What is HR professionalism, and how to ensure that one is effective and efficient within HR (Coursework Sample)
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Professionalism, Effectiveness and Efficiency in HR
Professionalism, Effectiveness and Efficiency in HR
Organizations are typically divided into several departments to ease operations. The common departments found within organizations are finance, sales and marketing, research and development, and human resource management. Each of these departments plays a unique and invaluable role towards organizational growth and success; the HR unit greatly influences performance and outcomes in the organization (Khatri, Gupta & Varma, 2017). According to Sims (2002), for organizations to enjoy sustained success in today’s turbulent and unpredictable business environment, managers must design a critical factor in developing a high performance organization” (Sims, 2002 p.2). Such an observation clearly underscores the significant role played by HR departments in firms. It thus follows that HR managers ought to be respected and recognized for the invaluable work that they do; unfortunately, lack of professionalism has been identified as a major concern among HR professionals. In a publication for the Queen’s University, Balthazard (2014) states that although exceptions exist, there are some HR managers and professionals who ruin the reputation of the HR function. In the context of HR, the term ‘professionalism’ is defined as “an attitude and approach to an occupation that is commonly characterized by intelligence, integrity, maturity, and thoughtfulness” (Balthazard, 2014 p.2). A professional worker is one who demonstrates commitment for their work while at the same time upholding ethics together with values (Ravand, 2014). Having established that sound HR practices are crucial to organizational survival and continuity, this paper examines the topic of what it means to be a HR professional, and what constitutes effectiveness and efficiency in HR.
According to Balthazard (2014), professionalism, on a general note, is built upon several pillars: balanced commercialism, competence, independence, spirit together with enthusiasm, integrity, service to the public, leadership, and integrity. However, the attributes that define professionalism vary depending on the field in which one operates. In HR, for example, professionalism is measured by the extent to which one builds trust and uses his/her professional expertise to make correct decisions. It also refers to the ability of HR managers to use their power morally and appropriately (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2017).
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (2017) outlines the defining attributes of professional HR managers. These include commitment, identity, situational judgment, sound knowledge together with skills, and social plus ethical responsibility. By ethical responsibility, it is meant that professional HR managers are those that use their knowledge to improve societal welfare. Identity, on the other hand, refers to loyalty to the HR community and fellow practitioners. Individuals are said to excel in situational judgment when they apply their knowledge to specific situations and circumstances. This is especially useful in conflict resolution. In addition to this, HR manages can only make relevant decisions and trustworthy choices when they solve conflicts in a manner that shows that they are sensitive to ethical choice. Similarly, professionalism is illustrated through courage to face up to accepted practice.
The human resource function serves myriad purposes, one of these being enhancing organizational performance. Nevertheless, the professionalism of HR managers is gauged according to how sensitive they are to employees’ interests and concerns. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (2017, p.9) states that “since HR is responsible for making decisions that affect workers’ lives, it’s important that HR practitioners understand the sensitivities that come with managing human beings, rather than focusing solely on business profits”. The implication of this is that professionalism in HR calls for managers to give employees an opportunity to voice their opinions and grievances.
Efficiency and Effectiveness in HR
An important theme that emerges from the foregoing discussion is that HR managers are charged with the somewhat tricky task of striking a balance between focusing on achievement of organizational outcomes and upholding the needs and interests of employees. What this means is that HR managers are required to balance between the concepts of efficiency and effectiveness if they are to be considered professional in the work they do. The distinction between these two concepts is provided by Alexander (2008), who defines efficiency as the ability to achieve maximum or optimal results using the least resources possible. On the other hand, effectiveness comprises actions together with results that address issues related to people. In an HR context, efficiency is normally measured in terms of cost per-hire, whereas effectiveness is measured in terms of the magnitude of changes that have resulted from implementation of HR programs (Lawler & Bou
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