Utilising human resources for organisation’s growth

Although managers recognise importance of people factor, only a few use policies effectively


Dr Mirza Abrar Baig March 27, 2017
PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: Recently, the president of a multinational bank revealed that an effective Human Resource (HR) management can place an organisation on the right track. Elaborating, he clarified that with the right people heading the HR function, there can be a radical change in the corporate culture which puts talents to the best advantage.

Human capital development in Pakistan

He added that if this happens then the next step would be to introduce various progressive HR initiatives which would lead a motivated workforce and harmonious industrial relations. However, in reality, the role of HR in most organisations has been rightly labelled as “pathetic”.  While many senior government functionaries agreed that the HR function is critical to the success of an institution, they gave poor ratings with regards to practices and importance being given to the HR department in our organisations.

Case study

An important HR intervention is the talent management scheme which was successfully applied in one of the largest banks in the country recently. As a result, many of its branches converted their losses to huge profits.

Meanwhile, an executive of a private bank confided that during the three-year period, he improved the business of his branch from Rs600 million to Rs4,730 million and increased profitability from Rs10 million to Rs780 million by providing non-monetary incentives and adopting various morale boosting techniques. This had resulted in high motivation from staff members and led to greater customer satisfaction. Separately, in a survey of over 200 managers conducted in local organisations on the theme “What do the employees want most from their jobs”, it was established that what the responders expect most from their jobs are elements of respect, trust and recognition.

Reality

Although the senior management does recognise the importance of “people factor” in our organisations, only a few of them have been successful in using HR effectively, which in turn inspires success and translates into a high-performance business strategy. Moreover, many business managers who believe they can decide the HR priorities without a deeper understanding of the relationship between business strategy, organisation and the people will find that their organisation will never become a truly high-performing company. On the other hand, many HR managers are afraid to put the finger on the problem causing trouble because they do not like to disturb the status quo.

Remedy

In most Fortune 500 companies, the head of HR is one amongst the top five senior most executives of the organisation. This is something that our organisations lack. Once this is ensured, it will be the key responsibility of HR managers to improve organisational performance by putting people, resources, ideas and technology to its best use.  While the basics of HR functions, such as human resource planning, recruitment, training and employee compensation cannot be ignored, the new agenda needs to be generated to meet specifically the following major challenges:

Employee Engagement: In order to harmonise the workplace, the employee engagement programme needs to be put in place on an urgent basis.  Organisations survive and flourish in a competitive world only when its employees contribute to the best of their abilities.  Engaged employees prove to be invaluable assets as they are fully involved in and enthusiastic about their work and responsibilities. Thus, the HR personnel have to become the key drivers of the program by initiating activities such as opening up communication channels, deploying employees on the right job, providing varieties in jobs and introducing various monetary and non-monetary incentive programs.

‘Developing human resources is a priority’

Employer Branding: In a competitive environment, it is important to retain the image of the organisation as a great place to work in the minds of the current and prospective employees and other key stakeholders, including customers. HR may take the lead to develop such an organisational culture which fosters a sense of belongingness with the company and encourages the employees to share organisation’s goals for success. Building such a brand requires the top management to answer the question “how do we live up to the expectations of our stakeholders”. They need to provide full support to the HR to discharge their responsibility more effectively in order to build employer branding.

Talent Management: Talent is a scarce resource which requires careful planning. The HR personnel can make a major difference in the organisation and contribute significantly to its success through a talent management strategy. When the organisations invest money, resources and energy in nurturing talent and retaining them, they act as the best insurance cover. Development of talent enhances performances in the current positions as well as ensures readiness for transition to the next level. It is the job of the HR to drive the talent strategy.  A rightly managed talent turns out to be a gold mine.  It is inexhaustible and priceless. It will keep supplying wealth and value to the organisation.

The writer is former Senior Executive Vice President & Group Chief, Human Resources & Organisational Development in National Bank of Pakistan

 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2017.

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