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Why you should know about human resource management

The main aim of any training in this area should be to give participants an understanding of, and familiarity with, the elements that make up HRM. Ideal outcomes should be for the participants to be able to analyse HRM practices within an organisation and to be able to make suggestions for improvement.

HRM is a large and complex area of study and practice. It is important to understand that the management of people in organisations is not the sole responsibility of those people who work in HR or personnel. It is the responsibility of every line manager and it is important to encourage managers to take a challenging and analytic perspective on how people are managed in organisations.

One of the first things for managers to consider is the variety of ways people might be managed in different types of organisations, and they should be encouraged to look at how things might be in different organisations whatever their own background. Organisations come in all shapes and sizes – large, small, global, private sector, public sector, not-for-profit and voluntary. While many aspects of people management will be similar, the way HRM is practised will be dependent on the needs of the individual organisation.

There are three key elements to address when developing knowledge of people and performance within your workforce:

•    Invite participants to consider what they think HRM is, using individual experiences to set it in context.•    Identify some of the ways that performance is encouraged and managed in organisations.•    Address the problem of measuring the effectiveness of HRM activity.

For the first part, try asking questions such as: what do employers expect of the employment relationship” What do employees expect of the employment relationship” We know that often these two do not always match up; learning to understand the differences will help managers look at how these differences can be managed and used to the benefit of both parties.

In most organisations, people work in teams of various shapes and sizes so it is also important to consider team working in this dynamic. Further issues to explore in order to place the issue of HRM into context include the impact of employment legislation and the process of planning for people and performance.

As well as looking at the practical context of HRM, there are key theories to consider. A good training programme should look at the ideas and theories of motivation, recognising that one person’s motivator might be another’s de-motivator. There are also ideas and theories of learning and development as well as general approaches to managing people to consider.

*Roger Fagg offers bespoke training on people and performance for businesses through workshops available from Birkbeck, University of London.


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