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									MBA Education & C areers


   Human Resources has become the buzzword on B-School campuses. Managing Human Resources in
       an organisation lies at the core of this function. Here, we present an indepth article by
    Mr Mohit Menon, PGDM (TAPMI), on this area of specialisation in management education.

          ery often we see, in today’s world, that
                                                          Broadly, a Human Resources professional is
          one of the key differentiators between
                                                          involved in:
          the success of one organisation and the
  failure of another is the quality of human              ♦ planning manpower requirement and devising
  resources at their disposal and how they use              tools for the recruitment process;
  them.                                                   ♦ description of various jobs in the organisation
  A few decades ago, ‘Personnel Management’ as              and the kind of people who are required to
  a function had a very limited role to play in the         man these jobs;
  corporate scheme of things. Personnel Managers          ♦ planning the training needs of employees and
  were meant to help recruit people as per the needs        tools of training;
  of the organisation, convey the annual                  ♦ devising performance appraisal systems for
  increments / bonuses of employees, settle                 employees at different levels (and in different
  compensation and industrial disputes that arose,          functions) in the organisation;
  stays on the right side of the law of the country
                                                          ♦ planning the career growth path of different
  and maintain records of retirement
                                                            employees in consultation with their
  benefits / pensions of employees.
                                                            functional heads;
  Over the past few years, however, the function          ♦ developing compensation / retirement
  has undergone a sea change. The winds of                  packages and incentives to attract and retain
  ‘liberalisation’ that started sweeping across India       the best talent in the industry, as per the needs
  in the early 90s saw Indian companies gearing up
                                                            of the organisation;
  to face competition from several multinational
  companies on several fronts. One of these fronts        ♦ ensuring that the organisation complies with
  was the need to ensure that they had the best             all legal statutes with regards to
  available talent working for them. Companies              compensation, industrial disputes and
  started realising that having better quality              company law, and
  manpower working for them significantly                 ♦ counselling employees who face work-related
  improved their chances of survival in the market.         problems.
  Realisation dawned on organisations pretty soon
                                                          Let us have a brief look at some of these issues.
  that in order to recruit the best talent, just paying
  salary and providing some retirement benefits           A Human Resources professional has to plan for
  was not going to be good enough. Thus started           the manpower requirement of the organisation
  the growth in importance and influence of HR            each year at different levels, across functions,
  department in organisations.                            and across geographical areas in consultation

   October 2006 26
MBA Education & C areers


  with the functional heads of the organisation. The   judged not just by their superiors but by their
  HR person has to also decide on the process of       peers, subordinates, and sometimes by their
  selection such as test/GD/Interview.                 suppliers too!
  Even before an attempt to recruit employees is       Today, HR professionals face the tough task of
  made, HR professionals study the nature of each      ensuring that the compensation package that their
  job in different departments and at different        organisation offers is competitive when compared
  levels. Based on this, they have a clear idea of     to what the other players in the same industry
  the kind of skill sets and education an employee     are offering. The challenge lies in not just
  would need to have to do a particular job and the    attracting the best talent to their organisation but
  kind of qualification and work experience needed
                                                       also to retain that talent. They also need to provide
  in order to be considered for the assignment.
                                                       an employee a suitable growth path. Therefore, it
  Depending on the profile of the applicant and
                                                       comes as no surprise that today’s employees are
  how well the applicant meets the defined criteria,
                                                       offered stock options, dating allowances, fully
  the compensation package is decided.
                                                       paid maternity and paternity leave and crèche
  With industry quite literally being in a perpetual   facilities in the workplace. Apart form these,
  state of flux due to rapid strides in technology,    organisations offer team rewards like trips abroad
  it is important that employees are continuously      and outbound programmes. Employees and their
  updated with the latest developments in their        entire families are also provided life and health
  industry and functional area. The HR                 insurance at a cost to the company.
  department in the company identifies individuals
  who need such inputs to add value to                 Also, the duty of the HR professional is to ensure
  themselves and the organisation. Employees are       that, at all times, the organisation is on the right
  also trained to take on new roles of                 side of law with regard to wage compensation,
  responsibility as and when assigned to them          statutory earned leave and holidays given to the
  by the organisation. The HR department decides       employees. Another function of the HR
  on the tools of training such as group exercises,    professional is to ensure that work progresses
  learning through lectures, solving of case           smoothly and any potential worker / union
  studies, attending a special project as part of a    flare-up is immediately snuffed out by
  study programme, etc.                                smoothening the ruffled feathers of the parties
  Gone are the days when performance appraisals        concerned. Today’s organisations realise that
  were conducted once a year in order to determine     they cannot afford to lose a single day’s work
  the increments and promotions of various             because of such reasons. Today, no one talks of
  employees in an organisation. Today,                 man-days, everyone talks in terms of man-hours.
  performance appraisal is not just a tool for         That’s how critical ‘working time’ has become in
  measuring the performance of employees, it is a      today’s world.
  way of giving constant feedback to the
                                                       The Human Resources professional also plays
  employees on where they stand and what more
                                                       the role of a counsellor to those employees who
  they are expected to do. It is not unknown to see
  appraisals that happen on a quarterly basis in       face problems at work, such as those who are
  most organisations. To eliminate any possibility     unable to cope up with work pressure and stress,
  of bias in the appraisal and to keep the process     those who have greater need for training, those
  as transparent as possible, employees are often      who become victims of sexual harassment,
                                                       health-related problems, etc.
                                                                                    October 2006 27
MBA Education & C areers


  Good HR professionals are always in demand in        professionals. A student majoring in HR during
  any industry. It is said that HR professionals are   the course of his / her MBA can expect to join as
  like wine. The older they grow the better they       a management trainee and can hope to eventually
  become. HR professionals are required to be          become the director of the function.
  articulate, and have an extremely calm
  temperament, and should be willing to take on
  deadlines and meet fresh challenges each day.
  Students who graduate from good B-Schools
  succeed in finding jobs across a wide range of
  industries in large corporates, management
  consultancies, recruitment consultancies,
  Government        corporations,      non-profit
  organisations and IT-enabled services companies.            (The author is General Manager,
  These sectors pay very well to competent HR               Student Relations, T.I.M.E. Pvt. Ltd.)

   October 2006 28

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