From Personnel Management to HRM: Key Issues and Challenges

Fleming, Síle


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Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: CPMR- Committee for Public Management Research
Schriftenreihe: CPMR discussion paper
Bandnummer: 16
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2000
Publikationsdatum: 30.03.2009
Originalveröffentlichung: (2000)
DDC-Sachgruppe: Öffentliche Verwaltung
BK - Basisklassifikation: 88.30 (Öffentlicher Dienst)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.7 Verwaltungswissenschaften

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

This paper examines why and how government department personnel functions should reorient their activities to take a more strategic and developmental approach to human resource management (HRM). Currently, human resource (HR) policies are, in the main, centrally determined and developed. There is a commitment to decentralise and devolve HR responsibilities. Allied with this more strategic focus is the concept of devolution of responsibility for day-to-day human resource matters to line managers. The need for informed research in relation to the professionalisation of HRM and the devolution of HR responsibilities has been given particular emphasis by the recent publication of the fifth national social partnership agreement, the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness(2000). This programme identifies the need for a more strategic approach to HRM issues in the public sector, with greater involvement by line managers in the management of their staff. A detailed review of the relevant HRM literature highlights a range of issues and challenges associated with the process of developing a strategic approach to HRM: · HR strategies should be devised during the process of business strategy formulation. · The devolution of appropriate HRM matters to line managers can free up resources in the personnel section to develop strategic policies. Such a development requires that line managers be equipped with the appropriate skills, knowledge and attitudes to effectively manage and develop staff. · The selection and development of personnel staff with appropriate expertise is crucial in ensuring that the personnel section is equipped to take on its strategic role. · Overall, the change process must be planned for and carefully managed. It will require a change to the organisation’s existing culture. Lessons are also drawn in the paper from international experience. Developments from a number of OECD countries that have embarked on the professionalisation of HRM are explored. These suggest that the key challenge lies in granting departments adequate freedom to manage financial and human resources. This facilitates the development of best practice HRM, while at the same time retaining appropriate control of the essentials at the centre, in relation to overall running costs. The paper also outlines findings from in-depth interviews conducted with a range of key informants at central, line department and trade union level. Overall, the findings indicate a general view that limited progress has been made to date in reforming HRM in the Irish civil service. At the same time, there is a considerable level of continuing commitment for change to the existing system among those interviewed. The recent launch of a civil service wide performance management and development system is a reflection of such commitment. There are also examples of individual departments, within the existing system, who are developing a more proactive approach to HRM. Finally, the paper draws conclusions and makes recommendations as to appropriate approaches to delivering on HRM reform. A number of critical issues which must be addressed if progress is to be achieved are identified and discussed: · developing an integrated approach to HRM; · professionalising the approach to HRM; · devolution of appropriate functions to line managers; · decentralisation of appropriate HRM issues from central departments. Ultimately, the successful implementation and overall impact of the HR strategy will depend on the capability and commitment of senior management, personnel sections and line managers. The roles of the key actors must adapt: · The role of senior management. The findings clearly highlight the need to raise the profile, role and capability of the personnel section at line department level. Best practice indicates that the extent to which this is achieved is influenced significantly by the belief of senior management in the added value that HRM can contribute to the organisation, and in the visible support given to HRM. · The role of the HR section. Best practice indicates that the successful transition from personnel management to strategic HRM is dependent on equipping HR staff with the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes. Line departments need to commence or speed up the process of obtaining and developing specialisms in their personnel sections. · The role of the line manager. A number of factors will be crucial to the successful devolution of HRM to line managers. Devolution must take place within the broad framework of strategic and business planning for the department as a whole as opposed to being a separate exercise. Managerial competencies under the new performance management and development system should place an emphasis on skills and behaviours required for the effective development and management of staff. It is equally important that adequate resources are allocated to the training and education of line managers. · The role of the centre. In the longer term, the issue of greater flexibility in relation to grading and pay may need to be revisited, if a fully integrated approach to HRM is to become a reality. Similarly, centralised recruitment processes require some change if line departments are to be facilitated in better planning and deploying their human resources. In future, the centre should concentrate on providing guidance and expertise to departments in developing HR strategies, implementing performance management and professionalising HR at the personnel section level.

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