Human Resources and Industrial Relations
Human resource management is argued to be the key engine to proper functioning of organizations. People in the workplace are differentiated from the machines by their social aspect. This brings the issue of a right of the workers and their well-being. Since workers have to interact with their employers, they have to forge an integrated force through which they can be able to communicate with their employer without any form of intimidation.
While one can say that machines are more accurate and efficient than human labor their efficiency can only work well with the support of human touch. This has changed the nature running of the human resources departments so as to boost efficiency hence maximizing on profits by conglomerates all over the globe. This revolutionized HRM is called strategic HRM (Salaman, 2005).
While industrial relations are mainly employee centered, the strategic human resource is geared towards achieving the main goals of an organization. The strategic human resource has to balance between the workers' welfare and the organization's goals. The two aspects must be put into consideration since both are mandatory for the success of an organizations' goal. Consider the two situations below;
- Jercom Solutions Inc. (JSI) is a private company owned and run by the Proprietor – Mr. Jercom Christian. JSI is a pharmaceutical firm that sells AND distributes medicine. At one time Mr. Christian discovered that there were some medicines which were getting lost through pilferage. After this discovery, he went ahead and reduced the wages of the employees in the name of taking care of the pilferage costs of course which were directly linked to the employees' low pay. For some time the company has been having its employees failing to turn up for work due to health-related matters. The employees of the company were barred from joining any trade union. Any worker who would try raising grievances over the working conditions would be sacked or threatened.
- Goon Co. Inc. is owned and run by Jacobsen Goon. The company allows its employees to join trade unions. The company also has a dental unit that provides free medical care for its workers. The company gives award to those who have done good job as way of appreciation. The company provides for avenues in which worker can air out their views, suggestions, commendations and grievances. The company provides for services such as transport to its staff (Kabst & Matiaske, 2005).
In strategic HRM, the organizations through their all powerful HRM department seek to better the lives and welfare of the employees and at the same time maximizes the profit or achievement of the organizations' goals. While in the past organizations used to major so much in minimizing costs, they ended up loosing more than they could imagine. The losses came in both direct and indirect means (Deckop, 2006).
Strategic management gives room for the development of workers union. This would go hand in hand in solving the problems that the workers face like in the case of Goon. Solving such problems would help the workers to settle and concentrate in their job hence producing better results. A poorly paid person like in the case of Jercom will become a burden to the organization since their morale is low hence quality of work could be low and other challenges such as pilferages would come in bringing the profits of the organization down. This may not happen in the second situation since the workers are contented with their pay (Edwards, 2007).
Strategic HRM has to do with the aspect of win-win occurrence for the employer and the employee. This is because of the fact that strategic HRM roots for retaining of employees and this can only be done if the working conditions for the employees is favorable. Like in the first situation strategic management has not been applied since the employees are not motivated by the working conditions hence there is a likelihood of employee turnover being higher than in the second situation.
In general Strategic HRM has more to do with the General results rather than the immediate result. Strategic management and industrial relations are related to the science that both scientific and sociological principles are applied for the two to harmonize. While Jercom reduces the salary of his employees to cater for the pilferages he has forgotten that his employees might run away due to poor working conditions. In the mean time it may seem to be working well for him but in the long run it will fail (Millmore, 2007).
For an organization to ensure good industrial relations they have to develop a good strategic HRM. This can only be possible if various aspects of the jobs and working conditions are analyzed as a whole and be inclusive to criticisms and change according to the existing environment. A strategic HR Manager will always put in mind the fact that while the workers are to help the organization achieves its goals; they can only do that if their needs are met. The training of the employees should also be in line with the existing conditions (Purcell, 2008).