The aim of this report is to analyze the current status of the Human Resource Development department of Simple Tech as well as to provide recommendations for changes in the corresponding HRD vision and practices within the company. In the context of Simple Tech facing the risk of being imposed an alignment with the more corporate values of the multinational corporation it is part of and losing its ability to promote and maintain its current vision, it is essential to take a careful look at the underlying HRD factors that need to be changed so as to boost the human resource potential of the company.
During the past decades, the role of the human resources as strategic factors in a company has been repeatedly underlined when analyzing business success. Human Resource Development departments have been created with a view to offering insights and ensuring a profitable evolution of the employees within the company. The significance of HRD has shown its relevance in the future growth of organizations. In this view Hussey (1995:157) argues that “In contemporary business HRD is essential in understanding and supporting the business functions. This entails that HR Professionals are indispensable part of the organizational team given the task of charting a business’s future”.
In the case of Simple Tech, it is this report's objective to discuss opportunities for the improvement of the HRD department, so as to ensure the maintenance of the company's vision for success – The Simple Way. Our more specific objectives include outlining the HRD department's current situation and practices and critically analyze, based on the relevant literature available, their effect upon promoting the company's values. Moreover, we set ourselves to identify the company's HRD needs in accordance with the present context and establish a new HRD policy to suit these needs. Lastly, it is our objective to draft an intervention program aimed at putting the new HRD vision into practice, as well as ensuring the promotion of the company's current values among the employee.
2. Case Study
2.1. The impact of the multinational corporation and corporate ethics
Being part of a larger corporation, there has been a tendency for Simple Tech to be persuaded to adjust its policies based on the broader corporate environment. The company's practices are beginning to be restrained to an agenda that mostly suits corporate needs. The necessity for conformity to the new policies and for an adhesion to the corresponding values is believed to affect what within the company is called The Simple Way – a set of values among which integrity is pivotal and which are the basis of Simple Tech's thrive on the market.
2.2. Stakeholder theory and The Simple Way
In this context, the literature has witnessed the emergence of a theory that asserts the importance of dealing ethically with all the stakeholders; thus, in its most widespread acceptance, the stakeholder theory highlights the responsibility a company has to all of its stakeholders, beyond its own profit. From a highly normative perspective, the theory focuses on the communitarian welfare. However, the theory has also been captured through an instrumental lens, stating the importance of ensuring satisfaction on behalf of all the stakeholders for the sake of better performance (Damak-Ayadi&Pesqueux, 2005: 5-21). The relevance of the theory here can be understood if we look at The Simple Way that summarizes it and puts the integrity at the base of stakeholder satisfaction. This essential element in The Simple Way has been scientifically confirmed to be a factor in establishing business ethics – not only when seeking community welfare, but as a way of ensuring profit (Becker, 2009: 70-82).
2.3. The role of HRD and observed flaws
In a context where the corporate climate threatens to minimize The Simple Way as an ethical policy, it would be mostly the HRD department's responsibility to reinforce the company's vision for success among the employee.
In opposition with this view, the current approach may be overly performance-oriented and neglect the shaping of a vision on behalf of the people in the organization. The HRD department function therefore needs to switch from a personnel-staffing perspective to one that incorporates the human resources in the company's broader goals (Poojitha and Rama Devi, 2012: 1-4).
2.4. The need for more integrative interventions
On a more pragmatic level, this switch in the HRD department's vision will be materialized through its intervention programmes. It is a known fact (Webley, 2001: 6) that corporate training programmes mainly address development on a skill-related level and rarely cover ethics; their main goal is to develop the individual in the corporate context and merely equip them so as to enhance their performance. This has started to be the case at Simple Tech, the employee mainly benefitting from interventions that address their professional development and no not seek to provide long-term value consolidation. On the contrary, the importance of value-based HRD practice has been stressed in the HR literature (Hassan, 2007: 435 - 448). In the present context, it becomes incrementally necessary within the HRD department at Simple Tech to come up with a more ample and integrative intervention program to consolidate the in-company organizational culture based on integrity. Not only would this ensure Simple Tech's continuation of success on the market, it would at the same time counterbalance a potential pressure to establish corporate values that could come against the hallmark of the longevity and success of Simple Tech.
Business strategy content HRM context
Source: Model of strategic change and human resource management (Henry and Pettigrew, 1992: 139). The illustration above thus, gives a diagrammatic flow and relationship between the changes in business organisational strategies and the external business context and the Management of HRD. It shows the connectivity between organisation strategies, environmental influence and the role and management of HRD in the business strategy.
Approaches to HRD
There are different approaches to human resource development. Some companies would prefer their workers to derive developmental skills through mechanistically approach. Hence, HRD can use the Kirkpatrick’s evaluation ladder approach, the training cycle and the Kolb’s learning circle.In the training cycle this approach can be conducted on-the-job training or off-the-job training. Conferences, workshops, seminars are off the job training while directing and training workers to be effective on the job is on-the-job training approach.
Wilson (1999:27) argues that “an alignment between strategy and training and development is now commonly regarded as a good business sense in all corners of the globe”. This is more adduced to the limited resources and finance to aid an organization in the attainment of its goal. Thus, HRD will go a long way in the organization to attain effectively set goals in the most efficient way.
Furthermore, HRD approaches require three levels of strategic decision making to enable organizations to have effective program. This includes the corporate-level, business-level/competitive, and functional strategic level. An organisational corporate – level strategy identifies the portfolio of businesses that in total will comprise the organisation and the several businesses, and the ways in which these businesses will relate to each other. In a holistic perspective, another approach classification for HRD would be welfare, administrative, political, organization and system approach.
We have shown that the situation at Simple Tech is influenced by the broader multinational corporation policy, including on the HRD practice level, and that the expression of Simple Tech's vision – The Simple Way – is affected by the pressure to institute corporate values. In this respect, a HRD policy revision would be necessary so as to sustain integrity consolidation (and other adjacent values) among the employee so as to counterbalance the corporate influence. This would involve a transition from the current practices – that address employee performance per se – to one that primarily targets meta-competence and a formation within the company vision and values. In this respect, interventions need to become integrative, long-term and value-oriented.
We have elaborated a broad revision plan, which targets both research on HRD needs within the company, the department's practice update and an organization-wide intervention based on the findings.
The proposal of an intervention program relies on the Organization Development for Performance model – ODPS (Lynham, 2006), a general framework of organizational change which has proven effective in creating multi-step programs to evaluate, diagnose and intervene on a Human Resource Development level. The present plan follows the steps indicated by ODPS and develops on them, providing suggestions regarding the needed steps to make the necessary changes, as well as approximate timeframes for each step.
These steps should involve ensuring the maintenance of the Simple Way within the company means that the HRD goals need to initially be outlined, in a manner that is as specific and operational as possible, in order for the Human Resource Development department to be to elaborate a precise action plan. This would require an initial analysis of the required standards on behalf of the organization, as well as a clarification of the company objectives and an operationalization of The Simple Way so as to consequently align HRD strategies towards establishing it.
Apart from the contribution of the current report, it is recommendable that an additional meeting of the HRD department first takes place, in order to delve into the issue of current HRD practices, inventory and analyze them using a SWOT procedure. This is to be done with the aid of an external HR consultant that can provide a fresh and unbiased perspective upon the matter.
An ulterior session with the general company management will provide the opportunity to present the findings of the HRD meeting and obtain a more operational description of what The Simple Way means and how it needs to manifest on an organizational, group and individual level. The management can be guided, with the aid of the Human Resource Development department, to elaborate on what The Simple Way means in practice. Relevant behaviors of good practice in this respect can be outlined, organization-wide and group-wide so that it is easier to track the current alignment of the company's human resources with the Simple Way.
Lastly, the expectations need to be contracted, so that it is clear that the management and the HRD department share the same view upon what The Simple Way means and how the HRD department needs to be mobilized to ensure the maintenance of this vision.
Another recommendation is to embark on successful coaching and mentoring of employees stand to transfer knowledge of high productivity to workers who are not meeting up to expectations. The Simple Way Tech should adopt this approach, which will enhance its HRD exercise. By coaching it simply means directing, sharpening and passing required skill to go the extra miles in excelling at assigned task. In this view Mankin (2009) said HRD should start with the process of lifelong learning (coaching) where staff acquire competences by studying and experience sharing all through their career.
The diagram shows HRD learning process (also coaching and mentoring interlinks)
Source: Mankin (2009).
After proper coaching of staff, diagnosing and getting feedbacks is very germane. The agreement reached with the management needs to be tracked. the HRD department will be able to proceed with researching on the current level as far as the pillars of The Simple Way (that have been made operational) are concerned. Among the recommended instruments we include the individual survey; the content of the instrument is to be elaborated and have a composite structure that aims to assess both perceived in-company integrity and the particularities organizational culture in general. Also, an interview with selected organization members that are representative for promoting and maintaining the integrity policy would provide deeper insight into the employee vision upon the current organizational culture and their view on ethics. Qualitative methods have been used in the HRD practice, as they are known to provide in-depth, complementary clarification upon more complex HRD matters (Ehgie and Ehgie, 2005: 621-638), such as company ethics is in this context.
Findings of the diagnosis process will then be submitted to the management and corresponding goals will be set based on the tendencies captured by the assessment instruments.
The next step in our recommendation is to follow a systematic planning approach. The situation having been outlined and the specific goals for ensuring The Simple Way set, a calendar will be created, taking into account the established priorities. Despite its content largely depending on the diagnosis and needing to be nuanced in accordance, several propositions can be made in advance based on HRD department's present data.
As the need for a broader, more integrative intervention plan has been established, it is our belief that developing a campaign meant to consolidate organizational culture would be a foreground endeavor. It has been said that culture is by far, the most elusive of the four practices of integrity (Kayes, Stirling and Nielsen, 2007: 61-70). By ensuring that integrity is promoted on a broad scale as a cornerstone of business practice and workplace behavior, it is highly likely that employees will more easily adhere to this value. The campaign as a means of fostering organizational culture has its rationale in its capacity to create an identity that is afterwards displayed to the public (Hatch and Schulz, 1997: 356 – 365). Therefore, the named campaign will revolve around the promotion of The Simple Way within the company, concomitantly with its publicity in the national media. At the same time as creating a context in which The Simple Way becomes a brand and receives visibility on the market, the involvement of the employee should be encouraged. A preliminary suggestion we advance is that of initiating a nation-wide video project with the participation of as many employees as possible, where each of them is recorded while saying something of relevance for The Simple Way; a collage can then be made as a final product that will afterwards be broadcast through television channels and social media.
It is also recommendable that the Simple Tech Board is involved in transmitting a message that reinforces the company's vision on the occasion of this campaign, preferably at its start.
Lastly, there is need for the management to evaluate how effective the planning of human resource development has been for the organization. This done by using post-intervention scales that will be constructed to measure the same parameters. A mid-term evaluation will also be carried out. Feedback sessions will be held after each of the assessments.
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