Term Paper: Workings of HR Department

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Workings of HR Department

How the parts of the HR system align and support each other

The role of the human resource management system is increasing within the modern day society, in which the staff member is no longer simply the force operating the machines, but has metamorphosed into the most valuable organizational asset. In such a context, economic agents place more emphasis on human resource management practices in order to stimulate the staff members to increase their commitments to organizational causes and as such to support the success of the company.

The human resources system is a complex set formed from a wide array of elements which deal with the relationship between the firm and the individual even before the individual becomes an organizational staff members, and up until he/she leaves the firm, either for retirement or to work for a different entity. Common components of the human resources system include the designs of the job, the recruitment and selection of the candidates, the training and the integration of the individuals, the assessment of the staff capabilities and performances, the promotions or the financial and non-financial rewards.

While the components of a HR system are generally common within various firms, their specific features and applications depend on the particularities of each entity and situation. In other words, while the specialized literature presents the reader and the practitioner with various human resources models, each firm should develop and implement its own models. The scope of the customized models and systems is that of best serving the specific company needs and being tailored to particular features, such as organizational culture, size of the labor force, resource capabilities, field in which the company operates and so on.

With these statements in mind, the current endeavor strives to offer an objective assessment of the human resource system at a software organization. Emphasis would be placed on the means in which the various components of the HR system align and support each other. Additionally, attention would also be granted to the means in which the components of the human resource system impact various organizational features, namely the levels of employee morale, the organizational efficiency and productivity, the work / life balance of the staff members and the internal climate and organizational culture. Finally, the project comes to an end with a section on concluding remarks, which has an important benefit materialized in the fact that it constructs and offers several recommendations as they tailor to the specifics of the company analyzed and its HR system.

2. The firm

The company was established 12 years ago and it operates within the Information Technology industry. It employs an estimated 150 individuals, most of whom are professional software developers. Specifically, 100 of the employees are programmers and the rest of 50 employees are administrative staff, including:

10 top managers

15 human resources staffs

10 sales and marketing staffs

5 financial and accounting staffs

10 staff members of other categories, such as building maintenance and cleaning.

A specification which has to be made at this level is that the qualifications, roles and assignments of each of the 100 developers varies based on the project requirements as well as the developers' skills and expertise. In this order of ideas, 30 developers are junior developers, with a limited expertise. 35 are senior developers, with an increased expertise and vast knowledge of the field. 15 of the developers are architects and their skills and knowledge are vast and they are able to generate solutions and innovation, rather than simply write code. Finally, 20 of the developers are project leaders, which also posses vast technological knowledge, but which perform complex and combined tasks as they both supervise project developments, as well as maintain communications with the top management and with the organizational customers.

The company is specialized is the creation of software products for various categories of consumers from both the public as well as the private sector. The largest customer is a private university which has contracted the firm to maintain and update their database. This project requires the sustained efforts of 37 developers, all programming on the Java platform.

Java developers are also focused on other projects, such as the creation of applications for stock exchanges or the creation of software for pharmaceuticals companies. Aside form the Java developers -- which represent the highest percentage among developers -- the company also hires Magic developers, C and C++ programmers, as well as .net programmers. The projects onto which these categories of programmers work are smaller, but equally important for the firm. In this order of ideas:

The Magic software developers work on applications for an amusement park

The C. And C++ developers work on applications for hospital administration, and finally

The .net developers work on applications for customers in the public sector, namely the administration of the data bases for the local health care agency.

At the local level, the firm is recognized as one of the best employers in it as it provides its staff members with stability and professional formation, and these often compensate for the fact that the salaries are sometimes below the competitive values in the industry. The human resources system has also been created in a means that it generates employee satisfaction and motivation.

3. The HR system today

The bases of the modern day labor force were set during the Industrial Revolution. Before those days, the populations were spread out throughout the countries and were focused on agrarian occupations. As the Industrial Revolution emerged however, more and more factories were opened and the demand for labor force exponentially increased. The direct result was a migration of the population from the rural sites to the urban areas.

The people moved to towns and cities in search of better lives, but what most of them found was misery. The early day labor force was massive and under-skilled. It was as such underpaid and exploited. Women and children were asked to work in difficult conditions and were paid less than the men.

As the years went by and the injustices against workers increased, their resistance and determination also increased. The first unions were eventually formed and despite the anger they brought from factory owners and despite the massacres to which they were subjected, the unions managed to change the legislation in a means that it protected the rights of the workers. As immediate outcomes, the women and children were removed from hard working conditions, minimum wages were set and rest times were also established (Mokyr, 1985). In time, more laws would be passed to ensure the protection of the human rights in the work place, such as the non-discrimination acts or the equal employment opportunities laws.

Today, the legislation is mostly created to defend the rights of the staff members and its development has supported the transformation of the staff members from the force operating the machines into the most valuable organizational asset. Nowadays, the economic agents seek to employ and retain the best staff members as these stand the most chances of creating additional organizational value. The modern day scope of human resources management systems then is that of supporting a fruitful relationship between employer and employee by ensuring that the scopes of each party are attained as well as possible.

"Human resources management (HRM) is a process whereby the needs and expectations of individuals are matched with organizational requirements within the context of broader social norms. […]

HRM is that part of management dealing directly with people. It involves the productive utilization of people in achieving the organization's objectives and the satisfaction of individual paid staff and volunteer needs" (Collins and Trenberth, 2005).

Another element of the modern day society which has to be introduced at this stage is represented by the phenomenon of globalization. The process represents primarily the movement of values -- economic, social, technological, cultural and so on -- from one global region to another (Scholte, 2000). The opening of boundaries has created a context in which economic agents were able to transcend boundaries and benefit from the comparative advantage of other countries, such as an abundance of resources, a cost effective labor force or know-how.

In such a context, the competitive powers of all economic agents increased significantly and the competition within industries intensified. Today, this competition expands beyond the search for customers to also include the continuous search for the best skilled and trained staff members. The human resources management system offers economic agents a competitive advantage and supports them in attracting and maintaining the best staff members.

At a generic level, it is assumed that each function of the HRM system is able to generate organizational strengths which in turn enhance the company's competitiveness. Randall S. Schuler and Susan E. Jackson mention that there are two generic means in which a firm can use HRM systems to create competitive advantages. The first such means is represented by the adoption of generic HR policies which have proven successful in a wide… [END OF PREVIEW]

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