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Strategic HR Approach
The branch of organizational management, that is, human resources, is primarily concerned with the management of the staff or, as the name implies, the human resources that a company has. Its responsibilities include attracting, recruiting, providing training, evaluating and assessing the staff productivity, overseeing leadership, and promoting corporate culture. Proper human resource management is instrumental to an organization's success. The recognition of this branch of management has opened doors to research, which has yielded several guidelines that are currently employed in human resource management (Ehnert, 2009)
The first scenario has to do with a very important aspect of human resource management today, which is staff welfare. Today there is a standard operating procedure (SOP) that provides staff with benefits that go beyond just salaries. The provision of other benefits includes health, dental, and life insurance for employees, retirement/pension plans, paid vacations and leaves, disability benefits, and benefits for dependents of the staff. All of the above benefits constitute the attraction function mentioned in the prior paragraph. They are the selling points that the HR branch of every company puts together to attract new staff and keep the existing staff motivated and productive.
If the staff described in the first scenario has to come to the managers of their company to ask for funds for chemotherapy or any other kind of therapy, then it points to a failure on the part of the human resources department of that company, because such a facility should be available and it is part of SOP of any company that wants to attract and keep its clients. The solution to this situation would be for the company to provide the employee with the funds for his treatment. This is vital because in case the employee does not get the funds, he is likely to die of cancer, which sends a message to the other staff that the company will not care for them. Consequently, the staff motivation will fall significantly, and should the opportunity present itself for the staff to leave the company, they will not hesitate to do so. Following this episode, the company should quickly research and have in place a health insurance plan for its staff.
The second scenario sees repeated accidents (possibly of a similar kind) in a department of people. Because the staff has seniority over the new manager, the manager complains that the staff does not accord him the respect that is due to his position. It appears straightforward but there are multiple facets to this issue. The first part of this issue is that the manager is a micro-manager. It might seem at first glance that the manager is being fastidious and meticulous, but that is only from the outside.
The manager's reaction might be due to the pressure exerted on him by upper management. Although no explanation was given for his appointment, it could be assumed that the previous manager had been relieved of his appointment or had been promoted. In any case, this might place some pressure on the manager to perform and this might push him to micro-manage. When managers micromanage, this does not exude any kind of confidence, and that lack of confidence influences the staff. It gives the impression that the manager has no confidence in their ability to carry out the tasks that they have been doing for many years.
The manager in this case must consider the experience of the staff and find unobtrusive ways to implement the changes he wishes to make. This ties into the issue of insubordination. Poor personnel management has eroded the respect that should have been accorded the manager and, as a result, the staff has resorted to pushing back against the imposition of the new manager on their workspace. The scenario described will only result in poor productivity and poor work ethics. It is possible to suggest that the accidents spoken about might not be just accidents but acts of defiance or rebellion by the staff. The solution to this situation will be for the manager to reassess his behavior and see that his behavior is the root of the problem being experienced in his department. The manager should insist on his respect because if he does not regain it and then earn it, he will lose the staff and his job. Furthermore, he should adopt a less hands-off approach and probably find one person among the staff who everyone respects and make that person the foreman. This person should communicate with the staff, which will gradually help the manager to win his authority back on the staff.
The third scenario is about a newly hired female employee who has lost her job due to tardiness and reported the company union asking for being reinstated. She makes two very interesting points. First of all, her firing was done with sexual bias as male members of the staff were not less tardy than she. Furthermore, she points to some element of nepotism because of the manager's wife. This shows double standards in the workplace.
Depending on the kind of establishment the company represents, this could be a source of bad publicity for the company. However, the HR department should have been able to foresee this problem and the uncomfortable place it would put the company in. In this case, the woman should be rehired. However, legal grounds should be found to fire her afterward, as her continued stay in that place of work will represent a constant symbol of standing up to the man among the staff. The practice of favoring males and family members of the bosses should promptly stop. The company should put in place a new policy that shows no tolerance to tardiness. A failure to do this will only cause more problems with the staff who will assume that the rules are not really serious, which might precipitate a lackadaisical attitude to work and progressively lesser productivity in that firm.
Having a baby can be a challenging experience and it can result in changes in the mother and the father. The most dramatic effect of parturition is known as postpartum depression. This condition is characterized by a listless attitude on the part of the mother, lack of maternal behavior by the mother towards the baby, and general apathy. The exact cause of postpartum depression is as yet unclear; however, several theories exist that attempt to explain this condition (Miller, 2002). In the fourth scenario, this appears to be the case with a previously high-performing employee who has just had a baby and after spending the maternity leave returns to work with a listless and apathetic attitude both to work and her co-workers.
It is clear that this previously high-performing woman is experiencing depression and she needs psychological support. In this case, the HR department will need to recommend and possibly provide a psychologist and the support that she so clearly needs. If possible, her leave should be extended to enable her to regain some balance of herself following the postpartum depression. When she returns, some of her workloads should be taken off her to help her cope with the regular demands of the workplace. If the woman is still unable to deal with her state, a severance package should be made available to her with benefits that reflect her productivity.
Irrespective of the case, the HR manager should endeavor to be seen as firm but fair. He has to balance the company's image and objectives with the peculiarities that each problem presents. As no two problems are alike, it is essential to ensure that the staff remains highly motivated and productivity does not drop.