groups of employees, then you face the problem of measuring and control. It's hard to tell whether one group is performing better or not, it becoming hard to compare one employees success against other one, it's hard to see the unique features of people. So what the solution is? The key metrics and key indicators, which will tell you how to manage your stuff right.

There are two approaches I suggest to take into account when thinking about human resources (HR) at your company. First, you can think in terms of process, second you can think it terms of how do employees affect the whole business.

The processes of working with employees include: hire, education, management, retire. All the stages must be processes carefully, as they could fully change your business. For instance, if you will have the best system to hire stuff, but it will be working slowly, then you will fail. If your education system will allow to train everyone, but will not allow to check the actual performance generated by training processed, then you will fail. If your best people will retire, then you will lose.

So, that's why it's really important to measure and control all processes involved into employees relationship. People who you work with, should understand what your goals are and how they will help to achieve these goals. This is the key idea of manage and control in employees management processes.

Another approach is focusing on how someone's job affect the company. It's obvious that even if someone works in a Sales then he or she will affect not only the financial part of the business by generating sales, but also all other parts.

For instance, sales person will be involved in entire company processes, such as education and knowledge sharing. This person will also work directly with customers, so he or she might not just sale, but get a valuable feedback from end users of your product. These people will also help your company to grow not just in terms of sales, but in terms of better business processes and business efficiency.

So how to measure and control HR department at your company. The answer is very simple - you should develop some key indicators that will represent company business and then pay attention to what is working good and what should be changed. There are many names for this system, for instance KPI (Key Performance Indicators) or Balanced Scorecard. The result is having the clear view of what is going to happen in company and how it will steam-line your business.

What should be the first step? Actually, I think you have already had some important information for scorecard. For instance, you have document called "mission", this is a general definition of your principles, you can some business goals, you have business processes described and formalized. What you need now is to gather all this important information into a easy to manage system, which will take in account the importance of each metrics. This system (Balanced Scorecard or KPI) will help to manage and control the performance of your HR department.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Distinction between Headhunting and Talent Poaching

Head Hunting (Also called as "Body Shopping")

There is this bread or group of talent, which are highly experienced, competent with great leadership skills but very passive in job market. They are very experienced in their domain and industry. Sometimes, they are also the founder member of the organization. Generally these are the people working in the capacity of Senior Managers, General Managers, CFO's, CTO's, CEO's, Vice-Presidents, Directors, and Managing Directors etc in their present roles. They do not post their profiles on jobsites. They do not even read job-sections of newspapers. They do not apply for any jobs opportunity. Only very few of their friends and close associates are in procession of their profiles. They need to be challenged by an opportunity. Such people need to be head-hunted. Generally, recruitment consultancies are EXPECTED to do this job. This is a way to get the talent when you are looking for rare and distinct talent that is when you are looking to fill positions like CFO, CEO etc. Here, numbers are not important but quality is. In a year, you might be able to head-hunt 15-20 people but they will be of high worth and value. Not everyone can be a "Head Hunter", you need to have "special" type of skills to be a "Head Hunter". Every type of sourcing is not called as head-hunting. For a sourcing to be called as "Head-hunting", this should involve "rare profiles"; profiles and skill sets not readily available in the market.


This, according to some section in the industry, is considered as unethical mode of sourcing and hiring. For this, you need to understand the business of your company and also should be aware of the competitor companies in your industry. Just target those companies and hire in masses from those companies right from the entry level to senior level. This tactic is usually used to kill the competition. This is like a big fish eating the small fish. People across the globe are discussing and debating to ascertain, if the "Talent Poaching" is ethical or unethical. No doubt, this is one of the easiest ways to source trained and talented people within the industry when you have infrastructure and money.

Distinction between Headhunting and Talent Poaching

Some talent acquisition managers as well as hiring and recruitment professionals are confused and are not able to discriminate between the two. Here are few differences between the two:

1) Headhunting is associated with senior and rare profiles. Talent Poaching is just sweeping and running through talent-wealth of your competitor.

2) Headhunting is planned. Talent Poaching is targeted.

3) In headhunting, the intention is to get the BEST person for your organization but in Talent Poaching, the intention is to kill your competitor and the competition.

4) Headhunting is about getting a person with "Leadership" skills with "Global Exposure". Talent Poaching is about "saving the training cost".

The Role of HRM in Knowledge Management

Knowledge management has become a fashionable term in organizations today. We can define knowledge management as the discipline that promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, retrieving, sharing, and evaluating an enterprise’s information assets. These information assets may include databases, documents, policies, and procedures as well as uncaptured, tacit expertise and experience resident in individual workers.

HR and Knowledge Management

There are several roles that can be played by HR in developing knowledge management system.

First, HR should help the organization articulate the purpose of the knowledge management system. Investing in a knowledge management initiative without a clear sense of purpose is like investing in an expensive camera that has far more capabilities than you need to take good pictures of family and friends. Too often, organizations embrace technologies to solve problems before they've even identified the problems they are trying to solve. Then, once they realize the error, they find it difficult to abandon the original solution and difficult to gather the resources needed to invest in a solution to the real problem. Effectively framing the knowledge management issue, before deciding on a course of action, is a crucial prerequisite for success.

Second, as a knowledge facilitator, HRM must ensure alignment among an organization's mission, statement of ethics, and policies: These should all be directed toward creating an environment of sharing and using knowledge with full understanding of the competitive consequences. Furthermore, HRM must nourish a culture that embraces getting the right information to the right people at the right time.

Third, HRM should also create the "ultimate employee experience." That is, by transforming tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge through education, organizations must build employee skills, competencies, and careers, creating "bench strength." This combines the traditional training and development responsibilities of HRM with the new responsibilities of human capital steward: using all of the organization's resources to create strategic capability. Disney's new staff orientation, which emphasizes the firm's mission, values, and history within a context of the "magic kingdom" experience, is an example of this process of making tacit knowledge more visible.

Fourth, HRM must integrate effective knowledge sharing and usage into daily life. That is, knowledge sharing must be expected, recognized, and rewarded. For many individuals and organizations, this reverses the conventional relationship between knowledge and power. Often, the common pattern was to hoard knowledge because it made the individual more valuable and more difficult to replace. Effective knowledge management requires this trend to be overturned and requires those with information to become teachers and mentors who ensure that others in the firm know what they know. Teaching must become part of everyone's job. Clearly, for such a cultural shift to take place, HRM must overhaul selection, appraisal, and compensation practices. Human resource management has the capabilities for creating, measuring, and reinforcing a knowledge-sharing expectation.

Fifth, HRM must relax controls and allow (even encourage) behaviors that, in the clockwork world of industrial efficiency, never would have been tolerated. For example, conversations at the water cooler were viewed in the past as unproductive uses of employee time—after all, employees were not at their desks completing specified tasks detailed in their job descriptions. In the knowledge economy, conversations inside and outside the company are the chief mechanism for making change and renewal an ongoing part of the company's culture.

As another example, consider individuals in organizations described as "gossips," who would rather talk than work. Frederick Taylor's industrial engineers would have eliminated these gossips from workplaces in the early twentieth century, since they did nothing that was perceptibly valuable. However, in the knowledge economy, if the conversations are relevant to the firm's strategic intent, these same people may be described as "knowledge brokers": those individuals who like to move around the company to hear what is going on, sparking new knowledge creation by carrying ideas between groups of people who do not communicate directly. If the topics serve organizational needs, these individuals play a role similar to bees that cross-pollinate flowers and sustain a larger ecosystem.

Organizations should selectively recognize and reward, rather than universally discourage and punish, these types of behaviors. Clearly, not all conversation is productive and constructive. Human resource management still must play a role in discouraging gossip that undermines, rather than promotes, a learning community. Human resource management will need to adjust both its own perspective (from rule-enforcer) as well as that of managers and others who hold outdated notions of what is "real work."

Sixth, HRM must take a strategic approach to helping firms manage email, instant messenger, internet surfing, and similar uses of technology. Clearly, the Internet has a role in generating and disseminating knowledge, and therefore is an integral part of knowledge management. But what are the unintended effects of monitoring email, tracking employees' web searches, and similar issues related to privacy? Certainly some control is needed, but the larger question for HRM is determining appropriate boundaries. When does control become counterproductive? When does excessive monitoring become an inappropriate invasion of privacy?

A related issue is HRM's role in helping firms manage the distancing consequences of electronic communication. As employees increasingly rely on technology to communicate, they lose opportunities to develop the rich, multifaceted relationships that encourage the communication of tacit knowledge. Human resource management can contribute to developing social capital by sensitizing employees to the negative consequences of excessive reliance on electronic media and by creating opportunities for face-to-face contact.

Seventh, HRM must champion the low-tech solutions to knowledge management. Although it should not ignore the high-tech knowledge management tools, HRM contains the expertise to develop low-tech knowledge management strategies. For example, when the team that developed the Dustbuster vacuum tool was created, they were given a "war room" in which they could spread out their materials and leave sketches, models, notes, and so on plastered on walls and throughout the workspace. These visible outputs of their thinking processes helped create a shared context for their efforts and turned the room into a truly collaborative workspace.

Some Asian firms, such as Dai-Ichi, create special rooms (with green tea and comfortable places to sit), where researchers are expected to spend a half-hour daily, telling whomever they meet about their current work. Neither of the two preceding examples requires large financial investments in technology that will rapidly become obsolete. Yet both examples demonstrate how HRM could help a firm orchestrate and facilitate knowledge sharing.

As can be seen from the previous discussion, the knowledge facilitator role cannot be easily slotted into traditional HRM functions, such as training and development or compensation. The knowledge facilitator role is much more broad and requires creative integration across traditional HRM activities. It entails both rethinking old ways of managing the workplace as well as using innovative approaches outside the box of traditional HRM. Most important, becoming an effective knowledge facilitator requires conceptualizing HRM as a vehicle for creating capabilities and capitalizing on the human factor to create a community of knowledge workers.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Examining Worker Productivity (Part 1)

Kathryn Shaw's detailed research inside steel mills set a higher standard for how to evaluate the impact of management practices on worker productivity.
If you're a manager, you've heard it all before: Build teams, develop trust, empower your workforce, be proactive, etc., etc., etc. There's no shortage of management gurus and consultants to sell you expensive advice about how to make your workforce more productive. And no wonder. With the rise of globalization and an ultra-competitive economy, managers who don't understand the imperatives of increasing efficiency and productivity and, ultimately, shareholder value are quickly "pursuing other interests."

But how do managers know which of the many human resource practices currently being heralded as innovative really work? Human resource departments often propose that managers adopt new practices such as offering employees more flexible hours, job sharing, employment guarantees, and ongoing training. One study in 2000, for instance, found that 85 percent of 700 companies surveyed had implemented at least one of these relatively new HR practices.

Meanwhile, productivity has been on the rise since the mid-nineties. Is there a link between the two trends? Hard evidence that innovative HR practices boost employee productivity—much less the bottom line—is hard to find. And that's a problem for thoughtful managers. After all, you'd never spend money on a machine tool or computer unless you had good reason to think you could demonstrate a reasonable return on your investment.

In a series of groundbreaking studies, economist Kathryn Shaw, the Ernest C. Arbuckle Professor of Economics at the Business School, identified quantifiable links between imaginative HR practices and increased productivity. Characterized by deep analysis of individual plants and data collection across an entire industry, her work sets a new and higher standard for research in the developing subspecialty of personnel economics.

Shaw, who served on the Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration, began her study of productivity while a member of the faculty at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University. Fittingly enough, her work focused on the steel industry, the historic heart of western Pennsylvania's economy.

Although she grew up in California's San Fernando Valley, Shaw was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and many of her relatives had a connection to the mills, as engineers or accountants or plumbers, or simply residents who knew the local economy depended upon Big Steel. When money became available to do research in the mills, she saw it as "a great opportunity to get inside firms and see how they improve performance."

"There is no business that is more interesting to visit—you can really 'see' what matters and what doesn't,” she says. "The mills are also a work of art—of color and drama and people—and, in fact, I have a collection of oils and original photographs of them." Shaw now works on productivity in high-tech companies where she sees people sitting at computer terminals—low key in comparison.

After months of observation of 36 integrated steel finishing lines, Shaw found that plants that used the most innovative human resource management system were rewarded with a gross annual payout of $2.24 million more annually per line than those with traditional systems.

More recently, Shaw examined the effect of new information technology and new human resource practices on another classic old-economy industry: valve production. "When people think of IT, they usually think of computers on desks," she says, "but in this case the technology was embedded into the machine tools."

Plants that combined the most advanced machinery with better training and development of better employee communication and teamwork skills were able to produce customized products, a significant competitive advantage over shops that could produce only standard valves, she says. Workers in the advanced plants need more than excellent mechanical skills. They must be trained to be flexible and to work on varied products at the same time, and to take more responsibility for solving problems as they arise.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Talent Brand

The challenge to attract attention by differentiating yourself is not a new one, of course. When it comes to their product or service brands, organizations, especially large companies, generally "get it." In hotly competitive industries, such as retail, companies spend millions establishing their name and creating a strong brand image that compels consumers to reach for their products. A strong brand sets expectations and engenders loyalty. It can overcome price differences, distribution problems, economic turmoil, and public relations debacles. A strong brand influences people. It creates an emotional bond.

Unfortunately, many times companies have not put the same effort into making sure the overall brand is carried through in their efforts to communicate with Great Talent. They have not defined what makes their organization a unique place to work. They have not mapped out the type of person they want to attract and go after. They have not built messages and pro¬grams to go out and get those people. In short, they have not identified or put any work into their "talent brand."

If the reputation of a company's products or services is its face, the talent brand is its heart and soul. It represents the collective goodwill of the people who make the company go. The talent brand is about service, positive interaction, and mutual respect, but it is also about livelihoods, hopes, and aspirations. These qualities are the essence of the talent brand.

Just like a product brand, a company's talent brand builds over time. It can engender the same feelings of desire, the same dreams that a compelling product message brings to life. It can bring tremendous loyalty and, through word of mouth, more traffic to your doorstep.

Getting Started

As with a product brand, creating the right talent brand requires creativity and hard work. First, recruiting needs to be a strategic imperative for the company, alongside marketing. Whoever is charged with creating your talent brand should collaborate with your marketing team to determine the compelling link between the company, its philosophies, goals, principles, and its talent. What is the essence of the company, and what is it about that essence that makes candidates feel like they want to be a part of it all?

Second, who is your ideal candidate? Find out in as much detail as possible who your target employee is—what she likes to do, what she likes to think about. What special skills and knowledge does she possess? What are her aspirations, her dreams? Take your time with this. Do your homework. Remember, there is growing popular interest in career opportunities. Do you want to spend all your time sifting through unqualified talent? It will be exponentially faster and easier to find your ideal candidates if you know, in detail, exactly who they are.

Third, create a message that speaks to your ideal candidate. Take the business goals and objectives, the realities that the company faces them into a story that appeals to exactly the sort of a company needs. To be effective, the message should create an emotional reaction. It should cause a light to come on inside your ideal talent. Do this, and you will cause your prospective talent to start picturing how their lives might be different if they were working for you.

Some companies have created and communicated an effective talent brand for years. U.S. outdoor equipment outfitter REI has long enjoyed a reputation of providing an engaging work environment and comprehensive benefits. Beyond that, REI also projects an image that automatically attracts the kind of employees the company wants. REI has tapped into the essential appeal of the outdoors and brought that appeal to its talent force as well as its customers. The company's employees buy into REI and its mission because the brand represents them and, in the words of brand guru Scott Bedbury, "provides an emotional context for their lives."

This example reveals another benefit of a talent brand—it is also a screening tool, because applicants will invariably gravitate to talent brands that align with their identities.

Ref: Rusty Rueff and Hank Stringer

Sunday, May 11, 2008

HR to become a Strategic Partner

Challenges for HR to become a Strategic Partner

1. Avoid Strategic Plans On Top Shelf (SPOTS).
More strategies are written than acted upon. More visions are created than realized. More missions are espoused than executed. More goals are stated than accomplished. Becoming a strategic partner means turning strategic statements into a set of organizational actions. Overcoming the challenge of SPOTS requires that HR professionals force organizational issues into the strategic discussion before strategies are decided. HR needs to facilitate organizational diagnosis that highlights how aligned business strategies are to organization culture.

2. Create a Balanced Scorecard
The concept of Balanced Scorecard is not new but its application has become increasingly popular. A balanced scorecard focuses on serving multiple stakeholders (investors, customers, and employees) and can be a total performance index assessing executive performance. HR executives, for example, are judged on the extent to which they add value for each stakeholder. The categories apply to any large or complex business.

• Economic Value Added (EVA): Meeting the financial numbers expected of the executive.
• Customer Value Added (CVA): Meeting Customer-service goals.
• People Value Added (PVA): Meeting employee expectations.

These three indicators form an overall, balanced scorecard measure for tracking executive performance. If HR executives are to be strategic partners, they need to absorb and apply the concept of the balanced scorecard in two ways.

First, they need to be equally accountable for all segments of the balanced scorecard, not just for the employee dimension. As the balanced scorecard indicates, employee commitment is only one criterion for effective HR performance, and HR professionals in strategic partnership will be held accountable for the same dimensions as other managers.
The HR professional’s performance is no longer judged by his PVA score alone, but by all three scores. This approach requires that HR professionals master their business’s financial and customer issues and recognize their contribution to attaining these goals.

Second, although accountable for all three dimensions of the balanced scorecard, HR professionals should provide intellectual leadership on the employee dimension. This means that we as HR professionals should not restrict ourselves in measuring employee commitment and satisfaction index alone. Rather, we need to define the employee dimension of the balanced scorecard not only in terms of employee attitude, but also in terms of organizational processes. The processes represent those activities that affect employee attitude, such as leadership, teamwork, communication. Empowerment, shared values, mechanisms for treating individuals with dignity and so on. By measuring these processes and employee attitudes, HR professional fully define the employee stakeholder dimension of the balanced scorecard.

3. Benchmarking, or learning about best practices, has become increasingly important when it comes to evaluating Human Resource management. With great fervor, teams of employees identify and visit other companies recognized as world class. These field visits provide businesses with information on how to gauge their work relative to the best in class.
Traditionally, benchmarking was done on the harder, more objective aspects of a business, for example, technologies, systems, financial ratios, or quality. Increasingly, firms also benchmark softer management practices.

Firms like General Electric and Digital Equipment Corporation deploy a senior management team to examine management practices in some of the best managed firms in the world to identify key processes for improving productivity. It was concluded that best practice in human resources should focus less on a particular practice than on a set of general principles. This involves leveraging a system of HR practices by focusing on two or three key strategic initiatives that promote the integrative theme. This way the HR function adds value that is credible and understood by both line and HR management.

Friday, May 9, 2008

10 Quality Goals for Managers

As per internet research there are numerous fundas and frankly too much gyaan on what many different writers seem to think are the ‘Top 10 Qualities’ a manager should have. The amusing part of it is that every list of the ‘Top 10ers’ seemed to be almost completely different. In fact, there seem to be as many ‘top 10 qualities in a manager’ as there are managers! Below listed are 10 goals that one should strive for when seeking to become a professional, people-person manager.

. See Possibilities – Good Managers know how to bring out the best in others. They look for possibilities that perhaps no one else can see.

. Know the Structure – Know the structure of the company – the guidelines, limitations and policies. A good manager needs to be up-to-date on what the current procedures are in the company so they can give employees good, clear expectations.

. Remember: Small Actions Count! – Little drops of water make the mighty ocean, and little deeds of kindness act as glue that holds the puzzle pieces together. Each time you go out of your way to do something nice for another, it is noticed, and you are respected that much more.

. Be Creative –A creative manager separates a competent manager from an exceptional one. Creativity adds that special spark to otherwise mundane responsibilities and projects, and can act as an inspirational tool for co-workers and other employees.

. Commit – Commit not only to the success of your team’s project, but to your team members as well. Remember: your level of commitment is contagious.

. ‘Human’ – Don’t let your authority create a gap between you and the members of your team. There is nothing wrong with being yourself. Be someone your team members can look up to. Gain respect, loyalty and a good connection that way.

. Stay Versatile – There is always room for flexibility and versatility. Be open to sudden changes and others suggestions – even if they are a junior.

. Think back – Think back to how things would be for you if you were in their place. How would you want your manager to be? Be that manager.

. Have fun while you work – A good manager knows how to have a good balance between being professional at work and having fun in the process. I’ve known this quality to work wonders in combatting attrition as well! But don’t forget, there is a very fine line between having fun while your work and still staying focused.

. Be a role model – Remember that you are the leader for the people who work under you. They will mirror you and your work ethics. Be worthy of being a role model.
Ref: Timesjobs

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Job Analysis

Job analysis is the process of determining the nature or content of a job by collecting and organizing information relevant to the job. A complete job analysis contains information relating to the following five factors, plus any others deemed appropriate to fully describe the nature of the job:
(1) work products?what the job seeks to accomplish;
(2) necessary worker activities or behaviors required by the job;
(3) equipment used;
(4) factors in the work environment; and
(5) personal characteristics required to do the job, such as typing speed, physical strength, or interest in working with children.
The personal requirements of a job are referred to as job specifications. Job specifications are the human requirements deemed necessary for minimally acceptable performance on the job. Job specifications can include skills, abilities, education level, experience, interests, personality traits, or other physical characteristics.


Job analysis methods can be categorized into four basic types: (1) observation methods; (2) interview techniques; (3) questionnaires, including job inventories or checklists. This section describes and discusses these methods.
Observation Methods
Observation of work activities and worker behaviors is a method of job analysis which can be used independently or in combination with other methods of job analysis. Three methods of job analysis based on observation are: (1) direct observation; (2) work methods analysis, including time and motion study and micro-motion analysis; and (3) the critical incident technique. Though they employ the same method, these methods differ in terms of who does the observing, what is observed, and how it is observed.

Direct observation.
Using direct observation, a person conducting the analysis simply observes employees in the performance of their duties, recording observations as they are made. The observer either takes general notes or works from a form which has structured categories for comment. Everything is observed: what the worker accomplishes, what equipment is used, what the work environment is like, and any other factors relevant to the job.
Direct observation methods have certain natural limitations for job analysis purposes. First, they cannot capture the mental aspects of jobs, such as decision making or planning, since mental processes are not observable. Second, observation methods can provide little information relating to personal requirements for various jobs because this kind of information is also not readily observable. Thus, observation methods provide little information on which to base job specifications.

Work methods analysis.
A sophisticated observation method, work methods analysis is used to describe manual and repetitive production jobs, such as factory or assembly-line jobs. These methods are used by industrial engineers to determine standard rates of production which are used to set pay rates. Two types of work methods analysis are time and motion study and micro-motion analysis. In time and motion studies, an industrial engineer observes and records each activity of a worker, using a stopwatch to note the time it takes to perform separate elements of the job. Micro-motion analysis uses a movie camera to record worker activities. Films are analyzed to discover acceptable ways of accomplishing tasks and to set standards relating to how long certain tasks should take. Such data are especially useful for developing training programs and setting pay rates.
Critical incident technique.
The critical incident technique involves observation and recording of examples of particularly effective or ineffective behaviors. Behaviors are judged to be "effective" or "ineffective" in terms of results produced by the behavior.

The following information should be recorded for each "critical incident" of behavior: (1) what led up to the incident and the situation in which it occurred; (2) exactly what the employee did that was particularly effective or ineffective; (3) the perceived consequences or results of the behavior; and (4) a judgment as to the degree of control an employee had over the results his or her behavior produced (to what degree should the employee be held responsible for what resulted?).

The critical incident method differs from direct observation and work methods analysis in that observations of behavior are not recorded as the behavior occurs, but only after the behavior has been judged to be either particularly effective or ineffective in terms of results produced. This means that a person using the critical incident method must describe a behavior in retrospect, or after the fact, rather than as the activity unfolds. Accurate recording of past observations is more difficult than recording the behaviors as they occur.
Interview Techniques
Interview techniques involve discussions between job analysts (or other interviewers) and job occupants or experts. Interviews held on a one-to-one basis are called individual interviews. Interviews with groups of two or more job occupants are called group interviews. Job analysis data from individual and group interviews with employees are often supplemented by information from supervisors of employees whose jobs are analyzed. Job analysis interviews can also be held with a small panel of experts, such as supervisors or long-time employees who are very familiar with the job. Interviews of this type are called technical conferences. The end product of a technical conference is a job description that reflects a consensus of the experts' thinking.

Interviews can be unstructured, with questions and areas of discussion unspecified, or they can be more highly structured, spelling out each point for discussion. Using a structured format increases the likelihood that all aspects of a job will be covered in an interview. Further, using a more structured format enables collection of comparable data from all persons interviewed, making information classification easier.

Observation and interview techniques of job analysis are often used in combination or in developing more sophisticated methods of job analysis.

Questionnaires can be filled out by employees on an individual basis or by job analysts for a group of employees. Questionnaires vary in the degree to which they are structured. Relatively unstructured questionnaires ask questions that are open-ended, or seek an unspecified answer. Examples of open-ended questionnaire items are as follows:

1. Describe the duties of your job.
2. Describe your daily routine.
3. What skills do you feel are essential to the performance of your duties?

Friday, May 2, 2008

HR Policy and Manual

HR policies vary considerably from one organization to another, depending on the age of the organization, its size, the nature of the workforce and the position regarding union recognition, but here are the main policy areas:
This is a statement about the general view by the management of employment in the organization. It is likely to carry ringing phrases about teamwork, fairness, innovation and opportunity, but may also include a declaration about the degree and method of employee involvement and the security of employment in different parts of the workforce.

Staffing and development:
Here will be the specific undertakings to employees and the management strategies to be followed in appointing the most appropriate people, providing the opportunities for career growth and ensuring that employees develop their skills and capacities in line with the growth of the business. The main features of this policy area are how vacancies will be determined, where applicants will be sought and how decisions will be made in selection. There will be further sections on how promotions are made, training opportunities and requirements, as well as the use of performance appraisal and assessment centers.
Employee relations:
Policies in the area of employee relations will depend on the union recognition situation, but typical features are arrangements about recognition, bargaining units and union membership agreements, agree¬ments relating to negotiation, consultation, shop steward representation, membership of joint committees, safety matters and points of reference, such as following national engineering agreements on the number of days' annual holiday.

Mutual control:
Several features of policy and related procedure deal with the working relationship between the organization and the employee or employees. These are mainly to deal with the approach to matters of grievance and discipline.

Terms and conditions:
Aspects of terms and conditions policies are approaches to determining differentials in payment, levels of sick pay, pension provision, holidays, study leave and hours of work.

Equality of opportunity:
A different type of HR policy is that relating to equality of opportunity. Theoretically, equalizing opportunity should be subsumed in all the other areas, but legislation and pressure groups have tended to identify this as an area needing separate treatment.


HR specialists could use the following procedure to devise policies:

1) Identify the topic: Individual topics on which policy clarification is needed have to be identified and worked on when the time is ripe. In identifying the topic, one has to be sure that it is correctly identified and that a policy statement will be timely.

2) Determine the key features: After the general idea has been accepted and shaped, there will be the key features of the policy to be determined. In the area of trade union recognition, the idea to be sold is whether or not to recognize. If the idea of recognition is accepted, the key features to be determined will be to decide which union to recognize and for what the union will be recognized - individual grievances only, terms and conditions of employment, manning levels or what?

3) Agree the details: The last stage is to agree the precise details of the policy statement, with all the implications for later interpretation and implementation. If the key features have been previously determined, then the detailed considerations can be carried through without the risk of jeopar¬dizing what the policy is intended to achieve, but the importance of the details should not be ignored.
Ref: Derek Torrington and Laura Hall

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What is the Utility of Selection?

Utility refers to the overall usefulness of a personnel selection or placement procedure. The concept encompasses both the accuracy and the importance of personnel decisions. Moreover, utility implies a concern with costs?costs related to setting up and implementing personnel selection procedures and costs associated with errors in the decisions made.

The utility of a predictor or selection method depends upon four factors:

1. The accuracy or validity of the predictor.

2. The selection ratio.

3. The base rate of success.

4. The costs and benefits of selection decisions.

Generally, utility of a selection method is higher when it results in a higher base rate of success for a job. Base rates of success increase when a higher-validity predictor is used and when lower selection ratios are used. If a base rate is already quite high, it is difficult to find a predictor that can "beat the base rate." In this case, utility of a predictor will be low since there is little room for improvement. The factors of validity, selection ratio, and base rate, however, do not consider the costs of making selection decisions and, particularly, the costs and benefits of these decisions.

Costs and benefits of selection decisions can be divided into actual and potential costs and benefits. Actual costs include those for all applicants, including recruiting and selection process costs and costs for newly hired employees, such as orientation and training costs, wages, and benefits. Potential costs are those associated with selection errors. Potential benefits come primarily from hiring applicants who exhibit the ability to succeed in the job.

Ref: Thomas.H.Stone