Managing Workplace Diversity Within Hr Management Essay
Between the 1940s and the late 1980s the typical HR department substantially grew in size and breadth of purpose. During that time, HR departments obtained more accountability for people management and employee support while line managers reduced their responsibilities in these areas. Additionally to being accountable for managing people and related practices such as training, recommitment and pay administration, HR departments’ further deal with employee issues that line managers avoid handling. This includes greater staff turnover, staff absenteeism, low performance, supervisor-staff conflicts and grievances. However, many of these issues and practices could be equally more effectively handled by line managers who have a direct accountability due to their more rapid involvement with and increased understanding of staff needs and issues. By comprehending the strategic role of line managers in the management of people, HR departments have started reinventing, by way of people management, the comparative positions and tasks of line managers and HR professionals. Rather than handling people management issues directly, HR professionals see their major role as that of assisting line managers enhance their quality of people management and helping them cope with staff issues. By highlighting managers’ crucial position in people management, HR professionals could better improve the quality of their own services. It should be noted that HR assumed more responsibility for people; line managers had decreased some of their effectiveness as people managers. Increasingly is that the HR department is seemly turning into a balance for management, not a alternative for it (Personnel Journal, 1993) – The most important role of the HR department now is to measure, facilitate and improve the quality of management and teamwork, not to provide an avenue for managers to relinquish their responsibilities for people.
This fundamental alteration of HR functions has been primarily driven by: greater expectations of customers, increased pressures to diminish costs, benchmarking a standard of increased global competitive challenges, and prospects offered by progression in information technology. It should be important to note that:
1) HR functions are becoming both centralised and decentralised; 2) the roles and responsibilities of line managers and HR professionals are being redefined; 3) business’ are requiring an increased priority in the deliverance of HR services; 4) many of the routine operational activities of HR functions are being more programmed, reengineered and streamlined, release HR professionals for managerial and strategic challenges; and 5) the relative amount of HR professionals to staff are consistently decreasing in today’s society.
Why HR is changing so quickly?
Increased global competition, economic pressures to technological advances and deregulation – have forced many businesses to drastically change how they can achieve a competitive advantage.
A study of the fortune 500 companies revealed that in the 80’s HR employment had increased by 10%. In the 90’s 30% of the fortune 500 companies had recorded financial losses as a result of price reductions, share value losses, and diminishing markets. This resulted in companies drastically reducing their overheads in management levels and staff administration and HR accounted for nearly a one-third reduction.
This meant HR departments could not function in the way they were traditionally use to so a smarter streamlined approach was adapted and a need to redefine in particular line manager roles was needed to survive.
To adequately decrease HR costs, businesses have adopted three main tactics: attaining cost efficiency by shared services and adopting HR information systems.
Shared services combine HR activities that are otherwise diffused throughout a business such as payroll administration, benefits policy, basic sales or supervisory training, employee survey administration) (Ulrich, 1994b). Consolidation reduces costs. Additionally, shared services provide the benefit of delivering more consistent services to staff.
The primary function of information systems should liberate HR departments from time-consuming operational activities, such as payroll, benefits administration and employee record keeping.
To further reduce costs, companies are adopting a self service approach to give staff direct access to the system so they can update their personal details without involving HR.
Eliminating unnecessary work allows HR departments to assign their increasingly scarce departmental resources to comparatively higher value-added activities.
HR functions have acknowledged the increased need to provide value-added, more receptive and efficient services to their staff as opposed to methods in pre 1990’s.
HR departments are considered a barrier rather than a catalyst for line managers and staff to meet the business’ objective of fulfilling customer needs. HR departments are seen impeding rather than accelerating business activities, as confusing rather than streamlining business procedures and processes.
Employees require tailor-made services that offer higher value on internal operations, providing external stakeholders with an increased level of satisfaction. The increased trend for HR department is to become refreshed in their ability to react to the needs of staff.
Strategic Business Needs
From the 1990’s business issues are increasingly becoming known as related people issues (Pfeffer, 1994; Schuler, 1990)
Rather than being purely function-driven, such as pre-1990’s, HR functions are expected to serve far more active roles in today’s businesses’. Moreover they are facilitating organisational change, developing competitive advantage through people, and improving strategic implementation (Ulrich & Lake, 1990).
Advances in information technology provide organisations to improve their business processes drastically by:
1) Providing alternative routine operational activities with efficient information systems; 2) streamlining the business processes by providing line managers and staff with direct admission to information; and 3) allowing staff to make decisions with the use of specialist systems.
I thought I could begin (after the introduction) with presenting as I wrote a bit to explaining our “play”.
I will also send you dot points for my presentation what I would like to talk about.
As the first and closest person in charge of employees, Line managers are able to react to day to day operational and staffing issues quicker and with less bureaucracy than HR managers. Line managers are the direct superiors of the employees in their line of business which gives them a better insight into the culture of the workplace and so they are better placed to help the employees with their problems. Staffing issues are often solved with small and direct steps by the Line manager. Involving HR management would often take up too much time in explaining the particulars of the situation, employees’ backgrounds and the line of business culture. Line managers, therefore, have an advantage in that they can react in a timely manner as well as use this valuable information about their employees for the process of performance management.
In the process of performance management the knowledge of Line managers plays an important role. Within the process of ensuring that organisational as well as individual goals are achieved, line managers contribute important knowledge gained through their day to day interaction with their staff. They pay immediate attention to changes in people’s behaviour and productivity. Line managers are often in charge of encouraging performance as team leader. Therefore performance management is often placed with Line managers as HR managers don’t share this knowledge.
[note to be added to the conclusion: It should be noted that Line managers often don’t have the training and knowledge on how to implement and effectively use HR strategies. (an inside view page 263) A partnership between HR management and Line managers to share their expertise is desirable.]
Welcome everybody. As you have seen in our little play we demonstrated that Line managers speak the same language as their employees. I (Karin) will talk about that in more detail and will also mention the importance of Line managers in performance management. Sam is going to outline challenges faced by HR. David (I) will talk about the cost impact on Line managers HR involvement.
Lower cost, higher value: human resource function in transformation.
This is about our presentation:
these are some hr challenges
Challenge1 # Rewards: How do we motivate, engage, and retain workers without the usual tools of pay increases and incentives.
Challenge 2# Adaptive Leaders: We need leaders who are adaptive, who can be nimble and respond to all of the frequent changes our business is facing, so our challenge is to develop adaptive leaders.
Challenge3 # Strategic Development Programming: Learning and development must be strategic and transformational in this environment.
Challenge 4# Growing Business without Growing Resources: We need to grow our business with less resources and talent. But how do we do that when our workforce is already burned out?
Challenge5 # managing a Global Workforce: Our business is global and it is very difficult to engage and focus a global workforce.
Challenge6 #Workplace Flexibility: We are not an 8 to 5 working environment anymore. Younger workers get this, but our older managers don’t. How to get through this culture clash.
Challenge 7# Retention: When/if the economy turns around how do we retain our workforce? Many workers are hanging around now because they want stability
The Challenges of Workplace Diversity
The future success of any organizations relies on the ability to manage a diverse body of talent that can bring innovative ideas, perspectives and views to their work. The challenge and problems faced of workplace diversity can be turned into a strategic organizational asset if an organization is able to capitalize on this melting pot of diverse talents. With the mixture of talents of diverse cultural backgrounds, genders, ages and lifestyles, an organization can respond to business opportunities more rapidly and creatively, especially in the global arena. if the organizational environment does not support diversity broadly, one risks losing talent to competitors.
This is especially true for multinational companies (MNCs) who have operations on a global scale and employ people of different countries, ethical and cultural backgrounds. Thus, a HR manager needs to be mindful.
In order to effectively manage workplace diversity a HR Manager needs to change from an ethnocentric view to a culturally relative perspective.