Thursday, March 2, 2017

The New Human Resource Manager

"Personnel" managers used to focus mostly on administrative activities. They took over hiring and firing from supervisors, ran the payroll department, and administered benefits plans. As expertise in testing emerged, the personnel department played a bigger role in employee selection and training.47 New union laws in the 1930s added "Helping the employer deal with unions" to the list of duties. With new equal employment laws in the 1960s, employers relied on HR for avoiding discrimination claims.

Today, employers face new challenges, such as squeezing more profits from operations. They expect their human resource managers to have what it takes to address these new challenges. Let's look how today's HR managers deal with these challenges.

They Focus More on Strategic, Big-Picture Issues
First, human resource managers are more involved in helping their companies address longer- term, strategic "big-picture" issues. Chapter 3 (Human Resource Management Strategy and Analysis) explains how they do this. In brief, we will see there that strategic human resource management means formulating and executing human resource policies and practices that pro¬duce the employee competencies and behaviors the company needs to achieve its strategic aims. The basic idea behind strategic human resource management is this: In formulating human re¬source management policies and practices, the manager's aim should be to produce the employee skills and behaviors that the company needs to achieve its strategic aims. So, for example, when Yahoo's new CEO recently wanted to improve her company's innovation and productivity, she turned to her new HR manager (a former investment banker). Yahoo then instituted many new HR policies. It eliminated telecommuting to bring workers back to the office, where they could continuously interact, and adopted new benefits (such as 16 weeks' paid maternity leave) to lure new engineers and to make Yahoo a more attractive place in which to work.

The model follows this three-step sequence: 

  1. Set the firm's strategic aims 
  2. Pinpoint the employee behaviors and skills we need to achieve these strategic aims
  3. Decide what HR policies and practices will enable us to produce these necessary employee behaviors and skills.

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