Staff Capacity Development in Human Resource Management : Time to Act

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Effective HRM practices not only help organization achieve its goal but also help employees find meaningful work with avenues for career development. 
 
--By Nirmal Aryal
 
Human resource management (HRM) is a function in organizations designed to maximize employee performance in service of their employers’ strategic objectives. HRM is primarily concerned with how people are managed within organizations, focusing on policies and systems. It includes the process to recruit, maintain, and develop employees. Effective HRM practices not only help organization achieve its goal but also help employees find meaningful work with avenues for career development. 
 
Peter Senge in his book titled The Fifth Discipline has written that the success of any organization depends on its learning spirit. He terms organizations that continually seek to expand their capacity to create their future as learning organizations.  He has emphasized that it is only through individual learning that organizational learning occurs. According to him, the feature of the learning organization are a) where people continually expand their capacity to create results they truly desire, b) where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where aspirations are set free, and c) where people are continually learning how to learn together. He has also cited the sayings from CEO’s of successful organizations, whose conclusion is that the active force for any aspect of business is the people, managers duty is to provide them enabling environment such that people can lead themselves to most enriching lives they can.
 
Here comes the question: Do we as managers think about managing the people or developing their careers? My years of work as a manager and also, the conversations that I had with CEOs, executive directors and Admin/HR personnel of various organisations show that we do devote most of our effort/time to managing and motivating employees but not developing their overall persona. We are more concerned about meeting the organizational goals and least bothered about the employees’ development. Yes, managing and motivating both are important and challenging tasks for any organization. Research has shown that there are numerous factors that help in employees’ motivation, there is no single factor that fits for all. HRM being a behavioural front, one should have the knowledge and understanding of the individuals on both professional and personal front.
 
With the given work load and time limitation of every individual, HR employees or the CEO’s or Executive Director’s own targets and objectives, the human resource management has been limited more to administrative functions relating to the human resource department; hiring, firing of the employees and conducting the performance appraisals to increase the salary. As per the conversation I had with most of the Nepal’s executives, salary increment is the primary factor for the employee’s motivation and reason to continue with the same organization for longer period. 
 
However, global research on human resource management has showed that receiving effective supervision, perceiving they are fairly treated, understanding their job priorities, getting timely feedbacks, feeling valued and appreciated, and having opportunities for professional development can all help staff remain motivated. Some of the organizations, however, are an exception; they have provided the employee’s opportunity to participate on the job related training, study leave, scholarship to pursue academic degree related to the job, and even the flexibility in office hours etc. But is it enough? Have we ever thought what employees really want? What is his/her interest?
 
While going through some of the recent literature, articles and books, I came across the view that human resource management is a long-term strategy for any organization creating the organizational and management structure. A study by Lal Bahadur Baniya , showed that Nepali manufacturing organizations lacked systematic approach; they have neither allocated a personnel to look after human resource functions nor allocated the budget for employee capacity development. Another study revealed that when there is the budget cut down, the first victim is the staff-training budget. This deepened my concern not only because it reflected that Nepali organizations do not care about capacity development of their staff but the fact that the job market is highly concentrated in the development sector and, if manufacturing industry, which has the self sufficiency, cannot focus on the staff capacity development how can the development sector, with donor dependency, can? If the manufacturing industry, cannot have long-term strategy how can the development sector have? 
 
It made me think twice, with the kind of job market we have, what kind of work force are being moulded by these industries for the future? Are they creating task-oriented people or are they creating people who can lead their organization in future with his/her own vision and mission?I, now, believe that we are creating the people who can take orders but cannot give orders, why? Because they do not have an exposure to look through holistic view, they have been conditioned to complete the assigned task without using their mind. Employee’s creative thinking has been completely ignored. Employee’s overall development has been completely ignored. 
 
The time has come for Nepalis organization to understand the value of their employee and understand that human resource is the only true asset, which can keep the organization going. With the changes in the global arena, organizations not only need individuals with right technical knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics, but they also need individuals who are flexible and willing to deal with rapid and unstructured changes. It is only possible through prioritization of the overall capacity development of the employee in all sectors including the development sector.
 
The writer is a chartered accountant working as Admin and Finance Manager at CEAPRED and can be reached at aryal.007@gmail.com. The article is based on different journals, websites and the writer’s own research and experience.

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