Human Resource Management

Although there have been many recent developments in the area of human resources and their management, the concept of managing people in the workplace is not a new one. In fact, according to Ogunyomi, Shadare, and Chidi (2011, p.19-20), the concept has evolved over more than a century, starting with the concept of scientific management created and promoted by Frederick Winslow Taylor at the turn of the 20th century during the height of the Industrial Revolution. Since the world of business was dynamic, even from the start of large-scale business and organization, the concept of human resource management has also evolved over time to respond to the dynamic business world.

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Today, human resource management is an integral part of any company’s business strategy. It ensures not only effective recruitment and retention, but also the effective functioning of the company in general, and its adaptability to a dynamic and ever-changing future (Villanova University, 2012). This idea, and its acceptance by business managers, is perhaps the most important concept within human resource management.

Human resource management should therefore be seen according to a number of different categories, including the way in which it interacts with the personnel being managed, their diversity, technological trends, and on the international scale. Today, human resource management therefore involves a multi-disciplinary concept that cannot be sourced on the basis of single concepts, piece of literature, or management paradigm. The main constant, as in the business world, is change. Human resource managers need to recognize this in order to fully and effectively create a personal basis that would collectively enhance the function of companies towards excellence in work and competition. As such, human resource management strategies need to keep pace with often sudden and violent changes in the micro and macro business environment (Chan, 2004).


One of the main driving forces of such differences is the company’s staff itself. This, of course, is the main aspect of human resource management. One of the trends in terms of personnel is talent management, a term that gained popularity during the end of the 1990s (The Daily Recruiter, 2011). Specifically, the term refers to developing existing workers to the full potential of their talent and abilities while also attracting highly skilled and talented workers to the company, either from the pool of potential employees among new job seekers or from other companies, where they have already proven their worth. Talent management means the company has a deliberate structure for sourcing, attracting, selecting, training, developing, promoting, and moving employees through the organization for the benefit of the company and its function.

As such, talent management means a management strategy that is based on the assumption of talent within workers, which is liberated and utilized for both the company and its personnel. When a talented individual is recruited to a company, for example, it is assumed that such a staff member would want to develop his or her particular talent set and be developed and promoted through the company ranks accordingly. This is an important aspect of personnel retention. By developing and using the particular talents for which an individual is recruited, the company ensures that such a person does not become frustrated within the company, which would lead to high staff turnover.

Staff turnover can be costly and companies generally attempt to avoid this. Talent management is one of the ways in which human resource managers can prevent the costs and time associated with high staff turnover.


In addition to a plethora of different talents, personalities, and other human factors, diversity is playing an increasingly important part in human resource management. The world is not only functioning as a globalized unit, but also in a more micro environment as a diversified sector of cultures, creeds, race, personalities, and other factors within single countries, even before foreign workers are taken into account. Human resource managers should be aware of this and able to manage it effectively in order to retain the highest level of talent and motivation within the company.

Focusing on Canada, for example, MacKay (2005, p. 9) points out that diversity can include a single country with a diverse population in terms of ethnicity, religion, culture, language, and belief systems. The author points out that diversity also entails far more than visible or obvious phenomena and the HR managers need to understand diversity as a strategy rather than a focus on equity. The question is, what does this mean in practice? What this means is that the HR manager needs to take into account that, beyond the visible and obvious fact of diversity, there is also an inner diversity within workers, where each individual has his or her own needs and experiences. The author points out that, while this complicates the management of these workers and the way in which they can and should be motivated and matched to their various workplaces within the company, it also means that the company is better able to make and maintain contact with a diversified set of customers and partners. By identifying the different needs associated with the diversity factors within the workforce, therefore, the manager will be able to manage the company’s functions in such a way as to optimize its relationships with its partners and customers. This is a good thing in terms of competition and general effectiveness, both in the macro and micro environment of conducting business.

Diversity in terms of personnel can also translate to the labor market offered to recruiters to help enhance the competitiveness of the company. Today, many members of personal have divergent caring responsibilities and economic circumstances. Some may even need to balance not only the workplace and life responsibilities, but also a variety of paying jobs to help make ends meet (SHRM, 2012). These are the realities of today’s work and economic environments.

When recruiting personnel for a certain function, therefore, HRM functions as the connecting factor between a company’s needs and the talent offered by the labor market. Managing this effectively often means a flexible way of managing human resources that optimizes this link (HRM in Context, n.d.). What this comes down to, specifically, is that the company’s changing needs should be matched to the changing workforce in a way that optimizes the relationship for both.


Technology is another vitally important aspect of human resource management, especially today. Since the end of the 1990s, information technology has developed rapidly to a point where all big business ventures now have computers, e-mail, the Internet, and other technological marvels as part of their . In terms of human resource management, information technology, being an integral part of business, also plays an integral part in human resource management. This can be considered from a variety of angles. First, personnel need to be trained in the use of the latest technology. Second, personnel also need to be monitored and made aware of the basic rules of making use of such technology, as well as prohibited from using technology for the harm of the company or for personal gain. In addition to being a tool for more effectively conducting business, the development of information technology has therefore resulted in a number of ethical and security concerns that companies need to keep in mind in terms of human resource management. These are, however, not the only ramifications of technological development. Companies across the world today are using technology to facilitated human resource management via communication, recruitment, retention, and the other functions that have become part and parcel of this function within business.

Garg, Sharma, and Pandey (2010, p. 91) confirm that the changing nature of technology constantly creates consequences that are unexpected. Even the simplest of technological functions, such as the ability to instantly send and receive information, have many unforeseen ramifications. Personnel of a multinational company across the globe can be instantly reached, for example, with the same memo or instruction, creating a platform for highly effective business functions.

The authors focus on India and its changing abilities to hire specific employees, such as those at the CEO level. For a personnel manager, it is much easier today, because of technology, to find recruits for specific positions within a company. In this way, the recruitment of people with specific skills and talents at multiple levels can be recruited much more easily than in the past. This means that hiring practices can be enhanced. In addition to placing advertisements in local newspapers, for example, the search for recruits can be globalized by placing advertisements on the Internet. Furthermore, the process can also be facilitated and targeted by searching recruitment Websites, where specific skills and talents are advertised by recruits themselves. In other words, depending upon time constraints, potential recruits can be identified and interviewed in a fraction of the time that it took in the past. As an example of this, the authors mention Tata Motors, which gained 1,000 international workers through the acquisition of companies in Korea and Spain. The possibilities for recruitment and retention have become, literally, endless.

International Human Resources and Trends

The trend of globalization has also affected human resource management, where international companies have begun to adopt effective human resource strategies from their international counterparts. Pudelko and Harzing (2009), for example, focus on Japan as one country that has begun to focus on and adopt Western HRM trends to help bring their companies back up to speed. This is particularly the case for Japanese multinational corporations. Specifically, American and German HRM practices are the focus of Japanese attention. To investigate this, the authors have obtained responses from more than 800 HR managers in order to create a number of suggestions as to how these incorporation practices might best be managed at both the headquarters and subsidiary levels.

Traditionally, Japanese HRM practices have focused on what is known as the seniority principle, lifelong employment, and the formation of generalists. In Japanese companies, there has been a turn away from these basic Japanese HRM principles. In favor of these, Japanese companies have general moved towards a more Westernized trend. The authors point out that this is an important trend not only for Japanese human resource managers to keep in mind, but also for foreign companies entering the Japanese market.

Specifically, Japanese multinational companies have seen a move toward stronger individualization in their HRM practices, along with a higher degree of diversity in how employees are treated. In other words, there is a higher correlation between employee treatment and the differences in the performance, skills, achievements, and the desires displayed by employees. The basic assumption is then that the successful implementation of this differentiation would also mean the more successful enhancement of efficiency, competitiveness and profitability in the global market.

What this comes down to is that, in an increasingly globalized world, it has increasingly become important to create a uniform practice for conducting business, which includes the way in which staff is recruited, managed, and retained. According to Pudelko and Harzing (2009), both Japanese and Western HRM professionals have begun to realize this as the internationalization of companies have increased.

Even in more Western countries, such as New Zealand, specific human resource trends need to be taken into account in order to ensure a top level of competition in the worldwide arena. Du Plessis, Beaver and Nel (2006, p. 34), for example, acknowledge the fact that increasing globalization has also created an increasingly diverse workforce within countries. This is as true for countries such as Japan as it is for New Zealand, the United States, and across the globe. Hence, certain aspects of human resource management need to be taken into account if businesses are to function optimally. More than ever before, for example, issues like culture, habits, tradition, frames of reference, and simple factors such as language differences can affect a company’s function if not managed adequately. According to the authors, therefore, a company has to be able to diversify and internationalize its focus on these differentiating human factors to ensure a sound workplace experience for all their personnel.

The authors conclude that companies that are able to manage and utilize increasing diversity within their workforces best are also those that will ultimately enjoy an optimal competitive edge within the global environment. There are certain specific ways in which this can be accomplished (Du Plessis, Beaver, and Nel, 2006, p. 45). Language is one of the important factors of such management. In order to reach foreign members of staff best, the authors advise that managers be able to communicate in a relevant foreign language. A number of Japanese workers within a New Zealand company, for example, can be assigned to a manager who is proficient in that language. Clearly, aspects of the relevant culture should also be taken into account when managing these staff members. The requirements and specific work ethic inherent in the culture in question should be well understood by managers in order to effectively motivate and reward performance.

In terms of the globalized environment then, it is no longer viable to utilize a uniform method of personnel management. Managers have a newly complicated task, with a much wider focus than before on specific aspects of culture and language. Only with a thorough, in-depth understanding of the various concerns and needs of a diversified workforce can managers hope to effectively not only recruit, but also utilize talent and retain an optimal workforce that will give its best for the benefit of the company.


In conclusion, the only constant in business today and in the past has been change. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the business function has always been in flux. Hence, it is good for human resource managers to not only consider the current nature of their task, but also to investigate how changes affected the profession and business in the past. Currently, future trends focus on an increasingly diversified workforce in terms of talent and needs, changes in technology, and the international business arena. In order to manage these changes effectively, human resource managers need to be aware of, and if necessary, immerse themselves in some of these divergent factors such as cultural education or language learning. Only by being fully aware of all the needs within the workforce can HRM professionals ensure the best match between recruited talent and business competition.


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