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Every human resource management team within an organization holds a significant responsibility to the company. A human resource professional creates a balance between the staff members, the organization’s strategy, they narrow down costly issues, ensure compliance among the organization, etc. HR professionals has to make sure that the employees are following the laws and policies to avoid costly mistakes. One example of a company ignoring their local state or federal laws could result into some serious fines and litigation for both employees and members of management.
In addition to following policies and its regulations, there are other areas of human resource management which will be reviewed throughout this discussion. Such areas of human resources include the primary functions, and how it contributes to the performance of the organization, four federal equal opportunity laws that play a major influence on fair employee hiring decisions; the human resource management trends consisting of diversity, an aging workforce and skill deficiencies, whereas the employees may lack the necessary skills to adequately perform their job duties.
Another area of interest we will review is the concept of workplace flexibility and how it is crucial for every organization to thrive and be somewhat flexible in a way that would cater to the needs of their employee’s personal and professional lives. This will be elaborated more in depth by providing examples of real working scenarios. Finally, we will conclude our discussion on the overall importance of human resource management for every business or company that wishes to compete in an ever-changing society. But most importantly, we will aim to indirectly summarize all of the concepts learned throughout this paper.
Key Functional Areas
One of the most functional areas for any human resource professional is the idea of communication. Without this essential component, no other function could be appropriately delivered. Human Resource Management have a vital role in the sector of sustainability which enables the key functions throughout an organization. Those key functions are a) raising awareness and promoting communication, b) performance measurement and c) policies or procedures.
The first key function, raising awareness and promoting communication is “critical, not to mention helpful because it allows the employees of the organization to be engaged and have a real commitment to the company that he or she may work for. These characteristics may develop over time when the HR professionals have productive training materials that specifically address these traits” (Schroeder, 2012). Training events such as seminars, workshops, etc. will promote the level of understanding which is necessary to raise awareness within the working environment, sharing value based goals and enhancing the overall levels of employee engagement.
The second key function, which is performance measurement consists of the members of the human resource team to constantly monitor, or in some cases, to measure the previously planned progress of goals which are beneficial for the organization.
Not to mention, human resource professionals could develop, or design employee based metric systems such as surveys, or conduct periodic interviews for the exploration of the changing attitudes of staff members and to be made aware of whether everyone’s needs are being met on a professional level within the organization. Whereas, the third and final function, policies and procedures have to be designated, implemented and complied with at all times. In some instances, human resource professionals must be willing to change the existing policies to fit the needs of other staff members; especially when there is a majority vote on a given concern or issue that affects everyone. One example of this could be instead of having one employee of the month award, it could be changed to three employees of the month so that the staff members would be willing to work harder in order to earn the incentives which comes with such an award. Nevertheless, any policies or procedures which may be changed or implemented has to be fair and in compliance with the federal and local laws as previously mentioned.
Equal Employment Opportunity Laws
Within many organizations or companies throughout the United States, when hiring workers, there is an expectation to abide by equal employment opportunity laws to avoid fines, lawsuits, imprisonment and a complete shutdown of their business. In this portion of the discussion, we will review four equal employment opportunity laws in particular which are the a) Pregnancy Discrimination Act, b) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, c) The Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the d) Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The first law which is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act forbids any employer within the United States to discriminate or refuse to hire a woman due to her pregnancy, or after childbirth. In addition, it would also be unlawful for an employer to retaliate against a pregnant woman because she may feel discriminated.
The second law that prevents employee discrimination is the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This particular law is one of the highest regarded laws amongst minorities. This law prevents an employer from discriminating or refusing to hire an employee based on their ethnic background, religion, gender or national origin. For instance, an employer could not refuse employment to a woman just because of her gender in an all-male working atmosphere.
The third law, Equal Pay Act of 1963 makes it illegal for any employer to discriminate against pay wages when completing the same job duties. For example, if Wal-Mart hired both a man and a woman with the same years of experience for a manager position, but then decided to pay the man a two-dollar difference in hourly pay, simply because the company assumes that the man deserves it, then this action would be illegal which may result in a lawsuit. Whereas, “the fourth law, Americans with Disabilities Act makes it illegal for any employer to discriminate against someone with a disability, but at the same time, the individual is still qualified to complete the job duties which were outlined within his or her employment agreement. Federal laws also require that employers make reasonable accommodations for these disabled individuals” (Mills, 2010).
There are three trends which are becoming more common within the ever increasing workforce and these are diversity, an aging workforce and skill deficiencies, or a lack of the necessary skills which are required amongst employees to successfully complete their job duties without a manager constantly standing over their shoulders. Acknowledging diversity within the workplace comes with both challenges, and benefits, such as learning new languages or accidently offending other individuals from different cultural backgrounds. The benefits may include a “broader employee work environment, exciting learning experiences, and various perspectives being brought to the forefront” (Sarkar, 2010). The “aging workforce is becoming more of a controversial issue as well since there are stereotypes about the older workers who are perceived as being less productive than younger workers but at the same time, these older workers are highly educated” (Burtless, 2013).
The need for workplace flexibility is growing tremendously due to the need of women and men being caretakers of either children or older parents, while juggling stressful careers. In my own past work experience, I had personally seen employers cater to this need by allowing their employees to become remote and perform the job duties from the comfort of their own home. So that, this would lower stress levels and allow the employee to be more productive and focused on their job tasks, while caring for their family members. The second option employers could become more flexible is by distributing gas cards to their employees at least once a month to share the expenses that may come with the daily commute of getting to work.
In conclusion, human resource professionals hold one of the most essential roles within an organization because they usually have a background in strategic management, which as a result is a priceless skill to have for corporate planning or decision making. Additionally, they are also professionally trained to deal with such problematic areas like unfair employment practices or other liabilities. They have to maintain a certain standard of compliance to ensure employee and customer satisfaction at all times. Human resource management understands that this is what bring longevity to an organization by working closely within all areas of the organization to assist in effective decision making which could affect everyone for years to come.
Burtless, G. (2013). THE IMPACT OF POPULATION AGING AND DELAYED RETIREMENT ON WORKFORCE PRODUCTIVITY. Center for Retirement Research, 24(4),2.
Mills, T. (2010). On the Use of Equal Employment Laws. The Pacific Sociological Review, 24(2), 196-211. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1388704
Sarkar, S. (2010). Diversity: A Philosophical Perspective. Diversity, 2(1), 127-141. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/d2010127
Schroeder, H. (2012). The Importance of Human Resource Management in Strategic Sustainability: An Art and Science Perspective. Journal of Environmental Sustainability, 2(1), 1-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.14448/jes.02.0004