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A manager employing the Soft HRM style will be more lenient. They will trust the employees a lot more and gather opinion and take it on board. They also believe that workers/employees seek responsibility and come to work with the intention to impress and progress. They also believe that they have the organizations interests at heart and so they share common goals.
(Aka Harvard/Theory Y)
Obviously, this is extremely basic. Fortunately, they both work. Unfortunately, they don’t work all the time in all situations.
The earliest examples where this term is used are in the work of Guest (1987) and Storey (1987; 1992).
Guest (1987), is define HRM, identifies two dimensions, soft-hard and loose-tight.
Similarly, Storey (1992) plans current clarification of HRM along the two dimensions of soft-hard and weak-strong.
Guest (1987) and Storey (1992) in their definitions of soft and hard models of HRM view the key difference as being whether the importance is placed on the human or the resource.
Soft HRM is associated with the human relations movement, the operation of individual talents, and McGregor’s (1960) Theory Y perspective on individuals (developmental humanism). This has been linked with the concept of a ‘high commitment work system’ (Walton 1985b), ‘which is aimed at causing a commitment so that behavior is primarily self-planned rather than controlled by permissions and pressures external to the individual and relations within the organization are based on high levels of trust’ (Wood 1996: 41).
Soft HRM is also associated with the goals of flexibility and flexibility (which themselves are problematic concepts, as we shall see in more detail later), and implies that communication plays a central role in management
(Storey and Sisson 1993).
Hard HRM, on the other way, stresses ‘the quantitative, calculative and business-strategic aspects of managing the “headcount resource” in as “rational” a way as for any other factor of production’, as associated with a utilitarian-instrumentalist approach (Storey 1992: 29; see also Legge 1995 b).
1.2: Review the differences between Storey’s definitions of HRM and personnel and IR
hr is the overall management of all resources including workers, staff, senior managers, top management and even suppliers and customers.
ir is relations between real work force and management of the organization and also deals with collective bargaining and industrial conflicts
HRM has growing from a simple welfare and maintenance function to that of a board level activity of the companies. In recent years, the attention on people management from human capital perspective is also shaping confidently. However, the hard fact is that this growth can be generally witnessed in management literature and rarely in practice. Outer observation of people management in organization can deceive the observers since; hardly there could be any organization that is yet to rename its old created title of industrial relations/personnel/welfare/administration department into HRM department. But, in practice, these organizations continue to handle the people management activities the way they had been handling earlier. The reasons for this could be many and varied. Among them, the potential reason is lack of clear understanding about the differences between personnel/IR and HRM
Faced with fast change organizations need to develop a more attentive and coherent method to managing people. In just the same way a business involves a marketing or information technology strategy it also requires a human resource or people strategy.
In developing such a strategy two important questions must be addressed.
· What types of people do you need to manage and run your business to meet your strategic business objectives?
· What people programs must be designed and affected to attract, develop and retain staff to compete effectively?
In order to answer these questions four key elements of an organization must be addressed. These are:
â€¢ Culture: views, values, rules and management style of the organization
â€¢ Organization: the structure, job roles and reporting lines of the organization
â€¢ People: the skill levels, staff potential and management skill
Human resources systems: the people focused mechanisms which deliver the strategy – employee selection, communications, training, rewards, career development, etc. Frequently in managing the people element of their business senior managers will only focus on one or two
Dimensions and neglect to deal with the others. Usually, companies adjust their structures to free managers from establishment and drive for more business skill but then fail to adjust their training or reward systems. When the desired business behavior does not develop to managers frequently look confused at the apparent failure of the changes to deliver results. The fact is that rarely can you focus on only one area. What is required is a strategic perspective aimed at identifying the relationship between all four dimensions. If you require an organization which really values quality and service you not only have to retrain staff, you must also review the organization, reward, and appraisal and communications systems.
· quantify job for producing TYPE of product / service
· quantify people & positions required
· determine future staff-mix
· assess staffing levels to avoid unnecessary budgets
· reduce delays in obtaining staff
· prevent shortage / excess of staff
· comply with legal requirements
A Guide for Companies
By Dana E. Friedman
Every company has a workplace strategy-whom they hire and how they manage, assess and
What Is Flexibility?
Flexibility is a way to define how and when work gets done and how careers are organized.
1. Develop the business case – Know what problem you hope to address by increasing
flexibility. It is helpful to look at comparable companies and their experiences with flexibility so that you can provide evidence about what the companies you benchmark yourself against are doing and how these efforts have succeeded. It is also useful to conduct
internal studies diagnosing flexibility as a business problem-solver.
2. Review your own company’s experience – Review any existing programs or policies to
see how well they are working, and what needs improving. Identify employees currently
using flexible work policies and talk with them to assess their experiences. Find supervisors who can serve as role models and champions to play leadership roles in the creation
and implementation process. You may also want to consider creating a task force to consider options and create a plan. If so, make sure that the task force includes individuals
who are well respected and whose opinions carry weight in your company.
3. Define policies and practices – Determine which flexible work options you will create or
improve and how they are to be negotiated and reviewed. It is often a good idea to try out
or pilot some of the new options to see how they work before fully implementing them.
4. Create tools and resources – Provide employees and supervisors with examples of how
to think through their options.
5. Help supervisors learn to manage flexibly – Flexibility doesn’t work in all types of jobs
or for all individuals. Supervisors need help with learning new ways of managing, including
how to problem-solve and look for win-win solutions. They also have to be comfortable
with the discretion they have, including when and how to say “no.” Providing individuals
whom employees and supervisors can turn to in order to resolve problems is important.
If your company has training programs, include managing flexibly as a part of existing or
new training. Web-based tools, briefing sessions, along with coaches can also help with
6. Communicate – Make sure all employees and supervisors are familiar with the company’s
stance on flexibility and the implementation process to be sure it will work.
7. Evaluate usage and effectiveness – Plan to review how flexible work options are working for the employee, for the supervisor and the work group. Align job performance
measures with new workplace flexibility options.
8. Highlight success stories – In newsletters, on bulletin boards, or in on-line databases,
collect and disseminate examples of successful flexible work options for others to
Achieving successful, equitable flexibility is a shared responsibility, a partnership. It requires
the company to develop and communicate clear organizational policies and guidelines. It
requires managers to be knowledgeable about policies and promote flexibility to help get
the work done. It also requires employees to consider the needs of the job, coworkers,
customers, and the company when proposing flexible work strategies. Only then, can
flexibility positively impact workplace effectiveness and the bottom line.
With flexible work schedules, employees experience these benefits:
Flexibility to meet family needs, personal obligations, and life responsibilities conveniently.
Reduced consumption of employee commuting time and fuel costs.
Avoids traffic and the stresses of commuting during rush hours.
Increased feeling of personal control over schedule and work environment.
Reduces employee burnout due to overload.
Allows people to work when they accomplish most, feel freshest, and enjoy working. (eg. morning person vs. night person).
Depending on the flexible work schedule chosen, may decrease external childcare hours and costs.
With flexible work schedules, employers experience these benefits:
Increased employee morale, engagement, and commitment to the organization.
Reduced absenteeism and tardiness.
Increased ability to recruit outstanding employees.
Reduced turnover of valued staff.
Allows people to work when they accomplish most, feel freshest, and enjoy working. (e.g. morning person vs. night person).
Extended hours of operation for departments such as customer service.
Develops image as an employer of choice with family friendly flexible work schedules.
There are also key organizational challenges you need to address to make flexible work schedules support your business. In and of themselves, as a positive benefit for employees, flexible work schedules support employee engagement, positive morale, and retention. But, flexible work schedules must operate to meet the needs of the business, too.
See more about the challenges inherent in life and family friendly flexible work schedules.
It is a critical ingredient to overall workplace effectiveness. Companies use it as a tool for
Improving recruitment and retention, for managing workload, and for responding to employee diversity. Research shows that flexibility can also improve employee engagement and job
Satisfaction and reduce stress.
Below are some of the key options in workplace flexibility:
Traditional flextime allows employees to select their starting and quitting times within a
Range of hours surrounding core-operating hours.
Daily flextime allows employees to select their starting and quitting times within a range of
Hours, typically surrounding core-operating hours, on a daily basis.
A compressed work week enables employees to work their allotted hours over fewer days-
such as 10 hours per day over 4 days, or 80 hours over 9 days, rather than 8 hours per day
over 5 days. Some companies offer “summer hours” by adding an hour to workdays Monday
Through Thursday, and ending work at 1:00 pm on Fridays, or similar arrangements.
When Work Works is a project of Families and Work Institute sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in
Partnership with The Center for Workforce Preparation an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and
The Center for Emerging Futures. For more information, go to
Part-time work means working part days, five days per week or working full days, but fewer
Than five days per week. Job sharing, where two employees share one full-time job with its
Pro-rated salary and benefits, is also a form of part-time work.
Part-year work means working reduced hours on an annual basis, rather than a daily or
Weekly basis-for example, working full-time during the school year and then taking a block
Of time off during the summer.
Time off during the workday to address personal and family issues includes time off for
Anticipated issues (a parent-teacher conference) or unanticipated issues (waiting for a
Plumber to fix a broken pipe).
Time off for personal illness allows employees paid time off when they are ill.
Paid time off to care for children involves being allowed to take a few days off to care for a sick
Child without losing pay or without having to make up some other reason for one’s absence.
Parental Leave is planned time off for mothers and fathers for the birth, adoption, or care of
A foster child.
Flex-Careers include multiple points for entry, exit, and re-entry over the course of one
Career or working life, including formal leaves and sabbaticals, as well as taking time out
of the paid labor market, with the ability to re-enter.
Flex-Place is defined as working some or most of one’s regularly scheduled hours at a
Location other than the main location of one’s employer. It includes primary and occasional
Why Is Flexibility Important to Business?
To attract talent
â€¢ The U.S. Department of Labor reports that our labor force is growing less than 1 percent
Annually, and the number of available workers between 25 and 44 will actually shrink
between now and 2006. The need for qualified people forces companies to rethink their
Recruitment efforts, productivity incentives, benefit plans, work schedules and work
Processes, most of which were designed for a different generation of workers with
Different lifestyles and working conditions.
â€¢ Advances in technology alone demand that we rethink how we connect with people,
Organize teams and how we measure work performance when people work from home.
To retain valued employees
â€¢ Turnover is expensive, especially in this labor market. The Saratoga Institute found that
It costs 150 to 200 percent of an exempt person’s yearly salary to replace him or her.
Compare that to a study by Families and Work Institute that found that allowing an
Employee a one-year parental leave costs 32 percent of a year’s salary.
â€¢ In a 1998 Watson Wyatt survey of 614 companies, flexibility was ranked by half of the
Companies as their most effective retention tool, better than above-market salaries,
Stock options or training.
â€¢ Aetna found that its family leave program increased retention of the highest performers.
After extending the length of maternity leave, 91 percent of women returned to work
Following a maternity leave, while only 77 percent of women were retained after leave
When the leave period was shorter.
â€¢ Royal Bank Financial Group reported that flexible work arrangements not only supported
Their work-life and diversity efforts, but it also improved business performance, enhanced
Customer service, reduced expenses, and positioned the company as a desirable employer.
To raise morale and job satisfaction
â€¢ There are clear links between job satisfaction and turnover. A Sears study has linked
Employee satisfaction with customer retention. Their work with the University of
Michigan Business School found that if employee satisfaction were to improve by five
Points, there would be a predictable improvement in customer satisfaction of two points,
And in the quarter after that, revenues would grow by 1.6 percent.
To improve productivity
â€¢ A survey by CCH Inc., a provider of human resources and employment law information,
Revealed the hidden costs of unscheduled absences, which is about $1.5 million for large
Companies. They also found that instead of illness, family issues are now the most often cited
reason for taking time off. Other non-sickness reasons cited are stress and personal demands.
â€¢ According to a study by Metropolitan Life Insurance, the National Alliance for Caregiving
and AARP, it costs American business $29 billion or $1,141 per employee per year, when
employees are unable to get the support they need for their elderly dependents.
To reduce stress or burnout
â€¢ A DuPont study concluded that workers who used their work-life and flexibility
programs were more committed and less “burned out” than those who did not use
any of the programs.
â€¢ All forms of stress have been found to lead to other problems that affect productivity
and are potentially costly to business. Employees who feel burned out tend to have less
commitment and focus or may leave the company. Half of all workers surveyed said job
stress and burnout had reduced their productivity. Of those reporting “severe” stress,
59 percent wanted to quit and 55 percent said they became ill more frequently
What Are Principles of Flexibility Used by Companies?
â€¢ Flexibility is a management tool that can help get the job done, not an employee perk
â€¢ Flexibility can be used by employees in a range of jobs or levels.
â€¢ Employees’ reasons for wanting flexibility should not matter, unless covered by law.
â€¢ Not everyone wants flexible arrangements.
â€¢ Not everyone can have flexible work arrangements.
â€¢ Flexibility should be applied creatively.
â€¢ Flexibility works best when the work unit and customers are involved.
â€¢ Flexible work arrangements can be temporary or permanent.
What Are the Steps to Implementation?
A company needs to decide the scope of flexibility it plans to allow. No matter how formal or
informal the flexible work options will be, most companies implement flexibility by following
a similar process:
Federal laws protect employees from receiving unequal treatment on the basis of race, gender, age, citizenship, national origin, religion, marital status, disability, or labor union activity. When employers use these factors against their workers, they have committed employment discrimination.
by R.A. Anderson
Workplace discrimination occurs when employers treat certain potential or current employees unfairly because of various issues, including age, race, gender, disability, nationality, religion and pregnancy. Discrimination also takes place when men and women working for the same employer do not receive equal pay for equal work. Under job discrimination laws, it is illegal for employers to engage in any of these practices.
By Judy Wilson
Equal opportunities policy and statement of intent
The organisation is mindful of its responsibilities to promote equality of opportunity and to avoid discrimination at all times.
The following statement outlines our policy and briefly explains how we are planning to achieve equality of opportunity within our organisation. This document should be read in conjunction with the diversity strategy.
The organisation’s policy is:
1. To ensure that no person applying for a job or contractual work is treated less favourably than another because of their race, age, colour, ethnic origin, religion, sex, disability or sexual orientation.
2. To work towards staffing levels and management committee representation which, reflects the ethnic composition of the local population and the organisation’s client group.
3. To abide by the Race, Disability and Gender Equality legislation and to implement the provisions of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
4. To make clients, staff and Management Committee members fully aware of the above provisions and to make the Code of Practice available for inspection.
5. To review practices and policies to ensure that discrimination does not exist.
The organisation’s Management Committee is responsible for monitoring work in this area and for establishing policy. Responsibility for implementing the policy in practical terms rests with the board and nominated manager.
One of the core differences between managing diversity and equal opportunity is associated with the force for change.Whereas external forces, such as government legislations, social fairness, ethical and humanrights etc, tend to drive the equal opportunity, managing diversity tends to be driven byinternal forces within the organisational structure and is immediately connected with the bottom line.Another difference between these two approaches are their goals. The goal of equalopportunity has been mentioned as social justice and rectifying errors that have been made previously in the past: “to correct an imbalance, an injustice, a mistake” (Thomas, 1990, p.108). On the other hand the main goal of managing diversity is discussed in much broader terms; that is to treat employees as individuals, acknowledge that each of them has uniqueneeds and therefore will need different sorts of assistance in order to succeed, describesGeber, 1992. The core motivation behind the equal opportunity framework at governmentallevel and the equal opportunity strategies and practices at organisational level has beenidentified as an attempt to establish equality. For example, the creation of such a communityor organisation, where men and women are dealt with in the same manner and no advantageor disadvantage is given to them based on their sex. In contrast, the term ‘managing diversity’is there to point out the significance of difference and put forward a viewpoint wheredifference is welcomed and is considered as an advantage rather than a disadvantage to theorganisation.In essence, the economic and business cases are the main fundamental driving force for themanaging diversity approach for identifying and evaluating differences. This is incomparison to the ethical case to treat everyone evenly, which is the main driving force for the equal opportunity approach. The equal opportunity approach is there to have an impact on behaviour through legislation in order to eliminate discrimination.
: In this day and age managers and professionals are facing an ever-challengingtask to create work places that recognise the demands and responds to the opportunities of adiverse workforce. Successful leaders must cross their own cultural boundaries in order toencourage a vigorous and powerful cross-cultural communication and create cultural synergyin the workplace. They must recognise and take full advantage of the productivity potentialthat is inherent in a diverse population. Organisations and governments alike must appreciatethat we now operate in a global village, with a highly sophisticated market place. In order to be successful, organisations will have to harness the abilities of all their employees to thehighest order. A structure in which equal opportunities are available for all with a managingdiversity culture would be the ideal combination for a successful organisation.
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