August 6, 2014

Human Resource Management and Selection

This chapter and subsequent chapters on topic of staffing are not comprehensively covered chapters. Koontz and O'Donell tried to give emphasis to dimension of managers ignoring the important frontline operators. I need to read other books on principles of management to see if they provided any content on staffing of operators.

Staffing is defined as filling and keeping filled positions in the organization structure.

The managerial function of staffing is defined as filling, and keeping filled, positions in the organization structure. This is done by identifying work-force requirements, inventorying the people available, and recruiting, selecting, placing, promoting, appraising, planning the careers of, compensating, and training or otherwise developing both new employees and current job holders so that they can accomplish their tasks effectively and efficiently. Staffing is closely linked to organizing, the setting up of intentional structures of roles and positions. As the organization chart is feasible only when it can be staffed or filled.

Most business executives  would agree that people are the most important asset of an enterprise. The development of these human resources can be managed in a  systematic manner.

In practice, usually there is little or no integration between human resource planning and other managerial functions such as enterprise  In this chapter, the authors tried provide the description of  a conceptual human resource model that integrates the various aspects of human resource planning and links them with other managerial functions.

Staffing affects leading and controlling. Well-trained managers exert leadership by creating an environment in which people, working together in groups, can achieve enterprise objectives and at the same time accomplish personal goals. Similarly, the selection of qualified managers also affects controlling by, for example, preventing undesirable deviations from becoming major problems.

Staffing is carried out within the enterprise. It has to consider internal factors and external environment factors. Therefore, internal factors of the firm - such as personnel policies, organizational climate, and the reward system - must be taken into account. Clearly, without adequate rewards, it is impossible to attract and keep quality human resources managers. Similarly, the external environment cannot be ignored; high technology demands well-trained, well-educated, and highly skilled managers. In fact, technology often demands a multiprofessional work force with managers trained in several professions such as engineering, physics, and mathematics. Another external factor may be a small supply of managers coupled with great demand for managers in the labor market, which may prevent an enterprise from growing at a desired rate.

Effective staffing demands a systems approach.

Enterprise Plans

For effective manpower planning, one must start with enterprise plans,  which are formulated in the planning process. In planning, opportunities for the enterprise are identified, and objectives are set. Alternative courses of action are developed, evaluated, and selected. For example, a favorable market for a new energy-saving engine may be identified. Consequently, a specific market share objective - let us say 3 percent by the end of the year - for the new product line may be considered reasonable.

This may be based on the premise that the Gross National Product will grow at certain  percent annually for a certain period in the future. To be sure, alternative product lines are also considered; but, based on the data, the energy saving vehicle is selected as having the best prospects for success. Because the enterprise operates in an uncertain environment, contingency plans are also developed. It is important, however, that planning not be done in isolation. Rather it must become an input for the staffing function. After all, the plans will have to be implemented by people, hence the importance of relating them to the human resources.

Organization Plans

In order to carry out the plans, organizational arrangements must be made. Thus, to develop the new vehicle, certain required activities are identified and grouped. For example, identification would involve outlining such activities as financing the project, designing the engine, purchasing the parts, assembling the units, analyzing potential markets, developing advertising materials, and a myriad of other details. These activities are then grouped into classifications such as engineering, manufacturing, purchasing, and marketing. Authority is then delegated to managers in these various classifications to perform the activities outlined. Finally provisions are made for vertical and horizontal integration of authority and information relationships. Clearly, the organization structure must be filled and maintained with competent managers, and this is the purpose of human resource planning.

In this connection, one must consider how far in the future an organization and staffing plan should
extend. Basically, this depends on the degree of flexibility an enterprise has, and the "commitment
principle." This principle implies that decisions should be made taking into account the time in the
future necessary to foresee the fulfillment of commitments involved in a decision made today. If, for
instance, an enterprise develops its own managers - as most firms do - fairly long-range plans are
required. On the other hand, firms that adhere to a policy of open competition will be more flexible,
because they may also fill positions with managers from outside as the needs become apparent.
Flexibility also varies with the size of the enterprise. In a large company, so many positions exist that
managers can be transferred to departments with the greatest needs.

After all, the plans will have to be implemented by people, hence the importance of relating them to the human resources.

The Management Inventory

A manpower inventory can indicate the need for proactive action to keep the higher positions in the organization filled. A manpower inventory chart is an an organization chart with managerial positions indicated and further information  with respect to the promotability of each person holding a position under him into his position. In this connection, appraisal of the abilities of managers becomes an important input for the manager inventory chart because it facilitates the assessment of knowledge, skills, and proficiency of managers. Furthermore, this chart is useful for preparing management and organization development plans to overcome deficiencies in managers and to utilize their potential.

Analysis of Needs for Managers:

The needs for managers are determined by enterprise and organization plans and,
more specifically, by the number of managers required and the number of managers available as
identified through the management inventory. These data, therefore, give rise to four demand and
supply situations, which require different emphasis in manpower actions.

With a high supply of, and a high demand for, managers, the focus is on selection, placement, and
promotion. Consequently, efforts are devoted to matching the available managers effectively with
enterprise needs.

Low supply of and a high demand for managers, on the other hand, require a different emphasis. If the
company favors internal promotions - and many firms do - special emphasis would be placed on
training and development to enlarge and improve the pool of managers, but this takes time, and
planning far in advance of actual needs is essential. For most situations, staffing should be based on
open competition for available jobs, and managers from both inside and outside the firm should
be considered. Thus, recruitment is another option. In a situation with a high demand for managers
within the enterprise, chances are that other organizations also have a high demand for managers.
Compensation, therefore, must be competitive. This is important for managers already employed by
the enterprise so that they do not leave the firm, and it is also essential for attracting managers
through the recruitment process.

A company with a high supply of  managers and a low demand has several alternatives available.  Either the firm can change plans to take advantage of the managerial assets, or it may resort to outplacement - a conscious attempt to help managers find and select other suitable employment. Layoffs, demotions, or early retirements are other alternatives.

An organization with a low supply of and a low demand for managers will give special attention to
enterprise plans because the availability of only a few managers may inhibit the firm's future growth.
Since developing managers is a long process, the company should start developing managers early if
there are prospects of changes in demand for managers in the future.

The description of four types of situation indicates  that different supply and demand situations require different emphasis on manpower actions, a fact sometimes ignored in human resource planning.

Recruitment, Selection, Placement, and Promotion

After the need for managerial personnel has been determined, a number of candidates may have to be
recruited, a process which involves attracting qualified managerial candidates to fill the organizational
roles. From these, managers or potential managers are selected by choosing the most suitable
individuals from among the candidates. The aim is to place people in positions where they can utilize
their personal strengths and, perhaps, overcome their weaknesses by getting experiences in those skills
in which they need improvement. Finally, placing a manager into a new position within the enterprise
often results in a promotion that normally involves more responsibility.

Organizations need to have policies for outside recruitment and internal promotion. The policy should provide internal persons adequate opportunity and incentive to develop themselves for moving into higher positions. But it also have to provide an option for the company to recruit an outside person when no person with the competencies is available in the company and also when a really capable person is available. Because high quality persons are an asset an organization.

Skills and Personal characteristics needed by managers

To be effective, managers need the following categories of skills: technical, human, conceptual, and design. Weirich and  Koontz mention that in addition analytical and problem solving abilities and certain personal characteristics are sought in managers.

The personal characteristics sought are:

Desire to manage
Communication skills and empathy
Integrity and honesty
Past performance as manager

In the category of skills, I advocate that conceptual skills are termed as business conceptual skills or even simply as business skills. A business skills is the ability to profitably exchange valuable assets or services. The exchange takes place between suppliers and an organization, between customers and an organization and between employees and an organization. While these are principle categories of business transactions, there are others like government, various public organizations that approach the companies for exchange of value and business skills are to be used here also. Design skills emphasize that the final managerial solution has to be synthesized from using skills in various categories.

Analytical and Problem-solving abilities:  Weirich and Koontz mention that one of the frequently mentioned skills desired of managers is analytical and problem-solving ability. Analytical skills should be used to find the needs of present customers or potential ones. Problem solving skills is to provide the products or services of the organization to the problem being faced by the potential customer (includes current customer also). This analyzing the opportunity and customer problem solving by organization's products and services would mean corporate success. In the analysis stage, managers have to recognize the emotions, needs, and motivations of the people involved in initiating the required change as well as of those who resist change.

Selection Process

Selection Criteria
Application by the candidate
Assessment centers

Orienting and Socializing New Employees

The first few days and week are crucial for integrating the new person into the organization. Orientation involves the introduction of new employees to the enterprise - its functions, tasks, and people. Although staff from the personnel department usually conduct formal programs of orientation, responsibility for orienting the new manager still rests with the superior.

Organizational socialization has three components: acquisition of work skills and abilities, adoption of appropriate role behaviors,and adjustment to the norms and values of the work group.

Updated 6 Aug 2014, 12 Dec 2011

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