Roles of Human Resources Essay

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Human resources and their management face major challenges as the world becomes smaller every passing day. Businesses are aggressively competing with each other on a global scale and to cut production costs, jobs will always go to the lowest bidder. Advances in technology are forcing companies to hire fewer workers who have more superior skills.

The demographics of workers and consumers alike are becoming more and more diverse in terms of gender, race, and culture. E-commerce has become one of the leading industries in the world reaching deep into the global market and the global labor pool.And, in the middle of this cutthroat search for best and the brightest to man the shop, how will companies draw the line between acceptable behavior and Enron-ish attitudes? This paper will attempt to look into the changing roles and responsibilities of Human Resource Management in the midst of an ever-evolving world of business. Globalization Today, competition has stepped up in levels never even contemplated before.

The laws of economics are being pushed to the very limits. And in an attempt to minimize costs and maximize profits, companies are always looking for people who would be willing to work for lower wages.This need brought about the phenomenon of outsourcing. Jobs are being offered to foreign labor pools who would accept as less as 10% of the compensation demanded by local workers.

How are Human Resource Managers handling the situation? One writer (Hollon 58), tells us to “Get over it”. There is as much sense in complaining about outsourcing as complaining about the law of supply and demand. That is a right of the free market: to increase profits by acceptable production cost cutting. Hollon proposes that HR specialists should focus on the jobs that are emerging and train their people accordingly.New jobs requiring new specializations are being created everyday.

Instead of complaining about the jobs that are leaving the country, people should start preparing themselves for the jobs that are being generated by the demands of newer businesses. Technology The changes in technology have also brought about shifts in the way HR specialists deal with problems of the workforce. Results from a 2004 study (Hsieh & Hiu-Yu 1122) of hi-technology firms in Taiwan show that traditional job rotation for the purpose of avoiding job burnout may no longer necessary.This is because highly-specialized skills needed for the job are always evolving.

The employees would have to learn new skills in a very short period of time as new software and hardware are being introduced. The dangers of monotony and boredom are eliminated as the skills needed to perform in these industries are becoming more and more flexible. This also implies that workers in hi-technology industries will have to constantly “upgrade” their knowledge to fit the ever-changing needs of market. Diversity Diversity has always been a sensitive issue.Some people can become very uncomfortable with having a diverse work group while others might not even notice it. One research (Henneman 69) looked into the practices of Eastman Kodak Co.

and found out that, although much progress has already been made in terms of gender and race, many problems still have to be addressed on the issues of harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender employees (GLBT). Kodak attempts to solve these problems through the use of education and awareness programs and by penalizing acts of discrimination and harassment.Having a diverse workforce may improve the company image and attract a greater number and variety of consumers. It was mentioned (Henneman 70) that Kodak executives believe that by proving better treatment to gay employees, the 14. 2 million domestic gay consumers, who have the tendency to be brand-loyal, are being drawn to their products.

However, greater patronage must only be a secondary goal that is incidental to the primary intention which is to change the culture and attitude of the workers themselves.One study (Subeliani & Tsogas 844) shows that Rabobank, a banking institution in the Netherlands, uses diversity in their workforce to attract a wider array of multi-racial clients while the minority employees continue to suffer discrimination. In this case, the diversity plan is merely being used as a marketing technique and not a genuine effort to encourage mutual respect and understanding among different types of persons. This behavior is held to be highly questionable and unethical.

E-businessThe internet has introduced tremendous paradigm shifts in how business is being understood and conducted. Because of the ease and speed of communications, any employer can find quality persons to fill his / her workforce anywhere in the world with a single click of the mouse. However, because of this, there are new problems that emerge. The problem now would no longer be quantity but quality.

A great difficulty in E-commerce is the expensive recruitment method employed by online job boards like Yahoo HotJobs, CareerBuilder, and Monster.Human Resource Specialists are experiencing trouble with the voluminous entry of resumes sent by unqualified applicants (Pont 50). The unclogging of the company inbox entails much work from Human Resource Departments and since these job boards are usually paid on a per-applicant basis, much of the funds are wasted on useless resumes. The job market dot-com’s try to remedy this by providing matchmaking capabilities where the job applicant is matched to a potential employer based on the compatibility between the jobhunter’s skills and the employer’s needs.This way, applicants would not be tempted to apply for random jobs to the dismay of the employer. It is important to filter out these unqualified applicants on the onset in order direct the attention of HR personnel in selecting the best candidates rather than waste their time sifting through thousands of resumes only to end up feeding them to the paper shredder.

Ethics Following the recent scandals involving companies like Enron, many business organizations have shifted greater focus the educating the workforce on matters of ethical behavior.Studies (Kiger) show that although ethical guidelines are being taught to the employees and even published in the company manual (like in the case of Enron), these efforts would mean very little if the company’s culture is conducive to dishonest or unethical behavior. Another study (Pont 26) would emphasize that it has to be clear from day one that unethical behavior will not be tolerated and ethical behavior will be rewarded. Guidelines on how to conduct business must not be treated as hollow formalities but as deep-seated company laws whose violation would entail suspension or termination.

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