The main functional areas of HRM
Collings (2009) opines that human resource management can be well understood by dividing it into five main areas. These include staffing, human resource development, employee compensation and benefits, employees and labor relations, and safety and health.
Staffing is a critical function of human resource management as it entails practices and processes that ensure that organizations attract and acquire highly skilled and competent employees. Without the attraction of the right skills and competencies, then it becomes quite difficult for organizations to establish flexible working systems that are vital contributors to the fulfillment of organizational goals (Collings, 2009).
Collings (2009) observed that human resource development goes hand in hand with staffing. Organizations are supposed to channel these skills and competencies towards organizational achievement after they have acquired the right skills and competencies. Therefore, it is important for human resource management to embrace training as a way of ensuring that the skills and competencies are applied in the right way for the sake of organizational performance.
Most organizations now embrace strategic management, where the equation of organizational performance largely comprises of the inputs of the employees as defined by the organizational managers. The most desirable way through which the employees can fully dedicate themselves to organizational work is by ensuring their financial and non-financial needs are met. This takes place through the schemes of employee motivation, such as compensation and benefits (Brown, Sturman & Simmering, 2003).
Employee compensation and benefits are labor practices that characterize labor relations. Labor relations entail the steps that are taken by the organization in ensuring that the employees maintain positive relations with the organization. In other words, labor relations go beyond the normal compensation schemes as organizational managers are supposed to dig deep into all the policies and legislation that lead to best labor practices, which in turn position organizations strategically in the labor market (Collings, 2009).
Collings (2009) opined that the health and safety of employees have to be guaranteed if employees have to dedicate their energy towards organizational success completely. Most organizations are embracing diverse schemes with the aim of assuring employees of better consideration of their health and standards of safety, something that is contributing to lesser worry among the employees and motivating them to perform better.
Federal equal employment opportunity laws
Among the most renowned equal employment opportunities in the United States are the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. It is important to mention that these laws are safely guarded and enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.).
Contrary to the early times where less attention was paid to people with disabilities in employment, organizations are now compelled to consider people with disabilities in employment following the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. For example, the organization where I work has developed special stairs for employees with disabilities, which help them to move without difficulties.
Cases of intentional discrimination have subsided in organizations because of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, where organizations have been forced to embrace non-discriminatory practices. With the Equal Pay Act, women in the workplace have been empowered as women no longer have to fear to compete for positions with men (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.).
Trends affecting human resource management today
Burke and Ng (2006) observed that modern organizations are grappling with a number of emerging issues in regard to the management of employees. These include diversity, the issue of an aging workforce, and the deficiency of skills in the modern work environment.
Diversity is one of the things that are emerging in the realms of employment. Unlike in the past, contemporary organizations are increasingly confronted with external and internal issues that affect the environment in which organizations thrive. Thus, as a way of adapting to the changes that often pose pressure on organizations, organizations are adjusting by paying attention to the diversity of employees.
Diversity implies that organizational employees are supposed to be people who have a wide range of competencies so that they can be able to adjust to the dynamic organizational environment. Here, it is important to mention that a substantial number of organizations are implementing the idea of retaining employees with diverse skills to handle the complex issues that face organizations.
According to Burke and Ng (2006), an aging workforce is also another thing that faces human resource managers in contemporary management. It is imperative to observe that this problem is common in the developed world, where considerable success has been attained in controlling the human population.
What is important to note is the fact that significant gaps are witnessed in organizations where a large percentage of the workforce is composed of employees who are nearing retirement age. The implication here is that such organizations are at risk of facing significant challenges in terms of transitioning when the aging employees leave the organizations, and the firms cannot get people with the best-suited skills, experience, and competencies to replace the aged employees.
Though it is an emerging thing, the problem of skill deficiency catches the attention of a lot of professionals in the realms of human resources management. It is worth mentioning that a substantial number of organizations are suffering from skill deficiency because of what is referred to as the mismatch between the people who are released in the job industry and the skills and competencies that are required by organizations (Vedder, Denhart & Robe, 2013).
It is easy to connect the issue of skills deficiency in the modern labor industry with the problem of the aging workforce. For instance, there is a blame game between the aged employees and the young employees in a number of organizations. The young employees are accused of lacking experience and the urge to thrive in their work, while the aged employees are subjected to criticism by the young employees who accuse them of lack of competency in emerging skills like information technology.
Responding to workplace flexibility
Sánchez, Pérez, de Luis Carnicer, and Jiménez (2007) emphasize the essence of constant review of the workplace by organizational managers as a way of enhancing workplace flexibility. Most organizations are embracing learning as a way of ensuring that their employees remain up to the task with the dynamics of organizational management in contemporary times.
The rationale informing the observation is that continuous training ensures that employees are equipped with the skills and competencies that are required to address the issues that keep emerging and affecting the discharge of work. The other means through which organizations address workplace flexibility is the customization of the work environment. This is part of workplace rationalization and is implemented through a wide range of activities and programs, as long as these activities and programs help to ensure that the employees remain competent and proactive in terms of delivery amidst the dynamics in the work environment.
Brown, M. P., Sturman, M. C., & Simmering, M. J. (2003). Compensation policy and organizational performance: The efficiency, operational, and financial implications of pay levels and pay structure. Academy of Management Journal, 46(6), 752-762. Web.
Burke, R. J., & Ng, E. (2006). The changing nature of work and organizations: Implications for human resource management. Human Resource Management Review, 16(2), 86-94. Web.
Collings, D. G. (2009). Human resource management: a critical approach. New York, NY: Routledge. Web.
Sánchez, A. M., Pérez, M. P., de Luis Carnicer, P., & Jiménez, M. J. V. (2007). Teleworking and workplace flexibility: a study of impact on firm performance. Personnel Review, 36(1), 42-64. Web.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.). Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination questions and answers. Web.
Vedder, R., Denhart, C., & Robe, J. (2013). Why are recent college graduates underemployed? University enrollments and labor-market realities. Center for College Affordability and Productivity (NJ1). Web.