Introduction plans that will integrate with the organisations main


Human Resource
Management (HRM) is a characteristic of organisational management that focuses
on the management of personnel. HRM is used to establish structures devised for the management of people
within an organization. It focuses mainly on management needs rather than
employee needs and concentrates on the provision and deployment of employees.
It is considered to be a very important feature of people management based on
the theory that human resources, if implemented efficiently and effectively
could determine the success of an organisation. Many organisations have failed
due to the fact that the importance of HRM was not recognised. An organisation
needs to be competitive and employing the right people to ensure that the organisations
goals are achieved is imperative to its success. HRM is aimed at recruiting
capable, adaptable and dedicated people, managing and rewarding their
performance and developing key competencies (Cole & Kelly, 2011). HRM needs
to be part of an organisations strategic plan to ensure that objectives are met
not only in the short term but also in in the long term.

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Core HRM Activities

There are a number of
core functions of HRM that must be looked at to understand its concept and how
it contributes to the overall success of an organisation in the competitive



The core functions of
HRM in an organisation are;

Strategic role, for HRM to help an
organisation to set their long and short term goals that will be included in
the strategic plan. To set out HRM plans that will integrate with the
organisations main objectives and goals. An example of this can be seen in the
Health Service Executive (HSE) National Service Plan 2017 where it states that
one of their main goals within the organisation in relation to their HRM policy
is        “we will engage, develop and value our
workforce to deliver the best possible care and services to the people who
depend on them”.

Employee resourcing, which covers a wide
range of functions including planning, recruitment and selection. This function
is essential within the HSE as specialists such as analysts and technology
experts are being brought on board to make sure we keep up to date with a fast
paced changing society.

Employee development, to ensure that staff
are given training and opportunities to develop. Under workplace initiatives
within the HSE, employees can be supported to undertake education opportunities
e.g. degree to help develop their roles within the organisation etc.

Pay and Reward management, such as
increments within the HSE or financial rewards or health benefits in private

Employee Relations, which covers HRM
activities such as communications, dealing with Trade Unions and employee

Administration, looking after employee
records, ensuring employment policies and practices are adhered to and also
data protection.

The benefits of HRM
within an organisation can be seen on a number of different levels. For the
employee it’s about reaching their maximum potential while making a commitment
to the organisation. For the organisation there are numerous benefits, they
have a skilled and motivated workforce, who are high achievers and strive to
ensure the organisation is successful. This workforce will also aim to meet the
organisations objectives set out in the strategic plan.




Factors impacting HRM approach.

There are a number of
different factors which influence organisations in their approach to HRM
activities. There are internal as well as external factors which can be examined
to access their impact on an organisation.

1) Environmental

An organisation needs
to decide the importance of including HRM in their strategic plan. If it is
included each employee needs to accept that it is vital to the success of the
company. If the company is not performing well or there is a downturn in the
economy this will constrict the HRM function in utilising its full capacity.
For example, if the budget is not there it will be hard to hire the specialists
required to fill certain functions.

The external factor is
often out of the control of an organisation. PESTLE analysis (political, economic, socio-cultural,
technological, legal and environmental) describes a support structure of environmental
scanning, which is a component of strategic management. It is part of
an external analysis conducted by an organisation which examines the different
macro-environmental factors to be taken into consideration when considering the
impact each of these factors would have on the organisation. It is a strategic
tool for understanding market growth or decline, business position and potential.
In the public sector such as the HSE, implications of e.g. political decisions
and policies could have a huge impact on HRM. The recent moratorium on
employing or recruiting Civil and Public sector staff was seen as detrimental
to the efficient day to day running of all services. Since the moratorium ended
strategic planning of HRM is prevalent in the current HSE National Service Plan
2017 and is seen as an important factor in achieving the organisations
objectives and goals.

There are a number of
internal factors that will also determine the different approaches to HRM
within an organisation. The factors to be examined are;

organisations structure and size.

Organisations need a
defined and systematic system or structure through which they can communicate
with each other and coordinate their efforts. The defined relationships in an
organization, namely people, tasks, structure, information and control
processes – is known as organization structure. Organisation structure is the
systematic arrangement of people working for the organisation in order to
achieve objectives and goals. The type of organisation structure will be
determined by the size of your organisation and consideration also has to be
given to a growing organisation and if the structure needs to change
accordingly to reflect this.


profile of your workforce.

It is
very important to know your employees within your organisation, to know the demographic
of your existing workforce. To understand what makes them “tick”, if they are
skilled or unskilled, if they need training or development opportunities. It is
important to know their strengths and how to manage any weaknesses you could
encounter. It is also very important when recruiting new people into the
organisation to know exactly what sort of person you need to get the job done. Organisations need to
compete for talented employees. It is important to understand that potential
employees have differing expectations and organisations need to think about
what will attract job seekers to the workplace. Organisations need to be clever
in the way they advertise job opportunities to encourage and entice the best
people to fulfil their job specifications and ultimately the organisations


Human Resource practices.

Established Human Resources (HR) practices offer a more open,
flexible and considerate management style so that staff will be motivated, feel
supported and valued. Good HRM practices are instrumental in helping achieve
the organisations objectives and enhance productivity.


within an Organisation.

The culture that exists within your organisation can also
greatly affect the efficient function of HRM. Organizational culture is a system of shared
assumptions, values and beliefs, which will guide how people behave in organizations. These shared values
have a strong impact on the employees in an organization and
sets the direction in how they act and perform their jobs. For example, a poor
work ethic in a certain departments can have a detrimental effect on the
overall productivity in this area. It can lead to problems with new staff who
often feel they have to “follow the pack”. It can be hard to motivate this
cohort of staff as often they have been in the same job doing the same thing
for a long number of years and they do not like change or new polices or

2) Strategic Choice;

Strategic Choice describes
the role that senior managers or leading groups play in influencing an
organization through making choices and decisions which will impact on how they
view the importance or not of the HRM function when formulating the strategic
plan. Senior managers can have the power to distribute resources as they see
fit often serving their own ends. If they view the HRM function as an integral
cog in the success of the organisation, this will influence and impact on HRM
decisions and polices throughout the organisation. More importantly HRM will
influence the strategic plan thus setting goals and objectives and be on an
equal level with the other departments within the organisation.


3) Managerial values
and ideology:

There are two styles of
management to examine when considering the factors which impact the HRM
approach within an organisation. There is the Unitarist manager who assumes
that everyone in an organization is a member of a team with common goals and
objectives. It illustrates a central theme of HRM, that an organization’s
employees, whether managers or lower-level employees, should share the same
objectives and work together amicably. From this perspective, conflicting
objectives are seen as negative and can be debilitating. Pluralist managers
focus on control and management over employees rather than motivation (IPA
Notes, 2017). Pluralist managers believe that the way to achieve good
industrial relations is to acknowledge that the various groups of employees
have different requirements and demands. It is important for the management
that each employee has a voice or opinion and that compromises are made. The
organisation does not expect the loyalty of their employees where unitarism
works on the concept that everyone in the organisation is a family.


of an Organisations Size on the HRM Approach.

There are two
different approaches to look at when considering how an organisations size
impacts on HRM, recognising that each organisation small or large has their
own unique needs. Basic objectives and activities will remain the same in both
organisations. One of the clear differences that define smaller and large
organisations is the bureaucratic nature of the larger business aligned with a
more hierarchical structure.  Due to the amount of employees within a
large company, they are naturally more hierarchical.  Often this leads to teams
working in silos, or without fully understanding what the rest of the organisation
does.  This structure allows for employees to specialise in their job, as
anything that falls out with their remit will often come under the remit of
another department.   

In a smaller company, due to the flat
nature of the management team, it is easier to interact with decision makers as
they will probably be within a few feet of you. HR
is very important in small organisations because of the significant impact one
or a few employees can have on the organisation. There will always be a need to
develop a fairly comprehensive human resources program, using HR strategic planning
techniques and building those techniques and strategies into your overall
plan. Some of the key activities will include recruitment, training and development,
performance management and administrative support. Line managers will also play
a significant part in the HRM function as often in smaller organisations it is
their responsibility to deal with all matters that relate to HR and will be an employee’s
first point of contact for queries. The payroll will be a smaller organisations
largest costs and it is important that effective usage of HR can significantly
increase performance and profitability (IPA, 2017). Normally there is no HR
specialist needed due to the small number of employees. It is the responsibility
of the organisation to ensure they provide adequate training and encourage development
for their existing employees.  Recruitment
is very important in small organisations because poor selection can have a serious
effect on the organisation.

Larger Organisations and
the complexity of these organisations will have higher levels of specialization
and formalization of HRM. They will have a wide and multifaceted HRM policies
and procedures that all employees must adhere to. Formalization is the extent
to which an organization’s policies, procedures and rules are written and accurately
articulated. Formalized structures are those in which there are many written
rules and regulations e.g. Employee Handbooks. These structures control employee
behaviour so that employees have little autonomy. An advantage of formalization
is that the organisation can expect certain behaviours from employees. Employees
respond to problems in a similar way across the organization and can refer to
their handbooks to see what the procedures are that they must follow. Another
function of HRM seen in large organisations is the employment of a specialist. The
HR specialist assesses the employment needs of the organisation and tries to
meet them. The specialist will examine the strategic plan and see what staffing
goals need to be met. It is the responsibility of the specialist to get the
right person for the job.