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Chrm Message From: ashishah Total Posts: 24 Join Date: 07/09/2006
Rank: Executive Post Date: 11/01/2007 23:36:57 Points: 120 Location: United States

This write-up was sent to me a few months back by a management student..

Human resource management has moved from favoritism to 360 degree appraisals and from annual picnics to year round motivation doses. But sadly enough, it has not moved into the Indian businesses, into the interest area of MBA students, into the CEO’s cabin or into the pay scale of other managers. Almost a decade after we started hearing phrases like ‘Management with a human face’, people still consider HR as an expense and not a profit center. Most activities of HRM yield intangible results, which are difficult to be noticed, appreciated or here in my case defended!

It is widely believed that few HR managers make it to the CEO’s position as against other functional managers. When assessed, reasons boil down to an HR manager’s perceived incapability to view business activities from the money or profit point of view. (Customer satisfaction is much hyped but yet to take over profit as the ultimate aim. It is rightly said, “Money is not everything. But it is far ahead of the second best thing in life.”). Little do the promoters of this view realize that all CEO’s have finance specialists at their disposal for views, suggestions and recommendations. And given the right information its easy for humans in this material world to set the money equation right. A specialist in setting the relationship equation right, with the growing number of stakeholders, should be more desirable.

Expanding the point I already made, HR managers are not paid at par with other managers. Reason being they are hardly looked at as specialists. A person can’t be appointed as an accountant without finance background but almost anybody with a good voice, good personality and balanced temperament can become an HR manager. And rest is economics – Supply is greater than demand (people matching the above criteria are available in huge numbers) and thus the resource fetches less price.

Based on a sample size of 120 MMS students of IES, I am tempted to draw a conclusion that more or less holds true. Most budding managers opt for finance or marketing not HRM, as specialization subject. Besides the reasons stated above, students fear being tagged as ‘Jack of none so master of HRM’. Not being able to display skills in number crunching or making creative slogans, students often opt for HRM, which is all in all a safer bet. So it ends up being a subject of specialization by elimination and not by choice. So in the end, most people avoid opting for it and most people who do are not sure why they want to do it.

I, through this article, want to break the myths and give people a true picture of HRM. HRM is not all about being ‘Nice’ (universal quality that everybody claims to have), but it’s about being able to handle relationships, which are too fragile not to be handled by specialists. An HR manager has the difficult task of handling ‘People’ who are least predictable and truly heterogeneous in all respects. No book can help an HR manager master his job.

Let me put up a stronger case based on visible facts in favor of an HR manager. Broadly, we can categorize resources that help an organization run under four heads – Land, material, labour and capital. But if we have the right amount of capital and if we know the right source, you will agree that procuring the best of land or material is an easy job. So if everybody has an easy access to these essentials of a business, what makes one organization more profitable than the other? What is the distinguishing factor? It is quite clear – the answer is human resource. Quality labour is not readily available. If one takes time to scan the HR jobs available in the market, one will find that the bulk of it is recruitment jobs. An HR manager’s major function is thus, getting the best manpower, the competitive advantage of most organizations. If you think that’s difficult, I would like to remind you of job hopping and employee poaching that people indulge in. Retaining employees, maintaining a low level of attrition rate on which organizations these days are rated becomes a part of the challenging job profile of an HR manager. As if that is not enough, HR managers are also enthrusted with the task of increasing human productivity. Major costs in organizations can be cut down by full utilization of resources and increasing productivity. This is very well handled by again our hero, who not only ensures 100% in his job but also cent percent performance by other employees through simple pay hikes or complicated application of Maslow’s need hierarchy model and others. Thus, the difficult task of satisfying employees whose demands are ever increasing is left to the HR manager. Before, you appraise this super human; let me introduce the other ingredients of his job. An HR manager has to ensure the upgradation of the human resource he recruits. Upgradation in terms of knowledge (technical and non technical) and skills (soft and hard) is required. Regular training and development programmes are to be held through seminars, workshops and other activities. And inspite of the hardwork and labour an HR manager puts in retaining people, when an employee decides to leave, its adds to the basket of activities of an HR manager. He is expected to conduct exit interviews, listen to the grievances of the parting employee and ensure his decent farewell. To sum it all, an HR manager helps each and every employee in his organization travel along his career path with ease and with accordance with the organization’s goals.

This multi-purpose manager is more and more becoming a vital element of an organization’s success. I hold an HR manager high on respect because – He is set out to learn - learn everyday - everyday from new people - from people who have emotions - And emotions, which are difficult to understand! A manager that handles such a difficult task is overdue for the respect he deserves!!!!

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