At the beginning of the class, human resource management was defined as the policies, philosophy, practices and procedures linked to the management of employees in the public sector. Human Resource Management is entails entire activities contributing to developing, successfully attracting, motivating and maintenance of workforce that performs highly. In HRM process, focus is laid on the personal requirements of an organization as well as its members.
The potentiality of HRM Staff determines the effectiveness of employees in contributing to public sector growth and success. It is therefore clear that HRM generally entails increasing the success of a public sector (Condrey, 2010).Currently, it is extremely difficult to imagine an organization achieving success without having efficient HRM activities and programs.
Currently HRM is defined as a set of programs whose role is to promote organizational success, and develop potentiality in its members. Emphasis has been laid on the need to link HRM planning to an organization's strategic plans and goals. Part of today’s public sector is the essence of selection, recruiting, developing and training, rewarding and compensating personnel. All these activities pertain to the Human Resource management. It is necessary for HRM to work collaboratively with other functions so that it can effectively achieve organizational success in addition to competing both locally and internationally (Stredwick, 2005).
Change in the human resource management sector is inevitable. The rapidly transforming technologies have had a fair share in impacting human resource management change. Activities that could be carried out by human personnel are now carried out with the aid of technology. Organizations are now looking for a team of intellectualized workforce comprising of autonomous employees. The essence of initiating change has been a key challenge to the human resource department. Currently change initiation is the fundamental role of human resource management and the determining factor or organizational success (Condrey, 2010).
Affirmative action emerged as a response to prevalence in employment discrimination. The term refers to ardent efforts aimed at diversifying the workplace in terms of ethnicity, race, gender as well as physical abilities. A means to prevent discrimination in the workplace on the basis of religion, color, race, age, national origin and mental abilities is widely referred to as equal employment opportunity.
A key aspect of Equal employment opportunity is legislative mandates like civil rights law because of the focus on nondiscrimination. The operation of affirmative action in both public and private sector workforces is significantly influenced by political and legal conflicts concerning affirmative action (Thomas, 1990).Affirmative action is still needed in order to provide a comprehensive protection against discrimination in employment based on religion, color, gender, race and nationality.
Affirmative action can be successful if it is backed by the political culture or arena. A political culture plays a role in setting a tone for the general support that will be accorded to affirmative action efforts. For example, support from a city council or mayor can lead to increased affirmative action, and increased effectiveness in implementing affirmative action efforts. Support from organizational leaders enhances success and effectiveness of affirmative action (Stredwick, 2005).On the other hand, less support from political institutions hampers the affirmative action efforts.
However, regardless of political support or not, human resource managers consider affirmative action as a fundamental policy that is beneficial to an organization in terms of novel opinions, ideas as well as perspectives.Generally, legal and political environments have a substantial impact on the operation and success of affirmative action efforts. Affirmative action is and will continue to be a vital aspect of the human resource management. It is essential to curbing discriminatory practices as well as promoting diversity in a workplace (Thomas, 1990).
Diversity in the workforce refers to employing people non-discriminatively in terms of age, gender and racial or ethnic background. There has been an increase in acceptance of diversity due to the current trend of globalization. There is a general belief that organizations with diversified workforce are likely to comprehend their employees’ demographics. Organizations that support diversity can easily address the issues of employee retention and employee satisfaction (Morgan, Vardy and IMF Institute, 2006).
Public organizations should insure a diverse workplace in order to give competitive advantage to an organization. A well-managed diversity leads to increased productivity. An organization where employees feel included, respected and valued experiences increased productivity. Moreover, incorporating diversity reduces the number of lawsuits incurred. Lawsuits have been known to cost organizations large sums of money, energy and time.
A workplace that valued and respects diverse workers report fewer lawsuits compared to a workplace that is not diversified (Morgan, et al, 2006).Diversity within a workplace increases marketing capabilities. A diverse group of employees can provide novel insight on a wide spectrum of customers. Differentiation of markets necessitates the need for smaller market segments. Hence, the fundamental difference between survival and going out of the business can be attracting new customers. Diversity creates the largest potential talent pull for recruitment and hiring.
In this era of increased competition, it is essential for an organization to recruit energetic, smart people, and have access to a wider spectrum of talent (Condrey, 2010).Diversity in an organization fosters or promotes creativity and inventiveness. Task forces that draw there membership from people of diverse race and gender is usually successful in devising creative and logical solutions for persistent problems. An entire workforce that is diverse supports blooming of creativity and improved decision-making process (Morgan, et al, 2006).
Hiring practices within an organization may have different impacts on different groups. For example, a potential employee’s behavior may be quite revealing to an employer if both have a similar cultural background. Some organizations may also uphold the practices associated with a particular religion such as Christianity. This may affect people who believe in different faiths such as Hinduism and Islam. It is often more challenging and difficult for minority populations to secure employment opportunities compared to majority populations (Stredwick, 2005).Selectivity should be minimized during the hiring process.
A selective employer is likely to hire people within majority groups. Unselective hiring processes ensure that there is adequate representation of minority population.One of the informal ways of measuring diversity is the use of quantitative measurements such as hiring, representation, development, turnover and equity. The results were obtained in the form of numerical data. The formal ways of measuring diversity include determination of diversity commitment, recruitment, retention and training. More accurate results are obtained through formal measurements compared to informal ways of measuring diversity. By using formal measurements, it is possible to establish a job that is well done (Morgan, et al, 2006).
The greatest change that has taken place over the last twenty years has been the tremendous rise in the number of women in the workforce. Majority of women joining the workforce is between the ages of 25 and 50. Currently, the number of women in the United States workforce is more than fifty million. Approximately fifty percent of women are working out of their homes currently, and the number is expected to increase over the coming years (Condrey, 2010).
There has been an uneven progress for working women. They have continually earned only seventy seven percent of what the male employees receive. As per 1986 statistics, less than seven percent of the senior executive posts were held by women. Results also showed than women moved in and out of their employment many times to care for their aging parents, to look after children, to move with their husbands and many other reasons.
A research study carried out recently indicated that women who left the workplace experienced about thirty five percent drop in wages when they returned. Currently 67 percent of part-time workers and sixty two percent of temporary workers are women. This implies that the majority of the jobs that have lower pay rates, fewer benefits and less security are help by women. Hence, it is essential for continual support to be accorded to women in the workplace (Thomas, 1990). Women’s situation in the workplace is beginning to change. Several companies are putting considerable efforts in attempting to create a working environment that is more supportive to women.
Organizations have undergone a cultural change and adopted a corporate culture that is more supportive to women in the workforce. Moreover, women are beginning to gain access to leadership posts or positions. There is a remarkable progress of women in the workforce as the number of women in managerial positions is gradually increasing. The remarkable progress does not necessarily mean that women have achieved equality with men in the workplace. There is still a long way to go because men receive more income per capita than women. Moreover, a larger percentage of men occupy positions of power and authority compared to women (Stredwick, 2005).
Condrey, S. E. (2010). Handbook of human Resource Management in Government (3rd Ed). John Wiley and Sons
Morgan, J., Vardy, F. J., & IMF Institute (2006), Diversity in the workplace, Issues 2006-2007. International Monetary Fund.
Stredwick, J. (2005). Introduction to Human Resource Management (2nd Ed). Butterworth-Heinemann
Thomas, R. R. (1990). From Affirmative Action to Affirming Diversity. Harvard Business Review. March-April, pp107-117