If Eiji Toyoda, the founder of Toyota, were asked today of his company’s People Resourcing Strategy he might not be familiar with the term but he would probably express how his company could not have achieved its position without the help of an effective workforce. As an important function to any organization, the Human Resource Department serves to align the strategy of the organization with the human resource practices, even helping in the formulation of the business strategy itself, so as to secure long term, sustainable, competitive advantage for the firm.
In order to do so, the HR’s job is to ensure that the organization hires the right people that fit into the overall culture of the organization, as dependant on its strategic goal, and then to integrate them into the organization through an effective induction programme. And while the induction of the employees into the business may be the last part in the recruitment and selection process, it is by no means the least important (Kearns, 2003). This essay will thus serve to impress upon the reader the importance of an effective people resourcing strategy to an organization and to explain the role of induction in achieving such a strategy.
HR AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGY According to Ackroyd, Batt, and Thompson (2005, pp222) in their book, ‘The Oxford Handbook of Work and Organization’, strategy has been defined as, “policies and procedures that are aimed at securing, first, viability, and second, if this is achieved, sustained competitive advantage. ” The role of Human Resource Management (HRM) here is to contribute to the achievement of the abovementioned strategic goals by the effective management of the organizations employee relations, so as to create value for the shareholders.
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‘Hard’ and ‘Soft’ Models The contribution of HRM to the organization is dependent on the model it follows but is not restricted to any one of them, so that more than one model can exist in an organization, depending on the organization’s business strategy. As per the hard model, HRM’s focus is deemed to be the close alignment of its practices and policies with the business strategy, which integration is supposedly achieved by the integration and coherence of the HR practices and policies with each other.
In this model, human resource is treated as any other resource, to be used in a profit maximization context. On the other hand, the soft model espouses the treatment of the human resource as a valued resource that will contribute to the success of the organization through its capabilities and skills. Instead of being exploited for its output, the human resource is nurtured to ensure high productivity and is considered as an important value addition resource.
However, as mentioned earlier, the two models are not incompatible despite their differences and can exist together in the same organization. The relevance of any one model is dependent on the type of industry in which the organization is, for example, a labour intensive process in a high volume and low cost industry might require that human resource be managed by the hard model so as to minimize costs, whereas a knowledge based industry might require the use of the soft model to produce high quality, value-added products (Ackroyd, Batt, Thompson, 2005).
HR Architecture Human Resource’s role from a strategic perspective introduces the concepts of a ‘value chain’ that is represented in the firms HR architecture which includes the HR function, system, and employee behaviours, as described by Becker, Huselid, and Ulrich (2001, pp 12) in their book, ‘The HR Scorecard’. It has been found that formulating an effective strategy is one of the most important intangible requirements of financial analysts in determining the difference between the firm’s book value and its market value (Ackroyd, Batt, Thompson, 2005).
The HR architecture espouses the systems approach to thinking which emphasizes that HR’s systems are interrelated in an organization with its strategy, so that the whole is more than the sum of the parts, thus highlighting the need of creating an effective organizational strategy with the help of the HR Scorecard as the HR function will affect the organizations strategic objectives which will in turn affect the value that shareholders place on the organization. INDUCTION Induction is often confused with orientation and socialization and all three are usually interchangeably used.
For the purpose of this essay induction is described as the process by which new employees adjust themselves to their new working environment, orientation is an event or course that new employees attend, and socialization is how the new employees create working relationships within the organization, as defined by Taylor (2005, pp 261) in his book, ‘People Resourcing’. The purpose of the induction programme is to assist the employees in getting assimilated with their work environment and the organizational culture so as to prevent a high occurrence of early resignations, such as the programme conducted by Daewoo Cars (Cornelius, 2001).
However, research shows that once new employees are recruited and selected they are often thrust into their jobs without a properly planned induction programme. It is usually treated as a chore that is hastily organized, often with disastrous results. As Rankin (2006) mentions in his article, ‘Welcome, stranger: employers’ induction arrangements today’ the problem is not on the importance placed on induction but on the amount of effort that is spent on emphasizing this importance to the line managers, who are essentially the ones that will conduct the programme as it is to their team that the new employees will be placed.
Narrow and Sophisticated Approaches to Induction In creating a successful induction programme attention must be paid to ensure that the programme is not a generic process as there are different types of employees with different perceptions of the organization and different needs, such as minorities, the disabled, fresh graduates, and those employees that have rejoined the job market after a period of time.
As such, the narrow view seeks to achieve three objectives, namely: administration, in which the rules and regulations of the organizations are described; welfare, in which the new employee is given emotional support for facing a new situation; and socialization, in which the employee is made familiar with his work group and fellow colleagues so as to generate a sense of loyalty and belonging in the employee. Whereas, the sophisticated approach seeks to deal with the perceptions of the new employee since before he/she even joins the organization.
To facilitate this, the potential employee is brought into contact with an experienced employee in the organization before the accepting of the job proposal by the employee so that information is shared between the two. In this process the potential employee is made aware of the requirements of the job and what is expected in the organization along with being provided with help in matters such as relocation and anxiety in starting a new job.
To ensure this process succeeds there must be plenty of support available for the employee once he/she starts the job, and any ambiguity in employee’s role in the organization must be removed (Taylor, 2005). Induction Crisis Placing advertisements in newspapers, hiring head hunters to scout for talent, conducting interviews, tests and background checks, using professional search firms, are all just some of the activities that must be carried out in recruiting and selecting a new employee.
The cost that is associated with this recruitment and selection, in terms of not only money, but time and effort as well, is a significant amount in itself without being exacerbated with a poor induction programme (Cornelius, 2001). Every time an employee leaves the costs of getting him/her to the organization is rendered as a loss as opposed to the investment it should have been. Two of the major causes of a failed induction programme are unorganized and redundant mentoring processes, and poor induction techniques by managers.
A mentoring process serves to guide a new employee by employing a more experienced employee who shows him/her ‘the ropes’ and introduces him/her to the employee’s work team. However, most mentors that are assigned only introduce to the new employee to a few individuals and leave him/her to wade through the induction process by himself/herself because they are either too busy or indifferent to the new employee, or because they consider that the new employee has the relevant interpersonal skills to fit into the organization by himself/herself (Marchington, Wilkinson, Sargeant, 2002). HR and Induction
It is the HR Departments job to ensure that managers are taught in the art of proper induction techniques, especially with regards to minorities, so that they can prevent any incidence of ‘induction crisis’ for the new employee, which may lead to him/her leaving the organization. The managers must be informed that the success of the new employee is their responsibility and so must make sure that the employee’s expectations are clear and unambiguous and that he/she has a means of discussing any problems that he/she might be facing in integrating into the job and the organization (Cornelius, 2001).
RECOMMENDATIONS In order for induction to be successful, the organization, through the HR Department, must carry out several activities beginning with the introduction of a structured process of induction. However, it must be noted that such a process neglects the individuality of people and might be rendered ineffective due to this. For example, certain people, such as extroverts, do not require an intensive induction course and may become bored and frustrated if the process is lengthy and goes into details.
In such a case, HR must work in concert with the line managers to introduce a two-stage programme in which HR conducts a general intense orientation course and then the line managers are made responsible for dealing with specific people over a long learning process. The managers would necessarily need to be trained in this approach to handle and effectively conduct such a specific and tailored induction, and HR must provide them with the required reference materials.
In addition to this, the induction process needs to be evaluated every two years to ensure its relevance to the current market as is evidenced by the current economic scenario of uncertainty. The primary source of information in evaluating the process is the employees themselves, and then the figures available on retention rates and employee attitude surveys. But it is surprising to note how the quality of such information is not up to the mark despite being easily available (Rankin, 2006).
CONCLUSION An effective induction process avoids several costs to the organization, the chief of which is incurred in the process of recruitment and selection. The damage to the company’s reputation, the time and effort invested in conducting the whole exercise, the low morale of the team and the new employee, the loss in productivity, and the cost of going through the inefficient process again are all costs that are not quantifiable but affect the organization nonetheless.
As a result, the organization will fail to achieve its strategic objective and thus the HR will fail in its objective to facilitate the business strategy through its policies and practices. It is essential that the HRM ensure that these costs are not incurred by recognizing the importance of a successful induction programme to the organization.
And once that is recognized, the HRM should evaluate the effectiveness of its current programme, if any, and use its gathered research to design a programme that is either narrow or sophisticated, depending on the required fit of the organization and the type of model that is being used in its strategy formation. Thus it will justify its role in the organization as the management of people as a productive resource that benefits the organization. For As Oliver W.
Holmes once said, “The greatest tragedy in America is not the destruction of our natural resources … [it] is the destruction of our human resources by our failure to fully utilize our abilities, which means that most men and women go to their graves with their music still in them. ” 1996 words BIBLIOGRAPHY Ackroyd, S. & Batt, R. & Thompson, P. (2005) The Oxford Handbook of Work and Organization. Oxford University Press. Becker, B. E. & Huselid, M. A. & Ulrich, D.
(2001) The HR Scorecard: Linking People, Strategy, and Performance. Harvard Business Press. Cornelius, N. (2001) Human Resource Management: A Managerial Perspective. Cengage Learning EMEA. Kearns, P. (2003) HR Strategy: Business Focused, Individually Centred. Butterworth-Heinemann. Marchington, M. & Wilkinson, A. & Sargeant, M. (2002) People Management and Development: Human Resource Management at Work. CIPD Publishing. Taylor, S. (2002) People Resourcing. CIPD Publishing.
Rankin, N. (2006) Welcome, stranger: employers’ induction arrangements today. IRS Employment Review [Internet]. Available from <http://www2. northampton. ac. uk/portal/page/portal/humanresources1/home/sd/docstore/Developing%20and%20Managing%20Staff%20Resources/35C55EA220875EDCE0440003BA7723F7> [January 10, 2009] Richards, J. (2008) Induction. [Internet]. Available from <http://www. cipd. co. uk/subjects/recruitmen/induction/induction. htm> [January 10, 2009]
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