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Human Resource Management and Business Growth

As business organisations move further into the twenty-first century, Sims (2002: 13) asserted that it is becoming absolutely clear that the effective management of an organisation’s human resources (HR) is a major source of competitive advantage and may even be the single most important determinant of an organisation’s performance over the long term. With the integration of HR issues with business issues and of human resource processes with management processes, it is only logical that the HR staff function should be integrated with the business organisation, rather than being a separate entity.

Companies are radically restructuring the HR function and redefining its roles. According to Gunnigle, Heraty and Morley (2002: 2), the objectives of integrating it with business strategies include reducing overhead expenses, focusing time and resources on activities that add the greatest value to the business; reducing attention given lower value activities, aligning staff more closely with the business, as part of the management team at each level and addressing important people-related business issues more effectively.

For a sole trader who wishes to grow the business through engaging the services of additional people, it is of foremost importance that the business owner review his or her recruitment and selection policy and

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all the associated documentation including job descriptions and personnel specifications, application forms etc. as any changes in a step in the process will have a knock on effect in the next stage, if he or she desires to comply with the existing laws on human resource management especially in the area of selection and recruitment.

Compliance with law of human resources organisational procedures is vital because there can be considerable risk of making mistakes, pursuing risky strategies, and putting the enterprise at considerable potential liability for not understanding adequately what these laws, standards, and codes require of the business (Briscoe and Schuler 2004: 192). At its most basic, organisations have different recruitment and selection procedures, depending on their need of personnel and their available resources.

For a sole proprietorship, the employer must find individuals with the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform adequately the activities required, as there are only a few people to contribute to the success of the organisation as a whole, therefore each and every individual’s contribution to the business can make or break the venture. Sisson and Storey (2000: 12) argue that it is only through effective human resource management (HRM) planning at this stage that adjustments and refinements are made, transforming an organisation’s workforce to meet the projected future needs of the organisation.

According to Hitt, Miller and Colella (2006: 31), the selection process is concerned with identifying the best candidate or candidates for jobs from the pool of qualified applicants developed during the recruitment process. Kaplan and Norton (2001: 42) concurred that at the heart of any effective selection system is an understanding of what characteristics are essential for high performance. With regards to screening the applicant’s educational background, it will be advisable to use educational accomplishment as a surrogate for or summary of the measures of an individual’s abilities.

As for the skill qualification, as the organisation will move inevitably towards more teamwork and team-based operating systems as a result of additional people, it is desirable to put more emphasis on hiring individuals with the skills necessary to function effectively in a group situation. The rationale for this practice is that current team members are well placed to assess a given individual’s ability to fit in and become an effective member of the team. Training the workforce is also an important aspect of human resources management.

This activity is a continuous process that lasts as long as the employees are part of the firm, and not only at the start of their employment in the company. A strategic approach to training is imperative nowadays for training to be seen to be meeting business needs and adding value (Kinicki and Kreitner 2003: 14). For this to happen, the training function needs to examine current and future business needs, and set appropriate priorities for training interventions.

In developing a training program to enhance the productivity of employees, the sole trader should look at the competency expectations from the employees and fashion the program to enable the employees to reach and even exceed the competency standard established for their work. In Woodruffe’s (2000: 82) view, this requires a great amount of perceptiveness on the part of the manager in determining what method of training will be most effective in improving employee competence.

The business would then need to enrol the employees in annual or quarterly training courses to upgrade their skills and enrich their knowledge so as to foster individual and personal development and improvement. Trainers outsourced or employed by the company should be proactive in addressing barriers to transfer of training in the workplace and managing a coordinated, organisation-wide approach to finding solutions (Noe 2005:10).

Possibilities of promotion through their acquired knowledge and improved skills as competitive employees should always be reminded to the staff as a form of motivation to encourage productive outputs. Further, trainees must have the opportunity to apply new knowledge and skills, and they must perceive that they have that opportunity. Supervisors must assign trainees to the kinds of jobs, tasks, or special projects that will not only give them the chance to use what they learned but actually require them to apply it.

Training programs inside the business organisation significantly supply the needs of the companies when these institutions call for improved working relations among the staff during new business ventures so as to ensure higher productivity level (Lipiec 2001:14). At the same time, these programs provide by the business company help clarify their expectations of the company. Since the business will undergo a huge change in its plan to expand its workforce, training will be an important part of the rolling out phase of the change.

WORKS CITED

1. Briscoe, D & Schuler, R 2004, International Human Resource Management: Policies & Practices for the Global Enterprise, Routledge, New York. 2. Chell, E 2001, Entrepreneurship, Globalisation, Innovation and Development, Thomson Learning, Bedford Row, London. 3. Gunnigle, P, Heraty, N & Morley, M 2002, Human Resource Management in Ireland, 2nd edn, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin.

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