Personnel management is a type of management in an organisation that has evolved into a distinctive discipline, said HR Professional Josephat Itika. One of the most widely accepted definitions is that personnel management is as of the process and practice of getting people in an organisation, assessing and rewarding for performance, and developing their full potential for the achievement of organisational objectives.
To understand better, here is the summary of personnel management functions within an organisation.
This involves establishing the organisation structure in a way that will enable the realisation of the company’s intended mission, vision, goals, objectives, strategies and tasks. No single organisational structure can suit all organisations because the suitability of an organisational structure will depend on where the organisation is, and what its future prospects are. If the mission of an organisation involves rapid growth and expansion, a tall bureaucratic structure may not be desirable because such a structure slows the decision-making process, which in turn, stifles flexibility, creativity and innovation.
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Resourcing is a concept that has emerged with the use of the term ‘human resource planning’. It involves a process of enabling an organisation to have the right people, doing the right jobs at the right time. This is in line with the challenges facing managers in staffing organisations. It is about planning for a number and quality of employees required under different job categories and to make sure that staffing processes such as recruitment, selection, placement, promotions, transfers and downsizing are effective.
The personnel department has to initiate the system, process, techniques and tools of individual, teams and organisational performance measurement. It has to ensure that performance targets for individuals, teams, sections and departments are set and agreed upon and measures to address performance gaps are in place and are working. This is not an easy task because it requires a value judgement about employees. Progress, that is made towards improving staff appraisal systems, will be covered later under performance management.
The performance of an organisation depends on the competence of the workforce, therefore training and development are important, not only for the present job but also for the future job and organisation. The head of personnel department has to design tools for assessing the need for training that will be used to identify training and development gaps and develop effective strategies and programmes for training and developing staff. In most large organisations and more so in government ministries, there are departments and officers responsible for ensuring that personnel training and development functions are carried out effectively.
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The words ‘compensation’ and ‘reward’ are often used interchangeably in contemporary personnel management. Although in principle, the two concepts might mean the same thing, they have different philosophical roots. The concept is that those who work lose something which should be compensated and those who work positive have to be rewarded depending on the quantity and quality of accomplishment. Thus, employees need different types of compensations or rewards for the effort they expend on the job and enable the organisation function. It is the duty of the human resource department through the responsible officers to evaluate different types and levels of jobs in order to develop appropriate compensations or rewards in terms of pay and other incentive packages.
Relationships between an employer and employee and among employees in a workplace need to be nurtured to avoid conflicts and disputes which will ultimately lead to unproductive behaviour. The personnel department is well placed for this job as it has staff trained in people management particularly in industrial legislation, labour laws and conflict management. Some industrial organisations employ lawyers as industrial relations officers, but qualified personnel officers should be able to perform this role. However, other experts such as lawyers and professional counsellors might be consulted where necessary.
There is a myriad of other personnel functions, which are basically routine work and constitute day-to-day administrative activities performed by personnel officers depending on the size and scope of the organisation. These functions include but not limited to, health, transport, security and safety, pensions, deaths, and personnel information system.
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