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To enhance the performance of the HR Department at Bradford Enterprises, three specific tools have been selected: selection tests, Human Resource Information System (HRIS), and succession planning tools. It is necessary to carry out a comparative analysis of those to determine their efficiency. Bradford Enterprises has recently experienced changes in terms of HR administration: during the last six months, 9% of employees have been replaced due to various reasons. Some of them left to join other companies for personal reasons (moving to another city, for example), others found employment in other enterprises more rewarding. Either way, Bradford Enterprises has faced a situation when it has to manage the replacement of employees and internal HR rearrangements. Therefore, the HR department has to be ready to assess the skills and qualities of the staff anew to arrange the employment system by the new situation.
Each tool has its purpose that figuratively moves from the narrowest to the broadest one. Selection tools are the most specific-oriented ones (aimed at measuring skills that are assessed more effectively via task samples than using an interview). Succession planning pursues a target of preparing people from inside the company for taking up certain positions (therefore, succession tools foster qualities and skills necessary for a job). Last but not least, HRI systems are basically multifaceted complexes of solutions encompassing not only training but also payroll and compliance.
The common quality that all of these tools possess is the importance of validity criterion for their efficiency as such. Whether these tools meet the validity and reliability criteria, is the issue that should be paid most attention to by HR managers of Bradford Enterprises.
The significance of internal consistency criteria should be emphasized in the first place. Internal consistency ensures that each question of the test has the same value of the attribute the test measures. When a selection test, HRIS, or a succession planning tool is consistent enough internally, then all of the questions are of equal complexity, contain minimum ambiguity, and score for the proportional number of points. In other words, internal consistency reliability shows the extent to which the data are free from error due to the ways the items were phrased, interpreted by respondents, and so on (Gatewood, 2008, p.35). According to the aforementioned authors, there are three commonly recognized ways to measure internal consistency: split-half reliability, Kuder-Richardson reliability, and Chronbach coefficient alpha reliability (Gatewood, 2008, p.40).
The typical HR planning scheme includes obligatory stages like describing the current environment and determining its characteristics; making prognoses and forecasts as to what the staff needs to work more effectively; then, assessing the gap, or, in other words, determining what keeps the company from becoming what it needs to be. According to Zula (2007), the second stage, or the forecast demand, includes using two groups of methods: statistical ones and judgemental ones. The former group encompasses techniques like time series analysis, personnel ratios, regression analysis, and productivity ratios, while the latter contains techniques like the rule of thumb, Delphi technique, NGT, and brainstorming. The evaluation process should also necessarily include the assessment of available resources to Bradford Enterprises internal, as well as external. After the assessment, the HR manager of the company is supposed to decide how to use the available resources and whether it is reasonable to engage resources from elsewhere additionally. In the case of Bradford Enterprises, 61 employees were transferred from their organizational units to similar ones. The criterion for such transfer was the productivity of their work in old positions and the probability that, at new positions, these workers will be able to achieve more efficiency. These conclusions were made by HR managers based on the results of tests, succession tools, and various analyses.
Another measurement criterion that personally I find integral is reliability. This means the reliability of a measurement unit. Just as they measure the length in centimeters, power of sound in decibels, and intelligence in IQ points, there is a need to define measurement units for every skill and a personal trait that is to be assessed. For instance, there is a theory brought forward by Daniel Goleman (1996) that apart from intelligence quotient, there also is such a notion as emotional intelligence (abilities that lie between cognition and emotion), for which he proposes to use a conditional measurement unit called EQ. This is a vivid example that shows how evaluators can tailor their measurement tools and scales thereof to the changing environment. If there is a need to assess a certain quality, it should first of all be decided on the scale of how that quality moves from minimum to maximum, and grasp it with a unit. When a unit is too large or too small for quality (for instance, if one tries to measure the size of a butterfly in kilometers or the weight of a bear in milligrams, this will significantly hamper the study).
Using a practical example it will be explained how Bradford Enterprises can take account of both internal consistency and measurement unit reliability when resolving an everyday HR issue. A supervisor's primary skills need to be evaluated: time management skills (30% of the overall performance), delegation and supervising skills (30% of the overall performance), communication skills (20%), and leadership skills (40%). By using these criteria performance indicators will be developed. A group of those for each skills group: first group - planning personal and department working time, ability to meet strict deadlines, working in conditions of emergency; second group - capacity to determine tasks of high and low priority, distribute tasks among the employees by their skills and experience, motivate employees by using appraisal and punishment measures; the third group - using personal contacts for problem-solving, finding a suitable approach to every employee, resolving conflict situations within the team; fourth group - taking responsibility for the outcomes of the work, ability to give clear and understandable instructions to employees, exercising control over the accomplishment of the tasks. Each of the quality scales shall be assessed by the following scale: unsatisfactory; lower than average; average; higher than average; excellent.
Measurement unit reliability proved to be one the most essential criterion because it helped HR managers of Bradford Enterprises to evaluate skills like stress resistance, logical thinking, leadership qualities, and emotional stability. Without clear measurement scales, it is virtually impossible to assess these skills honestly and fairly. Many employees would have a chance to appeal and debate the results of HR management decisions and this would create an unhealthy atmosphere in working place.
We have analyzed one of the most primary criteria for HR tools assessment internal consistency and measurement unit reliability. If an HR employee complies with these options, the tools will prove to be effective. However, with the amount of constantly changing information and requirements to the employees of all levels, one cannot be sure that a once successful test remains so for a long time. In fact, there is always room for improvement. The challenges standing before HR experts of Bradford Enterprises are still numerous and require practical experience coupled with strong theoretical background from scholars and researchers. Bradford Enterprises is a rapidly growing company that will certainly benefit from the development in the HR sphere.