Personnel management

July 07 - 13, 2003 

The personnel department in organizations is a unique position. It involves a wide range of activities than any other function in the organization. At the same time, every person in the organization is a personnel person in the sense that each is dealing with personnel decision problems on a day-to-day basis.

Personnel management involves all matters in an organization regarding decision about people. It focuses on three inter-related topics.

1. HUMAN RELATIONS: Individual motivation, leadership, group relationship.

2. ORGANIZATION THEORY: Job design, managerial spans of control, work flow through the organization.

3. DECISION AREAS: Acquisition development, regarding, rewarding and maintenance of human resources.

Personnel work is heterogeneous. The people who perform it have many different backgrounds and serve many different functions. In different countries, we would find in personnel department's people with different backgrounds as lawyers, engineers, psychologist, teachers, accountant, economist, business administrator, social scientist or military man.

In Pakistan, in addition to MBA, we have mostly retired army personnel, administrator and law graduates.

A personnel is considered a staff department within the organization. The personnel department has been perceived as having many different kinds of relationships with other organizational units. Personnel manager has been viewed as a planner, a change agent, and an educator.

Among the many role relationships attributed to the personnel department, some as accepted as—

* Providing advice and counsel
* Staff officers
* To develop policies, rules, and regulations
* Audit and control

These role relationships may lead to interorganizational frictions. The personnel department and managers from different organizations differ in the amount of power and stature they hold. There is little consensus among firms in Pakistan as to exactly what kind of work the personnel manager should do. At one extreme, we find low-status personnel departments doing little more than wage and salary administration, and on the other end, high status groups carrying the same name but deeply involve in the organizations long-term objective setting and the development of its management structure.

There are a number of ways in which an organization may enhance the power and stature of its personnel department. One of the most important of these is the assignment of the personnel managers to a high level in the organization hierarchy — probably as a vice president reporting directly to the president of the firm. This action will not only provide status to the personnel department but also provide a back up for bringing good ideas for personnel programmes directly to the organization's top executive officer.

If personnel manager have been placed in top-level positions, their status and role may be made to appear mare legitimate through such techniques as providing them with an impressive little (such as vice president for human resources), giving them attractive office space and equipment, and  placing them in close physical proximity to the president of the firm to enhance interpersonal relations between the two.

We can summarize the key point of personnel management with following guidelines to the personal manager.

Plans and carries out policies relating to all phases of personal activity. Recruits, interviews, and selects employees to fill vacant positions. Plans and conduct new employee orientation to foster positive attitude towards company goals. Keep records of insurance coverage, pension plans, and personnel transactions, such as hires, promotions, transfers, and terminations. Investigate accidents and prepare reports for insurance carrier. Conducts wage survey within labour market to determine competitive wage rate. Prepare budget of personnel operations. Writes separation notices for employees separating with cause and conducts exit interviews to determine reasons behind separations. Prepare reports and recommends procedures to reduce absenteeism and turnover. Contacts with outside suppliers to provide employee services, such as canteen, transportation, security service. May keep records of hired employee characteristics for governmental reporting purpose. May negotiate collective bargaining agents with business representation labour union.

Today, more than ever before, many personnel managers have an opportunity to assume a more active and dynamic role. More knowledge about personnel management is available to them today than ever before. They can use new technological developments to increase their possession of information and expertise, which will enhance their power and influence others in organizations.