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HRM Term Paper

Question



Assignment 1: Trends in the Workplace

Due Week 3 and worth 200 points

According to the text, there are a number of key trends in the workplace that have significant influences on organizations. HR professionals play a key role in helping organizations respond to evolving trends, comply with federal and state regulations, and manage workplace flexibility. As an HR professional it is important for you to demonstrate your understanding of the ever changing global environment. 

Write a five to seven (6) page paper in which you:

Specify the key functional areas of Human Resources Management. Explore the manner in which each function contributes to the overall performance of an organization. Support your response with specific examples of the activities for which HRM is typically responsible.
Examine four (4) federal equal employment opportunity laws. Suggest the primary manner in which each law influences fair employment practices within the American organization where you currently work or an American organization for which you have worked in the past. Support your response with specific examples of the chosen organization’s employment practices.
According to the text, there are three (3) significant trends affecting organizations today: the aging workforce, diversity, and skills deficiencies in the workplace. Analyze the primary manner in which each of these three (3) trends has impacted the organization where you currently work or one (1) where you have worked in the past. Support your response with specific examples of said impact.
According to the text, workplace flexibility is essential for organizational success in the rapidly changing world. Explore two (2) ways that the organization where you currently work, or one (1) where you have worked in the past, might respond to the need to be flexible. Provide a rationale for your response.
Use at least four (4) quality academic (peer-reviewed) journal articles in this assignment. Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not qualify as academic resources. 
Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides; citations and references must follow APA or school-specific format. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the reference page are not included in the required assignment page length.
The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:

Examine the theoretical constructs of human resource management.
Analyze the external environmental factors that impact human resource policies and procedures.
Use technology and information resources to research issues in human resource management foundations.
Write clearly and concisely about human resource management foundations using proper writing mechanics.
Grading for this assignment will be based on answer quality, logic/organization of the paper, and language and writing skills.

Answer

Trends in the Workplace

Human resource management is the process through which human resources are managed in relation to employees’ knowledge, skills, experience, and competencies. Human labor at all levels is considered a resource and a factor of production. Human resources constitute a critical, and indeed one of the most important, factors of production. It is a delicate component, hence the need to develop systems to maintain quality human output (Schuler & Jackson, 1987). Most organizations pay attention to their human resource management issues and employ teams of professional human resource specialists who solely handle these matters. The key functional areas of human resource management include staffing and employment, compensation and benefits, safety and risk management, employee and labor relations, and human resource development.

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Staffing requires that the organization clearly evaluates the skills needed and in accurate numbers. First, the human resource team will thoroughly analyze the functions the company needs to perform. In this way, the functions can be sub-divided into smaller and more productive roles. After all the roles have been laid out, then the skills required in each role are identified. At this point, each job is defined in terms of its job description, requirements, and qualifications. The required number of workforce is determined and the recruiting process begins. It mostly takes the form of job applications and interviews through which suitable and highly qualified employees are selected based on the criteria laid down at the initial stages.

Human resource development begins after an employee is hired and continues throughout their time at the organization. Training is undertaken with a view to outline the responsibilities of the employees. It not only serves to teach the employee the actual skills required for the job but also to impart their own learned skills in their role with focus on the needs and characteristics of the organization. Employees are also given goals and targets to achieve to promote quality productivity. In most companies, the human resource team will also be tasked with developing systems to evaluate productivity, motivate people, reward productivity, and discourage poor quality work (Schuler & Jackson, 1987).

Compensation and benefits incorporate payment to employees, various employee benefits, as well as other financial aspects like retirement schemes and insurance. Human resource management requires effective measures of individual payment in a fair and systematic manner. In most cases, institutions have scales for determining payment based on factors like experience and education among others. The management then ensures payment is made on time and using the proper channels. The human resource management team may for example decide to deduct taxes before payment is made. Additional benefits such as bonuses and overtime fees are also handled by the team. Spreading information and promoting retirement scheme is often an in-house job and is also part of human resource management.

Safety and risk management ensures healthy and safe working conditions are provided for the employees. This could be creating both safe physical and mental working conditions. Proper sanitary conditions, fire systems, fire evacuation plans are among the safety precautions that promote a feeling of safety in the organization, and this is important for maximum productivity (Schuler & Jackson, 1987).

Employees and labor relations involve relations amongst the employees, between employees and their employers, as well as employee-labor union relations. Employees can be part of a union which is especially backed by the law when serving the role of representing its members. As part of employees and labor relations, horizontal and vertical relationships are managed through activities like team building, implementation of strong leadership, and ownership.

Employees in the United States are protected from unfair employment by various federal laws. These laws ensure that equal opportunities are provided to all employees regardless of race, age, gender, or nationality. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was established by the Civil Rights Act to implement these federal laws. One of these laws, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, requires that equal pay is made to everyone if they perform the same role or are at the same level. This Act therefore facilitates the compensation and benefits function of human resource management. This law simply creates value for all employees and levels off the ground for them leaving room for fair and balanced growth. In the organizations that I have worked for in the past, I have observed the keenness with which systems are created for calculating wages based on employee value in a transparent way.

            The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is also a crucial federal law relating to employment. It makes it illegal to discriminate against women because of pregnancy or any condition related to pregnancy. Women have in the past faced extreme challenges during pregnancy and childbirth. These challenges included missing payment, being undervalued, getting short or no maternal leave and even losing their jobs during periods of pregnancy and childbirth. This law further protects women who lodge complaints about this kind of discrimination. In addition, the law affords men certain paternal once their wives have delivered. It has ensured that women remain employed and relevant in the workplace while still taking care of their families. In my organization, women are allowed to continue working until shortly before birth when she is given a maternal leave on pay for about three months after which she is guaranteed her job back.

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            The Age Discrimination in Employment Act also stands out as a landmark federal law that protects citizens who are 40 and older from discrimination based on their age. This law aims to create balance in a global work environment that seems to overemphasize the youth at the expense of the older population. This law has ensured that senior employees are valued especially for the benefits they have to offer organizations in terms of professional experience. My current organization retains its senior employees until they retire and gives them the same opportunity for career growth and self-actualization as other employees. There are some organizations that even provide internships for senior citizens.

            Americans with disabilities Act is an equally important law that protects persons with disabilities against discrimination because of their incapacities. Employers are required to accord a disabled person the same rights they would a normal person as long as the person is qualified and fit for employment. This law gives disabled persons a fair opportunity to compete with other people and become productive in their own unique ways (Jackson & Shuler, 1995).

            Finally, the Genetic Information Non-discriminator Act prevents the discrimination of employees following genetic information revealing genetic diseases and disorders for the employee or in his family. Employers are required to treat such employees equally and create an appropriate support system for them. Evidently, these federal laws have been strictly implemented in the United States in both the public and private sectors and have definitely created a diverse working environments that promotes productive competition and development (Jackson & Schuler, 1995).

            The aging workforce is a particularly major trend affecting human resource management in many organizations. The protective systems in place in many companies have led to a situation whereby aging employees remain in employment for many years. Without a doubt, these employees have great work experience that many young employees have not yet accumulated. Furthermore, these older employees typically hold managerial and leadership positions in their respective organizations. Many organizations are the verge of serious HR losses as the aging workforce approaches retirement (Jones, 2005). Many such organizations will in future experience labor shortage. An aging workforce, which is a characteristic of developed countries, arises because of low fertility rates that ultimately translate to a growing population of older people. An aging workforce, which is slowly becoming a global dilemma, poses challenges such as healthcare costs and reduced productivity.

            Diversity and inclusion also constitute a trend that has been greatly overlooked in human resource management for the longest time. It is only now that human resource managers are concentrating on how to deal with diversity within their organizations. Organizations are actively promoting the involvement of employees in creative processes, innovation, and decision making. Organizations are also recruiting people of diverse thinking as well as those who think differently to create a diversity of thought and opinions. Other forms of diversity are technological diversity and the inclusion of women and young people in senior positions. Diversity in organizations should be advanced because it is the only way to promote creativity and innovation in today’s global business environment (Lewis & Cooper, 1999).

            Skill deficiencies are also becoming a major problem in the modern world. The world has become interconnected by the Internet and information technology. People are learning, sharing ideas, and coming up with new innovations at a fast rate. This rapid development has created skill deficiencies. In the context of the rapid advancements being made in health, communication, biological and many other sectors, skill shortages can create major problems for companies particularly in terms of productivity and efficiency. The situation is worsened by the slow learning nature of the labor force as compared to the rapid technological advancements. However, organizations are now focusing on holistic learning experiences that incorporate various learning experiences (Lewis & Cooper, 1999). Most human resource managers are now creating self-learning and self-development opportunities and merging them with the daily operations of employees. My organization, for example, has created a system whereby most employees perform roles interchangeably allowing them to hone vast skills under different roles. 

            Flexibility and adaptability is essential for organizational success because of the daily and unpredictable rapid changes in the world (Bassett‐Jones, 2005). Trends such as diversity have fueled the need for flexibility. Technology has also necessitated flexibility because of its direct influence on communication, transport, trade, and globalization (Jones, 2005). Organizations have to keep changing and readjusting to face the massive competition created by these factors. Even the most traditional organizations are now being forced to adapt to more flexible and open strategies to remain productive. On a smaller scale, employees are also required to be flexible to perform their roles effectively. This involves learning other unrelated or far-off concepts and engaging their own creativity to solve problems and achieve results. However, organizations have to develop strategies for employees to learn the new skills and allow them to comfortably fit into the new pace. Over the past years, my organization, like many others was forced to adopt other forms of marketing and advertising on the internet. This meant we had to be flexible and develop ways to modify a well-developed traditional marketing strategy into a modern strategy that incorporated online marketing. Our organization was also required to adopt other payment options such as online money solutions, a task that required learning flexibility for most employees in a very short time. In general, in the workplace now, a person can definitely feel the difference from a few years ago when the workplace was a calm and steady environment. Today, the pressure, learning, diversity and human resource management is completely different and still continues to change.

References

Bassett‐Jones, N. (2005). The paradox of diversity management, creativity and innovation. Creativity and innovation management, 14(2), 169-175.

Jackson, S. E., & Schuler, R. S. (1995). Understanding human resource management in the context of organizations and their environments. Strategic Human Resource Management, 46, 237-264.

Lewis, S., & Cooper, C. L. (1999). The work–family research agenda in changing contexts. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 4(4), 382.

Schuler, R. & Jackson, S. (1987). Linking Competitive Strategies with Human Resource Management Practices. The Academy of Management Executive, 1(3), 207-219.

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