HRM Functions Link To Organisation Development

This report analyzes on the role of Human Resource Management (HRM) and Organisation Development (OD) on are attracting and retaining staff and downsizing. Organisations are recognizing the importance of managing their human resources (HR) as effectively as possible. As all people and organizations are constantly going through change, it is essential to devote a great deal more time, attention, skill and effort to have a competitive edge. Moreover, with the environment becomes more global, managing people also becomes more challenging, more unpredictable and uncertain and more subject to rapid change and surprise. Therefore, the need for a change process of organisation development (OD) supports improvement of the organization particularly its value in helping organisations understand how to develop their capability to continuously adapt to changing market and social conditions.

Discussion about the 2 issues is elaborated in different headings. The introduction of the report will include the research background, the limitations of the report, the sources and methods in data collection and the report organisation. Next, the report will give an overview on the HR & OD methods and how the HR & OD are integrated in the discussion issues.

Following by the first issue on the discussion attracting and retaining staff, further elaboration of the challenges faced methods of HR and OD in attracting staff and retaining. The challenges will include providing a fair rewarding system, interesting work and hiring on long term fit. Next, methods such as creating employer branding and career development opportunities will be explained. Next, merges, reengineering, acquisitions and strategic partnerships are some reason that lead to downsizing. The challengers that HR & OD practitioners face includes addressing to the laid off employees and layoff survivors, methods to get the motivation and trust back from the employees such as focus on career development and Re-emphasize the Mission, Vision, Values and Goals which will be explained.

Lastly, the report will further analyze the importance of HR & OD understanding and support processes to improve an organization’s ability to implement change in healthy and least destructive way.


The Research Background

The purpose of this report is to critically analyse how the core Human Resource (HR) Management functions link to Organisation Development (OD) and its methods. The topic was researched and broken down into main headings with a discussion which will be strengthened by references from credible authors which will give the reader a clear and precise overview of the importance of Human Resource Management and Organisation Development integration

Limitation of the Report

This report has been collaborated to highlight how the core Human Resource Management functions link does to Organisation Development and its methods. Due to the restricted research, the amount of information available is minimal. There were many different information provided by the authors.

The Source and Methods of Data Collection

All research material used has been sourced from accredited authors. The Murdoch University Library, National Library, associated journal database and news articles abstracted from web was utilised to source the material.

Human Resource and Organisation Development (HR&OD)

Human Resource Management

HR management have traditionally fulfilled two primary roles, which are administrative and operational-handling transactional activities. Most of these processes were designed to ensure that things run smoothly for the organisation, while at the same time ensuring that people got a fair deal, were adequately rewarded, had the opportunity for personal development, were happy and motivated at work and were well managed. Most HR functions aim to add value to their organizations. They want to be efficient and effective in their transactional tasks, in return, contributing strategically to the success of the business. Therefore Human Capital Theory seeks to explain the gains of education and training as a form of investment in human resources (Nafukho, 2004).

Organisation Development

Organisation Development (OD) is the process of improving the organization as a whole. It is an effort planned, organisation wide, managed from the top (Beckhard, 1969). The client and consultant work together to gather data, define issues and determine a suitable solution to the existing problem. The Organisation has to understand the current situation and identify opportunities for change that will meet the business objectives. Therefore for an organisation to enter the knowledge economy, it is vital for them to review their training and development to a broader aspect (Bryans, P. & Smith, R, 2000). The whole process is carefully planned and implemented to benefit the organization, its employees and its stakeholders.

Reasons for HR&OD integration

With an ever changing workforce, employees expect more from a day’s work than simply a day’s pay. Therefore, an effective organization must be able to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. Adaptability and responsiveness are essential to survive and thrive. HR & OD must become interactive and interdependent in order to have a positive impact on the organization

A professional human resources management must blend with organisational management because when the resource is effectively utilized, the results are profitable for the individual, organisation and society at large (Nafukho, 2004).

While the use of OD offers HR a competitive advantage, it also focus on planned change to promotes organisational learning and effectiveness for the benefit of the company With the strategic link between OD and HR, the two functions find areas of commonality working together, collaboration, and creativity can surface and be applied to needs of the business effectively. Thus, the integration will enhance the performance and capacity of the organization and productive workforce.

Human Resource Methods

There are several HR methods, naming some of the many methods are recruitment and selection, HR skills training, improving working lives, operational and employee relations.

Recruitment and Selection

The process of filling an organisations job vacancies by appointing new staff. It is important to have a well-defined recruitment policy in place, which can be executed effectively to get the best fits for the vacant positions. Selecting the wrong candidate or rejecting the right candidate could turn out to be costly mistakes for the organization.

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HR Skills Training

The provision of work-related education, either on-the-job or off-the-job, involving employees being taught new skills or improving skills they already have. Employees must attain behavioural competencies skills necessary to perform tasks and assignments. The development and training of employees contributes to effective production performance at lower costs with increased successful employee retention and motivational levels (Beardwell & Holden, 2004).


Remuneration occupies an important place in the life of an employee as it refers to their wages, salaries, incentives, fringe benefits and perquisites

Performance appraisal

An assessment and review on employees on how to become better more motivated, and eventually more successful The work performance of the employee is examined and discussed in great detail in order to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for improvement, and skills development (North, A. 2006).

Improving Working Lives

With a healthy working and improved balanced lifestyle for employees, the company benefits from a ‘win-win’ situation that results in overall higher productivity.

Employee control over work can reduce stress and enhance motivation and growth. Several key findings have prompted employers to search for ways to give workers a greater sense of control, to improve health, productivity and morale (, accessed on 8 June 2010).

Employee Relations

Ensure that there is a good relationship between the employees and the employers with the objective of increasing the productivity, morale and motivation. Make sure the employees discipline and conduct adheres to the rules of the organization. Oversee that the problems of the workers are solved and preventing such problems occurring.

Organisation Development Methods

Interpersonal Intervention

It focuses at improving people’s working relationship with one another, using techniques such as T-groups, team building to improve employees’ communication ability and interpersonal skill. Adding on with process consultation, conflict resolution, personal growth workshops, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence training to understand, diagnose and improve their behaviour.

Techno structural intervention

A change program that focus on the technology and structure of organisation.

Change program such as Re-engineering in machinery, methods, and work process redesign.

The organisation set a structural design towards more integrative and flexible.

Downsizing to reduce costs and decreasing the size of organisation.

Strategic intervention

It links the internal functioning of organisation to the larger environment and transforms the organisation to keep pace with changing conditions. It also meant organizational transformation

focusing on the cultural change, self-designing organizations and organisation learning.

HR intervention

Focus on personnel practices used to integrate new employees into the organisation.

It emphasises on better utilization of human resources by improving employees’ morale, motivation and commitment.

Some of the duties carried out by them are on the job design, hiring and selection, performance management, reward systems, employee wellness, multicultural training and coaching.

Attracting Staff & Retaining Staff

Challengers faced by organisations

Due to global competition for staff and countries are heading towards a demographic low in the working population, this means a dramatic increase in competition for skilled workers.

Management may experience failure in effectively sourcing potential candidates during the recruitment process and this may affect the competitive advantage because of the inability to acquire skilled workers (Compton & Morrissey, 2002).

The process of attracting staffs is becoming more and more complex and the outcome of these processes is vital for the job performance and organisational success. It is not only about recruiting staff to make up the number but also the right person to do the right job as human resource management is about getting the right people to work in the most productive way in the positions most suited to their abilities (Torrington, 2005).

The positions that are hardest to fill and have the highest turnover are mostly professional and other highly skilled roles that include doctors, nurses, and child protection practitioners, teachers in certain disciplines, engineers and scientists.

Roles of HR & OD

As experts and facilitators in the areas of human behaviour and organizational change, it is important for an organisation HR management team to identify the human resources currently available, and forecast the human resources needed to achieve the organisation’s mission and objectives planned by the business planning team, which are the OD practitioners They work together develop a performance management system that properly aligns individual and organisational goals. When a change of strategic direction is required, recruiting the right candidates is an important factor to increase the chance of success (Beardwell & Holden, 1994).

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is currently facing problem attracting and retaining its staffs. Many hold a negative perception joining the force as they see it as tying themselves down to a bond to the organisation. A bond is usually between 3 to 10 years stated in the contract, hence becoming an internal factor that deters people. In additional, while some feels that the salary scheme is not attractive enough for them to commit.

When a staff is near to the end of its minimum term of service bond, which means they are free to op for an early release. Mostly chose not to stay on due to reasons such as personal endeavour to venture into the private sector, unhappy with the remuneration scheme, limited opportunities, working environment is too regimental and strict etc.

When the organisation realises these hindering factors, collaboration between HR, IT and Finance department is required to come out with a delivering strategy to provide a consistent approach to support management teams on attracting and recruiting staffs.

Creating Employer Brand

An organisation’s employer brand and reputation go a long way in attracting people. It is the collection of ideas and beliefs that influence the way current and potential employees view an organisation and the employment experience that organisation is offering. The main objective is to make people feel more positively about the organization.

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An example from the SAF, the HR management plans major events such as the SAF Career fairs open house was held by the forces to showcase their technically advanced weaponry and technology capabilities get to know the first-hand information on military life, and emphasizing on its Vision and Mission in ensuring nation security. Assign recruitment officers to interact with the visitors, by sharing their training life and experiences in the force, advice regarding the career schemes, application procedures, career progression and the scholarship and sponsorship schemes available.

An important point to highlight by the OD practitioners are on the strategic intervention with its vision and mission, event theme, scheme objectives states the clear direction of the organisation is heading towards, stimulating the pride and interest of the people to strive and protect the nation, and at the same time making it a career (, accessed on 08 June 2010).

In order to join the force, selected applicants has to undergo stringent medical check-ups, interviews by HR & senior management members, competency-testing and background screening before final selection is made. By following these strict procedures planned by the change agents, it presents the seriousness and regimental first impression of the SAF pride in their working culture. Moreover, the ability to achieve competitive advantage through people depends in large part on the composition of the work force. This, is the function of who is hired, and how they are developed, these factors will lead to who is retained (Sturman, 2003).

Reward systems

The challenge therefore for organisations is to develop reward systems that are perceived to be fair and equitable and distributing the reward in accordance with employee beliefs about their own value to the organisation (Ramlall, 2004). The HR practitioner assess on employees’ performances and rewards them according to the reward system set by the OD practitioner, with individuals having more control on their reward, at a basic level this can motivate, at a higher level can introduce self esteem and self worth. These increases may determine the rate of progression through an organisation (Farnham, 2002).

Career Development Opportunities

With more advanced weaponry and sophisticated technology, complex equipments to operate, employees are constantly being sent for training and exercise. Opportunities will always available for employees who perform well and recommended by its superior.

It will be seen as a learning opportunity to get its hand on operating latest technologies, at the same time it serves as recognition to the employee from the organisation.

Using an example of the SAF, there are several overseas detachments training and exercise available, where new technology and equipments operating skills can be learn from the

The top businesses understand the need for differentiated policy frameworks. They understand that commitment and reciprocity are the basis for retaining high-value employees (Risher & Stopper, 2002).

Provide Interesting Work

Rewarding work is a key factor of whether employees stay in a job or leave. Employees are likely to stay if their work has an impact and contribution on the business. Where rewards and remunerations are planned by the HR management, OD practitioners are also able to create alignment between different activities, projects and initiatives such as mixing employees job with more interesting tasks, providing additional skills development plan that gives employees a goal to work towards. With a work process, it gives employees’ authority and control over the work that they do. Thus it enables them to maximize engagement, ownership and contribution to the organisation.

Hiring Linked to Vision

It is essential to identify what skills it will need in order to meet its vision and goals. The HR manager and the change agent gets together to have an organisational diagnosis on the specifically related skills it will need now and in the future base. Therefore, it is important to base hiring decisions more on behavioural and cognitive abilities than on technical skills and experience. With a correct mindset, employees will be able to blend into the organisation culture with development of a positive, progressive, and high performance way of operating, whereas technical skills are able to be taught.

Good Work-Life Harmony

Key challenges to establishing work-life harmony in Singapore are workload, time, and a lack of support from senior management. The Management and change agents should understand the behaviour and emotions of the employees and foresee the potential problem that may arise which might affect their morale and motivation.

For an example, as the World Cup season approach, change agents foresee the potential raise in medical leave and absenteeism among staff as they catch the late night action on television, thus productivity is likely to suffer. However, to keep the morale of the employers and not hurting them emotionally, HR management can ensure balance between work and play during World Cup month by having open communication channels such as organising events to watch together as a company and be more flexible on the reporting hour (, accessed on 11June 2010)


After analyzing the role of HR and OD in attracting and retaining employees, it can be concluded that both HR and OD plays an important part in ensuring the organisational success, as the ability to achieve competitive advantage through people depends in large part on the composition of the work force whereby creating employer brand, reward systems, providing career development opportunities and interesting work were discussed to provide solution for attracting people to join the organisation.

Next, in an effort to reduce turnover and increase retention, Companies must also be able to identify whether turnover is caused by external or internal factors. In the case of internal factors companies can do several things to retain staff. One example an organisation can do is hire the right candidates on a long term fit. Thus, making the recruiting and selection process very important

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Moreover, employers must consider whether the employee shares their company’s vision and will adapt to their workplace. It should strive to continually develop strategies that will make their organization an employer of choice. Some strategies are providing interesting work that matches the skills and interests of employees with their work assignments and give recognition and praise.

In summary, even though finding and keeping employees has never been easy, both HR and OD needs to remain positive on the challenges ahead and not imprudent in making decision that will jeopardise the organisation health. Hence they hold a heavy responsibility as an organisation continued success also depends on their ability to attract and retain talent.


The process of downsizing is one of the restructuring strategies used during tough economic times to reduce costs by decreasing the size of the organization through personnel layouts, organization redesign and outsourcing. Each of these downsizing methods must be planned with a clear understanding of the organizations strategy.

The Need to Change

Market pressures force organizations to change rapidly. Management staff pulls together and determines the amount of costs and expenses that need to be reduced, and how much can come out of layoffs (Moore, 1949). Base on the organisational diagnosis established by the change agents, the management develop a total understanding of the business goals and strategies. In support of those strategies, the senior management has a detailed plan on who will be let go, and who will remain with the company.

Implementation of Downsizing

Employees who were laid off

The time between an announcement and the actual layoff should be as short as possible as to provide a clear view of the situation at hand without causing mass-panic. HR Managements are usually the one to announce the names in the downsizing list, thus being labelled as the ‘bad’ person. Hence it is extremely important of getting the process right and fairly on the compensation benefits and severance pay for the departing employees, as remaining workforce will be watching.

Employees who remained

During times of change and uncertainty, Emotions play an important role and may be the most difficult obstacle for management to overcome in downsizing, but every effort should be made to make terminations as smooth as possible, (Jane, 1977).

HR Managers and change agents need to understand these issues around change and support the employee in the organization through the downsizing experience. Under normal progression of change during a downsizing, the layoff survivors’ People experience personal distress that can include illness, defensiveness, and low energy, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, accidents, and interpersonal conflict. Managers must be visible and accessible to the situation and work with the change agents on potential conflicts arising and the emotional aspects. Hence HR & OD practitioners has to change the appraisal, reward, selection, development, and communication systems to reflect the new goals and objectives of the downsized organisation rather than keeping those systems that reflect the old organisational form.

Focus on Career Development and Building Self-Esteem for Layoff Survivors

As a company’s strategies change, the types of management competencies and styles need to change as well, and human resource department is responsible for this alignment to integrate training into the strategic planning process.

Layoff survivors are worried that they don’t have the knowledge and skills necessary to do their new or expanded jobs. The HR and OD practitioners has to require an examination of the core competencies and skills as they relate to the vision, in order to assure them their value to the organisation, at the same time, they experience self-security and high self-esteem.

With less job security, the best reward an organisation can give an employee is transferable skills (Marchington & Wilkinson, 1997).

Re-emphasize Mission, Vision, Values and Goals after Layoffs

The vision for the future has undoubtedly changed or received new life in the downsizing process. Therefore, Managers have to keep an optimistic outlook and associate downsizing with a clearly expressed vision of a desired future for the organization, so that people feel strategically connected to the overall strategy and direction. This helps people focus on progress and the future rather than on the layoffs, the downsizing and the past.


After analyzing the role of HR and OD downsizing, it can be concluded that downsizing is a deadly solution or otherwise. Utilised carefully by HR Practitioners and with planning from OD Practitioners, downsizing can be an organisational lifesaver, but when layoffs are used repeatedly without a thoughtful strategy, downsizing can destroy an organisation’s effectiveness.

However, although downsizing can have devastating effects on those people on the negative side, it also creates tremendous opportunities for growth and skill development for the remaining employees. After a restructure, the employees can grow vertically and horizontally within their company. Such as mentioned focusing on career development and building self-esteem and re-emphasize the mission, vision, values and goals.

Next, the organisation has to show care for the layoff employee, as they lose more than just a job, they lose self-esteem and sense of financial security. Thus it is important to helping employees understand and come to terms with the fact that they have lost their jobs

Moreover, the survivors has to fill the job load of those who left, in order to do so, it requires a precise planning and swift execution from the management. Develop programs to aid and train employees on new skills and ability to handle greater amount of work.

Therefore, in order for an organisation to function efficiently and progress from the downsizing effect, both the role of HR & OD must be mindful of the after effects and collaborate to come out a plan to minimise unwanted conflicts and dispute between the organisation and the employees.

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