Human Resource Management

By Alvin Mason

Human Resource Management once was known as Personnel Management. The name was changed as organizations realized that employees were a resource of the organization. However, since organizations changed The Personnel Department to The Human Resource Department employees and would be employees receive less service and personalized attention.

It starts in the recruitment process. When a position is advertised the resume is sent by email. Many times the emails are never read. They are scanned for buzz words. Even worse the hiring organization does not acknowledge receiving the resume. That is one example of a lack of consideration that is too prevalent in today’s hiring process. All the hiring company needs to do is the following:

  1. Set up a temporary email account for the job announcement.
  2. Put in an auto reply (the same concept as an out of office reply) stating something like, “The ABC Company has received your resume and appreciates your interest in our company. We will review all resumes and we will contact the best qualified applicants. Thank you for your interest in ABC Company”. Remember all applicants could be a potential customer one day.
  3. Actually read a certain number of resumes even if your system scans resumes for semi-finalist for the advertised position.

I used to read 200 to 300 applications and/or responses a week after an ad was run. In reading resumes and cover letters many times I would get a feeling about an applicant. My instincts would kick in and I would want to meet the person who wrote the resume and/or cover letter so I would call them in for a face to face interview.

All resumes and or applications should be acknowledged. Under no circumstance should a person showing interest in your organization, not receive some communication as a confirmation or thank you for their effort. When an organization does not acknowledge a person’s effort to be considered, it is disrespectful. All applicants deserve common courtesy. I know I have been redundant in repeating that organizations should acknowledge receiving correspondence from a job seeker and it is because of the frustration of many job seekers.

I find it ironic that many organizations will not consider a candidate who does not have a digital footprint. One reason for the digital footprint requirement is the preference of organizations to hire people who are technology proficient. For an organization to require technology proficiency and not use the available technology to be respectful as acknowledging the receipt of a resume is hypocritical.

Another problem I have with today’s hiring process is the Personality Test. The test does not prove or disprove that a person is a fit for an organization. Many times the test asks the same questions different ways. If this test is a better indication of an applicant’s potential success versus an interview than the hiring process of that organization has taken the human element out of hiring.

In today’s world when a human resource person makes contact with former or current, employers to verify employment or to get a reference, many times they can only ascertain the dates of employment in writing. That is because of potential liability. That should make the interview more important.

The standard hiring process should include two interviews. One by a Human Resource professional, which should be the second primary screening process after accessing the applications or resumes. The second interview should be with the prospective supervisor who will actually make the decision. It is a mistake for Human Resources or a panel to decide the applicant to hire without any input from the future supervisor. When the future supervisor interviews and selects the future employee, a lot of problems can be avoided. That interview should include specific expectations as well as a list of behaviors and performance issues that will not be tolerated.

Perhaps my biggest problem with the hiring process is the priority given to networking. Too many times I have seen employment experts give advice prioritizing networking as a way to get into an organization. Whatever happened to getting an education and developing skills? What should a parent tell their children about the importance of education and being a good person? In my working career too many times I have worked with people who were in their position because of who they knew not what they knew. In many instances people who were brought into an organization by a friend or relative had a sense of entitlement which was greater than their work ethic. Whenever the best qualified person is not hired, the organization loses in production and other ways.

At one time an organization was concerned about their turnover rate. Recruiters were even evaluated on the longevity of their recommended hires. Of course organizations understood when an employee left for a better opportunity.

Finally as to the hiring process, age discrimination is too prevalent. A discriminated baby boomer victim might not be able to prove they were discriminated against in a court of law but the human resource people who are carrying out these mandates for organizations know it is wrong and against the law. Why do organizations fear an older experienced worker? Why, is there a belief that experienced workers past the age of 30 or 40 cannot adapt to a new and/or different organization culture? Is the organization so stringent that it cannot appreciate varied experience? If that is so what are you the Human Resource professional, doing to change that culture in your organization.

Once an employee is hired too many times they are thrown into the job with no orientation or training. Whatever happened to the importance of training? Please read “The Importance of Training”

Why would an organization put an employee in a situation without indoctrinating them to how things should be done? Why would an organization allow an employee to start work without educating that employee on the expected standards? Training is the single most important aspect for success. Why is an employee expected to hit the ground running when hired with no training? A mentor is not as effective as a formal training program. Does anyone think that watching videos is more effective than having a training manager? If videos were the better training method, than we should eliminate teachers and professors in the classroom.

Once an employee is hired too many times after their probationary period was supposed to have ended, that employee never receives a formal evaluation. Evaluations and raises or promotions are not as important in today’s working world as they should be. Evaluations are important for employee development because goal setting should be the result of an evaluation.

In the absence of a Human Resource person, as with a smaller organization, the owner or leader needs to perform all the aforementioned HR functions.

To be fair let me give credit to the Human Resource profession for improvement in the following policies:

  1. Flexible work Schedules
  2. Maternity Leave
  3. Death of an immediate family member leave
  4. Better benefit packages
  5. Better vacation and sick leave policies
  6. Diversity of the work force
  7. Time for health maintenance (physical fitness)

At one time Personnel Managers had knowledge of the entire process from hiring to retirement. An employee could have meetings and strategically plan their career through retirement. Today Human Resource Managers are too specialized being knowledgeable in only one aspect of the HR process. Many people approaching retirement are frustrated with some organizations Human Resource’s ability to help and/or advise on their retirement.

Human Resource Managers need to be visionaries with regard to healthcare benefits. The cost of an individual to be insured automatically increases to the cost of the family plan when that individual gets married. There should be a bigger voice advocating a husband and wife or a couples plan.

Finally, Human Resource professionals need to understand that they are in a unique position of being an advocate for both the organization they work for and the employees in that organization. In performing their duties they should advance ideas and policies that benefit their employer’s and the organizations employees by:

  1. Improving employee morale
  2. Increasing production
  3. Improving the working atmosphere
  4. Lowering the organization turnover rate
  5. Making their organization a desired destination for workers

The effective Human Resource professional will be appreciated by both his/her employer and the employees they serve.

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