Human Resource Development Research Paper
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Sample Research Paper on Human Resource Development
Human Resource Development in Small organizations
Human Resource Development (HRD) is a general term which represents a rather wide array of activities to enhance existing (or newly requited) workers’ current performance develop skills for future needs or to benefit the employee in a way which will have a secondary, positive effect on the latter’s behaviour.
The importance of HRD
HRD has a substantial role on corporate strategy. This has several reasons. First, a company’s attractiveness is determined by the opportunities it offers to its employees, in particular those skilled workers who have greater bargaining power in the labour market. Comparison lists such as Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work for” evaluate HRP opportunities as integral part of the working conditions.
Second, the nature of jobs has and continues to change: knowledge workers replace industrial ones, and a changing technological and business environment determines that these employees must be prepared to adopt changes. As companies’ profitability in the new economy is directly correlated to the quality of its employees, HRD programs, in particular computerized learning, are ranked among the most important trends in HRM.
Defining Human Resources Development
The terms training and development are often confused with one another. The essential difference is in the time span of the underlying goals:
Training is defined by Bernardin (2007) as “any attempt to improve employee performance on a currently held job or one related to it”. It is hence a solution to a current lack or weakness of the employee.
Development is a more general term which refers to “learning opportunities designed to help employees grow.” (Bernadin, 2007) Simply put, here stands an ensemble of company-initiated activities to prepare the employee for long-run assignments or to bring about an improvement whose benefits for the company is not immediate. An employee can participate in training (e.g., on the new Account Receivables procedures) to bring an immediate change in her performance and to join some development projects, some of them might bring a future career development to the employee and/or benefits to the company. A substantial prerequisite for an effective training and development is a consideration regarding the way the company’s as well as the employee’s goals can be met, at least partially.
HRD in American Corporations
US companies spend dozens of Dollars a year on training and development programs. However, due to HRD nature as a long-term, strategic tool, it is often neglected in times of budgeting problems. Training programs range in all the company’s operations. According to a 2003 survey by the American Society for Training & Development, the biggest expenditure on training (in average per employee) is on the customer service employees. Employees at managerial position received obviously most of the budget; about 28% of the training budget was spent on managers, according to the above mentioned survey.
The most frequent types of training offered in the companies were mainly in the technical (e.g., computer systems and new equipment operation) and the managerial (e.g., management development and communications skills) fields. 96% of the companies had new hire orientation programs and 88% offered sexual harassment training. Employees’ approach to training was rather positive, as about two-thirds of employees see a direct link between training and their short-run professional enhancement.
Triggers and barriers to HRD in small organizations
Small and medium organizations comprise the majority of US employers as one body. However, being observed separately, they behave quite differently than corporations when it comes to many fields, including HRD.
Hill (2001) surveyed some of these differences, focusing on the factors that lead companies to engage in HRD activities (triggers and motivators) and barriers to it, mostly originate from the unique traits of management in small organizations.
Triggers and motivators
Besides some general advantages of training and development in any organization, such as reflection of vision and strategy, increasing the organization’s level of innovation and improving the bottom line, HRD is proved to be very effective in soling some unique problems of small organizations.
Some examples are:
Training and HRD can replace recruitment where skilled labour is constrained by the local market.
HRD is usually a custom-made solution, or at least partially, a rare occurrence within small organizations. However, the smaller a company is, the higher are training process per employee (unit cost)
Quality/production control in small organization usually focuses on doing things “our way.” Training, even internal and/or informal is an appropriate control mechanism.
Barriers to training and HRD
As mentioned above, HRD “suffers” from being directly recognized as a strategic tool. In general, small organization are less keen to invest in strategic planning due to difficulties such as tight financing or since their markets are too stagnant or dynamic.
Some additional barriers as identified by Hill (2001) are:
Low propensity of the workers to participate in training due to limited promotion opportunities
Owner-managers fear of too trained staff
Owners-managers themselves are not involved on training or development efforts, hence ignorant to its benefits
Lack of training materials that meet the needs of the individual firm, in particular among service companies.
Human Resource Development, strategic planning and measurement
HRD offers additional framework to increase corporate efficiency and effectively, in particular when it is combined with well-rounded HR policies (e.g., recruitment and compensation).
A critical issue here is to relate the investment in training and development to predetermined goals and (mainly financial) measurements. In this prospect, performance measurements such as Return on Investment should be used to set rates of return, similar with other HR and non-HR operations.
Other quantifiable measurements are more related to the individual tasks. Such data can be, to mention a few, retained costumers, complaints and productivity. Both direct and indirect effects should be taken into consideration.
HRD can and should be a substitute or a part of recruiting operations in the firms (e.g., should the company hire a new employee? Is it possible? Or maybe it is better to acquire the needed skills through training or development?
When considering international operations, even in a small company, skills should be evaluated and developed. Here the main sphere deals with languages, sensitivity to international differences, etc.
HRD is and will continue to be leading phenomena in HRM. They can solve problem in micro, small and medium-size businesses, but require awareness form owners-managers and employees. The link between HRD and organizational strategic planning is a main barrier to implementing HRD in small businesses. Therefore, specialized consulting companies can help small businesses to enjoy HRD without going through a full strategic process.
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