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Human Resource Management

“Leaders must encourage their organizations to dance to forms of music yet to be heard.”  Warren G. Bennis

The primary focus of Human Resource Management (HRM) is attracting, motivating and retaining the most qualified employees to implement the organization’s strategic plan effectively and efficiently.  It is not just about selecting and hiring the right people to get the job done; it is about maximizing employee skills and motivating employees to get the job done right.  HRM requires application of the appropriate management tools to get the best performance possible from an organization, including:

  1. Adaptable, legally justified Personnel Policies and Procedures,
  2. Clear and defensible Job Descriptions,
  3. Equitable and competitive Position Classification System,
  4. Unbiased Recruitment, Hiring, Placement and RetentionProcedures.


Establishing an effective Human Resource Management component in an organization requires development of Personnel Policies and Procedures which effectively guide employee performance management based on the organization’s mission, vision, and goals as well as the prevailing work culture and ethics.   Policies provide the basic guidelines.  Where appropriate, policies should be accompanied by clear procedures providing action steps, including who is responsible for enforcement, to whom does the policy apply and what are the appropriate forms if required. 

Personnel Policies and Procedures should:

  1. Be adaptable to the needs of the company and practices promoting success of the company.
  2. Be reviewed and updated as needed to reflect changes in organizational culture and actual practices, negotiated changes or changes in the governing laws.
  3. Be enforced consistently across the organization.
  4. Include Standards of Conduct, Employment Policies and Performance Management policies and procedures.

Standards of Conduct

Policies that outline the organizations primary standards of conduct provide clear guidelines for employees as well as guidance for selection of employees who fit the defined organizational culture. 

Such polices may include standards related to:

  1. Conflict of interest issues including employment of relatives, outside employment, privacy of company information, non-compete clauses, ownership of idea/product creation on the job or even statements to the press.
  2. Use of company property including vehicles, phones, internet and email.
  3. Factors affecting ability to perform the job or potentially impact others such as smoking, driving record, incarceration, absence from work, drug and/or alcohol consumption

Standards of Conduct policies should include responsibilities for employee conduct which could create legal liabilities for the organization including federal and state laws related to Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Discrimination, Harassment and Hostile Work Environment requirements and Workplace Safety.

Employment Policies and Procedures

Employees must understand what is expected of them as regards employment policy and procedural requirements associated with attendance, hours of work, overtime and compensatory time, transfers, promotions, demotions, lay-offs or reduction in force, reinstatements, types of leave-paid and unpaid (sick, vacation, holiday,bereavement0 leave requests,  physical examination and or drug testing procedures.  Policies should provide clear guidelines and directions to prevent any misinterpretation.  

Performance Management

Supervisors must have clear guidelines as to expectations regarding the management of employees, not only to avoid legal actions related to discriminatory practices, but to ensure fair and just treatment of all employees to maximize motivation and employee performance.

Clear guidelines, coupled with supervisory training outlining due process and appeal and grievance procedures, protect the organization as well as the employee.  Specific procedures for warnings, reprimands, suspension and pre-suspension hearing, pre-termination and termination hearings coupled with lists of typical offenses and associated actions provide the supervisor with tools to effectively manage employees. 


Good job descriptions should be based on the needs of the organization and reflect and accurate and complete picture of what is ‘essential’ to perform a particular job.  Job Descriptions are a basic foundation for good human resource management.

The Job description

  1. Identifies the training and skills required for comparison of applicants and unbiased selection of the best person for the job protecting the organization from discrimination claims.
  2. Provides a consistent and easily referenced format for recruiting purposes.
  3. Provides the basis for determining whether the position is exempt or nonexempt under the federal and state wage-and-hour laws.
  4. Provides the new employee with a clear statement of expected duties and responsibilities. 
  5. Provides a basis for employee evaluations tied to assigned duties and responsibilities.
  6. Provides the mechanism for establishing fair compensation ranges for various jobs based on skills, training and duties required for a position.

Each job description should include:

  • Basic Organizational Information such as the job title, department, Supervisors, Job Type i.e. regular, temporary, full-time or part-time, Job Pay Grade and Job Status i.e. Exempt/Nonexempt.
  • Duties/responsibilities: A detailed listing of the specific essential and not essential job duties and responsibilities required to meet the organization’s needs. Those duties or functions identified as essential must be job-related, uniformly enforced, and consistent with the organization’s goals or needs to protect the organization from claims of discrimination associated with Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Working conditions: The physical, mental, and environmental conditions in which the work is performed as required by law Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Job specifications: The minimum education, work experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities required to do the job including licenses or certifications.
  • Disclaimer: A brief statement indicating that the job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities required of the employee.
  • Employee Signature
  • Supervisor Signature

Once job descriptions for all positions in an organization are established, a position classification system should be created, particularly in large organizations, to maintain equity and ensure equal pay for equal work.  In general classes and pay grades are established based on kind or type of work, level of difficulty and responsibility, and the skill or training requirements of the work to warrant similar treatment in personnel and pay administration.  Comparisons are made both internally and externally to formulate an externally competitive and internally equitable pay plan. To remain valid, the positions and classifications should be reviewed on a regular basis to account for changes in the market as well as internal changes associated with longevity and additions to or changes in job descriptions


The application process, including the application form, processing applications, selection, interviews as well as background checks and reference verification, should reflect the organization’s strategic plan, personnel policies and procedure and grow from clear job descriptions which meet the needs of the organization.  In addition to ensuring the process meets all the legal requirements, the process should focus on finding employees who “fit” the company vision and culture as reflected in the Personnel Policies and Procedures.

If the selection process clearly reflects the company’s needs and vision, the right person can be placed in the right job which will enhance overall employee retention efforts. 

Investment in training and development programs for employees provides a way to develop and enhance job skills, enhancing productivity and the quality of work while building worker loyalty. Enhancing employee skills and knowledge gives companies a competitive edge and helps to achieve business results.  Companies with a high turnover experience less success than those with highly motivated staff that benefit from development programs.

In addition to development programs, a good HRM program enhances employee relations not only through objective negotiation of collective bargaining agreements but impartial coordination of grievance procedures to handle complaints resulting from management disputes with employees.

In summary, productive Human Resource Management enhancing the success of an organization begins with

  1. Establishing personnel policies and procedures that reflect the mission, vision, culture and ethics of an organization,
  2. Clearly defining what jobs need to be performed,
  3. Ensuring those jobs are rewarded consistent with like jobs in the market place,  
  4. Hiring the very best person for the job,
  5. Providing sufficient resources including the proper training needed,
  6. Establishing clear outcomes and performance measures to provide direction, and
  7. Providing the appropriate level of mentoring and support for each individual to empower that individual to get the job done efficiently and effectively. 

Contact Dr. Oel Wingo for assistance with Human Resource Management. 

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