Friday, July 20, 2012

Tracking the Evolution in HRM (Human Resource Management)

I am not an HR Practitioner and have always been on the other side or lets say, on the receiving side of HR. Recently, I was involved in a consultancy assignment related to setting up a high-tech center. Human Resource Management (HRM) was one of the key focus areas and we couldn't onboard an HR expert for the assignment. So, we went ahead and tracked the evolution of HRM (professional experience of team members helped) and the future.

From my study, evolution of HRM can be understood as three versions of approaches.

The HRM 1.0 can be characterized as a 'Policing' approach, where the focus was on controlling employees. Do's and Don’t's list was prescribed and enforced. Salaries and labor issues were the major HR tasks. This approach worked in the production environment of past which had an authoritarian work culture.

Then came Knowledge Workers and hence the HRM 2.0 approach of managing employees. Knowledge workers have specialized knowledge and were expected to work with less supervision and more self-motivation. Hence the rules of the game changed. It was now more bottom-up approach with focus on improving employee experience, talent attraction and retention. HR personnel work towards continuous education & learning, team building and managing expectations of knowledge workers. HRM 2.0 approach is widespread but has its share of criticism .

With changing times when Customer service and Innovation are becoming survival imperatives rather than a competitive advantage, a distinct approach is required. Hence the HRM 3.0, which is geared towards facilitating employee. It’s a top-down approach where the company's strategy and objectives are the starting point and HR process is aligned to it (as illustrated below).
The workforce is expected to thrive in an uncertain and dynamic environment, adopt new work practices, remain customer oriented and champion innovation. Such a workforce needs to be supported and facilitated to meet these expectations. HR function in an organisation would need to step out of the existing mould to engage such a workforce. HRM 3.0 is gaining ground and is highly relevant for high-tech and service industries.

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