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Human Resource Management

Human resource management (HRM) has been subjected to numerous changes in the macro-environment, which have affected it in many ways. The alterations have led to transformations in perceptions, patterns, and structures that define the labour market, employer organisations, and the global macroeconomics. The main issues that arise as a result of the changes in terms of human resource are the level of incidence and its effect on the management of human resource. Such transformation has given rise to contemporary HRM (Robinson, 2006). The main principles behind the modern human resource management concept include application of an array of strategies that integrate the activities and management of human resource to constitute enhanced commitment, flexibility, corporate culture and governance. Both vertical integration processes that are supportive of company goals and horizontal integration operations that are linked and coherent are implemented under contemporary HRM.

The role played by human resource management in driving performance in organisations is significant; thus, there is a need to accept modern ways of dealing with human resource issues. Implementing the total reward strategy, accurate evaluation, facilitating human performance in the companies as well as proper absence management are some of the effective concepts of contemporary HRM. Such concepts work to serve the objectives of enhanced service delivery, employee empowerment, and saving costs (Robinson, 2006).


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The total reward strategy entails the total benefits package offered to personnel working for a particular organisation at a stated point of time (Reynolds, 2005). Some of the theories relevant to the concept in question are Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Alderfer's ERG theory (existence, relatedness and growth), and Adams' equity theory. They help human resource managers in the application of the total reward strategy (Jiang, Xiao, Qi, & Xiao, 2009). It is comprehensive compared to the traditional cash compensation strategy as it compiles different aspects of employees’ needs into one package of output.

The management task of evaluating and facilitating human performance in business entails measuring and advancing of the input of workers into the organisation. Concerning facilitating human resources, the elements of value addition, compliance with the changing business legislations and learning employees new skills are taking priority in the discussions of the changing labour market (Dalziel, Strange, & Walters, 2006). Evaluation of workers’ input can be gauged according to the alignment with the organisation’s objectives and techniques like the balanced scorecard (Kaplan & Norton, 2001). Absence management plays an integral part in maintaining the productivity of the company and is a key element of HRM. A transformation from the traditional to contemporary techniques and policies of human resource management is essential in improving the effectiveness of organisation through the application of relevant managerial practices and processes.

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Total Reward

Total reward is defined as the entirety of an employee’s compensation for the contribution of service to a particular organisation. A comprehensive remuneration system is essential as it will keep the personnel content and advance the success of the company (Jiang et al., 2009). Traditionally, cash reward was the most prioritized type of compensation. However, a recent study of 1500 workers found that monetary aspect ranked 15th with regards to the employee motivators. Flexible working hours, autonomy, and availability of the managers are some of the factors that ranked above cash reward (Reynolds, 2005). Therefore, the well-rounded benefits package has replaced cash concerning the compensation for employees as a contemporary method of remuneration. It illustrates advancement in the needs of personnel with regards to the satisfaction they require from working in organisations.

The total reward strategy can be defined in many ways with the focus on either the employee or the employer. According to Armstrong and Brown (2001), the mentioned approach constitutes additional elements of compensation to create a benefits package. They include improved working conditions and aspects of personal development like through learning. Another description of total reward is the collection of motivational instruments used to attract and retain employees by an employer (Kaplan, 2007). The proper utilization of the strategy in question by managers is essential, especially for those who wish to maximize the profits they make for their organisations. It would enhance the performance of employees as well as work out current and expected problems relating to compensation of workers (Kaplan, 2007).

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In the current business world, especially in times when the competition has become a major driver of success, organisations have to formulate and implement policies geared towards survival of business. Improving productivity of their employees is very important for achieving this. There is, therefore, a need to have a holistic approach which satisfies the needs of the workers. HRM has the responsibility of ensuring that the organisation uses such technique. Through this, a company is in a position of making certain that the efforts and minds of the employees are focused on the job (Robinson, 2006). At the same time, this allows the workers to concentrate on the major aspects of productivity and to align their efforts to achieve the overall objectives of the organisation. Total reward management system is instrumental in developing such an integrated approach by combining the three major elements of value to employees from their employment; work experience, compensation and benefits.

Theories of Reward Supporting Managerial Practice

Maslow’s theory. The theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a basis of interpretation of human needs in numerous fields and is also relevant in the management of human resource. According to this approach, the needs of human beings are divided into five categories, which are physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization; they are arranged in the stair-step fashion” (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2007). In creating a total reward strategy, it is essential to follow this order in relevance to the needs of employees (Jiang et al., 2009). It will ensure that the total reward availed to personnel satisfies their particular needs according to the place of the latter in Maslow’s hierarchy. It would help managers to discern benefits package that would be suitable for particular groups and individual employees. The hierarchy of needs as put forward by Maslow is meant to act as a guide to determine the order in which human needs should be satisfied to create balance (Jiang et al., 2009). The success of HRM strategies and policies will be based on the extent to which the organisation is seen to meet the specific needs of the employees, which, in turn, translates to greater motivation. Total reward system and HRM policies, in general, should seek to improve the motivation of the workers by first identifying the specific needs attributable to them and then putting in place measures of meeting the needs.

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Alderfer’s ERG theory. Alderfer’s ERG theory proposes a three-fold structure of human needs; existence that is the lowest, relatedness that is the middle, and growth that is the highest need. The approach differs from that of Maslow in that it illustrates the possibility of motivation arising from different levels of needs even without first achieving the lower-level goals (George & Jones, 2002). In relating this theory to the strategy of total reward, it serves a similar purpose to Maslow’s theory in that it assists human resource managers to advance organisational effectiveness through the implementation of effective compensation strategies (Jiang et al., 2009). However, the approach is more concerned with the aspect of motivation and, thus, the total reward structure implemented by managers applying this theory would be more likely to focus on the motivation of employees. 

Adams’ equity theory. Fairness in the place of work is the main concept advanced by Adams' equity theory. According to this approach, employees will always balance out the outputs-rewards they receive from working at a particular organisation to the inputs-effort that they put into the company (Drafke & Kossen, 2002). Lack of motivation will arise when workers discover that they are contributing more to their work than they are receiving from it. In implementing the total reward strategy, managers should consider this theory and ensure there is a balance between work inputs and outputs for the employees. Another important factor to consider for the managers is that the personnel are aware of this balance, and if they are not aware, it is up to the human resource manager to ascertain that the workers are under no illusions about their input-output work balance (Jiang et al., 2009). From this theory, human resource managers should learn the significance of balance and apply it to other forms of compensation such as the cash reward if necessary. It is worth noting that equity should be viewed from the point of view of the employees and not the employer. As a result, workers can only be motivated if they perceive the reward systems as being fair and equitable. Fairness and equity should be applied during both the performance evaluation and compensation process.

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Evaluating and Facilitating Human Performance

Evaluation of Human Performance

The management of human performance is a three-faceted undertaking involving planning, managing and then assessing the performance (Robinson, 2006). The first process is the initial stage of performance management. It entails setting performance goals and getting employees to commit to these aims. The subsequent stage, which is managing, is defined by the consistent effort put in daily towards the accomplishment of the objectives. This step entails the manager and employees working together to reach their goals. The middle stage is essential as it is here where most of the work is done to make the achievement. The last aspect, which is appraisal, involves reviewing the outcomes of the planning and managing phases to determine how many of the objectives have been attained and to what extent (Dalziel et al., 2006). 

The need to assess the value and returns of human assets has increased due to a promising relationship between policy and practice in the human resource department and enhanced general performance in most organisations (Robinson, 2006). In analysing the significance of human resource, it is important to describe its success that is believed to occur when there is the value received from the human resource outcomes over activities. Therefore, to illustrate that value has been added by the human resource to an organisation, the proper strategies must line up with corporate objectives (Dalziel et al., 2006).

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Estimation of human performance can be complicated as there are numerous restrictions on this process. However, a number of instruments and methods exist that facilitate this procedure. One of the techniques applicable for estimation is the balanced scorecard. It checks the satisfaction of the needs of different stakeholders in a company to assess human capital productivity (Kaplan & Norton, 2001). To evaluate the use of the HR scorecard that measures the productivity of human resource by relating this to the rates of achievement of organisational objectives can be valuable. Another technique for assessing human performance in a business environment is through HR audits and benchmarking. For example, the online toolkit created by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group for its HR staff for gauging effectiveness (Hayton, 2011).

Facilitating Human Performance

Facilitating human performance in an organisation can be achieved through increased investment in human capital and improved levels of motivation. Numerous employers suggest that there is a need for their employees to acquire new skills. Among the most encouraged new knowledges are result-orientation, political and leadership skills as well as relevant business know-how and strategic thinking. Facilitation is not only through the learning of these skills as emphasis should also be placed on the application of these competences in the hectic world of work. Another area of change in the macro-environment is that of business legislations. These laws serve to enhance the business environment and promote a smooth running of activities (Dalziel et al., 2006).

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Absence Management

Absence Management Practices

Practices of managing absences are usually targeted at decreasing instances of absenteeism, and they vary with the size of the organisation. A survey conducted by ADPRI found that health issues – both individual and family – are the main causes of absence from work. An array of strategies that can be put in place to tackle absenteeism includes improving the health benefits availed to employees and following up on cases of personnel absence (Dar & Johns, 2008). Enforcing an absence policy becomes challenging for workers when there are systems in place to ensure total absence management (TAM). The TAM policy and practice help to ascertain that human resource management is alerted in the case of an employee's whereabouts with regards to the presence and absence of staff from work (Dar & Johns, 2008). Effective management process entails striking a balance between the provision of support to personnel with health problems and taking firm actions against workers who tend to take advantage of the sick pay schemes provided by the organisation.

Management of Absence Processes

Human resource managers should apply sufficient and consistent effort in monitoring and recording absence. This way the organisation can maintain an accurate record of the time and place of occurrence of absenteeism which also points out which particular individuals or departments are most prone to absentee behaviour (Johns, 2010). A proper channel of communication must be established to ensure that any person who is absent from work notifies the relevant authorities. Continuous notification is also an essential process of management of the absence and in the case of sick leave. When the employee returns to work it is important for the manager to hold a meeting with him/her to determine the reason for absence, the duration of absence as well as update the worker. It serves the purpose to reduce work-related absences and also to define whether there is a need for action against the personnel due to their unavailability for work (Johns, 2010). When an employee faces his/her manager to explain his/her absence, he/she will be less likely to be absent without reason again.

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Impacts of Management of Absence on Individuals and Organisations

Impacts on organisations. Being unavailable at one's place of work has some negative outcomes for both the individuals and the organisation. For the company, the main effect of the absenteeism of personnel in his/her place of work is the problem of decreased productivity and possibly increased costs. When an employee is not at work, there arises the issue of paid time-offs and the extra cost incurred for paying for substitute labour (Johns, 2010). Organisations also suffer regarding disruptions as it is impossible to plan for the unavailability of a worker, especially if he/she fails to notify his/her supervisor it in advance.

Impacts on individuals. The individual who is absent from work is impacted by his/her absence in many different ways. Firstly, if he/she was sick, he/she might not be fully recovered, and this will interfere with the quality of service he/she offers the organisation. Secondly, if an employee was absent for a long period, this would mean that he/she requires adjustments concerning working hours to make sure he/she makes up for time lost which could lead to a stressful period of work and compromise quality. The worker will need someone to update him/her which will take out some time resource of the organisation. The absentee could also face disciplinary action in case his/her absence was not obligatory. Other employees suffer from the absence of their workmates as well because their workload increases which turns the workplace into a high-stress environment; they are demoralized by this action (Darr & Johns, 2008). In the practice of absence management, there is thus a need to ensure the procedures of seeking leave in case of a health emergency or any other problem to workers decrease the negative consequences of absenteeism.

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The implication of the changing labour world is evidenced by the alterations in human resource strategies, especially concerning changing business laws, new skills requirements and a rise in the concentration on the value addition quality of employees rather than the previous focus on their activity. The strategy of total reward is an approach that constitutes the entirety of important aspects of employment for the workers such as compensation and a good work environment. In the implementation of this strategy, managers need to apply certain theories to ensure that organisational effectiveness is achieved; these include Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory, Alderfer’s ERG theory and Adams’ equity theory.

In measuring human performance in an organisation, there are three necessary steps. Planning, managing and assessing the performance of employees are the three elements that provide a comprehensive method of maximizing contribution of workers to the company. The task of measuring human performance in an organisation is a complicated one; however, human resource managers have succeeded in using techniques such as balance scorecards, HR scorecards, HR auditing and benchmarking to resolve this concern.

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The concept of absence management refers to the practice and process of promoting the constant presence of employees at work to avoid loss of productivity and incurring higher costs in case workers are absent without notice.

The transformation of the theories and practices in the realm of human resource management is a constructive one which has availed new techniques to managers to resolve HR issues. These approaches include the total reward concept, methods of evaluating and facilitating human performance and absence management. They are effective in the process of working towards achieving company objectives.



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