Human resource management involves the effective use of employees to achieve the organization's goals. Unit 1 describes strategic human resource management, major human resource functions, and external and internal environmental factors affecting the field. This unit highlights the importance of business ethics, and laws and regulations dealing with equal employment opportunity.
Job analysis is the process of gathering information about the tasks, duties, and responsibilities involved in a job and the human qualities needed to perform them. Job analysis was once called the cornerstone of all human resource activities because functions ranging from recruitment and selection to training, compensation, and performance appraisal depended on it. Today, flexibility is crucial to business, and to remain useful, descriptions resulting from job analysis must be current and adaptable.
Staffing involves acquiring individuals with desired skills and abilities who will be available when the organization needs them. The process starts with human resource planning, which projects the number of workers with various skills who will be needed in the future. If the estimated supply of employees exceeds demand, some combination of early retirement, work sharing, or layoffs might be necessary. If demand exceeds supply, the firm may have to hire or lease temporary employees, re-train current workers, or use overtime. When the organization needs new permanent employees, it uses various recruitment sources and methods. Unit 2 explains these recruitment sources and methods, as well as advantages and disadvantages of internal and external recruitment.
After the organization generates a pool of qualified applicants, new employees must be selected. The selection process can be relatively simple or more complex, depending on the nature and size of the organization. Typically, it includes completion of an application blank or submission of a resume, and participation in one or more interviews. It may also involve testing, background investigation, reference checks, and a medical examination.
Organizations must consider equal employment opportunity issues during all phases of recruitment and selection. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires medical examinations, if used, to be given after a firm has made a conditional employment offer.
Even the best selection process will not guarantee a perfect match between position requirements and newly hired workers' skills. When that match is less than ideal, or when the organization or job demands change, a need for human resource development and training arises.
Shortly after being hired, employees must be oriented to their new positions. Orientation eases the transition from one's formal education to the workforce, or from one position or firm to another. It helps employees realize what is expected of them and may reduce turnover during the first few months in a new position.
Performance management goes beyond annual appraisal of each employee's performance. It is an ongoing process that integrates appraisal with training and the organization's reward system. For example, a potential area for improvement noted during performance appraisal or a technological change may suggest that training is desirable. Additional topics presented in Unit 3 include organizational development and career planning and development.
Compensation can be defined as an exchange of labor for financial and nonfinancial rewards. Among other things, the latter may include praise, a sense of accomplishment, a flexible work schedule, or a chance to socialize with coworkers.
Most people become animated when discussing compensation. They usually have an opinion about the fairness (or lack thereof) of the amount of pay they earn and the way in which it is determined. Chief executives' pay is likely to “hit a nerve,” especially when they take in millions in stock options while their firms are “bailed out” at taxpayer expense.
Health care as an employee benefit has been in the limelight over the past year. Since the passage of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA) on March 23, 2010, government employees and regulators have been working on the details of the program while attempting to answer a myriad of questions from the general public, businesses, the insurance industry and other stakeholders.
In this unit, you will learn how pay structures and wage ranges are established. You also will study legal issues related to compensation; options for tying pay to performance through individual, group, or organization-wide incentives; and legally required and voluntary employee benefits.
The opportunity to work in a safe and healthy environment is an employee right guaranteed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act. To that end, employers not only comply with applicable laws and regulations but also develop and implement safety and workplace violence prevention programs, sponsor wellness and fitness programs, and offer employee assistance plans to help employees deal with substance abuse, negative effects of on- or off-the-job stress, and other personal problems. These will be discussed in Lesson 11.
Employees' right to privacy in the workplace is limited when it interferes with the employer's responsibility to provide high-quality goods and services or maintain safety. Job protection rights are of utmost importance to employees, but they, too, are limited in ways described in Lesson 12.
To be able to recruit and retain an effective workforce and avoid public relations nightmares, employers must adopt fair and effective discipline and discharge policies. In the past, if management practices were not perceived as fair, a workplace would have been ripe for unionization attempts. That is no longer true in the private sector today, where union membership is at an all-time low.
To try to boost union membership the Employee Free Choice Act was introduced in the U.S. Congress in 2007 and again in 2009. Congressional support for the "card check" provision of this act is waning among moderate Democrats, however, because of strong opposition by business groups. The card check feature would have amended the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) to allow a union to represent employees if a majority of employees in an appropriate unit for bargaining purposes signed a card saying they wanted that union to represent them. This would have superseded 60 years of secret ballot elections supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.
Regardless of the ultimate fate of this or similar legislation, employers and labor unions must abide by laws and decisions of agencies set up to monitor their relationship. Human resource managers must understand the unionization process and legal steps that they can take to remain "union-free." If their firm is unionized, they must understand the collective bargaining process and grievance mechanisms. Such topics are addressed in Lesson 13.
There are 4 exams for this course.
There are 14 written assignments, 5 lesson discussions, an assessment project and a unit activity for this course.
There are no group projects for this course.