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Issues of HR Management Department’s Visibility in Motivating Employees

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • Problem statement
    • Rationale for the research
      • Statement of the research database
    • Hypothesis
    • Definitions of terms
    • Summary, including a restatement of the problem
  • Review of the relevant literature
    • Importance of the question being asked
    • Current status of the topic
    • Relationship between the literature and the problem statement
    • Summary
  • Methodology
    • Participants (including a description and selection procedures)
    • Research design
    • Data Collection Plans
    • Proposed analysis of the data
    • Results of the information
  • Implications and limitations
  • Appendices
    • Copies of instruments that will be used
    • Participant permission form
    • Timeline
  • Bibliography

I. Introduction

Each of these three factors is the complexity of the business; the number of employees; the value, if not the sum of the deal in dollars, and the size of the properties of the company (Graubner, 2006). No matter the scale, as defined by the parameters, the necessity or the reasoning for handling a company’s human capital stays the same. The main distinction is the innovative manner in which human resources should be worked using the available assets that a single organisation can have. The size of the organisation shall decide the form of services that would be rendered accessible to the human resource department. More often than not, a healthy proportion of human resource generalist versus the number of employee is defined in terms of the constant need for visibility of the human resource department (Mathis & Jackson, 2007).

            The very basic Human Resource Management Function in any company no matter the size are; recruitment, on-boarding, off-boarding, performance evaluation compilation, compensation and benefit (Armstrong & Mitchell, 2008). This can be done by one person with an excel sheet and a computer on hand. The other functions that would include motivating employees, organizational management, soft skills retooling, workforce management, industrial management, labor relations and change agent can be absorbed on a limited capacity.

Issues of HR Management Department’s Visibility in Motivating Employees

            Human Resource Management is all about interaction and visibility to the employees as their champion in the company. Therefore, Human Resource Management is all about meeting the needs of the employees (Fottler, Nkomo, & McAfee, 2008). The basic functions as described above can be done by one person in a small company. However, as the need to recruit increase and the number of employees increase the number of Human Resource Generalist should also increase to ensure that no function or process are ignored or neglected.

To ensure that the Human Resource Management’s visibility is not only limited at the hiring process or worst at the off-boarding (exit interview). Some of the mentioned Human Resource functions or processes can be automated. In particular the payroll, benefits and compensation can be automated with minimal manual effort. Some aspect of the training and employee skills development and management can be automated to ensure that no employee is neglected when it comes to soft skills and mandatory skills training.

The proposed dissertation will tackle the issue of human resource management department’s visibility in motivating employees. A secondary issue that the proposed dissertation will concern itself is if there a difference in the style and methods of motivating employees in large and small organization. Understanding the need for the Human Resource Department to be visible to the employees no matter the size of the company could reduce attrition, labor problems and dissatisfied employees (Muller, 2009). This is the primary purpose of the thesis this writer is proposing.

A. Problem Statement

            Determine the difference between large and small company’s human resource department’s role in employee motivation. What are the factors affecting the service level of human resources management in large and small companies. What are the essential services relating to employee motivation that human resource management can provide in large and then in small companies? What are the success’ factors affecting an exemplary service level performance of human resource company.

B. Rationale for the Research

            Human resource management is a major component in a successful company. However, there are constraints in running a human resource management department. More often than not companies facing financial difficulties turn to the human resource management generalist to resolve issues involving decisions to terminate or hire replacement people. Most of the time even the motivation, company culture as well as the overall psyche of the company is left to the care and responsibility of the human resource management department. It is therefore important for the human resources department to be willing to carry out its function irrespective of the scale of the company or department.

            The proposed thesis aims to provide a coherent strategy for a human resource department to serve the company it belongs to sans the size and resources it is provided most especially in motivating employees. The proposed thesis aims to list the responsibilities, duties and goals of the human resources department at its bare bottom given the limited or ample resources it is provided. Lastly the proposed thesis will provide the framework of its operation to ensure that its targets are measurable, time-bound and provides for continuous improvement.

1. Statement of the Research Database

            The research database to be used shall not be limited to the one provided by the university to provide for a larger mass base for research. Limiting the available resource for research may be counter-productive due to the sensitivity of the topics and the practical and industrial application of the concepts relating to human resource management. Access to the libraries of large companies as well as commercial and public libraries may be required to ensure a more comprehensive access to resources and information.

C. Hypothesis

            If Employee Motivation is one of the basic functions of the Human Resource Department then the size of the company is of no moment, an expansion of the size of the company will not expand the Human Resource Department’s focus or its responsibility. If it is essential for the Human Resource Department to keep its visibility to lower attrition and to maintain industrial peace then it is equally essential to maintain a healthy ratio of Human Resource Generalist with the roster of employees of the organization. If the success factor of the Human Resource Department is to be available to the employees of the organization at all times then it is essential for the Human Resource Department to be visible.

If the level of attrition and relative industrial peace is maintained or managed by the Human Resource Department then it is considered as its success indicator. If the level of involvement and focus of the human resource department is confined to human resource management then the size of the organization will not be a factor in the expansion of its duties and responsibilities.

D. Definitions of Terms

Human Resource Generalist – are the personnel and staff of the Human Resource Department most of these people are highly skilled sociologist that are very well versed in human interaction and social skills. Human Resource Generalists normally interacts and conduct the day to day operation of the Human Resource Department in an organization (Tornow, Mathis, Mills, & Noe, 1987).

WorkForce Management – Workforce management includes the scheduling of personnel to ensure that human resources or skills are available at the right time and in the right amount. This includes leave scheduling, emergency leave and deployment. Workforce management is an essential human resource management process in organizations that have multiple shifts (Emmerichs, 2004).

Employment Cycle – Is the end to end life cycle of an individual’s employment in an organization. It normally starts with the hiring process, completion of pre-employment requirements. It also includes on-boarding or what is normally referred to as orientation and then deployment. Near the extreme end of the life-cycle could either be retirement or severance from employment for cause or simple resignation (Carter, 1995).

Change Agent – As a change agent of the organization, human resource management are most of the times tasked to guide the path towards an organization’s goal. Its knowledge of human behavior and organizational requirements that includes structure, policies and procedure make it a good agent for change (Ulrich, 1996).

E. Summary, Including a Restatement of the Problem

            Despite the clear difference between a large company and a small company Human Resource Department’s main function and processes remains the same. The necessity for a corporation or organisation to make the Human Resources Department accessible to its workers is dictated by the value of low turnover and industrial harmony in the company. The stronger the need for the two key focuses determines the reach and exposure of the Department of Human Resources. The essence of human resource management of every organisation is to ensure that efficiency is strong and that it is connected to employee motivation. The position of the Human Resources Department cannot be overstressed sufficiently in this respect.

            Visibility is directly proportional to the ability of the Human Resource Department to attend to the employee’s needs at the time they mostly require it or even before the need is realized. It is also necessary to ensure that healthy ratio between the personnel of the Human Resource Department and the entire roster of employee is maintained. There may be ways of automating some functions of the human resource management but these can be resorted to free up the time and increase the availability of human resource generalist in favour of employees who are in need.

The proposed research is not a catch-all and solve-all solution, it is a compilation of concepts and framework that can be specifically applied to an organization undergoing steep transformation from a small company to a large one. The proposed thesis shall cover only the basic functions of a human resource department as it applies to a small company emerging to becoming a big organization in small amount of time. The proposed thesis shall not solve problems associated to the operation and efficiency of the Human Resource Department. It will only focus on the possible focus area that should be the focus of Human Resourcing.

II. Review of the Relevant Literature

 David Ulrich in his book The Next Agenda for Competitiveness Human Resources intimated that “In the future, Human Resource will need to create models and processes for attaining global agility, effectiveness, and competitiveness” (Ulrich, 1996). The book further intimated the need and criticality of Human Resource Management in order to be competitive in the future. It mentions the need for Human Resource to be in partnership with the line managers to come up with a working plan for how to cope with the problems.

“Organizational changes are departures from the status quo or from smooth trends. They are almost without exception the product of an energizing force. There are two such forces for change: The organization’s top managers and the organization’s environment”(Huber & Glick, 1993). Huber and Glick have indicated the need to automate, and capitalize on the geometric increase in knowledge that is being made available on a daily basis to everybody. According to them the need for organizations to be flexible almost always translate to the right sizing of organization to fit its need and yet be flexible enough to meet the challenges of the future.

As discussed downsizing is caused by various environmental factors that forces an organization to respond lest let itself be left behind if not self-destruct from the weight of its own organization. These environmental factors include competition, cost consideration, foreign collaboration, greater margin, better infrastructure and good Human Resource policies (Kulkarni, 2010). Dr. Vilas Kulkarni indicated that Human Resource Policies are sometimes the driver to the right sizing of organizations. Human Resource policies that increase the efficiency of the organization that enables it to realize more savings while increasing its margin contribute to the decline in the number of Human Resource practitioner within that organization.

According to Lin Grensing-Pophal,“Human Resource function in a company of any size can be a daunting experience. The Human Resource Personnel must be concerned about myriad issues from the operational (establishing policies and procedures) to the strategic (designing a competitive compensation and benefit plan). For many small and emerging companies, the Human Resource department is only a single person. He is charged with servicing the company’s human resource needs” (Pophal, 2002).

Be it if it might be, even though it is Human Resource is only a single person its importance in the overall strategy of the organization is hinge on the acquisition of talents, maintaining industrial peace and ensuring visibility in the everyday life of the workforce (Wright, Boudreau, Pace, Sartain, McKinnon, & Antoine, 2011). These functions are not only essential for the organization’s survival it is the future of the organization. No matter the size visibility and the other Human Resource functions mentioned are very important to be maintained.

Most of the author’s opinion that this author have initially read about the proposed topic of the thesis have been consistent in saying that the Human Resource functions is not diminished as the size of the organization diminish. In fact the Human Resource Management’s importance is actually stressed as the organization matures. Although right-sizing or down-sizing is a corporate strategy, human resource management is an essential part of that strategy to manage the organizational stress that goes along with such a strategy (Cooper, 1998).

A. Importance of the Question Being Asked

            In today’s corporate landscape “lean” is basically the buzzword. “Lean” in today’s context literally means having a few flexible and multi-skilled manpower that is able to produce more. There are instances wherein a holding company is asked to manage several smaller companies’ functional department to save on cost. This strategy not only lowers the operating cost but also increases the efficiency throughput of the organization making it more attractive on paper.

            While the company reaps the benefits in the form of profits, the exposure it let itself in cannot be undermined. Relying on a single or a small contingent of specialist to be the core of the business could be expensive in the long run if the succession planning is not implemented properly or if there is no succession planning at all. The Human Resource Personnel in charge of such businesses has not only attained prominence in this instances but the survival of the organization is dependent on them.

Human Resource personnel manage succession planning that would include retooling of junior personnel or the maintenance of a pool of available manpower on standby. As discussed the thesis will dwell on the other aspect of human resource management that would concern itself with its visibility to ensure that the human resource in an organization would feel taken cared off. No matter the size human resource need to have its benefits, payroll and other Human Resource management function managed, maintained and administered.

B. Current Status of the Topic

            The current status of the difference of human resource management in small organization versus large organization is thoroughly discussed but not focused on in the industry. Although the value of human resource in any organization is well defined and appreciated its impact in small organization and consequently in large organizations are not focused on. However, the value of the human resource surfaces as organization meets the challenge of the industry they belong to by right-sizing their organization. For managing the organizational stresses alone human resource management function is already highlighted and have emerged and graduated from the normal human resource functions such as hiring, payroll and benefit processing.

C. Relationship Between the Literature and the Problem Statement

            The books, literatures and previous discussion in journals have highlighted the area and the conditions that would highlight the importance of the Human Resource Management. The literatures have also highlighted an important aspect of the topic which is the importance of the Human Resource management no matter the size of the organization. The literatures have highlighted the importance of Human Resource from the ground up or from a large organization that is evolving into its right size version.

D. Summary

            The art of human resourcing have evolved from mere hiring and giving out paychecks to efficiency monitoring, appreciation of labour-related laws and skills retooling in cases where the organization’s operations require constant skills retooling if not upgrade. The complexity of what can be achieved by the human resource department in an organization have evolved into what the organization can achieve and what the human resource department can do to achieve that goal. What used to be a cost center can become a valuable partner of the organization in the realization of profit and ensuring efficiency to save on cost.

            The importance of human resource personnel as a strategic partner in organizational change is highlighted in the transformation process. This much has been highlighted by various authors in their books. The proposed thesis will further explore this partnership and will also explore an operating framework that is common among those organization including small companies.

III. Methodology

            The proposed thesis shall use the collective knowledge of previous researches and the knowledge imparted by industry experts through their books and journals that have been published. The information obtained shall be supported by a survey covering several companies that would include small, large and organizations that have recently undergone re-organizations. Using secondary sources will enable me to explore industry standards and other acceptable framework that have been proven to work as observed and experienced by the cited industry experts and professionals.

The survey shall then validate the knowledge obtained if not support the concept propounded by the authors or industry experts as correlated with the other concepts put forward by other authors. Complimenting concepts will then be presented and hopefully new concepts if not a clarification or a refined version of the concepts as it applies to the subject of the proposed thesis will be presented.

There are two types of research qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative is simply the generation of information that can be converted or interpreted in numbers. The numbers are then analyzed and interpreted based on the aims and goals of the thesis. Qualitative research on the other hand is the gathering of data or information that is then interpreted in a descriptive manner. The result of which is the critical analysis if not descriptive analysis of the concepts studied through a qualitative manner (Experiment Resource, 2008).

A. Participants (Including a Description and Selection Procedures)

The participants to the surveys are generalist if not human resource management department managers. The companies that will be involved are organization that would include Business Process Outsourcing, Manufacturing and Service-Oriented Companies such as fast food companies. The participants will be given a set of questionnaire similar to the one indicated in this proposal.

A follow-up interview to verify the answers shall be conducted to ensure the integrity of the answers. To protect the identity of the people and the company, the organization’s name shall not be included in the publication of the thesis. This is to ensure that any company secrets or proprietary processes are not compromised or revealed. Not only would this methodology protect the respondents to the surveys.

B. Research Design

There are different research designs that can be used to produce a quality thesis. Pilot study is a research design that aims to conduct a test case first before a full-blown research is conducted. The pilot normally employs a representative segment of the total population and its result should be a microcosm of the entire population when tested full-blown. Pilot studies are normally applied when introducing a new product or testing a new concept that affects the behavior of the target population of the implementation. The primary question asked is “Does this work?”  (Experiment Resource, 2008)

Reviewing other research; is another design that aims to study, evaluate or provide a critical analysis of previous researches conducted on the same subject or thesis. The purpose of this kind of design is to explain the intricacies of the previous research in a systematic manner. The main focus of this type of research is to explain in detail the primary focus of the research (Experiment Resource, 2008).

Descriptive Design of the research is the primary focus and design of the proposed thesis due to the very nature of the examination and research. Observe and describe styles of this research design will do well in the examination of the concepts researched and evaluated from the various authors or industry leaders. It would do well to systematically evaluate or analyze what each concept can bring into the table or the research. The value of each concept will be determined based on the result of the observation and description of this author (Experiment Resource, 2008).

C. Data Collection Plans

            A letter of intent shall be sent to companies seeking an audience with their human resource generalist or managers. The letter of intent shall detail the questionnaire and also the methodology, purpose and direction of the interview. This way all pertinent materials or references shall be available during the interview.

  1. Operational definition of all variables – By extracting the survey answers and validating the answers through a follow-up interview the operational integrity of the answers gathered is assured.
  2. Reliability and validity of instruments – The survey questionnaires shall be tested first and then revised to ensure that the questions were properly constructed to elicit the correct answers or the expected answers.
  3. Results of pilot studies – The result of the pilot study shall be a better constructed survey questionnaires and a more responsive interview process.

D. Proposed Analysis of the Data

            The analysis will dwell on the efficacy of the hypothesis proposed earlier to validate if not refute it. The data analysis will determine the success factors of human resource management and also the most viable strategy in keeping employees motivated. The number of successful if not the highest percentage strategy will be kept as the most viable strategy. Straight analysis and interpretation shall be used.

E. Results of the Data

            As earlier posited the data that will be gathered will represent the most potent strategy in ensuring employee motivation. The data that will be gathered should support a framework that will be potent to an organization no matter its size. The result of the survey should support this methodology or framework.

IV. Implications and Limitations

            The limitation of the propose thesis is the reliance on the findings and opinion of industry experts only. This may only offer a generalist view of Human Resource Management that may not be applicable to specific situations in any industry. The theoretical approach of the thesis even if well-grounded and anchored on the collective knowledge of experts may not provide a workable framework that can be used as basis by any Human Resource Generalist as applied to a specific industry. The resulting thesis of this proposal hopes that it can provide a generic framework that is applicable only to a general situation in particular the different operating onus of a well-staffed Human Resource Department as opposed to a skeletal staff provided for by a shoestring budget from a small company.

            This author hopes that the thesis will be able to provide a minimum service level and a minimum service offering as lifted from a full staffed Human Resource Department. To put it in another word, the operating framework and services should be the most basic Human Resource Department operating processes. The information provided by this thesis will enable generalist to provide a service that exceeds if not equal the service level and efficiency of a skeletal workforce.

It should be noted that despite of the strategic value of the Human Resource Department it is often neglected and under-budgeted. It should be realized by the organization that the Human Resource Department is not only a partner in ensuring a bright future for the organization but the department is also a critical contributor to its success. It should therefore be considered as a department that will make a difference in any future plans of the organization.

V. Appendices

A. Copies of Instruments that Will be Used

  1. Letter of Intent should contain the following:

Dear Sir/Madam,

            I am a student at __________ mastering in _____ majoring in. I would like to conduct an interview and seek your indulgence in answering a survey similar to the one attached. The interview and survey will be in two parts, the first part is for you to answer the survey questions and the second part of the interview is the validation and clarification of your answers.

            I would like to seek your patience in expounding your answers on some of the question to ensure that I will not misconstrue it to mean any other thing. I would be calling on your office on ________ at _______.

            Please feel free to give me a feedback if in case the schedule do not agree with yours.

Truly yours,


2. Survey Question:

  1. How many employees do you have?
  2. How many employees does your human resource organization have?
  3. What are the services you provide to your company?
  4. How do you measure your level of success?
  5. What is the level of attrition?
  6. What is your current efficiency percentage on a per hour basis against your projected capacity.
  7. On a scale of 1 to 10 how do you rate your employees motivation?

B. Participant Permission Form

            The permission form would normally originate from the organization the person being interviewed belongs to. This normally comes in the form of non-disclosure agreements. This author will abide to any restriction to get the complete cooperation of the interviewee.

C. Timeline

            The research or thesis shall be conducted over a period of three months. Another month will be spent in going around companies where interview and surveys will be taken. Much of the research will be conducted in the library or online. Perusing all through the relevant journals and books, notations of the evaluation and analysis of the knowledge gathered from the manuscript will be collated and catalogued. It will take about two months to conduct the actual research and about a month to transcribe the notations. A coherent summary and conclusion as well as recommendation may take two weeks to formulate taking into consideration the knowledge gathered from writing the research.

            It is essential for this author to be given ample time to ensure that the interview is as detailed as possible. A research such as this should be carefully planned and carefully conducted to ensure the integrity of the data gathered.

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