II. The Trends Shaping HR Management - Human Resource responsibilities have become broader and more strategic over time in response to a number of trends. The role of HR has evolved from primarily being responsible for hiring, firing, payroll, and benefits administration to a more strategic role in employee selection, training, and promotion, and an advisory role to the organization in areas of labor relations and legal compliance.
A. Globalization and Competition Trends – Globalization refers to the tendency of firms to extend their sales, ownership, and/or manufacturing to new markets abroad. Globalization of the world economy and other trends has triggered changes in how companies organize, manage, and use their HR departments. The rate of globalization continues to be high, and has several strategic implications for firms. More globalization means more competition, and more competition means more pressure to lower costs, make employees more productive, and do things better and less expensively.
B. Indebtedness (“Leverage”) and Deregulation – In many countries, government stipends stripped away rules and regulations. In the United States and Europe, for example, the rules that prevented commercial banks from expanding into new businesses, such as stock brokering, were relaxed.
C. Technological Trends – Virtual online communities, virtual design environments, and Internet-based distribution systems have enabled firms to become more competitive. HR faces the challenge of quickly applying technology to the task of improving its own operations.
D. Trends in the Nature of Work – Jobs are changing due to new technological demands. Dramatic increases in productivity have allowed manufacturers to produce more with fewer employees. Nontraditional workers, such as those who hold multiple jobs, “contingent” or part-time workers, or people working in alternative work arrangements, enable employers to keep costs down.
1. High-Tech Jobs – More jobs have gone high tech, requiring workers to have more education and skills. Even traditional blue-collar jobs require more math, reading, writing, and computer skills than ever before.
2. Service Jobs – Most newly created jobs are and will continue to be in the service sector.
3. Knowledge Work and Human Capital – This refers to the knowledge, education, training, skills, and expertise of a firm’s workers. The HR function must employ more sophisticated and creative means to identify, attract, select, train, and motivate the required workforce.
E. Workforce Demographic Trends – The labor force is getting older and more multi-ethnic. The aging labor force presents significant changes in terms of potential labor shortages, and many firms are instituting new policies aimed at encouraging aging employees to stay, or at re-hiring previously retired employees. Growing numbers of workers with eldercare responsibilities and high rates of immigration also present challenges and opportunities for HR managers.
1. Demographic Trends – The U.S. Workforce is becoming older and more ethincally diverse. Demographic Trends are also making finding and retaining quality employees more challenging.
2. “Generation Y” – Born between 1977 and 2002, these employees want fair and direct supervisors and aim to work faster and better than other workers.
3. Retirees – Organizations must deal with the large number of people leaving the workforce. In many cases the number of younger workers entering the workforce is not enough to fill all of the vacated positions.
4. Nontraditional Workers – These workers may hold multiple jobs and may be contigent or part-time employees. Technology is facilitating these alternate work arrangement.
5. Workers from Abroad – This is one way that organizations are trying to overcome the large number of retirees, but the option is sometimes met with opposition as unemployment increases.
F. Economic Challenges and Trends – All of these trends are occurring in a context of challenge and upheaval. In Figure 1-5, gross national product (GNP) – a measure of the United States of America’s total output – boomed between 1940 and 2010.