DESPITE several declarations by senior executives that their human resource is their greatest asset, the situation on the ground in most organisations does not support this claim. With the exception of those organisations where best practice policies have been crafted and are implemented professionally, the majority of organisations have no human resources (HR) practices to talk about.
In 2014 we undertook a survey on Human Resources Best Practices. Our primary research objective was to better understand the current state of human resources practices and organisational capacity in Zimbabwean organisations. We also attempted to assist Zimbabwean organisations to define what constitutes best practice in Human Resources Management and what measures organisations may take to implement this best practice. The findings were based on self-assessments that were done by participating HR practitioners who rated themselves against areas of Human Resources Best Practice.
One of the greatest challenges that HR practitioners are facing as they seek to implement HR best practice is the lack of information on what really constitutes best practice. Unlike their colleagues in other functions, Finance for example, HR practitioners often lack the kind of local data, process support and industry-level standards that help them identify and implement best practice. We have noted that in crafting internal transformations for their departments, too many HR practitioners essentially develop a new vision with few examples of excellence for guidance.
The result can be well-intentioned, but poorly executed change initiatives. At best, this sort of change can achieve excellence but at the cost of always having to provide “support services” and “fire fighting” to other departments. At worst, it hurts the department more than it helps, especially in the eyes of the business partners who often feel that the HR function is focused more on internal HR needs than on business outcomes.
Traditionally, the HR Department has been viewed as an administrative overhead. HR has been responsible for processing payroll, managing benefits administration, maintaining personnel files, and other records, managing the hiring process, amongst others. I believe those times are changing.
If HR is going to increase its “value-add” and influence at the Executive table, with other company top strategists and decision makers, it must decide on what is core and non-core. Administrative responsibilities such as getting payslips out on time are not core. There are other critical strategic issues that must be addressed.
In our survey, we noted very interesting findings.
*There is a strong correlation between performance management and industrial relations (r=0.748).
*There is a strong correlation between recruitment & selection practices and performance management (r=0.733).
*Employee engagement has strong positive correlations with performance management (r=0.713), performance related pay (r=0.658), industrial relations (r=0.724), reward management (r=0.853), recruitment and selection practices (r=0.901) and training and development (r=0.891).
*There is a strong positive correlation between staff turnover and employee absenteeism levels (r=0.703).
The bottom-line is the role of human resources as we know it is changing. When the economy eventually resurges and begins to compete competitively, there are a number of management practices and business fundamentals that will have to change with it. I believe that the positive result of these changes is that HR professionals have the opportunity to play a more strategic role in the business. The challenge for HR managers is to keep up to date with the latest HR innovations, technological, legal, and otherwise.
There is a need to know the current HR challenges, and how to most-effectively manage them in your workplace.
To receive the full Human Resources Best Practice Survey Report, contact me on the details below.
Memory Nguwi is the Managing Consultant of Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number 077 2356 361 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com
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