Developing People Resources

Human resources staff are thriving in the current economic environment, said one industry observer.
Brent Claxton of Organization Metrics, a talent management solutions provider for companies like American Express and Johnson & Johnson, commented that terms such as “personnel management” are used in a more restricted sense to describe activities that are necessary in the recruiting of a workforce, providing its members with payroll and benefits, and administrating their work-life needs.
Today, with head count reductions, companies must have good picture of their talent, Claxton said.
“What you have and what talent you need can be two different things,” he said. “Some organizations are going through that now — faced with making a decision to cut 20 percent of the staff and not considering where the organization is going.”
HR professionals must have a coherent approach to the management of an organization’s most valued assets — the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the business, Claxton said.
HR has had a strategic role in organizations over the past decade to measure an organization’s workforce according to not only performance and numbers but considering personality and temperament and where people would be a better fit. The theoretical discipline is based primarily on the assumption that employees are individuals with varying goals and needs. They should not be thought of as basic business resources, such as trucks and filing cabinets.
“The HR field takes a positive view of workers, assuming that virtually all wish to contribute to the enterprise productively, and that the main obstacles to their endeavors are lack of knowledge, insufficient training and failures of process,” Claxton said.
The terms “human resource management” and “human resources” have largely replaced the term “personnel management” as a description of the processes involved in managing people in organizations. In simple sense, HRM means employing people, developing their resources, utilizing, maintaining and compensating their services in tune with the job and organizational requirement.
Layoffs Loom
The HR industry is faced with massive layoffs and has an opportunity to re-think the process of eliminating staff, Claxton said.
“Those people you are ripping might be a missing part in some other part of the organization,” he said. “They need them to drive the organization forward. HR must act as a gatekeeper of that talent and recognize who is able to play a specific role.”
Punctuated by a change in the market, HR types are looking to implement things they have been waiting to do for years and that is use strong performance management practices in their organization.
HRM is seen by practitioners in the field as a more innovative view of workplace management than the traditional approach. Its techniques force the managers of an enterprise to express their goals with specificity so that they can be understood and undertaken by the workforce, and to provide the resources needed for them to successfully accomplish their assignments.
Set Goals
“We feel strategic talent management must come from upper levels of the organization,” Claxton said. “With a set of objectives and the talent necessary for goal setting, leadership can ensure HR feels that they are belong, that they are part of the overall picture.”
The concern of course is that the pressure of the downturn will push strategic management off the radar screen, Claxton said.
“This is not the time to stop investing in the ‘succession initiative,’ for example,” he said. “The top performers need to feel there is a reason to stay. The retention and recruiting must not be pushed to back burner.”
HR has a challenge to reward the workers left at the company.
SDLqPersonnel management” comes into play, not in a restricted sense to describe activities that are necessary in recruiting, but providing members with payroll and administrating their work-life needs.
“We have to figure out how to compensate in tough times, how to motivate people in the workforce,” he said.

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